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Would Expired Rent Regs, Mayoral School Control Spell Doomsday for New York City?


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De Blasio & Cuomo (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)


"Mayor of the City of New York, frustrated with Albany? Now there's a shocker," Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded on Thursday to reporters who inquired about Mayor Bill de Blasio's concerns over Albany's reluctance to deliver more than simple extenders of policies like mayoral control of schools and rent regulations that impact millions of city residents.

Read more: Would Expired Rent Regs, Mayoral School Control Spell Doomsday for New York City?

Education Upheaval in Albany is Backdrop to DOE Budget Hearing


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Chancellor Carmen Farina testifying Thursday (photo: @MarkLevineNYC)


With an eye on Albany, it was time Thursday morning for New York City schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña to again testify in front of the City Council about her agency's proposed fiscal year 2016 budget and key education issues facing the city. The heightened level of concern with events in the capital comes amid shakeups in state leadership, important legislation on the negotiating table with deadlines looming, and recently passed controversial state teacher evaluation laws.

Read more: Education Upheaval in Albany is Backdrop to DOE Budget Hearing

With Legislative Package, Schneiderman Challenges Lawmakers to Act on Ethics


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AG Schneiderman at Tweed Courthouse on Wednesday (Ben Max)


Standing on the steps of Manhattan's Tweed Courthouse, surrounded by activists, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman unveiled a legislative package Wednesday that is designed to challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers who have written off negotiating ethics reform this year despite the arrest of two of the most powerful men in Albany on corruption charges.

"I'm done vouching for incremental reforms," Schneiderman announced to cheers from the gathered crowd on the steps of Tweed, his unamplified voice somewhat drowned out by the roar of passing traffic on Chambers Street.

Read more: With Legislative Package, Schneiderman Challenges Lawmakers to Act on Ethics 

Does 2015 Offer Return of the Albany Big Ugly?


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Cuomo had linked the EITC & DREAM Act (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)


Pop quiz: what do the DNA of felons, casinos, teacher performance, the drawing of legislative district lines, and pension reform have to do with one another? This isn't a trick question - in Albany all of these issues were crammed together by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders in 2012 to form the traditional Albany deal that has come to be known as "The Big Ugly." The only thing that stood out about it was that the 2012 big ugly was achieved in March, three months earlier than the traditional end-of-legislative-session deal.

Read more: Does 2015 Offer Return of the Albany Big Ugly?

Through Committee, Bill to Create Office of Civil Justice Heads Toward Law


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Mark-Viverito, front, & Levine, behind her, are the lead sponsors (photo: William Alatriste)


New York City is one step closer to having a new Office of Civil Justice. On Tuesday, the City Council's Committee on Courts and Legal Services unanimously passed a bill that would create the office, to be tasked with assessing, coordinating, and helping reform the civil legal services available to low-income New Yorkers. Among the most pressing concerns are ensuring legal representation for immigrants facing deportation and tenants facing eviction.

Read more: Through Committee, Bill to Create Office of Civil Justice Heads Toward Law

Cuomo Seizes on Wage Issue as Legislature Sits Paralyzed by Scandal, Partisanship


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Gov. Cuomo at a minimum wage rally (Office of the Governor - Kevin P. Coughlin)


"Do we have any members of labor in the house today? I can't hear you!" Gov. Andrew Cuomo shouted to a crowd of union members holding signs touting the "Fight for $15." Cuomo held a large rally in Manhattan's Union Square earlier this month as he announced he had instructed his labor commissioner to empanel a wage board to consider upping the minimum wage for fast food workers.

Read more: Cuomo Seizes on Wage Issue as Legislature Sits Paralyzed by Scandal, Partisanship

Three 2015 District Attorney Races Set to Begin


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Former SI DA Dan Donovan is sworn in to Congress (@dandonovan_ny)


Voters can look forward to soon having a clearer picture of the potential contenders for the district attorney races on November’s ballot.

Three of New York’s five district attorney positions will be voted on this fall — in Staten Island, Queens, and the Bronx — and signature petitioning to get on the ballot begins the first week in June. Brooklyn’s District Attorney, Ken Thompson, and Manhattan’s District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, will not face reelection until 2017.

Read more: Three 2015 District Attorney Races Set to Begin

City Council Highlights Gains in Participatory Budgeting Program


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PB voting in CD5 (photo: @BenKallos)


51,362. That's how many New Yorkers cast ballots in the recently-finished participatory budgeting cycle to determine which community projects receive funding. Implemented this year in 24 of the City Council's 51 districts, the participatory budgeting program sees council members devote $1 million or more in capital funding toward the community initiative. In a year-long process that engages district residents in local decision-making and community-building, New Yorkers not only have the opportunity to interact with each other and their local representatives, but also to learn about city government and budgeting.

Read more: City Council Highlights Gains in Participatory Budgeting Program

As He Campaigns for Top Priorities, Many Wonder Where Cuomo is on DREAM


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Gov. Cuomo on Sunday in Brooklyn (photo: Office of the Governor - Kevin P. Coughlin)


It was as if Gov. Andrew Cuomo was on the campaign trail again last week, visiting Long Island and Buffalo one day and then four churches and a Yeshiva in Brooklyn on another. Cuomo doesn't have to run for office again for another three years, of course, but his barnstorming last week was designed to promote what he's calling a top priority: passing a $150 million plan mostly aimed at giving tax credits to families whose children attend private and religious schools and to others who donate to those schools. The push is so campaign-like that Cuomo's visage is plastered across television screens in ads sponsored by supporters of the Parental Choice in Education Act.

Read more: As He Campaigns for Top Priorities, Many Wonder Where Cuomo is on DREAM

Mostly Questions and Criticism Ahead of Cuomo Email Summit


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Gov. Cuomo (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


On Friday - the Friday of Memorial Day weekend - Gov. Andrew Cuomo will host a summit on email retention policy. It is a much-anticipated meeting that a large number of key stakeholders don't see a need for, and it's unclear what attendance will look like in terms of representation from the major entities in state government being called together to agree on a uniform approach to keeping and deleting official emails.

Read more: Mostly Questions and Criticism Ahead of Cuomo Email Summit



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