Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

 

City Council

City Council

  • escr rendering

    (rendering: City of New York)


    It has been seven years since Superstorm Sandy made landfall on our city, causing billions of dollars in damage and ravaging some of our city’s most critical infrastructure, including our parks. It took years for the famous boardwalks in Coney Island and the Rockaways to re-open. Trees across our coastlines died and continue to be at risk from exposure to salt water. And many of our coastal parks are no less protected from the next big storm today than they were in 2012.

    As a steward and advocate for our city’s parks, I know that we can’t

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  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week begins with President Donald Trump in New York City for the 100th Veterans Day parade and many eyes watching to see what steps former Mayor Michael Bloomberg takes toward running for the Democratic nomination for president.

    After much of the New York political world spent the last several days in Puerto Rico for the annual SOMOS conference, with a good deal of buzz around Bloomberg announcing new

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  • Rikers Island inmate detainee

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    In an historic vote last month, the New York City Council approved the plan to close the Rikers Island jail complex and replace it with four borough-based jails by 2026. When the Council voted through the plan, estimated at $8.7 billion in new construction costs, it also announced, with Mayor Bill de Blasio, a $391-million package of citywide and community investments in criminal justice reforms and initiatives to responsibly accelerate the reduction of the city’s jail population.

    For city officials, one

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  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Election Day is Tuesday! New York's first-ever early voting period is over, ending its nine-day run on Sunday, and Monday is a day for near-final campaigning. In New York City there are very few races on the ballot in what is the quietest of the four-year election cycle that otherwise includes presidential (next in 2020), mayoral (next in 2021), and gubernatorial (next in 2022) elections, not to mention state

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  • cm carlina riv carlos m press

    (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    With the launch of the 2020 Census barely five months away, the New York City Council on Tuesday summoned officials from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration for a progress report on the city’s preparations for the decennial population count. It is a count that has a great deal riding on it, from billions of dollars in federal funding to representation in Congress, and more.

    Convening a joint hearing of the Committees on Governmental Operations, Immigration, and State and Federal

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  • cm king do

    Council Member Andy King (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    The New York City Council voted on Monday to suspend Bronx Council Member Andy King for 30 days without pay and imposed several other disciplinary measures following repeated ethics violations by King that were recently substantiated by the Council’s ethics committee.

    King, a Democrat, was the subject of a monthslong investigation by the Council’s Committee on Standards and Ethics, the Office of General Counsel, and outside prosecutor Carrie Cohen, who found that the Council member engaged in a

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  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    The inaugural session of early voting in New York began on Saturday and continues throughout this week. Find hours for each day in New York City here; find your poll site here. Early voting goes through Sunday, November 3, then there is one day with no voting before Election Day, November 5. See what's on your

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  • rikers island jails via lippman report

    Rikers Island (photo via Lippman Commission report)


    Late last week, the New York City Council approved the de Blasio administration’s plan to build four new borough-based jails to replace the detention complex on Rikers Island. The plan hinges on a continued reduction in the city jail population, in large part brought on by state and city criminal justice reforms and changes in city policing. Various aspects of the costs, and potential savings, involved in shuttering the Rikers jails and opening the four new ones – from

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  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will see continued analysis of the major political event of last week: the City Council’s vote to approve the construction of four new borough-based jails to replace the Rikers Island jail complex by the end of 2026.

    As the week begins, we’re also awaiting the discussion at the MTA Board this week after news broke on Friday, ...

  • homelessness rally

    The authors and others at a rally (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    More than 61,000 men, women, and children will sleep in New York City shelters tonight, and this historic homelessness crisis will continue to devastate the lives of even more people unless Mayor de Blasio embraces the common sense plans that we have put forward from a City Council office and the Coalition for the Homeless, respectively.

    The record number of homeless New Yorkers will continue to reach new highs every year, according to the latest report from the Coalition. In stark contrast to Mayor

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  • costas consta attends

    Council Member Costa Constantinides, the author (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    Nothing in New York City’s or our country’s history says we’re good at running jails. 

    For hundreds of years, we have cast detainees away to far-flung islands. Out of sight, out of mind. Mostly black and brown men. Overwhelmingly, without having even been convicted of a crime. 

    So, the recent skepticism to build a jail in the heart of my beloved Queens is justifiable. After countless meetings with criminal justice advocates, many among them previously jailed

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  • mmv red cross

    Melissa Mark-Viverito, the author (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    For decades, Rikers Island has served as a clear illustration of our nation’s willingness to turn a blind eye in the face of injustice. Home to decades of violence, corruption, and cruelty, the continued operation of Rikers Island jails has been a striking reminder that our justice system is anything but just. 

    Activists, grassroots organizers, impacted individuals, elected officials, and many other New Yorkers have been demanding the closure of Rikers jails for decades,

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  • Rikers jails de Blasio

    On Rikers Island (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The narrow bridge to Rikers Island still puts a knot in my stomach. In the late 1980s, I spent two years behind bars in one of the eight active jails on Rikers. Back then, crossing that bridge meant disappearing from society and entering a world defined by violence and inhumanity.

    Little has changed. These days, I visit Rikers regularly as vice chair of the Board of Correction, the independent oversight body for New York City jails, and as executive vice president of the Fortune Society, an

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  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    The big news this week is likely to be the details of the final deal to secure City Council passage of the plan to build four new jails, one in each borough other than Staten Island, to replace the Rikers Island jail complex, which is slated to fully close by 2026. The plan passed the City Planning Commission in early September and is slated this week for a vote in the City Council land use committee, then the full

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  • alb cah fox op ed

    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    Sometimes City Hall politics can be surreal; too much spin can give you a case of political vertigo. But this week was remarkable even by the standards of the de Blasio administration, with talking points that felt like messages from a parallel universe. Time and again, we heard lofty statements about a city committed to protecting its residents’ privacy, a city sadly bearing no resemblance to our own.

    It started when the national facial recognition debate came to the City Council chambers. Months

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  • city council co jo keynote address

    Speaker Johnson (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson is advancing his legislation to create a master plan for city streets, promising Thursday that the Council will vote on the bill this month.

    Johnson, a Democrat from Manhattan, first proposed the idea of creating a five-year plan for the city’s

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  • De Blasio close Rikers

    De Blasio, Johnson, Ayala & others at Rikers announcement (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The plan to close the Rikers Island jails and replace them with four borough-based facilities has sped through the city’s land use process and is awaiting approval from the New York City Council, prompting both support and rebukes from criminal justice reform activists and those who prefer to keep most city detainees on the island. If it passes at the scheduled October 17 vote, full implementation of the plan will fall in the hands of a future mayor, perhaps two,

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  • cm mar chin

    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    “To be clear is to be kind, to be unclear is to be unkind.” – Brené Brown

    On August 2, 2018, I attended a meeting at Chung Pak, the affordable senior housing complex on Baxter Street, where the city presented its plans to build a huge new jail in Chinatown. I and other highly-vetted attendees watched a slideshow of what 80 Centre Street would become after it is converted from the county courthouse and district attorney’s office to a 50-story jail with coffee shops and retail trinket stores on the ground floor.

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  • bdb rec business

    Mayor de Blasio & Council Member Cornegy stop at a small business (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    New York City’s small businesses need more employees but struggle with hiring, and lack the time and resources they need to find and train talent. Their operational costs continue to be a challenge, including the cost of rent, insurance, and utilities. They need more financial support for growth and more assistance to comply with government rules and regulations.

    Those are just a few of the findings of a limited and first-of-its-kind survey conducted by

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  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    As the week begins New York City is reeling from two tragic weekend events: attacks on apparently homeless men in Manhattan by an alleged suspect, also apparently homeless, who killed four and cricially injured a fifth person; and the killing of a 10-year-old Brooklyn boy riding his bike by an apparently unlicensed driver of an SUV. Many government officials, advocates, and others are expressing their remorse while

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  • union sq counts

    (photo: @NYCImmigrants)


    New York City is moving full steam ahead with its effort to ensure that the 2020 Census counts each and every resident of the five boroughs, with millions of dollars in funding and a four-pillar strategy for outreach to hard-to-count communities. But New York State’s effort seems to have stalled and there is little indication that state authorities are moving with urgency despite the many billions of dollars in federal funding and congressional representation at stake.

    In the 2010 Census, New York City residents’ self-response rate to the

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  • mbdb cmmv idboroughs

    (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    It’s hard to think that winning your legislative campaign can cause a problem, but when you combine progressive victories with the territorialism of New York politics, you can get disturbing results.

    Case in point, this past legislative session was a triumph for the immigrant rights movement across New York State. We enacted the Dream Act, securing in-state tuition for undocumented New Yorkers. We

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  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    As is often the case this time of year, it is a somewhat quieter Rosh Hashanah week in the city, but there are a number of events to be aware of and several overarching issues to watch.

    Those include the continued response to the killing of NYPD Officer Brian Mulkeen, who was killed during an attempted arrest and altercation late Saturday night in the Bronx. Details of the incident are still

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  • mmv attends brides

    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    Domestic violence continues to be a leading cause of homelessness in New York City and ahead of Domestic Violence Awareness month, the New York City Council sought to examine how Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has provided services to survivors of domestic violence who rely on the city’s shelter system. 

    Under state law, counties are required to provide shelter and services to domestic violence survivors. In New York City, that responsibility falls to the Human Resources Administration (HRA), which administers

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  • sep mon rotunda

    De Blasio, Council members, AARP members & others rally (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Just days after he ended his presidential campaign that was focused on issues affecting working people, Mayor Bill de Blasio rallied with AARP volunteers and City Council Members at City Hall on Monday to push for a proposal that could help millions of New York workers save for their futures.

    The Retirement Security for All proposal, which de Blasio first raised three years ago and then again in his State of the City speech this year, would establish a retirement

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