Gotham Gazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, November 27

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This post-Thanksgiving week promises to be a busy one. Mayor de Blasio will likely be active after two weeks of limited public appearances (he was away on a family vacation in Connecticut, then it was Thanksgiving week). The City Council has another busy week with a variety of hearings and a full Council Stated meeting on Thursday, at which the Council passes bills that have moved through committee and sees the introduction of new bills (since we're in the final weeks of the four-year session, there are more bills being passed than introduced at this point). Two pieces of legislations especially worth watching: the police reform Right to Know Act and changes to the commercial rent tax, which affects businesses south of 96th Street in Manhattan. The Council's end-of-term flurry of oversight hearings continues this week.

Also continuing this week is the race to become the next Speaker of the City Council. The eight men running for the position, which will be officially voted on during the first Stated meeting of January's new Council class, have been engaging in behind-the-scenes politicking and more public arguments for their candidacies. The candidates continue to participate in forums, which are largely their opportunities to influence influencers like advocacy groups and the media narrative of the race. Overall, though, the many public forums the candidates have been and continue participating in will have little impact on who wins this race, which is decided by Council members, party bosses, labor unions, and other influential figures, like members of Congress and Mayor de Blasio, who will reportedly continue to meet with the speaker candidates this week.

De Blasio is holding a town hall in Queens on Thursday night. The mayor has four public events Monday -- see details below.

As we hit December on Friday, we're just over a month from when Governor Cuomo will begin to outline his 2018 agenda. In January, the governor, who says he will pursue a third term through next year's election, will give his State of the State policy agenda and also lay out his executive budget. Cuomo has already indicated that a congestion pricing plan will be part of the picture, but little else is known. As December and January approach, watch for new information about Cuomo's 2018. This week, we know that Cuomo is organizing and headlining a Saturday rally to protest President Trump's agenda set for New York City on Saturday, when Trump is due in the city for some fundraising. Cuomo is appearing more and more to be testing the waters for a potential presidential run. While the next presidential election is in 2020, candidates will really start running well before. Cuomo may prioritize his reelection bid first, then kick his presidential exploration into full gear in early 2019.

As always, there's a great deal happening this week - 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:

On Monday, Mayor de Blasio has several public events: at noon at City Hall, de Blasio "will hold a public hearing on 16 pieces of legislation" that will be signed into law at a later date. At 4:30 p.m., "the Mayor will attend the grand opening ceremony for Gino Sorbillo’s Pizzeria." At 6 p.m. at City Hall, "the Mayor, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and members of the City Council will host a Puerto Rican Heritage celebration." And at 7:30 p.m. at Elsewhere in Brooklyn, "the Mayor will sign legislation to repeal the Cabaret Law."

At 11 a.m. Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer is holding a press conference at Worth Square in Manhattan.

At the City Council on Monday:
--The Committees on Transportation and Sanitation & Solid Waste Management will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “private sanitation fleet safety.”
--The Committees on Civil Service & Labor and Small Business will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding an “update on career pathways/workforce development systems.”
--The Committee on Recovery and Resiliency will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding an “update on assisting vulnerable populations in emergency evacuations.”

On Monday evening at 6:30 p.m., "AARP New York, NBC 4 New York, Telemundo47 and NBC Latino will host a debate for candidates in the running for New York City Council Speaker. Candidates will debate their priorities for the Council, including issues important to New Yorkers 50-plus such as affordable housing, transportation, support for caregivers, and livability. Local AARP members will be available for comments on the debate." The event will take place at the 92nd Street Y and will be livestreamed by TelemundoTelemundo and by NBC New York.

On Monday "at 6:30 PM, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will lead a community vigil in memory of 14-year-old Edwin Ajacalon, a Guatemalan immigrant who worked as a deliveryman for a local restaurant; he was killed Saturday afternoon in Sunset Park when a speeding car slammed into his bicycle and dragged him a half a block. At the site of the crash, Borough President Adams will join Ajacolon's uncle, fellow New Yorkers who have lost loved ones to traffic violence, and neighborhood advocates, including Council Member Carlos Menchaca and Transportation Alternatives, in mourning his loss and demanding action for safer streets, including long-demanded speed cameras."

At the City Council on Tuesday:
--The Committee on Economic Development will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “NYC’s sagging air cargo industry.”
--The Committees on Higher Education and Technology will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “CUNY tech incubators.”
--The Committees on Health and Immigration will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “immigrant access to healthcare.”
--The Committee on Governmental Operations will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “DCAS’s energy management and energy efficiency initiatives.”
--The Committee on Juvenile Justice will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “trauma-informed services in the juvenile justice system.”

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics will meet on Tuesday in Albany.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the Assembly Standing Committee on Election Law and the Subcommittee on Election Day Operations and Voter Disenfranchisement will hold a public hearing at 250 Broadway in Manhattan to “examine the condition of the State’s election infrastructure and take testimony with regard to protecting the integrity of election systems against cyber-infiltration or attack.”

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, Still We Rise NYC will host “Healing Of Our City: A Faith & Community Conversation with NYPD” at the New Jerusalem Worship Center in Jamaica, Queens. NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill and Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker will be joined by fellow officers and faith leaders to discuss several hot button issues related to policing in New York City.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, the Assembly Standing Committee on Agriculture will hold an oversight hearing in Albany regarding “the SFY 2017-2018 State Budget for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.”

At 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, the New York City Board of Elections will hold a commissioners meeting.

At 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, Public Advocate Letitia James will visit the Queens Adult Learning Center.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Panel for Educational Policy will hold a public meeting at Long Island City High School in Queens.

At 6 pm. Tuesday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will speak at Nicholasa Mohr exhibition opening at Aguilar Library.

There is a City Council Speaker candidate forum on Tuesday night focused on arts and culture, moderated by Juan Manuel Benitez of NY1 Noticias, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at SVA Theatre. The forum is hosted by New Yorkers for Culture and Arts in partnership with "112 community engagement partners."

Mayor de Blasio will attend two closed press events on Tuesday evening: "the NYC League of Conservation Voters Fall Event and "Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins P.C Mill Brook Realty Group LLC’s Holiday Party."

At the City Council on Wednesday:
--The Committee on Aging will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “supporting unpaid caregivers.”
--The Committee on Contracts will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “examining existing supports and needs of underrepresented business owners in city procurement.”

On Wednesday morning, Center for an Urban Future will host "a high-level symposium...The Role of the Tech Sector in Sparking Middle Class Job Creation in New York City. The forum, to be held at Grand Central Tech, will host a distinguished panel of experts that will discuss the increasingly important role of the tech sector in stimulating middle class jobs in New York City." Panelists will include James Patchett, President & CEO, NYC Economic Development Corporation; Julie Samuels, Executive Director, Tech:NYC; Patrick Deem, Co-Founder & CFO, Voodoo Manufacturing; Rashid Ferrod Davis, Founding Principal, Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH); Alex Lirtsman, Co-Founder, Ready Set Rocket; and moderator Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director, Center for an Urban Future.

At 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Public Advocate Letitia James will hold a public hearing “focused on climate change, its potential impacts, and strategies and solutions for New York City.” The hearing will take place at Borough of Manhattan Community College in Tribeca.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting at Spector Hall.

On Wednesday at 7 p.m., City Council Speaker candidates will participate in a forum hosted by Make the Road New York, El Diario, and Univision. The forum will be in Spanish, with English translation, and will take place at Make the Road in Jackson Heights, Queens.

The full City Council will hold a stated meeting at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, prefaced by a press conference led by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Also at the City Council on Thursday: the Committee on Finance will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss a proposed law relating to “requiring the department of finance to provide new homeowners with information about real property taxes and exemptions,” as well as a resolution “approving the new designation and changes in the designation of certain organizations to receive funding in the Expense Budget.”

At 3 p.m. Thursday, advocates will rally at Hunter College to demand free tuition at CUNY and a minimum salary per course of $7,000 for adjunct professors. The rally will take place on the day that PSC-CUNY’s contract expires.

At 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Civic Hall and LMHQ will host the “Women’s Unconference,” discussing “innovations in women’s advocacy and female empowerment.”

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the New York City Bar Association, the Historical Society of the New York Courts, and the New York State Archives will host “Documenting Our Past: Great Documents of New York Legal History,” discussing “early documents of state importance that provide a window into New York State legal foundations.”

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, advocates will rally in Washington Square Park to demand that the (now former) police officers accused of raping a woman in custody face justice.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, Mayor de Blasio will hold a town hall meeting at MS 217 in Briarwood, Queens. City Council Member Rory Lancman will host and emcee, and the event will be held in collaboration with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, State Senator Leroy Comrie, and Assemblymembers Vivian Cook, David Weprin, Nily Rozic, Alicia Hyndman, and Daniel Rosenthal.

At 7 p.m. Thursday there will be a City Council speaker candidate forum in Brooklyn at St. Paul Community Baptist Church, with Rev. David K. Brawley, co-chair of Metro IAF/EBC, as moderator. Public Advocate Letitia James is co-hosting. Council Members Ritchie Torres and Robert Cornegy are confirmed.

Friday and the weekend
At 10 a.m. Friday, the Assembly Standing Committee on Judiciary will hold a public hearing at 250 Broadway in Manhattan regarding “Implementation of the State Budget on the Judiciary.”

On Friday night the City Council Speaker candidates will debate live on NY1 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump will be in New York City on Saturday for a fundraiser. Governor Cuomo will be at the Midtown Hilton at 11 a.m. to host an anti-Trump rally.

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 Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max

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