Council Member Item Reform Easier Said Than Done

Written by Kristen Meriwether on . Posted in Blog, Budget/Taxes, Daily, Features, Government Operations, Latest, News, Social Services

For years, Council members have cried foul at the discretionary funding process. They argued the funding was used as a reward by the Speaker, leaving those that disagree without adequate money for their district.   “When Council members are afraid to vote their conscience or advocate for their constituents because they fear the funding to their district will be cut, the rules in the Council are not working,” said Councilman Brad Lander at City Hall on Monday. With a new… [More]

De Blasio’s Budget: Progressive or Aggressive?

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Budget/Taxes, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Features, Government Operations, Housing, Labor/Unions, News

What does a “progressive” city budget look like? During his preliminary budget presentation last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio attached his favorite buzzword to a supposedly apolitical document. Through the explicit and implicit priorities laid out in his financial plan, the mayor—who mere months ago dubbed himself a “fiscal conservative”—threw caution to the wind, etching his major policy items into the budget with or without the necessary cooperation from Albany, and despite the element of unpredictability stemming  from the city’s… [More]

NYPD Promises More Transparency on TrafficStat

Written by Kristen Meriwether on . Posted in Features, Government Operations, Latest, News, News & Features, Technology, Transportation

As part of his continued push to increase transparency in the New York Police Department, Commissioner Bill Bratton announced on Tuesday that the department will open up TrafficStat to more city agencies. The reforms are aimed at meeting Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero goal of zero traffic fatalities. TrafficStat was created in 1998 using the same model as CompStat, which tracks a wide range of crime statistics, including murder rates, shootings and rapes in a particular precinct, all of… [More]

De Blasio’s State of the City Marks A Shift In Tone From Bloomberg Era

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Blog, Budget/Taxes, Daily, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Features, Government Operations, Housing, Labor/Unions, Latest, News, Real Estate/Construction, Transportation

As is the case with most mayors less than two months into their administration, Mayor Bill de Blasio did not have a laundry list of accomplishments to point to during his State of the City address on Monday. But unlike his predecessor Michael Bloomberg’s first State of the City, which covered a wide range of topics and laid the foundation for his twelve years in office, de Blasio eschewed a long-term blueprint in favor of addressing the urgency of leveling… [More]

De Blasio Taps Transition Co-Chair as City Planning Commissioner

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Economic Development, Government Operations, Housing, Latest, News, News & Features

Either Carl Weisbrod was the best and only man for the job, or he was the last man for the job. Whatever the case, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio effusively praised Weisbrod while introducing him as the next chair of City Planning Commission at a press conference on Friday. In fact, the mayor went to great lengths to make it clear that Weisbrod, the co-chair of his transition committee, was indisputably the right choice for a permanent job,… [More]

New York City’s Data is Open—But Not Always Accessible

Written by Kristen Meriwether on . Posted in Government Operations, Latest, News, Technology

It appeared the fight for government data was won on Feb. 29, 2012 when then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed the historic Open Data Policy into effect. But nearly two years later, the battle still rages on. The Open Data law was groundbreaking, forcing a flood of data that was once locked in city databases on to a government-sponsored portal that is free for anyone to access online. But as advocacy groups and city officials begin to use the data, it is… [More]

New York City Council Approves De Blasio Ally as DOI Commissioner

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Blog, Daily, Government Operations, Latest, News

The New York City Council voted 48-2, with one abstention, to approve Mark Peters’ appointment as commissioner of the Department of Investigation during Tuesday’s stated meeting, despite the initial reservations of some Council members that his’ relationship with Mayor Bill de Blasio may be a conflict of interest. Peters previously served as treasurer for de Blasio’s mayoral campaign. Peters was unanimously approved by the Council’s Rules Committee in the morning, with only Councilman Jumaane Williams abstaining. Williams was one of… [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]

De Blasio Pre-K Push Mirrors Dinkins Era Negotiation [CORRECTED]

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Blog, Budget/Taxes, Daily, Economic Development, Education, Features, Government Operations, News, Public Safety, Social Services

Last week New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio traveled to Albany to make the case for his universal preschool program in front of the state Assembly Ways and Means and the Senate Finance committees. De Blasio, who campaigned on providing full-day preschool for all four year olds, as well as after school programs for every middle school student, has ramped up his campaign for the effort, which would be paid for through a temporary tax hike on the city’s… [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]