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Progressive Critics Largely Convinced by Cuomo's Wage Push


Cuomo min wage labor parade

Gov. Cuomo (photo via The Governor's Office via flickr)


Many of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's staunchest progressive critics appear to be convinced by his new push for a statewide $15 an hour minimum wage. Cuomo has repeatedly angered the left wing of his Democratic Party by supporting Republican candidates, backing charter schools, and routinely making middle-of-the-road compromises on various issues. Only a few months ago Cuomo scoffed at the idea of a $13 minimum wage, but now advocates and legislators who have repeatedly felt betrayed by Cuomo say they believe firmly that he plans to see through the $15 hourly wage.

"I have been a harsh critic of the governor sometimes," said Michael Kink, executive director of Strong Economy For All, "But this is going to be a big deal in the lives of so many New Yorkers and it is worthy of straightforward applause."

Democratic state Senator Liz Krueger, who has has repeatedly clashed with the administration on policy issues, told Gotham Gazette: "The governor has gone through an evolution and he is now at a wage that is greater than my conference put forward. I think it is a good thing."

Two elements of Cuomo's approach appear to have convinced progressive critics of the sincerity of his push.

The first is that Cuomo has made himself the first major elected New York state official to advocate the $15 minimum wage and the plan he supports is comparable to those passed into law in Seattle and Los Angeles and proposed in ballot initiatives in Washington, D.C. and California.

Secondly, Cuomo has made the fight personal by naming his plan the "Mario Cuomo Campaign For Economic Justice," after his father, the late governor.

Kink, a frequent, vocal critic of the Cuomo administration, has nothing but praise for Cuomo's wage push. "This will absolutely make a difference in people's lives. The phase-in schedule he is talking about is comparable to what other places are talking about. If we could wave a wand and get it today it would be wonderful," said Kink, acknowledging there's no chance of immediately shifting the minimum wage to $15 an hour. As recommended by his fast food wage board, Cuomo is calling for a phased-in $15 hourly minimum wage by 2019 in New York City and in 2021 all across the state.

Noting that the governor has had "varying levels" of commitment on progressive issues in the past, Kink sees new life from Cuomo on the wage. Cuomo has "supported" efforts on the DREAM Act, campaign finance reform, and the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), but has not made powerful public or behind-the-scenes-efforts to enact them.

"He has made this so personal in naming it the 'Mario Cuomo Campaign,' I believe it puts this up there with marriage equality and guns," said Kink, referring to what are perhaps Cuomo's two crowning legislative achievements, marriage equality and the SAFE Act. "This is a different level of support than we've seen from the governor on other legislative initiatives."

The path to Cuomo's support for a statewide $15 wage took form earlier this year when he called on the state labor department to convene a wage board to examine compensation for fast-food workers. The board held hearings across the state, hearing from many workers, who also staged large rallies outside those hearings and elsewhere. James Parrott of the Fiscal Policy Institute said he believes the hearing testimony was extremely impactful for Cuomo.

"I can't help but think that incredibly compelling testimony of hundreds of fast-food workers from across the state moved the governor," said Parrott. "The testimony really got across how much worse the reality (of surviving on minimum wage) is to how many close observers like myself thought it to be."

In July, the wage board recommended that large fast-food chains pay their workers $15 an hour by 2019 in New York City and mid-way through 2021 in the rest of the state. Cuomo seized on the wage board's efforts, holding a celebratory rally just after its recommendations were made public. A $15 wage polls very well with Democrats in the state.

On September 10, Cuomo announced that he was advocating an eventual $15 minimum wage for all industries, to be implemented along the wage board's recommended timeline.

Krueger said that by using the wage board in the fight for an increased minimum wage, Cuomo spotlighted a power that past governors did not utilize.

"For decades we've know you could use a wage board in this manner, but the governor showed leadership in doing so," said Krueger. "I'd prefer legislative action, but we have been shown there are other ways to address wage issues."

In order to make the path to $15 an hour a reality in all industries, Cuomo will indeed need legislation.

Republicans have balked at the measure and criticized the wage board's recommendations as a fait accompli. They insist it will hurt businesses across the state.

"I don't agree with the wage board. I know it's a statute in the State of New York. I think that it's executive overreach," Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said during a September event hosted by Crain's New York Business. "A lot of my colleagues feel very strongly about that, and as we come into next year. I think we have to be mindful of the fact that we actually have raised the minimum wage — we're one of the ten highest states in the country already."

The state's minimum wage is due to rise from $8.75 to $9 an hour at the end of this year, per the legislation Flanagan was referring to. The Senate leader insists that the governor must go through the legislature to take this kind of action, but he did not rule out another wage increase.

Many Democrats greeted Cuomo's plan with open arms, but skeptics still exist. A number of Democrats told Gotham Gazette they fear Cuomo has only championed the issue as a means to boost his sinking approval ratings and steal political thunder from Mayor Bill de Blasio, who fought with Albany early in his term to allow the city a say over raising its minimum wage.

Critics also note that Cuomo has begun talking about pairing a wage increase with tax cuts for businesses, indicating a willingness to cut a deal with Republicans. "I think linking the two is a mistake," Bill Lipton, director of the Working Families Party said recently on The Capitol Pressroom. "I think we should have a smart, progressive tax code policy. I think it should be discussed separately from the minimum wage. The minimum wage really stands on its own."

The governor, of course, is often one to lecture on how things get done in Albany, citing the necessity of compromise and touting his successes in making progress despite a split legislature.

Cuomo has also looked to boost his fundraising with the wage effort; his campaign sent out email solicitations earlier this month asking for a $15 donation "to help us fund the fight [for $15]."

Another point of contention for some is that they believe by putting himself at the head of the $15 per hour movement Cuomo now has an increased ability to set the timeline for phase-in. Given Cuomo's predilection for compromising with Senate Republicans, these critics fear the Governor may simply increase the deadlines for implementation of the wage hike. Cuomo himself described a $13 increase as a "nonstarter" with the legislature this past spring.

An economist analyst, Parrot said that concerns about the length of the phase-in at this point are unfounded. "It's hard to know exactly what the inflation is going to be like but it is pretty nominal," he said. "It will still be worth something that is more than $9 [is now] but it is not going to be $15 in 2015 terms." Parrot said that the state budget predicts two percent inflation per year, so judging by that, "it is not as if $15 in 2021 would be wiped out."

In other words, the move to a $15 minimum hourly wage by 2021 would be significant, even taking into account inflation.

Kink said that he isn't concerned by Cuomo's comments about a business tax cut, or that the governor might cave to pressure from Republicans. "The governor showed just how high of a priority he thinks this is for the state when he put his dad's name on it," Kink told Gotham Gazette. "He has decided that this is important to his legacy."

***
by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette
@DavidHowardKing

The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 5


New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This week will include a focus on what the city can do to stop gas-related explosions after another such explosion occurred this weekend, this time in Borough Park; education politics and policy, as the pro-charter, anti-de Blasio group Families for Excellent Schools will hold a large rally; a continuation of negotiation and criticism between city and state entities over MTA funding; and more.

Oh, and it's the Major League Baseball playoffs, with both the Mets and Yankees in the post-season for the first time in a long time, with many hoping for a "subway series" World Series between the two, a la 2000, when the Yankees defeated the Mets.

TRACKING DE BLASIO: With the threat from Hurricane Joaquin abated, Mayor de Blasio decided to go through with his trip to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore on Friday and Saturday. The mayor delivered remarks at a reception for the State Innovation Exchange Conference on Friday, then attended the United States Conference of Mayors Fall Leadership Meeting on Saturday. The mayor then headed back to Borough Park, Brooklyn, where he attended to the emergency gas explosion that tore apart a building, killing at least one and injuring several.

The incident is another in a string of gas explosions, including East Harlem and the East Village, that has many worried and talking about a need for new measures to combat the deadly incidents. Gov. Cuomo announced he was deploying representatives to investigate and city officials are calling for action. This explosion appears to have been caused by mistakes made during the removal of an oven.

On Monday, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will be on Staten Island for the groundbreaking of The Staten Island Family Justice Center, at which the mayor will speak around 10 a.m. Read more from the Staten Island Advance, including that Staten Island will join the other boroughs, each of which already has such a center, which "provide comprehensive criminal justice, civil legal and social services free of charge to victims of domestic violence, elderly abuse and sex trafficking in the other boroughs."

As always, there's a great deal happening all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
At 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Bronx County Courthouse, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman "will announce a major crackdown on distributors of synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs."

On Monday morning, "State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan joins state Sen. Martin Golden on a walking tour and media availability in Gerritsen Beach, starting in front of 3078 Gerritsen Ave., Brooklyn," according to City & State NY.

At 12:30 p.m. Monday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will announce the "launch of MonumentArt, an International Mural Festival hosted in East Harlem and the South Bronx," from La Marqueta.

On Monday, Public Advocate Letitia James "will travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Funders' Committee for Civic Participation conference."

Monday evening, First Lady McCray will be among the honorees of a Feminist Power Award from the Feminist Press.

At 8 p.m. Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer "Receives the Pacesetter Award at The National Association of Investment Companies 45th Annual Meeting & Convention Welcome Reception."

Monday's City Council Participatory Budgeting events:

  • Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 pm
  • CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 pm
  • CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 6:30 pm
  • CM Julissa Ferreras (District 21, Queens) 7 pm

Tuesday
Tuesday, at 10 a.m., a press conference in PACE University's downtown campus will mark the beginning of Poverty Awareness Week, which is co-sponsored by Pace University and The Mayor's Office. The week will include a series of events. Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. will be one keynote speaker; Shola Olatoye, Chair and CEO of NYCHA will participate in a discussion on "Local Initiatives to Eradicate Poverty."

On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio "will deliver remarks at the ribbon-cutting for the Brooklyn College Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School for Cinema at Steiner Studios."

At 5 p.m., the Mayor will appear on WCBS Newsradio 880.

In the evening, Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo, and many others will attend a birthday celebration for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Brooklyn Historical Society will host "Why New York? Our Broken Bail System." The event will be moderated by New York Times journalist Shaila Dewan, with panelists: Judge George Grasso, public defender Josh Saunders, criminal justice reform advocate Glenn E. Martin, and an individual who couldn't afford bail.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, NY Tech Meetup will be held at NYU, with a number of New York companies presenting demos of technologies that they are developing.

Tuesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting events:

  • Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 4 pm
  • CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 6 pm
  • CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 pm
  • CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 pm
  • CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 6:30 pm
  • CM Brad Lander (District 39, Brooklyn) 6:30 pm
  • CM Eric Ulrich (District 32, Queens) 8 pm

Wednesday
JCOPE is set to meet Wednesday morning in Albany.

Wednesday morning at 8 a.m., City & State NY holds its fifth annual "On Energy" event, inviting leaders in government, advocacy and business to speak on a number of topics related to the future of energy. Among the topics of discussion will be Governor Andrew Cuomo's regulatory overhaul in New York, Mayor de Blasio's 80 by 50 plan, and more. The event includes a panel with Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director of Center for an Urban Future; Nilda Mesa, Director at NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability; Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner, NYC Department of Sanitation. Other notable speakers to appear include: Richard Kauffman, NYS Chair of Energy & Finance; Arthur "Jerry" Kremer, Chairman of New York AREA; Ambassador Ron Kirk, Chairman of CASEnergy; Kevin Parker, a New York state Senator and ranking member of the Energy & Telecommunications Committee.

On Wednesday, The Families for Excellent Schools rally, postponed from last week because of weather and "to demand equal opportunity in our schools," will take place, starting mid-morning at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, followed by a march across the Brooklyn Bridge, and a 12:30 p.m. press conference at City Hall. The rally is, in essence, to promote more more charter schools and criticize Mayor de Blasio's education agenda, which does not include more charters. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is expected to headline the rally, along with several high-profile performers, including Jennifer Hudson.

At the City Council on Wednesday:

  • 10 a.m., The Committee on Transportation will meet to discuss a bill that would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a study on the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists along bus routes. DOT would then institute new safety measures based on the data. The Committee will also discuss a bill that would require the identification of dangerous intersections based on incidents involving pedestrians, and implement curb extensions in such areas. The Committee will also make a decision on resolutions that would require the MTA to instal rear guards on bus wheels and to study ways to eliminate blind spots for buses.
  • Also 10 a.m., The Committee on Aging will hold an oversight hearing on older adult employment.

At 10 a.m. The East 50s Alliance will hold a community rally to protest the planned construction of a 900-foot tower in the 58th street residential area. The residents are "deeply concerned that the tower will diminish the safety, accessibility and livability of a narrow side street during a lengthy construction process and forever after." City Council Member Ben Kallos will speak.

At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Vivertio, along with Council Members Paul Vallone and Vincent Gentile and others, will hold a Celebration of Italian Heritage at the Council Chambers in City Hall. The event will also celebrate Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday.

From 6 to 8 p.m. at Fordham Law School, The Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center and the Women's City Club of New York will host "This Bridge Called My Back: Women of Color and the Fight for Economic Security", on "how gender intersects with economic and racial inequality in New York City." Dr. Christina Greer, professor of political science at Fordham University, will moderate the panel, with Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York; Luna Ranjit, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Adhikaar; Joanne N. Smith Founder and Executive Director of Girls for Gender Equality; and Margarita Rosa, Executive Director of National Center for Law and Economic Justice participating in the discussion.

Wednesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting events:

  • CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6 pm
  • CM Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan) 6 pm
  • Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 pm
  • CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 pm
  • CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 pm
  • CM Karen Koslowitz (District 29, Queens) 7 pm

Thursday
On Thursday at the City Council:

  • 9:30 a.m., Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet to discuss three land use applications in Manhattan.
  • 10 a.m., Committee on Finance will meet regarding the Department of Finance's Office of the Taxpayer Advocate.
  • 11 a.m., Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will meet to discuss a land use application in Brooklyn
  • 1 p.m., Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet to discuss another land use application in Brooklyn

Thursday at the New York State Legislature: the Assembly Standing Committee on Health, Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health, and Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities will hold a joint public hearing regarding Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment and Services. "The Committees are seeking oral and written testimony from patients and their families, clinicians, service providers, and the Department on topics including the incidence, severity and consequences of TBI; treatment and service appropriateness and availability, including the rights of patients sent out-of-state; and issues relating to the transition of the TBI Waiver program to managed care."

At 9 a.m. Thursday New York State Assembly Members Latoya Joyner and Marcos Crespo will kick off "Let's Put Our Cities on the Map," sponsored and hosted by Google at the Bronx Museum of Arts, which will offer free counseling for small businesses on how to reach local customer bases, specifically by using "SmartLogic" online tools.

"The next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be held on Thursday, October 8 at 10:00 AM."

At 5 p.m. Thursday, EmblemHealth and LaborPress will honor 12 labor union members, from eight different labor unions, for their remarkable contributions to the labor communities at the fourth annual "Heroes of Labor Awards". EmblemHealth has invited many city elected officials to speak, several are expected.

At 6 p.m. Thursday in Washington, D.C., the Brennan Center for Justice and Vox will hold "The Politics of Participation: Building an Engaged Citizenry for Millennials and Beyond," including City Council Member Eric Ulrich. It is billed as "a candid conversation about what the shifting demographic landscape means for grassroots movements, political action, and civic engagement; how can we shape our democracy into one that is truly representative of the people being governed?"

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the Brooklyn Historical Society will hold "The Changing Face of Activism," which will explore the historical progression of activism from the 1960s desegregation movement to the present day Black Lives Matter movement. Moderated by Alethia Jones, a leader of 1199 SEIU, the panel will feature activist Barbara Smith; Joo-Hyun Kang of Communities United for Police Reform; and Jose Lopez, Lead Organizer at Make the Road NY and member of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

At 8:15 p.m. Thursday, Dan Abrams of ABC News will talk with Ray Kelly, the longest-serving NYPD Commissioner, at the 92nd Street Y. Kelly will hold a book signing for his new memoir Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City, after his talk with Mr. Abrams.

Thursday's City Council Participatory Budgeting events:

  • CM Steve Levin (District 33, Brooklyn) 5 pm
  • CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 pm
  • CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 pm
  • CM Karen Koslowitz (District 29, Queens) 7 pm
  • CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 8 pm

Friday and the weekend
Friday at 8:15 a.m., NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton will speak at New York Law School, as part of the CityLaw breakfast series.

Weekend participatory budgeting:

  • Friday, CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 1 pm.
  • Saturday, CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), time TBA.
  • Sunday, CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), time TBA.

*Note: we'll publish our next 'Week Ahead' on Monday, October 13 given the Columbus Day holiday

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

***
by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 28


New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

In its post-Pope Francis world, will New York politics take heed of the pontiff's words and be a place of more cooperation, compassion, and grace?

The best place to look, of course, will be the relationship between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo. The two powerful New York Democrats embraced and chatted face-to-face while awaiting Pope Francis on Thursday of last week. Perhaps being in the pope's presence will move the two to put aside old differences and work together for the good of the people of New York. Case in point: MTA funding, where, quite seriously, lives are at stake as subways run overcrowded and needed repairs go untended to.

Speaking of the governor, Cuomo gave a stirring euology at the Saturday funeral of his former aide, Carey Gabay, who was killed by gunfire in Brooklyn. Cuomo included a call for federal gun regulations in his speech and said that Democrats must approach the issue like those on the right approach their agenda.

Cuomo's public schedule lists no events for Monday as of Sunday evening. Mayor de Blasio was in Connecticut Saturday to Sunday, presumably visiting his son Dante, who is a freshman at Yale. After a week in which de Blasio was very focused on Pope Francis' visit and tying his own agenda to the pope's messages on inequality, de Blasio starts his week making another announcement regarding his battle against homelessness. The mayor will hold a 2:30 p.m. press conference to make an announcement about "homelessness prevention," according to his public schedule. On Friday, the mayor is expected to speak at an event in Washington, D.C. - see below for details.

It is a slow week at the City Council this week in terms of committee hearings, though there is a full-body Stated Meeting on Thursday afternoon, at which new bills will be introduced and some previously-heard bills passed through and sent to the mayor's desk. [Read our report on a new bill, the Grocery Worker Retention Act, which is controversial and just had its first committee hearing]

And, President Obama starts the week in New York City, along with many other world leaders - Obama spoke at the United Nations on Sunday; on Monday he will again speak to representatives of many other countries and hold private meetings.

As always, there's a great deal happening all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
At 9 a.m. Monday on the steps of City Hall, there will be a press conference in support of Planned Parenthood funding, featuring several elected officials and advocates such as "Assemblyman Keith Wright, Congressman Charles Rangel, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Zenaida Mendez, Now-NYS, Sharon Nelson, President of National Political Women's Caucus, NYC Chapter," and "Stakeholders and Concerned Citizens" - according to AM Wright's office.

Monday at 11 a.m., members of the New York City Council and other elected officials, including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, will issue a public proclamation on the steps of City Hall, honoring Ethel Rosenberg on what would have been her 100th birthday.

Also at 11 a.m. Monday, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña hosts a roundtable for "ethnic and community media" at Tweed.

At 11:30 a.m. Monday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, former Environmental Committee Chair Donovan Richards, and other Council members will gather at Green City Force in Brooklyn for a press conference to announce a "new funding initiative for Greener NYC."

On Monday in the State Legislature:

  • At 11 a.m. the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation will hold a public hearing to "examine what steps can be taken to preserve Plum Island as an open space in light of the pending sale."
  • At 6 p.m. the Senate Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities will hold a public hearing regarding "The future of sheltered workshops in New York State for families and individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities."

Monday at noon, Comptroller Scott Stringer will appear on BK Live, via BRIC TV.

Also at noon at Brooklyn Borough Hall, BP Eric Adams "will practice yoga with students from PS 196 Ten Eyck in East Williamsburg as part of his second annual celebration of National Yoga Month, a daylong gathering in Brooklyn Borough Hall featuring classes and demonstrations of yoga and related holistic living disciplines, such as meditation and tai chi. Prior to the yoga demonstration, Borough President Adams will join local practitioners to speak about the importance of inner wellness to the health of Brooklynites."

Monday afternoon in the Bronx: "South Bronx Rising Together, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and dozens of school and community stakeholders" will mark Attendance Awareness Month and commit to ending chronic student absence in the heart of the South Bronx.

At 5:30 p.m. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Members Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and Carlos Menchaca, the New York City Council Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus, and the New York City Council will host a New York City Celebration of 194 years of Mexican Independence.

At 7 p.m. Citizen Preparedness Corps Training Program, which trains citizens to be ready to react in case of natural disasters, will be held in Queens, sponsored by the governor's office, Congressional Rep. Grace Meng; Borough President Melinda Katz; State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky; Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi and City Council Member Karen Koslowitz.

On Monday evening, it's Community Voices Heard's 20th Annual Honorable Shirley Chisholm Lights of Freedom Awards Celebration. Public Advocate James and other elected officials are expected.

Monday's City Council Participatory Budgeting events:

  • CM Ritchie Torres (District 15, Bronx) time TBA
  • CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens), 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn), 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (District 21, Queens), 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens), 6:30p.m.

Tuesday
Tuesday Mayor de Blasio and Fred Wilson, Founder and Chairman of CSNYC, will appear live on CNBC's Squawk Box at 6:50 a.m. to discuss Computer Science for All. After, at about 10 a.m., the mayor will testify at Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman's public hearing on civil legal services.

Tuesday starting at 8 a.m., City & State NY is hosting "Housing Health Equity," presented by NYC Smoke Free at New York Law School. The forum will "discuss strategies to address NYC's tobacco-related health disparities as well as efforts to house health equity with smoke-free housing." Keynote remarks will be made by Assemblymember Felix Ortiz; the event will feature an interview with city Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett and a panel discussion including City Council Member Donovan Richards.

At 8:15 a.m. the Manhattan Institute will host the fifth annual Proxy Monitor event, which will feature an interview of city Comptroller Scott Stringer, followed by a panel discussion.

At 8:30 a.m. "join the Municipal Art Society of New York and the NYC Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency for a comprehensive discussion about ongoing and upcoming efforts to build resilience in New York City!" The event will feature conversation about the City's Phase 2 application for the National Disaster Resilience Competition. The event will include several speakers, such as Amy Chester of Rebuild by Design; Kate Dineen of the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery; Rob Freudenberg from the Regional Plan Association; Lisa Bova Hiatt from the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery; Mary Rowe of Municipal Art Society; and Daniel A. Zarrilli of the NYC Office of Recovery and Resiliency.

At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Speaker Mark-Viverito will be at the Apollo Theater for Glamour Magazine's "A Global Conversation on the Power of Educating Adolescent Girls" on a panel with First Lady Michelle Obama, former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and actress Charlize Theron.

At noon at Foley Square, Mark-Viverito will participate in "Planned Parenthood's Pink Out Day Rally to support reproductive health access for all New Yorkers." Many other elected officials and advocates are expected.

At noon as well, at City Hall, "City Council Members Vanessa L. Gibson and Corey Johnson will join community groups, education activists, and fellow Council Members to call for passage of vital amendments to the Student Safety Act. The updated Act will strengthen transparency and data collection on school discipline issues, including incidents between students and police. A vote on the Act is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, September 30th. These much needed amendments will increase transparency and strengthen data collection to help the City further advance an approach to school discipline that is grounded in creating safe and supportive schools, while respecting the dignity of all students, and keeping students in school."

Also Tuesday at noon at the Manhattan Borough President's office, a press conference at which "Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, and civil rights attorney Norman Siegel will unveil a new report with recommendations for improving police-community relations in New York City...The report's findings are based on feedback gathered from over a thousand New Yorkers at a series of town halls and digital dialogues in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The announcement, which will highlight key proposals outlined in the report, comes following a number of recent headlines addressing public safety and proper policing practices citywide."

At 6 p.m. Tuesday: WE ACT's 2015 gala will honor Luis Acosta, Founder and President of El Puente; Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network; James S. Hoyte, Counsel of ADS Ventures; Sarah Martin, WE ACT and a NYC recycling activist; Denise Scott, Executive VP for Programs at LISC; and Edison Severino, Business Manager of LIUNA Local 78; for their achievements in engaging a larger demographic with environmental problems on the rise in New York and the world.

Also at 6 p.m. Tuesday, the city's Panel for Educational Policy will meet on Staten Island.

Also at 6 p.m. Tuesday, City Council Member Laurie Cumbo is hosting a community presentation from the Department of City Planning on two rezoning proposals: "Zoning for Quality and Affordability" and "Mandatory Inclusionary Housing."

At 7 p.m. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will hold a small business roundtable discussion, where East Village small business owners can speak about challenges they face, informing elected officials, city, state & federal agencies, and small business stakeholders.

Tuesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting events:

  • CM Andrew Cohen (District 11, Bronx), 7 p.m.
  • CM Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (District 21, Queens), 7p.m.
  • CM Mark Levine (District 7, Manhattan), 6 p.m.
  • CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens), 6p.m.

Wednesday
Wednesday morning, Crain’s New York Business will hold a forum with Republican Senator Majority Leader John Flanagan. Flanagan will discuss the Senate majority’s top priorities and the de Blasio administration’s Albany agenda.

At 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Manhattan Institute hosts “Data and Education: Can new tools empower parents and improve schools?” The event will begin with a panel and Q&A moderated by Naomi Nix, Senior Reporter, The Seventy Four. SchoolGrades.org will give a presentation at the end of the conference.

On Wednesday, Families for Excellent Schools is planning a morning rally at Cadman Plaza, march across the Brooklyn Bridge, and 12:30 p.m. press conference at City Hall “to demand equal opportunity in our schools.” The pro-charter school organization is expected to demand "bold" action from Mayor de Blasio.

At the City Council on Wednesday:

  • 10 a.m. Committee on Finance will meet to discuss several changes that would allow certain organizations to receive funding in the Expense Budget.
  • 1:30 p.m. The City Council Stated Meeting, as always, prefaced by the pre-stated press conference led by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito at 12:30.

At 12 p.m. The Center for NYC Neighborhoods will hold a discussion regarding “The Future of Affordable Homeownership in NYC” at New York Law School, with “specialists in the fields of housing, finance, academia, government, and more to talk about what challenges New York City homeowners are facing and hear about new and innovative ways we can help keep working families in New York.”

At 6 p.m., VOCAL New York and the recently launched SIF NYC campaign will hold a town hall on rising homelessness and the problem of drug abuse, proposing an alternative to Public Injection, and supporting Supervised Injection Facilities.

At 7 p.m. Take Back NYC will host a small business forum, advocating for legislation that would stop unreasonable rent increases and unfair leases to small businesses by landlords. City Council Member Annabel Palma will deliver opening remarks.

Also at 7 p.m., BetaNYC will hold a “Civic Hack Night” at Civic Hall - a weekly initiative that allows technologists, designers, developers, data scientists, map makers, and activists to gather and to work on “civic technologies” to improve the city together.

On Wednesday evening, Comptroller Stringer hosts a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.

Wednesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting events:

  • CM Costa Constantinides (District 22, Queens), 7 p.m.
  • CM Robert Cornegy (District 36, Brooklyn), 7 p.m.
  • CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens), 6:30 p.m.,
  • CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan), 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Brad Lander (District 39, Brooklyn), 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx), 4p.m.
  • CM I. Daneek Miller (District 27, Queens), 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens), 6:30p.m.
  • CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan), 6 p.m.

Thursday
On Thursday, starting at 9 a.m., the fifth annual "New York State Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise Forum: The State of Business Opportunities" will commence in Albany, as announced by Governor Cuomo. Offering participation in Workshops, Seminars, Exhibitions and opportunities to meet New York's top public and private sector leaders and procurement decision makers, the event will last until Friday 3 p.m.

At 10:30 a.m. Thursday Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a public land use hearing.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Museum of the City of New York: Kendall Fells, Organizing Director of Fight for $15, will join Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times reporter; Jessamyn Rodriguez, Founder and CEO of Hot Bread Kitchen; Dorian Warren, political analyst and MSNBC host for a discussion titled "The New New York Activists: Living City, Living Wage." Georgia Levenson Keohane, Senior Fellow at New America, will moderate.

Thursday's City Council Participatory Budgeting events:

  • CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan), 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Karen Koslowitz (District 29, Queens), 7 p.m.
  • CM Donovan Richards (District 31, Queens) time TBA
  • CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan), 6 p.m.
  • CM Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan), 6 p.m.
  • CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens), 6 p.m.
  • CM Jumaane D. Williams (District 45, Brooklyn), 6:30p.m.

Friday and the weekend
The governor's "Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise Forum" continues in Albany on Friday.

"On Friday, October 2, 2015 American Family Voices will bring together representatives of the business community and leaders in the national progressive movement. Sessions of the conference will explore shared policy priorities and how we may work together to collaborate on a legislative agenda, support businesses with progressive values, and build state level infrastructure. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will address the conference during the morning session."

On Saturday at 10 a.m. as part of the New Yorker Festival, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson; Shawn Armbrust, executive director of Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project; Patrick Quinn, the Forty First Governor of Illinois; and Tyrone Hood, a citizen who spent twenty one years in prison for a wrongful conviction, will speak on a panel: "Justice Delayed: Guilty Until Proven Innocent." Nicholas Schmidle, New Yorker staff writer, will moderate the discussion.

And a participatory budgeting event on Saturday is being held by CM Antonio Reynoso, at 1 p.m. 

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

***
by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

Cuomo Takes Additional Executive Action on Criminal Justice


Cuomo Schneiderman David Heastie

Gov. Cuomo, middle, with Alphonso David, to the governor's right (Kevin P. Coughlin)


The administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo has begun to implement a series of reforms designed to make it easier for former inmates to win employment, access health care systems, and find housing upon re-entering society.

The administration is moving on 12 recommendations put forward by the governor's Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration, a body made up of 28 criminal justice experts including Alphonso David, counsel to the governor; Elizabeth Glazer, director of the New York City Office of Criminal Justice; Soffiyah Elijah, executive director of Correctional Association of New York; and Glenn Martin, head of Just Leadership USA.

Gov. Cuomo has taken a series of executive actions to address criminal justice reform issues this summer; actions that include naming Attorney General Eric Schneiderman as special prosecutor to investigate police killings of unarmed individuals and calling for the removal of 16- and 17-year-olds from adult prisons.

Cuomo has said that he is battling the "perception" of bias in New York's criminal justice system. "When a community doesn't have trust for the fairness of the criminal justice system, it creates anarchy," Cuomo said in July before signing the executive order giving Schneiderman the special prosecutor role.

Speaking with Gotham Gazette, Alphonso David said that the administration is also trying to battle the view held by some former inmates that the state and society have written them off.

"This is a perception issue that we all have to deal with," said David. "If the men and women who have served their time in prison and are released believe there are no opportunities, and unfortunately have experiences that feed that perception - that employers are not interested in employing them; that there are no housing opportunities for shelter; that there are absolutely no services or resources for support - then what we are doing is saying the only option for them is crime. We have to change that perception. Creating opportunities benefits jobseekers, saves taxpayer dollars, and supports public safety."

Several of the actions taken by the administration are designed to lower the impact having a previous conviction has on securing state-funded housing, employment with the state, and occupational licenses.

Another already-enacted change makes it easier for inmates to obtain state identification from the Department of Motor Vehicles once they are released from prison. Advocates say state ID is critical to obtaining services and employment and yet, according to state officials, only 29 percent of people released from state facilities had obtained such ID six months after their release.

Another reform is designed to allow inmates to save money they are sent by relatives so they have some financial stability upon release. Prior to this reform money inmates received went primarily to paying off fines they had incurred. However, paying restitution will remain a priority for any money inmates receive.

The state has also made the formerly incarcerated a focus of supportive housing initiatives and issued guidelines for the construction and operation of new supportive housing for mentally ill inmates returning to New York City. The Cuomo administration has faced mounting criticism from advocates and elected officials, though, for not providing what they see as adequate funding for supportive housing in the city.

The Department of Health and Department of Corrections will team up to enroll departing inmates in Medicaid. Many inmates suffer from hypertension and diabetes and, upon release from prison, frequently seek treatment at emergency rooms rather than regularly seeing a doctor. State officials say enrolling former inmates in Medicaid will better their outcomes and save the state money.

Finally, the state has done away with red tape that has historically made it extremely difficult for returning inmates to live with their spouses and partners even when there was no history of domestic violence. Members of the re-entry council say that the odds of an inmate committing another crime are greatly reduced when they return to live close to their families.

State Senator Gustavo Rivera, a Bronx Democrat who has worked closely with a number of the council members, praised the administration's fast implementation of the recommendations. "These recommendations will tear down barriers that the formerly incarcerated face in finding employment and housing," Rivera told Gotham Gazette. "I'm glad to see these recommendations and to see the governor implement them so quickly."

Rivera said he hopes to see the re-entry council continue its work and noted that he is carrying two bills that could potentially be addressed by the council. One bill would require that the Department of Corrections considers the location of an inmate's family when deciding where they will serve their sentences, as a means to reduce recidivism by keeping inmates as close to home as possible. Rivera is also advocating the state provide college education for inmates, something the Cuomo administration went to bat for in 2014 only to abandon after facing intense political backlash.

"We need both of these things," said Rivera. "Not just because they are the morally correct things to do, but because both will reduce recidivism and save the state money."

Rivera said the council's work has sparked more conversations on the issues and has assisted the legislature in deciding what it should focus on in terms of criminal justice issues. "I hope they continue the conversation because it helps draw the line as far as what can be done by the executive and what needs to be done legislatively," Rivera said.

David, Cuomo's counsel, said that the council will be continuing its work with a focus on how to involve the federal government in the reentry conversation, and on improving access to education and housing. That does not mean, however, that the council will ignore issues like college for inmates, or sentencing issues. An administration official told Gotham Gazette that while the council's focus is on issues former inmates face they will not "ignore opportunities that exist within the prison system."

David said he is happy to hear that the council's work has had an impact on some members of the legislature as there will likely be more criminal justice issues that require legislative action next year. "I do hope these actions advance policies and incentivize the legislature to take actions to improve the lives of all New Yorkers and advance new legislation," David said.

Members of the council say they are ready to get back to work.

"We accomplished our goals this year but our work is far from over," said Council Chair Rossana Rosado in a statement. "As we look to address many more of the systemic barriers encountered in re-entry, we will not lose sight of New York's role as a leader in combating the devastating impact and stigma of second class citizenship that so many of our fellow New Yorkers face, especially men of color."

***
by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette
@DavidHowardKing

The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 21


New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

THE POPE IS COMING: Pope Francis is coming to New York City at the end of the week, with public events on Thursday and Friday. The Pope's visit to the city will coincide with the UN General Assembly, at which he will speak, and will include mass at Madison Square Garden on Friday after a procession through Central Park, a visit to a school in East Harlem, and a ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Significance, attention, security, and traffic will all be heavy.

TAKING ON K-2: There's a new drug crippling New Yorkers and it is "K-2" or "synthetic marijuana" (though it is not actually a form of marijuana) and city officials are working to quickly combat what some have said could lead to a new crack epidemic. Mayor de Blasio announced a multi-agency strategy last week and the City Council has seen several bills introduced to up regulation and enforcement. The Council will hold a hearing Monday on the bills, which have been introduced by Council Member Dan Garodnick, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and others.

TRACKING DE BLASIO: The mayor gave a big education speech on Wednesday last week and followed it up with efforts to spread the word about his plans, including an interview with the Daily News Editorial Board and another appearance on WNYC. De Blasio has said he will be taking his message to New Yorkers more and more in the coming weeks as he ramps up efforts to improve his public approval numbers and make sure that his programs and plans are known.

De Blasio had no public events Saturday. On Sunday, the mayor appeared on This Week on ABC, delivered remarks to the congregation at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, and marched in and deliver remarks at the African American Day Parade in Harlem.

On Monday, de Blasio is set to hold a noon press conference to discuss the upcoming papal visit. De Blasio is also meeting privately with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and former tennis star James Blake regarding NYPD reforms and the recent incident in which Blake was mistakenly arrested by an NYPD officer and handled roughly in the process.

We also know that on Thursday evening, de Blasio is expected to speak at an event at The New School: "to engage with world-leading Mayors and local government representatives as they pledge their support for the United Nations' new Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in their cities and commit to implementing the new urban agenda between now and 2030."

AS FOR THE GOVERNOR: Governor Cuomo also participates in events related to the African-American Day Parade on Sunday. His remarks Sunday morning focused on calling for federal action on gun regulations and raising the minimum wage. Cuomo was asked about recents reports that federal prosecutors are investigating his Buffalo Billion program around the contracting process - the governor maintains he knows nothing about the investigation other than what he reads in the newspaper and downplays subpoenas being issued, saying that as Attorney General he used to issue many as part of fact-finding, but that does not mean there's been criminal behavior.

On Monday, Cuomo has no public events scheduled.

See below for more details about Monday and the rest of a very busy week in New York politics in our day-by-day rundown...

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
At the City Council on Monday:

  • 10 a.m. the Committee on Consumer Affairs in conjunction with the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services, Committee on Health, Committee on Public Safety, Committee on Aging  will meet to discuss “The Proliferation of Illegal Synthetic Cannabinoids: Health Impacts and Enforcement.” The bill would suspend cigarette dealer licenses for any “dealer who violates the provisions of the proposed synthetic drug prohibition” and “create a mandatory revocation for a second violation of such proposed prohibition.” Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will give opening remarks.
  • 11 a.m. the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will meet to discuss three land use applications for Landmarks, Corbin Building, 11 John St, Manhattan , Landmarks, Stonewall Inn, 51-53 Christopher St, Manhattan , Landmarks, Riverside-West End Historic District Extension II, Manhattan.
  • 1 p.m. The Committee on Civil Rights will meet to hear the introduction of four initiatives. The first bill, presented by Council Member Deborah L. Rose, prohibits “employment discrimination based on an individual’s actual or perceived status as a caregiver.” The following three propose expansions on the New York City Human Rights Law. Rose will also introduce one of these bills, as she seeks to expand the definition of “employer under the human rights law to provide protections for domestic workers.” She will be joined by Council Members Inez D. Barron and Brad S. Lander who will introduce legislation to clarify “reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities,”  “expand the right to truthful information” and to create “an express cause of action for employers and principals whose rights are violated by conduct to which their employees or agents are subjected.”

At 9 a.m. Monday the New York State Department of Health will hold one in a series of “From Blueprint to Action: Ending the Epidemic - New York Statewide Regional Discussions,” to address the problem of HIV/AIDS in New York State. Monday’s event, on the Upper West Side, will provide information about HIV/AIDS and related services, include opportunities for public input, and offer a Call to Action to end the epidemic by 2020.

At 10:30 a.m. Monday, "The New York State Democratic Committee will hold its Fall business meeting on Monday, September 21st in New York City."

Monday on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will appear to discuss “the film industry’s expansion into the Bronx, with several television shows being shot in the borough as of late and Silvercup Studios, home to shows such as "Girls"  and "30 Rock," spending $35 million to convert a warehouse in Port Morris to a film and television production complex.”

At 11 a.m. Monday in Brooklyn, "Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, joined by citywide elected officials, residents, and community organizations will gather at the Raymond V. Ingersoll Houses on Monday to make a public appeal for community cooperation to aid in NYPD apprehension of suspect(s) involved in Sunday's triple homicide." Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James are set to attend.

At noon in downtown Brooklyn, "At a major news event organized by the Real Affordability for All campaign, Mayor de Blasio will be pressured to revise his rezoning plan for East New York, the South Bronx, and other neighborhoods to ensure that current low-income residents have access to real affordable housing and good-paying union construction jobs...This event comes as the public land review process is set to begin Monday for the rezoning of East New York and amid growing concern that de Blasio's plan will accelerate gentrification and displacement in low-income communities of color, leaving behind too many vulnerable New Yorkers."

Also at noon, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito will moderate the Q&A session with Chelsea Clinton at the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee Annual Fall Luncheon.

At 1 p.m. in the Bronx, “New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye will announce the launch of "MyNYCHA," a new mobile application for residents to make repair requests. With the free app, residents can create, schedule, and manage work tickets via their mobile devices (smartphones or tablets). They can also subscribe to alerts for outages in their developments (NYCHA Alerts) and view inspection appointments.”

“Freelancers across New York City gather on Monday, September 21st for the #FreelanceIsntFree Campaign Launch and Brooklyn Town Hall Meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall.” The event will be led by Sara Horowitz, Founder of Freelancers Union, Brooklyn City Council Members including Brad Lander, and “New York City’s finest freelancers to talk about the issue and ways we can make a change.”

At 6:30 p.m. The New School’s Milano School is set to host Politics & Policy Series: Examination of Voting Rights in 2016 US Election at 6:30 p.m. Ari Berman of the Nation will read from his book Give Us the Ballot. Following a brief reading, New School urban policy professor Jeff Smith will moderate a conversation with Berman, New York Times national political correspondent Maggie Haberman, and Fordham political science professor Christina Greer.

On a similar note, at 7 p.m. Monday The New York City Campaign Finance Board will host its National Voter Registration Day Kick-Off, part of a non-partisan effort to register all eligible citizens nationwide. Lisa Evers of Fox 5 News and Hot 97 will discuss voting rights and the immigrant vote with panelists Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of National Urban League; L. Joy Williams, President of the Brooklyn NAACP; Steven Choi, Executive Director of the NY Immigration Coalition; and Jaime Estades, Director of Latino Leadership Institute, voting rights and the immigrant vote in 2016. Crystal Valentine, the 2015 Youth Poet Laureate, will perform after the discussion.

Also at 7 p.m., Daniel A. Zarrilli, Director of the city’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, invites the public to join his office at the second public hearing regarding an update on Lower Manhattan resiliency efforts.  The discussion will touch on issues of coastal protection, stormwater management and resiliency upgrades for affordable housing developments. The draft for the Resiliency Update is available for review online at nyc.gov/cdbg.

"On Monday, September 21, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will be the guest on the 1,000th episode of "BronxTalk," hosted by Gary Axelbank and airing on Bronxnet. The show, which airs at 9 p.m., will be streamed live at www.bronxnet.org, and can be viewed in The Bronx on Cablevision channel 67 or Verizon FiOS channel 33."

City Council Participatory Budgeting events Monday, September 21:

  • CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 1:30 p.m.
  • Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 p.m.
  • CM Laurie Cumbo (District 35, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Steven Levin (District 33, Brooklyn) 6:30
  • CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Andrew Cohen (District 11, Bronx) 7 p.m.
  • CM Costa Constantides (District 22, Queens) 7 p.m. 

Tuesday
Tuesday morning NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton will speak at an Assocation for a Better New York (ABNY) breakfast event. He will discuss “the NYPD’s efforts to address public safety and quality of life conditions in New York.”

At 9:30 a.m. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a meeting at Queens Borough Hall, which “focuses on city service delivery and agency responsiveness across the borough and hears presentations on these issues from City officials and others.”

At the City Council on Tuesday:

  • 10 a.m. The Committee on Contracts will meet with the Committee on Public Housing to examine “the Need for Contracting Accountability and Transparency at NYCHA in Light of Leaking Roofs at King Towers”
  • 10 a.m. The Committee on General Welfare will conduct a “Review of HRA’s Employment Plan Concept Papers.”
  • 10 a.m. The Committee on Environmental Protection will discuss “Use of geothermal energy in New York City.”
  • 10 a.m. The Committee on Higher Education will meet to discuss, “Higher Education Access for Incarcerated and Recently Incarcerated Individuals.” and  “Support of President Barack Obama’s Second Chance Pell Pilot Program”

Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day. Over the next several months drives will be held to increase awareness about the importance of voting. The list of the events can be found on this calendar. "Only 81% of NYC's eligible voting age population is registered to vote, and just 20% of eligible voters actually voted in 2014. NVRD is about increasing those numbers and invigorating the voting population. Our democracy, after all, is only as strong as its participants.”

On Tuesday, "Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., the New York State Department of Labor and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation will co-host a Bronx Job Fair."

At 4:30 p.m. Tuesday the New York State Preparedness Corps Training Program will host a two hour long event intended to provide residents with “the tools and resources to prepare for any type of disaster” and to “respond accordingly and recover as quickly as possible to pre-disaster conditions.” The program is sponsored by Gov. Cuomo, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Queens BP Melinda Katz, State Senator James Sanders Jr. and City Councilman Donovan Richards.

City Council Participatory Budgeting events Tuesday, September 22:

  • CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.
  • Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 p.m.
  • Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday
Wednesday looks slower in New York City as many participate in the Yom Kippur holiday. Other events can, of course, pop up last-minute.

City Council Participatory Budgeting events Wednesday, September 23:

  • Carlos Menchaca (Distict 38, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.
  • I. Daneek Miller (District 27, Queens) 7 p.m.

Thursday
At 8 a.m. Thursday, City & State NY will hold its 4th Annual "On Diversity" event featuring leaders in government, business, and advocacy to discuss the social and economic advantages of promoting diversity in both the public and private sectors. Maya Wiley, Counsel to the Mayor, will make keynote remarks. Panels will include R. Fenimore Fisher, Chief Diversity and EEO Officer at the New York City DCAS; Carra Wallace, Chief Diversity Officer at the Office of the NYC Comptroller; Charissa Fernandez, Executive Director of Teach for America; Bertha Lewis, Founder and President of The Black Institute; Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of MWBEs; and Assemblymember Michael Blake, Chair at the Subcommittee on Mitchell-Lama.

At 10 a.m. Thursday the New York City Campaign Finance Board will hold its next public meeting.

At 10 a.m. the New York State Assembly will have a public hearing regarding child poverty in the NY state. New York currently has “some of the highest levels of child poverty in the country.”

At about 5 p.m. Thursday Pope Francis will arrive at JFK airport. It will be his first visit to New York and the first Papal visit since 2008. At 6:45 p.m. Pope Francis will hold an evening prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. [On Friday the Pope will visit the United Nations, attend a multi-religious service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, visit Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, hold a mass at Madison Square Garden and have a historic procession through Central Park.]

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, a panel hosted by the New York City Bar Association: “New York City- Building Energy Benchmarking Law: Acting On the Results” will evaluate NYC’s landmark Local Law 84. The event is co-sponsored by the Bar’s Environmental Law Committee and chair Michael G. Mahoney in conjunction with the Sallan Foundation, the New York League of Conservation Voters, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School.

At 7 p.m., Cities Deliver Sustainable Development: Global Urban Leaders Endorse and Operationalize the SDGs will be hosted by Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) at the New School, in association with the Campaign for Urban SDG, the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments and the Tishman Environment and Design Center. Expected speakers include Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor of California; Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris; Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro; Xu Qin, Mayor of Shenzhen; Mpho Franklyn Parks Tau, Mayor of Johannesburg; Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of Istanbul; and Park Won-soon, Mayor of Seoul.

City Council Participatory Budgeting events Thursday, September 24:

  • CM Mark Levine (District 7, Manhattan) 5:30 p.m.
  • CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 p.m.
  • CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Julissa Ferreras (District 21, Queens) 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Andrew Cohen (District 11, Bronx) 7 p.m.

Friday and the weekend
At the City Council on Friday:

  • 10 a.m. Committee on Civil Service and Labor will meet to discuss two bills. The first “would require new grocery store owners to retain the previous owner’s staff for a transition period after a business is sold.” After the transition period, the new employer would also have to evaluate each employee and consider keeping them. The second bill seeks to “extend health insurance coverage to the surviving spouses, domestic partners and children of employees of the Sanitation Enforcement Division of the Department of Sanitation who died on or after July 29, 2015."
  • 10 a.m. the Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet to discuss three pieces of legislation. The first would require owners of buildings with over 50,000 gross square feet to file energy efficiency reports every five years. The second pushes “low energy building requirements for certain capital projects.” The bill would also require the Mayor to produce several reports that track and confirm capital project compliance with the law. The final bill would impose “green building standards for certain capital projects.”
  • 10 a.m. the Committee on Juvenile Justice will meet to examine “ACS’s Juvenile Offender Population.”
  • 11 a.m. Committee on Land Use will meet in the Committee Room in City Hall.
  • 1 p.m. the Committee on State and Federal Legislature will meet to pass resolutions on: Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act of 2015, Improving the Treatment of the U.S. Territories Under Federal Health Programs Act of 2015, and Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly known as the “Jones Act.”
  • 1 p.m. Committee on Small Business will meet to discuss two bills. The first “would require an employee within the Mayor’s Office For People With Disabilities to be designated as a small business accessibility coordinator, responsible for liaising with agencies involved in accessibility projects and for educating business owners and operators about their obligations under local, state, and federal law to make their businesses accessible to people with disabilities.” The second “would create a cause of action for harassment of small businesses and other non-residential tenants by landlords.”
  • 1 p.m. the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency will meet to discuss the Build It Back 2015 Update.

Friday will be a busy day for Pope Francis in New York City.

  • At 8:30 a.m. he is set to visit the United Nations and give an address to the UN General Assembly. His speech will concentrate on challenges that face humanity in the 21st century, such as sustainable development and climate change. He will also meet with UN officials.
  • At 11:30 a.m. the Pope will visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
  • Later, the Pope will pay a visit to an East Harlem School, Our Lady Queen of Angels, that has been providing elementary level education in the area for 120 years.
  • Then, in the late afternoon, Pope Francis will participate in a Central Park procession.
  • Lastly, at about 6 p.m., Pope Francis will hold mass at Madison Square Garden. He departs for Philadelphia on Saturday.

On Friday beginning at 9 a.m.: “NYC Media Lab's Annual Summit is a snapshot of the best thinking, projects, and talent in digital media from universities in NYC and beyond. This is an opportunity for media executives, technologists, and decision makers to explore interesting technologies and applications related to the future of media.” The event, being held at NYU, will include remarks from Maria Torres-Springer, head of the city’s Economic Development Corporation and Luis Castro of the Mayor's Office of Media & Entertainment.

At 8:30 a.m. Friday Crain’s New York Business is hosting an “Art & Culture Breakfast: The Next Generation of New York’s Cultural Leaders.

A City Council Participatory Budgeting event is being held Friday by CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) at 6 p.m.

On Saturday, there will be City Council Participatory Budgeting events held by CM I. Daneek Miller (District 27, Queens) at 1p.m. and CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) at 2 p.m.

On Sunday, Participatory Budgeting events are being held by:

  • CM Robert Carnegy (District 36, Brooklyn) 1p.m.
  • CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 9:45 a.m.
  • CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 6 p.m.

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

***
by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 14


New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

  • Where will the heated discussion over MTA funding go?
  • What's next in the James Blake-NYPD saga?
  • Is there any sense that Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo may figure out a truce and work together instead of being antagonists?
  • What bills will be introduced and passed at the City Council's first (of two) full-body Stated Meeting of the month, set for Thursday?

These are a few of the questions we're asking as a new week in New York politics dawns. Sunday saw plenty of politial action as Mayor Bill de Blasio and other elected officials held a ribbon cutting for the new 7-train extension to the far west side of Manhattan.

The event saw de Blasio and others praise former Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the project's vision (and funding), though Bloomberg was not in attendance. It also was the latest theater for the ongoing conflict over the MTA capital plan and whether the state can secure more funding from the city. De Blasio insists that the city is paying its fair share, while the MTA and Governor Cuomo continue to say the city must put billions more into the plan. The 7-extension opening comes just a couple of days after a G-train derailment, which brough the system's need for repair into stark relief yet again. What's next?

On Saturday, de Blasio, Cuomo, and most other major New York political figures marched in the Central Labor Council's 2015 New York City Labor Day Parade. Cuomo and de Blasio did not appear together, though they did speak in person on Friday at a September 11th commemoration.

On Monday, at 12:30 p.m., de Blasio will take part in a multi-agency preparedness excercise for the papal visit. One Police Plaza will host a 3 p.m. press conference on the papal visit featuring de Blasio, Bratton and members of the Secret Service and FBI.

Cuomo has no events announced as of yet. 

As tense as this week may or may not be, there will be some levity in city politics Thursday night at the annual de Blasio administration-City Council softball game.

In terms of hearings and events, it's a slow start to the week, but then things get quite busy - read our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
Monday will likely be a fairly quiet day in New York City as Rosh Hashanah is observed.

City Council member Participatory Budgeting meeting to be held on Monday:
7 p.m., Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens)

[Read our recent report on one Council member, Brad Lander, who has launched a project tracker so that constituents can better see how money is getting spent and whether projects are progressing - and it is an interactive mapping project that Lander hopes will be a model for the city]

Tuesday
At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Joseph S. Murphy Institute/CUNY will hold "Unions, Workers and the Democratic Party," a panel exploring how to most effectively influence political candidates with financial contributions from labor organizations. Participants will include Basil Smikle, Executive Director of the New York State Democratic Party; Juan Gonzalez, columnist for Daily News and co-host of Democracy Now!; Larry Cohen, former President of Communications Workers of America; and Randy Weingarten of President of the American Federation of Teachers.

At Civic Hall Tuesday night, "Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman will make remarks at an event, hosted by NY Tech Meetup, entitled "Tech and Government Featuring NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman"...The Attorney General's remarks will be followed by a panel of representatives from his office, moderated by Andrew Rasiej, Chairman of NY Tech Meetup. The panel will include: Lacey Keller, Director of Research and Analytics; Eric Stock, Chief of the Antitrust Bureau; Kathleen McGee, Chief of the Internet Bureau; and Tim Wu, Senior Enforcement Counsel and Special Advisor."

Wednesday
The Board of Regents will meet Wednesday to discuss a number of issues, including the recently reported 20% state standardized test opt-out movement and teacher evaluations.

At 10:30 a.m. at The Sagamore Resort on "scenic Lake George" the Business Council of New York State will commence its 2015 Annual Meeting. The conference will run through Friday and include "engaging speakers" and "incomparable access to business leaders and politicians." Notable speakers include Emmy Award winning journalist Campbell Brown (keynote); former Governor David Paterson; Bob Duffy, the President and CEO of the Rochester Business Alliance; former Assemblymember Michael Benjamin; and policy experts from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Cuomo administration, and the state Legislature. The governor has been invited to speak, but had not confirmed as of last week.

At the New York City Council on Wednesday:

  • 10 a.m., The Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet to discuss four bills. The first two mandate a stricter filing system for the Department of Buildings when dealing with restrictive covenants and applications for the construction of new buildings or the alteration of existing ones. The latter two bills alter the rate of interest applied "by the Department of Finance to unpaid charges owed by landlords to the City for emergency repair work conducted by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development" and the filing fees for new buildings or alterations.
  • 10 a.m., The Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management will meet to discuss legislation dealing with waste disposal policy. More specifically, the proposed bills would increase fines for littering and depositing residential or commercial waste into public receptacles, require "food and beverage establishments" to clean up any liquid waste their trash left on the sidewalk, and order special trashcans for rodent infested buildings.
  • 11 a.m., The Committee on Environmental Protection will continue discussion from last week concerning a bill that would prohibit stores from propping their door(s) open when the air conditioning is on.
  • 1 p.m., the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations will meet to pass a resolution praising Pope Francis and "his lifelong pursuit of peace among all peoples" during his upcoming visit to NYC (which is set for the end of next week).
  • 2 p.m., the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services will assemble to make decisions on bills directing the Department of Correction to provide a list of all inmates waitlisted for placement or transfer to alternative housing, to expand its report on "enhanced supervision housing," to publish "their rules and regulations regarding the use of force by staff on inmates," to post quarterly reports detailing the visitation of incarcerated individuals, the department's grievance system, and the demographic of incarcerated individuals in city jails, and to create "an inmate bill of rights." Proposed legislation also requires "the office of criminal justice to post an annual report on bail and the criminal justice system."

City Council Participatory Budgeting meetings to be held on Wednesday:

  • 2:30 p.m. Laurie Cumbo (District 35, Brooklyn)
  • 6:30 p.m. Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens)
  • 7 p.m. Andrew Cohen (District 11, Bronx)
  • 7 p.m. Costa Constantinides (District 22, Queens)

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, "Hear from the NYPD executives, ask questions and get involved" at a Staten Island Community Forum on public safety. The event will be held at Ralph R. McKee Career & Technical Education High School.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Brooklyn Historical Society kicks off its fall public programming with the event "Why New York? Our Segregated Schools Epidemic." WNYC education reporter Beth Fertig will moderate a discussion about school segregatin and integration in New York. Participants will include Norm Fruchter, writer, scholar and Principal Associate of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform; Nikole Hannah-Jones, investigative reporter with The New York Times Magazine; Clara Hemphill, founder of insideschools.org; and Craig Gurian, Executive Director of the Anti-Discrimination Center.

Thursday
At 8 a.m. Thursday, New York State Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie "will present his priorities for New York State and reflect on his first session as speaker" at a breakfast hosted by the Association for a Better New York.

At 10 a.m. Thursday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will hold a "public hearing on Manhattan traffic congestion" to gain a full perspective on "all sources of traffic increases."

At The City Council on Thursday:

  • 10 a.m., the Committee on Finance will meet to consider a land use application for the Tremont Renaissance in the Bronx, and a resolution regarding the allocation of funding from the Expense Budget to "certain organizations."
  • 10:30 a.m. the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections will submits the names of three people to the City Council: Shampa Chanda, a resident of Queens, for appointment as a member of the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals, Helen Arteaga as a Council candidate for designation and subsequent appointment by the Mayor to the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation Board of Directors, and Arva R. Rice, candidate for re-appointment by the Council to the New York City Equal Employment Practices Commission.
  • 1:30 p.m., the City Council will have a full-body Stated Meeting, its first of two this month (the other is scheduled for 9/30). As always, this will be pre-faced by a pre-stated press conference led by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at City Hall.

City Council Participatory Budgeting meetings to be held on Thursday:

  • (time TBD) Donovan Richards (District 31, Queens)
  • 4 p.m., Mark Levine (District 7, Manhattan)
  • 6 p.m., Jimmy van Bramer (District 26, Queens)
  • 6:30 p.m., Steven Levine (District 33, Brooklyn)
  • 6:30 p.m., Carlos Menchaca (District 39, Brooklyn)
  • 7 p.m., Costa Constantinides (District 22, Queens)

At noon Thursday, Crain's New York Business is hosting its "50 Most Powerful Women in New York Celebratory Luncheon." The event will feature a panel discussion with Candace Beinecke, chair of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP; Katherine Farley, Senior Managing Director of Brazil and China and Global Corporate Marketing for Tishman Speyer; Alicia Glen, the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development for City of New York; and Liz Rodbell, the president of Hudson's Bay Company. Several elected and appointed officials including Glen, who is number one, are on the Crain's list.

At 5:30 p.m. the Museum of the City of New York will host a symposium, "Affordable Housing: What about the Future?" Susan Henshaw Jones, the Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum of the City of New York, and Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, will give opening remarks. Barney Frank, former Massachusetts Congressman, will follow with the keynote address. The last segment of the event will feature a discussion panel featuring John Banks, President, The Real Estate Board of New York , Rafael E. Cestero, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Community Preservation Corporation, Ron Moelis, CEO and Chairman of L+M Development Partners Inc. , Richard Roberts, Managing Director of Acquisitions of Red Stone Equity Partners LLC, Ismene Speliotis, Executive Director of Mutual Housing Association of New York (MHANY) and Saky Yakas, Partner at SLCE Architects. Sam Roberts, New York Times Urban Affairs Correspondent, will be the moderator.

The Contracts Committee of the Panel for Educational Policy will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Tweed Courthouse.

At 6 p.m. the CUNY School of Law Democrats will welcome New York City Public Advocate Letitia James as part of their "Ignite Justice! Speaker Series awards event." James will give a talk about her role in city government and how she uses the law as a vehicle for social justice and change. Take a look at our recent coverage of PA James and her approach to her position: Suing the Hand That Feeds You.

At 6:30 p.m. the Brooklyn Historical Society will host "How Brooklyn Works: Trash Pick-Up" with "Famed TED Talk presenter, author of Picking Up, and the New York City Department of Sanitation's anthropologist-in-residence, Robin Nagle." Nagle will present a brief overview of the history and structure of the DSNY and lead a discussion with a panel of DSNY sanitation workers.

At 7 p.m. former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, the longest serving police commissioner in New York City history, will hold a book signing on Staten Island. In his new memoir Vigilance: My Life Serving America Protecting its Empire City Former NYPD Commissioner Kelly gives an account of his nearly 50 years in law enforcement.

In the evening the City Council will square off with and the de Blasio administration a softball game at Richmond County Bank Ballpark. De Blasio and his crew will be looking for revenge after a 17-13 loss last year.

Friday and the weekend
On Friday at noon, the Manhattan Institute will host former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly for a book luncheon highlighting "Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting its Empire City."

At the City Council on Friday:

  • 10 a.m., the Committee on Women's Issues will meet with the Committee on Courts and Legal Services to hold an oversight hearing on the effectiveness of human trafficking intervention courts.
  • 12:30 the Committee on Waterfronts will meet for a tour of the Saw Mill Creek Mitigation Banks.
  • 1 p.m the Committee on Community Advancement will meet (agenda TBA)
  • 1 p.m. the Committee on Veterans will meet to consider a bill creating a taskforce to study veterans in the Criminal Justice System

Weekend City Council Participatory Budgeting meetings:

  • Friday at 6 p.m. by Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan)
  • Saturday at 10 a.m. by Robert Cornegy (District 36, Brooklyn)
  • Saturday at 6:30 p.m. by Ben Kallos (District 5, Manhattan)

On Sunday at 1 p.m. outside Gov. Cuomo's Manhattan office, Riders Alliance says: "We're heading to Governor Cuomo's NYC office to tell him to fix the subways--and we want you to join us! As you know, we've been calling for Gov. Cuomo to fix our trains and buses by funding the MTA Capital Plan. Our message is definitely getting across: after your "Subway Horror Stories," our #RideCuomoRide petition, and the Cardboard Cuomo subway tour, the Governor finally responded by pledging $7.3 billion toward the capital plan's budget gap."

[Read the latest in-depth reporting from Gotham Gazette]

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

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by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 8


New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

From the governor's office: "Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today [Monday] departed for Puerto Rico with a New York delegation that will discuss the Puerto Rican government's ongoing healthcare crisis and economic challenges. The Governor and the delegation will be meeting with Puerto Rican officials and will also be discussing the need for Washington to take action to help Puerto Rico." The trip is a quick one-night visit and the delegation includes, in part: New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito; Attorney General Eric Schneiderman; Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie; Assemblyman Marcos Crespo; Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz, Jr.; New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer; Congressman Charles Rangel; and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez.

Cuomo said on the plane to Puerto Rico that the island should be allowed to file bankruptcy and restructure its debt - the first time he has indicated a position. Cuomo has been criticized for the large campaign contributions he receives from finance industry leaders who hold Puerto Rican debt.

Noticeably absent from the trip is state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who reportedly received an invitation after the trip was announced. And, many have pointed out, of course, that Mayor Bill de Blasio is not on the trip - de Blasio's office said that he had not been invited, Cuomo said it didn't make sense to bring the mayor.

TRACKING DE BLASIO: Meanwhile, de Blasio went to Connecticut again on Friday, visiting with his son Dante, who is now a Yale freshman, for Dante's birthday. De Blasio returned to New York City, but did not have public events on Saturday or Sunday.

On Monday, de Blasio attended and gave remarks at the West Indian American Day Carnival Association Breakfast and then marched in the West Indian American Day Carnival Association Labor Day Parade. De Blasio and Cuomo did not interact at the parade, though both addressed the overnight shooting of a Cuomo administration official, Carey Gabay, who was the victim of a stray bullet in Brooklyn late Saturday night. After the parade Monday, de Blasio visited the hospital where Gabay is being treated. Cuomo also visited with Gabay's family at the hospital.

Coming up: on Tuesday morning on MSNBC: "In a rare joint interview, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife, First Lady Chirlane McCray, will appear on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." The live in-studio interview is on Tuesday, September 8 during the 7 a.m. ET hour of "Morning Joe." They will discuss education, crime, homelessness, mental health and the 2016 presidential race." Also on Tuesday, in the evening, the mayor will deliver remarks at the 2015 West Indian American and Caribbean American Heritage Reception, and he will appear in a taped interview on Telemundo in which he'll discuss Pope Francis' upcoming visit to New York.

On Thursday afternoon at Pace University, de Blasio will appear at an event being hosted by his national progressive group, The Progressive Agenda: "Hedge Fund Billionaires vs. Kindergarten Teachers: Whose side are you on?"

OTHERWISE: It's back-to-school week for the large majority of New York City students, even though some at charter schools have already begun the school year. Keep an eye out for major themes of this educational year: how does year two of de Blasio's pre-K program go now that 70,000-plus children are involved? Is progress being made at the city's most struggling schools? Relatedly, how is the community schools initiative going?

The New York City Council will surely look at some of these educational issues over the course of the coming months. The Council returns to more active duty this week, beginning what promises to be a busy fall of oversight and legislative hearings.

Thursday is primary election day, with many races happening around the city, mostly for hyperlocal positions like District Leader. One key result to watch is in the crowded Democratic primary to fill a vacant Queens City Council seat (Mark Weprin resigned this spring to take a job with Governor Cuomo).

Our look at the many voting opportunities - starting Thursday - for New Yorkers over the next 14 months.

On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden is due back in New York City, this time for an event "addressing the national backlog of sexual assault kits" and an "event on the economy." It is likely that Manhattan DA Cy Vance will be a key part of the former and that Governor Cuomo will be involved with one, if not both.

Speaking of Cuomo, keep an eye out for a state Senate hearing this Thursday that will examine the process by which Cuomo's fast food wage board did its work this spring.

Friday is the 14th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that hit New York City and elsewhere. There will be commemorative events on and around the 11th.

The 7-train extension to the far West Side will open on Sunday. Former Mayor Bloomberg will not be in attendance. It is unclear at this time if Gov. Cuomo will be there, one would expect Mayor de Blasio to be, but who knows.

For more detail on the week ahead, read our day-by-day rundown below...

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday: Labor Day

Tuesday
De Blasio is due on MSNBC's Morning Joe Tuesday morning. "In the evening, the Mayor and First Lady will attend the 2015 West Indian American and Caribbean American Heritage Reception, where the Mayor will deliver remarks...The Mayor will also appear on Telemundo in an interview with Anchor Ricardo Villarini to discuss Pope Francis's upcoming visit. Note: This is a taped interview that will air during the 6 pm and 11 pm hours."

On WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show Tuesday morning: "Chancellor Fariña on the New School Year" at approximately 10:50 a.m. "New York City schools chancellor Carmen Fariña talks about what's changed and how best for kids, parents, teachers and administrators to approach the new beginning."

At the City Council on Tuesday:

  • 10 a.m., the Committee on Environmental Protection will see a bill introduced that would prohibit small stores from propping their door(s) open when the air conditioning is on.
  • 11 a.m., the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will consider several land use applications from City Council Member David Greenfield of Brooklyn.

City Council member Participatory Budgeting meetings to be held on Tuesday:

  • 10 a.m. by CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens)
  • 4 p.m. by CM Mark Levine (District 7, Manhattan)

[Read our recent report on one Council member, Brad Lander, who has launched a project tracker so that constituents can better see how money is getting spent and whether projects are progressing - and it is an interactive mapping project that Lander hopes will be a model for the city]

On Tuesday at 9 a.m. the NYC Board of Corrections will have a public board meeting. There is a 15 minute "public comment period" at the end of the session.

At 11 a.m. Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Deborah Glick, both Manhattan Democrats, join forces with women's advocacy organizations and others to hold a press conference "to announce legislation requiring state contractors to disclose data on their gender wage gaps." Public Advocate Letitia James, NOW-NYS, A Better Balance, Eleanor's Legacy, PowHer NY, the Fiscal Policy Institute, and other various elected officials and stakeholders will attend.

At 1:30 p.m. the NYC Jails Action Coalition (JAC) will hold a press conference at City Hall with City Council members, faith leaders, children and families of incarcerated individuals, and other criminal justice advocates. Speakers will include Johnny Perez of NYC Jails Action Coalition, Council Members Daniel Dromm and Ydanis Rodriguez, and Julia L. Davis of Children's Rights, among others.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday state Senator Liz Krueger teams up with GenderAvenger founder Gina Glanz to give a talk on how Glanz's organization 'helps to ensure that women are always represented in the public dialogue.'

At 6:30 p.m. City and State NY will hold a reception to celebrate the launch of the publication's special Manhattan issue. A variety of Manhattan elected officials will attend.

Wednesday
At the City Council on Wednesday:

  • 10 a.m., the Committee on Youth Services will have an oversight hearing to assess the "goals of the City's youth mentoring program" and whether or not they are being met.
  • 10 a.m., the Committee on Civil Service and Labor is scheduled to meet.
  • 11 a.m., the Committee on Land Use meets to hear proposition Int 7705-2015, which would "establish a maximum period of time for the Landmarks Preservation Commission to take action on any item calendared for consideration of landmark status." [Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, penned a recent op-ed at Gotham Gazette warning against its passage.]
  • 1 p.m.. the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections meets to approve the appointment of Shampa Chanda to the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals, and to discuss the possible appointments of Helen Arteaga to the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation Board of Directors, and re-appointment of Arva R. Rice to the Council to the New York City Equal Employment Practices Commission.

"On Wednesday, September 9th, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Rafael Espinal, the Council Jewish Caucus and nearly 100 Holocaust Survivors will join community leaders to commemorate the restoration of a recently discovered Torah Scroll which was hidden for over 70 years in Poland. The event will also recognize the Council's efforts to help our city's Holocaust survivors who are living in poverty with the allocation of $1.5 million in funding though the Survivors Initiative."

In Albany on Wednesday at 1 p.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering will hold a public hearing "to discuss the future of online poker in New York State."

City Council Participatory Budgeting meetings will be held Wednesday:

  • 6 p.m. by CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan)
  • 6:30 p.m. by CM Laurie Cumbo (District 35, Brooklyn)
  • 6:30 p.m. by CM Steve Levin (District 33, Brooklyn)

On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., the city Department of Consumer Affairs will continue its workshop series to help "employers understand their responsibilities under the Paid Sick Leave Law."

At 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Comptroller Scott Stringer and AARP NY are hosting a fraud protection workshop at the Swinging Sixties Senior Center.

At 6:30 p.m. the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) will hold a public board meeting to field complaints about and recommend action against abusive police tactics.

Thursday
Thursday, September 10th is 2015 Primary Day in New York City. There are nominations for the following positions: Judge of the Civil Court District, Female District Leader, Male District Leader, Delegate to Judicial Convention, Alternate Delegate to the Judicial Convention, and County Committee. There's also the hotly contested Democratic Primary for City Council in Queens District 23. See a full list of candidates for all offices here. And read our look at how this is the first of many opportunities - too many? - for New Yorkers to vote over the next 14 months, culminating with the presidential election next year.

On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden is due back in New York City, this time for an event "addressing the national backlog of sexual assault kits" and an "event on the economy."

The next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be held on Thursday, September 10 at 10 a.m.

In Albany on Thursday at 11 a.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Labor will hold a public hearing to "examine the overall process of the Fast Food Wage Board of 2015."

City Council Participatory Budgeting meetings will be held:

  • 6:30 p.m. by CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn)
  • 6:30 p.m. by CM Mark Levine (District 7, Manhattan)
  • 6:30 p.m. by CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens)

On Thursday at 12:00 p.m. #YesWeCode and the Office of New York State Assembly Member Michael Blake (D-Bronx) will join forces for "New Faces of Tech in the Bronx." In a one-hour special titled "Growing Hope Live from the Bronx," MSNBC will provide live coverage of the event at 2 p.m. MSNBC's program will include interviews with Blake, New York City Chief Technology Officer Minerva Tantoco and Van Jones, founder of #YesWeCode.

On Thursday at 12:30 p.m. "NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and a panel of experts and advocates will join AARP to develop strategies for closing a federal legal loophole that allows bad-acting financial advisers to promote retirement investments that net them high commissions at the expense of clients' savings." Panel members include Ali Khawar, Counselor to the U.S. Secretary of Labor, Scott Evans, New York City Deputy Comptroller for Asset Management and Chief Investment Officer and Kathleen McBride, Chair of The Committee for the Fiduciary Standard.

At 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Pace University, it is, "Hedge Fund Billionaires vs. Kindergarten Teachers: Whose side are you on?", an event featuring Mayor de Blasio. "Did you know that the top 25 hedge fund managers in the United States make more than every single kindergarten teacher in the country—combined? There are a lot of reasons that the math shakes out so unfairly, but one of them is the carried-interest loophole, a tax law that essentially gives these one-percenters a much lower tax rate than they should be paying. On Thursday, September 10 at 4:30 p.m., director Robert Greenwald will premier his new short film that examines this problem and advocates for the clear solution. The screening will include a live conversation and Q&A with Robert and with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio—and we'd like you to join us."

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday at The New School, urban policy professor Jeff Smith will read from his new book "Mr. Smith Goes to Prison: What My Year Behind Bars Taught Me About America's Prison Crisis." After Smith's presentation, Touré, author of Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?, will moderate a discussion about criminal justice reform with Professor Smith, Soffiyah Elijah (Executive Director of Correctional Association of New York), Dr. Carla Shedd (Columbia University sociologist), and Melissa Mark Viverito (New York City Council Speaker).

At 7:00 p.m. New York City is hosting a public hearing to "solicit community input" on future development projects in Lower Manhattan. The developments focus on coastal and storm protection measures and upgrades to affordable housing units.

Friday and the weekend
Friday is the 14th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City and elsewhere in the United States.

On Friday at 8:15 a.m., New York Law School Dean Anthony W. Crowell will moderate a panel on New York City's lawyers response to 9/11, as part of City Law's Breakfast Series. Participants include city officials who were in office at the time of the attacks. Their names and (former) positions are as follows: Jeffrey D. Friedlander, Law Department; Steven Fishner, Criminal Justice Coordinator; Marjorie Landa, Law Department; Bryan Grimaldi, Mayor's Office; and Florence Hutner, Law Department.

On Friday at 6:30 p.m., Staten Island will host its annual Postcards Memorial Ceremony to commemorate the lost lives of Staten Islanders on September 11, 2001 and its aftermath. Borough President James Oddo, who will help lead the event, calls it "an opportunity for us to come together as one community and to show the families that even though it is 14 years later, we remain committed to honoring the memories of those who have lost."

On Saturday starting at 10 a.m., New York City will hold its annual Labor Day Parade. The procession will start at 5th Avenue and 44th Street and march up to 67th street before stoping. George Gresham, President of 1199 SEIU, will be Grand Marshal and George Miranda, President of IBT Joint Council 16, will be Parade Chair.

On Saturday, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson is holding another "Begin Again" event. New Yorkers with outstanding summonses and open arrest warrants will receive a Legal Aid attorney and a hearing in front of a judge. Read our story on Thompson's Begin Again initiative and its place in the larger justice reform conversation.

Weekend City Council Participatory Budgeting meetings:

  • Saturday at 11:30 a.m. by CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens)
  • Sunday at 11:30 a.m. by CM Ben Kallos (District 5, Manhattan)

On Sunday, after a nearly two-year delay, the new 7-train extension to the far west side of Manhattan will open. The expansion, undertaken in conjunction with the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project, extends the subway line from 42nd Street Times Square to the new 34th Street-Hudson Yards station. The first train will depart from the station at 1:07 p.m.

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

***
by Colin O'Connor, Erika Wang, and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

The Week Ahead in New York Politics, August 31


New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This week looks like another relatively quiet one as we head toward Labor Day weekend and then what promises to be a busy September. That's not to say that things will be silent this week, as there are always things happening in New York politics. We give you a few things to watch for and then a bit of a September preview of upcoming political events.

One thing to keep an eye on this week is that we are in the home stretch of the race to replace Mark Weprin in the City Council (Weprin stepped down from his seat to take a job with Governor Andrew Cuomo). A crowded Democratic field heads toward the Thursday, September 10 primary day, and then the winner will have to win the November general election to represent that portion of eastern Queens.

Speaking of Governor Cuomo, he had a week out of the spotlight last week, time spent with family, the governor's office indicated. It is unclear if the governor will be making public appearances in the coming week.

Last week was also a quiet one for several top city officials, though the mayor had a somewhat active week. As this week gets going, the mayor continues to pursue a more positive public perception of his work:

TRACKING DE BLASIO: The mayor took in all three games in the Mets' weekend series with the Red Sox, de Blasio's favorite team from his Massachusetts roots. The Mets won one game of the three, on Sunday, but remain in first place in their division (the Red Sox are in last place in theirs). De Blasio spent time on Saturday afternoon canvassing in Brooklyn, popping in at barber shops and nail salons to encourage New Yorkers to sign up for pre-Kindergarten in the final days before the school year begins (classes start Sept. 9). De Blasio was joined by First Lady Chirlane McCray and other members of his administration, and still other members were out and about promoting pre-K throughout the city over Saturday and Sunday.

The mayor continues to work to get his message to New Yorkers, after two recent radio apperances (one on WNYC, one on Hot 97), the mayor had an op-ed column published in Sunday's Daily News in which he outlined the progress made during his tenure thus far and promises that "quality of life" in the city will not diminish on his watch. Read our recent look at de Blasio's turn from criticizing the media to taking his message directly to voters.

Also, as the mayor seeks to boost his public profile and the perception of his administration and mayoralty, we ask if it is time for de Blasio to hold public town hall meetings.

On Monday, at about 7 p.m., de Blasio "will deliver remarks at the U.S. Open in Queens," according to his public schedule.

As mentioned, there are just a few events on our calendar for this week, see below for those, and then we give you a quick list of September events to watch for, including the City Council's return to regular public hearings just after Labor Day and the Pope's visit to NYC.

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A few events this week:

On Monday, city schoools Chancellor Carmen Fariña "will visit two charter schools on their first day of classes. She will be joined by James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center." The schools are Girls Preparatory Charter School of the Bronx and Growing Up Green Charter School in Long Island City, according to the chancellor's office.

Monday morning, former Rep. Anthony Weiner will appear on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show to discuss the relationship between Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio (and more), which he analyzed in a recent op-ed in The New York Times. Weiner says that through a constitutional convention, New Yorkers may be able to adjust some of the city-state dynamics that create so much mayor-governor tension. Also, read our recent look at the issue of a potential New York convention: State Constitutional Convention: Holy Grail or Pandora's Box?

At 7 p.m. Monday evening AARP-NY is sponsoring a forum for New York City Council District 23 candidates at Queens High School of Teaching. AARP State Director Beth Finkel will be moderating and all qualifying candidates were invited to participate. The Queens Tribune/Queens Press is co-sponsoring the debate. A crowded field is competing in a Democratic primary that will be decided on Thursday, September 10. For more information, see the NYC Votes voter guide for the six-candidate primary and footage from a recent NY1 forum: three candidates and three other candidates.

Read our look at all the upcoming voting opportunities for New Yorkers - there are many of them - in 2015 and 2016, starting on September 10.

On Wednesday, at 9 a.m. the New York City Bar will hold "One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City." The event is sponsored by the Bar's Environmental Law Committee and co-sponsored by the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School. Nilda Mesa, the Director of the Mayor's Office of Sustainability, will present Mayor de Blasio's One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday Beta NYC will hold a civic hacknight at Civic Hall.

On Thursday at 8 a.m. City & State NY is hosting a "newsmakers" event featuring City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who will discuss important issues facing the city and the City Council.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, NYU's Urban Democracy Lab will host "(Still) The Progressive Mayor? Bill de Blasio in Year Two," with a discussion featuring several prominent journalists: Jennifer Fermino, City Hall Bureau Chief at the New York Daily News; Jarrett Murphy, Executive Editor and Publisher of City Limits; and Azi Paybarah, Senior Reporter at Politico New York will be panelists. The discussion will be moderated by Mary Rowe of the Municipal Art Society.

On Friday morning at Civic Hall, Citymart is hosting an NYC meetup series launch. Citymart is the firm that has been hired by the de Blasio administration to design challenges in a way that shifts the contract procurement process. Citymart has a deal with the city to experiment on a couple of projects as the city reconsiders its approach to contracting out work.

What To Watch For In September

  • The City Council resumes regular public oversight and legislative hearings after Labor Day. The Council will hold its two full-body Stated Meetings of September on the 17th and the 30th. Along with those, keep an eye out for the September 9 Build It Back oversight hearing. There will also be other especially noteworthy hearings, but details are not up on the Council calendar yet. Keep an eye out in future Week Aheads.
  • 2015 primary day in the city is Thursday, Sept. 10
  • Friday, September 11 will be the 14th anniversary of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks. There will be a variety of 9/11 commemorations throughout the city on and around the 11th. On the morning of the 11th, New York Law School is hosting an event, "The City's Lawyers and September 11th," moderated by Dean Anthony W. Crowell. "Panelists (positions in 2001) – Jeffrey D. Friedlander, Law Department; Steven Fishner, Criminal Justice Coordinator; Marjorie Landa, Law Department; Bryan Grimaldi, Mayor's Office; and Florence Hutner, Law Department."
  • On September 12, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson is holding another "Begin Again" event where individuals with open arrest warrants and summonses will be able to have a hearing in front of a judge, with many able to have their warrants expunged. Read our report on Thompson's Begin Again initiative here.
  • The 7-train extension to the West Side is supposed to open mid-September.
  • The Association for a Better New York hosts Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on September 17.
  • ABNY hosts NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton on September 22.

Stay tuned for our upcoming Week Aheads for many more events and issues to keep an eye out for. Our next Week Ahead will be published on Monday, Labor Day. In the meantime, check out our latest Gotham Gazette stories.

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

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by Erika Wang and Ben Max
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Note: this article has been corrected to show that Mayor de Blasio attended all three Mets-Red Sox games this past weekend, not two as first stated.

The Week Ahead in New York Politics, August 17


New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This week may be one to really focus on the fact that New York's two baseball teams are both in first place. With the Mets and Yankees atop their respective divisions, there's a lot of buzz in the air about Big Apple postseason baseball. It could be a fairly quiet week in New York politics - though this is never something the smart money is on. But, the City Council has no public hearings on the calendar this week (last week, the Council held several meetings and its lone full-body Stated Meeting of the month) and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is away on vacation, Governor Andrew Cuomo has had a quiet schedule of late as he has been attending to the health of his longtime partner, Sandra Lee, and, well, it's the middle of August. Still, though, Mayor Bill de Blasio may be looking to stir some good news as he has had a tough summer with lower public opnion poll numbers, rough-and-tumble rivalry with the governor, and some public relations missteps. More:

TRACKING DE BLASIO: the mayor had a tough PR day Friday after deciding to go to his Park Slope YMCA for a workout after learning that an FDNY firefighter had been shot and during the subsequent standoff on Staten Island. The incident ended with the gunman dead and no other casualties. Meanwhile, the injured firefighter was treated over the weekend and able to go home. Many questioned de Blasio's choice to go for his workout, though the mayor and his team insist he was getting briefed all morning and that he went to Staten Island when his fire and police department chiefs, who were there all morning, gave him the go-ahead. Still, the day's events highlight the questions around de Blasio commuting from his temporary mayoral home on the Upper East Side at Gracie Mansion, to his old Park Slope neighborhood to work out, even on days without a real-time crisis playing out. There are also, of course, the ongoing issues related to Staten Island and whether the borough gets its due attention from City Hall (under any mayor) - read our new deep dive on the issue, Does Staten Island Gets Its Fair Share?, which was weeks in the making and happened to coincide with Friday's events.

Over the weekend: on Saturday, de Blasio was on Long Island for the annual event, "Apollo in the Hamptons." On Saturday afternoon, the mayor joined Alexander Soros (son of billionaire philanthropist George Soros) and others for lunch, according to Soros' Twitter feed. Sunday the mayor had no public events.

The week ahead could very well see the mayor sign into law new legislation passed by the City Council on Thursday aimed at preventing outbreaks of Legionnaires' Disease, as well as other new bills passed through the Council, such as one mandating fire sprinklers in pet stores. Indicative of the slow pace that the week could see, the mayor is spending Monday in Rhode Island, with no public events scheduled.

LEGIONNAIRES' LATEST: the outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that has taken 12 lives in the Bronx appears to have abated. The mayor's office reports that there have been no cases with onset of symptoms after August 3. A total of 124 people are reported to have had symptoms during the outbreak, with 94 treated and discharged. The 12 deceased were all "adults with underlying medical conditions." Many of the water cooling towers at the heart of the outbreak (which is airborne and similar to pneumonia, not contracted through drinking water or person-to-person) have been disinfected and the City Council passed new legislation aimed at preventing future outbreaks. As Council Member Corey Johnson, chair of the Council health committee, and others have said, Legionnaires' isn't going to completely go away, and there are many cases each year, but important steps can be taken to prevent major outbreaks.

There is a town hall meeting on Legionnaires' scheduled for Monday in the Bronx, see below for details.

It's looking like a quiet August week as of now - only a few events on our radar for you to be aware of - though others will surely pop up as the week begins - read our initial day-by-day rundown below.

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The run of the week in detail:

Monday
On Monday, "Governor Cuomo's administration hosts a summit on emergency planning attended by hundreds of disaster management officials and local leaders from across New York State." At 10 a.m., "Senior administration officials kick off the summit with a presentation on emergency preparedness and make an announcement – Empire State Plaza Convention Center," and at 1:15 p.m., "Tour of the New York State Office of Emergency Management's Emergency Operations Center and various State emergency response assets – Building 22, Harriman State Office Campus."

At 2 p.m. in Glendale, City Council Members Rory Lancman and Elizabeth Crowley, the Anti-Defamation League, Queens Jewish Community Council, Family members of Leo Frank, Public Advocate Letitia James, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Assembly Member David Weprin, and others will mark "the 100th anniversay of the lynching of Leo Frank" with "a memorial to commemorate this tragic event in Jewish-American history. Following his wrongful conviction for murder in a trial marked by antisemitism, Frank was kidnapped from prison, brutally beaten and hanged in 1915 in Marietta, Georgia. He is buried at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Glendale, where the ADL dedicated a monument to him in 2003."

At 6 p.m. community leaders in the Bronx will host a town hall on Legionnaires' Disease at Hostos Community College. Sponsors include Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, the NYC Health Department and NYC Emergency Management, and the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit.

Tuesday
There is a rally planned for 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall to protest how homeless New Yorkers are being portrayed and treated by the New York Post, police unions, and others. [Read: Homeless Solutions Not Homeless Shaming]

At 6 p.m. Tuesday NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services presents a NYC Civil Service 101 session, on "everything you need to know about applying and becoming a civil servant." Sponsors include Council Member Laurie Cumbo, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Senator Jesse Hamilton,Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Assemblyman Walter Mosley and Assemblywoman Diana Richardson.

Wednesday
At 6 p.m. Wednesday NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services presents a NYC Civil Service 101 session, on "everything you need to know about applying and becoming a civil servant." Sponsors include Council Member Laurie Cumbo, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Senator Jesse Hamilton,Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Assemblyman Walter Mosley and Assemblywoman Diana Richardson.

Also at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Letitia James is hosting a public safety town hall meeting in Brooklyn, with NYPD Chief of Patrol Carlos Gomez and Brooklyn North Borough Commander, Jefferey Maddrey.

Thursday
At 8:30 a.m. Thursday the Manhattan Borough Board, led by Borough President Brewer, will hold its August meeting.

At 10 a.m. Educators 4 Excellence will kick off the school year with its 2015 Member Summit and host new State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia as a guest speaker. There will be sessions on leadership, advocacy and finish the day with a school culture policy paper on climate change.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, the New York Young Republican Club is hosting its monthly meeting. Former Mayor of Walden, Brian Maher, will be the speaker. Elected at 23 years old, Mr. Maher was the youngest mayor in New York State.

City and State's fifth annual "On Energy" forum is scheduled for Thursday.

Friday and the weekend
Looking quiet right now, but we'll be keeping an eye out for end of week events, and you should too!

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

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by Erika Wang and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

The Week Ahead in New York Politics, August 10


New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

LEGIONNAIRES' FALLOUT: Monday morning at City Hall, Mayor Bill de Blasio will hold a bill-signing ceremony, beginning at 10 a.m. (full details below), and then, around noon, "the Mayor, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and elected officials will host a press conference to introduce new legislation to reduce future risk of Legionnaires' disease, and provide an update on the containment of the outbreak," according to the mayor's public schedule.

The Legionnaires' outbreak - the worst one the city has seen in many years - seems to be abating, with no new cases diagnosed since August 3 (just over 100 people have been treated for the disease in this outbreak) and no deaths reported over the past few days (the death toll stands at ten), according to the mayor's office on Sunday evening. There is ongoing investigation, cleaning, and scrutiny over the handling of the outbreak and the response has become another touchpoint in the ongoing drama between de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo. At the end of last week, Cuomo announced he was sending state teams to do inspections and deployed his health commissioner. He refused to say that the city had been doing its job and indicated that it was necessary for the state to step in because the city was not handling the outbreak well. Federal CDC officials gave the city credit for taking all due actions. While de Blasio is introducing legislation this week, Cuomo is promising statewide regulations (Legionnaires' is not just a problem in the Bronx or in New York City).

POLLS & POLS: Meanwhile, on Sunday the mayor and the governor were both marching in the Dominican Day Parade. Before the parade, Cuomo was honored by elected officials and others: "Cuomo was honored at two Dominican Day Breakfasts in New York City before marching in the Dominican Day Parade. The Governor was presented with the Juan Pablo Duarte Award for his commitment to the Dominican community at a breakfast hosted by Senator Adriano Espaillat. The Governor also received an award for his leadership in combatting worker exploitation at a breakfast hosted by Assemblyman Guillermo Linares," according to the governor's office. Virtually all of the city's top Democrats (Cuomo, AG Schneiderman, Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, etc.) were at Espaillat's event other than the mayor.

Last week was a busy, and tough, one for de Blasio, including announcements on action to combat violence committed by people with severe mental illness and that his Legionnaires' Disease legislation would be coming, as well as that a new FDNY labor deal had been struck, and more. There were also new poll numbers released by Quinnipiac, including on public approval of de Blasio and Cuomo, among others, with some tough numbers for the mayor. More issue-related results from the latest Quinnipiac Poll are due out Monday morning.

SPECIAL ELECTIONS: We're just a few weeks away from the special election in City Council District 23, where the September Democratic primary to replace Mark Weprin, who resigned to work for Gov. Cuomo, will all but determine the next rep for the Queens district. It's a crowded primary field and, along with the other races on the ballots of New York City voters, will kick off a packed series of voting opportunities over the next 14 months, culminating with the November 2016 presidential election. Read our full rundown here.

SPEAKING OF THE CITY COUNCIL: The New York City Council is back in action this week, with several committee hearings and the lone full-body Stated Meeting of August (on Thursday). The Council will likely be passing through new legislation aimed at preventing Legionnaires' Disease outbreaks, like the one currently occurring in the Bronx, and other legislation. [Read our look at City Council legislation on the table to regulate city airspace in terms of helicopter and drone use]

As always, there's a great deal happening all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
At 6 a.m. Monday on a press conference call, Quinnipiac Polls' Maurice Carroll will discuss the latest results, including New Yorkers opinions on Uber, bridge tolls, and Wal-mart, among other things. Keep an eye out for those poll numbers and related stories, along with more analysis of the results released last week by Quinnipiac about Mayor de Blasio and other city officials and issues.

At 9:30 Monday morning, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will speak at Black Girls Code summer camp kickoff, at Pace University. At about 11:30, Brewer will attend High School for Media and Communications mural unveiling celebration, at the George Washington Educational Campus.

At 10 a.m. at City Hall, Mayor de Blasio "will hold public hearings for and sign Intros. 849 and 235, in relation to the naming of 51 thoroughfares and public places and renaming of Court Square in Queens, amending the official map of New York; Intro. 558-A, in relation to an annual report on compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act standards for accessible design; Intros. 89-A and 830-A, in relation to the City's Adult Protective Services program; Intro. 847-A, in relation to a study on the impact of growth in the taxicab and for-hire vehicle industries; and Intro 425-A, in relation to communications resiliency...Immediately following the public hearing, the Mayor, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and elected officials will host a press conference to introduce new legislation to reduce future risk of Legionnaires' disease, and provide an update on the containment of the outbreak."

Also at 10 a.m. Monday, Public Advocate Letitia James will attend the funeral for Magnus Mukoro at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn. At about 12:15 p.m. Monday, James will speak at a "Human Trafficking Roundtable" at Queens Borough Hall.

And at 10 a.m. the Department of Consumer Affairs is hosting a public hearing and "opportunity to comment on proposed sidewalk cafe insurance rule."

At 10:30 a.m. Monday, Comptroller Stringer will distribute the first copies of the Haitian Creole Edition of the Immigrant Rights and Services Manual, at Flatbush Caton Market in Brooklyn.

At 1 p.m. Monday, "Governor Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus hold criminal justice roundtable discussion of Executive Order 147 and other community issues," according to Cuomo's public schedule. It is a closed press event, but "a media Q&A will be held following this briefing, at approximately 1:45 p.m."

At about 5:15 p.m., Cuomo and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will be honored by the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee "for their work to combat sexual assault and rape on college campuses," at the Grand Hyatt, Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m. the Department of Education is hosting a public meeting of the contracts committee of the Panel for Educational Policy.

Tuesday
At the City Council on Tuesday:

  • The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will hold a hearing on several land use items. Please see agenda for details.
  • The Committee on Housing Buildings will hold a hearing on Introduction 145-2014 in relation to the installation of fire sprinklers in certain establishments that provide services for animals,  Introduction700-2015 in relation to required disclosures by persons making buyout offers, Introduction 757-2015 in relation to amending the definition of harassment to include certain buyout offers, and T2015-3428,  in relation to regulation of cooling towers.
  • The Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses will hold a hearing on several land use items. Please see agenda for details.
  • The Committee on Consumer Affairs will hold a hearing on Introduction 287-2014, in relation to price displays on all signs posted by gas stations other than signs on dispensing devices, Introduction 586-2014,  in relation to signs, posters or placards that advertise gas prices, and Introduction 682-2015, in relation to conduct in connection with offers to induce a person to vacate a dwelling unit.
  • The Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions will hold a hearing on several land use items. Please see agenda for details.

At 3 p.m. there will be a "Grow Your Small Business With Tech" workshop with speeches from Comptroller Scott Stringer and Maya Wiley, counsel to the Mayor.

The New York City Campaign Finance Board is offering a Compliance only training session for the 2017 election cycle at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. "Compliance trainings cover campaign finance laws and CFB rules. C-SMART trainings provide an overview of the CFB's web-based application, which campaigns must use to manage and disclose financial activity. The candidate, treasurer, campaign manager and any individual with significant managerial control over the campaign is legally required to attend both a Compliance and a C-SMART training."

On Tuesday evening in Manhattan, 350 NYC, the local affiliate of 350.org, an environmental group, is holding a forum on climate change and fossil fuels: "We will explore various financial strategies for how we can keep fossil fuels in the ground to prevent catastrophic climate change. Should institutions divest from fossil fuel companies? Or, should they remain invested in these companies to influence their policies as shareholder activists?" Confirmed speakers include City Council Member Helen Rosenthal; State Senator Liz Krueger, and Scott Zdrazil, Director of Strategy and Corporate Engagement, Office of New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. Many co-sponsors of the event include Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition; Sierra Club, NYC Group; and Greater NYC for Change.

On Tuesday evening in the Bronx, there will be another town hall on the Legionnaires' Disease outbreak, led by Public Advocate Letitia James and many Bronx elected officials like Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Assembly Member Michael Blake.

Wednesday
At 9:30 a.m. the Department of Consumer Affairs is hosting an open house training series on NYC paid sick leave.

At 10 a.m. the New York City Department of Probation, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and New York City's Young Men's Initiative are sponsoring the 2015 Brooklyn Youth Anti-Violence Summit.

At 11 a.m. the City Council Committee on Land Use is meeting.

At 6 p.m. the New York League of Conservation Voters Young Professionals will be holding a happy hour event. City Council Member and Chair of Environmental Protection Committee Costa Constantinides will be a guest speaker.

The New York City Panel for Educational Policy will meet Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. in Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m. the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board will host a public board meeting.

At 7 p.m. BetaNYC will host its weekly hacknight, this time at Civic Hall and in partnership with Code for America Brigade program, Microsoft Civic and Accela.

The New York City Campaign Finance Board is offering a C-SMART only training session for the 2017 election cycle at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. "Compliance trainings cover campaign finance laws and CFB rules. C-SMART trainings provide an overview of the CFB's web-based application, which campaigns must use to manage and disclose financial activity. The candidate, treasurer, campaign manager and any individual with significant managerial control over the campaign is legally required to attend both a Compliance and a C-SMART training."

Thursday
At 9 a.m. there will be a "Capital Region Campaign School 2015" hosted by Emily's List and NYSUT, the teachers union, and open to "progressive women candidates, future candidates and campaign staff."

The next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be held on Thursday at 10 a.m. The meeting will be located at 100 Church Street, 12th Floor, in the CFB's Board Room in Lower Manhattan.

At 10 a.m. the City Council Committee on Finance is "approving the new designation and changes in designation of certain organizations to receive funding in the Expense Budget."

At 1:30 p.m. City Council is holding its lone August full-body Stated Meeting.

At 2 p.m. the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and American Society of News Editors are hosting a "community dialogue on pedestrian safety and traffic policy in New York City and the media's role in covering the issue."

Friday and the weekend
We're keeping an eye out for weekend events as the week begins.

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

***
by Erika Wang and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

Note: this article has been corrected to remove mention of the City Council possibly passing through new mandatory inclusionary zoning rules this week. That will not be happening.

The Week Ahead in New York Politics, August 3


New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

LEGIONNAIRES' DISEASE in the BRONX: the city continues to monitor and combat an outbreak of legionnaires' disease in the Bronx, where 65 are reported to have contracted the disease as of Saturday, according to the New York Times, with 55 hospitalized and four dead. The mayor's office and Bronx elected officials are holding a town hall on the subject Monday evening, details below.

SUMMER CRIME: There were several shootings over the weekend, including four separate incidents Saturday night, according to Public Advocate Letitia James, who issued a Sunday statement saying, "These senseless acts of violences took two lives and left fourteen people injured. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. As a City and as a country, we must do more to take guns off our streets and end the madness that continues to bring us death and destruction."

On Monday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former police officer, will launch a new gun violence prevention initiative - details below. The annual National Night Out Against Crime is Tuesday - NYPD officers and officials team with community groups and electeds to promote safety and anti-crime initiatives.

TRACKING DE BLASIO: Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday delivered remarks at the Ecuadorian Parade Breakfast and marched in the parade; then delivered remarks at the Pakistan 86th Independence Day Celebration in Queens. To start the week, the mayor has no public events scheduled on Monday.

As of our publication, there are no hearings scheduled for the City Council this week. The Council's lone full-body Stated Meeting of the month is scheduled for Thursday, August 13.

It's a quiet week, but a few events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
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The run of the week in detail:

Monday
At 10 a.m. the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services and the Department of Youth and Community Development and HHS Accelerator are holding a “Community Development Workshop Series” for nonprofits to learn about funding and City contracting services.

At 11 a.m. Monday in Brooklyn, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will - along with Council members, day laborers, and advocates - host "a press conference to celebrate $500,000 in City Council funding to support day laborers" at Bay Parkway Community Job Center.

Also at 11 a.m. Monday, outside Brooklyn Borough Hall, Borough President Eric Adams "will launch a weeklong gun violence awareness campaign by staging an open casket with provocative imagery outside Brooklyn Borough Hall for five straight days and promoting a "Take Five to Stay Alive" plan of action for New Yorkers to help reduce the impact of gun violence in their community. The effort is intended to engage Brooklynites in serious conversations about gun violence following a recent spate of bloodshed in the borough, including nine people shot at a party in East New York earlier today and a fatal shooting early Saturday in Canarsie. Borough President Adams and gun violence advocates will speak about the ongoing violence and the need to take action."

At 1 p.m. Monday in Manhattan, "Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman will make a major announcement regarding the sale of toy guns in New York." He is expected to announce a deal with retailers to stop selling many real-looking toy guns. Schneiderman will be joined by City Councilmember Jumaane Williams, Co-Chair of the NYC Task Force on Gun Violence; Leah Gunn-Barrett, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence; Jackie Rowe Adams, Founder of Harlem Mothers Save; Rev. Dr. Gawain F de Leeuw, Westchester United; Adam Barbanell-Fried, Lead Organizer for Westchester United; June Rubin, Marie Delus and Natasha Christopher, Members of Moms Demand Action.

On Monday evening in the Bronx, the Mayor's Office and Bronx elected officials including Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie are holding a "Town Hall on The Facts About Legionnaires' Disease" at 6 p.m. at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. According to the Mayor's Office, as of Sunday evening 71 people had been infected with the disease, including four who have died. Public Advocate Letitia James is set to speak.

Tuesday
Tuesday various NYPD precincts will participate in the annual "National Night Out," sponsored by the National Association of Town Watches. There will be anti-crime rallies with local business and civic organizations and many elected officials will participate. Most events will take place in the afternoon and evening. Public Advocate James will speak at a 1 p.m. press conference against gun violence in advance of National Night Out, at Brooklyn Borough Hall. In the evening, James will attend National Night Out events with the 105, 109, 107, 111, and 17 precincts. Speaker Mark-Viverito will attend events with the 88 and 25 precincts.

At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday the Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing and meeting to follow.

At 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, Governor Cuomo will make an announcement at Kirkwood Industrial Park West in Binghamton. At 1 p.m. Cuomo will participate in "Topping Off Ceremony at RiverBend" in Buffalo.

At noon Tuesday the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs is hosting an information session on the borough-specific processes of applying for and securing City funding for arts and cultural nonprofits in Brooklyn and Queens.

At 1 p.m. in Washington Heights, "New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and other elected officials will announce the construction and installation of enhanced lighting at Polo Grounds Towers. The Polo Grounds Towers is part of the Mayor's Action Plan (MAP) for Neighborhood Safety, an initiative to reduce crime at 15 NYCHA development sites. NYCHA is installing new and improved lighting at MAP sites as part of a comprehensive effort to reduce crime thanks to a total of nearly $80 million in funding--$40.5 million from the City Council, $25 million from the Mayor's Office and $13 million from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office."

At 2 p.m. Tuesday the New York City Department of Small Business Services is hosting a Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) certification workshop.

Also at 2 p.m., Comptroller Scott Stringer will attend the New York Financial Control Board meeting.

Also at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will speak at Harlem Week 2015 Senior Citizens Day "Demystifying Technology" conference, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building.

Wednesday
At 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in Brooklyn, "Brooklyn elected officials [led by Council Members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin] will distribute free reusable bags (courtesy of the Citizens Committee for New York City) at Sahadi's, a locally owned Middle Eastern grocery store that's been serving Brooklynites from its location on Atlantic Avenue since 1948...The event also marks a recent endorsement from the Atlantic Ave BID (Business Improvement District) for City Council bill (Int. 209) that would encourage reusable bag use by charging customers 10 cents for single use plastic or paper bags."

At 6 p.m. the Center for Constitutional Rights will update attendees on their stop-and-frisk case Floyd v. City of New York during its "First Wednesdays Discussion."

At 7 p.m. BetaNYC will host its weekly hacknight, this time at Civic Hall and in partnership with the City Council Speaker's Office to discuss the 2015 NYC BigApps competition.

Thursday
Thursday evening will be the much-discussed first Republican presidential primary debate, with a pre-debate forum for the candidates who did not poll well enough to make it into the primetime debate featuring ten candidates.

Thursday evening is Mayor de Blasio's Dominican Heritage reception, at New York County Supreme Courthouse. Manhattan BP Brewer is among those who will attend.

At 7 p.m. the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit presents a "West Bronx Town Hall for Small Businesses." Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin and General Counsel to the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs Sonia Lin, among others, will attend.

Friday and the weekend
Nothing on our radar as of now, but stay tuned as things pop up once the week gets going.

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

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by Erika Wang and Ben Max
@GothamGazette



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