Gotham Gazette

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Ritchie Torres

Ritchie Torres

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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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    (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-...

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     (photo: @RitchieTorres)


    On the steps of City Hall Wednesday afternoon, a coalition of LGBTQ rights advocates and current and former City Council members announced the launch of an initiative to elect queer candidates to the Council in 2021, when 35 seats will be open because of term limits.

    There are currently five members of the 51-member City Council who identify as LGBT, all of whom are a part of the body’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Caucus, and all of whom are not elligible for reelection to the Council: Speaker Corey Johnson and

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    Rep. Serrano, BP Diaz Jr., CM Torres (l-r) (photo: @rubendiazjr)


    It’s time for a rumble in the Bronx. After 29 years in Congress and 44 years in elected office, Congressional Rep. José Serrano has decided to retire from office. Together with the likes of Herman Badillo, José Rivera, Robert Garcia, Gerena Valentin, and Ramon Velez in the Bronx, Serrano has been a pioneering figure within the Latino/Puerto Rican political landscape in New York City.

    Serrano fought at the frontlines for Latino political representation at a time when

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    EDC President James Patchett (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    In 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a plan to create 100,000 “good-paying” jobs, with annual salaries of $50,000 or more, within 10 years, giving New Yorkers a pathway to the middle class. On Monday, City Council members held an oversight hearing on that plan, attempting to more fully gauge how the de Blasio administration is doing on its promise.

    Bronx Council Member Ritchie Torres, chair of the Council’s Committee on Oversight and Investigation, co-led a

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    Council Member Ritchie Torres (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    The polarizing issue of local retailers going cashless has gotten the attention of New York City Council members, and on Thursday a Council committee will hear testimony on the topic and consider competing legislative proposals.

    The Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing, chaired by Council Member Rafael Espinal, a Brooklyn Democrat, will hear the bills for the first time. One, ...

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    BOE ED Michael Ryan (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Embattled City Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan testified before the City Council's Committees on Oversight and Government Operations on Tuesday, explaining that a perforated two-page ballot, never before used anywhere in the United States, was primarily to blame for the issues at polling sites across the city on Election Day.

    In a combative hearing initially presided over by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Ryan apologized, after being asked to do so, for the

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    (Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The Right to Know Act, a significant piece of police reform legislation passed by the City Council last December, is set to go into effect Friday and advocates who hoped it would transform street interactions between New Yorkers and police officers are worried that the NYPD may not fully comply with the new law.

    The Right to Know Act comprises two laws with requirements for how officers conduct themselves in street stops. The first, sponsored by Council Member Ritchie Torres, a Bronx Democrat, mandates that

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    (photo via NYCHA)


    The myriad issues plaguing the New York City Housing Authority came to the fore at a town hall on Wednesday night, with NYCHA residents excoriating public officials and officials scrambling to respond.

    The town hall, hosted by BRIC TV at its downtown Brooklyn studio, featured an audience mainly consisting of NYCHA residents and a panel of City Council Members Alicka Ampry-Samuel and Ritchie Torres, NYCHA tenant leader Lisa Kenner, New York Daily News reporter Greg Smith, and NYCHA historian Nicholas Dagen Bloom, along with

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    Schaffer, Ulrich, Torres, Quinn, Gotbaum, Cho (l-r) (photo: @NYCCFB)


    Former and current New York City elected officials broadly praised the city’s campaign finance system at a panel at New York Law School on Wednesday, while acknowledging that it could be improved to incentivize more reliance on small donors and streamlined to encourage first-time candidates to run for office.

    The panel was hosted by the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) and moderated by Daniel Cho, assistant executive director for candidate guidance and policy at the CFB. The panellists

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    Gov. Cuomo with top NYC officials and others (photo: Governor's office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order earlier this month to impose an external monitor on the crisis-plagued New York City Housing Authority has turned into a potential budget boondoggle for the city, with Mayor Bill de Blasio warning on Thursday of the “unforeseen consequences” the order could have on the city’s fiscal future.

    The governor’s

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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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    Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette, and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits


    January 17, 2018 - Max & Murphy Podcast: City Council Member Ritchie Torres

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    Bronx City Council Member Ritchie Torres is very excited about the new class of the City Council and his role in it -- he's been named by new Speaker Corey Johnson to chair the Committee on Oversight and Investigations,

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  • Mayor de Blasio Speaker Mark-Viverito

    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    Melissa Mark-Viverito, the first Latina to preside over the 51-member New York City Council, leaves office having shepherded a progressive shift in the city’s direction, in conjunction with fellow Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio, a philosophically aligned partner in government who was the deciding factor in her winning the powerful speaker position four years ago.

    As arguably the second most powerful elected official in the city, Mark-Viverito oversaw an agenda of progressivism

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    Council Speaker Melisasa Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alatriste, June 2015)


    The New York City Council concluded its four-year term on Tuesday with a marathon legislative blitz, passing 38 new bills at its last full-body meeting. The Council has seen more new legislation passed in the last four years than any other Council class seated before it, with a total of 714 bills approved (in comparison, the final full-body meeting under the previous speaker, Christine Quinn, the Council passed 29 bills in December, 2013).

    Under the leadership of

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    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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    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 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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    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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    CM Torres and the call for a state NYCHA monitor (photo: @RitchieTorres)


    As Mayor Bill de Blasio and leaders of the embattled New York City Housing Authority continue to respond to fallout from revelations that NYCHA had failed for years to comply with federal and local laws around lead paint inspections, some elected officials are renewing calls for the state take a more active role in the city’s massive public housing system.

    NYCHA, which has ...

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    Speaker Mark-Viverito (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    [Note: this article has been updated based on fluctuations in the City Council calendar]

    A flurry of oversight hearings are filling the City Council calendar as the Council enters its final month of the four-year session, most notably a hearing slated to address controversies over NYCHA’s falsified lead inspection reports, a hearing to discuss the city’s progress in closing Rikers Island jails, and a hearing on integrating the city's

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    Jumaane Williams at a Right to Know Act rally (Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    In less than two months, the current class of the New York City Council ends its term, and eight incumbents who won reelection on Tuesday are running to lead the 51-member legislative body as its next speaker. It is an internal race influenced by county party affiliates, labor unions, Mayor Bill de Blasio, himself newly reelected, and others.

    As the clock ticks on this term and the speakership of Melissa Mark-Viverito, a de Blasio ally who is

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    Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette, and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits


    "Max & Murphy" is a podcast hosted by Ben Max of Gotham Gazette and Jarrett Murphy of City Limits that began in 2016 as a brief discussion on the latest in housing policy but quickly expanded to lengthier discussions of a wide variety of political and policy issues, including interviews with candidates for office, elected and appointed government officials, advocates and other experts. In 2017 the show was an important stop for candidates for top city offices and in 2018 for candidates

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    Ruben Diaz Jr. (photo: @rubendiazjr)


    Just last month the annual Somos El Futuro legislative conference took place in Albany. Over 30 years ago a group of Latino elected officials and community leaders initiated the conference as a means to highlight issues important to Latinos and to shine a light on the plight of Latinos in New York. The visionary leadership of these early pioneers was to capitalize on and give consciousness to the ever-growing presence of Latinos in the state. Perhaps the name itself, Somos El Futuro -- We are the Future -- was not only a testament

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    Ritchie Torres (photo: John McCarten)


    City Council Member Ritchie Torres will introduce a bill on Thursday that aims to ensure landlords follow the law and keep the heat on for tenants when it should be.

    Torres’ bill, being introduced in partnership with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, would require landlords of buildings with more than three units to install tamper-proof heat sensors in the living room of each unit. These “temperature reporting devices” would be monitored by tenants, landlords, and the city’s housing

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