Mayor Bill de Blasio today dismissed planned protests in Albany by charter school operators and advocates next week as a “sideshow” that he insisted would not distract from his pre-K push
Success Academy Charter School head Eva Moskowitz will be shutting down all of her schools this coming Tuesday to join more than 2,000 charter school advocates from across the state in Albany to push lawmakers to support their schools. The date happens to coincide with the new mayor’s planned descent upon Albany to convince reticent state lawmakers to support his plan to raise taxes on the city’s wealthy to fund universal pre-K and after-school programs.
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito hit the campaign trail with congressional hopeful State Senator Adriano Espaillat this morning, putting her weight behind the man who hopes to dethrone the dean of New York’s Congressional delegation.
Mr. Espaillat yesterday launched his campaign to unseat Congressman Charles Rangel, who is running for his 23rd term representing his uptown district. Ms. Mark-Viverito endorsed Mr. Rangel in a contest between the two back in 2012, when he won narrowly, but this time has sided with Mr. Espaillat, suggesting that he could earn significant backing from the city’s new class of elected officials.
Sunset Park Showdown
Mayor Bill de Blasio today dismissed the notion that he’s dragged his feet in filling his new administration, insisting that very few posts remain vacant.
“I’m not a lawyer … but I will be on the watch for premises that may not be accurate. A large number of agencies is a debatable point,” said Mr. de Blasio when asked about the criticism at a press conference today announcing three new hires.
A local community board member has filed to run against Brooklyn Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, potentially setting up the first primary battle for the longtime lawmaker in more than a decade.
Cesar Zuniga, a member of Brooklyn’s Community Board 7 and research director for the Parent-Child Home Program, said he was considering a bid against Mr. Ortiz and would make a final decision soon.
Taking on Tony
Steve Banks, the chief attorney at the Legal Aid Society, has been appointed to lead the city’s Human Resources Administration, and Nisha Agarwal will serve as commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this afternoon.
Mr. Banks has lead the organization, which provides free legal service, since 2004. Three years earlier, he ran unsuccessfully against Mr. de Blasio in a City Council race.
State Senator Tony Avella met a handful of protesters outside a local school in Queens today, where the lawmaker took flack for his decision to join a breakaway faction of Democrats in Albany.
Mr. Avella, now the fifth member of the Independent Democratic Conference, arrived in Douglaston to give a citation to an elementary school. But four protesters, unfurling signs like “Tony the Traitor,” stood outside the school in the numbing cold to denounce Mr. Avella’s defection from the Democratic caucus.
Headline of the Day: “Oh, behave! Bratton rolls out new community-friendly training protocol.”
Runner-Up: “Bratton: Police officers to be taught ‘verbal judo.’”
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new training program yesterday that aims to teach new recruits how to be more polite as part as part of a larger effort to improve police-community relations. “Cops in this city, indeed, around the country, get in more trouble with their mouths than they do with any of the tools we give them–clubs, guns,” Mr. Bratton said after visiting a precinct in East Harlem.
The gloves are coming off in the City Council.
Brooklyn City Councilmen Vincent Gentile, David Greenfield and Mark Treyger blasted Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Department of Education today for failing to halt a slew of co-locations in their districts.
The Department of Education announced earlier today that they would be pulling the plug on nine previously approved school co-locations, including three charter schools–drawing praise from the teachers’ union and fire from charter advocates, who charge the decision will leave thousands of children fighting for alternate space come September.
Bill Bratton will march in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, a decision that will separate the police commissioner from Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council, which is officially boycotting the Irish-American celebration.
Parade organizers have drawn fire because they do not allow groups with signs or banners identifying themselves as LGBT to march.
Mayor Bill de Blasio took another step today to reverse the previous administration’s schools agenda, withdrawing nine co-locations approved last year, including three for Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academies.
“If there is one thing school communities should know, it’s this: we’re going to do things differently,” Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said in a statement. “Today, we are turning the page on the approach of the past. We are going to listen and be responsive like never before, and that will be reflected in everything we do.”