Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Charter Revision Commission

Charter Revision Commission

  • comm estab seven pieces legis

    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    When Mayor Bill de Blasio said in late April that he was creating a task force to lead a “fair recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic, nestled in his announcement was a brief statement that he also intends to call another Charter Revision Commission. But the mayor hasn’t yet convened that commission, which would be the third to be created while he has been mayor, the second by him alone, and hasn’t explained his rationale for it. 

    There have already been two

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  • council cojo

    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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  • voting gen elect

    Voters will have greater access to interpreters at the polls this fall (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The still-new New York City Civic Engagement Commission is set to launch a poll-site language assistance program for the fall general election, expanding on the limited interpretation services that are currently provided by the Board of Elections. 

    As required by the Voting Rights Act, the Board of Elections only provides interpreters to assist at poll sites in Spanish, Korean, Chinese, and Bengali. But New York City residents speak more

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  • primary voting chi bdb

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Though a new system for holding many city elections was overwhelmingly approved by voters last fall, new details about how ranked-choice voting will actually work continue to emerge.

    Ranked-choice voting, which will apply to only special and primary elections for New York City government positions, allows voters to rank up to five candidates in order of preference. If no candidate hits a majority of votes, a system of vote redistribution based on second and possibly subsequent choices is

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  • city planning

    (rendering via the Mayor's Office)


    The New York City Council is crafting legislation to mandate the creation of a comprehensive plan for the city that would guide long-term decisions on land use, zoning, and investments in infrastructure. The effort is being led by Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Members Brad Lander and Antonio Reynoso.

    Last year, the City Council urged the 2019 Charter Revision Commission to propose to voters an

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  • voting new york city

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    A year after the 2018 election cycle, when insurgent candidates and heightened political participation helped drive a wave of New Yorkers to the polls, voter turnout in the city this fall continued the trend. While still low as a percentage of registered voters, the 15 percent turnout was far higher than previous off-year elections.

    While many attribute the recent increases in voter participation to a Trump effect, the particulars of this year’s city ballot, including key items not present in the corresponding

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  • 107 123 c3560 1

    One PBA IE on 2019 ballot question 2 (photo via Campaign Finance Board filing)


    Just after an election where the issue became especially apparent, a New York City lawmaker is planning to introduce legislation to close a loophole that has allowed independent expenditure committees to shield donors when they spend money to sway voters on ballot proposals. The potential change in city law would bring certain donor disclosure rules in line with state regulations and extend other city regulations to what is already required for political spending on candidates by

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  • hallets point dev

    (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office)


    New Yorkers heading to the polls this fall have the opportunity to vote on amendments to New York City’s Charter – our city’s foundational governing document – that include changes to how we vote, police accountability, and budgeting. But one big topic will be missing: truly addressing our city’s broken land use system.

    This didn’t have to be the case. When the City Council, then-Public Advocate Letitia James, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer came together to create this Charter Revision Commission

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  • first day voting

    Mayor de Blasio & First Lady McCray vote (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio is dodging questions about his position on a series of ballot referenda that propose changes to city elections and governance. In two interviews Friday and Monday, the mayor avoided giving any specifics when asked repeatedly to discuss the proposed amendments to the city charter, all of which impact city services and administration, and he refused to say how he voted on them.

    The ballot this year has ...

  • mayor pd comm

    (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    The Civilian Complaint Review Board has responded to the Police Benevolent Association’s efforts to kill a ballot referendum that would enhance the agency’s powers. The CCRB began promoting a fact sheet on its website and social media Friday aimed at “correcting misinformation” days after the launch of the PBA’s campaign, calling the union’s communications “myth” as it seeks a “no” vote on ballot question two.

    Last week,

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  • senate bill complement

    Senator Benjamin at Thursday's press conference (photo: @BrianKavanaghNY)


    New York State Senator Brian Benjamin, a Manhattan Democrat who is exploring a possible 2021 run for city comptroller, introduced a bill on Thursday that would allow New York City to create a “rainy day fund” to weather fiscal emergencies.

    Currently, the city lacks the authority to set aside revenue in such a dedicated pot, one result of the city’s fiscal crisis of the 1970s. But a question on this year’s general election ballot in the city could change the City Charter to

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  • 2019 sample ballot al 5 crc qs

    (a sample ballot - back side, with charter revision questions)


    Some of the biggest decisions voters can make on New York City’s ballot this fall will be in the fine print.

    The 19 city charter amendments being put before voters will appear on the back of the ballot in miniscule, 7.5-point font. The proposed amendments, presented in five “yes” or “no” questions, cover large swaths of the city’s core governing document and if approved have the potential to alter key components of how the city operates.

    They include

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  • Rachel Bloom and Susan Lerner

    (photo: @Gothamgazette)


    October 23, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: The Consequential Questions on Your Ballot

    rb sl podcastThere are 5 consequential questions on the New York City ballot this fall, each of which poses changes to city elections or governance for "yes" or "no" reponses from voters. Two leading goverment reform experts -- Susan Lerner of Common Cause NY and Rachel

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  • council finance dromm johnson mbdblasio fiscal budget

    (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photo Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio and other top city officials have remained mostly quiet about their positions on a set of proposed changes to city government and elections, which are set to go before voters when early voting begins on Saturday. The five “yes” or “no” ballot questions include 19 distinct proposals from the 2019 Charter Revision Commission, whose members were appointed by the mayor, comptroller, public advocate, City Council speaker, and five borough

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  • jack hts bus

    (photo: @Charter2019NYC)


    Just seven people trickled in from the rain to attend the information session in the Lower Gallery of the Bronx Museum of the Arts last Wednesday night. Despite the low turnout, the small group has the potential to reach dozens or even hundreds more people because most of those who attended represented organizations. They had come to the museum that night to gather information to bring back to their members about the proposals that will be on this year’s ballot, whereby voters will approve or disapprove 19 changes to New York City governance and

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  • attends cojo patbudexpoatguild

    (photo: City Council)


    Suppose eight candidates are running for Mayor or a City Council seat or another New York City office. On election night, the results are extremely close: The top candidate gets 29% of the vote, and the second 28%. Even though 70% of voters picked someone else, a candidate with less than one-third of the votes will become the elected representative of 100% of the office’s jurisdiction. 

    This situation may seem unlikely, but it’s precisely what happened in a 2013 special election for New York City

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  • mayors office promotion

    PBA President Pat Lynch, second from left (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    The Policemen’s Benevolent Association, the city’s largest law enforcement union, launched on Monday a campaign against ballot proposals aimed at strengthening police oversight. 

    The PBA is urging its members and their allies to vote “no” on Question 2 on the ballot this fall in hopes of scuttling potential changes to the way the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) investigates and prosecutes officers accused of misconduct. A New York City charter revision commission has

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  • whats the data point


    What's The [Data] Point? Episode 82 -- 5, The 2019 Charter Revision Questions on Your Ballot, with Gail Benjamin and Carl Weisbroad of the 2019 New York City Charter Revision Commission [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

    wtdp 82There are 19 proposals to change city government and elections in five "yes" or "no" questions on this year's

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  • op ed rankchoice

    (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)


    I am usually in agreement with the analysis and opinions of Bruce Gyory, a prolific pundit and consultant who writes on New York City and State government and political affairs. 

    But I must disagree with his op-ed in the Daily News last week, urging New York City voters to reject city charter revision proposal #1 on the fall ballot, which would

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  • police academ gra

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    New York City may soon take several steps toward strengthening the power of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, or CCRB, the agency responsible for investigating misconduct allegations against police officers.

    Voters have the opportunity to approve or reject a package of CCRB-related measures on this fall’s ballot, just months after the Board played a consequential role in the high-profile trial of Officer Daniel Pantaleo, resulting in his firing by NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill.

    The 2019 New York

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  • broad city charter revision ad

    Abbi & Ilana of 'Broad City' fame in Charter Revision Commission PSA


    When trying to gin up public attention on seemingly mundane government minutiae, a bit of star power never hurts.

    Most New Yorkers probably don’t know that they can vote this fall -- starting with the launch of early voting on October 26 -- on fairly significant changes to city elections and governance, so the team behind the ballot proposals is enlisting two people known for New York City pride.

    As early voting and November fifth’s Election Day

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  • abny better

    Carl Weisbrod, left, and Gail Benjamin


    A series of proposals on the ballot before New Yorkers this fall is meant to revisit city political power dynamics established after the 1989 Charter Revision Commission, which 30 years ago reshaped New York City government into its current form. That is what Gail Benjamin and Carl Weisbrod, two leaders of the 2019 Charter Revision Commission, said during a Wednesday morning discussion hosted by the Association for a Better New York and Citizens Union at the New School.

    From the early voting period of October 26

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  • yesone1 commoncause

    (photo: @commoncauseny)


    A coalition of elected officials, business and labor leaders, and reform groups gathered Thursday in Lower Manhattan to launch a campaign to convince New York City voters to change the way they elect their representatives in city government.

    Voters in New York City this fall will have the opportunity to approve ballot referenda on a number of reforms to the City Charter, including a new election system known as “ranked-choice voting.” The new system would allow voters in primary and special elections -- but not general elections -- to

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  • city planning manhattan brooklyn waterfront

    (photo: NYC Planning)


    This past week, amidst flooded streets, blackouts, overheated jails, and subway failures, New Yorkers saw the consequences that result from a failure to engage in strategic long-term planning for the future of our city. In the final decisions of the 2019 Charter Revision Commission, we also missed a big chance to do something about it.

    The dangers of failing to invest strategically in the infrastructure that sustains our city will grow in coming decades, as temperatures

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  • voting election

    (photo: Mihael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The 2019 New York City Charter Revision Commission held its final meeting at City Hall in July to officially approve the language of 19 ballot proposals that will be put before voters for the November 5 general election. (The commission dropped a proposal related to units of appropriation in the city budget, which had earlier been approved for inclusion.)

    The meeting concluded a year of

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