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Shea Takes Over at NYPD; City Gun Law at SCOTUS; & More; The Week Ahead in New York Politics, December 2

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

Welcome to what promises to be a very busy December in New York politics. As the week begins there’s a great deal of scrutiny on the state campaign finance commission that controversially voted last week to adopt a new public matching system with lower (but still high) individual contribution limits that will become law unless the state Legislature returns to Albany before Christmas to overturn it. The commission also voted to institute new, tougher requirements for political parties to earn or keep an automatic ballot line, and to put candidates on the statewide ballot in the first place. 

Including from a number of state lawmakers, there’s been some criticism of the final product from the commission with regard to the campaign finance system it is putting forward, and a great deal of criticism about its work around the party qualifications, which by most accounts appear to be the result of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s interest in hurting the Working Families Party. So far, legislative leaders have been quiet about the work of the commission, which included representatives from Cuomo (two), Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (two), Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (two), Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (one), Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan (one), and a ninth decided jointly by Cuomo, Heastie, and Stewart-Cousins. Cuomo praised the outcomes.

Members of the Assembly are due in Albany this week for meetings that could yield more on how the Democratic majority views the campaign finance and political party reforms.

Dermot Shea is the new NYPD Commissioner, having been sworn in over the weekend. He’ll also have a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony on Monday, at which he is expected to give remarks. Shea becomes the third NYPD commissioner under Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has received some criticism over the fact that all three have been white men.

Meanwhile, a New York City gun law supported by Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD is on trial at the Supreme Court this week.

The week also begins just after the Professional Staff Congress of the CUNY system, which represents 30,000 faculty and staff members, voted by a wide majority to adopt a new labor contract, which, according to the PSC, includes “across-the-board raises totaling 10.4 percent over a period of about five years, with additional pay increases going to thousands of workers in the lowest-paid faculty and staff titles. Retroactive pay, increased funding for supplemental health benefits, funding for professional development grants and agreements on online teaching and paid family leave are also included.”

Those are just a few recent highlights and items to watch continue to unfold as December progresses. Another is the ongoing debate over major criminal justice reforms passed earlier this year in Albany and set to take effect in January. The controversy is mostly around bail and discovery reforms.

There’s a lot happening this week, including the ongoing fallout from the state campaign finance commission, Shea’s first week atop of the NYPD, the Supreme Court case, 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, December 2
On Monday morning in the 7 a.m. hour, Mayor de Blasio will "will call in live to 1010 WINS, WCBS 880, and NY1." At 10 a.m., "the Mayor will hold a media availability to provide an update on the City’s snow preparedness." At 11 a.m., "the Mayor will preside over the ceremonial swearing- in for Dermot Shea as the 44th Police Commissioner of the New York City Police Department and will deliver remarks." At 2 p.m. at the New York Historical Society, "the Mayor and First Lady McCray will attend a teacher workshop entitled ‘Truth, Justice, Civics…The Comic Book Way!’ with Congressman John Lewis for New York City public school teachers and students, where the Mayor will deliver remarks." Then, the mayor visited the home of a Queens resident affected by this weekend’s sewage blockage and held a media availability in Jamaica. And in the 7 p.m. hour, "the Mayor will appear live on NY1’s Inside City Hall with Errol Louis."

At 9 a.m. Monday, the Department of Correction will hold its next public meeting as part of the process around the Board’s proposed restrictive housing rule. Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will be among those who testify.

On Monday morning in Washington, D.C., “the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral argument in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. City of New York, New York. Petitioners include three New York City residents with handgun premises licenses who challenge a now superseded New York City Police Department gun transport rule originally issued in 2001. Richard Dearing, Chief of Appeals, New York City Law Department, will argue the case on behalf of Respondents New York City and the New York City Police Department. The New York City Law Department is joined on the case by co-counsel Jeffrey L. Fisher, O’Melveny & Myers.

New York City Corporation Counsel James E. Johnson will make a statement outside the Supreme Court immediately following the argument.”

At 10 a.m. Monday in Albany, the Senate Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities will hold a public hearing on the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities’ transition to managed care.

At 10:45 a.m. Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo will hold a storm briefing in Kingston.

At 11 a.m. Monday, Dermot Shea will be ceremoniously sworn in as the new NYPD Commissioner at 1 Police Plaza. Shea was officially sworn in over the weekend. Comptroller Scott Stringer will be among those in attendance.

At 11 a.m. Monday at City Hall, “New York City elected officials and transportation safety advocates will rally this Cyber Monday for an end to the Stipulated Fine Program. This 15-year-old program has given delivery trucks a free pass to block bike lanes, fire hydrants, and handicapped parking spots for a discounted ticket rate, which can sometimes be as low as $0. More than 1 million packages are delivered throughout New York City on the average day. Cyber Monday is likely to only make this situation worse as more and more customers are opting to shop online this holiday season.” Participants will include Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, City Council Member Costa Constantinides, representatives of Transportation Alternatives, and others.

At 11 a.m. Monday, the End AIDS NY 2020 Coalition will host its sixth annual World AIDS Days Citywide Commemoration at the New York Academy of Medicine. Speakers will include New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson; Johanne E. Morne, New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute Director; Dr. Oxiris Barbot, New York City Health Commissioner; Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Disease Control; and Dr. Oni Blackstock, Assistant Commissioner for the Bureau of HIV.

At 12:45 p.m. Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer will visit Queens families impacted by sewage flooding.

At 1 p.m. Monday at the City Council, the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Sitings, and Dispositions will hold a hearing.

At 5 p.m. Monday, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli will attend the Bloomberg Global Responsible Investing Forum at Bloomberg Headquarters in Manhattan.

At 7 p.m. Monday, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will join the 'We Fight On' Virtual Town Hall with Justice League NYC to discuss policing and criminal justice reforms. At 8 p.m., Williams will attend the Jim Owles' Liberal Democratic Club Impeachment Gala and Awards Ceremony. And at 9 p.m., Williams will attend the Queens County Democratic Organization Holiday Party.

At 7 p.m. Monday, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson will deliver remarks at WNYC's We the Commuters event in The Greene Space.

Tuesday, December 3
At the City Council on Tuesday:
--At 10 a.m., the Committee on Criminal Justice and the Committee on Justice Systems will jointly hold an oversight hearing on the implementation and expansion of raise the age and related legislation. 
--At 10 a.m., the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet.
--At 11 a.m., the Committee on Land Use will hold a hearing.  

At 10 a.m. Tuesday in Manhattan, the State Senate Standing Committee on Education and the State Senate Standing Committee on Budget and Revenues will jointly hold a public hearing to examine the distribution of the Foundation Aid formula as it relates to pupil and district needs.

At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson will appear on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show.

At noon Tuesday, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will speak at the Iron Workers District Council's holiday celebration in Manhattan. At 3:30 p.m., Williams will attend a community shooting response after recent gun violence in the Bronx. And at 6:30 p.m. Williams will honor tenants rights leader Michael McKee at his 80th birthday celebration.

Wednesday, December 4
At 10 a.m. Wednesday in Manhattan, the State Senate Standing Committee on Budget and Revenues will hold a roundtable discussion of real property tax reform in New York City.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday, this week’s Max & Murphy show will air on WBAI radio, 99.5 FM or, and feature discussion of the new campaign finance reforms put forward by a state commission.

“The New York City Voter Assistance Advisory Committee (VAAC) will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, December 4th. NYC Votes and the VAAC invite New York City voters, to discuss early voting and explore best practices to mobilize communities in 2020. The meeting will take place from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM in the Joseph A. O'Hare, S.J. Board Room of the CFB's office in Lower Manhattan, at 100 Church Street.”

Thursday, December 5
At 10 a.m. Thursday in Albany, the Assembly Standing Committee on Labor will hold a public hearing to “examine various legislative proposals that aim to extend labor rights and protections to workers in the gig economy in New York State.”

At 10 a.m. Thursday, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will co-sponsor a free opioid overdose response training at NYC Health + Hospitals in Jamaica. Attendees will learn “how to recognise an opioid overdose and how to properly and safely administer naloxone medication to reverse it.”

Friday, December 6
At 10 a.m. Friday in Albany, the Assembly Standing Committee on Transportation will hold a public hearing on the Department of Transportation Capital Program.

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

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

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