Gotham Gazette

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City Council

City Council

  • City Law Department Defends Approach to Lawsuits Over NYPD Misconduct

    Corporation Counsel Sylvia Hinds-Radix (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    With the NYPD costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars every year in lawsuit settlements over misconduct claims, City Council members on Wednesday questioned the city’s Law Department about its approach to defending the police department and whether the city could benefit from being less combative when taken to court for police misconduct.

    A Legal Aid Society ...

  • City Council Members Question Mayor Adams' Decision to Create New Office for Asylum-Seeker Operations

    MOIA Commissioner Castro, center-left, with Mayor Adams & others (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    Earlier this month, Mayor Eric Adams announced the creation of a new office to handle the influx of tens of thousands of migrant asylum-seekers in the city. But, at a City Council budget hearing focused on immigration services that same day, March 7, administration officials offered barebones details about the new office’s structure and budget, and how it would interact with an existing mayoral office that is already dedicated to immigrant affairs and has been coordinating services for

  • At the City Council, Library System Heads Argue Against Mayor's Budget Cuts

    Linda Johnson, Tony Marx, & Dennis Walcott (l-r) (photo: @nypl)

    The leaders of New York City’s three public library systems appealed to the New York City Council on Monday for its help in pushing back against tens of millions in possible budget cuts in Mayor Eric Adams’ $102.7 billion preliminary budget plan for the 2024 fiscal year.

    The New York, Brooklyn, and Queens Public Libraries, along with the city’s Research Libraries, together face a $20.5 million budget cut in the next fiscal year, which starts July 1, as part of a Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG) that the mayor instituted to cut city

  • How the Adams Administration is Thinking About Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

    Mayor Adams at a tech conference (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    At a February oversight hearing held by the New York City Council Committee on Technology, the city’s Chief Technology Officer, Matthew Fraser, defended blockchain as a useful tool for stimulating the economy and enhancing government services.

    As head of the city’s Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI), Fraser is at the forefront of the Adams administration’s plans to integrate blockchain and other digital tools into municipal operations while also continuing to evaluate the cryptocurrency marketplace. At the

  • City Libraries Launch Push to Beat Back Mayor Adams' Budget Cuts

    At a library in Queens (photo: John McCarten/City Council)

    The city’s public library systems launched a campaign on Monday to push back against tens of millions of dollars in budget cuts in Mayor Eric Adams’ proposed budget. Adams’ $102.7 billion preliminary budget for the 2024 fiscal year, which begins July 1, is now the focus of a series of City Council hearings.

    For the past several months, the mayor’s budget moves have invited criticism as he pushed major cuts to city spending. Ahead of a mid-year November

  • NYCHA Officials Sound Alarm at City Council Budget Hearing

    City Council Member Alexa Avilés leads the NYCHA budget hearing (photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)

    The New York City Housing Authority is facing a fiscal crisis as rent revenue has plummeted in the wake of the pandemic, affecting its operational budget, constraining its ability to hire personnel, and forcing it to suspend dozens of infrastructure improvement projects. Amid the city's larger affordable housing and homelessness crisis, the public housing authority is also struggling with a worsening ability to get vacant units repaired and filled with new tenants, a problem apparently

  • Adams Administration to Launch 'MyCity' Portal in Coming Weeks with Child Care Services First

    Mayor Adams (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Mayor Eric Adams’ campaign promise to launch the “MyCity” centralized portal for city benefits will soon become reality, administration officials told the City Council on Thursday. 

    At a budget hearing held by the Council’s Committee on Technology, New York City Chief Technology Officer Matthew Fraser said that MyCity will be “rolling out in a few weeks,” initially offering a child care subsidy application portal before expanding to other city benefits.

    MyCity was one of the signature proposals that Adams, a first-term

  • With 16% Vacancy Rate, City Planning Department ‘Laser Focused’ on Staffing to Advance 'Ambitious' Agenda

    City Planning Head Dan Garodnick (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)

    The acute staffing crisis at city agencies threatens to undo the many ambitious plans announced by Mayor Eric Adams, and has become the central concern for the City Council as it examines the mayor’s proposed $102.7 billion preliminary budget for next fiscal year.

    On Thursday, at a Council hearing focused on the Department of City Planning, a similar refrain emerged as the agency currently faces a 18%

  • Council Speaker Adams Outlines State of the City Agenda Focused on Housing and Economic Mobility

    City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (photo: John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit)

    City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, a Queens Democrat, on Wednesday dedicated her second State of the City speech to the essential workers of New York City who “kept going and kept us going” during the pandemic. In her speech Adams announced an agenda for the year ahead focused on “economic mobility, housing, and healthier and safer neighborhoods.”

    “Workers run this city. They put the people of this city over everything, and so should we,” Adams said, speaking at the Justice Sonia Sotomayor Houses and

  • City Council Questions Mayor's Additional Planned Cuts to Internal City Government Watchdog

    City Council Member Gale Brewer (photo: Emil Cohen/NYC Council Media Unit)

    The New York City Department of Investigation has lost 86 budgeted positions, 21% of its staff, in the last two fiscal years, and is being hit with further vacancy reductions in Mayor Eric Adams’ proposed $102.7 billion preliminary budget for 2024. Those cuts threaten to undermine the agency’s work to root out waste, fraud, and abuse in city government, as it continues to handle an unchanged workload with fewer resources.

    The Department of Investigation (DOI) is a mayoral agency with law enforcement powers meant to be

  • At First Hearing on Mayor's Preliminary Budget, City Council Takes Aim at Agency Staffing Crisis

    Budget Director Jacques Jiha (photo: John McCarten, NYC Council Media Unit)

    City Council members repeatedly clashed with budget officials from Mayor Eric Adams’ administration at a hearing on Monday, pressing for answers about an ongoing staffing crisis at city agencies that has affected the delivery of municipal services. The hearing kicked off the weeks-long process of the Council’s public examination of Mayor Adams’ $102.7 billion preliminary budget proposal for the 2024 fiscal year, which starts July 1.

    The first part of the

  • Is Mayor Adams' Spending Plan an 'Austerity' Budget?

    Mayor Adams and his spending plan (photo: Benny Polatseck/Mayor's Office)

    In January, Mayor Eric Adams proposed a $102.7 billion preliminary budget proposal for the 2024 fiscal year, stressing the fiscal restraint of his administration amid various budgetary risks and uncertainties facing the city. But while it would be a near-record sum in city spending if passed as-is, progressive City Council members and advocates have called it an “austerity budget” that proposes cuts to critical services that will hurt the city’s most vulnerable populations at a time when the city can afford to invest more in its

  • Despite Growing Need, City Struggles to Fill and Expand Programs Dedicated to Combating Youth Unemployment

    Mayor Adams at a youth employment event (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)

    The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) is struggling to fill and expand career programs dedicated to unemployed, out-of-school youth, despite a dramatic increase in their numbers during the pandemic.

    According to a recent report from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, unemployment among city residents aged 16 to 24 hit 17.9% in October 2022, a nearly 8 point

  • The City Council Should Reject Misguided Housing Bill

    Affordable housing in the Bronx (photo: @NYCHousing)

    A new consensus is taking shape in New York City: politicians, advocates, and policymakers are prioritizing ways for the city to produce more housing. Of course, there are still plenty of housing disagreements, but most now agree that New York’s severe affordability crisis is caused by the fact that there is not enough housing to go around.

    While this is progress, New York City still has plenty of work to do if Thursday’s City Council Housing and Buildings Committee hearing is any indication.

    City Council Members will hear feedback on a

  • Promising Projects Faster and Cheaper, Adams Administration Pursues Capital Construction Reforms

    Mayor Adams hails housing construction (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    New York City’s infrastructure construction process is broken and Mayor Eric Adams wants to fix it. 

    The city’s capital budget funds infrastructure projects across the five boroughs, including new construction, maintenance, and repairs to everything from parks, schools, hospitals, and libraries to mass transit, sewers, courts, jails, police precincts, and more. But as New York City is in desperate need of sweeping infrastructure upgrades,

  • The New York City Council Demands Pay Equity for City Government Employees

    City Council Members Louis, left, & De La Rosa, center - the authors (photo: Emil Cohen/NYC Council)

    Our first women-majority New York City Council continues to make strides towards addressing critical inequities and disparities in the largest municipal workforce in the United States. The Council took an important step in addressing pay inequities in the municipal workforce withthe recent passage of three bills...

  • Fast-Tracking New York’s Transit Future

    CM Brooks-Powers, left, with MTA CEO Lieber (photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)

    This week President Biden visited New York to celebrate a major milestone. 

    More than a decade after Superstorm Sandy badly damaged the century-old train tunnels between New Jersey and New York, we’refinally

  • Queens City Council Member and Community Board Pursue Northern Boulevard Neighborhood Rezoning

    City Council Members Julie Won, left, & Rafael Salamanca (photo: Emil Cohen/NYC Council)

    Last week, the City Council rejected a proposed lot rezoning on Northern Boulevard in Woodside, Queens that would have replaced a dilapidated one-story restaurant with a shiny new two-storey auto dealership. Opponents of the rezoning, which included the local City Council Member, first-term Democrat Julie Won, made it clear that the last thing their community needs is another auto industry business that will add more cars, particularly large dangerous SUVs, to their

  • City Council Considers Manhattan Board of Elections Nominee Who Ruled in Ranked-Choice Voting Case

    City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (photo: John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit)

    Some members of the New York City Council continue to have questions about ranked-choice voting, the new voter-approved system that went into effect in 2021 for party primary and special elections for city government positions. Council members aired those concerns at a hearing on Wednesday as they questioned a nominee to become a commissioner at the New York City Board of Elections. The nominee, Carol Edmead, is a State Supreme Court judge who once ruled against a City Council-led

  • 'Critical to the Future': City Council Considers Two Board of Correction Nominees

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

    The New York City Board of Correction, a nine-seat panel with oversight over city jails, may soon have two new members including a former Rikers Island doctor critical of mass incarceration and a national expert on corrections policy who now leads the advocacy group that successfully advocated for the planned closure of the Rikers jail complex.

    The City Council’s Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections on Wednesday held a hearing to question two of its own Board of Correction nominees – Dr. Rachael Bedard, former senior

  • City Council Passes New Disclosure Requirements for Spending to Influence Votes on Ballot Referendums

    Passing out ballot info (photo: John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit)

    Update: The New York City Council passed the campaign finance amendment on January 19, 2022.

    The New York City Council is set to pass legislation this week that would require entities spending to influence voters in local referendums to disclose their funders.

    The law would close a loophole in the city's campaign finance law that lawmakers, good government groups, and campaign finance regulators have decried for years. If signed by the mayor, so-called independent expenditures (IEs) of $5,000 or more would be

  • Race for New ‘Asian Opportunity’ Brooklyn City Council District Set to Take Off

    A community event in Sunset Park (photo: John McCarten/City Council)

    The decennial redistricting process in New York created a new “Asian opportunity” City Council district in Brooklyn, and three candidates have declared their intentions to run for the seat in the fast-approaching June primary.

    Asian Americans were the fastest growing population in New York City between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Census, accounting for more than half of the increase in the city’s population. South Brooklyn is home to one of the

  • A Step Into the 2023 City Council Elections as Campaign Finance Board Approves First Public Funds Payment of Cycle

    Tony Avella at City Hall (photo: NY City Council)

    The 2023 City Council election is kicking off, as the New York City Campaign Finance Board approved its first public funds payment to a single campaign on Thursday and announced a series of completed campaign audits from the previous election cycle.

    The upcoming elections are taking place just two years after all 51 City Council seats were on the ballot in 2021 because of the decennial redistricting process. Based on the 2020 Census, City Council districts were redrawn to

  • Max Politics Podcast: City Council Member Shekar Krishnan on Priorities for NYC Parks

    Council Member Krishnan outlines his parks agenda (photo: Emil Cohen/NYC Council Media Unit)

    December 9, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: City Council Member Shekar Krishnan on Priorities for NYC Parks

    City Council Member Shekar Krishnan, a Queens Democrat, joined the show to discuss his work as chair of the Council's parks committee, his vision for the future of NYC parks and public open spaces, and more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter @TweetBenMax. You can listen to the show

  • At Hearing, City Council Criticizes Mayor Adams on Budget Decisions, Depleted Agencies

    Mayor Adams and City Council Members Announce Budget Deal (photo: Emil Cohen/NYC Council Media Unit)

    Mayor Eric Adams recently ordered most city agencies to halve their budgeted vacant positions as a means of cutting costs amid fiscal portents. The plan was not accounted for in the mayor’s latest modification to the city budget, released a week prior to the personnel order, and members of the City Council are incensed about the move. Already frustrated by the large number of city agency vacancies, blamed in part on Adams’ workforce policies, many Council members are raising red flags about further