Gotham Gazette

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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.

***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.***

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.

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

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.

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