Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Vanessa Gibson

Vanessa Gibson

  • With the Massive Bronx Building Still Vacant, Officials are Again Asking: What's the Future of the Kingsbridge Armory?

    Officials touring the Kingsbridge Armory (photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council Media Unit)


    The Kingsbridge Armory, the largest of its kind in the world at 520,000 square-feet, has sat vacant for more than three decades as plans to redevelop the structure have repeatedly failed. But the city is undertaking yet another attempt to reenvision the armory for modern use, and local lawmakers are optimistic that this time they will succeed.

    Built in 1917 for the New York National Guard, the armory had been used for myriad purposes until it was decommissioned in 1991 and then given over to the city

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  • City Council Examines Bills to Address Maternal Health, Racial Disparities in Reproductive Care

    City Council hearing on maternal health (photo: Emil Cohen/NYC Council)


    At a hearing this past week, New York City Council Members discussed a package of legislation related to maternal health, mortality, and morbidity and seeking to address healthcare inequities as well as the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade constitutional abortion protections. The joint hearing held by the Council’s Committee on Health and Committee on Hospitals dealt with...

  • The City Council Should Vote Yes on the Blood Center Project

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    Blood Center project rendering (image: Ennead)


    As current and future leaders of four of New York City’s five boroughs, we strongly urge the full City Council to vote “yes” at the upcoming meeting, Tuesday, November 23, on the New York Blood Center’s proposal to modernize and expand its antiquated Upper East Side building to secure the future of a nonprofit that is essential to hospitals across the city and position our city as a global public health capital.

    For projects of citywide importance like the Blood Center’s, we must balance the needs of

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  • Advocates, Electeds and Candidates Celebrate Historic Gains for Women Heading to the New York City Council

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    A celebration of women heading to City Hall (photo: @21in21NYC)


    Triumphant speeches and words of solidarity filled the air at City Hall Park on Tuesday morning. A historic expected majority of women likely to fill City Council seats in January gathered at a press conference, pledging to bring a culture of mutual support and a commitment to underrepresented constituents to the legislative body. They were joined by current and former elected officials, advocates, and others who had been part of the yearslong effort to bring the 51-seat Council, where there are

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  • Vanessa Gibson is the Likely Next Bronx Borough President; Here's What She Ran On

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    City Council Member Vanessa Gibson (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    City Council Member Vanessa Gibson is likely to become the Bronx’s Borough President after winning the Democratic primary in the overwhelmingly Democratic borough. Gibson had centered her campaign around the Bronx’s recovery from the devastation of COVID-19, focusing particularly on the needs of low-income residents facing food insecurity and housing instability.

    She would make history as the first woman to serve as Bronx Borough President, and Gibson, who is Black, would

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  • For Our Next Bronx Borough President, Leadership for the Entire Borough

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    Elvin Garcia, Vanessa Gibson, Nilka Martell (photo: Gibson campaign)


    The 2021 election cycle will elect a new mayor, a new City Council, a new Bronx Borough President, and more. This new decade represents a new era on the other side of a pandemic that has forced us to reflect on the kind of future we all deserve. Going back to normal is not viable, neither is politics as usual.

    As Puerto Ricans and Dominicans of The Bronx, from the community and government perspective, respectively, we are proud to support Vanessa Gibson for Bronx Borough

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  • The First Step to Fixing Our Disregard for Women of Color in the Workplace

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    Council Member Vanessa Gibson, left, is a coauthor (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    The pandemic is setting women back and eroding years of progress, particularly for women of color in New York City. The pressure is coming from two places: women of color are more likely to work in sectors that have been hit hardest by layoffs, and women of color are more likely to have had to leave work or reduce hours to care for

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  • 2021 Borough President Election Set to Unfold Amid Dramatic Shift in Bronx Politics

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    Bronx Democrats (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    The Bronx’s political landscape is undergoing major shifts, full of electoral upsets and unexpected political departures. While Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie remains one of the most powerful elected officials in the state, the borough’s Democratic County Party that he has been leading, in essence, for many years is faltering amid election losses and retirements from politics, all setting the stage for what will be an immensely important 2021 New York City election cycle with a great

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  • Staving Off an Eviction Nightmare by Expanding New Yorkers' Right to Counsel

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    An eviction nightmare looms as housing court reopens (Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    A new threat is looming for the very Black and brown communities in New York City that have been hit the hardest by the dual pandemics of coronavirus and racism in policy: a massive wave of evictions. 

    That’s because phase 1 of New York “reopening” didn’t just apply to construction and curbside retail. It also applied to housing courts. This could have disastrous consequences for tenants. Housing court personnel have already started

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  • De Blasio Breaks with His Police Department as Council Passes Surveillance Transparency Bill

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    Another chapter between Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    A long-stalled bill meant to shed light on the surveillance equipment used by the NYPD has suddenly moved through the City Council with the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio, despite being virtually unchanged since the mayor and NYPD leaders raised dire alarms about it in recent years. Now de Blasio is breaking with his own police department, which he has maintained has been on board with a slew of recent changes to NYPD oversight and discipline in the wake of national

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  • City Council Questions De Blasio's Priorities at First Executive Budget Hearing

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    Mayor de Blasio & Speaker Johnson (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    With the city facing a severe budget crunch because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s executive budget proposal released last month cut $6 billion in planned spending, tapped $4 billion from reserves and delayed major capital investments to future years when another mayor will be in office. On Wednesday, about eight weeks before a deal must be reached between the two sides, the City Council held a virtual hearing on the mayor’s spending plan. Council members questioned de Blasio administration

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  • As NYCHA Teeters, Calls for More Funding in City and State Budgets

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    NYCHA is on the brink (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Despite significant attention from Mayor Bill de Blasio and some from Governor Andrew Cuomo, the New York City Housing Authority, public housing home to more than 400,000 New Yorkers, continues to crumble. While both the mayor and governor, as well as many others, point to federal disinvestment in NYCHA, dissatisfied elected officials say that initial drafts of next fiscal year’s state and city budgets aren’t sufficiently addressing the problem.

    As they push for more funding to

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  • More Savings, Better Planning: City Council Begins Examination of Mayor's $95.3 Billion Budget

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    Council Members Dromm & Gibson with Speaker Johnson in between (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The City Council held its first hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $95.3 billion preliminary budget on Monday, calling on the administration to find more agency efficiencies and savings and to fund the Council’s own priorities, while also asking for a contingency plan should potential state budget cuts and cost-shifts go through this year.

    The mayor’s budget proposal this year increases spending by $2.5 billion over last year’s adopted budget,

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  • City to Codify Office of Food Policy and Require 10-Year Food Plan

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    Council Speaker Johnson at a food pantry (photo: John McCarten/CityCouncil)


    The City Council is expected to pass a package of food policy legislation on Tuesday, central components of an agenda laid out by Speaker Corey Johnson last August to strengthen relevant governance and food policy planning, while combating inequality and waste in the food supply chain.

    One bill, sponsored by Council Member Vanessa Gibson, would require the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy to develop a ten-year plan to address food access and build a sustainable

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  • Campaigning for Congress, Torres Touts City Funding Secured for Development Outside Council District

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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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  • City Council Pushes Its Priorities at First Hearing on De Blasio's Executive Budget

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    Council Member Dromm and Speaker Johnson (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The New York City Council and budget officials from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration engaged in a familiar push-and-pull on Monday, at the first hearing on the $92.5 billion executive budget proposal for the 2020 fiscal year that begins July 1.

    The Council, disappointed that many of its priorities were not included in the latest spending plan presented by the mayor, pushed for more funding and pointed to hundreds of millions in revenue available to the city, but

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  • Preliminary Budget Hearings End with City Council Clamor for More Detail on Agency Cuts

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    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’s Flawed Capital Project Process the Subject of Renewed Scrutiny, and Some Reform

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    (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)


    Many New Yorkers know the city has trouble completing construction projects on time and under budget. Projects like school renovations and the build-out of park facilities are capital projects, the subject of increasing scrutiny and some reform, with more promised, as frustrations persist and residents, watchdogs, lawmakers, and other city leaders seek answers.

    Top officials from the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to Comptroller Scott Stringer have taken a fresh

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  • City Council Pushes on De Blasio Savings Program During First Budget Hearing

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    (Photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    City Council Speaker Corey Johnson appeared frustrated on Wednesday with the de Blasio administration budget at the Council’s first hearing to examine the mayor’s $92.2 billion preliminary budget proposal for the 2020 fiscal year, which begins July 1 of this year.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio released his preliminary budget proposal last month ...

  • City Council Begins New Focus on Capital Budget, with Eye Toward Transparency

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    Council Member Gibson (photo: William Alatriste)


    As the New York City Council continues to examine Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $88.67 billion preliminary budget for 2019, a newly created committee under Council Speaker Corey Johnson is paying extra attention to the ‘other’ budget - the capital plan - the administration’s proposed spending on schools, parks, jails and other long-term infrastructure projects.

    Over the last few weeks, the

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  • Bronx Rezoning Moves to City Council as Negotiations Enter Final Stages

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    Jerome Ave corridor rezoning, via City Planning


    The City Planning Commission voted January 17 to approve a comprehensive rezoning plan for the Jerome Avenue corridor in the Bronx, putting the proposal before the City Council for scrutiny in the final stretch of the lengthy land use review process. The rezoning would follow four others ushered through by the de Blasio administration as it somewhat controversially seeks to add housing density, including thousands of new affordable units, and make other investments in mostly low-income communities across the five

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  • New York City Now Has Its Own Legal Parameters for ‘Disorderly Conduct’

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    Council Member Vanessa Gibson (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    A City Council bill that creates an alternative to the state’s “disorderly conduct” statute, and mandates lower punishment for the infraction, became law on Friday along with numerous other bills relating to protecting undocumented immigrant New Yorkers. The bill, sponsored by City Council Member Vanessa Gibson, chair of the public safety committee, also adds another plank to the Council’s broad agendas of criminal justice reform and

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  • As Deaths Mount, Scrutiny of NYPD Response to ‘Emotionally Disturbed Persons’

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    Mayor de Blasio & law enforcement officials (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayor’s Office)


    At a recent hearing, New York City Council members discussed the effectiveness of NYPD responses to “emotionally disturbed person” (EDP) calls, the slow pace of implementation for new NYPD crisis intervention training, and the tragic outcomes of several recent interactions between NYPD officers and emotionally disturbed individuals.

    At the hearing, held Sept. 6 jointly by the Council’s Committee on Public Safety and Committee on Mental Health, Developmental

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  • City Council Passes 'Right to Counsel' For Low-Income Tenants in Housing Court

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    Council Member Levine and Speaker Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alatriste/New York City Council)


    The New York City Council passed a bill on Thursday to guarantee free legal services to low-income tenants facing eviction in housing court. The bill codifies an agreement, announced in February this year, between the Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio to fully fund anti-eviction

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  • Three More State Legislators Seek City Council Seats

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    Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., left, & AM Mark Gjonaj (photo: @RevRubenDiaz)


    There are only a handful of City Council seats opening up this year due to term limits. Of the seven “open” races in the 51-seat Council, all of which are up for election this fall, several feature state legislators seeking to make the jump to the city’s legislative body.

    Seeking to stay closer to home for work, legislators who now have to commute to Albany several days a week for half the year have declared their candidacies. Entering City Council races to succeed a

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