Gotham Gazette

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City Council

City Council

  • rec org mat

    Organics collection (photo: NYC Department of Sanitation)


    Among the businesses listed as essential in Governor Cuomo’s PAUSE order are "trash and recycling collection, processing, and disposal" industries. Yet on April 7, Mayor de Blasio followed a different interpretation by announcing that the Department of Sanitation’s organics recycling program would be eliminated on May 4. To do away with this critical environmental program just to save a miniscule percentage of the city’s budget doesn’t make sense, and here’s why:

    While it is no secret that the city’s curbside

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  • covid19 mayor

    Mayor de Blasio & Speaker Johnson (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    With the city facing a severe budget crunch because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s executive budget proposal released last month cut $6 billion in planned spending, tapped $4 billion from reserves and delayed major capital investments to future years when another mayor will be in office. On Wednesday, about eight weeks before a deal must be reached between the two sides, the City Council held a virtual hearing on the mayor’s spending plan. Council members questioned de Blasio administration

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  • hold ty rally

    Tens of thousands of young New Yorkers rely on SYEP (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    When I first heard of the New York City Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) two years ago, I had just turned 14. I was so excited because that Fall I would enter high school and my family needed money to help pay for my uniform, school supplies, and books. Like a lot of New York families, money was already tight, so the prospect of getting a job where I could help my parents even just a little was an incredible opportunity.

    Over the last two summers, SYEP has been a great experience

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  • images shot day

    Restaurants are struggling to survive during the lockdown (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    As New York City’s mom-and-pop restaurants struggle to survive in lockdown conditions owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the New York City Council appears poised to help them cut costs by passing a bill to cap fees charged by third-party delivery services, which have proliferated in recent years via phone apps.

    Small restaurants that cannot afford delivery workers or have recognized the popularity of the apps rely on the third-party services like Grubhub, Seamless (which

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  • city council riv ad amp sa rose

    Council Member Helen Rosenthal, second from right, and other Council members (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    With New Yorkers sheltering at home during the coronavirus outbreak, advocates, experts, and elected officials are worried that domestic violence incidents could spike across the city but go unreported as victims find it nearly impossible to escape their abusers. On Friday, the New York City Council will hold a digital hearing to glean some clarity on the situation, particularly about how the de Blasio

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


    April 29, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: City Council Member Helen Rosenthal on How the City Should Approach Its Massive Budget Gap

    City Council Member Helen Rosenthal joined the show to discuss how the city should approach its massive budget gap, offering several ideas for trying to keep city services intact amid the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Rosenthal, a former city budget official, also discussed contracting issues and, as

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  • man bx skyline

    New York City building projects are on the chopping block (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The coronavirus fallout has created a severe cash crunch for New York City, forcing Mayor Bill de Blasio to slash his proposed operating budget for the next fiscal year by $6 billion, with more cuts likely before adoption. At the same time, the city’s cash flow problems mean that its capital plan, a four-year, $67.2 billion agenda that pays for crucial, long-term infrastructure like schools and roads, will also need modification and could mean some major changes to

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  • city council hearing

    Mayor de Blasio visits health care workers (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Though the coronavirus pandemic has ravaged New York City, causing more than 17,000 deaths and untold devastation on the lives of residents, the impact has been worse for communities of color where existing disparities in economic status and access to health care have only been exacerbated. On Thursday, the New York City Council will hold a remote oversight hearing to examine those disparities, their causes, and the steps that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration is taking to

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  • reynoso celebrate renovate

    City Council Member Antonio Reynoso, the author (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    These months will go down as one of the most trying periods in our city’s history. We are consumed by the grief of lost loved ones, colleagues, and neighbors, while facing a level of economic uncertainty not seen in generations. In this moment of crisis, many of us feel compelled to put on blinders and focus solely on addressing the present situation, and there is no doubt that efforts to combat COVID-19 will require vast resources and attention from our best

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  • hunger food pantry

    De Blasio visits a food pantry in Brooklyn (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    As the coronavirus crisis was unfolding in New York City last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio named his sanitation commissioner, Kathryn Garcia, as the new “food czar” to lead the implementation of a massive effort to ensure New Yorkers don’t go hungry. With the city already home to over a million “food insecure” people, the scale of the need accelerated quickly as hundreds of thousands of New

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  • de Blasio city budget coronavirus executive

    Mayor de Blasio gives a budget presentation (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    For his first six years in office, Mayor Bill de Blasio enjoyed the fruits of a booming economy and massively increased the size and cost of city government. But this week, he will present his executive budget proposal for the 2021 fiscal year facing a possible $6 billion revenue shortfall, hundreds of millions in cuts and cost shifts from the state, and almost complete uncertainty about the future as the coronavirus outbreak continues with New York

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  • 2 city council ant carwbai

    Council Member Rivera visits a hospital (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    April 08, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: City Council Member Carlina Rivera on Hospital Oversight Amid Coronavirus

    carlina rivera 150wbaiCity Council Member Carlina Rivera, chair of the Council's hospitals committee, joined the show to discuss her oversight of the city's response to the

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  • cm helen rosenthal local girl

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


    To address the coronavirus crisis and save lives, New York City government and New Yorkers are mobilizing in ways never seen before. The City swiftly sent an unprecedented message to our human services sector -- the 250,000-plus employees who provide housing access, child and elder care, shelters, emergency food relief, mental health counseling, and disaster response. These workers -- traditionally undervalued, underpaid, and unappreciated -- were told that

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  • 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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