Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

 

Donovan Richards

Donovan Richards

  • queens borough president election

    Left to right: Democrats Richards, Crowley, Constantinides, Yin, Miranda


    This story was published in partnership with the Queens Daily Eagle

    Early voting begins today -- Saturday, June 13 -- for the Democratic primary for Queens Borough President, a race that was triggered when the previous officeholder, Melinda Katz, was elected the borough’s district attorney last year and took office in January.

    As much as borough presidents hold largely

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  • lebanon hosp res

    The NYPD budget is in the spotlight, but what's in it (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    The daily protests in New York City over police brutality and racism bore fruit this weekend as Mayor Bill de Blasio reversed course, announcing that he would cut police department funding and institute other reforms at the NYPD. The State Legislature also took notice and expedited a long list of police accountability and transparency measures that had languished for years.

    Over the last ten days, as the protests swelled across the city and the NYPD responded

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  • Donovan Richards

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


    The lack of coronavirus testing sites in poor communities and particularly communities of color is costing black and brown New Yorkers their lives. There is no clearer example of institutional racism than the different infection and mortality rates during this crisis. It is a scar on our nation and our city. In areas of New York City that already experience the highest rates of asthma, diabetes, and other underlying conditions, this virus has already proven to be a death

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  • mashup six

    (l-r top) Richards, Crowley, Constantinides, (bottom) Quinn, Yin, Miranda


    After being postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak, the Queens Borough president special election was rescheduled to take place on June 23, causing broad confusion among the candidates running for the seat and likely a logistical headache for election administrators since a separate primary for the position is also set for the same day.

    The special election, which was triggered when Queens Borough President Melinda Katz was elected the borough’s district attorney, was originally

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  • Constantinides Richards City Council Queens

    Council Members Constantinides, left, & Richards (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases skyrocketed in the city this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio decided to cancel the special election for Queens Borough President that was scheduled to conclude March 24.

    Early voting had already begun in the special election to fill a vacancy that was created when the former officeholder, Melinda Katz, was elected Queens District Attorney. A spokesperson for the mayor said that “pending

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  • 1 flushing meadow

    Queens BP special election is March 24 (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    In low-turnout and low-information elections, like the typical special election in New York City, the prominence of a candidate’s name on the ballot can go a long way -- and that depends largely on the order in which the candidates are listed. Traditionally the subject of gaming by campaigns, for the March special election to name a new Queens Borough President, the order was determined by an unprecedented method: random draw.

    “Three candidates filed simultaneously so the order of

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  • police academy graduation

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


    In the five years following Eric Garner’s death at the hands of then-NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, Mayor Bill de Blasio has repeatedly fallen back on the same argument to defend the police department when questions are raised about apparent incidents of excessive force or other misconduct by officers: deescalation training.

    “[T]he goal is always to de-escalate,” the mayor said at a news conference on crime statistics on November 6, addressing a recent “chaotic” incident on a

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  • finance comm hearing

    (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    The NYPD’s body-worn camera policies are a “work in progress,” a police official said at a hearing of the New York City Council’s public safety committee on Monday, seeking to allay concerns expressed by Council members about the program that now includes more than 20,000 uniformed officers. At the hearing, Council members had questions and criticisms about transparency and accountability taking a back seat to surveillance and police authority, particularly with regard to the NYPD’s control over body camera footage.

    The NYPD

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  • cm cornegy richards press conference

    (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The NYPD’s body-worn camera program is meant to provide transparency and accountability about policing activity in the city, particularly in cases of high-profile incidents of police officers’ use of force against civilians. But more than seven months after body cameras were rolled out to every uniformed patrol officer, there are many questions about how the cameras are used and about the policies that determine the release of the footage to the public and independent

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  • city council c s protecting

    Donovan Richards and John Miller (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    As the internet continues to transform the landscape of threats to the United States and New York City specifically, the NYPD has had to adapt, and the police department in the country’s largest city, what some call its ‘number one terror target,’ uses monitoring and surveillance tools that have raised questions. Advancements in technology and tactics -- as well as age-old concerns about privacy, free speech, and due process, plus prior departmental errors in

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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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  • council comm cj

    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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  • squad presser

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    When video was captured in 2014 of Staten Island resident Eric Garner dying with an NYPD officer’s arm wrapped around his neck, just months after the election of a progressive mayor promising a new day at the police department, it seemed like a watershed moment. The evidence was there for millions to see for themselves, across the city and country, and beyond. It seemed impossible that the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, would escape any accountability. But more than four years later there has been little beyond Pantaleo’s move to

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  • nypd council hearing rape

    NYPD reps at Monday's hearing (photo: @NYCCouncil)


    At a tense oversight hearing examining the NYPD's response to sex crimes on Monday, the NYPD opposed all four bills introduced by the City Council in response to a Department of Investigation report released two weeks earlier.

    The bills seek to require evidence-based models to determine staffing levels for the Special Victims Division, more training for sex crimes detectives, and a digital, searchable case management system for the SVD.

    On March 27, following a year-long

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  • east new york planning map

    City Planning map of East New York rezoning area


    Later this year, the Department of City Planning is slated to release a “draft planning framework” as part of a process to rezone Gowanus, an initiative spearheaded by Brooklyn City Council Member Brad Lander aimed at increasing affordable housing and making a variety of other neighborhood improvements. Rezoning Gowanus, a middle-to-upper income, majority-white neighborhood, would be a departure from the city’s prevailing approach to reimagining a number of neighborhoods across the

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  • Ydanis NYPD

    City Council Member Rodriguez (photo: William Alatriste)


    The City Council Committee on Public Safety held an oversight hearing on Wednesday to examine the NYPD’s tactics and procedures regarding protests and crowd control. The perpetually controversial issue has come to the fore once again in the wake of immigrant activist Ravi Ragbir’s detention by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the NYPD’s subsequent aggressive handling of protesters, culminating in the arrests of two City Council members and 16 others on January 11.

    Both Council

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  • City Council Speaker Corey Johnson members

    Members of th new City Council with Speaker Johnson (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    The new class of the New York City Council took greater shape on Thursday with the appointment of chairs and members to the 40-plus committees and subcommittees that oversee the broad legislative, land use, and oversight roles of the 51-member body. Most returning Council members were reassigned to lead different committees while

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  • City Council chambers with members

    photo by William Alatriste/City Council


    The New York City Board of Elections has widely been acknowledged as a dysfunctional agency in need of urgent and sweeping reform, yet the political will for modernizing and professionalizing the board has not existed, at least in part because its current structure benefits those in power.

    Its system of appointments based on political patronage has long been a source of criticism and its mismanagement of election operations has frustrated voters and been the subject of City

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  • City Council speaker candidates

    The City Council speaker candidates (photo: William Alatriste)


    At the last public forum in the race to become the next speaker of the City Council, seven of the eight men contending for the Council’s top leadership spot took turns making their argument for why they would be the right person to continue Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s legacy of protecting and promoting the cause of women, transgender, and gender non-conforming New Yorkers. Though few new ideas emerged, for nearly two hours, the seven Council members pitched their progressive

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  • city council speaker

    City Council Speaker candidates (photo: William Alatriste)


    The eight men running to become the next speaker of the City Council are all Democrats who were re-elected in November to serve a final term in the body. None of them faced a strong challenger in their respective races, either in the primaries, which are largely determinative of overall results, or in the November 7 general election. Nevertheless, a few of the candidates raised significant campaign cash and spent it just as liberally as if they were running competitive races. As Gotham Gazette has

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  • johnson moya crowley c2

    Corey Johnson, Francisco Moya, Joe Crowley (photo via @CoreyinNYC)


    The eight City Council members, all Democrats, who are competing to lead the 51-member legislative body as speaker for the next four years must convince numerous constituencies of their viability, including some combination of county party leaders, labor unions, the mayor, and other influential politicos. But, when the new Council class convenes in January, the vote will come down to the 51 Council members, and they are not without agency. The speaker candidates, all men, have for months been

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  • city spe canidates

    the City Council Speaker candidates at a prior forum (photo: William Alatriste)


    Seven of the eight candidates vying to become the next Speaker of the New York City Council convened at New York Law School on Monday night for a forum focused on government reform, running the Council, transparency, ethics, voting, and elections.

    The candidates made their cases for their leadership prowess, and discussed extending term limits for Council members, greater transparency around lobbying, key questions about campaign finance reform in the city, and

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  • wtc orange amazon via edc

    One World Trade Center lit up orange for Amazon (photo via NYC EDC)


    New York is laying out the red carpet to entice online retail giant Amazon to locate its new corporate headquarters in the state. Governor Andrew Cuomo promised a slew of incentives to support four official proposals from different regions that were submitted to the company on Wednesday, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio lit up the city in orange at night as a fawning branding appeal.

    New York City’s own ...

  • sts op ed

    photo, including three of the authors, via the Progressive Caucus


    We’ve seen it in our districts. A new landlord takes ownership of a building and starts a construction project that never finishes in order to evict long-term residents. They may turn off the cooking gas indefinitely; they may even knock out the boiler with no explanation.

    For too many New Yorkers, this nightmare is their reality. The stories are plentiful: heat and gas shutoffs in the middle of winter, jackhammering causing cracks in apartment walls, loss of power, and lead dust in the air lasting for

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  • de blasio richards town hall queens

    Richards, right, & de Blasio (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    On Tuesday, November 15, City Council Member Donovan Richards will host a re-election campaign fundraiser for Mayor Bill de Blasio in Rosedale, Queens. Richards, who has been one of de Blasio’s staunchest supporters in the Council, where some of the mayor’s goodwill has frayed, said that he’s generally supportive of de Blasio, appreciates what the mayor is doing for his district, and wants to give locals a chance to support de Blasio at a small-dollar

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