Council Members Rally for Higher NYC Minimum Wage

Melissa Mark-Viverito and other advocates rallying earlier today.
Melissa Mark-Viverito and other advocates rallying earlier today. (Photo: Kelly Weill)

The days after the mayor releases his preliminary budget are usually filled with protests by advocates stomping their feet, decrying cuts to favored programs on the steps of City Hall.

But today, the labor groups, workers, and council members rallying outside City Hall were there to hail Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call during his State of the City speech for an increase in the minimum wage. Continue reading “Council Members Rally for Higher NYC Minimum Wage”

De Blasio Nearly Doubles Budget for His Old Office

Public Advocate Tish James, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Photo: Facebook)
Public Advocate Tish James, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Photo: Facebook)

Mayor Bill de Blasio today nearly doubled the budget for his former office and gave huge boosts to borough presidents across the five boroughs.

The public advocate’s office, currently occupied by Tish James, will receive an extra $700,000 in the fiscal year starting July 1, administration officials revealed today. That will bring her office’s budget up from a meager $1.6 million budget up to to $2.3 million. Continue reading “De Blasio Nearly Doubles Budget for His Old Office”

Tish James Hits Cuomo Tax Plan for Favoring ‘Corporations and the Wealthy’

Tish James at the rally this morning. (Photo: Public Advocate's Office)
Tish James at the rally this morning. (Photo: Alliance for Quality Education)

The city’s new public advocate, Tish James, who had vowed to be a thorn in the side of fellow officials, is already making good on her promise.

At a press conference early this morning demanding more education funding from the state, Ms. James went after Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the $2 billion tax cut plan he unveiled ahead of his State of the State speech last week, separating her from other city lawmakers, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, who have largely refused to criticize the plan. Continue reading “Tish James Hits Cuomo Tax Plan for Favoring ‘Corporations and the Wealthy’”

Sharpton Cool on Bratton Appointment

Bill de Blasio and Al Sharpton sitting together.
Bill de Blasio and Al Sharpton at a National Action Network event in Harlem.

Al Sharpton, who clashed endlessly with the Giuliani administration, doesn’t sound thrilled with Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s decision to re-appoint Mr. Giuliani’s police commissioner as the city’s top cop.

In a statement released this morning just as news of Bill Bratton’s appointment was trickling out, Mr. Sharpton, who has had a warm relationship with Mr. de Blasio, offered a mixed assessment of Mr. Bratton’s record, which includes stints as chief of both the Boston and Los Angeles  police departments. Continue reading “Sharpton Cool on Bratton Appointment”

Minority Members Say Diversity ‘Quota’ Has Not Been Met for Speaker’s Race

The leading candidates.
The leading candidates for speaker at a recent forum.

The City Council’s black, Latino and Asian caucus is pushing back against the assertion by some observers that members are more open to considering a white candidate for council speaker because a black candidate was elected to citywide office earlier this year.

In their first public statement of the behind-the-scenes campaign, the caucus members argued that Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James’s election as public advocate should have no bearing on the contest to choose the city’s second most powerful post. Continue reading “Minority Members Say Diversity ‘Quota’ Has Not Been Met for Speaker’s Race”

Letitia James Vows to Keep Bill de Blasio’s Feet to Fire

Letitia James speaking at the transition tent.
Letitia James speaking at the transition tent.

Public Advocate-elect Letitia James said this month’s elections represented a “dramatic left turn” for the city–and vowed to hold her predecessor in the advocate’s office, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, accountable in his new role. Continue reading “Letitia James Vows to Keep Bill de Blasio’s Feet to Fire”

Mailers Accuse Tish James of Getting ‘Sweetheart’ Home Loan

Councilwoman Tish James.
Councilwoman Tish James.

In the days leading up to today’s runoff election, the public advocate’s race reached its final, frenzied–and personal–pitch.

Included in the barrage was a pair of mailers sent over the weekend alleging City Councilwoman Tish James, who is in a runoff against State Senator Daniel Squadron, obtained a “sweetheart” loan on her Brooklyn home, which has come under scrutiny in the past. Continue reading “Mailers Accuse Tish James of Getting ‘Sweetheart’ Home Loan”