Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Bill de Blasio

Bill de Blasio

  • De Blasio Makes Big Bus Move, But Continues to Disappoint Electeds and Advocates Seeking More

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    De Blasio rides the bus (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    As the coronavirus public health crisis waned and New York City headed toward entering the first phase of “reopening” its economy after the government-ordered near-shutdown, Mayor Bill de Blasio was under increasing pressure to develop transit plans to help New Yorkers returning to work get around by various and safe means. This was especially true regarding buses.

    While the city’s subways and buses are run by the state-controlled MTA, de Blasio does have significant sway over the bus system

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  • Where the 2021 Mayoral Candidates Stand on Removing School Safety from the NYPD's Domain

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    Police in schools (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    As the City Council is pushing to cut $1 billion from the NYPD’s $6 billion budget for next fiscal year, City Council Members Mark Treyger and Donovan Richards have proposed revoking the police’s role in school safety and restoring it to the Department of Education. The proposal has been a top priority for some police reform and education activists for years and has taken on renewed urgency in the wake of the countrywide protests following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

    Though Mayor

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  • De Blasio Administration Opposes Council Bill to Create 'City Restart Officer'

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    Mayor de Blasio at City Hall (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Brooklyn City Council Member Laurie Cumbo, a Democrat and the Council’s Majority Leader, wants to establish a new position in city government to oversee the reopening of city government after the coronavirus shutdown. Her bill (Intro. 1950) would create and require the position of “City Restart

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  • City's Shirley Chisholm Monument Won't Go Up This Year as Planned

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    A rendering of the planned Shirley Chisholm monument (photo: women.nyc)


    The building of the first monument in a city initiative to honor famous women from New York City’s history and correct a long-standing gender imbalance in monuments across the city has been delayed, Gotham Gazette has learned. City officials are pointing to the shutdown stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason that the monument of Brooklyn's Shirley Chisholm, who became the first black woman elected to the House of Representatives in 1968, will not be completed by the end of this year

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  • Mayor's Office Misses Deadlines for City Council Budget Cut Request and Comptroller Coronavirus Probe

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    De Blasio briefs City Council members (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    With three weeks to go before the budget for the next fiscal year is due, the City Council is putting pressure on Mayor Bill de Blasio to spell out planned cuts to city agencies to fill a $9 billion projected budget gap. But the administration missed a Monday deadline set by the Council to propose new cuts, balancing the budget in a way that reprioritizes social services and investment in youth and education.

    The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a massive

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  • ‘Defund the NYPD’? What’s Really in the New York City Police Department Budget

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    The NYPD budget is in the spotlight, but what's in it (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    The daily protests in New York City over police brutality and racism bore fruit this weekend as Mayor Bill de Blasio reversed course, announcing that he would cut police department funding and institute other reforms at the NYPD. The State Legislature also took notice and expedited a long list of police accountability and transparency measures that had languished for years.

    Over the last ten days, as the protests swelled across the city and the NYPD responded

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  • De Blasio Promises Faster NYPD Discipline While Past Reform Pledges Remain Delayed

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    Mayor de Blasio with Police Commissioner Shea & other NYPD officials (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    As Mayor Bill de Blasio struggles with the protests against police brutality and racism that have gripped New York City over the past few days, he has promised that NYPD officers will be swiftly disciplined for any misconduct in their response to protesters and that larger structural changes to police accountability are on the way. But the NYPD has been slow to reform its opaque internal disciplinary processes over the years, and has even missed self-imposed deadlines

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  • De Blasio Offers No Transit Plans as City Heads Toward 'Reopening'

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    Mayor de Blasio rides the bus (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    New York City is set to begin a phased “reopening” on Monday, June 8, as indicators show significant progress in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. But as many New Yorkers start heading back to work, Mayor Bill de Blasio has offered no solutions to balance city residents’ need for transportation, maintaining public health by preventing new coronavirus infections, and preventing all-out gridlock if too many New Yorkers turn to cars.

    About 5.4 million people rode the New York City subway

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  • De Blasio’s Empty Words: The Mayor’s Long-Running Failure to Ensure Police Accountability

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    Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Earlier this week, after nearly six-and-a-half years in office and repeatedly failing to meaningfully and systematically hold his own police department accountable for brutalizing and killing black New Yorkers, Mayor de Blasio took to Twitter to express outrage about Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd.

    De Blasio forcefully demanded swift action by authorities in a city half-way across the country. He then proceeded to fail completely to stop police brutality in his

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  • De Blasio Delay Plus Pandemic Means Property Tax Reform Appears Off the Table This Year

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    Mayor de Blasio's slow-play on property tax reform has now been compounded (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayor's Offie)


    The start of the year 2020 offered what many believed to be the most promising steps in decades to revamping New York's confusing and unfair property tax system. In January, an advisory commission established by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council, which was tasked with comprehensively assessing and reevaluating the property tax system, released a set of recommendations. While coming much later than many had

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  • Muddled, Shifting Messages from De Blasio on Essential Metrics as City Nears 'Reopening'

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    Mayor de Blasio during a recent coronavirus briefing (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    New York City’s response to the coronavirus outbreak has been a battle on shifting sands. As information about the disease and officials’ recognition of its threat evolved over time, so did the government approach, from initially continuing business as usual well after the first cases in the city were confirmed to a statewide shutdown of sorts and strict social distancing guidelines that have now been in place in New York City for over two

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  • Pandemic Reinforces De Blasio's Inaction on School Desegregation Recommendations

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    Mayor de Blasio during a school visit (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayor's Office)


    As the coronavirus pandemic further exposes deep fissures in the city's education landscape for low-income students and students of color, it has also further stalled Mayor Bill de Blasio's already-halting efforts to integrate New York City's deeply segregated schools.

    In the nine months since a de Blasio-appointed advisory group released its final recommendations on ways to desegregate and in other ways improve city schools, virtually nothing has been said on the

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  • De Blasio Hasn't Visited Rikers Island During His Second Term

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    Mayor de Blasio on Rikers Island (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    In his second term in office, Mayor Bill de Blasio has worked with the New York City Council to usher through a plan that will close the scandal-ridden Rikers Island jail complex and replace it with four borough-based facilities by 2026. He has repeatedly decried the crumbling infrastructure and the well-documented incidents of violence, by detainees and guards, among the many issues of the sprawling Island facilities. But the mayor has not visited Rikers Island in three

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  • City Sees Crush of Public Assistance Applications as Coronavirus Recession Takes Hold

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    New Yorkers wait on line for food (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    As New York City shut down amid the coronavirus outbreak, and hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs and livelihoods, the city saw a massive increase in applications for food stamps and cash assistance.

    According to new data from the city’s Human Resources Administration and Department of Social Services, applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly referred to as food stamps, and for cash assistance have surged since the

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  • It’s Actually the Perfect Time for City Government to Invest in Housing

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    Mayor de Blasio makes a housing announcement (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    In the wake of the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus shutdown, Mayor de Blasio must find budget savings anywhere he can, while still advancing his mission to make New York “the fairest big city” in America.  

    It won’t be easy. But the sudden drop in tax revenue should not stop the mayor from continuing to make one smart investment: creating new affordable housing.

    With the pandemic exposing the full extent of the city’s homeless crisis, now is

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  • City Budget Crisis, State Bail Reform Could Delay Closure of Rikers Island Jails

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    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The Rikers Island jail complex, a notorious and decrepit institution sitting on 413 acres in the East River, was slated for closure well before New York City became the country’s epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, during which the complex has emerged as a hotspot for infections that have led to the deaths of several detainees and corrections officers.

    But the timeline for shutting down the jail complex and building local jails in four boroughs has been thrust into uncertainty by countervailing

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  • Amid Blowback Over Planned Suspension, De Blasio Administration Explores Alternative Summer Youth Employment Program

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    Council Member Debi Rose with youth workers (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    With New York City facing a massive budget gap and severe social restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio made the unpopular decision to suspend the Summer Youth Employment Program, which in past years gave tens of thousands of young people jobs over the summer. But as de Blasio faced swift and sweeping criticism for the move, administration officials testified before the City Council that an alternate plan is in the works and will be unveiled soon.

    Over

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  • Police Patrols Promised to Combat Anti-Semitism Arrived to Enforce Social Distancing, Orthodox Leaders Say

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    Mayor de Blasio & city officials in Borough Park in January (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    [UPDATE (5/19/20): After this story was published, an NYPD spokesperson told Gotham Gazette security cameras had been installed at 30 locations in Brooklyn as part of an effort to combat anti-Semitic hate crimes. The remaining 70 cameras planned to be deployed with the input of the community have likely been put on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak, the spokesperson said.]

    Mayor Bill de Blasio in January announced 100 new

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  • City Moves to Meet Need for Culturally Diverse Emergency Food

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    The City continues to try to meet food needs amid the coronavirus crisis (photo: @NYCHRA)


    The coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on food access, with unemployment skyrocketing and increasingly more people relying on food assistance, food pantries, and meals provided by the city. Additionally, as New York City is home to many different races, ethnicities, and cultural traditions, concerns have arisen about whether the city’s massive emergency food program, including food delivery, is reflecting that diversity, causing further food stress on communities.

    New

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  • De Blasio, NYPD Remain Vague About Social Distancing Protocols Amid Backlash Over Racial Disparities in Enforcement

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    Police officers have been charged with social distancing enforcement (photo: NYPD)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio has made the New York City Police Department the agency primarily responsible for ensuring social distancing in public amid the coronavirus outbreak, and while police data shows enforcement is taking place primarily in black and Hispanic communities, the city has not disclosed any official enforcement policies or guidance given to officers.

    In recent weeks, de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea have made vague references to

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  • First Citywide Participatory Budgeting Program on Chopping Block Because of Coronavirus

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    Participatory budgeting was due for a big increase (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    A new citywide participatory budgeting program, whereby New Yorkers directly decide how to spend city budget money, was meant to be in place by July 1 but may end up being severely limited as the city suffers from the coronavirus pandemic and its multifaceted fallout. 

    Creating the participatory budgeting program was one of the core duties for the New York City Civic Engagement Commission, which was established in the city Charter through a ballot referendum in 2018 that was

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  • To Reopen Schools, The Mayor Needs Smaller Classes - Here’s $570 Million in Potential Department of Education Savings to Get Him Started

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    Mayor de Blasio needs a plan to reopen city schools (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The New York City Department of Education has lost 74 employees to the novel coronavirus, including 30 teachers and 28 paraprofessionals who have died as of May 8. Evidence has also emerged that children can develop serious illnesses after being infected with the virus, and even those who are asymptomatic are often effective transmitters. 

    Now

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  • New York City Could Receive $5.3 Billion from First Four Federal Coronavirus Packages

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    Mayor de Blasio & Senator Schumer (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    As the coronavirus crisis drains city coffers with an enormous level of emergency government spending and the mandated shutdown of the economy has led tax revenues to plummet, New York City faces an estimated $8.7 billion budget gap. Mayor Bill de Blasio has said the hole is dire and the extent to which the city will be shored up to weather the storm depends largely on what it will receive in federal aid.

    While lobbying and negotiations continue that question

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  • Could a Public Works Program Save New York City's Economy?

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    Could the reinvigoration of the New York economy come from public works? (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Somewhere around a million New Yorkers are out of jobs and billions in tax revenue has evaporated as New York City bears the brunt of possibly the worst disaster in its history. The coronavirus has been devastating the city’s people, their way of life, and their livelihoods. As elected officials and experts look to the future, when the pandemic eventually subsides, they must plot a path out of the crises that will remain.

    New Yorkers will need jobs, and

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  • New York City's Spending on Coronavirus Fight Tops $1.4 Billion, Matched Thus Far by Federal Aid

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    Mayor de Blasio working with federal reinforcements (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    New York City has already spent just over $1.4 billion on its response to the coronavirus pandemic, the mayor’s office told Gotham Gazette on Thursday. That sum roughly matches what the federal government has sent the city government in direct aid through multiple 'stimulus' packages.

    With New York City the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, an all-of-government response and a massive outlay of funds has been necessary. As of Thursday, May 7, the city reported

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