Gotham Gazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, December 4

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This week will start with Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD celebrating low crime in New York City, especially the incredibly low number of murders and shootings in the city thus far this year, looking at data through November.

For his part, Governor Andrew Cuomo took a quick trip to Puerto Rico on Saturday to recognize New Yorkers who have been on the ground there, many helping to restore power on the island, and to pledge more help. Cuomo is just over a month away from releasing his 2018 agenda. Meanwhile, he is under increasing pressure to chart a path to Democratic reconciliation in the state Senate.

De Blasio and Cuomo also have at least one eye on Washington, D.C., where a tax reform bill is moving its way through the legislation process that could have drastic impacts on New York and New Yorkers. Both have been critical of the legislation, a version of which passed the U.S. Senate late Friday night with no public review, and is now headed back to the House of Representatives for discussion. Cuomo scheduled a conference call to discuss the GOP tax reform effort with the governor of California and governor-elect of New Jersey, and members of the media.

Another major ongoing storyline is the race for City Council Speaker. While the vote will take place among the 51 City Council members of the new class come January, manuevering among the eight candidates continues, and political dynamics will continue to change throughout this week and the rest of December, most likely.

Speaking of the City Council, there are several high-profile hearings this week, on progress toward closing the Rikers Island jails; on NYCHA's failure to test apartments for lead paint; and on school desegregation. The three are among a larger set of Council hearings as this Council class enters its final few weeks.

As always, there are many events to be aware of 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:

Mayor de Blasio has several events scheduled for Monday: at 11:30 a.m., de "Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner O’Neill will hold a media availability regarding crime statistics...There will be Q-and-A" with members of the media. This event will take place at 250 West 135th Street. At 7 p.m., "the Mayor will appear on NY1’s Inside City Hall." De Blasio will also speak at two events closed to the media: the Cities Thrive holiday reception at Gracie Mansion and the Queens County holiday party.

"On Monday, December 4, 2017 First Lady Chirlane McCray will host the second convening of Cities Thrive, an ever-growing network of nearly 200 cities working together to support a stronger, better funded and more integrated behavioral health system nationwide. Mayor Bill de Blasio will give an address during the second day of the conference. The coalition launched late last year and consists of a bi-partisan group of mayors from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico who are committed to driving mental health reform on local and national levels. The coalition expands the key principles for action in NYC’s groundbreaking mental health plan, ThriveNYC, led by the First Lady. A few of the coalition’s major achievements include working to help pass federal comprehensive mental health reform legislation, additional federal funding to combat the opioid crisis, and defense of the Affordable Care Act. Over the course of two days (Monday, December 4 - Tuesday, December 5) the First Lady and Mayor will be joined by agency leaders, elected officials, public health advocates and mental health professionals from across the country to share best practices for driving local change, and encourage a national dialogue that strengthens the public health approach to mental health and substance misuse." The event willl take place at New York Law School.

At the City Council on Monday:
--The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet at 9:30 a.m.
--The Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “progress in closing Rikers Island.” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will participate.
--The Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses will meet at 11 a.m.
--The Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions will meet at 1 p.m.

At 9:30 a.m. Monday, JustLeadershipUSA and #CLOSErikers will hold a rally outside the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall subway stop, preceding the City Council oversight hearing on the closure of Rikers Island jails.

Comptroller Scott Stringer has two public events Monday: at 9 a.m. he'll deliver remarks at the UFT rally for Puerto Rico,
outside the Alexander Hamilton Custom House. At 6 p.m., Stringer will deliver remarks at the Blackboard Awards for Schools, at the NYIT auditorium.

At 10 a.m. Monday, the Assembly Standing Committees on Environmental Conservation and Health, and the Subcommittee on Oversight of the Department of Environmental Conservation, will hold a joint public hearing at 250 Broadway in Manhattan to “examine water quality issues and to review implementation of the $2.5 billion in water infrastructure funding contained in the 2017-18 State Budget.”

At 11 a.m. Monday, "Minister Kirsten John Foy, Northeast Regional Director of NAN; along with NAN leadership, clergy, community stakeholders and activists" will "protest the FDNY hiring of racist son of former commissioner." The protest rally will occur outside of 9 Metrotech Center, Flatbush Ave.

At 11 a.m. Monday at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, an #EndWageTheft event: City and state prosecutors and partners will "announce joint effort to combat wage theft in the construction industry. Prosecutors to announce criminal charges in multiple cases involving stolen wages, provide tips on spotting wage theft and reporting it to authorities." The event will include: Manhattan District Attorney’s Office; New York State Attorney General’s Office; Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office; Bronx District Attorney’s Office; Nassau District Attorney’s Office; Queens District Attorney’s Office; Staten Island District Attorney’s Office; Westchester District Attorney’s Office; New York State Department of Labor; New York City Department of Investigation; and the New York City Comptroller’s Office.

At 12:30 p.m. Monday, Civic Hall will host “How Can Kids Become Engaged Citizens In This Age Of Turmoil?,” discussing how education can “help develop kids to become lifelong citizens.” Participants include DeNora Getachew of Generation Citizen, Jacqueline Simmons of Teachers College, Elizabeth Waters of Inquiring Minds, and Joe Rogers of the Center for Education Equity.

At 1 p.m. Monday at his New York City office, "Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel will discuss fake comments that have corrupted the FCC’s public comment process on net neutrality, and call on the Commission to cooperate with Attorney General Schneiderman’s investigation."

At 2 p.m. Monday, Governor Cuomo will be in Albany, from where he will join California Governor Jerry Brown and New Jersey Governor-Elect Phil Murphy to hold "a conference call on the GOP Tax plan."

On Tuesday during the Cities Thrive conference, Mayor de Blasio will give remarks in the 11:20 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. window, sandwiched between remarks by Andy Slavitt, Senior Advisor of the Bipartisan Policy Center, and First Lady McCray.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will be in the Bronx to visit the P.S. 30 food pantry. At noon at City Hall, Mark-Vivierito will hold an ethnic and community media roundtable. And in the evening, Mark-Viverito and Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen will appear on NY1's Inside City Hall to discuss the East Harlem rezoning.

On Tuesday at 1:30 p.m., "Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with Federal, State and City partners, to announce conclusion of major long-term investigation."

On Tuesday at 2 p.m. at P.S. 315 in Brooklyn, "Deputy Mayor Buery, City officials, and Warby Parker co-founders and co-CEOs visit vision screenings at Brooklyn elementary school to highlight the Community Schools vision screening program and make an announcement about the expansion of the partnership with Warby Parker to provide free eyeglasses to all 227 Community Schools."

At the City Council on Tuesday:
--The Committee on Public Housing will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the “DOI investigation into lead-based paint conditions at NYCHA apartments.” Public Advocate Letitia James will participate in the hearing.
--The Committee on Parks and Recreation will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss proposed laws relating to “cleaning park playground equipment after the spraying of pesticides” and “reporting on park capital expenditures.”

At the State Legislature on Tuesday:
--The Assembly Standing Committees on Governmental Operations, Labor, and Small Business, and the Assembly Subcommittee on Oversight of MWBEs, will meet jointly at 11 a.m. in Albany to “examine the MWBE program, the 2016 MWBE Disparity Study, including its Workforce Study and the potential implementation of recommendations, through the input of program participants.”
--The Assembly Standing Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts, and Sports Development will hold a public hearing at 11 a.m. in Albany to “review the impact and effectiveness of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) grants awarded throughout the State.”
--The Assembly Standing Committee on Education will meet at noon in Albany for a public hearing regarding “the education of students at private schools in New York State.”
--The Senate Standing Committee on Energy and Telecommunications will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. at 250 Broadway in Manhattan to “gain insight on the logistics of the NY Prize Program, including timeframes, cost, and efficacy of the program.”

At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the District Attorneys for each borough except for Queens will convene at the Town and Village Synagogue in the East Village to discuss how they are attempting to divert mentally ill people and substance abusers away from the criminal justice system. The discussion is sponsored by the Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice, Metro IAF, and the New York Daily News. Alyssa Katz of the Daily News editorial board and Greenburger Center Executive Director Cheryl Roberts will co-moderate.

Public Advocate Letitia James will be among those who attend The Nation Institute's Gala on Tuesday evening.

Comptroller Scott Stringer will host his annual Jewish Heritage Celebration on Tuesday night.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio will hold a town hall meeting at the Belle Harbor School in Belle Harbor, Queens, with City Council Member Eric Ulrich, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, U.S. Rep Gregory Meeks, and Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato.

At the City Council on Wednesday:
--The Committee on Rules, Privileges, and Elections will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss the nominations of Anne Holford-Smith to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and Alameda Sky Chapman to the Youth Board.
--The Committee on Technology will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “MODA’s data and verification plan.”
--The Committee on Juvenile Justice will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “DYFJ’s efforts in the implementation of raising the age of criminal responsibility.”

The New York Housing Conference and the National Housing Conference will host its 44th Annual Awards program at the Sheraton Times Square on Wednesday. Prior to the awards ceremony, there will be several panel discussions on the state of housing in New York. At 9 a.m., there will be a discussion on the potential impacts of HUD policy shifts, with NYCHA CEO Shola Olatoye, HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer, HUD Region II Administrator Lynne Patton, and NYS Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnaukas. Other panels will gather leaders in government, business, and advocacy to discuss issues such as updates to the city & state housing plan, the homelessness crisis, federal tax reform, and disaster recovery.

At 11 a.m. Wednesday in Albany, the Assembly Standing Committee on Aging will meet for a public hearing to “explore the ways in which community-based non-medical services and programs provide cost-effective supports to seniors living in their homes and neighborhoods and look at new approaches to delivering these services.”

Also at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Albany, the Assembly Standing Committee on Veterans' Affairs will meet on “Budget and programs for veterans related to monies in support of veteran-to-veteran programs.”

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will deliver the keynote address at “The Future of DACA” at Columbia’s SIPA International Affairs Building.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, City Council Member Andy King will deliver the keynote address at the Bronx Neighborhood Housing Services “Winter Wonderland Gala” at Eastwood Manor in Pelham Gardens, Bronx. The keynote will be titled “The Future of Affordable Housing in the Bronx.”

At the City Council on Thursday:
--The Committee on Land Use will meet at 11 a.m.
--The Committee on Education will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “diversity in New York City schools.”

At 8:30 a.m. Thursday, City & State will host “Disaster Management,” part of its “Front Page Roundtable Series,” at the 3 West Club in Midtown. The panels, consisting of leaders in business, government, advocacy, and media, will discuss disaster preparedness and management in the wake of recent natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

At 5 p.m. Thursday, protesters will gather outside Verizon stores as part of a nationwide protest against the Trump administration’s plans to end net neutrality.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce will announce its new chair at  its 2017 Annual Open Meeting.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, Citizen Action NY will host its 2017 Progressive Leadership Awards at DC 1707 in Midtown. Honorees include Mujahid Farid of the Release Aging People in Prison Campaign, the New York State Nurses Association, Youth Leaders at Make the Road NY, and political strategist and CNN commentator Angela Rye.

At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Mayor de Blasio will hold a town hall meeting at the Julia Richmond Education Complex on the Upper East Side with City Council Member Ben Kallos, U.S. Rep Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Liz Krueger, and Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright.

Friday and the weekend
Mayor de Blasio is expected to make his weekly Friday morning appearance on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show at 10 a.m.

At 11 a.m. Saturday, Easy Elections NY will kick off its 2018 campaign to make it easier to vote in state elections at the First Presbyterian Church of Albany.

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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