Gotham Gazette

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City Council

City Council

  • taxi medallion drivers rally city hall

    Council Members Levine & Rivera & drivers rally at City Hall (photo: Jeff Reed)


    City Council Speaker Corey Johnson asked what sounded like a simple question: should the Taxi & Limousine Commission apologize for its role in the taxi medallion debt crisis, in which thousands of taxi owner-drivers have been trapped in predatory loans unchecked by city and state watchdogs?

    Jeffrey Roth, nominated by Mayor Bill de Blasio to lead the TLC, failed to give a direct “yes” or “no.” Johnson asked

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    (photo: Edwin J. Torres. Mayoral Photo Office)


    The City Council took steps Tuesday aimed at addressing what some have described as a crisis of small business closures across the city.

    Passing a package of bills that now head to Mayor Bill de Blasio for approval or veto, the Council is seeking to mandate more city outreach to small business and studies of business closures. The legislation does not, however, directly address concerns expressed by members of the business community about over-regulation.

    Under de Blasio and two

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     (photo: William Alatriste New York City Council)


    Billy Joel’s dystopian vision for New York City, laid out in the very upbeat but equally terrifying “Miami 2017,” is coming true. The lights have indeed gone out on Broadway. Perhaps the only difference is that Queens won’t stay. 

    This is New York City in 2019: a near 100-degree heat wave shut down power for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, who then trudged through flooded streets once the high temperatures gave way to torrential

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  • Justin Brannan

    (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    July 24, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Evaluating the City's Emergency Preparedness

    cm justin brannan 150 wbaiCity Council Member Justin Brannan represents parts of southern Brooklyn and is the chair of the newly-created Council Committee on Resiliency & Waterfronts. He joined the show to discuss recent emergencies

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  • Donovan Richards

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


    July 24, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: How the City Council is Approaching NYPD Accountability

    cm donovan richards 150 wbaiCity Council Member Donovan Richards chairs the Council's Public Safety Committee, which has oversight of the NYPD, and joined the show to discuss holding the

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  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week starts with New Yorkers recovering from an intense heat wave, during which MTA subways faltered on Friday night and there were broader power outages in neighborhoods throughout the city over the course of several days. Mayor Bill de Blasio stayed in the city this weekend due to the heat wave, instead of heading to Iowa as planned for presidential campaigning, and he spent Saturday out and about throughout the

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    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    The recently-passed New York City budget greenlights billions of dollars to some of the most vital programs across the five boroughs. These dollars will help to fund homeless shelters, emergency food pantries, senior services, mental health services, and early childcare for the most vulnerable New Yorkers.

    The City of New York contracts with over 1,000 community-based organizations (CBOs) to provide these essential human services at a cost of $6 billion annually. But thanks to the City’s broken

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    Council Member Mathieu Eugene (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    A task force created in 2017 by City Council legislation aimed at providing better services and more opportunities for out-of-work, out-of-school youth and young adults has been delayed from the start, having met only a few times since its creation and now more than a year overdue in presenting its first report as mandated by law.

    The City Council, with help from nonprofit advocacy group and service-provider JobsFirstNYC and other outside partners, passed a bill that

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    Council Member Ritchie Torres (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    Bronx City Council Member Ritchie Torres is touting $3 million in city funding he secured for a residential complex that falls outside the Council district he represents, but within the Congressional district where he’s seeking votes.

    The money will go to Concourse Village, Inc., a nearly 1,900-unit housing cooperative located in the south Bronx, over a mile away from the border of Torres’ district. The second-term Democratic Council member is running for Congress in the primary that will

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  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week begins with New York's labor and political communities mourning the unexpected death of 32BJ SEIU President Héctor Figueroa, who passed suddently on Thursday night at 57 years old. Figueroa was widely respected as a champion for workers' rights and his compassion, honesty, transparency, and more.

    The counting in the Queens District Attorney Democratic primary recount is set to begin on Monday. Based

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  • city council press

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


    It is heartening that the New York City Council recently voted unanimously to declare a state of climate crisis. 2019 has already brought a string of droughts, record-breaking heat waves, crop failures, and storms, and it is obvious that this is the challenge of our lifetimes.

    Having declared an emergency, now comes the time for swift additional action.

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  • summer camp rally

    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    Yasmin Schwartz is the Assistant Division Director for Middle School Programs at Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation (CHLDC), a settlement house in Brooklyn. Starting this week, CHLDC expected to run a School’s Out NYC (SONYC) summer camp five days per week for more than 100 middle school students.

    Summer camp activities require careful planning and program directors must hire and vet staff through both New York City and State background checks, register students, and

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  • car service taxi

    (photo: @NYTWA)


    When financial bubbles burst, it’s almost always regular people whose lives are ruined. The fraudsters and scammers often avoid serious consequences. So it was with America’s mortgage crisis in 2008. And so it has been with New York City’s own home-grown mortgage meltdown: the collapse of yellow taxi medallion values since 2014, which has had a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of yellow taxi drivers.

    New York City only allows a fixed number of the iconic yellow taxis on its streets--creating over the decades a consistent,

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  • city council cojo work train

    Speaker Johnson on the train (photo: City Council's office)


    Imagine a New York where cars no longer rule the road, and pedestrians and cyclists reclaim dominance of the city’s public space. While a New York where cars don’t dominate the streets may seem like a fantasy, to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, it is the future.

    In recent months, Johnson -- a Manhattan Democrat in his second year leading the 51-member City Council -- has gone full bore touting the idea of “breaking car culture,” or prioritizing pedestrians, cyclists,

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  • Carranza De Blasio education

    Chancellor Carranza & Mayor de Blasio (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced on June 10 that the city will adopt 62 recommendations focused on diversity and integration in public schools, focusing on middle and elementary schools, from the Department of Education’s School Diversity Advisory Group, a new step toward school desegregation as many students, families, educators, and others have waited years for the city to make progress.

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    Council Member Daniel Dromm, the author (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    New York City is among the most diverse places in the country. It is home to more than 3 million foreign-born residents, 200 languages, 80 religious affiliations, and countless

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    CM Espinal, center, with Speaker Johnson (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    When Corey Johnson took over as Speaker of the New York City Council last year, he quickly took steps to shake up the way the legislative body does business. He created new issue-focused committees and leadership positions, including naming Council Member Rafael Espinal the new Deputy Leader for Digital Communication.

    The position was intended to create a more coherent public face for the Council, easing communication with constituents, modernizing the

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    Annual Gladys Ricard and Victims of Domestic Violence Memorial Walk/Brides' March (2016) (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The City Council held an oversight hearing Monday to discuss an annual report on domestic violence in New York City, including city initiatives to help victims. The hearing featured testimony from Cecile Noel, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV), and advocacy groups.

    “As more survivors come forward to report abuse we must make sure the city is capturing

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  • declaring council examines

    Climate emergency rally (photo: @BenKallos)


    The likely future of devastation caused by climate change is one of several reasons activist Becca Trabin said New York City needs to declare a climate emergency.

    “You look out at this beautiful cityscape. You don’t just see these tall buildings that are standing here today, you see what this space will look like if we continue on our current trajectory,” Trabin said. “I see devastation all around, I see death. And I see that there is still time to avert that trajectory.”

    Trabin was

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  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Tuesday is primary election day in New York. In the city, the two most high-profile races are Democratic primaries for Queens District Attorney and City Council District 45 in Brooklyn, the second special election for that seat in two months. There are also a number of judicial elections and party position votes. [READ: ...

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    (photo Credit: Edward Reed/City Council)


    Amid a new flurry of attention to challenges faced by taxi drivers in New York City, the City Council will hold an oversight hearing Monday on the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission’s “role in the taxi medallion crisis.”

    As a New York Times two-...

  • council comm hearing

    Council Member Keith Powers (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The City Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations held a hearing Wednesday to discuss three bills related to campaign finance reform. Two of the bills would prohibit candidates convicted of felony corruption or misuse of public funds from receiving public matching funds and reduce the matching funds contribution minimum from $10 to $5. They are sponsored by Council Members Fernando Cabrera and Keith Powers, respectively. Cabrera is the chair of the governmental operations

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    Elizabeth Ford of Health + Hospitals, left, & Becky Scott of DOC (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    City Council members on Monday held an oversight hearing to examine how New York prevents formerly incarcerated mentally ill persons from returning to jail. The hearing made clear that the de Blasio administration, Health + Hospitals public hospital system, and City Council members all want to reduce the number of mentally ill persons who rely on the jail system for their mental health care and keep those with serious mental illness out of jail

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  • press conf flavored

    Council Members Levine, center, & Cabrera, behind him (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The New York chapter of the NAACP and four of the nation’s largest anti-smoking groups are urging City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to support two bills that would effectively ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in New York City. The groups recently sent a letter urging Speaker Johnson to bring the two proposals up for a vote in the City Council.

    The first bill, ...

  • Costa Constantinides City Council

    Council Member Constantinides (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    At a recent hearing of the City Council Committee on Environmental Protection, the de Blasio administration expressed its opposition to a bill that would establish a New York City Department of Sustainability and Climate Change.

    The bill, Intro. 1399, was introduced in February by Council Member Costa Constantinides, a Queens Democrat and chair of the environmental protection committee.

    It would make New York City among the first in the nation to implement a municipal-level

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