In 2012, the Daily News hailed Ydanis Rodriguez for being one of only three City Council members who turned down the $10,000 stipends they were owed for chairing council committees. This month, Mr. Rodriguez again appeared in the editorial pages of the paper, though now he was slammed for accepting the stipend.
Mr. Rodriguez, an uptown Manhattan lawmaker, was the only councilman to take an 180-degree turn on the issue–but defended the change-of-heart, arguing the stipend system had already been reformed enough under new Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to allay his earlier fears.
Veni Vidi Veto
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.
very special elections
An emboldened City Council voted today to override six of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoes, furthering their break from the era of ex-Speaker Christine Quinn, who often sided with Mr. Bloomberg.
The council’s overrides applied to a diverse array of legislation, including bills to create an animal abuse registry, report information on crime in public playgrounds and tweak a paid sick days law passed under the old speaker.
The City Council is set to vote on a resolution this week that calls on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to hold special elections for the many vacant seats in the state legislature.
Mr. Cuomo has so far been reluctant to call elections to fill the numerous openings in the State Assembly and Senate, which would empower local Democratic organizations. But some council members are trying to change his mind.
Big in Brooklyn
Melissa Mark-Viverito was sworn into office for the second time in the span of about a month last night. But this time, the audience was much larger.
Ms. Mark-Viverito, now the powerful speaker of the City Council, was officially coronated in the Bronx, where she was heralded by Mayor Bill de Blasio and various liberal allies. While sticking to many of the same left-leaning talking points that she has repeated elsewhere, the new speaker struck a more defiant tone at times, asserting that there were unnamed people who wanted her and the progressive movement to fail.
Planes Trains & Automobiles
The tweet was maybe two minutes old, but David Greenfield was already walking over to the table of reporters in the City Council chamber to confront the one who had erroneously broadcast he wasn’t wearing a tie.
“You don’t see this?” asked Mr. Greenfield, the City Council’s powerful new land use committee chair. He was clenching the knot of the cream-colored tie beneath his sweater, grinning. “Correct the tweet now.” He wanted the political junkies on his Twitter feed, which he constantly monitors, Cory Booker-like, to know he was properly attired for his coronation.
To the Viverito Goes the Spoils
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, the new chair of the council’s transportation committee, is hoping to bring more Citi Bikes and ferries to the five boroughs. But first he wants to override a mayoral veto.
Of course, it’s not Mayor Bill de Blasio’s veto Mr. Rodriguez will attempt to overturn tomorrow, but rather Michael Bloomberg’s. At the end of last year, the outgoing mayor moved to block a bill that would force the NYPD to report information concerning vehicle collisions in which the driver left the scene.
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.
While Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and her backers hailed the diversity of the council’s new leadership, several council members wondered whether enough blacks had won the top slots.
Councilman Jumaane Williams, now a member of the council’s leadership team and the chairman of the housing and buildings committee, today expressed concern about the amount of black leadership in the city, hinting that the council could have done more for black council members.
This afternoon, the City Council’s rules committee officially unveiled the various powerful chairmanships and other plum posts being assigned to members in the wake of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s election earlier this month.
As expected, her close allies and supporters did quite well.