Gotham Gazette

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City Council

City Council

  • City Council Speaker Unveils Comprehensive Planning Legislation

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    New York City development (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Wednesday unveiled legislation that would overhaul New York City’s long-term planning processes, eliminating duplicative procedures, streamlining agency coordination, and establishing a more proactive, holistic approach to land use and budgeting that prioritizes racial and economic justice. 

    For decades, the city’s zoning, land use, and development have been subject to disparate sets of mandates and guidelines, some overlapping and redundant, in

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  • CUNY Nursing Schools Continue Amid Pandemic, with Major Questions for One Program

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    Gotham Health (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    On Friday, the New York City Council’s Committee on Higher Education heard from administrators and students of CUNY’s nursing schools to understand how they have maintained student progression despite transitioning to online learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    CUNY has 14 nursing schools that offer a variety of certificates and associates, bachelors, masters, and doctorate degree programs. An average of 1,800 students graduate every year from CUNY nursing programs, many of whom go off to

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  • How New York City's Public Libraries Adapted to COVID-19

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    Libraries have mostly been empty, but active (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Last month, the New York City Council’s Committee on Cultural Affairs and Libraries held an oversight hearing on the city’s public libraries and COVID-19. The committee, chaired by Queens Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, heard testimony from Anthony Marx, the President, and CEO of New York Public Library, which is the system for Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island; President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library Linda Johnson; and President and CEO of Queens Public Library

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  • Imminent City Council Special Election in the Bronx is a Two-Candidate Race

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


    The ouster of Andy King from the New York City Council in October over repeated ethics violations triggered a special election that moved up the timeline for the race to replace King, who was term-limited but then expelled by his colleagues, from the standard 2021 election dates to this month. The race will effectively be the first of the 2021 city election cycle, when all of city government will be on the ballot, and could provide interesting initial bread crumbs about where the

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  • City's 'Open Storefronts' Program Critiqued as Too Late and Too Limited But with Room to Grow

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    SBS Commissioner Doris at a small business (photo: @NYC_SBS)


    Frustrated City Council members and hopeful––yet weary––small business advocates took to a hearing Tuesday to express their concerns about the Open Storefronts program launched recently by Mayor de Blasio after outcry from the business community, particularly smaller retailers. Small businesses, many of which are struggling to hold on if they haven’t already closed due to the pandemic and a lack of government help, can enroll in the program that, as of now, will give them through December 31 to sell their merchandise

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: City Council Education Chair Mark Treyger on What's Next for City Schools

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    Council Member Mark Treyger, right (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    November 18, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: City Council Education Chair Mark Treyger on What's Next for City Schools

    Brooklyn City Council Member Mark Treyger, chair of the Council's education committee and a former teacher, joined the show to discuss the closure of city school buildings and what's next, including a proposal he has for how to restructure in-person learning.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter ...

  • Bills Would Further Restrict Coordination Between City Candidates and Independent Expenditure Campaigns

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    Council Member Ben Kallos, center (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    As the city heads into the 2021 municipal elections that are already drawing hundreds of candidates and will see many millions of dollars in campaign spending, a City Council member wants to preempt violations of the law on independent expenditures by increasing penalties. 

    Council Member Ben Kallos, a Democrat from the Upper East Side who is running for Manhattan borough president in the 2021 election cycle where all of city government is on the ballot, will introduce two bills on Thursday to penalize

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  • CUNY Leaders Pressed on Thousands of Faculty Layoffs

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    Students in CUNY class pre-pandemic (photo: CUNY)


    The New York City Council’s Committee on Civil Service and Labor and Committee on Higher Education held a joint hearing Thursday about the City University of New York’s layoffs earlier this year. 

    The hearing, which was co-chaired by Council Members I. Daneek Miller and Inez Barron, who chair the two committees, respectively, focused on questions about why nearly 3,000 adjunct professors

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  • Citing Lessons Learned, City Officials Outline Preparations, Cautious Optimism for Handling Potential Second Covid Wave

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    Covid testing (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    City Council members and public health professionals gathered over Zoom late last week to discuss how the city can better support public hospitals so that they’re prepared for a potential second wave of COVID-19, which experts say could overlap with the annual flu season and recent case upticks indicate may be looming.

    The public hearing — held by the Council’s Committee on Hospitals and billed as an oversight hearing “Examining the City's Support of NYC Hospitals During the COVID-19 Pandemic” — covered issues

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  • Big Flushing Project Up Next in City Debate Over Development

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    Flushing Waterfront development rendering


    When the developers behind Industry City, a massive retail and manufacturing space, announced that they had pulled the plug on their plan to rezone a portion of their property on the Sunset Park waterfront in Brooklyn, community activists in Flushing, Queens celebrated. 

    The proposed Special Flushing Waterfront District is a planned rezoning to usher in massive development along Flushing Creek, and is now being eyed by both proponents and critics as the next big New York City land use battle. The debate over the Flushing

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  • City Council Holds Hearing on Sexual and Reproductive Right

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


    New York City Council Members will hold an oversight hearing Wednesday on “sexual and reproductive rights in New York City” and consider a package of legislation on those subjects, at a joint hearing of the Council’s Committee on Health and Committee on Women and Gender Equity. 

    The bills cover a wide range of

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  • What's The [Data] Point? 8,200 - The Gowanus Rezoning, with City Council Member Brad Lander

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    Council Member Brad Lander (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    What's The [Data] Point? Episode 97: 8,200 - the Gowanus Rezoning with City Council Member Brad Lander [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

    City Council Member Brad Lander joined the show to discuss the Gowanus rezoning proposal that is entering final stages of negotiation and the

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  • De Blasio Administration Pledges to Finally Address City's Persistent 'Digital Divide' with Universal Internet Access

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    Mayor de Blasio at a LinkNYC kiosk (photo: Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    As the pandemic forced New Yorkers to shelter at home, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration launched several efforts to assist those who lacked the necessary access to the internet to adapt to working and learning virtually. But there remains a deep digital divide across the city, particularly in terms of lack of access in low-income communities of color, creating significant challenges for students, residents of homeless shelters and public housing, and others.

    According to city data, 40%

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  • 'One For The History Books': Race to Replace City Council Member Donovan Richards Starts to Take Shape in Southeast Queens

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    City Council Member Donovan Richards (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    Donovan Richards’ likely ascension to become the next Queens Borough President at the start of 2021 would trigger a special election to replace him in the City Council in the 31st District in Southeast Queens. With several candidates already in the race to replace Richards -- a Democrat who is term-limited out of his current position at the end of 2021 anyway -- and additional potential candidates circling, the likely special election is already shaping up to be one of the most contentious

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  • When Can New Yorkers Expect General Election Results? City and State Officials Give Different Answers

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    New Yorkers soon head to the polls (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)


    The 2020 general election results in New York City may not be known until mid-December, six weeks after Election Day, according to Michael Ryan, the executive director of the New York City Board of Elections.

    Ryan told members of the New York City Council Friday that New Yorkers could expect election results between December 8 and 15, around the same length of time it took in the primaries but ages beyond the unofficial results New Yorkers have come to expect on election

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  • What's The [Data] Point? 20,000 - Industry City Rezoning Negotiations Fall Apart, with Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball & City Council Member Carlos Menchaca

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    Council Member Menchaca and others tour part of Industry City (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    What's The [Data] Point? Episode 96: 20,000 - The Industry City Rezoning Proposal Falls Apart, with Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball and City Council Member Carlos Menchaca[You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

    Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball and City Council Member Carlos Menchaca joined the show to discuss the demise of the Industry City rezoning

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  • Covid Must Change How We Handle Rikers and the Future of Jails in New York City

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    Council Member Carline Rivera, the author (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    Like most New Yorkers who lived through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am still reeling from the trauma and chaos we experienced this spring. But until I set foot on Rikers Island last week, I had an incomplete understanding of what the true horrors of COVID-19 were for some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers.

    At the height of the pandemic, Rikers saw an infection ...

  • Despite Requests, No Sign of De Blasio Plan for Managing Billions in City Borrowing He's Seeking

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


    Mayor Bill de Blasio continues to insist that New York City needs authorization from the state to borrow billions of dollars in operating funds to balance its budget, at least in the absence of federal aid to cover some of the massive loss in revenue from the pandemic fallout. The drastically-slashed new city budget for this fiscal year passed July 1 included $1 billion in undefined labor savings, which de Blasio said could be covered by federal aid or borrowing, or, if neither of those come through,

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  • Five-Candidate Field Emerges for Expected Bronx Special Election to Replace Council Member Cohen

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    Council Member Cohen (left) passing out masks in his Bronx district (photo: @AndrewCohenNYC)


    Bronx City Council Member Andrew Cohen’s recent nomination for a Supreme Court judgeship at the Bronx Democratic Party’s judicial convention in August means that the already-underway contest to replace him in the Council will likely move up from a June 2021 primary to a February or March 2021 special election, assuming Cohen assumes his judgeship in January. The special election in Council District 11, along with contests for soon-to-be-vacant seats in Council Districts 15 (Ritchie

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Donovan Richards on Development, Jobs & His Vision for Queens

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    City Council Member Donovan Richards (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    August 19, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Donovan Richards on Police Reform, Jobs & His Vision for Queens

    City Council Member Donovan Richards, very likely the next Queens Borough President, joined the show to discuss how he plans to operate as borough president and what's next as he chairs the Council's public safety committee.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter ...

  • Providers, Participants Scramble for Scaled Down Summer Youth Employment Program

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    Mayor de Blasio with local activists (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Every morning, Joaquin Soto wakes up to participate in Summer Bridge, New York City government’s 2020 summer youth employment program. Instead of commuting to a work site, Soto turns on his computer, attends Zoom meetings, watches videos on professional development, and takes quizzes to show what he’s learned.

    “The application was really straightforward and very accessible,” said Soto, a 17-year-old from Cypress Hills. “But I feel like there’s definitely been some kind of trouble for

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  • After a Step Back, Corey Johnson Reemerges

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    Speaker Corey Johnson (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    When the coronavirus pandemic hit New York and the mayor vacillated before closing schools and imposing social distancing guidelines and restrictions on large gatherings, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson beat him to the punch in calling for all three. The Council speaker, a Manhattan Democrat and likely 2021 mayoral candidate, made regular appearances on local TV and radio, and tweeted constantly from his

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  • How Development Should Be Decided in New York City

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    City Council (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    We are at a critical turning point in New York City’s history. Large-scale development projects, pushed by big real estate interests and the business class after September 11, 2001, did not give New Yorkers the promised security to avoid the Great Recession, or the next crisis, COVID-19. Meanwhile, a lack of investments in social programs shredded the social safety net New Yorkers were told would save them if they lost their jobs or homes.

    If there is any time to insist on accountability before approving massive

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  • Crowded Race Underway for 'Open' Lower Manhattan City Council Seat

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    Outgoing City Council Member Margaret Chin (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Although it’s a race to replace her, in some ways the Democratic primary in Manhattan’s City Council District 1 will be a test of term-limited Council Member Margaret Chin’s performance in office and political clout, as her current chief of staff will run to continue her legacy against multiple insurgent candidates who argue it’s time for a change, including one who narrowly lost a bid to unseat Chin in her 2017 reelection campaign.

    Many of the most controversial issues

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  • Now More Than Ever, New York City Needs Leaders to Welcome Jobs

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    Council Member Menchaca & Speaker Johnson (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    All of us who care about New York City – and if you are a regular reader of Gotham Gazette that surely includes you – are worried about its future. COVID-19 has shuttered our economy and seriously impaired the lives and livelihoods of millions of our residents. It is clear that things will never go back to the way they were and that we must turn this disaster into an opportunity to bring back a different, better, fairer city. 

    But fear of change and the demonizing of ‘development’ risk

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