Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

City Council

City Council

  • Gotham Gazette:

    Council Member Rivera at a CLT rally (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York faces two new fronts in its housing crisis -- a wave of heightened speculation likely to destabilize communities and an onslaught of expected evictions as housing courts reopen.

    As Mayor de Blasio and the City Council approach the June 30 deadline for voting on the fiscal year 2021 budget, communities of color hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic are not seeing anywhere near the requisite level of support to combat these

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  • 3 activists pledge

    Mayor de Blasio makes a summer youth employment announcement (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Teens Take Charge, a youth advocacy group, held a town hall Tuesday where its members demanded Mayor Bill de Blasio announce his decision regarding the Summer Youth Employment Program by Friday, June 26, or they will take to the streets to protest. 

    “We’ve been screaming this message at the mayor for the

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  • eviction nightmare expanding

    An eviction nightmare looms as housing court reopens (Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    A new threat is looming for the very Black and brown communities in New York City that have been hit the hardest by the dual pandemics of coronavirus and racism in policy: a massive wave of evictions. 

    That’s because phase 1 of New York “reopening” didn’t just apply to construction and curbside retail. It also applied to housing courts. This could have disastrous consequences for tenants. Housing court personnel have already started

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  • de Blasio NYPD

    Another chapter between Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    A long-stalled bill meant to shed light on the surveillance equipment used by the NYPD has suddenly moved through the City Council with the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio, despite being virtually unchanged since the mayor and NYPD leaders raised dire alarms about it in recent years. Now de Blasio is breaking with his own police department, which he has maintained has been on board with a slew of recent changes to NYPD oversight and discipline in the wake of national

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  • de Blasio city hall reopening govt

    Mayor de Blasio at City Hall (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Brooklyn City Council Member Laurie Cumbo, a Democrat and the Council’s Majority Leader, wants to establish a new position in city government to oversee the reopening of city government after the coronavirus shutdown. Her bill (Intro. 1950) would create and require the position of “City Restart

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  • De Blasio City Council budget briefing 2018

    De Blasio briefs City Council members (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    With three weeks to go before the budget for the next fiscal year is due, the City Council is putting pressure on Mayor Bill de Blasio to spell out planned cuts to city agencies to fill a $9 billion projected budget gap. But the administration missed a Monday deadline set by the Council to propose new cuts, balancing the budget in a way that reprioritizes social services and investment in youth and education.

    The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a massive

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  • 1 bxcc widespread

    A CUNY campus in the Bronx (photo: Bronx Community College)


    CUNY, New York City's public university system, is facing a crisis within a crisis, as it looks at expected budget cuts while supporting students, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds, through a pandemic and its fallout, including vanishing economic opportunity.

    Intended as a pathway to upward mobility for city residents, many of its students are from the same populations most severely hit by the pandemic and face some of the most immediate difficulties posed by COVID-19 -- food,

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  • pantry si project

    Food being prepared during the coronavirus crisis (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and New York City Council Member Ben Kallos of Manhattan, both Democrats, announced new legislation last week that would mandate nutrition standards for the “grab & go” and home delivered meals provided by the city, which have become essential sources of food for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers during the coronavirus crisis.

    As unemployment in the city has skyrocketed from 4% to past 14%, children are not attending schools

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    Mayor de Blasio visits with EMS (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    The coronavirus pandemic has compelled us to take stock of the racial and socioeconomic inequities that have burdened our city’s more than 5 million New Yorkers of color for generations. These obstacles to their upward mobility exist not only in health care, education, and housing but within our own municipal workforce.

    The most glaring among them happens to also be one of particularly cruel irony given COVID-19’s onslaught on the city’s 9-1-1 system and related services: the unequal pay

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  • proj pantry si

    Mayor de Blasio checking in on emergency efforts (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    More than two months after New York officials raised alarms that the state could run out of life-saving equipment, from ventilators to rubber gloves, New York City is one purchase order away from having a 90-day worst-case-scenario stockpile of medical equipment, officials said Wednesday.

    New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Commissioner Lisette Camilo told lawmakers the purchase order for ventilators was "in flight" at a City Council hearing on the agency's

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  • dcc jponte rikers

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The Rikers Island jail complex, a notorious and decrepit institution sitting on 413 acres in the East River, was slated for closure well before New York City became the country’s epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, during which the complex has emerged as a hotspot for infections that have led to the deaths of several detainees and corrections officers.

    But the timeline for shutting down the jail complex and building local jails in four boroughs has been thrust into uncertainty by countervailing

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    Council Member Carlos Menchaca, the author (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    As in past crises, immigrant New Yorkers are suffering acutely under COVID-19: this time with a cruel twist. While thousands of immigrants work on the frontlines, caring for the sick, cleaning the subways, and keeping us all fed in quarantine, so many are unable to pay rent, keep their businesses afloat, or stay home because of their ...

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    Council Member Debi Rose with youth workers (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    With New York City facing a massive budget gap and severe social restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio made the unpopular decision to suspend the Summer Youth Employment Program, which in past years gave tens of thousands of young people jobs over the summer. But as de Blasio faced swift and sweeping criticism for the move, administration officials testified before the City Council that an alternate plan is in the works and will be unveiled soon.

    Over

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  • 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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