At today’s City Council hearing on the co-location of public and private schools, Councilwoman Tish James declared she was in the room to “advocate” as she walked in.
“Tish James said that she is ‘advocating’ here, indicating that she may be running for Public Advocate,” the head of the education committee, Councilman Robert Jackson, joked later, referencing her public campaign for the citywide office.
Councilman Robert Jackson is ramping up his fundraising efforts in his bid to be Manhattan Borough President. On April 17, Mr. Jackson is having a fundraiser in an apartment adjacent to Lincoln Center. Mr. Jackson has good reason to step up his efforts to draw donations. As of January, he had a much smaller war chest than two of his rivals in the race for the borough presidency.
Council Members Al Vann and Robert Jackson, who is chair of the Education Committee, introduced a resolution today asking the State Legislature to limit mayoral control of city schools. The resolution, which comes following growing controversy over recent school closings, calls on the legislature to give community councils approval over school closures and co-locations.
“The process for proposing and approving these significant changes to schools has disenfranchised communities and parents,” Mr. Vann said. “Providing a significant role for CECs in the co-location and school closure process will not only ensure that proposals are thoughtful and truly include input from communities and parents, but also will enhance community and parental involvement in our public schools.”
Law & Order
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly fielded questions on the department’s controversial stop-and-frisk and Muslim surveillance programs during a contentious hearing of the City Council Public Safety Committee. Mr. Kelly was ostensibly testifying about the NYPD’s preliminary budget for the coming fiscal year, but the hearing quickly turned into a heated discussion of the department’s most controversial policies when committee members questioned the commissioner following his testimony.
Add another name to the list of those contemplating competing for term-limited Councilman Robert Jackson’s seat. Mark Otto, an assistant principal at a public high school, already has registered a campaign committee and created a campaign website.
Understandably, Mr. Otto’s campaign pitch relies heavily on his background as a teacher. According to his website, Mr. Otto “is a kind, passionate, dedicated and reflective leader that has a clear vision for successful schooling in New York City.”
District Leader Mark Levine filed for term-limited Councilman Robert Jackson’s seat this afternoon, further setting the stage for what could be one of the most hotly contested City Council races in 2013.
Mr. Levine had previously told The Politicker he was “definitely” entering the race unless there’s an opening in the State Senate district created by Adriano Espaillat running for the House of Representatives. This new committee will allow him to fundraise and campaign more directly for the position.
Mr. Levine made headlines in 2010 by running for now-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s State Senate seat, losing to Mr. Espaillat, who was an Assemblyman at the time. Mr. Levine, who speaks Spanish, scored a respectable 39% of the vote in the heavily Latino district.
a campaign brewing
Veteran Upper West Side Councilwoman Gale Brewer is jumping into the race for Manhattan Borough President.
“I’m going to definitely do it I. haven’t gotten myself organized, because I’m working on so many different issues, but I will,” Ms. Brewer told The Politicker last night at a public forum hosted by Police Reform Organizing Project at the LGBT Community Center.
Ms. Brewer is entering a crowded field. With current Borough President Scott Stringer gearing up to run for mayor next year, Councilman Robert Jackson, Community Board 1 Chair Julie Menin and Councilwoman Jessica Lappin have all already begun campaigning for the position.
Councilman Robert Jackson is planning to run for borough president in 2013, and already a host of candidates are lining up to take his place for the Upper Manhattan council seat.
Among them are longtime Washington Heights politico Maria Luna, who last ran for this same seat in 1992, a current and a former district leader who squared off in a pitched electoral battle last year, an aide to neighborhood institution Charlie Rangel, two former challengers to Mr. Jackson, a community board vice chair and a 24-year-old City Council staffer from across town.
Legislative lines for the District, which currently includes Morningside Heights, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Central Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood, could shift before the race next year. In the meantime, many of the aspiring heirs to Mr. Jackson’s seat are watching each other and other local politicians before deciding what move to make.
Assemblyman Keith Wright said the Department of Education’s plan to close the middle school at Wadleigh Secondary School of Performing Arts is the final straw that has convinced him to propose a bill that would repeal mayoral control of city public schools.
“People are up in arms. They are quite frankly tired of the dictatorial and despotic policies coming out of City Hall where they just arbitrarily and capriciously decide that they’re going to close schools,” Mr. Wright told The Politicker. “This is the Alamo as far as I’m concerned right now. This is the absolute Alamo and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
nuts4nuts needs help
The City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus is renewing a push to reform the way that street vendors are fined. In a letter to Consumer Affairs Committee Chair Dan Garodnick, the co-chairs of the caucus, Robert Jackson and Fernando Cabrera, advocate legislation to significantly reduce the financial burden of these fines.
“Under current regulations, distance-from-the-curb violations and license-display violations command the payment of fines ranging from $50 to $1000, based upon the number of subsequent violations,” the letter explained. “The Caucus believes that this fine structure is unfair to the vendors because it compoundsviolations that may not be related.”