New York City Hall
What to watch for this week in New York politics:
THE POPE IS COMING: Pope Francis is coming to New York City at the end of the week, with public events on Thursday and Friday. The Pope's visit to the city will coincide with the UN General Assembly, at which he will speak, and will include mass at Madison Square Garden on Friday after a procession through Central Park, a visit to a school in East Harlem, and a ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Significance, attention, security, and traffic will all be heavy.
TAKING ON K-2: There's a new drug crippling New Yorkers and it is "K-2" or "synthetic marijuana" (though it is not actually a form of marijuana) and city officials are working to quickly combat what some have said could lead to a new crack epidemic. Mayor de Blasio announced a multi-agency strategy last week and the City Council has seen several bills introduced to up regulation and enforcement. The Council will hold a hearing Monday on the bills, which have been introduced by Council Member Dan Garodnick, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and others.
TRACKING DE BLASIO: The mayor gave a big education speech on Wednesday last week and followed it up with efforts to spread the word about his plans, including an interview with the Daily News Editorial Board and another appearance on WNYC. De Blasio has said he will be taking his message to New Yorkers more and more in the coming weeks as he ramps up efforts to improve his public approval numbers and make sure that his programs and plans are known.
De Blasio had no public events Saturday. On Sunday, the mayor appeared on This Week on ABC, delivered remarks to the congregation at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, and marched in and deliver remarks at the African American Day Parade in Harlem.
On Monday, de Blasio is set to hold a noon press conference to discuss the upcoming papal visit. De Blasio is also meeting privately with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and former tennis star James Blake regarding NYPD reforms and the recent incident in which Blake was mistakenly arrested by an NYPD officer and handled roughly in the process.
We also know that on Thursday evening, de Blasio is expected to speak at an event at The New School: "to engage with world-leading Mayors and local government representatives as they pledge their support for the United Nations' new Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in their cities and commit to implementing the new urban agenda between now and 2030."
AS FOR THE GOVERNOR: Governor Cuomo also participates in events related to the African-American Day Parade on Sunday. His remarks Sunday morning focused on calling for federal action on gun regulations and raising the minimum wage. Cuomo was asked about recents reports that federal prosecutors are investigating his Buffalo Billion program around the contracting process - the governor maintains he knows nothing about the investigation other than what he reads in the newspaper and downplays subpoenas being issued, saying that as Attorney General he used to issue many as part of fact-finding, but that does not mean there's been criminal behavior.
On Monday, Cuomo has no public events scheduled.
See below for more details about Monday and the rest of a very busy week in New York politics in our day-by-day rundown...
***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
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The run of the week in detail:
At the City Council on Monday:
- 10 a.m. the Committee on Consumer Affairs in conjunction with the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services, Committee on Health, Committee on Public Safety, Committee on Aging will meet to discuss “The Proliferation of Illegal Synthetic Cannabinoids: Health Impacts and Enforcement.” The bill would suspend cigarette dealer licenses for any “dealer who violates the provisions of the proposed synthetic drug prohibition” and “create a mandatory revocation for a second violation of such proposed prohibition.” Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will give opening remarks.
- 11 a.m. the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will meet to discuss three land use applications for Landmarks, Corbin Building, 11 John St, Manhattan , Landmarks, Stonewall Inn, 51-53 Christopher St, Manhattan , Landmarks, Riverside-West End Historic District Extension II, Manhattan.
- 1 p.m. The Committee on Civil Rights will meet to hear the introduction of four initiatives. The first bill, presented by Council Member Deborah L. Rose, prohibits “employment discrimination based on an individual’s actual or perceived status as a caregiver.” The following three propose expansions on the New York City Human Rights Law. Rose will also introduce one of these bills, as she seeks to expand the definition of “employer under the human rights law to provide protections for domestic workers.” She will be joined by Council Members Inez D. Barron and Brad S. Lander who will introduce legislation to clarify “reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities,” “expand the right to truthful information” and to create “an express cause of action for employers and principals whose rights are violated by conduct to which their employees or agents are subjected.”
At 9 a.m. Monday the New York State Department of Health will hold one in a series of “From Blueprint to Action: Ending the Epidemic - New York Statewide Regional Discussions,” to address the problem of HIV/AIDS in New York State. Monday’s event, on the Upper West Side, will provide information about HIV/AIDS and related services, include opportunities for public input, and offer a Call to Action to end the epidemic by 2020.
At 10:30 a.m. Monday, "The New York State Democratic Committee will hold its Fall business meeting on Monday, September 21st in New York City."
Monday on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will appear to discuss “the film industry’s expansion into the Bronx, with several television shows being shot in the borough as of late and Silvercup Studios, home to shows such as "Girls" and "30 Rock," spending $35 million to convert a warehouse in Port Morris to a film and television production complex.”
At 11 a.m. Monday in Brooklyn, "Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, joined by citywide elected officials, residents, and community organizations will gather at the Raymond V. Ingersoll Houses on Monday to make a public appeal for community cooperation to aid in NYPD apprehension of suspect(s) involved in Sunday's triple homicide." Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James are set to attend.
At noon in downtown Brooklyn, "At a major news event organized by the Real Affordability for All campaign, Mayor de Blasio will be pressured to revise his rezoning plan for East New York, the South Bronx, and other neighborhoods to ensure that current low-income residents have access to real affordable housing and good-paying union construction jobs...This event comes as the public land review process is set to begin Monday for the rezoning of East New York and amid growing concern that de Blasio's plan will accelerate gentrification and displacement in low-income communities of color, leaving behind too many vulnerable New Yorkers."
Also at noon, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito will moderate the Q&A session with Chelsea Clinton at the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee Annual Fall Luncheon.
At 1 p.m. in the Bronx, “New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye will announce the launch of "MyNYCHA," a new mobile application for residents to make repair requests. With the free app, residents can create, schedule, and manage work tickets via their mobile devices (smartphones or tablets). They can also subscribe to alerts for outages in their developments (NYCHA Alerts) and view inspection appointments.”
“Freelancers across New York City gather on Monday, September 21st for the #FreelanceIsntFree Campaign Launch and Brooklyn Town Hall Meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall.” The event will be led by Sara Horowitz, Founder of Freelancers Union, Brooklyn City Council Members including Brad Lander, and “New York City’s finest freelancers to talk about the issue and ways we can make a change.”
At 6:30 p.m. The New School’s Milano School is set to host Politics & Policy Series: Examination of Voting Rights in 2016 US Election at 6:30 p.m. Ari Berman of the Nation will read from his book Give Us the Ballot. Following a brief reading, New School urban policy professor Jeff Smith will moderate a conversation with Berman, New York Times national political correspondent Maggie Haberman, and Fordham political science professor Christina Greer.
On a similar note, at 7 p.m. Monday The New York City Campaign Finance Board will host its National Voter Registration Day Kick-Off, part of a non-partisan effort to register all eligible citizens nationwide. Lisa Evers of Fox 5 News and Hot 97 will discuss voting rights and the immigrant vote with panelists Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of National Urban League; L. Joy Williams, President of the Brooklyn NAACP; Steven Choi, Executive Director of the NY Immigration Coalition; and Jaime Estades, Director of Latino Leadership Institute, voting rights and the immigrant vote in 2016. Crystal Valentine, the 2015 Youth Poet Laureate, will perform after the discussion.
Also at 7 p.m., Daniel A. Zarrilli, Director of the city’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, invites the public to join his office at the second public hearing regarding an update on Lower Manhattan resiliency efforts. The discussion will touch on issues of coastal protection, stormwater management and resiliency upgrades for affordable housing developments. The draft for the Resiliency Update is available for review online at nyc.gov/cdbg.
"On Monday, September 21, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will be the guest on the 1,000th episode of "BronxTalk," hosted by Gary Axelbank and airing on Bronxnet. The show, which airs at 9 p.m., will be streamed live at www.bronxnet.org, and can be viewed in The Bronx on Cablevision channel 67 or Verizon FiOS channel 33."
City Council Participatory Budgeting events Monday, September 21:
- CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 1:30 p.m.
- Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 p.m.
- CM Laurie Cumbo (District 35, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.
- CM Steven Levin (District 33, Brooklyn) 6:30
- CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 6:30 p.m.
- CM Andrew Cohen (District 11, Bronx) 7 p.m.
- CM Costa Constantides (District 22, Queens) 7 p.m.
Tuesday morning NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton will speak at an Assocation for a Better New York (ABNY) breakfast event. He will discuss “the NYPD’s efforts to address public safety and quality of life conditions in New York.”
At 9:30 a.m. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a meeting at Queens Borough Hall, which “focuses on city service delivery and agency responsiveness across the borough and hears presentations on these issues from City officials and others.”
At the City Council on Tuesday:
- 10 a.m. The Committee on Contracts will meet with the Committee on Public Housing to examine “the Need for Contracting Accountability and Transparency at NYCHA in Light of Leaking Roofs at King Towers”
- 10 a.m. The Committee on General Welfare will conduct a “Review of HRA’s Employment Plan Concept Papers.”
- 10 a.m. The Committee on Environmental Protection will discuss “Use of geothermal energy in New York City.”
- 10 a.m. The Committee on Higher Education will meet to discuss, “Higher Education Access for Incarcerated and Recently Incarcerated Individuals.” and “Support of President Barack Obama’s Second Chance Pell Pilot Program”
Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day. Over the next several months drives will be held to increase awareness about the importance of voting. The list of the events can be found on this calendar. "Only 81% of NYC's eligible voting age population is registered to vote, and just 20% of eligible voters actually voted in 2014. NVRD is about increasing those numbers and invigorating the voting population. Our democracy, after all, is only as strong as its participants.”
On Tuesday, "Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., the New York State Department of Labor and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation will co-host a Bronx Job Fair."
At 4:30 p.m. Tuesday the New York State Preparedness Corps Training Program will host a two hour long event intended to provide residents with “the tools and resources to prepare for any type of disaster” and to “respond accordingly and recover as quickly as possible to pre-disaster conditions.” The program is sponsored by Gov. Cuomo, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Queens BP Melinda Katz, State Senator James Sanders Jr. and City Councilman Donovan Richards.
City Council Participatory Budgeting events Tuesday, September 22:
- CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.
- Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 p.m.
- Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday looks slower in New York City as many participate in the Yom Kippur holiday. Other events can, of course, pop up last-minute.
City Council Participatory Budgeting events Wednesday, September 23:
- Carlos Menchaca (Distict 38, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.
- I. Daneek Miller (District 27, Queens) 7 p.m.
At 8 a.m. Thursday, City & State NY will hold its 4th Annual "On Diversity" event featuring leaders in government, business, and advocacy to discuss the social and economic advantages of promoting diversity in both the public and private sectors. Maya Wiley, Counsel to the Mayor, will make keynote remarks. Panels will include R. Fenimore Fisher, Chief Diversity and EEO Officer at the New York City DCAS; Carra Wallace, Chief Diversity Officer at the Office of the NYC Comptroller; Charissa Fernandez, Executive Director of Teach for America; Bertha Lewis, Founder and President of The Black Institute; Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of MWBEs; and Assemblymember Michael Blake, Chair at the Subcommittee on Mitchell-Lama.
At 10 a.m. Thursday the New York City Campaign Finance Board will hold its next public meeting.
At 10 a.m. the New York State Assembly will have a public hearing regarding child poverty in the NY state. New York currently has “some of the highest levels of child poverty in the country.”
At about 5 p.m. Thursday Pope Francis will arrive at JFK airport. It will be his first visit to New York and the first Papal visit since 2008. At 6:45 p.m. Pope Francis will hold an evening prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. [On Friday the Pope will visit the United Nations, attend a multi-religious service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, visit Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, hold a mass at Madison Square Garden and have a historic procession through Central Park.]
At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, a panel hosted by the New York City Bar Association: “New York City- Building Energy Benchmarking Law: Acting On the Results” will evaluate NYC’s landmark Local Law 84. The event is co-sponsored by the Bar’s Environmental Law Committee and chair Michael G. Mahoney in conjunction with the Sallan Foundation, the New York League of Conservation Voters, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School.
At 7 p.m., Cities Deliver Sustainable Development: Global Urban Leaders Endorse and Operationalize the SDGs will be hosted by Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) at the New School, in association with the Campaign for Urban SDG, the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments and the Tishman Environment and Design Center. Expected speakers include Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor of California; Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris; Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro; Xu Qin, Mayor of Shenzhen; Mpho Franklyn Parks Tau, Mayor of Johannesburg; Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of Istanbul; and Park Won-soon, Mayor of Seoul.
City Council Participatory Budgeting events Thursday, September 24:
- CM Mark Levine (District 7, Manhattan) 5:30 p.m.
- CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 p.m.
- CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 p.m.
- CM Julissa Ferreras (District 21, Queens) 6:30 p.m.
- CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 p.m.
- CM Andrew Cohen (District 11, Bronx) 7 p.m.
Friday and the weekend
At the City Council on Friday:
- 10 a.m. Committee on Civil Service and Labor will meet to discuss two bills. The first “would require new grocery store owners to retain the previous owner’s staff for a transition period after a business is sold.” After the transition period, the new employer would also have to evaluate each employee and consider keeping them. The second bill seeks to “extend health insurance coverage to the surviving spouses, domestic partners and children of employees of the Sanitation Enforcement Division of the Department of Sanitation who died on or after July 29, 2015."
- 10 a.m. the Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet to discuss three pieces of legislation. The first would require owners of buildings with over 50,000 gross square feet to file energy efficiency reports every five years. The second pushes “low energy building requirements for certain capital projects.” The bill would also require the Mayor to produce several reports that track and confirm capital project compliance with the law. The final bill would impose “green building standards for certain capital projects.”
- 10 a.m. the Committee on Juvenile Justice will meet to examine “ACS’s Juvenile Offender Population.”
- 11 a.m. Committee on Land Use will meet in the Committee Room in City Hall.
- 1 p.m. the Committee on State and Federal Legislature will meet to pass resolutions on: Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act of 2015, Improving the Treatment of the U.S. Territories Under Federal Health Programs Act of 2015, and Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly known as the “Jones Act.”
- 1 p.m. Committee on Small Business will meet to discuss two bills. The first “would require an employee within the Mayor’s Office For People With Disabilities to be designated as a small business accessibility coordinator, responsible for liaising with agencies involved in accessibility projects and for educating business owners and operators about their obligations under local, state, and federal law to make their businesses accessible to people with disabilities.” The second “would create a cause of action for harassment of small businesses and other non-residential tenants by landlords.”
- 1 p.m. the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency will meet to discuss the Build It Back 2015 Update.
Friday will be a busy day for Pope Francis in New York City.
- At 8:30 a.m. he is set to visit the United Nations and give an address to the UN General Assembly. His speech will concentrate on challenges that face humanity in the 21st century, such as sustainable development and climate change. He will also meet with UN officials.
- At 11:30 a.m. the Pope will visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
- Later, the Pope will pay a visit to an East Harlem School, Our Lady Queen of Angels, that has been providing elementary level education in the area for 120 years.
- Then, in the late afternoon, Pope Francis will participate in a Central Park procession.
- Lastly, at about 6 p.m., Pope Francis will hold mass at Madison Square Garden. He departs for Philadelphia on Saturday.
On Friday beginning at 9 a.m.: “NYC Media Lab's Annual Summit is a snapshot of the best thinking, projects, and talent in digital media from universities in NYC and beyond. This is an opportunity for media executives, technologists, and decision makers to explore interesting technologies and applications related to the future of media.” The event, being held at NYU, will include remarks from Maria Torres-Springer, head of the city’s Economic Development Corporation and Luis Castro of the Mayor's Office of Media & Entertainment.
At 8:30 a.m. Friday Crain’s New York Business is hosting an “Art & Culture Breakfast: The Next Generation of New York’s Cultural Leaders.”
A City Council Participatory Budgeting event is being held Friday by CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) at 6 p.m.
On Saturday, there will be City Council Participatory Budgeting events held by CM I. Daneek Miller (District 27, Queens) at 1p.m. and CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) at 2 p.m.
On Sunday, Participatory Budgeting events are being held by:
- CM Robert Carnegy (District 36, Brooklyn) 1p.m.
- CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 9:45 a.m.
- CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 6 p.m.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).
by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max