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Public Advocate Debate; Byford MTA Drama; Vision Zero Oversight; & More: The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 21


New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This week will see continued analysis of the major political event of last week: the City Council’s vote to approve the construction of four new borough-based jails to replace the Rikers Island jail complex by the end of 2026.

As the week begins, we’re also awaiting the discussion at the MTA Board this week after news broke on Friday, first from Politico New York, that MTA New York City Transit President Andy Byford had submitted a resignation letter, but then rescinded it. In response to the revelation Byford issued a statement saying he isn’t “going anywhere,” and is committed to continuing to save the subways and buses. The news also comes as the next five-year MTA capital plan, with more than $51 billion in planned expenditures, much of which was informed by Byford Fast Forward plan, was recently passed by the MTA Board and awaits approval from the Governor, legislative leaders, and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Cuomo had a busy weekend of announcements, including: announcing that the “new southbound off-ramp from the Adirondack Northway (Interstate 87) to Albany Shaker Road in Colonie, Albany County is now open” and announcing “$10 million for two signature features of what will be the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park in Buffalo,” then attending the Bills football game.

Cuomo also “directed state agencies to investigate an apartment building in the Bronx following allegations of bed bug infestations and drug related crime. The Governor directed the State Department of Health to send an inspection team into the building to perform an environmental health assessment to ensure health standards are being met. The Governor also directed the state Office of Rent Administration to investigate whether rent-regulated units in the apartment complex are being adequately maintained…”

De Blasio had a quiet weekend with family in Connecticut after celebrating the passage of the jails plan at the end of this past week.

Two of the leading Democratic presidential candidates had big appearances in the city this weekend: Bernie Sanders held a rally in Queens with, according to this campaign, more than 25,000 attendees at which he was endorsed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other New York elected officials, including State Senators Michael Gianaris and Jessica Ramos; and Joe Biden received a warm welcome from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) at its annual “Teacher Union Day” celebration in Manhattan. (The third candidate of the three who have been far ahead of all others in the field in polling thus far in the primary, Elizabeth Warren, held a big Manhattan rally a few weeks ago.)

There’s a lot happening this week, from the MTA Board meeting to several interesting hearings being held by the City Council and the State Legislature, a hearing of the state campaign finance commission, and much more -- 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 21
On Monday at 6:30 p.m., "Mayor de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Diwali Celebration at Gracie Mansion." In the 7 and 11 p.m. hours, the Mayor will appear on NY1’s Inside City Hall.

Monday will see the monthly MTA Board committee meetings.

At 10 a.m. Monday, "Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul Announces Opening of Affordable Housing Development for Seniors" in Buffalo.

At 11 a.m. Monday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer will make an announcement at his Manhattan office.

At 11 a.m. Monday in Manhattan, the State Senate Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation and the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation will jointly hold a public hearing on recycling.

At 11 a.m. Monday, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will speak "to the Men's Resource Center at Kingsborough Community College" and "discuss his path to public service and current key initiatives." At 7 p.m. Monday, Williams will attend a town hall meeting with District Leader Olanike Alabi.

On Monday at 11 a.m. in Albany, the State Senate Standing Committee on Aging and the State Senate Standing Committee on Social Services will jointly hold a public hearing to “assess the impact of proposed changes to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and methodology used to determine Official Poverty Measures (OPM), respectively, on New York programs that assist populations served by the human services sector.”

At 4:30 p.m. Monday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will speak at the CUNY Board of Trustees Manhattan borough hearing at Hunter College. At about 7:45 p.m., Brewer will be honored at the New York Professional Advisors for Community Entrepreneurs’s 2019 Fall Fundraising Reception.

The Eleanor’s Legacy fall reception celebrating New York women will take place at 6 p.m. Monday in Manhattan and will feature New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

State Senator Andrew Gounardes will host a “climate and resiliency town hall” on Monday evening, with representatives of various government agencies, at 6:30 p.m. at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn.

Tuesday, October 22
The Workmen’s Circle will host its latest “Breakfast with Champions” event featuring New York Attorney General Letitia James from 8-9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Workmen’s Circle Headquarters in Manhattan.

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, the Board of Corrections will hold a public meeting at 125 Worth Street.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals will hold its next public hearing, in Manhattan.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the New York State Public Campaign Financing Commission will a public hearing at the Suffolk County Legislature’s William J. Lindsay County Complex.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday at the City Council, the Committee on Standards and Ethics will hold an oversight hearing in relation to Rule 10.80, which deals with Council member conduct. It is unclear which Council member(s) may be the subject of the hearing.

The Manhattan Institute will host a book forum for “How the Other Half Learns: Equality, Excellence and the Battle Over School Choice” by Robert Pondiscio, senior fellow at the Fordham Institute, at noon Tuesday. The book focuses on the Success Academy charter school network.

At noon Tuesday in Manhattan’s Oculus Plaza, just before the New York Department of Health hears “testimony from stakeholders to inform legislative recommendations for safe staffing standards in hospitals and nursing homes,” elected officials, patients, members of the Communications Workers of America and New York State Nurses Association, and others “will rally outside the task force hearing to demand any legislation establish safe staffing ratios to ensure patient safety.” Participants are expected to include Comptroller Scott Stringer, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Carlina Rivera, and others.

“New York City state legislators, higher education leaders, and local organizations will host a forum on the state of NYC’s higher education and discuss solutions to ensure every young New Yorker -- regardless of ZIP code, income, or any other factor -- can get a quality, affordable higher education. Titled “Breaking Barriers: Equity in Higher Education in New York City,” the roundtable will include a presentation of a blueprint for closing higher education gaps from #DegreesNYC, a project dedicated to achieving equity in postsecondary access and completion in New York City.” Speakers will include State Senator Robert Jackson; New York State Regent Lester W. Young; Jose Calderon, President of the Hispanic Federation; and Cass Conrad, CUNY University Dean of K-16 Initiatives.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the New York City Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) will hold a public meeting at the Michael J. Petrides High School on Staten Island.

Community Board 8 Manhattan will host “Criminal Justice Reform: Ending Mass Incarceration in NYC,” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Hunter College. Panelists will include Cheryl Roberts, Executive Director of the Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice; Marvin Mayfield, New York State Organizer at Just Leadership; Karume James, Public Defender and Supervising Attorney at The Bronx Defenders; Abigail Swenstein, Public Defender at The Legal Aid Society; Keith Powers, NYC Council Member and Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee. The panel will be moderated by Billy Freeland, Secretary at Community Board 8.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Public Advocate candidates Jumaane Williams, the Democratic incumbent, and Joe Borelli, a Republican City Council member, will debate on NY1.

Wednesday, October 23 
At 9 a.m. Wednesday, the MTA Board will meet.

At the City Council on Wednesday:
--at 10 a.m., the Committee on Economic Development will hold a hearing on multiple bills related to the New York City tourism economy
--at 11 a.m., the Committee on Land Use will hold a hearing on several matters.
-- at 1 p.m., the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management will hold an oversight hearing on the New York City Department of Sanitation’s 2019-2020 Snow Plan and to discuss related legislation.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the State Senate Standing Committee on Health and the Assembly Standing Committee on Health will jointly hold a public hearing on the New York Health Act at the Bronx Library Center.

At 11 a.m. Wednesday, the Assembly on Standing Committee on Insurance and the Assembly Standing Committee on Local Governments will jointly hold a public hearing on Municipal Health Insurance Alternatives and Affordability at the Legislative Office Building in Albany.

On Wednesday at noon, “Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Amida Care, and the National Black Leadership Commission on Health will host a press conference at Brooklyn Borough Hall to recognize New York State's first ever PrEP Aware Week. (PrEP is a treatment regimen over 99% effective in preventing HIV transmission and a crucial part of the NYS plan to End the HIV Epidemic by 2020.)”

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli will host an Italian Heritage Reception in Tuckahoe.

Thursday, October 24
City & State NY will hold its 2019 Government Procurement Conference on Thursday to help attendees “learn and foster business partnerships between Government, Prime Contractors, MWBEs and more.” It will feature remarks by Dan Symon, Director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, and panelists will include State Senator James Sanders; Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte; City Council Member Helen Rosenthal; City Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr.; Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services; Sean Carroll, Chief Procurement Officer at the New York State Office of General Services; and Michael J. Garner, Chief Diversity Officer at the MTA.

At 9 a.m. Thursday, The Regional Planning Association will host a breakfast event to release its new “report on fixing the NYCHA crisis. Join RPA staff for a discussion around the key recommendations and findings of the report as well as the next steps needed to repair the condition of public housing for over 400,000 New Yorkers who live with this growing catastrophe on a daily basis.”

At the City Council on Thursday: at 10 a.m., the Committee on Transportation and the Committee on Police Safety jointly hold an oversight hearing on “Vision Zero, cyclist safety, and Police Department enforcement” while also discussing several related bills.

At 10 a.m. Thursday in Manhattan, the Assembly Standing Committee on Judiciary, the Assembly Standing Committee on Social Services, and the Assembly Standing Committee on Children and Families will jointly hold a public hearing on the rights of children in court.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Families for Safe Streets will host a special clergy forum titled “The Epidemic of Traffic Injuries and Deaths: The Role of Faith Communities,” from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Thursday at Borough Hall.

The State Senate Standing Committee on Codes will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. Thursday in Albany on the bill to repeal section 50-A of the Civil Rights law, “provisions relating to personal records of police officers, firefighters, and correctional officers.”

At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, State Comptroller Tom DiNappoli will release his Jackson Heights Economic Snapshot.

At 11:30 a.m. Thursday, the State Senate Standing Committee on Higher Education will hold a public hearing at Brooklyn College to examine the “cost of public higher education and its effects on student financial aid programs, state support, TAP/GAP, student borrowing and other challenges to affordability and accessibility.”

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will appear at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Center for Community and Ethnic Media at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY “to discuss his top legislative priorities and upcoming initiatives that touch each corner of New York City.”

“Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) will host an Impeachment Forum and community ‘Speak Out’ event on Thursday, October 24th at 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at Vladeck Hall at the Amalgamated Housing Corporation” in the Bronx.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, Citizens Union will host its 2019 Gotham Greats Awards dinner, honoring William J. Mulrow, Senior Advisory Director, Blackstone Group; Mary Jo White, Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton; Harry J. Wilson, Founder and CEO, MAEVE Group; and Errol Louis, political anchor, Spectrum News NY1.

Friday, October 25
At 10 a.m. Friday, Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show.

At 10 a.m. Friday in Manhattan, the State Senate Standing Committee on Consumer Protection and the State Senate Standing Committee on Internet and Technology will jointly hold a public hearing on protecting consumer data and privacy on online platforms.

***
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
@GothamGazette



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