Toll Is Quiet

Written by Nicole Gelinas on . Posted in Opinion

At a hearing on the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s capital-investment program, state representatives seemed to care about getting better transit service for their constituents. But what happens next? In the coming year Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers must figure out how to pay. Nicole Gelinas (Illustration Credit: Lisanne Gagnon) The Assembly’s committee on public authorities held a forum Jan. 10 to consider a problem: The MTA has a multibillion dollar shortfall in its next $30–32 billion five-year capital program. The… [More]

Vacancy Control

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in Opinion

1,786,166. That is how many New Yorkers, based on the figures used in the most recent round of redistricting, are currently without a representative in either the state Assembly or the Senate. With the recent felony bribery conviction of Eric Stevenson and resignation of alleged serial sexual harasser Dennis Gabryszak, the number of open seats in the Legislature rose to 11—nine in the Assembly, two in the Senate. One would think that with roughly one out of every 11 New… [More]

“TIE” Breaker: Incumbent City Councilwoman Exploits Transition Funds

Written by Seth Barron on . Posted in Features, Opinion

New York City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, elected in November to a second term representing lower Manhattan, raised more than $30,000 for her inauguration expenses, which she appears to have used to pay bonuses to her campaign staff and for an elaborate “fundraiser.” Former mayor David Dinkins’ 1989 inauguration was funded by massive private donations far in excess of what campaign finance laws allow for electoral contributions. His successor, Rudy Giuliani, adopted voluntary limits on what his inaugural committees would accept, and… [More]

Council Speaker Vote: A Healing Moment or Political Theater?

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Daily, Features, News, News & Features, Opinion

The scene on the floor of the New York City Council at Wednesday’s stated meeting was an exercise in political theatrics. After weeks of vote-wrangling, deal-making and somewhat one-sided muckraking surrounding the Council speaker’s race, supporters of the two candidates, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Daniel Garodnick, converged on the Council floor, exchanging pleasantries and warm embraces. It was an anticlimactic denouement to a drawn-out, occasionally nasty battle. There was some initial suspense before the meeting as Mark-Viverito’s supporters patiently waited for… [More]

Year of the Family

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in Opinion

This past year, I husbanded all of my vacation, personal and sick days, and combining these with two weekends, managed to string together 18 days away from work—by far the longest consecutive amount of time I had been able to take off in well over half a decade. The sweetest part of this time off also made stark my greatest sadness. You see, those 18 days were the longest continuous stretch that I had gotten to spent with my five-year-old… [More]

Mark-Viverito: The 1 Percent Speaker for the 99 Percent

Written by Seth Barron on . Posted in Features, Opinion

Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito, leading contender for Speaker, is widely known as a former employee and supporter of labor union SEIU; as an activist who coordinated protests against the Navy’s use of Vieques as a proving ground; and as a committed radical representing Spanish Harlem, or “El Barrio.” She is less widely recognized as a millionaire who grew up in an exclusive suburb of San Juan, and who established residence in her district only four years before first seeking election there.… [More]

Lessons Learned from Al Vann’s Example

Written by Bruce N. Gyory on . Posted in Opinion

There was a retirement party for Councilman Al Vann of Brooklyn last month. The party was well deserved, honoring Vann’s lifetime of public service as a soldier, teacher and legislator. Vann dedicated his public service to the agenda of empowerment. He tried to knit progressive coalitions in furtherance of that agenda. He sought alliances with progressive whites, but he would never tolerate minority voters being taken for granted. The 2013 elections must have filled Vann with pride. Brooklyn cast 34… [More]

Two Powerful Weapons in De Blasio’s Arsenal to Take On Albany

Written by Jerry Goldfeder on . Posted in Opinion

Four years from now, when Mayor Bill de Blasio presumably seeks a second term, a central issue will be whether he has achieved his goals. In that much of New York City’s life is regulated by Albany, we can expect the mayor to spend time lobbying the Legislature and governor, who will undoubtedly test the mayor’s considerable powers of persuasion. Indeed, frustration with the city’s limited home rule authority led a mayoral campaign forty-five years ago to urge secession. That… [More]