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City Council Vote on Jails Plan; Public Advocate’s Priorities; Senate Hearings on 50-A & Education Aid; & More: The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 14

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

The big news this week is likely to be the details of the final deal to secure City Council passage of the plan to build four new jails, one in each borough other than Staten Island, to replace the Rikers Island jail complex, which is slated to fully close by 2026. The plan passed the City Planning Commission in early September and is slated this week for a vote in the City Council land use committee, then the full Council, where it is expected to pass, though it may receive an usually high number of "no" votes given how easily most Council bills and land use items move through once they are called for a vote.

The final details of the plan -- namely the exact sizes of the jails and community investments in social services and other things that will accompany the building of the jails -- are still being negotiated by the administraiton of Mayor Bill de Blasio, the office of City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and the four Council members -- Diana Ayala (Bronx), Stephen Levin (Brooklyn), Karen Koslowitz (Queens), and Margaret Chin (Manhattan) -- whose districts are slated to be home to the jails. Notably, only Ayala is not term-limited out of office after this Council four-year session, which concludes at the end of 2021.

The closure of the Rikers jails and the building of new, modern facilities closer to courthouses and the communities of the incarcerated has been the subject of much debate and negotiation for several years. This week will bring a major milestone, whether the plan passes the Council or, less likely but still plausible, somehow falls apart at the last minute. Rikers closure stands to be a key part of the legacies for de Blasio, Johnson, the four Council members, and former Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who really made it one of her highest priorities during her tenure and got de Blasio to agree to commit to the broad goal. Johnson then helped bring the four local Council members to agreement on siting the jails.

All four facilities are set to replace existing jails, though in Queens the facility has been largely dormant for some time. The Bronx facility will replace the floating "barge," while the Brooklyn and Manhattan complexes will replace currently-functioning but antiquated jails. There has been ongoing pressure from the "No New Jails" coalition to see Rikers closed without new jails being built, but the "Close Rikers" campaign, the "Lippman Commission" empaneled by Mark-Viverito, and others have called that push unrealistic, in large part because they say those detained deserve more modern facilities that by design help in the rehabilitative process and make exiting jail as quick as possible for those awaiting trial.

The week also begins with the city reeling after tragedies including a mass shooting, leaving four dead and several other wounded, in Brooklyn at an alleged illegal gambling club and another death of a cyclist killed by a car driver, which occurred Sunday in Queens. Responses to those two events will continue this week.

There's a lot more than that to watch this week, with many issues to keep tabs on and 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:

Monday, October 14
Monday is Columbus Day. Many elected officials, including Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, and others will march in the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan.

At 8:10 am., Governor Cuomo will be a guest on Fox 5 Good Day With Rosanna Scotto.

In the 7 and 11 p.m. hours, Mayor de Blasio will appear on NY1's Inside City Hall.

At 9:30 a.m. Monday, supporters of the Fair Elections for New York campaign will host a rally and press conference ahead of the 10 a.m. New York Public State Campaign Financing Commission meeting at the Gateway Center, Westchester Community College, Westchester, NY, to urge the commission to release an interim report, consisting of draft recommendations, by early November, ahead of its December 1 deadline for a final set of proposals.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer has several Monday events: at 11:30 a.m. he'll march in the Columbus Day Parade; at 1:15 p.m. he'll appear on Yahoo Finance; at 7:45 p.m. he'll deliver remarks at the Woodlawn Heights Taxpayers and Community Association meeting in the Bronx.

At 5:30 p.m. Monday Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams will appear on News 12 Brooklyn for his usual "Ask the Borough President" segment. At 7:30 p.m., Adams will hold a candlelight vigil for victims of the Crown Heights mass shooting at the intersection of Utica Avenue and Michael Griffith Street. The vigil will include "clergy leaders, anti-gun violence advocates and elected leaders...At the vigil, Borough President Adams and other participants will call attention to the pervasive double-standard around mass shooting incidents, where shootings in urban areas are treated with less urgency than those in suburban and rural communities, despite accounting for most of the gun violence in the U.S. He will also highlight the role that handguns play in driving the gun violence crisis in the country."

At 6 p.m. Monday, Community Voices Heard (CVH) will celebrate the organization’s 25th anniversary at their annual Shirley Chisholm Lights of Freedom awards ceremony at the Museum of the City of New York, to honor those who have championed the fight for racial, social, and economic justice this year. Honorees include licia Garza, Omari Shakur, Ford Foundation, Barbara Terrelonge of DC37 and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Comptroller Scott Stringer and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will be among those attending the reception.

Tuesday, October 15
Crain’s New York Business will host a business forum with Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, Department of Sanitation, City of New York, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the New York Athletic Club. It will be moderated by Matthew Flamm of Crain’s and Courtney Gross of NY1.

ABNY will host a breakfast event with Public Advocate Jumaane Williams on Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at The Hilton Midtown.

The New York State Democratic Committee annual meeting will take place Tuesday at the Hilton Huntington on Long Island. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will be among those who speak.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, City Council Members and New Yorkers will rally Restrict Flavored Tobacco on 10-Year Anniversary of Menthol Loophole at the steps of the City Hall. Participants will include NYC Councilman Cabrera; NYC Councilman Levine; André M. Richardson, Campaign Manager of Flavors Hook Kids NYC; Mike Davoli, American Cancer Society; Pastor Graham-Brown at Bronx Baptist Church; Gabe Galluci, Director of Governmental and Political Affairs at the Council for School Supervisors and Administrators; Darold Burgess, Ingersol Houses TA President; David Best, Current President of Community Education Council District 19; Derek Salud, Youth Group Organizer at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine; Nikki Lucas, Founder and President of The People First Education Fund and People First Democratic Club; Pastor Addie Banks, The Groundswell Group, WEPA Coalition; Phillip Lynn, The Groundswell Group, WEPA Coalition; Chris Banks, East New York United Concerned Citizens; Shanequa M. Charles, Miss Abbie’s Kids Inc.; Kujegi Camara, SCWEN; Reverend Kevin McCall, Founder of Crisis Action Center; Jesse Heindrich, PS9 PTO; Bishop Curt Courtenay, Emmanuel Church of God; Charles B. Wang Community Health Center.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the Joint State Senate Task Force on Opioids, Addiction and Overdose Prevention will hold a public hearing at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts to “hear from stakeholders on strategies for reducing overdoses, improving individual and community health, and addressing the harmful consequences of drug use.”

At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, "Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul Tours Hofstra University's New School of Business." At 11 a.m. "Hochul Delivers Remarks at Statewide Small Business Entrepreneurship Roundtable Discussion" at Hofstra. At 6 p.m., "Hochul Greets Families at Senator Tim Kennedy's Single Moms Club Women's Health Forum During Breast Cancer Awareness Month" at Lafayette Parent Center in Buffalo.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams will hold a "press conference to unveil $500,000 capital grant for Green-Wood Cemetery’s Education & Welcome Center."

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, State Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte and a host of other elected officials, organizations, and affected families, will hold a public meeting at the steps of City Hall, to commemorate “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day,” proposed to help reduce the number of pregnancy and infant loss.  Attendees will include Assembly members Michaelle Solages and Richard Gottfried; City Council Member Farah Louis; Brooke Smith, Baby Resource Center; Wendy Wilcox MD Chairperson NYC Health + Hospitals; March of Dimes; Star Legacy Foundation.

At 1 p.m. Tuesday, the New York City Planning Commission will meet at 120 Broadway for a review session.

The 2019 New York City Charter Revision Commission will hold an information session about its ballot proposals, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Queens Borough Hall.

As part of “Archtober,” New York City’s Architecture and Design Month, the Center for Architecture and UN-Habitat’s Urban October will host “Off the Rails: Megadevelopment and the Future of the City,” from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday at the Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre for the Performing Arts. Speakers will include Zaire Dinzey-Flores, Associate Professor, Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies and the Department of Sociology, Rutgers-New Brunswick; Winifred Curran, Professor, Geography, DePaul University; Betty Y. Chen, Principal, BYC Projects, and former New York City Planning Commissioner. It will be moderated by Louise Harpman, Professor, NYU Gallatin.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, "Mayor de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Reception at Gracie Mansion."

The 12 Democratic presidential candidates who met the national committee criteria will participate in a primary debate on Tuesday evening at 8 p.m. on CNN.

Wednesday, October 16
Center for Urban Policy Symposium will host a breakfast panel titled “Are Creative Industries the Future of Middle Class Jobs in NYC?,” from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at The New School. Speakers will include Anne del Castillo, Commissioner, Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment; Laura Callanan, Founding Partner, Upstart Co-Lab; Andrew Essex, Founder of Plan_A; former CEO, Tribeca Film Festival; Winston C. Fisher, CEO, AREA15; Partner, Fisher Brothers; Alain Sylvain, Founder & CEO, Sylvain Labs. 

Empire Center will host the Gov. Hugh L. Carey policy forum titled “Medicaid Migraine: Retaking Control of New York’s Surging Health-Care Costs,” from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Albany Institute of History and Art. Speakers include Bill Hammond, Health Policy Director, Empire Center; Rose Duhan, President and CEO, Community Health Care Association of New York State; James Lytle, Partner, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips; Kathy Preston, Executive Vice President, New York Health Plan Association; Lara Kassel, Coordinator, Medicaid Matters New York.

At the City Council on Wednesday:
--at 9:30 a.m., the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Sitings and Dispositions will hold a hearing.
--at 10 a.m., the Committee on Land Use will hold a hearing.
--at 10:30 a.m., the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will hold a hearing.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the NYC City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting at 120 Broadway. 

Wednesday in Yonkers, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will be the first of a series of “roundtables” hosted by the State Senate Education Committee and Committee on Budget and Revenues “to hear from stakeholders regarding the components and disbursement of Foundation Aid. Senator Shelley Mayer, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, will lead these hearings in partnership with Senator Brian Benjamin, Chair of the Senate Committee on Budget and Revenues, and will focus on how Foundation Aid meets student, district and community needs with the goal of achieving greater equity in school financing.”

The State Senate Standing Committee on Internet and Technology will hold a public hearing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday at 250 Broadway to examine the gig economy, including “hearing from stakeholders within the gig economy to identify the needs of workers and employers operating outside the traditional employee-employer dynamic and determine possible legislative avenues - including S.6538 – The Dependent Worker Act’s impact on the workforce.”

The Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY will host a panel discussion on the “Public Charge” Rule from 2-3:00p.m. Wednesday. Speakers will include Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner, Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs; Steven Banks, Commissioner, Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services; Chris Keeley, Senior Director for Legal Affairs and Labor Relations , NYC Health + Hospitals; Sarah Nolan, Supervising Attorney, LegalHealth at the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG). It will be moderated by Jehangir Khattak, Center for Community and Ethnic Media, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.

The New York State Bar Association’s Task Force on Free Expression in the Digital Age will host “FOIL and the Future of Local Journalism: Rethinking Access to Information in a Digital Age” from 2:30-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, at Syracuse University College of Law. Panelists include Jeremy Boyer, executive editor, Auburn Citizen; Diane Kennedy, president, New York News Publishers Association; John Lammers, senior director of content, Advance Media New York; Kristin O’Neill, assistant director, The Committee on Open Government; Kathryn Sheingold, assistant solicitor general, Office of the Attorney General; and others. It will be moderated by  David McCraw, Task Force co-chair, deputy general counsel for The New York Times.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, the City Council will host its Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration.

The 2019 New York City Charter Revision Commission will hold an information session about its ballot proposals from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Lower Gallery in the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx.

Thursday, October 17
At 9:30 a.m. Thursday, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board will host a public meeting at the David N. Dinkins Municipal Building.

At the City Council on Thursday:
--at 10 a.m., the Committee on Finance will hold meetings on multiple bills
--at 1:30 p.m., a City Council Stated Meeting will concur, where bills are first introduced and bills that have passed committee will be voted on by the full Council. The meeting will be prefaced by a press conference hosted by Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

At 10 a.m. Thursday, the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) will hold a public meeting at its offices at 100 Church Street.

The State Senate Committee on Codes will hold a public hearing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at 250 Broadway about issues related to personnel records of police officers, firefighters, and correctional officers, and the possibility of reforming or repealing section 50-a of the civil rights law.

At 11 a.m. Thursday, the Assembly Standing Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Assembly Standing Committee on Local Governments, Assembly Standing Committee on Cities and Assembly Subcommittee on Women Veterans will jointly hold a public hearing on the delivery of veterans’ services and programs in New York State at the Legislative Office Building in Albany.

The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and Energy Innovation along with The Earth Institute  will host a forum titled “Should Storm surge barriers be built to protect NY & NJ from flooding,” from 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday at Columbia Law School. Speakers include Col. Thomas Asbery, Chief New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Paul Gallay, President, Riverkeeper, among others. It will be moderated by Prof. Michael B. Gerrard, Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams will host a Latino Heritage Celebration, featuring Domingo Zapata, at borough hall.

The 2019 New York City Charter Revision Commission will hold an information session about its ballot proposals, from 6:30-8 p.m. at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Thursday evening is this year's Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, which always draws many top officials and newsmakers, including the governor and the mayor. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis will be the keynote speaker.

Friday, October 18 & the weekend
At 10 a.m. Friday, Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show.

Starting at 10 a.m. Friday in Buffalo, the State Senate Committee on Education and the State Senate Standing Committee on Budget and Revenues will hold their second in a series of public roundtables and hearings, to “hear from stakeholders about the components of the Foundation Aid formula in relation to student, district and community needs with a goal of greater equity in school financing.”

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, senator from Vermont, will host a large campaign rally in on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Queensbridge Park in Long Island City.

“The United Federation of Teachers, as part of its national union’s presidential endorsement process, will host Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden at the UFT’s annual Teacher Union Day” on Sunday, October 20, in New York City.

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 Max & Gia Ramesh

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