State Budget Woes + A New Deputy Mayor

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Local News:

  • Gothamist and NYT had coverage of the opaque and frustrating process that led to the passage of the state budget. While the budget had some higher profile progressive wins like congestion pricing and criminal justice reform, Cuomo forced concessions and watered down proposals into the final product at the eleventh hour, outraging many progressives in the Legislature. There are discussions to alter the budget making process to prevent the Governor from inserting policies into the budget at the last minute under threat of government shutdown.
  • Gotham Gazette has a preview of the key issues in Albany’s post-budget legislative session, including rent law renewal, marijuana legalization, the New York Health Act, and the Climate and Community Protection Act.
  • While the State continues to drag its feet on public campaign finance, Council Member Ben Kallos (District 5, Upper East Side) has introduced legislation to further expand the City’s public financing system beyond the expansion mandated by last year’s charter revision ballot question.
  • In the wake of recent closures by DNAInfo and the Village Voice, a new nonprofit local news website called The City has finally launched.
  • Council Speaker Corey Johnson booted Council Member Kalman Yeger (District 44, Borough Park) from the Council Immigration Committee after Yeger tweeted that Palestine didn’t exist, and refused to back down from his Islamophobia.
  • Mayor De Blasio tapped Vicki Been to be the new Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development. Been formerly served as Commissioner for the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development from 2014-2017, where helped to draft the Mayor’s Housing New York plan. In her new role, Been will oversee NYCHA and the NYC Economic Development Corporation.


  • Tiffany Cabán received the endorsements of Make the Road NY, VOCAL-NY, and Queens Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, continuing a consolidation of progressive and socialist support for her campaign for Queens DA.
  • CNN President Jeff Zucker allegedly wants to run for Mayor in 2021.
  • The City Council’s Committee on Standards and Ethics will pursue formal disciplinary charges against Council Member Barry Grodenchick (D-Queens), who was accused of harassing an aide.
  • State Senator Alessandra Biaggi (District 34, The Bronx) sent a fundraising email to supporters where she expressed frustration with the opaque budget negotiation process and appeared to threaten primaries against legislators who are “captured by lobbyist influence”.
  • Queens Borough President Melinda Katz received over $250,000 in donations from the real estate industry since establishing her campaign for Queens District Attorney last year. Council Member Rory Lancman also received six figures from the industry.

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