New York City Hall
What to watch for this week in New York politics:
This week starts a two-week sprint to what amounts to the end of the political year: Friday, December 22. Though there will be some political business Christmas week, and a deal to crown the next Speaker of the City Council could be announced any time before the January 3 vote, most of the rest of the political activity for the year (and thus the four-year city term) will take place this week and next. That includes a very busy schedule at the City Council in terms of oversight hearings, legislative negotiations, and bills being passed before this Council class and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito end their term together. The first of two December full-body Stated meetings of the Council takes place on Monday, at which a number of bills will be passed (the other one is set for Dec. 19).
As the year nears an end, we're also watching for announcements related to personnel in the de Blasio administration -- who else might be leaving, coming, or promoted -- as well as in the administrations of the two other citywide elected officials, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James. While their top deputies are much less known than the mayor's, the positions are still influential and important to how the city is run.
We're also just a few weeks away from a new budget and legislative year kicking off in Albany, where Governor Cuomo will outline his 2018 agenda on January 3. There are legislative hearings this week as the two chambers gear up for next year. Cuomo begins his week with one public event in New York City -- see below for details.
And one New York eye remains fixed on Washington, D.C., where tax reform legislation is being negotiated among the House, Senate, and White House, with major potential ramifications for the Empire State and its biggest city.
There's a lot happening this week -- see our day-by-day rundown below.
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The run of the week in detail:
At 10:30 a.m. Monday on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, Ben Max of Gotham Gazette and Dr. Christina Greer of Fordham University will discuss the latest in city and state politics.
At 11 a.m. Monday, Governor Cuomo will be at the CUNY Graduate Center to hold a briefing with Puerto Rican Governor Rosselló and members of the New York congressional delegation.
Mayor de Blasio will appear on NY1's Inside City Hall in the 7 and 10 p.m. hours.
The full City Council will meet at 1:30 p.m. Monday for the penultimate stated meeting of the year and of the current four-year session. The meeting will be prefaced by a press conference led by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Before the Stated meeting, the Committee on Finance will hold a hearing and the Committee on Rules, Privelages and Elections will hold a meeting.
At the State Legislature on Monday: The Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health will meet at 10 a.m. in Albany for a public hearing regarding “the adequacy of housing opportunities for individuals who are receiving services and supports from the Office of Mental Health (OMH) or the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) in the context of the funding provided in the State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2017-18 budget.”
The New York State Board of Regents will meet on Monday and Tuesday in Albany.
At 10 a.m. Monday, First Lady Chirlane McCray will host a press conference at the Tweed Courthouse where she will make an announcement about “promoting mental health literacy in the black community.” She will be joined by Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Mary Bassett, U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke, former SEIU chair Toni Lewis, and representatives of six organizations historically led by black women.
At noon Monday, City Council Member Rory Lancman will hold a press conference outside the City Hall R train stop to “tout passage of Intro. 1664, legislation that will require the NYPD to report quarterly the number of arrests and summonses issued for subway fare evasion.” Lancman will be joined by representatives of the Community Service Society, the Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services, and the Bronx Defenders.
Also Monday at noon, on the steps of City Hall, "Council Member Rafael Espinal and Chair of the Transportation Committee, Ydanis Rodriguez will join transportation and environmental advocates to host a press conference announcing a transportation committee oversight hearing. The upcoming hearing, slated for Thursday, December 14 at 10 AM will feature a bill sponsored by Council Member Espinal. Reso No. 1443 "calls upon the Governor and MTA to commit to an expeditious transition to an electric bus fleet and to use electric buses as a robust part of its replacement service during the upcoming L train shutdown.”"
At 1pm Monday at City Hall, there will be a protest against the city’s plans to redevelop the Elizabeth Street Garden. The city’s plan, backed by local Council Member Margaret Chin, includes senior affordable housing and park/garden space, but Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden and a variety of other elected officials, including Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James, are opposed to the deal.
At 6:30 p.m. Monday, the New York City Bar Association will host “The Global War on Terrorism: Do We Need a New AUMF,” discussing whether current military operations should be covered under the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, authorized after 9/11. Speakers will include William Castle, Acting General Counsel for the Department of Defense; Bruce Ackerman, counsel in Smith vs Trump, a case challenging the president’s power to fight ISIS under the 2001 AUMF; and John Bellinger III, former senior counsel to George W. Bush and legal advisor to the National Security Council during 9/11.
At the City Council on Tuesday:
--The Committee on Education will tour The Earth School in the East Village at 9:30 a.m.
--The Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “Homeownership in NYC: Challenges and HPD’s Programs.”
--The Committee on Civil Service and Labor will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “USIC underground safety contractor workers’ unfair pay and benefits.”
--The Committee on Recovery and Resiliency will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “NFIP reauthorization and flood insurance affordability.”
At the State Legislature on Tuesday:
--The Assembly Standing Committee on Higher Education will meet at 10 a.m. in Albany for a public hearing to “examine the implementation of the scholarship programs included in the 2017-18 State Budget, the Excelsior Scholarship and the Enhanced Tuition Awards Program, and to examine the impact they are having on New York State families and institutions of higher education.”
--The Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture will meet at 10 a.m. in Albany for a public hearing to “elicit comments on what measures the state can implement that will provide a direct economic impact to farmers by enhancing their bottom line.”
--The Assembly Standing Committee on Libraries and Education Technology will meet at 10:30 a.m. in Albany for its annual budget oversight hearing on “funding of libraries in New York State for fiscal year 2017-2018.”
--The Assembly Standing Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse will meet at 1 p.m. at 250 Broadway in Manhattan for a public hearing “to examine the adequacy of funding for prevention, treatment, and recovery services within the State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2017-2018 Enacted Budget.”
At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie will join UFT President Michael Mulgrew at UFT Headquarters in Lower Manhattan to discuss “the upcoming legislative session; the state economy and budget priorities, including school spending; the threat posed by federal tax changes and potential program reductions; and other issues.” It is unclear if this is a public event or only open to UFT members.
At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Manhattan Institute will host “Prospects for Black America,” discussing the unique challenges that African-Americans face and possible policy and grassroots remedies. U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson will deliver the keynote address.
On Tuesday at 10:45 a.m., City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will speak at Generation Citizen's 2017 Civics Day, at Riverside Church.
At 11 a.m. in the Bronx, "Mayor de Blasio will make an announcement regarding the City’s use of cluster housing."
On Tuesday at noon, “Color Of Change, the nation's largest online racial justice organization, will join leaders from VOCAL-NY and Brooklyn Community Bail Fund in front of the office of Governor Cuomo in New York City to deliver a petition and hold press a conference demanding that Cuomo and Attorney General Schneiderman investigate the bail bond industry in New York. The petition highlights the lack of oversight and regulation of the exploitative commercial bail bond industry, which extracts millions of dollars from New York’s most marginalized communities. Each year, as many as 100,000 people in New York are imprisoned only because of their inability to afford bail. For some families, the only way to buy a loved one’s release is through the for-profit commercial bail bond industry.”
On Tuesday at 2 p.m. at City Hall Park, "Council Member Margaret S. Chin will join a diverse coalition of affordable senior housing advocates, LGBTQ groups and community gardeners in support of the announcement of the senior housing plan for Mott and Elizabeth streets that would include 121 units of deeply affordable housing for seniors and the formerly homeless; more than 7,600 square feet of public green space; and onsite offices for Habitat for Humanity NYC and SAGE."
At 6 p.m. Tuesday, City Council Member and Speaker candidate Corey Johnson will join the Association for a Better New York for its “What’s on Tap” series at American Beauty in Chelsea.
At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio will hold a town hall meeting at the Jerome Parker Educational Complex in New Springville, Staten Island, with City Council Member Joe Borelli, Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, State Senator Andrew Lanza, and Assemblymember Michael Cusick.
At the City Council on Wednesday:
--The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet at 9:30 a.m.
--The Committee on Environmental Protection will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the “current condition and future plans” of the city’s wastewater infrastructure.
--The Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses will meet at 11 a.m.
--The Committees on Higher Education and General Welfare will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “higher education opportunities for youth aging out of foster care.”
--The Committee on Governmental Operations will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing on the 2017 election, as well as to discuss a proposed law relating to “the broadcasting of mandatory debates.”
--The Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions will meet at 1 p.m.
At the State Legislature on Wednesday: The Assembly Standing Committee on Health, the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, and the Task Force on New Americans will meet jointly at 10 a.m. at 250 Broadway in Manhattan for a public hearing regarding immigrants’ access to healthcare.
At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting at Spector Hall.
At 4 p.m. Wednesday, the Civilian Complaint Review Board will hold a public board meeting at 100 Church Street.
At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Campaign Finance Board’s Voter Assistance Advisory Committee will hold its annual hearing at CFB headquarters at 100 Church Street. Featured speakers will be Fordham political science professor Dr. Christina Greer and 2018 NYC Youth Poet Laureate William Lohier.
At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, MTA Board Members Veronica Vanterpool and Norman Brown will join the Riders Alliance to discuss intricacies of the MTA’s funding, and how money gets spent by the authority. The conversation will be moderated by Executive Director John Raskin.
Governor Cuomo is scheduled to hold a fundraiser in Manhattan on Thursday featuring former President Bill Clinton. (Democrats to Cuomo's left are planning to protest outside the fundraiser, according to The New York Post.)
At the City Council on Thursday:
--The Committee on Waterfronts will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “the citywide waterfront inspection process.”
--The Committee on Transportation will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “mitigation plans for the 2019 L Train tunnel closure,” as well as to discuss a resolution “calling upon the Governor and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to commit to an expeditious transition to an electric bus fleet and to use electric buses as a robust part of its replacement service during the upcoming L train shutdown.”
--The Committees on Health and Public Safety will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “examining forensic science practices in the NYPD crime lab and OCME.”
--The Committee on Public Safety will also be discussing a proposed law relating to “respecting the right to record police activities.”
--The Committee on Aging and the Subcommittee on Senior Centers will meet jointly at 1 p.m.
--The Committee on Economic Development will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the “economic impact of vacant storefronts.”
At the State Legislature on Thursday:
--The Assembly Standing Committee on Children and Families will meet at 11 a.m. in Albany for a public hearing to “examine the impact of the State budget on supports for foster parents and caretakers of children removed from their homes.”
--The Assembly Standing Committee on Housing will meet at 11:30 a.m. at 250 Broadway in Manhattan for an oversight hearing of “the State Fiscal Year 2017-2018 State Budget for New York State Homes & Community Renewal.”
The New York City Campaign Finance Board will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. on Thursday.
At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, City & State will honor its “CSR Responsible 100” honorees, in recognition of “100 of New York’s most outstanding corporate citizens.” First Lady Chirlane McCray will also be presented with the “Civic Leader of the Year Award.”
At 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Assemblymember Dan Quart will unveil a broad criminal justice reform legislative package, addressing issues such as “cash bail reform, online harassment, reentry services to those who were wrongfully convicted,” at 250 Broadway.
At 8 p.m. Thursday, Mayor de Blasio will hold a town hall meeting at JHS 88 in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, with City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, and Assemblymember Felix Ortiz.
Friday and the weekend
At the State Legislature on Friday: The Assembly Standing Committee on Transportation will meet at 10:30 a.m. in Albany for a public hearing regarding the Department of Transportation Capital Program.
At noon Friday, the New York State Board of Elections will hold a commissioners’ meeting at the State Board Offices in Albany.
by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max