Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Justin Brannan

Justin Brannan

  • Mayor Adams and City Council Announce Deal on $101 Billion NYC Budget

    Mayor Adams, Speaker Adams, and Council Members (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Mayor Eric Adams and City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams on Friday announced their first budget agreement, a $101 billion spending deal for the 2023 fiscal year beginning July 1, reflecting an increase of about $2.3 billion over the budget that was adopted in June of last year. 

    Buoyed by higher-than-expected tax revenues and federal aid, the administration and Council massively increased the city’s reserves and invested in a long

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  • 'Still A Ways To Go': Last City Council Budget Hearing Sets Stage for Final Negotiations

    NYC Budget Director Jacques Jiha (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The New York City Council held its final hearing Tuesday on Mayor Eric Adams’ $99.7 billion executive budget proposal for the 2023 fiscal year, pressing the administration to fund several outstanding requests ahead of the June 30 deadline for the next budget. 

    In her opening remarks, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, a Queens Democrat, commended the Adams administration for funding several Council requests made in the official response to the mayor’s

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  • As City Council Continues Push for Sanitation Funding, Administration Touts Investments 'In a Lot of the Right Places'

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Trash and sanitation have become a top issue for the City Council in this year’s budget season, but Mayor Eric Adams’s $99.7 billion executive budget proposal for the 2023 fiscal year that begins July 1 failed to fund many Council demands. At a hearing on Tuesday, Council members questioned administration officials on their sanitation priorities — from corner basket pickups to composting — and their approach to a problem that has

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  • How Trash Became a Top-of-the-Heap City Budget Issue

    Council Member Chi Ossé on a sanitation tour of his district (photo: John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit)


    Trash has become among the most prominent issues in this year’s New York City budget negotiations, as well as the focus of larger policy debates about how the city handles its garbage and recycling.

    The infamous mountains of black bags that clutter sidewalks, the overflowing waste baskets at street corners, and the litter on city streets have all been the subject of significant attention from Mayor Eric Adams, Comptroller Brad Lander, and many members of the New York City Council,

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  • In Budget Response, City Council Pushes Mayor on Spending Priorities

    Council Speaker Adams (photo: John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit)


    The New York City Council wants Mayor Eric Adams to add billions in spending to the city budget for agency operations, city initiatives, and infrastructure to ensure a strong and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. In issuing its official response to the mayor’s $98.5 billion preliminary budget proposal for the 2023 fiscal year, which begins July 1, the Council has advanced city budget negotiations into their next phase.

    Adams’ budget reflects

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  • Max Politics Podcast: The City Council Responds to the Mayor's Budget Plan

    Council Member Justin Brannan (photo: John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit)


    April 6, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: The City Council Responds to the Mayor's Budget Plan

    City Council Member Justin Brannan, a Brooklyn Democrat and chair of the Council's finance committee, joined the show to discuss the Council's response to Mayor Adams' preliminary budget.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter @TweetBenMax. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the

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  • Questioning ‘Austerity,’ City Council Begins Examining Mayor Adams' $98.5 Billion Preliminary Budget

    Speaker Adams with Council Members Brannan & Brewer (photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)


    The New York City Council on Wednesday kicked off the process of examining Mayor Eric Adams’ $98.5 billion preliminary budget proposal for the 2023 fiscal year, which begins July 1. It was the first of many hearings that will take place over the next several weeks as the Council digs into the first spending plan of Adams’ four-year term.

    Last month, Adams proposed a somewhat cautious budget while stressing “fiscal discipline.”

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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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  • 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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  • In Southern Brooklyn, Democratic City Council Member and Speaker Hopeful Tries to Hold Off Republican Challenger

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    Council Member Justin Brannan, left, & challenger Brian Fox


    Justin Brannan, a first-term Democrat from southern Brooklyn, wants to be the next speaker of the City Council. But first he must win his reelection race in District 43 against Republican nominee Brian Fox, a controversial candidate with a history of sharing conspiracy theories and misinformation espoused by the alt-right.

    Brannan is promising a continuation of what he says was a productive first term in which he brought much needed resources back to his district and concertedly responded to

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  • City Council Passes Bill Requiring 'Citywide Climate Adaptation Plan'

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    Coastal resiliency project underway (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Update: The City Council approved the Citywide Climate Adaptation Plan legislation on Thursday, October 7.

    After Hurricane Ida once again exposed New York City’s vulnerability to major climate events, the New York City Council is set to pass, and Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign, a bill that will mandate the creation of a new “citywide climate adaptation plan.”

    The Council will vote on Thursday to approve the legislation, ...

  • ‘It’s About Sweating the Small Stuff’: Council Member Brannan on Resiliency Oversight, Improving City Government, and Running for Speaker

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    City Council Member Justin Brannan (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Following the severe destruction across the city from Hurricane Ida, City Council Member Justin Brannan is urging immediate measures to better equip the city to withstand severe storms in the future and “our new climate reality.”

    Brannan, a Democrat who chairs the Council’s Committee on Resiliency and Waterfronts, appeared recently on

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  • Max Politics Podcast: City Council Member Justin Brannan on Resiliency Oversight, Running for Speaker, & More

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    City Council Member Justin Brannan (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    September 16, 2021 - Max Politics Podcast: City Council Member Justin Brannan on Resiliency Oversight & More

    City Council Member Justin Brannan, chair of the Council's resiliency and waterfronts committee and a candidate to be the next speaker of the Council, joined the show to discuss his recent oversight hearing and other issues related to resiliency and government effectiveness, as well as his bid for speaker and more.

    Listen to

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  • To Ensure Safety and Increase Participation, Let’s Allow Public Government Meetings to be Conducted Virtually

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    (photo: @CMFarahLouis)


    Whether we like it or not, COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the ways we work and gather. While there is no substitute for being in the same room as family, friends, and colleagues, for the past 18 months, this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic has taught us how to come together virtually and get things done.

    Most of us had never even heard of Zoom before offices started closing, but it and other platforms like Webex and Microsoft Teams have become part of our daily lives as we adjusted to this new

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  • The Race to be the Next City Council Speaker is in Full Swing

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    (l-r) Council Members Keith Powers, Adrienne Adams, Justin Brannan, Carlina Rivera


    The New York City Council is set for seismic change, as new members will be elected to more than two-thirds of the 51 seats this year. With those new members will come the election of a new Council speaker to preside over the legislative body and exert control of its agenda, and four Democrats are already vying for the powerful position.

    Council Member Justin Brannan from Brooklyn, Council Members Carlina Rivera and Keith Powers from Manhattan, and Council Member Adrienne Adams of

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  • De Blasio Pledges Last Gasp Property Tax Reform Effort

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    New York City (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    After getting "derailed" by the pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio is reviving one of his earliest and most delayed mayoral commitments: to reform an out-of-date and unequal property tax system. The city's Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform will begin holding public hearings, originally scheduled for last March, on its preliminary recommendations and will produce a final report by the time de Blasio leaves office at the end of the year, he said Thursday

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  • Leveraging City Assets and Community Input to Jumpstart Our Economic Recovery

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    Construction workers at work (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    As our city stays focused on managing what we hope to be the final chapter of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also need to keep thinking proactively about driving a strong and just economic recovery.

    It’s no secret that in my Brooklyn district and across the five boroughs, there’s a long road ahead. Our official citywide unemployment rate is now hovering around 12%, with the highest jobless rates still in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

    A recent report showed that year-to-date filings for new

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  • New York City's Arab Community Deserves Full Democracy

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    Council Member Justin Brannan, the author, with constituents and allies


    As the City Council Member representing the 43rd District in Brooklyn, I represent the largest Arab community in the City of New York. This community has weaved itself into the complex fabric of my district, especially in Bay Ridge, where our avenues are lined with Arab-owned businesses, and several non-profit organizations that have been serving Arab-Americans and Arab immigrants for decades. I am proud to serve this community, and proud that its members are a part of what makes our district so

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  • Democrats Flipped a Brooklyn State Senate Seat in 2018; Is It In Play In 2020?

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    State Senator Andrew Gounardes in Albany (photo: @sen_gounardes)


    Pro-NYPD and Black Lives Matter protesters clashed, sometimes violently, in Southern Brooklyn last weekend, a conflict emblematic of the changing and complicated politics in traditionally moderate to conservative neighborhoods that have been home to leftward political movement, partially due to an influx of new residents.

    One marker of the changes was the 2018 election of Democrat Andrew Gounardes in State Senate District 22, where he defeated long-time

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  • No to Austerity, Yes to Efficiency and Fairness: Getting Our Budget Priorities Straight for a Strong Post-COVID New York

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    Major budget questions loom as coronavirus takes its toll (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayor's Office)


    As we work to show COVID the door, tough budget decisions are ahead. Governments at every level are grappling with the unprecedented toll this pandemic has had on the economy. 

    COVID has laid bare structural inequities too stark to ignore. While some work comfortably from home, others put themselves in danger on the front lines. While some flee to the Hamptons, others pass the virus between family members in cramped New York City apartments.

    These choices become

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  • City Council to Pass Bill Capping What Food Delivery Apps Can Charge Restaurants, Sponsor Says

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    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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  • We Deserve The Right To Be Forgotten

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    (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    An old school newspaper editor once told me through a cloud of cigar smoke, “The accusation? That's front page news. The acquittal? You're lucky if that makes the paper at all.” 

    Being “innocent until proven guilty” is one of the most sacred tenets of the American criminal justice system. But in the modern digital age, “innocence” is something the acquitted or the wrongfully accused never fully achieve, because, on the internet, their name stays forever affiliated with the crime for which they were

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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.

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