Following the city council’s stated meeting this afternoon, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito answered questions from the press. Among the topics: whether there was political retribution against some council members who did not support her speaker bid, rules reform and the “lulu” system of additional payments to council members and her view of Governor Cuomo’s recent pre-K proposal.
Update – Cuomo Pre-K Proposal:
I asked Speaker Mark-Viverito whether Governor Cuomo’s recent proposal for a state-wide pre-K program, seemingly intended to supplant Mayor de Blasio’s proposed program and especially it’s income tax surcharge, would be unacceptable. Here’s how she responded.
We spoke this afternoon with Council Member/speaker contender Melissa Mark-Viverito concerning media coverage of her candidacy. A significant amount of media attention on Mark-Viverito has been less than flattering and some, such as yesterday’s New York Post story on a woman who claims that Mark-Viverito placed a hex on her, has been odd. We spoke at the ceremonial swearing in of Council Member Helen Rosenthal.
Update – Public Forums:
We spoke with Council Member Carlos Menchaca about the role of the seven public speaker candidate forums. Menchaca was one of the four newly-elected council members who conceived and organized the forums.
Update #2 – Predictions & Solidarity:
We spoke with Council Members Carlos Menchaca, Ydanis Rodriguez and Brad Lander, as well as Melissa Mark-Viverito, about the state of the council speaker race with three days to go.
Solidarity, In Song:
Finally, a brief excerpt from the performance of the New York City Labor Chorus at the inauguration ceremony of Council Member Helen Rosenthal.
Last night the City Council Speaker forum series moved to Brooklyn, picking up a seventh contender with Council Member Jumaane Williams joining in.
After the forum we spoke with Council Member Brad Lander. Lander is a leading member of the “progessive bloc”, a group of approximately 20 progressive council members who plan to unite behind a single, but as yet undetermined, candidate. We discussed the forums and their role in an election with only 51 voters, what the progressive bloc seeks, how the selection will unfold and whether the progressive bloc is likely to hold together behind a single candidate.
Update – Carlos Menchaca:
We also spoke with Council Member-elect Carlos Menchaca about the forums and the selection process. Menchaca is a newly elected member of the City Council who, along with fellow newly elected members Helen Rosenthal, Ritchie Torres and Antonio Reynoso, conceived and organized the public forums.