Gotham Gazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, December 12

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This week begins with focus on the transition of President-elect Donald Trump, who has continued to announce nominations for cabinet positions, as well as attention on the extent to which Russian agents attempted to influence the United States presidential election in order to help Trump win. Reports indicate that President Obama has ordered a full review, that members of Congress may hold hearings, and that the CIA has concluded Russian agents were involved in hacking efforts to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Trump. Trump dismissed such reports over the weekend and insulted the CIA in a Friday statement.

Here in New York, officials continue to react to Trump's transition decisions, including his nominees for key posts, with many Democratic officials alarmed by potential next leaders of agencies charged with federal environmental, housing, and labor policy.

Over the weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a Sunday morning appearance on the radio show of businessman John Catsimatidis, where the two discussed Cuomo's infrastracture vision and projects. There was no discussion of the corruption that has rocked Cuomo's economic development programs, wherein members of Cuomo's inner circle and major donors to Cuomo's campaigns have been indicted on federal charges. Cuomo discussed a variety of projects underway, including the Second Avenue Subway, the work on which he recently visited and said he was about to visit again on Sunday. The subway extension may open by the end of the year or in January.

Mayor Bill de Blasio had a busy weekend. On Saturday, he was scheduled to deliver remarks at an event celebrating Reverend Ray Rivera’s 50 years in Ministry; host a Community Board holiday party at Gracie Mansion; deliver remarks at the Jamaican Rotary Club’s annual winter dinner and dance party; attend the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, Local 831 holiday party; and attend the Brooklyn Kindergarten Society’s 96th Yuletide Ball. On Sunday, he was scheduled to deliver remarks at Prophet Muhammad’s birthday celebration with Imam Tahir Kukaj at the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center on Staten Island and to deliver remarks at Congressman Joseph Crowley’s annual holiday party in Queens.

On Monday, de Blasio has one public event on his schedule, his weekly appearance on NY1's Inside City Hall, in the 7 and 10 p.m. hours.

This is a busy week in New York politics as some government busy is wrapped up for the year -- for example, this week will see the final committee hearings and full meeting of 2016 for the City Council -- and other organizations are holding their final public policy events of the year. See below for details.

The City Council is expected to pass a large package of campaign finance reform bills this week, first through committee, then through the full Council. Read about all the bills here.

We're also watching this week to see if a special session will occur in Albany wherein state legislators will either act on a variety of measures in conjunction with Gov. Cuomo or take matters into their own hands by passing pay raises for their positions and executive chamber posts, daring Cuomo to use a veto, which they may then override. [Related: Does Higher Pay Attract Better Politicians?]

As always, there's a great deal happening all over the city, with many events to be aware of - see 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:

At the City Council on Monday:

  • The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet at 9:30 a.m.
  • The Committee on Transportation will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing on how to manage parking in ways that meet community needs, and to discuss three proposed laws.

On Monday and Tuesday, the New York State Board of Regents will hold its monthly meeting in Albany.

On Monday at 10 a.m., the Association for a Better New York will host a Gateway Program Progress Update and Panel. Anthony Coscia, Chairman of the Board at Amtrak, will be the presenter. Senators Charles Schumer and Cory Booker will be among the panelists, and Regional Plan Association President Tom Wright will moderate.

On Monday at 11 a.m. in Union Square, "First Lady Chirlane McCray, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery and American Horror Story actor Denis O’Hare will kick off a week of community action events to connect New Yorkers to free, confidential mental health help during the holidays."

At noon Monday at City Hall, there will be a “press conference by feminist leaders and organizations to urge swift action on police reform.” It will be led by a variety of groups and individuals, including Joanne N. Smith, Founder and Executive Director of Girls for Gender Equity; Gloria Malone, Young Women’s Advisory Council Coordinator at Girls for Gender Equity; Monifa Bandele, MomsRising; L. Joy Williams, President of Brooklyn NAACP; NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Legal Aid Society; and others.

The City Planning Commission will hold a review session and a special meeting at 1 p.m. on Monday. 

On Monday at 5:30 p.m., the Queens Borough Board will review the Queens Library’s strategic planning process. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz chairs the Queens Borough Board; Queens Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott will give a presentation.

Mayor de Blasio is on NY1's Inside City Hall Monday evening, 7 and 10 p.m.

At Tuesday at 10 a.m. "Mayor de Blasio will host a press conference to make an announcement regarding job creation in New York City" at Alexandria Center in Manhattan. "Later, the Mayor will meet with Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon...Following the meeting, the Mayor will hold a photo spray with Secretary-General of the U.N. Ban Ki-moon."

At the City Council on Tuesday:

  • The Committee on Civil Rights will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss a proposed law that will keep employers “from inquiring about or relying on a prospective employee’s salary history.”
    The Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss three proposed laws.
  • The Committee on Civil Service and Labor will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing on “how the Workers Compensation System impacts NYC workers.”
  • The Committee on Environmental Protection will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss a proposed law on “water pollution control, including provisions relating to stormwater management and control of discharges into storm sewers.”

Ahead of the Council's civil rights committee hearing, "Public Advocate Letitia James will be joined by elected officials, business leaders, and advocates to rally support for her legislation to prohibit employers from asking previous salary information from any prospective job applicant. The press conference will be held directly before the bill’s hearing in front of the Council Committee on Civil Rights." James will be joined at the 9 a.m. rally by Council Members Cumbo, Mealey, and Salamanca, according to her office.

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, the New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA) will hold a Board of Directors Meeting.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, Gov. Cuomo will make an announcement at the New NY Bridge Project, in Tarrytown.

At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Assembly Standing Committee on Libraries and Education Technology will hold a public hearing in Albany on the funding of public libraries to “examine the 2016-2017 State Budget’s impact on the mission of New York State libraries in the 21st Century.”

At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday "Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill announce the results of a long-term investigation."

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, there will be a rally on the steps of City Hall calling for Mayor de Blasio to support the Right to Counsel Bill. This bill “would ensure all tenants who are forced by their landlords to go to Housing Court have access to a lawyer.” Tenants, advocates, and community members, including AARP-NY, as well as City Council members, led by Council Members Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson, will participate.

At 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Brooklyn Borough Hall, "Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will join dozens of domestic violence survivors as well as elected officials such as Assembly Members Amy Paulin and Jamie Williams and Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues, to hold a candlelight empowerment rally on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall. Commemorating the anniversary of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a landmark piece of federal legislation that improved criminal justice responses to domestic violence and allowed survivors to better access social services, they will unveil a legislative package with reforms to help strengthen impacted families. Borough President Adams, himself personally affected by domestic violence, will discuss the importance of new action while sharing the stories of inspiring local survivors."

On Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Bronx, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will attend a town hall meeting of District 7’s Community Education Council at P.S. 5.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute will hold “Feeding Gotham: The History and Future of Food Policy in New York City.” This event will look at “concerns over the production and distribution of food in the city,” which exist even after former Mayor Michael Bloomberg created an office of food policy. Gregory Baics of Barnard, Marion Nestle of NYU, and Nick Freudenberg of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute will be among the speakers. The moderator will be Mark Bittman from The New York Times.

At 8 a.m. Wednesday, Crain’s New York will hold a Business Breakfast Forum with NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill. He “will discuss reducing crime in NYC as it rises nationally, how he will implement “broken windows” and neighborhood policing and solving the homicide problem that remains in pockets of the city.” Erik Engquist, assistant managing editor of Crain's New York Business, and Pervaiz Shallwani, criminal justice reporter at The Wall Street Journal, will moderate a discussion after O’Neill gives remarks.

At the City Council on Wednesday:

  • The Committee on General Welfare will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing on “preventive services at the Administration for Children’s Services,” discussion of a proposed law to deal with preventative services, and discussion of a proposed law which would provide language classes for some children in foster care.
  • The Committee on Land Use will meet at 11 a.m.
  • The Committee on Governmental Operations will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss several proposed laws related to the board of standards and appeals, and to discuss a proposed law in relation to the creation of an interactive zoning variance and special permit map.”
  • The Committee on Finance will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing on Fiscal 2017 November Financial Plan and the September Capital Commitment Plan.
  • The Subcommittee on Libraries and the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations will hold a joint oversight hearing at 1 p.m. on the New York Public Library’s Schwarzman Building and Midtown Campus Plans.

On Wednesday at 10 a.m., the MTA will have a board meeting.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Brooklyn Historical Society will hold “Stop and Frisk: An In-Depth Look at a Contentious Policing Tactic.” At this event, “Criminologist and criminal justice expert Michael White delves into his and Henry Fradella's new book, Stop and Frisk: The Use and Abuse of a Controversial Policing Tactic.”

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board will have a board meeting.

At the City Council on Thursday:

  • The Committee on Finance will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss a proposed law on the DUMBO Business Improvement District, and to discuss a proposed resolution “approving the new designation and changes in the designation of certain organizations to receive funding in the Expense Budget.”
  • There will be a Stated Meeting at 1:30 p.m. This is the last full City Council meeting of the year. It will be prefaced by the usual pre-stated press conference led by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

At 9 a.m. Thursday, the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute will continue its Urban Food Policy Forum series: “Defending SNAP and Child Nutrition After the Election.” The panelists at this event will discuss what impact the election will have on safety nets for child nutrition. Panelists include Maggie Dickinson, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Guttman Community College; Triada Stampas, Vice President for Research and Public Affairs, Food Bank for New York City; and Ellen Vollinger, Legal/Food Stamp Director, Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). The moderator will be Jan Poppendieck, Senior Faculty Fellow, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute and Professor Emerita, Sociology, Hunter College.

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

Friday and the weekend
At 8:15 a.m. on Friday, the CityLaw breakfast series will continue with Steven Banks, Commissioner of the Department of Social Services. He will be speaking on poverty and homelessness in New York City. 

At 10 a.m. Friday, the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee will host Campaign School in New York City. “Are you ready to learn about political engagement at the state and local level in New York? And are you curious about the fundamentals of running a campaign?...Open to pro-choice Democratic women ready to take the next step.”

At 10 a.m. Friday, the Assembly Standing Committee on Governmental Operations, the Assembly Standing Committee on Small Business, the Assembly Standing Committee on Oversight, Analysis and Investigation, and the Assembly Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises will hold a joint public hearing in Albany on the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) Program.

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 Brendan Birth and Ben Max

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