Gotham Gazette

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Diana Ayala

Diana Ayala

  • Courts and Other Officials Must Act Now to Protect Right to Counsel in Eviction Proceedings

    Protect housing for the most vulnerable (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Five years ago, New Yorkbecame the first city in the country to create a right to counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction. Unfortunately, this right is now being hollowed out by the combination of a recent explosion of eviction cases and a shortage of tenants’

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  • 'Clear Proof Lives Have Been Saved': Will New York Expand on First Overdose Prevention Centers?

    An Overdose Prevention Center (photo: @nycHealthy)


    In December, New York City became the first municipality in the country to establish Overdose Prevention Centers to allow people with substance use disorders to safely use drugs under medical supervision while receiving services such as medical care, mental health treatment, and more. After years of consideration and discussions with other levels of government, the de Blasio administration gave a longtime nonprofit service-provider the go-ahead to offer safe injection sites.

    Within the first three months, the two sites in East Harlem and Washington

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  • Adrienne Adams Elected Speaker of the New York City Council

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    City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Adrienne Adams, a Democrat from Queens, was officially elected as the Speaker of the New York City Council on Wednesday in a near-unanimous internal vote of the 51-member legislative body. Adams is the first Black person to lead the New York City Council and will lead the first-ever women-majority Council, with 31 seats held by women.

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    Who is Adrienne Adams, Presumptive Next New York City Council Speaker?

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    City Council Member Adrienne Adams, the likely next Speaker of the Council (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    City Council Member Adrienne Adams, a Democrat from Southeastern Queens, is poised to become the next Speaker of the City Council. Adams, who has represented District 28 since 2018, will be the first-ever Black Speaker of the 51-member legislative body and will lead the first-ever women-majority New York City Council.

    The Speaker is one of only four elected officials with citywide authority besides the Mayor, Public

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  • As Eric Adams Allies Push Francisco Moya, Coalition Forms Behind Adrienne Adams for Next City Council Speaker

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    Council Member Adrienne Adams (photo: Gerardo Romo/City Council)


    In response to an effort by allies of Mayor-elect Eric Adams to install City Council Member Francisco Moya as the next Council Speaker, a coalition is forming behind Council Member Adrienne Adams to win the legislative leadership post, several sources with direct knowledge have told Gotham Gazette.

    The movement behind Adrienne Adams is being led by powerful labor unions that have been allied with the mayor-elect but were among many interested parties taken aback by the push to anoint

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  • 'I'm Very Social Services Oriented': Diana Ayala on Mental Health Policy, Running for City Council Speaker, and More

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    Council Member Diana Ayala (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    The New York City Council Speaker should be someone who deeply understands people’s struggles and will take a social services focus to the powerful leadership position, argues City Council Member Diana Ayala.

    During a recent appearance on the Max Politics podcast from Gotham Gazette, Ayala discussed her experience representing the 8th Council District, which includes East Harlem and

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  • LISTEN: The Candidates for Speaker on Their City Council Work and Pitch to Colleagues

    Top (l-r) Adrienne Adams, Diana Ayala, Justin Brannan, Gale Brewer Bottom (l-r) Francisco Moya, Keith Powers, Carlina Rivera

    (l-r) Top: Adrienne Adams, Diana Ayala, Justin Brannan, Gale Brewer; Bottom: Francisco Moya, Keith Powers, Carlina Rivera


    The seven candidates to be the next City Council Speaker, all Democrats, have in recent months joined the Max Politics podcast from Gotham Gazette, discussing their government work and Speaker campaigns with host Ben Max. The candidates — Adrienne Adams, Diana Ayala, Justin Brannan, Gale Brewer, Francisco Moya, Keith Powers, and

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  • Max Politics Podcast: City Council Member Diana Ayala on Mental Health Oversight, Running for Speaker, & More

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    City Council Member Diana Ayala (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    November 24, 2021 - Max Politics Podcast: City Council Member Diana Ayala on Mental Health Oversight, Running for Speaker, & More

    City Council Member Diana Ayala joined the show to discuss her work in the City Council, especially on mental health policy oversight, her run for City Council Speaker, and more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter @TweetBenMax. You can listen to the

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  • Pushed by City Council, CUNY Announces Additional Student Mental Health Services

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    CUNY counseling services (photo: City University of New York (CUNY))


    When Anna Compton transferred to CUNY Hunter College, she often felt extremely anxious during her first semester. As a student with a disability who receives personalized accommodations, known as an Individualized Education Program, and with a history of depression and anxiety, Compton decided to reach out to the college’s Counseling and Wellness Services office, but like many other CUNY students, she was placed on a four-to-six-week waitlist to meet with a mental health professional.

    Compton’s story

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  • It’s Time to Bring MTA’s Paratransit Into the 21st Century

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    (photo: MTA)


    There is a reason why Access-A-Ride is better known as “Stress-A-Ride” for the approximately 170,000 New Yorkers who depend on it. 

    The bill for Access-A-Ride will hit $616 million this year and the MTA is seeking additional funding from the City of New York. It’s mind-boggling to think this service can cost the cash-strapped agency so much for such low-quality service. That’s why before anyone kicks in additional funding, the MTA must fundamentally transform the way it runs its paratransit program and bring it into the 21st century.

    New

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  • Food Policy Agenda on Menu at City Council Hearing

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    Speaker Johnson at food policy speech (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The City Council is set to consider a number of bills related to food policy at a hearing Wednesday, including a proposal to codify an Office of Food Policy, a month after Council Speaker Corey Johnson unveiled an expansive food equity plan with the creation of the office at its center.

    The Council’s Committees on General Welfare, Economic Development, and Education will meet at City

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  • City Council Looks at Reducing Recidivism for People with Mental Illness

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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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  • As We Close Rikers, Criminal Justice Reformers are Ready for Full Partnership in Albany

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    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    Riding high on the crest of a Democratic blue wave powered by grassroots progressives, New York Democrats finally took back the state Senate

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  • City Council Progressive Caucus Urges Cuomo to Sign Bill Creating Prosecutorial Misconduct Commission

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    City Council Progressive Caucus (photo via Progressive Caucus website)


    The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo urging him to sign a bill, passed at the end of the legislative session in June, which would create a new state commission on prosecutorial misconduct. The caucus, which includes 21 of the Council’s 51 members, referred to the bill as “the most substantive criminal justice reform passed

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  • City Council Progressive Caucus Calls for Crisis Intervention Reforms

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    (Credit: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The New York City Council Progressive Caucus is stepping up calls for Mayor Bill de Blasio to reconstitute a citywide task force to examine how emergency responders help people suffering from mental illness, and are insisting that the mayor consider creating a parallel response force of social workers and therapists that can answer calls rather than police officers.

    In a letter sent to the mayor last Wednesday, the 21 members of the Progressive Caucus said the mayor should act by the end of

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  • Bronx Electeds, Residents Cry Foul as Mayor and Council Announce Jail Site

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    Planned Bronx jail site (photos: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    When Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced last week that they’d reached a deal to speed up the closure of Rikers Island by creating or expanding jail facilities in every borough except Staten Island, it seemed to be a clear sign of a productive partnership between the administration and local elected officials.

    The mayor and speaker made the announcement at a news conference at City Hall, alongside four Council members -- Diana Ayala, Karen

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  • City Council Members Outline Priorities for New Term

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    City Council members (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    The New York City Council is gearing up for a new agenda under Speaker Corey Johnson, with several newly created committees and fresh faces in the legislative body. As the Council begins to schedule its first committee hearings and readies for the reintroduction of legislation from the last session, there are a number of priorities that Council members are planning to pursue. Returning members say they want to pass bills that have been pending and build on their work from the last four

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  • Looking Back, and Ahead, with Women Who Lost City Council Races

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    Pia Raymond at the West Indian Day Parade (photo: @piaraymondnyc)


    This fall, in races around the city, several qualified female candidates ran in hotly-contested Democratic primaries for open seats being left by term-limited City Council members, while others attempted to unseat incumbents seeking reelection. The September votes -- largely determinative in an overwhelmingly Democratic city -- took place against the backdrop of new and intense attention on the gender imbalance in the City Council, where men greatly outnumber women.

    Elections results signal that the January

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  • In Surprise to Some, Diana Ayala Victorious in Tight Primary

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    Speaker Mark-Viverito with Diana Ayala (photo: Samar Khurshid/GothamGazette)


    The primary election on Tuesday saw incumbents retain power across most of the city and few upsets in contested races. But in one of the most competitive races of the day, a first-time candidate prevailed over a long-time elected official, overcoming an expected gap in name recognition and other deficits, in a City Council district struggling with concerns for its future and looking for its next local leader to advocate for its interests.

    District 8, which covers East Harlem and the South

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  • Assemblymember Rodriguez Would Have to Give Up Outside Income If Elected to City Council

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    Assembly member Robert Rodriguez (photo: Elbert Garcia/Former Rep. Charles Rangel's Office)


    State Assemblymember Robert Rodriguez, a Democrat from East Harlem running for the City Council, has a second job at an asset management and financial consulting firm that has earned him hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last few years. But, if Rodriguez wins the Council seat, which will be vacated by term-limited Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito at the end of the year, he would have to give up his position at the firm under new rules passed by the Council

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  • For Mark-Viverito’s Seat: Leading Candidates with Long Community Resumes

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    Ruben Diaz Jr. introduces Diana Ayala, alongside Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: @jtaranto)


    Melissa Mark-Viverito, the Speaker of the City Council, is term-limited and leaving office at the end of this year, which, aside from indicating that there will be a new leader of the Council, means her position representing the Council’s 8th District is “open.”

    Since 2005, Mark-Viverito has represented the district, which includes East Harlem and parts of the South Bronx. New York State Assemblymember Robert Rodriguez, whose district encompasses much of District 8, and Diana

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  • Campaign Finance Filings Show Candidates for Council Seats Being Vacated

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    At The City Council (photo: Sofie Hecht for Gotham Gazette)


    With the latest New York City Campaign Finance Board filing deadline just passed, the 2017 city elections are beginning to take more clear shape. The races for Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough Presidents, and City Council members may be currently overshadowed by the presidential election, but the new city campaign finance filings further reveal who is planning to run for which seats in 2017 and the extent to which candidates for local positions have been successful in their fundraising efforts.

    While money isn’t

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  • Mark-Viverito Identifies Successor for Council Seat

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    Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alatriste)


    City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has endorsed her Deputy Chief of Staff Diana Ayala to replace her in 2017 as the councilmember from District 8, which covers East Harlem and the South Bronx.

    Mark-Viverito, who will be term-limited out of office next year, announced her support for Ayala in a Facebook post on July 3. “Thinking ahead has never been a fault of mine,”

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