Tuesday, August 14, 2012
By Beth Fertig
City Councilman Jumaane Williams stands out in a crowd. It’s not just his long dreadlocks. It’s the rocking, jerking motion of his body that is the result of Tourette's syndrome. Mr. Williams doesn't usually refer to his disability, but he is frank about some of his challenges, especially when meeting young people in his Brooklyn district.
Friday, July 27, 2012
A veteran politician was convicted Thursday on nine of 12 counts in a corruption case accusing him of putting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars meant for community projects in the pockets of his girlfriend and family.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
By Janet Babin : Economic Development Reporter, WNYC News
The City Council approved New York University’s contentious expansion plan in Greenwich Village on Wednesday despite continued opposition to the proposal from faculty and neighborhood groups.
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
By Beth Fertig
Most of the City Council's 51 members have signed a letter urging the schools chancellor to lift the city's ban on cellphones in public schools. The letter calls the current policy "inconsistent and possibly discriminatory" because it's enforced mostly at schools with metal detectors.
Friday, June 29, 2012
New York University President John Sexton defended plans to increase the school's footprint in its Greenwich Village neighborhood. He spoke at a City Council public hearing on Friday that was packed with critics and supporters of NYU’s proposed expansion plans.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
By Brigid Bergin : Reporter
The City Council approved an on-time, balanced budget of $68.5 billion on Thursday – and flexed its legislative muscle in overriding the mayor’s veto of two laws aimed at low-wage workers and the city’s banking sector.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
The city's budget agreement Monday not only restores funds for child care, it also gives the city council more control over which centers will continue to stay open. This could mean good news for several organizations who failed to win city contracts through a new selection process.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
In a primary race with no incumbent, two very different candidates are vying to represent a congressional district that has been served by the same man for the last 30 years.
After three terms in Albany, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries is well regarded for his ability to build bridges across ...
Monday, June 18, 2012
By Kathleen Horan : Reporter, WNYC News
As the city’s budget deadline looms, questions remain about whether a billion dollars in revenue from the auction of 2,000 yellow medallions — now held up in court — was a wise projection by the Bloomberg administration.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
By Bob Hennelly
The City Council’s redistricting panel can start the work of reconfiguring the Council’s 51 districts to reflect the results of last U.S. Census. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his seven appointees to the panel on Thursday. Last month Speaker Christine Quinn and City Council Minority leader James Oddo made their eight picks.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
By Kyle Spencer
A citywide special education plan that aims to put New York City more in step with other school districts around the country by including those students in general education classrooms is causing commotion here, with a growing chorus of parents, teachers and elected officials insisting it is being too hastily implemented with too little information.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
By Patricia Willens : Editor, WNYC News
Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott wants to open 20 health and mental health centers in middle and high schools throughout the city, he told the City Council at a budget hearing. This comes after more than 70 school-based mental health centers were closed over the last two years.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
The city has been under scrutiny for its over haul of the 911 emergency dispatch system which has been plagued with cost over runs. The head of the department in charge of the system faced tough questioning during a budget hearing on Tuesday.
No Bike Share on the Upper West Side Until June 2013: Sadik-Khan Discusses Biking, Parking -- and Bike Parking, in NYC Council Testimony
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
By Kate Hinds
The Upper West Side of Manhattan won't see bike share until June 2013. That's according to New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, in testimony before the New York City Council Tuesday.
The date isn't exactly a surprise -- the city acknowledged at the launch of its Citi Bike program that some neighborhoods won't see bike share until next spring, but the June date puts it at the outer edge of that timeline.
Sadik-Khan also defended the cost of the program, noting that an annual membership in New York gives riders 45 minutes of free riding compared to 30 minutes in London. And she pointed out that New York's is "a privately operated system" while most other city's bike shares are not.
In other questioning, Queens council member Leroy Comrie wanted to know what Citibank's $47.5 million will be used for. Sadik-Khan told him "it's going to pay for the purchase of the bikes, the stations, the operator that is going to be servicing the bikes 24/7, rebalancing the bikes, moving them around the city -- so all of that money is going to pay for the operation of that system." She added that the program will bring about 200 jobs to Brooklyn. "The initial launch site will be in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and then we will be doing the permanent facility (which) will be located at Sunset Park, 53rd and 3rd."
On other subjects, Jimmy Vacca, who chairs the transportation committee, asked the commissioner what was happening with plans to privatize parking meters -- would people be laid off? Would we have dynamic pricing? Sadik-Khan said it's in the very early stages and the city is just putting out feelers by issuing a Request for Qualifications (RFQ). "We've agreed to study the possibility of a public/private partnership for our parking program to see if there are opportunities for further improvement," she said, "but I would say that we run the most efficient and effective system in the country; we have a 99% uptake in terms of operability of our Muni Meters, and so we're thrilled with the performance of our programs to date, but again, we are checking to see...if there are options that could provide other, better service for New Yorkers (but) the benchmark is a high one."
She added that the feedback from the RFQ will determine whether or not the city moves forward with actual procurement. (Side note regarding NYC's parking meter program: 70% of parking meter revenue comes from credit cards.)
Sadik-Khan was also asked about a parking sensor pilot program on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx; she said the city was still in the middle of the pilot and would evaluate it after it was done.
Peter Koo, who represents Flushing, said bikes are chained everywhere in the neighborhood; the commissioner was sympathetic. "We've increased the speed with which we've put bike racks out there," she said. "We have over 13,000 racks out there right now, we continue to do more, but there are some parts of the city where if you stop walking for a second someone is going to chain a bike to you," Sadik-Khan said, saying that she knew the demand for parking was high. "We have to find a place for them to park!" Koo echoed, who added that he'd seen garages offering $8 a day bicycle parking. "It's really expensive! You can take the subway for $5 a day!"
"Well, for $9.95 a day, you can have a bike share bike ," Sadik-Kahn countered.
Following the hearing, reporters asked the commissioner about residential parking permits. Residents of the downtown Brooklyn neighborhood where the Barclays Center is opening this September have been pushing for a residential parking permit program. But it would require state legislation to enact, and Sadik-Khan said even after legislation cleared Albany, it would take nine months to get such a program off the ground.
Sadik-Khan also expressed support for legislation that would hold business owners accountable for delivery cyclists who don't follow traffic laws, and said she's working with the New York City Council to craft it.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
By Kate Hinds
The Upper West Side of Manhattan won’t get bike share until June 2013. That’s according to New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, in testimony before the New York City Council Tuesday.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
The City Council voted Tuesday to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of the so-called prevailing wage bill on Tuesday — meaning some building employees working at developments that benefit from city funds will soon earn more money.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
The City Council is looking to attach some strings to banks that receive city deposits. It’s poised to pass legislation Tuesday that would give the city authority to evaluate a bank’s lending practices in low and moderate income neighborhoods when deciding which banks may be certified to receive city deposits.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
By Annmarie Fertoli : Associate Producer at WNYC
A debate over early outdoor seating is brewing after several Brooklyn eateries received summonses in the past few weeks. The reason? Operating sidewalk cafes before noon on a Sunday.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
(New York, NY -- Sharyn Jackson, WNYC) New York City City Council members have introduced legislation that would require all car washes register for a license with the Department of Consumer Affairs.
Harlem Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito announced the bill to more than 50 protestors who gathered on the steps of City Hall. She said she was surprised when she learned that car washes didn’t already need licenses.
“This industry, I mean, you're talking about heavy machinery, you're talking about chemicals that are being used, it's not regulated in any way,” she said. “But as a city, we’ve got to step up to the plate, and ensure that they’re doing right by these workers.”
The industry is under fire for allegations of overworking and underpaying employees. According to an investigation by the New York State Department of Labor, almost 80 percent of the city’s car wash owners had wage and hour violations.
“New York City, we love to be stylish here, there's no question,” said Councilman James Sanders, who chaired a council hearing on the bill today. “We love our cars and we love to look good, but we don't want to do it at the expense of anyone.”
But car wash owners have told Transportation Nation they treat their workers fairly and safely.