Gotham Gazette

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City Council

City Council

  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This has to be the week that Mayor Bill de Blasio announces whether he's running for president -- right?

    De Blasio begins the week leading a rally to call on the city Board of Elections (which he does not control) to put in place a robust plan to implement early voting later this year, and the mayor will also be on NY1 in his usual Monday evening slot.

    Also on municipal matters, we'll continue this week

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  • mayor bill de blaso exec bud

    (photo: Rob Bennett for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio released on Thursday a $92.5 billion executive budget for the 2020 fiscal year that begins July 1, an increase of about $300 million from his preliminary proposal in February and nearly $3.4 billion more than the budget adopted last year.

    De Blasio’s latest budget plan will become the basis for City Council hearings

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  • dxej efucaa3uxe

    Victor Calise, front-left, is one of the authors (photo: @NYCCalise)


    In the fairest big city in America, everyone deserves the opportunity to be employed. Unfortunately, the reality is that people with disabilities in the United States are twice as likely to be out of the workforce as their nondisabled peers.

    Data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the U.S. Department of Labor shows that the proportion of Americans with disabilities ages 16 to 64 that was employed last year was only 30.4% compared to 74% for non-disabled individuals in the

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  • may b d blasio first ferry

    (photo: mayor's office)


    April 24, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: The 2019 City Charter Commission Narrows Its Focus

    The 2019 New York City Charter Revision Commission released its "preliminary staff report" on Tuesday, indicating which areas of city governance and elections the commission will further consider as it prepares to propose changes to voters in November. Gail Benjamin, chair of the 2019 commission, joined the show to discuss the staff report, the commission's work thus far, some of the

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  • city council speaker

    Speaker Corey Johnson, one of the authors, with Mayor de Blasio (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    Three years ago, the idea of closing the nine jails on Rikers Island was widely considered impossible. But in April 2017, after an intense campaign by advocates and the findings of an independent commission convened by former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and chaired by Judge Jonathan Lippman, Mayor de Blasio committed to the goal.

    Today, we are within hailing distance.

    The starting point for closing the Rikers jails is

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  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    The latest round of MTA fare hikes are now fully in effect. The changes come as subway service has shown improvements, the state passed a congestion pricing plan and other measures to help bolster MTA finances, and debate heats up about where the transit authority is heading long-term, including the leadership

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  • womenscaucusnyc pro ground

    The City Council Women's Caucus (photo: @WomensCaucusNYC)


    In 2009, there were 18 women in the 51-seat New York City Council. A decade later, after resignations and members term-limited out of office, that number has dropped to just 11, most of whom are serving their second and final term. It’s a paltry ratio for a legislative body that prides itself on inclusion and diversity, and one that the “21 in ‘21” initiative is striving to address.

    The nonprofit organization is building a network to boost women seeking local elected

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  • Carlina Rivera City Council rally housing

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


    Manhattan City Council Member Carlina Rivera is part of a growing coalition of Council members pushing for city government's first major commitment to a seldom-utilized affordable housing model. In the face of rapid gentrification, they say, the city should invest $850,000 in Community Land Trusts, or CLTs, in the city budget currently being negotiated.

    Doing so could help advocates and nonprofits acquire land to operate deeply affordable housing and

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  • costa const 600

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


    April 17, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: The City Council Takes on Climate Change

    costa const 150City Council Member Costa Constantinides joined the show to discuss a package of legislation he's shepherding through the City Council that aim to fight climate change, including by major requirements for reducing building carbon

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  • mayor firstday

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    We know now, more than ever, just how malleable the mind of a young child is, and we understand that the earlier we begin engaging a child’s mind, the better off that child will be. Early childhood education can positively impact the academic, social, and emotional development of children, while providing much-needed financial relief for our city’s low-income families with children, for whom child care is a major expense.

    Our city recognizes the significance early childhood education has, both for

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  • mayorcommappleton

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Last week the City Council presented its response to Mayor de Blasio’s preliminary budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. It proposes to add $1.5 billion in annual operating expenditures and more than $1 billion in capital spending to the budget proposed by the mayor. Among the proposals are four that would significantly increase spending on the Fire Department and for which there is no clear justification other than political expediency. Two of them would not only be expensive, but would

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  • Kallos City Council

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


    The City Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations heard testimony on Monday on a bill to expand the public matching funds available to candidates under the city’s campaign finance program.

    The campaign finance system incentivizes individuals to seek small dollar donations when running for office, matching those contributions with public funds. Under a recent city charter amendment approved by voters, a citywide candidate can receive public funds at an 8-to-1 ratio for the

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  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    We may get the answer this week as to whether Mayor Bill de Blasio is indeed running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. The mayor has been visiting early primary/caucus states and saying for weeks that a decision will be coming "sooner rather than later." He stayed in the city this weekend, perhaps preparing for an announcement one way or the other. Stay tuned. De Blasio begins his week

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  • city council point prelim mayor

    The Mayor and the Council in a budget briefing (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    The City Council on Tuesday released its response to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fiscal year 2020 preliminary budget, calling its own outline “a fiscally responsible plan that safeguards the city’s financial future and secures the city’s social safety net for New Yorkers.” Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Council members are calling for additional reserves and targeted investments, while also saying they’ve identified roughly $1 billion in savings

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  • lead emil cohen

    Speaker Johnson with Max & Murphy at City Hall (photos: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    April 10, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: City Council Speaker Corey Johnson

    inset emil cohenCity Council Speaker Corey Johnson joined Max & Murphy for an extended, wide-ranging onversation about his leadership of the City Council, his relationship with Mayor Bill de Blasio, city budget negotiations,

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  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Mayor Bill de Blasio is back from Nevada and the state Legislature is back in session post-budget. Melissa DeRosa, secretary to Governor Andrew Cuomo, will speak about the administration's accomplishments and priorities and the City Council will pass bills. The first state Senate hearing on the city's

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  • cm gjonaj town hall district

    City Council Member Mark Gjonaj (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    At an April 2018 constituent forum, City Council Member Mark Gjonaj found himself taking a particularly tough question from a community member.  

    It was a unique problem for the Council member of the tight-knit City Island community of the Bronx, where he is popular. A constituent asked Gjonaj why a notorious heroin dealer was allowed to live and sell drugs in an apartment building previously managed by Gjonaj and owned by Gjonaj’s family for

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  • nyccouncil grod

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


    New York City Council Member Barry Grodenchik, a Democrat from Queens, will face formal disciplinary charges after a complaint of sexual harassment against him was found to be credible by the Council’s Committee on Standards and Ethics on Thursday.

    Council Member Steven Matteo, chair of the standards and ethics committee, announced at a hearing Thursday afternoon that the committee would initiate formal disciplinary proceedings against Grodenchik regarding Section 10.80 of the Council’s

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  • citycouncil cm

    Jumaane Williams (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Jumaane Williams’ victory in the February special election for Public Advocate has created a ripple effect, namely a special election for his former City Council seat, representing Brooklyn’s Council District 45, set for May 14.

    The district encompasses parts of the Central Brooklyn neighborhoods of Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, Midwood, and Canarsie. According to 2010 Census data, the district is majority black, at 76.1%, with Afro-Caribbeans like Williams making up the bulk of the population.

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  • Ben Kallos campaign finance

    Council Member Kallos (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    New York City Council Member Ben Kallos is moving forward with a bill to increase the amount of public funds a candidate running for elected office can receive from the city’s campaign finance program, in order to further reduce the influence of big money donors in local political campaigns.

    New York City’s voluntary campaign finance program matches small dollar donations in order to afford candidates without deep pockets or wealthy donors a more level playing

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  • school garden 2 002

    (photo: 123rf rawpixel)


    It’s 10 a.m. in Ms. Montalvo-Teller’s second grade science lab at P.S. 75. A group of students are happily scarfing down kale, arugula, and bok choy leaves they grew themselves. While they enjoy their snack, Ms. Montalvo-Teller engages them in a science lesson about what parts of the plant we eat. And, Ms. Montalvo-Teller says, many will then go home and pester their parents to buy more of the tasty greens for dinner.

    These kids are getting great food and nutrition education that will help them develop as healthy eaters and

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  • Rivera outreach census

    Council Member Rivera, one of the authors (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Monday may be April Fool’s, but the one thing New Yorkers shouldn’t be joking about is the importance of the 2020 Census.

    April 1 marks one year until Census Day, and in preparation, elected officials are fanning out throughout the five boroughs to talk to New Yorkers about the importance of participating in the census. You may be asking – why is there so much urgency when we still have a year to get ready to fill out this form?

    The census

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  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will be dominated by dissection of and fallout from the new state budget, a $175.5 billion spending and policy plan agreed to by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature over the weekend. The budget, which takes

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  • council holds prelim

    OMB Director Hartzog testifies (photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)


    As usual, the City Council’s March agenda was mostly dominated by preliminary budget hearings, evaluating the mayor’s initial spending plan for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. This stage of the city budget process started and finished with a general hearing held by the Council’s Finance Committee, along with its Capital Budget Subcommittee, with a series of more specific agency- and service-related hearings in between.

    The preliminary budget hearings finished where

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  • city council rikers jail coreyjohnson

    Speaker Johnson, the author (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    In New York, you can be locked up based on purported evidence that isn’t even disclosed to you, until a trial that can be postponed indefinitely, unless you are wealthy enough to pay your way out. That is the reality under our state’s antiquated laws governing cash bail, discovery, and speedy trial. With Democrats truly controlling both houses of the state Legislature and the governorship for the first time in decades, we now have a meaningful opportunity to

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