Gotham Gazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 1

640px-New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to look for this week, via the City and Albany:

Everyone's buzzing about the deal reached between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and The Working Families Party (WFP) whereby the WFP voted to endorse Cuomo in his re-election bid on Saturday. Watch for quite a bit more fallout from that news this week as the governor is expected to make good on his progressive promises and watchers look to see what the WFP does next - more on that below.

Cuomo-WFP revelations coincide with the last couple of weeks of the legislative session in Albany - how might the deal influence legislation this month? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, and quite relatedly, the 2014 election cycle is in full swing with several noteworthy Democratic state Senate and state Assembly primaries heating up. First, though, most New York election watchers are honing in on the primary in the state's 13th Congressional District, where Congressman Charlie Rangel attempts to continue to hold onto his seat - the June 24th primary is three weeks from Tuesday!

Tech, advocacy, organizing, innovation, engagement - any of these interest you? Well, it's a huge week for you then as not only are there several one-off events to look for (see below), but the end of the week includes the 2014 iterations of two major conferences: Personal Democracy Forum (Thursday and Friday) and Organizing 2.0 (Friday and Saturday) - again, more details below.

More specifically, this week begins on Monday with quite a bit of action. Mayor Bill de Blasio has a jam-packed Monday, including in the afternoon when the mayor is back speaking at his alma mater, NYU, as part of this year's NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference. More on the mayor's Monday below.

This week will be the final week of City Council executive budget hearings. Several committees, such as education, public housing, and contracts, will each meet this week, jointly with the Committee on Finance like all executive budget hearings. Hearings take place on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. At the conclusion of this week's hearings, behind-closed-doors negotiations with the mayor's office will begin (and will continue to include big-ticket items like universal free school lunch and hiring more police officers). The parties have until midnight, June 30, to strike a deal before Fiscal Year 2015 begins July 1. 

And, keep an eye out for the City DOE's release of the proposed discipline code for next school year, expected Monday or Tuesday and kicking off the public input period, which will lead up to the public hearing on June 10. The most significant issue at play is whether the City will continue to include 'B21,' otherwise known as 'defying or disobeying authority,' which advocates continue to call for the removal of - something some districts, like Los Angeles, have already done and a national report due out Tuesday is likely to address.

Here's the run of the week in more detail:

New York City

Aside from speaking at NYU on Monday, according to his public scheulde Mayor de Blasio will also "join United States Secretary for Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan at New York City Housing Authority's Jacob Riis Houses in Manhattan to make an with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at City Hall...speak at the Jewish Heritage Reception at Gracie Mansion...speak at the National Action Network Triumph Awards in Manhattan." Phew. Pack the throat lozenges and hydrate, Mr. Mayor!

Also on Monday, the lone City Council budget hearing is that of the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services (along with Finance), at 11 a.m. at City Hall. 

Lots going on Monday evening: City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito "speaks at Commercial Observer's Power 100 and Mortgage Observer's Power 50" at the Plaza Hotel, according to her public schedule.

The Association for a Better New York (ABNY) and Edelman co-host an event "featuring notable women leading the transformation of the City's tech sector," moderated by WNYC's Manoush Zomorodi and with Jessica Singleton, the mayor's Digital Director, and Reshma Saujani, among others.

And, Department of Consumer Affairs paid sick leave town halls continue, with two this week hosted in Queens by Council Member Donovan Richards on Monday and Thursday.  

Interested in the influence of transit on the rise of creative tenants in Lower Manhattan? The NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, will co-host an event on Tuesday morning, Tech, Talent, and Transit: Driving a hub of innovation in Lower Manhattan. Jessica Lappin, President, Alliance for Downtown New York, will speak along with representatives from the tech and real estate sectors. The panel will discuss how Lower Manhattan developers can attract tenants from the growing tech sector to the wealth of real estate that now resides there. Program highlights (according to the event listing) include: "Rub Shoulders with Elite Owners/Developers, Growing Tenants, Transit Officials and Power Brokers. Exclusive Views from the 54th Floor at 4 World Trade Center. Catered Breakfast." 

City Council hearings on Tuesday include those per the committees on Cultural Affairs, Education, and Public Housing - not to mention several subcommittee hearings. Schedule

Wondering how Commissioner Nisha Agarwal from the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs will address concerns in the Asian community? On Wednesday The Asian American Federation will host Agarwal from 10-11:15 a.m. The goal is to "open a dialogue of APA community concerns" according to the emailed invite. The event is open to the media and advocates only, RSVP: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What will the future of voting look like with all this new technology we keep hearing about? On Wednesday evening the Campaign Finance Board will host a forum, Open Source Democracy from 5-7:30 p.m. On the agenda: demonstrations of new approaches to voting and elections that integrate emerging technology from around the country. NYC Votes, Democracy Works, and the Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Foundation will demonstrate their work and case studies of implementations in New York City, the state of Virginia, and county election offices across the country.

As mentioned above, Personsal Democracy Forum (PDF) 2014 kicks off on Friday. PDF "is the definitive event in the world of technology and politics. PDF brings together a thousand top opinion makers, political practitioners, technologists, and journalists from across the ideological spectrum for two days to network, exchange ideas, and explore how technology and wired citizens are changing politics, governance, and civil society." This year's theme: Save the Internet | The Internet Saves and, as always, there are lots of interesting speakers, headlined by Craig Aaron, the president and CEO of Free Press, and Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, and including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Noel Hidalgo of BetaNYC, among many others. (bolding our own)

Thursday evening Brooklyn city council members Carlos Menchaca and Brad Lander co-host what promises to be an interesting event: Confronting School Segregation and Increasing Diversity in District 15 - 6:30 p.m., John Jay Educational Campus in Brooklyn.

PDF continues on Friday. Meanwhile, it's progressive cousin(?) Organzing 2.0 kicks off Friday and continues on Saturday.

"Organizing 2.0 is an annual training event held in New York City. It is a volunteer run event offering training in online organizing, digital strategy and use of online tools...a collective of communicators and online organizers working for unions and social justice activists. We run events, trainings, consult and promote uncommon interactions within and between our communities. We cross boundaries between labor, progressives, nonprofits, tech firms, faith communities and techies of all stripes...a conference for organizers, techies & activists." (bolding our own)

Speakers include political strategist and Brooklyn NAACP chapter president L. Joy Williams and New York City Council Member Ben Kallos, along with representatives of progressive organizations like Make the Road New York and the Working Families Party, among others.

Friday's City Council executive budget hearings is via the contracts committee, which is chaired by Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

Saturday is the second and final day of Organizing 2.0.

Also on Saturday, look for Staten Island Borough President James Oddo's "HealThySelf Wellness Forum" from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - "a health information fair, forum and health the Staten Island Mall in Center Court. The event, free and open to all, is made possible by collaboration with Richmond University Medical Center and Staten Island University Hospital...Designed to showcase fitness, health information and healthy living, the event...will feature health screenings, health insurance navigation, stress management techniques, smoking cessation, integrative medicine, nutrition, substance abuse information and diabetes education. Demonstrations of fitness trends and family friendly performances with healthy messaging will also take place throughout the day...will also have an outdoor component as the GrowNYC Green Market will hold its seasonal opening that day in the Mall parking lot. Healthy cooking demonstrations by the Port Richmond High School Culinary Institute will be a highlight. The Green Market will be open Saturdays from 8 am to 3 pm." (bolding our own)

And, more from Albany:
All bets are off in Albany this week as legislators return to town to find Gov. Andrew Cuomo has (at least verbally) abandoned his allegiance to the Senate Republican-IDC ruling coalition and pledged to fight for a Democratic takeover of the body in exchange for the Working Families Party's endorsement.

IDC members blasted the WFP and Cuomo's "nefarious" political deal, as did Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos. The State Republican Party called for an investigation into the deal; calling it bribery. Cuomo promised to back legislation to allow localities to set their own minimum wages, The Dream Act, and the Women's Equality Agenda. Cuomo will help create a $10 million fund to help win Democrats the Senate.

The remaining 10 days of the legislative session are likely to be filled with political maneuvering, jousting press releases and combative press conferences rather than much legislating - this is a two-day week for the legislature. Typically this time would be used to get previously neglected legislation through both houses, which do have two interesting hearings this week.

The Senate Labor Committee, chaired by Sen. Diane Savino, is holding a hearing on local minimum wage proposals on Monday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Van Buren Hearing Room of the Legislative Office Building. The issue is a major one for the progressive movement and Mayor Bill de Blasio who see the state's minimum wage increase as inadequate. There are five Senate bills on the issue and one Assembly bill all to be discussed at the hearing.

The Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation will hold a public hearing on pesticide use and reporting on Thursday in the Assembly Hearing room at 250 Broadway in Manhattan at 11 a.m. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget included a measure that would have stripped down the state's pesticide reporting rules, but it was done away with after major pressure from environmental advocates. However, legislators are still concerned that there hasn't been a report issued on the law since 2006. The hearing will focus on how to better make public information about pesticide use and study the health impacts of its use. 

Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? Email Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (use "For Week Ahead" as a subject if you can).

by Kristen Meriwether and Ben Max in New York City and David King in Albany


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