Gotham Gazette

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City Council

City Council

  • 596 acres empty lot

    Nonprofits have a lot less to fear now as a new law takes effect (photo: @596Acres)


    Our interconnectedness has rarely been more pronounced than it is in this moment. The fact that we can take so many of our life-sustaining connections into the digital sphere is an unprecedented miracle. But if you’re missing New York’s places of physical gathering, where many of those connections were first forged, you’re not alone.

    At its core, New York is a city of communities precisely because of its bounty of gathering places. As we reflect on the ones we

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  • mark levine district

    Council Member Levine gets a flu shot (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    March 25, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: The City's Developing Public Health Response to Coronavirus

    mark levinewbai150City Council Member Mark Levine, chair of the Council's health committee, joined the show to discuss the city's developing response to the coronavirus outbreak.

    Listen to the

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  • social services food pantries

    Amid coronavirus outbreak, the social safety net must hold (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    Daily home-delivered meals for home-bound seniors. Case-management to help make sure people have medicine and essential supplies, and reduce the harm of social isolation. Emergency food for people who are unemployed or homeless. Child care for those who still have to go to work.

    All services we utterly need right now. And all provided by New York City’s remarkable network of not-for-profit human service providers.

    These

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  • comm center marcy

    NYCHA is on the brink (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Despite significant attention from Mayor Bill de Blasio and some from Governor Andrew Cuomo, the New York City Housing Authority, public housing home to more than 400,000 New Yorkers, continues to crumble. While both the mayor and governor, as well as many others, point to federal disinvestment in NYCHA, dissatisfied elected officials say that initial drafts of next fiscal year’s state and city budgets aren’t sufficiently addressing the problem.

    As they push for more funding to

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  • 4 mbdb holds

    Wrestling with government during a pandemic (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo suspended aspects of the state's Open Meetings Law with an executive order Friday, as officials grapple with how to keep government running during a pandemic without jeopardizing public health or sacrificing accountability.

    As state and city officials continue to prepare for the long haul of coronavirus (COVID-19) management, and as most public events are postponed to limit the virus’ reach, one emerging question is how government agencies will continue to hold

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  • aging execu budget

    Department for the Aging Commissioner Cortés-Vázquez (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    “We’re going to protect our senior centers,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday during his latest briefing on the spread of the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, adding that city health department officials are visiting all of the city’s 600 such centers to ensure proper protocols amid the virus outbreak that has now led to 20 confirmed cases in the city, with more expected.

    According to the federal ...

  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    The week begins with continued focus on the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, in New York, with more cases confirmed in the city and state, and new guidance from government leaders as they try to contain the virus’ spread without taking drastic measures. On Saturday, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency, allowing the state to suspend certain rules around procurement, personnel, and facilities,

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  • grad cere msg

    NYPD officers (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The Civilian Complaint Review Board will be increasing its capacity to investigate police misconduct thanks to a City Charter amendment approved by voters last fall, agency officials explained on Wednesday.

    At one in a series of City Council hearings on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $95.3 billion preliminary budget, CCRB Chair Fred Davie and Executive Director Jonathan Darche said the city plans to add 17 additional staff members to the currently 206-person agency to meet a new formulaic mandate now written

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  • wbai city express

    Health officials must manage the coronavirus in New York (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    March 4, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Coronavirus in New York - Threat, Preparation, & Response

    levin gershonDr. Robyn Gershon of NYU School of Global Public Health and City Council Member Mark Levine, chair of the Council's health committee, joined the show to discuss the new coronavirus

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  • navy yards we

    Mayor de Blasio makes an announcement (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)


    What was ostensibly meant to be a City Council hearing on the proposed preliminary budget for the Department of City Planning on Tuesday turned into a debate about the de Blasio administration’s approach to neighborhood rezonings. Several Council members expressed their displeasure with rapid gentrification and resident displacement, and what they believe are the city’s insufficient efforts to stop those trends while at times exacerbating them through rezonings, while Mayor

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  • commvoicesheard

    City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    New York City doesn’t have a comprehensive plan for the future. There is no single guiding document that determines how housing will be built over the next decade, for example, overlaid with a strategy for meeting infrastructure needs like transit options and school seats, with unifying visions for social services and economic development. But such planning should exist, according to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who is making several moves toward the type of planning that has mostly

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  • council cojo hearing

    Council Members Dromm & Gibson with Speaker Johnson in between (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The City Council held its first hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $95.3 billion preliminary budget on Monday, calling on the administration to find more agency efficiencies and savings and to fund the Council’s own priorities, while also asking for a contingency plan should potential state budget cuts and cost-shifts go through this year.

    The mayor’s budget proposal this year increases spending by $2.5 billion over last year’s adopted budget,

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  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    The week begins with news that New York has its first positive case of the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, with a Manhattan resident infected, reportedly from a trip to Iran.

    Governor Andrew Cuomo issued the following statement on Sunday evening:
    "This evening we learned of the first positive case of novel coronavirus — or COVID-19 — in New York State. The patient, a woman in her

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  • cm preliminary

    De Blasio and the City Council talk budget (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    The New York City Council will on Monday begin its public examination of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $95.3 billion preliminary budget proposal for the 2021 fiscal year, which begins July 1. As in previous budget cycles, the Council and budget watchdogs are pushing the mayor to find more savings in city operations and sock away more money for fiscal emergencies.

    First with Monday’s overall discussion of de Blasio’s budget plans -- both the $95.3 billion annual operating budget and

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  • ydanis rod ste levin rec

    Taxi driver-owners protest at City Hall (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Last May I wrote a column criticizing the practice of including taxi medallion sales revenue in the city’s operating budget and pointed out the perverse incentive it creates to encourage high sales prices. My comments were triggered by the publication of a compelling investigative series on the New York City taxi medallion market ...

  • cm alicka as joins ps

    DOE Chancellor Richard Carranza visits a classroom (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    In the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case, the state’s Court of Appeals concluded in 2003 that class sizes were too large in New York City schools to provide our students with their constitutional right to a sound basic education, writing that “[T]ens of thousands of students are placed in overcrowded classrooms… The number of children in these straits is large enough to represent a systemic failure.”

    And yet despite this decision, and the fact that

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  • comm eco dev

    Council Member Ritchie Torres (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The New York City Department of Investigation, a watchdog agency that monitors corruption and more broadly evaluates the functioning of city agencies, will launch a database next month to track each and every reform recommendation it makes, going back to 2014 when Mayor Bill de Blasio took office, and how agencies are complying with them.

    Every year, DOI issues hundreds, if not thousands, of Policy and Procedure Recommendations (PPRs) to city agencies to help them eliminate inefficiencies and

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  • Rosenthal City Council

    Council Member Helen Rosenthal (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The City Council is set to pass a bill requiring more reporting from mayoral agencies “on efforts to prevent and address sex- and gender-based discrimination and harassment.” The bill, which passed the Council’s Committee on Women and Gender Equity Tuesday and is likely to pass the full Council on Thursday, deals with the city’s Commission on Gender Equity (CGE) and the Department of Education.

    According to Council Member Helen Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat who chairs the

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  • ballot ref

    Brad Lander and others in support of ranked-choice voting (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    City Council Member Brad Lander, a Brooklyn Democrat, is introducing legislation on Thursday that would close a loophole in city campaign finance law that currently allows groups to hide their donors when they try to influence voting on a ballot referendum.

    The city’s campaign finance law is fairly robust, having been updated repeatedly over the years to reduce the effect of big money on politics, including independent expenditure groups that seek to sway elections. But

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  • city oversight hearing

    (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The Department of Investigation, an independent city agency that monitors and investigates government corruption, waste, and mismanagement, has yet to complete thousands of background checks on workers currently employed in city government. At a hearing of the City Council’s Committee on Oversight and Investigations on Monday, DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett sought to explain why the agency had fallen behind and assured Council members that the problem would not carry on into the future.

    As of Friday,

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  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    After his win in Nevada over the weekend, many eyes in the New York political world and beyond are on a surging Bernie Sanders presidential campaign and questions around whether his nomination is becoming all-but-certain. Another Democratic primary debate is set for Tuesday night in South Carolina, just ahead of that state’s primary on Saturday. Michael Bloomberg will surely be looking for a stronger performance than

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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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  • council andy king

    Council Member Andy King (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    Another day, another egregious ethics violation, and it’s still business as usual in the City Council. Last week, the Council’s Committee on Standards and Ethics announced yet another investigation, the third to be precise, into Council Member Andy King’s behavior.

    New charges allege that King actively tried to circumvent the Council-imposed ‘monitor,’ seemingly a glorified babysitter since he could not be trusted to act appropriately with his staff, and violated a majority of the

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  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    The week begins with a holiday and Mayor Bill de Blasio flying back from Nevada, where he was campaigning on behalf of Bernie Sanders for president after endorsing the Vermont senator. After a tortured 2016 process that led to a humiliating endorsement of Hillary Clinton in that year’s Democratic primary over Sanders, de Blasio attempted his own run for president this time around, quickly bowing out of the race after

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  • spk co jo ste lev

    Council Member Steve Levin & Speaker Corey Johnson (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    February 12, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: The City Council's Plan to Reduce Homelessness

    ste levin wbaiCity Council Member Stephen Levin joined the show to discuss the City Council's new report and plan to reduce homelessness in New York City. Levin, chair of the Council committee with oversight of

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