Gotham Gazette

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City Council

City Council

  • 7 press conf regard

    Council Member Ritchie Torres (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    With City Council Member Ritchie Torres declaring victory in the Bronx’s 15th Congressional District Democratic primary and all but assured to advance to Congress at the start of next year, a special election to replace Torres in the City Council’s own District 15 looks likely for sometime in February or March of 2021. The race in the heavily-Democratic Council district is already shaping up to be hotly-contested, with community leaders, the son of a state senator, and at least one member

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  • pre conf hearing

    Council Speaker Corey Johnson (photo: Emil Cohen/New York City Council)


    The union effort launched last year by City Council staff members could soon be recognized by the City Council as negotiations near conclusion, according to a Council spokesperson and a member of the union.

    The Association for Legislative Employees, an unaffiliated union that represents hundreds of City Council aides working both for individual Council members and on the Council’s central staff, launched with a card campaign in November, and a majority of staff members signing a

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  • 4 lgbt pride

    City Council members at a Pride march (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    The City Council’s LGBT Caucus could shrink after the 2021 elections, with all five current caucus members -- including Council Speaker Corey Johnson -- prevented by term limits from running for reelection next year, when all of city government will be on the ballot. However, there are more than a dozen openly LGBTQ candidates running throughout the city to replenish and perhaps grow the ranks of LGBTQ representation in city government, encouraged by advocates and current Council members who ...

  • Eric Garner police reform NYPD

    Eric Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, at a recent press conference (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    New York, and the nation, was teetering on the edge when it was suddenly and violently pushed over it on May 25, as George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota by police officer Derek Chauvin. It was an incident as shocking as it was familiar, an unarmed Black man dying at the hands of a police officer with the episode caught on video and broadcast to millions of people.

    “I can’t breathe,” Floyd cried out, as Chauvin knelt on his

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  • rosenthal absentee ballot mailbox

    Voting absentee (photo: @HelenRosenthal)


    A law passed by the New York City Council in 2016 could have helped prevent some of the many problems plaguing the absentee ballot process from the June 2020 primary elections. But that law was never implemented by the New York City Board of Elections, a quasi-state agency that routinely refuses to abide by local mandates.

    The June primaries saw a record number of absentee ballots cast by voters, facilitated by an executive order from Governor Andrew Cuomo that mandated that local boards of

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  • Bill de Blasio speaking street group

    The mayor is behind on a plan for disconnected youth (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    A city task force meant to address the needs of out-of-school, out-of-work youth in the city, who pre-pandemic numbered at over 118,000 in New York City, has not yet released its report, over two years after it was due. Now, with over 35% of young adults in the city unemployed and gun violence increasing, advocates like Marjorie Parker of JobsFirstNYC, an advocacy group that was a ...

  • Cumbo NYPD city budget

    Council Member Cumbo (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Defending her vote in support of a new city budget that did not cut NYPD funding by at least $1 billion (as New York City faces a $10 billion COVID-19-related revenue shortfall) Brooklyn City Council Member Laurie Cumbo told protesters criticizing the plan: "Work under the

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  • cm chairs

    City Council Member Brad Lander (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    July 1, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Council Member Brad Lander on the New City Budget

    City Council Member Brad Lander, a Brooklyn Democrat and 2021 candidate for city Comptroller, joined the show to discuss the new city budget, which he had voted "no" on just hours before this discussion.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter @TweetBenMaxand ...

  • de blasio city

    City budget announcement from 2019 (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    The New York City Council approved an $88.2 billion budget for the 2021 fiscal year shortly after midnight in one of the most divided votes for the legislative body in recent history. The new budget, which takes effect immediately for the July 1 start of the new fiscal year, is a sharp decline in expected city spending given cratering revenue brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and includes significant cuts to and funding shifts from the NYPD in response to recent mass protests against

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  • cojo del

    The Mayor and Speaker at an NYPD press conference (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Update

    As pressure mounted on the city to drastically reduce spending on policing in the budget that is due before Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council reached a tentative agreement on Monday to cut $1 billion from the NYPD and to reinvest funds in youth and social services. Nearly half the reduction, however, involves shfiting spending on school safety to the Department of Education rather than actual cuts. 

    The agreement would reduce the NYPD's

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  • city budget negotiations council de blasio johnson

    The Mayor and City Council discuss the budget (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    New York City’s next fiscal year begins Wednesday, July 1, and there is no clear picture of the city’s fiscal future. The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has been catastrophic for the city’s economy, gutting revenue streams and necessitating major cuts in planned city government spending, along with tapping into billions of dollars in reserves.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council are engaged in intense negotiations as they seek to

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  • mdbd briefs cm

    City Council Member Helen Rosenthal, the author (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    By the end of the month, just a few days from now, New York City will have to pass a balanced budget. With additional drops in revenue, looming state cuts to education and health-care funding, and the growing unlikelihood of federal support for states and localities, piecing together a budget that does not cut critical programs and services will be almost impossible. 

    What does this mean for our future? How can we keep residents from giving up on New York City? How can we bring

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  • Gotham Gazette:

    Council Member Rivera at a CLT rally (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York faces two new fronts in its housing crisis -- a wave of heightened speculation likely to destabilize communities and an onslaught of expected evictions as housing courts reopen.

    As Mayor de Blasio and the City Council approach the June 30 deadline for voting on the fiscal year 2021 budget, communities of color hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic are not seeing anywhere near the requisite level of support to combat these

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  • 3 activists pledge

    Mayor de Blasio makes a summer youth employment announcement (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Teens Take Charge, a youth advocacy group, held a town hall Tuesday where its members demanded Mayor Bill de Blasio announce his decision regarding the Summer Youth Employment Program by Friday, June 26, or they will take to the streets to protest. 

    “We’ve been screaming this message at the mayor for the

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  • eviction nightmare expanding

    An eviction nightmare looms as housing court reopens (Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    A new threat is looming for the very Black and brown communities in New York City that have been hit the hardest by the dual pandemics of coronavirus and racism in policy: a massive wave of evictions. 

    That’s because phase 1 of New York “reopening” didn’t just apply to construction and curbside retail. It also applied to housing courts. This could have disastrous consequences for tenants. Housing court personnel have already started

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  • de Blasio NYPD

    Another chapter between Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    A long-stalled bill meant to shed light on the surveillance equipment used by the NYPD has suddenly moved through the City Council with the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio, despite being virtually unchanged since the mayor and NYPD leaders raised dire alarms about it in recent years. Now de Blasio is breaking with his own police department, which he has maintained has been on board with a slew of recent changes to NYPD oversight and discipline in the wake of national

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  • de Blasio city hall reopening govt

    Mayor de Blasio at City Hall (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Brooklyn City Council Member Laurie Cumbo, a Democrat and the Council’s Majority Leader, wants to establish a new position in city government to oversee the reopening of city government after the coronavirus shutdown. Her bill (Intro. 1950) would create and require the position of “City Restart

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  • De Blasio City Council budget briefing 2018

    De Blasio briefs City Council members (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    With three weeks to go before the budget for the next fiscal year is due, the City Council is putting pressure on Mayor Bill de Blasio to spell out planned cuts to city agencies to fill a $9 billion projected budget gap. But the administration missed a Monday deadline set by the Council to propose new cuts, balancing the budget in a way that reprioritizes social services and investment in youth and education.

    The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a massive

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  • 1 bxcc widespread

    A CUNY campus in the Bronx (photo: Bronx Community College)


    CUNY, New York City's public university system, is facing a crisis within a crisis, as it looks at expected budget cuts while supporting students, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds, through a pandemic and its fallout, including vanishing economic opportunity.

    Intended as a pathway to upward mobility for city residents, many of its students are from the same populations most severely hit by the pandemic and face some of the most immediate difficulties posed by COVID-19 -- food,

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  • pantry si project

    Food being prepared during the coronavirus crisis (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and New York City Council Member Ben Kallos of Manhattan, both Democrats, announced new legislation last week that would mandate nutrition standards for the “grab & go” and home delivered meals provided by the city, which have become essential sources of food for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers during the coronavirus crisis.

    As unemployment in the city has skyrocketed from 4% to past 14%, children are not attending schools

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  • enough talk op

    Mayor de Blasio visits with EMS (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    The coronavirus pandemic has compelled us to take stock of the racial and socioeconomic inequities that have burdened our city’s more than 5 million New Yorkers of color for generations. These obstacles to their upward mobility exist not only in health care, education, and housing but within our own municipal workforce.

    The most glaring among them happens to also be one of particularly cruel irony given COVID-19’s onslaught on the city’s 9-1-1 system and related services: the unequal pay

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  • proj pantry si

    Mayor de Blasio checking in on emergency efforts (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    More than two months after New York officials raised alarms that the state could run out of life-saving equipment, from ventilators to rubber gloves, New York City is one purchase order away from having a 90-day worst-case-scenario stockpile of medical equipment, officials said Wednesday.

    New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Commissioner Lisette Camilo told lawmakers the purchase order for ventilators was "in flight" at a City Council hearing on the agency's

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  • dcc jponte rikers

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The Rikers Island jail complex, a notorious and decrepit institution sitting on 413 acres in the East River, was slated for closure well before New York City became the country’s epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, during which the complex has emerged as a hotspot for infections that have led to the deaths of several detainees and corrections officers.

    But the timeline for shutting down the jail complex and building local jails in four boroughs has been thrust into uncertainty by countervailing

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  • cmcmadd hold pc

    Council Member Carlos Menchaca, the author (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    As in past crises, immigrant New Yorkers are suffering acutely under COVID-19: this time with a cruel twist. While thousands of immigrants work on the frontlines, caring for the sick, cleaning the subways, and keeping us all fed in quarantine, so many are unable to pay rent, keep their businesses afloat, or stay home because of their ...

  • debi rose joins

    Council Member Debi Rose with youth workers (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    With New York City facing a massive budget gap and severe social restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio made the unpopular decision to suspend the Summer Youth Employment Program, which in past years gave tens of thousands of young people jobs over the summer. But as de Blasio faced swift and sweeping criticism for the move, administration officials testified before the City Council that an alternate plan is in the works and will be unveiled soon.

    Over

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