Gotham Gazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, November 2

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

Tuesday is Election Day 2015! There aren't many high-profile races on the ballot, but we will soon have two new members of the City Council, two new District Attorneys (Staten Island and the Bronx), and a few new state legislators. There are also lots of judges on the ballot. Tuesday sets the stage for several voting opportunities coming up for New Yorkers in 2016 (presidential, congressional, state-level primaries, etc.).

A year from now, there will be elections for all the seats in the New York State Assembly and Senate. Just ten months from now, there will be primaries in those races. As both former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and form Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos head to trial this month (Silver's trial starts Monday) on corruption charges, speculation continues to swirl around whether either will still be in office come next year's elections, and if they are, whether they will see significant challenges. [Read: As Sheldon Silver Heads to Trial, At Least One Democrat Prepares to Run]

We're even closer to the 2016 presidential primaries - yes, there are *many* opportunities to vote coming up (too many, some say). Mayor Bill de Blasio endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Friday morning. De Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as well as many other New York Democrats, are now firmly behind Clinton and it will be interesting to see how much surrogacy they perform.

Over the weekend, de Blasio celebrated the Mets and Halloween: on Saturday afternoon, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray hosted a Halloween party at Gracie Mansion. In the evening, the Mayor and First Lady marched in the Park Slope Halloween Parade in Park Slope. They were dressed as Mets players. On Sunday, de Blasio kicked off the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon on Staten Island in the morning and, in the evening, was set to speak at the 60th Annual Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club Dinner Dance in Brooklyn, according to his public schedule.

There will likely be increased attention this week around traffic safety and de Blasio's Vision Zero initiative in the aftermath of a tragic weekend crash, which saw three people killed and several injured in the Bronx during Halloween festivities.

On Monday, at 1 p.m., "Mayor de Blasio, Fire Commissioner Dan Nigro and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and other elected officials will host a press conference to make a fire safety announcement." This will take place in Brooklyn. "In the evening, the Mayor and First Lady Chirlane McCray will host a reception for the 50th Anniversary of the Lindsay Administration," at Gracie Mansion, according to de Blasio's public schedule.

This week sees Election Day as well as several other interesting hearings and events. It also features the annual Somos conference in Puerto Rico, where many New York politicos will head toward the middle or end of the week. See our day-by-day rundown below, and stay tuned for updates on Monday.

***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:

Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s corruption trial is set to start on Monday. [Read: As Sheldon Silver Heads to Trial, A Democratic Challenger is Poised to Run]

At 9 a.m. on Monday the Center for New York City Affairs in New School will host “Low-Wage NY: Pay Raises and Working New Yorkers” with economists, labor leaders, activists and policymakers. Experts will discuss the pros and cons of the $15 per hour minimum wage initiative that Governor Cuomo is pushing. Darrick Hamilton, associate professor of economics and urban policy, will moderate a conversation with Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City; Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU; Paul Sonn, program director, National Employment Law Project; Jennifer Jones Austin, chief executive officer, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies; and Edmund J. McMahon, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and president of the Empire Center for Public Policy.

Also Monday at 9 a.m., at City Hall, “Public Advocate Letitia James, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Council Member Margaret Chin, Council Member Andrew Cohen, Council Member Vanessa Gibson, Council Member Brad Lander, Local 372, principals, and public school parents will call on the NYPD to provide much needed crossing guards for downtown Manhattan public schools to increase child safety in one of the most heavily trafficked areas of the City.”

At 10 a.m. Monday, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will visit an elementary school, P.S. 133 in Brooklyn, to read with 2nd-graders and make an announcement, according to her public schedule.

Monday is the only day this week where the City Council has hearings scheduled; at the City Council Monday:

  • At 1 p.m. the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet to discuss several land use matters.

  • At 1 p.m. the Committee on Technology will meet to discuss a five-year plan to expand wi-fi access in city parks.

  • At 1 p.m. the Committee on Contracts and the Committee on Community Development will meet for a joint oversight on meeting self sufficiency standards for workers on Human Service Contracts. [Read our preview, with a deep dive into the issue of pay for city workers and workers at city-funded nonprofits: Hearing to Examine Pay for Workers Serving City’s Most Vulnerable.]

On Monday at 1 p.m. in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams “will launch Code Brooklyn, his initiative to give every public school student in Brooklyn the opportunity to learn how to code.” It is a five-point plan. “The announcement will be made in the library of PS/MS 282 Park Slope School...Among the speakers at the press conference will be New York City Chief Technology Officer Minerva Tantoco.”

On Monday at 1:30 p.m. at 7 World Trade Center, “Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Frank Pallone (NJ-6) Nydia Velázquez (NY-7) and Steve Israel (NY-3) and others will join 9/11 first responders and survivors to state their strong opposition to recent proposals from the Majority House Judiciary and Energy and Commerce committees that would provide an underfunded and temporary extension of the World Trade Center Health Program and Victim Compensation Fund.”

On Monday, Public Advocate Letitia James will have a "meet and greet with Brooklyn Community Board 3."

At 6 p.m. NYC Collaborates will host “Diverse Schools: Opportunities, Challenges in Integrating NYC Public Schools” at Brooklyn Law School. The event, focused on ways to increase diversity in the city’s schools, will include opening remarks by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, then a panel discussion with City Council Members Brad Lander and Ritchie Torres; Todd Sutler, co-founder of Compass Charter School, and others.

At 6:30 p.m. New Yorkers Against Gun Violence will hold its annual benefit, at which it is honoring Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and comedian Lewis Black. Political analyst Nomiki Konst will be the MC. Public Advocate Letitia James will attend.

Tuesday is Election Day! As mentioned earlier, via Tuesday's votes we'll know two new District Attorneys, two new City Council members, other new state representatives, and more.

In the spirit of Election Day, on Tuesday the "Vote Better NY" effort led by NYC Votes, good government groups, and others will launch a new petition drive in order "to modernize elections in New York." A rally will commence the campaign Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., Foley Square in Manhattan. Participating organizations include Citizens Union, NYPIRG, League of Women Voters, and more.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy will host a panel event on the on the 2016 primary elections and the challenges that each party faces while campaigning. Lis Smith, deputy campaign manager for Martin O'Malley; leading Republican strategist and CNN contributor Kevin Madden, and top aides from several other 2016 campaigns will be participating in the conversation with Robert George, deputy editorial page editor for the New York Post. Jeff Smith, assistant professor at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy will moderate the discussion.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday the November NY Tech Meetup will take place at NYU.

Tuesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting event is via CM Jumaane Williams (District 45, Brooklyn) at 7:30 p.m. [Read our recent look at the pros and cons of PB: Participatory Budgeting Grows in NYC - Why Isn't Every Council Member Doing It?]

The annual Somos El Futuro conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico will begin on Wednesday and run through Sunday. As always it is a way for New York lawmakers, lobbyists, and others to convene for all sorts of conversation and networking. It also comes at a most-tense time for Puerto Rico and as Gov. Cuomo has offered special New York government assistance to the island, which is facing harsh economic circumstances and issues with its healthcare system. Attendees will discuss a range of social issues including healthcare, education, juvenile justice, and more. A large health care rally will also take place in conjunction with the conference.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday another Citizen Preparedness Corps Training Program event will be held, at Queensborough Community College. Sponsored by Governor Cuomo, Congressional Rep. Grace Meng, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, and Assemblymember Edward Braunstein, the program is aimed to help citizens be prepared in for emergencies.

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

At 7 p.m. #BetaNYC will hold a Civic Hack Night.

Wednesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting event is via CM Jumaane Williams (District 45, Brooklyn) at 6 p.m.

At 8 a.m. Thursday, Crain’s New York Business will host a breakfast forum featuring Maria-Torres Springer, president and CEO of New York City Economic Development Corporation. She will discuss the de Blasio administration’s economic development strategy and agenda. She will specifically address subsidy policies and upcoming projects. Erik Engquist, Crain’s’ assistant managing editor, will moderate the event.

At 9 a.m. Thursday the Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing on potential landmarks throughout the city which have been under consideration for more than five years.

At 5 p.m. Thursday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, City & State NY will host its kickoff event for the Somos El Futuro conference. Expect many elected officials, staffers, and other politicos to attend.

At 6 p.m. Thursday the Alliance for Quality Education will host its 2015 “Champions of Education” gala to honor Natasha Capers, Coordinator, NYC Coalition for Educational Justice; Andrew Pallotta, Executive Vice President, The New York State United Teachers; Laura Wolff, former program director, The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, for their contributions and dedication to educating future generations.

At 7 p.m. Thursday the New York Young Republican Club will have a gala honoring Congressional Rep. Chris Gibson for his service to the country.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday the Arab American Association of New York will host its 14th annual benefit gala.

Thursday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting event is via CM Jumaane D. Williams (District 45, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.

Friday and the weekend
At the New York State Legislature on Friday, the Assembly Standing Committee on Libraries and Education Technology will have a public meeting to discuss funding for Public Libraries.

On Friday evening at NYU, the Muslim Democratic Club of New York and NYU Muslim Students Association host "Being Muslim in 2016: Why We Can't Wait," a panel discussion on anti-Muslim sentiment gaining political currency as we approach the 2016 elections and asking how Muslim Americans can stem the tide of Islamophobia among politicians and elected officials and gain political power in New York and elsewhere. The panel discussion will be moderated by Ben Max, editor of Gotham Gazette, and will include Faiza Ali, Vice President, MDCNY; Zaheer Ali, Oral Historian, Brooklyn Historical Society; Moustafa Bayoumi, Professor, Brooklyn College; and Essma Bengabsia, NYU MSA Member.

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

Note: this post has been updated since its original publish

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