Gotham Gazette

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City Council

City Council

  • When Women Run…

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    Letitia James, the author, celebrating the likely women's Council majority (photo: @21in21NYC)


    New York’s biggest strength – by far – is its diversity. New Yorkers speak more than 700 languages, represent hundreds of countries, and span every level of socio-economic status. We’re every color, every religion, and every identity. Our communities thrive when we lean into our diverse cultures, ensuring voices from all corners of our city are heard and represented. Unfortunately, our City Council has historically failed to achieve that.

    For a city with a

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  • Let’s Give New Yorkers Sweet Transparency — Lives are At Risk

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    Fast food drinks (photo: @brraveheart)


    A fast-food combo meal, perfect for lunch in a New York minute, right? Not so fast. A recent study of fast-food chain restaurants found that the default drink size included with combo meals at most restaurants contains more than an entire day’s worth of added sugars.

    With New Yorkers resorting to fast food out of convenience or necessity due to limited access to healthier options, it becomes an issue of public health and equity

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  • Advocates, Electeds and Candidates Celebrate Historic Gains for Women Heading to the New York City Council

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    A celebration of women heading to City Hall (photo: @21in21NYC)


    Triumphant speeches and words of solidarity filled the air at City Hall Park on Tuesday morning. A historic expected majority of women likely to fill City Council seats in January gathered at a press conference, pledging to bring a culture of mutual support and a commitment to underrepresented constituents to the legislative body. They were joined by current and former elected officials, advocates, and others who had been part of the yearslong effort to bring the 51-seat Council, where there are

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  • The Race to be the Next City Council Speaker is in Full Swing

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    (l-r) Council Members Keith Powers, Adrienne Adams, Justin Brannan, Carlina Rivera


    The New York City Council is set for seismic change, as new members will be elected to more than two-thirds of the 51 seats this year. With those new members will come the election of a new Council speaker to preside over the legislative body and exert control of its agenda, and four Democrats are already vying for the powerful position.

    Council Member Justin Brannan from Brooklyn, Council Members Carlina Rivera and Keith Powers from Manhattan, and Council Member Adrienne Adams of

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  • Mayor and City Council Reach Agreement on De Blasio's Last Budget, $98.7 Billion ‘Recovery' Plan

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    Mayor and Council Speaker in 2019 (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Wednesday announced an agreement on a $98.7 billion “recovery budget” for the 2022 fiscal year, which begins Thursday.

    The budget, the final one for both de Blasio and Johnson as they reach term limits, was $100 million more than the executive budget that the mayor unveiled in April, flush with billions in

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  • Effort to Elect More Women to City Council May Yield Majority

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    The City Council (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    The New York City Council is set to experience a seismic shift in composition, with dozens of Council members term-limited out after this year, and the changing of the guard in the 51-seat legislative body may wind up being most apparent in its gender balance.

    In 30 districts, there were “open” races for those seats and, in most cases, crowded Democratic primaries to fill them. With Democrats enjoying a significant voter enrollment advantage over Republicans, this month’s primaries

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  • Council Countdown

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    The City Council chambers (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    Welcome to Council Countdown.

    Gotham Gazette, City Limits, City & State, and The Queens Eagle are teaming up to cover the dozens of competitive New York City Council races that are part of the 2021 city election cycle heading toward June primaries and the fall general election. From late April into June, the four publications will report on more than 40 competitive City Council races to help voters know the dynamics of those elections and about the candidates running in

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  • In Brooklyn Political Launching Pad, Another Highly Competitive Council Race

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    Activists, Council Member Brad Lander & others (photo: John McCarten.City Council)


    With voting underway in this month’s primary elections, including for almost all 51 City Council seats, including about three dozen that are “open” due to term limits, crowded fields of candidates are pushing for every vote.

    The competition is especially hot, if civil, in Brooklyn’s 39th City Council District, one of the most politically-active areas in the city, with some of the highest voter turnout rates, and the home district of Mayor Bill de

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  • In Queens, Council Member at the Epicenter Looks to Hold Seat Against Insurgent from the Left

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    Council Member Moya (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    One year ago, COVID-19 swept across Corona, turning the Queens neighborhood into the epicenter of the pandemic — and leaving behind a trail of death, sickness, hunger, and unemployment. In the wake of the crisis, which hit Northern Queens harder than most of the city, incumbent City Council Member Francisco Moya says his work to address healthcare and food insecurity kept the pandemic’s effects on his 21st

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  • Crowded Field Competes to Represent Brooklyn Waterfront in City Council

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    (l-r) Elizabeth Adams, Victoria Cambranes, Sabrina Gates, Toba Potosky, Lincoln Restler, Stu Sherman, Benjamin Solotaire & April Somboun at June 6 debate


    As Stephen Levin nears the end of his three terms in office representing Brooklyn’s 33rd City Council District, eight Democratic candidates are vying to replace him — bringing varied resumes and competing visions on key issues like policing, the crumbling Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and the recent tide of development in the district’s neighborhoods.

    The 33rd District stretches along

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  • Diverse Field of Candidates Vies to Replace Trailblazing Council Member in Queens

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    Council Member Danny Dromm (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    A crowded Democratic primary race is unfolding in Queens to select the successor for term-limited City Council Member Daniel Dromm, a trailblazing LGBTQ leader and powerful chair of the Council finance committee who has held the seat for nearly 12 years but is term-limited out of office. The primary

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  • Future of Immigrant Communities the Focus of Brooklyn City Council Race

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    Council Member Menchaca & others at a community fridge (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    With City Council Member Carlos Menchaca among the three dozen members of the 51-seat Council facing term limits this year, there is a competitive Democratic primary unfolding to replace him in Brooklyn’s 38th District, which is centered in Red Hook and Sunset Park, and also includes parts of Greenwood Heights, Windsor Terrace, Dyker Heights, and Boro Park. Menchaca, a Democrat, has held the seat for two terms, nearing eight years. Given the

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  • Effort to 'Defund the NYPD' Appears Stalled Ahead of De Blasio's Final Budget

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


    Even though cutting NYPD funding has become a popular position among many candidates running for mayor, City Council, and other offices this year, the city’s current leadership seems unlikely to embrace any significant cuts to the police department in the upcoming budget amid a sustained increase in gun violence and a glut of federal funding.

    “The voters of this city overwhelmingly, I'm convinced, want a balance. They want reform. They want non-discriminatory policing. They want respectful

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  • Close Ally Has Inside Track in Race to Replace North Brooklyn City Council Member

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    Council Member Antonio Reynoso (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Brooklyn and Queens residents in the 34th City Council District must vote on term-limited Council Member Antonio Reynoso’s replacement in this year’s election. The first and most important round of voting takes place in this month’s Democratic primary, the winner of which is all but certain to become the next Council member in January given the district’s overwhelming Democratic enrollment advantage.

    Voters have four candidates to choose from: Jennifer Gutierrez, Reynoso’s chief of

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  • Crowded City Council Race in Lower Manhattan District Devastated by Covid

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    Council Member Margaret Chin and others (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    Nine Democratic candidates are running in the City Council District 1 primary for a seat based in Lower Manhattan. The district includes parts or all of Battery Park, the Civic Center, Chinatown, the Financial District, Little Italy, the Lower East Side, NoHo, SoHo, South Street Seaport, South Village, TriBeCa, and Washington Square. Governors Island, Ellis Island, and Liberty Island are also a part of the district.

    The current City Council member, Margaret Chin, was elected

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  • City Budget Negotiations and Comptroller Primary Collide

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    Corey Johnson and Brad Lander (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The war of words between City Council Member Brad Lander and Council Speaker Corey Johnson, both Democratic candidates for city comptroller, continues to escalate as Lander raises concerns that Johnson will leverage the city budget to help his chances of winning the June primary. 

    Johnson and Lander are among the top contenders in the Democratic primary for New York City comptroller, which also features a number of sitting state legislators and several first-time candidates

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  • A Resounding No to Deadly No-Knock Warrants

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    NYPD (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    As a City Council Member and Chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, I understand that people need to feel safe, particularly in their homes. One aspect of this safety is an assurance that authorities will not haphazardly burst in. This is enshrined in the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which grants everyone freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. That means there must be probable cause to raid a home.

    However, the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies seem to think

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  • In Brooklyn, Incumbent Council Member Looks to Hold Off Veteran Challenger and Win First Full Term

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    Council Member Farah Louis (photo: City Council)


    New York City Council Member Farah Louis is among the 18 members of the 51-seat Council eligible for and seeking reelection this year, but she is not able to cruise to a full term representing Brooklyn’s 45th District, which includes Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Marine Park, Flatlands, Canarsie, and Kensington. Louis, a Democrat, has held the seat for part of one term so far after being elected in a 2019 special election to fill a vacancy created by Jumaane Williams winning his own special election

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  • In Queens, Council Member Who Unseated Incumbent Tries to Hold Off Primary Challenge from the Left

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    Council Member Robert Holden (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    City Council Member Bob Holden, a first-term Democrat from Queens, is known for being one of the Council’s more moderate-to-conservative members, having won his seat running on the Republican ballot line in 2017 after losing the Democratic primary to the incumbent at the time. Especially in a legislative body that includes just three Republicans in 51 seats, Holden regularly takes among the more right-leaning positions on a number of issues, particularly policing, whether in his district or on a

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  • WATCH: City Council District 10 Democratic Primary Debate

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    City Council District 10 Democratic primary debate


    Five Democratic candidates for City Council District 10, currently represented by term-limited Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez and covering parts of Upper Manhattan, met by Zoom for a debate hosted by Manhattan Neighborhood Network and moderated by Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max. Participating candidates included Carmen De La Rose, Angela Fernandez, Johanna Garcia, Francesca Castellanos, and James Behr. The primary is in June, with early voting June 12-20 and primary day June 22. Watch the debate:

  • Council Member Seeking Reelection and the Speakership Faces Exonerated Ex-Rep Pursuing Redemption

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    Adrienne Adams and Ruben Wills


    City Council Member Adrienne Adams, a first-term Democrat, is among the several candidates seeking to become the next Speaker of the City Council. But her first hurdle will be defeating two challengers in the imminent June primary to win a second term representing Council District 28 in Southeast Queens. Among those challengers is her predecessor, Ruben Wills, who was expelled from the Council following a corruption conviction but was recently exonerated and is seeking a political comeback.

    District 28 includes

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  • 'Wholly Unacceptable': City Council 'Deeply Concerned and Frustrated' with De Blasio Delay on Cuomo-Ordered Police Reform Plan

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    Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Shea (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Update, March 5, 2021: Shortly after the publication of this story and after having declined to comment for the story over multiple days, the de Blasio administration on Friday released the first of a three-part draft plan with 36 proposals. "The plan will now move through a public comment period where it will undergo further revision based on the feedback of the public and through a process with

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  • Amid Great Uncertainty, City Council Begins Examining De Blasio's $92.3 Billion Preliminary Budget

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    Budget Director Jacques Jiha (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The New York City Council on Tuesday began its examination of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $92.3 billion preliminary budget for the 2022 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The hearing was the first of many that will take place over the next few weeks as the Council digs into the mayor’s final budget plan of his eight-year tenure and as key questions remain about the city’s fiscal future. 

    The coronavirus pandemic stripped the city of billions in tax revenue,

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  • The First Step to Fixing Our Disregard for Women of Color in the Workplace

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    Council Member Vanessa Gibson, left, is a coauthor (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    The pandemic is setting women back and eroding years of progress, particularly for women of color in New York City. The pressure is coming from two places: women of color are more likely to work in sectors that have been hit hardest by layoffs, and women of color are more likely to have had to leave work or reduce hours to care for

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  • City Council, De Blasio Administration Clash Over Comprehensive Planning Legislation

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    New York City (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    City Council members and officials from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration clashed at a Tuesday hearing over proposed legislation to overhaul, consolidate, and in some ways expand the city’s planning processes into a singular ten-year procedure that would align budget, policy, and land use decisions.  

    The proposal was released by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson in December and seeks to replace what he calls redundant, antiquated, inequitable, and ineffective existing

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