New ‘Working Group’ Being Built to Steer City Council Legislation

Councilman Brad Lander with Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. (Photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)
Councilman Brad Lander with Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. (Photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)

In a departure from the unilateral leadership style of her predecessor, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is currently in the process of creating a “policy working group” that would set the City Council’s agenda and even vet new legislation, sources say.

The council’s 10-member leadership team is hashing out the details of the group, which is still remains in the planning stages. But it will likely meet twice a month and take on a very formal structure, sources say. Continue reading “New ‘Working Group’ Being Built to Steer City Council Legislation”

De Blasio Moves to Expand Living Wage With Executive Order

Bill de Blasio delivering his State of the City speech. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)
Bill de Blasio delivering his State of the City speech. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

As part of his State of the City address this afternoon, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to expand living wage legislation using a tool he has previously rarely mentioned: an executive order.

Mr. de Blasio announced that he will move to drop a lawsuit filed by his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, to halt legislation passed by the Council guaranteeing so-called “living wage” salaries to employees of projects that receive more than $1 million in city subsidies. Continue reading “De Blasio Moves to Expand Living Wage With Executive Order”

Mark-Viverito Allies Ascendant After Committees Doled Out

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito hugs Councilman Daneek Miller. (Photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)
Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito hugs Councilman Daneek Miller. (Photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)

For the prescient and lucky council members who backed Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito from the beginning, yesterday’s committee assignments represented the dawn of a new era of influence. For those who battled Ms. Mark-Viverito to the anxious end, meanwhile, there were few plums to be had.

Though Ms. Mark-Viverito and her allies have claimed they want to usher in a new regime committed to good government principals and not the classic carrot-and-stick diplomacy that has long governed the council, yesterday showed that Ms. Mark-Viverito, like her predecessor Christine Quinn and endless pols before them, is more than happy to use influence to reward allies and punish dissenters. Continue reading “Mark-Viverito Allies Ascendant After Committees Doled Out”

Mark-Viverito to Dole Out Choice Committee Chairs

Melissa Mark-Viverito and colleagues in the City Council chambers. (Photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)
Melissa Mark-Viverito and colleagues in the City Council chambers earlier this month. (Photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will preside over the first full meeting of her tenure tomorrow, doling out prized committee assignments to early backers while trying to appease those who fought her in the hours leading up to her election as speaker.  Continue reading “Mark-Viverito to Dole Out Choice Committee Chairs”

Two Candidates Emerge as Front-Runners for City Council Finance Chair

Council members Jimmy Van Bramer (left) and Julissa Ferreras (second from left) march with the eventual Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito to City Hall. (Photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)
Council members Jimmy Van Bramer (left) and Julissa Ferreras (second from left) march with the eventual Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito to City Hall. (Photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)

One of the most influential committees on the City Council may be coming back to Queens. 

Julissa Ferreras and Jimmy Van Bramer–two Queens council members who bucked their county’s Democratic organization to support the eventual winner of the speaker’s race–are now the leading contenders to chair the powerful finance committee, multiple sources said. Continue reading “Two Candidates Emerge as Front-Runners for City Council Finance Chair”

Laurie Cumbo Apologizes for Controversial ‘Knockout Game’ Letter

Laurie Cumbo. (Photo: Facebook)
Laurie Cumbo. (Facebook)

Councilwoman-elect Laurie Cumbo, who caused a national controversy after writing a letter on racial violence that blamed recent attacks partially on resentment of  “Jewish success” and “Jewish landlords”—is sorry.

A week after the controversy first emerged, Ms. Cumbo is out with a new statement, apologizing “for any pain I have caused” and insisting she meant to help bridge the gap between the African-American and Jewish communities as a purported “knockout game” continues in city streets.  Continue reading “Laurie Cumbo Apologizes for Controversial ‘Knockout Game’ Letter”

Barron Blasts de Blasio and Progressive Caucus ‘Masters’

Councilman Charles Barron on NY1.
Councilman Charles Barron on NY1.

His lame-duck status on the City Council certainly has not tempered the fiery Charles Barron.

The term-limited Brooklyn Councilman blasted Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and the City Council’s Progressive Caucus in an interview on NY1’s Road to City Hall last night, accusing Mr. de Blasio of being a faux-liberal and the caucus of reinforcing a white male power structure. Continue reading “Barron Blasts de Blasio and Progressive Caucus ‘Masters’”