Díaz, Palma Critical Of Rep. Jose Serrano; Primary Challenge Possible [UPDATED]

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Blog, Campaigns/Elections, Daily, Economic Development, Features, Heard Around Town, Latest, News

Bronx Rep. Jose Serrano has served in the House of Representatives for nearly 25 years without so much as a threat to his incumbency, with his lowest vote percentage being 64 percent in 1992. However, several Bronx political sources say that there is a groundswell of opposition forming against Serrano, with several names being floated as potential primary challengers for Serrano in this year’s election, including state Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz, City Councilwoman Annabel Palma, and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo. Reached… [More]

Gun Group’s Membership Has Spiked Since Passage of SAFE Act

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Features, Heard Around Town, News, Public Safety

Tom King of the State Rifle & Pistol Association (Photo by Shannon DeCelle) Gun owners joined the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association in droves last year, making the group the largest state affiliate of the National Rifle Association, according to the state-based group. NYSRPA President Tom King said membership numbers leapt from the mid-20,000s to more than 41,000 in 2013. Gun rights activists have been at odds with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and some state lawmakers since the passage of the SAFE Act in late 2012, a potential factor behind the increase in membership. King attributed… [More]

Housing Departures Continue With Visnauskas

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Features, Government Operations, Heard Around Town, Housing, News

Adding to the turnover at New York City’s housing agencies, RuthAnne Visnauskas, acting commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation & Development, has submitted her resignation and will be leaving in two weeks, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. Visnauskas was a holdover from former mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, in which she served for eight years, first as deputy HPD commissioner before taking over the top job from Mathew Wambua, who left the administration in August for the private sector. At… [More]

Mark-Viverito Solicits Input From Councilmembers for Albany, D.C.

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Features, Government Operations, Heard Around Town, News

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito Perhaps as an attempt to live up to her promise of running a more inclusive City Council, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is soliciting input from all 51 Council members as to their legislative and budget priorities for the current legislative session in Albany and Washington. City & State obtained an email sent by Howard Pollack, the deputy director of the Council’s Community Outreach Division, with an attached form for members to fill out their priorities. Also attached in the email was a letter… [More]

Family Supports Trump Run For Gov

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Campaigns/Elections, Features, Heard Around Town, News

Donald Trump, who has been flirting with a gubernatorial bid in New York, has yet to decide if he will challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo. But if the businessman and TV reality show host listens to his family, he may be persuaded to jump into the race. “We have the privilege of working for him every day, but there is no one better at what he does,” Eric Trump, a vice president at the Trump Organization, told radio talk show host… [More]

New State Caucus of Environmental Legislators Takes Root in Albany

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Environment, Features, Heard Around Town, News

Key environmental issues have a new avenue to reach the floor of the state Legislature with the recent formation of the New York State Caucus of Environmental Legislators. The 33-member group is made up of lawmakers from both parties and both houses. Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, NYSCEL’s chair, expects discussions within the caucus to help build consensus on which environmental issues are important and which ones can be accomplished. “A lot of the work in the Legislature happens within conferences or… [More]

De Blasio Joins Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Features, Heard Around Town, News, Public Safety

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a nationwide coalition co-founded by his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, and the move prompted praise from gun control advocates. The new mayor is no stranger to gun-violence initiatives, something New Yorkers Against Gun Violence Executive Director Leah Gunn Barrett cited as one of the reasons she sees de Blasio’s joining as a positive. “He, as public advocate, led the national campaign to pressure hedge funds and money managers to divest from the gun… [More]

Ravitch Likes Pre-K Focus, Not the Politics

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Daily, Heard Around Town

Expanded pre-kindergarten in New York has the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, although a great deal of the attention has been paid to the the differences between the governor’s proposal to use state money to phase in programs and de Blasio’s push to fund them locally by raising taxes on the wealthy. Richard Ravitch, the former lieutenant governor and co-chair of the State Budget Crisis Task Force, said that he is delighted by the backing… [More]

Mark Weprin Unanimously Elected Chair of City Council Queens Delegation

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Blog, Budget/Taxes, Daily, Features, Government Operations, Heard Around Town, Latest, News, Other News

City Councilman Mark Weprin was unanimously elected this morning as chair of the Council’s Queens delegation,  a sign that the wounds from the protracted Council Speaker race between Dan Garodnick and Melissa Mark-Viverito might be starting to heal. The speaker battle had fractured the Queens delegation, with several Progressive Caucus members, including Julissa Ferreras, Jimmy Van Bramer, Daniel Dromm and Donovan Richards supporting Mark-Viverito, while the rest of the delegation stuck with Garodnick, the choice of Queens Democratic County Chairman… [More]

DiNapoli Says Public Financing Can Start With Comptroller Race

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Campaigns/Elections, Features, Heard Around Town, News

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a staunch supporter of public financing of campaigns, seems pleased with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s public financing proposal. At a breakfast with reporters Tuesday morning DiNapoli reiterated his stance that if the state wants to start with public financing, it can do so with in the comptroller’s race. As for the cost, he sided with estimates made by good government groups. “The advocates’ numbers are much more realistic numbers than the critics that have greatly inflated the… [More]