Environmentalists Say More Money Still Needed for Protection Fund

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Environment, Features, Heard Around Town, News

After his State of the State address disappointed environmentalists, Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a few green-friendly initiatives in his budget, such as reforming and expanding New York’s brownfields program. But advocates say more money is still needed for the state’s $153 million Environmental Protection Fund and to restore state Department of Environmental Conservation staffing cuts—hot topics certain to come up at today’s environmental conservation joint legislative budget hearing. Assemblyman Robert Sweeney recently acknowledged some positives in the budget, but wants… [More]

Mark-Viverito Scores 100 on Environmental Scorecard, Ferreras Tied For Last

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

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito The New York League of Conservation Voters released its annual environmental scorecard for New York City Council members in 2012-2013, an evaluation of the members based on casting pro-environment votes or for co-sponsoring pro-environment legislation. The report lavishes praise on former speaker Christine Quinn, calling her “the most pro-environment speaker New York City has seen thus far,” noting Quinn’s achievements on solid waste management, food access, and green buildings. Eleven Council members received perfect scores of 100, including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito,… [More]

Fight to Legalize MMA Back on in the Capitol

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Features, Heard Around Town, News, Other News

The battle over mixed-martial arts is back on. This morning, Ultimate Fighting Championship executives are joining Assemblyman Joe Morelle and state Sen. Joseph Griffo in Albany to once again push for legalization of the controversial sport—but critics are swinging into action, too. “After a year of men behaving badly in Albany, do our lawmakers really want to send a message to parents and communities in New York that we are going to allow a viciously violent sport into the Empire… [More]

Diaz Sr. Confronts De Blasio On Cuomo’s “Extreme Conservatives” Comment

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

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s budget testimony in Albany focused on pre-kindergarten, but he also found himself once again defending Andrew Cuomo’s recent criticism of “extreme conservatives.” State Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. of the Bronx questioned how de Blasio’s message of unity and eliminating the “Tale of Two Cities” fits with the view that conservatives have no place in the state. De Blasio answered that people often find common ground regardless of political allegiances. “By definition it’s my… [More]

State Needs $10 Billion Medicaid Waiver Now To Save Hospitals, Says Schwartz

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Budget/Taxes, Features, Health Care, Heard Around Town, News

The Cuomo administration is predicting more trouble for struggling hospitals if the federal government does not grant New York’s request for a $10 billion Medicaid waiver, which state officials submitted 18 months ago. Funding in the governor’s new 2014-2015 state budget for healthcare and hospitals, including three in Brooklyn on the verge of closure, is allocated on the assumption that the federal government will approve the waiver, which would allow some of the projected savings identified by the governor’s Medicaid… [More]

Cuomo, De Blasio Hold Firm on Opposing Funding Plans for Universal Pre-K

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

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio agree on the need for universal pre-kindergarten, but the remain sharply divided over how to fund it. In his budget address on Tuesday afternoon, Cuomo unveiled a five-year, $1.5 billion pre-K proposal, with $100 million for the 2014-15 school year and at least $100 million to be added in each subsequent year. “The state will pay for it, and the state will be proud to pay for it,” Cuomo… [More]

Jumaane Williams Has Inside Track for Housing Committee Chair, Sources Say

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

New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams A number of high-profile New York City Council committee chairmanships are expected to be announced at the Council’s stated meeting Wednesday afternoon, and multiple sources have indicated that Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, a member of the Council Progressive Caucus, is the frontrunner to chair the Housing and Buildings Committee. Several New York City housing sources told City & State that Williams was a likely pick for the chairmanship, in part owing to his early backing of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito but… [More]

Public Advocate Letitia James Names Ibrahim Khan Chief of Staff

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

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James has begun to fill out her office, hiring Ibrahim Khan, a communications consultant with the MirRam Group, as her chief of staff. James has also brought aboard several members from her City Council staff, including Press Secretary Aja Worthy-Davis. James previously announced general counsels Larry Schimmel and Chaumtoli Huq and Policy Director Amber Greene, among a handful of other top appointments. In total, James’ office is expected to have 25 to 30 paid… [More]

De Blasio Greeted Warmly in Chilly Albany

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

In his first official visit to Albany as mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio moved slowly from event to event throughout the morning, and perhaps for good reason. The new mayor paused often to shake hands and have conversations that went beyond simply exchanging pleasantries with legislators and well-wishers who stopped him in the halls of the Capitol. He also walked slowly as he spoke with some he picked up along the way to join his entourage of aides and… [More]

On Eve of Speaker Vote, de Blasio Evasive On Mark-Viverito and Quinn Comparison

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

Despite numerous reports indicating Mayor Bill de Blasio’s involvement in pushing Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito for speaker, the mayor continued to evade questions on his involvement in the speaker’s race, insisting that the Council will make their decision independent of his involvement. As a way of comparing de Blasio’s behind-the-scenes advocacy for Mark-Viverito to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s alliance with former Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the mayor was asked why he relentlessly criticized Quinn during the Democratic mayoral campaign for being… [More]