Tuesday, October 25, 2011
On the city's first annual Food Day Monday, an array of tempting foods and delicacies were on display at Baruch College. Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Christine Quinn marked the day by attending the first city-sponsored food manufacturing expo.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Wanted to just break this out from the rest of the Quinnipiac results:
Regardless of who else is running, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn continues to lead all other rivals with Democratic voters. Among all voters, when added to the equation, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly remains at the top of the heap.
At this point, though, the 2013 polls remain mostly a name recognition game:
- Police Commissioner Ray Kelly -- 25 percent, with 17 percent of Democrats;
- City Council Speaker Christine Quinn – 17 percent, with 22 percent of Democrats;
- Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz – 14 percent, with 15 percent of Democrats;
- City Comptroller John Liu – 10 percent, with 10 percent of Democrats;
- Former City Comptroller William Thompson – 8 percent, with 9 percent of Democrats;
- Public Advocate Bill de Blasio – 6 percent, with 7 percent of Democrats;
- Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer – 5 percent, with 6 percent of Democrats
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn stopped by WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show to talk about, among other things, the city’s economy. She had addressed the Association for a Better New York before coming on the show on the issue.
But listening to it, Quinn also sounded a lot like a candidate trying to provide a vision for the city she hopes to run. The big vision discussion tied Quinn’s view of how the city should help support job growth to Occupy Wall Street.
“The larger, more important issue is a loss of hope,” Quinn said, explaining the core of what she believes is driving the protestors.
She went on to say that hope, which had been fueled by the belief in the American Dream, was in danger. “People are worried, really on all sides of the political spectrum, that that is slipping away.”
Her solution: “[T]o do what we can to create employment opportunities at all different levels of the education and economic spectrum.”
The current mayor couldn’t have said it better himself. Her focus on bolstering technology growth in the city, through new educational opportunities and in fields once thought the domain of Silicon Valley, sounds like the blueprint Mayor Bloomberg has been following for years. “We have to work hard to make New York City the tech capital of the world,” Quinn said, sounding remarkably Bloombergian.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Brandishing a new report that advocates say shows banks have scaled back investing in New York City neighborhoods--despite increases in local deposits--members of the city council and others toasted lenders for growing "distant from the local community" and being "less responsive to local credit needs.”
“Banks can play a critical role in supporting and improving communities,” Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement. “We at the council appreciate their many positive impacts in working class neighborhoods, but we want to ensure that New Yorkers deposits are reinvested into local communities to the maximum extent possible."
According the report, State of Bank Reinvestment in NYC: 2011 prepared by the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, banks in New York City saw a $38 billion increase in local deposits over the past two years but pulled back $4.4 billion in investments, such as home mortgages, multi-family apartment lending, community development lending and investment, and mortgage modifications.
"Given their role in creating the nation’s recent economic crisis, we hope that banks will renew their commitment to develop innovative programs that catalyze community development and be strong partners in the city’s efforts to build affordable housing," said the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development's deputy director, Dave Hanzel, in a statement.
Legislation, The Responsible Banking Act, has been introduced by Councilmembers Domenic Recchia, Jr. and Al Vann that aims to make banks more accountable. It would require banks to submit a community reinvestment plan and progress reports that will be used by the city's Banking Commission to rate banks that want to hold city deposits.
"The Responsible Banking Act offers communities all over the city a first step in creating a new vision for our lives," Rev. Cheri Kroon, the associate pastor of Flatbush Reformed Church and a member of Brooklyn Congregations United, which supports the legislation, said. "The Act simply asks banks to let us know what actions they are taking in our communities.”
A copy of the report is below:
State of Bank Reinvestment in NYC 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has been on a roll lately. Over the weekendhe spoke at a national symposium on rethinking incarceration policies, calling on the mayor to do just that when it comes to the police department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy.
Good timing:the day before Police Commissioner Ray Kelly issued a directive to officers to not make arrests for marijuana possession during the procedure. And earlier this month, when a group of city council members announced they were allowing their constituents to vote on how discretionary funds were spent in-district, Stringer’s recent report calling for a major overhaul of the process ends up looking pretty prescient in hindsight.
Yesterday, Stringer was downtown at a stalled construction site turned temporary public space to tout a new report he’s released. He’s calling on the city to help turn some of the 646 other stalled sites into temporary places for public use, like parks or art galleries, like the one at the corner of Varick Street and Canal.
“Imagine a city where stalled construction sites are not simply inactive, dead vacant lots, but one where they boost the health and vitality of a neighborhood,” Stringer said in a statement. “That’s the kind of sidewalk renaissance we need in New York City.”
Opening the report reveals a list of other dozens of other reports, going back as far as 2006, that demonstrate how the non-legislative position of Borough President can be used as bully pulpit. As his office pointed out, these issues aren’t (entirely) flimsy publicity papers—see above.
In a crowded 2013 Democratic mayoral field, Stringer is padding his resume with think tank-like ideas for improving the city and addressing major social issues. He'll likely be citing these as examples to show he can get the city to respond to issues in a way City Council Speaker Christine Quinn can't, as she’s hemmed in by her position in the council and proximity to the current mayor. It will also allow him to list proactive agenda items—a difficult thing for a Borough President—that shows Comptroller John Liu and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio aren’t the only reformers vying for mayoralty.
Monday, September 26, 2011
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn continues to lead the pack of 2013 Democratic mayoral contenders, according to a new NY1-Marist poll released today. Were the Democratic primary held today, 20 percent of those polled said they would support the council speaker. Following four points behind her was Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who has said he has no interest in running for mayor.
While she might have the most dedicated support, one-in-four of those polled said they were still undecided.
“With 25 percent of Democrats undecided and the field lacking a dominant top tier of candidates, this is a campaign story still to be told,” said Marist College's Institute of Public Opinion President Lee Miringoff in a statement.
But there's trouble on the horizon for Quinn, whose support from Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the race is an open secret. Bloomberg's support would make 48 percent of those polled less likely to vote for the candidate the mayor backs.
“Those looking to succeed Mayor Bloomberg might welcome his support. But, if the numbers hold, don't expect anyone to make his endorsement the centerpiece of their campaign,” Miringoff said.
The rest of the field break down:
- Former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson: 12 percent
- Comptroller John Liu: 10 percent
- Public Advocate Bill de Blasio: 7 percent
- Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer: 6 percent
- Manhattan Media Publisher Tom Allon: 2 percent
Update: Crosstabs below.
EMBARGOED_Complete September 26, 2011 NYC NY1-Marist Poll Release and Tables
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Video of Foy being tackled by police can be seen below.
The day after being handcuffed and detained by the New York City Police Department, City Councilman Jumaane Williams and an aide to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Kirsten Foy, held a packed press conference outside of City Hall earlier today. Backed by at least a dozen elected officials, Williams stated bluntly race was what led to the incident—not an attack on a police officer, which the councilman called a lie.
“We do have to acknowledge that if I did not look the way I look—young, black, with [dread]locks and earrings, with another young black male—if we were elected officials of a different persuasion, we are sure things would have been handled differently,” Williams said.
Williams said the police commissioner assured him there would be an investigation of the incident. That didn’t stop speaker after speaker from drawing the connection between the incident yesterday and the police department’s stop-and-frisk policy.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
The City Council passed a measure this afternoon that changes the way employers can use exemptions for employees' religious observance, ending a so-called 'turban ban' in the New York City Police Department.
Currently, employers can declare the accommodation of a religious practice or expression to be a hardship, allowing them to deny employment or positions. The new law will raise the bar for what is considered a hardship, giving religious individuals more protections and forcing employers to try harder to find accommodations.
“The point of this bill is to make sure that, in the five boroughs, people who have particular requirements, as it relates to their religious observance…have the legal ability to do that in work," Quinn said in a press conference before the vote. The bill covers religious practices, such as prayer, as well as the need to take time off or wear religiously mandated clothing.
Monday, July 25, 2011
The five Democrats most likely to make a play for their parties mayoral nomination in 2013 are reaching across the country for funds--some pulling in almost 20 percent of their haul over the past year from outside New York. The gifted John Keefe has once again mined the data to provide a visual guide to where the presumptive candidates for mayor in 2013 are getting financial help.
New Jersey, somewhat unsurprisingly, ponied up more than $600,000 for the mayoral hopefully since January of this year, according to Campaign Finance Board records. The candidates went far afield for the third most giving state, with California contributing just over $162,000.
Among the candidates, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has raised the most out-of-state funds since January: $707, 275. But it was former city comptroller and mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, Jr. who derived the highest percentage--almost 18 percent--of funds from outside of New York. See below to see where the candidates stood.
None of these funds count towards a candidates publicly-finance campaign funds. Only funds raised between January and July are included. A number of campaigns have additional funds from prior elections that are available to them.
Monday, July 25, 2011
The state's first day of same-sex marriage didn't go off without a hitch--659 of them to be exact (zing!).
Mayor Bloomberg's office announced that one-day record-breaking feat was achieved yesterday as same-sex couples across the city took advantage of the new law.
"Today was a historic day in our City, and we couldn't be prouder that on the first day that everyone in New York City could have their love affirmed in the eyes of the law, we were able to serve everyone,” Mayor Bloomberg said in statement.
Manhattan performed the most ceremonies by far with 365. Brooklyn was in a distant second at 121, and more than half of those couples stopped by Brooklyn Borough Hall and the office of Marty Markowitz, the borough president.
“I wish these couples as much happiness as my wife and I have been blessed to share," Markowitz said in a statement. "This is a historic day in New York, and seeing these newlyweds—their smiles, that twinkle in their eye—that says it all.”
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Citing a $1.3 million discrepancy between the most and least funded council districts through a process described as murky and subjecting, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer released a report calling for a complete overhaul of how New York City Council members receive discretionary funding for their districts.
"I know people are going to be upset with this proposal but we can't keep putting our head in the sand," Stringer said on a conference call with reporters. The Manhattan borough president is seen as a likely candidate for mayor in 2013, as is City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
City councilmembers and the borough presidents are given these discretionary funds each year during the budget process. These funds are primarily spent on constituent services through non-profits and other groups. While the distribution of the funds by individual councilmembers has at times been the subject of controversy, the borough president’s report focused on which members were getting what, pointing to what the report described as “too often based on a member’s political standing within the Council.”
"The member items are used by the speaker as an instrument of power," explained Doug Muzzio, political science professor at Baruch College and an expert on city government. "You reward your friends and you screw your enemies." Reforming member items as Stringer is suggesting would be, in essence, curtailing the power of the speaker of the city council—currently Christine Quinn.
Specifically, the report called for replacing the current, speaker-based system with one that would have the mayor’s office allotting the money evenly, or on a more transparent process that took the needs of the districts’ constituents into account. Currently, $49.6 million in funding is divided among the council’s 51 members. If the report’s recommendation were implemented, it would likely mean even more power in the hands of the mayor, at the expense of the council’s speaker, and potentially the council itself.
Quinn’s office released a statement through Maria Alvarado, the council’s press secretary, saying they were reviewing the report and were “proud of the budget reforms the Council has already implemented that increase transparency and accountability—including an online database that the Borough President has embraced today.”
The borough president’s report highlighted the significant difference between the council members. For example, Brooklyn Councilmember Domenic Recchia received the most funding during the budget process--$1,630,064 to be exact. This is more than four times as much as either Bronx councilmembers Larry Seabrook or Helen Foster received. Their districts are some of the poorest in the city. The report’s figures are based on reviewing the past four years of available data.
"I agree with Borough President Scott Stringer that District budget allocations should be based on the needs of each district," Seabrook said in a statement. "City Council Speaker Christine Quinn decides on the budget allocations for each district and I certainly hope that next year’s decision for my district is a more favorable one."
“The players at the table get more,” Foster said about the current system. “It’s not based on fairness at all. I don't know that there is any system in politics that is based on need." While she made it clear she was not in favor of any reform that took power away from the council in favor of the mayor, Foster agreed with Seabrook, that the system should be taking some level of need into account.
"The disparities should not be so great," she said.
The map below illustrates just how removed from a standardized system the process is. When the districts for the five lowest and highest receivers of total funds are put on a map, it turns out that three of the highest receivers are directly next to or one district away from all but one of the least funded districts.
NYC City Council "Member Item" distribution for fiscal year 2012.
Top five district allocations are in green, bottom five are in red.
Source: Office of Mannhattan Borough President Scott Stringer
Friday, July 15, 2011
Will John Liu be flush from Flushing? Is Christine Quinn collecting checks in Chelsea? Will De Blasio get bank rolled by Brooklyn?
The presumptive 2013 Democratic mayoral hopefuls have until 5pm today to submit their third financial statement to the Campaign Finance Board. With the help of WNYC's map guru John Keefe, the Empire is giving readers a visual way to look at where the candidates are raising funds. The deeper the shade, the more the money. We'll update the map as the numbers come in, and will be sure to post the raw figures as well. Dig in and let us know if you find anything!
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
By Richard Yeh : Producer, WNYC News
The public will soon be able to learn more about decisions made by city government under legislation passed by the City Council Tuesday.
Monday, May 16, 2011
By Bob Hennelly
On Monday, New York City Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano told a City Council panel that Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to cut 20 fire companies would negatively impact every Council district.
Monday, April 11, 2011
By Bob Hennelly
For the first time since the recession began, City budget makers are dealing with significant cuts in both State and Federal aid, only partially ameliorated by the improving tax revenue picture of a fragile recovery. Add to that a more than billion dollar increase in pension costs and spending priorities are being squeezed.
On Friday, the City Council released a detailed critique of the Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed budget, providing one boundary of the debate ahead. Early next month, it will be the Mayor's turn when he unveils his formal Executive budget.
Monday, March 14, 2011
By Richard Yeh : Producer, WNYC News
New York is a city of vast and diverse waterfront — with more than that of Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and Portland combined. But much of its 520-mile shoreline has been underutilized or neglected for decades. Now, city officials are hoping a new, 10-year strategic plan unveiled Monday will provide a framework for the city to reclaim its standing as a world class waterfront city.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
By Charlie Herman : Business and Economics Editor
Wal-Mart workers, former and current, will testify Thursday at the City Council's second and final hearing into the labor practices of of the retail giant, which is expected to get blasted by the employees following a fiery council meeting that drew protesters two weeks ago.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
By Kate Hinds
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn was on the Brian Lehrer Show this morning to talk about her State of the City speech. And as parking tickets were one of the big ticket items in that speech, Brian asked --quoting Andrea Bernstein's Transportation Nation article--the following question:
Brian Lehrer: More than 90% of people who work in Manhattan take mass transit, not their own cars. So why the attention to the problem of parking tickets issued to drivers while they're putting money in the meters?
Christine Quinn: Well, for a couple of reasons. We've been very aggressive on mass transit issues in the Council from our big campaign last year to successfully save student MetroCards to supporting congestion pricing for extra funding for the MTA and an array of other issues. But we in the Council want to be responsive to the issues that New Yorkers call us about.