Today’s Three Kings Day Parade featured five elected officials; Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, NYS Senator Jose M. Serrano and NYS Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez. Marking the Feast of the Epiphany, the date that tradition holds Jesus was baptized and then visited by three wise men, or kings, the parade is sponsored by El Museo del Bario.
It was a warm reception for Mayor de Blasio, as squeals of school kids and shouts of encouragement floated out over Third Avenue. The hazy morning was brightened by scattered pods of cuteness as small children lined up wearing crowns, waving and trying to attract the mayor’s attention. “Four more years” shouted a woman as the mayor and his marching companions moved up the Avenue. She ran out and hugged the mayor mid-march, falling in behind him for the rest of the parade and sporadically repeating her “four more years” call.
In a seemingly spur-of-moment decision at the end of the parade, Mayor de Blasio accompanied Speaker Mark-Viverito to La Marquetta. It’s a marketplace under the Metro-North tracks on Park Avenue, and a favorite location of the Speaker. Mayor de Blasio did not take press questions.
U.S. House Members Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, in a Friday press conference outside Trump Tower, called for full federal reimbursement of New York City’s security costs incurred in protecting Donald Trump and Trump Tower. As they were concluding their press conference Maloney and Nadler were joined by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who said that she arrived by subway after being delayed by heavy traffic around Trump Tower.
Congressional Republicans have to date agreed to provide for reimbursement of only $7 million of New York City’s estimated $35 million security cost through Trump’s January 20th inauguration. Maloney, whose district includes Trump Tower and represents Trump in Congress, condemned that parsimony and also urged Trump to act to ease the great disruption caused by his Manhattan presence.
It was a Sixth Avenue sauna for the annual Dominican Day Parade today, as marchers made their way up a hot and humid Sixth Avenue. The crowd was smaller than past years, perhaps due to the uncomfortable weather.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was the political headliner, joining numerous members of Congress, state legislators and city council members (including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito) and fellow City-wide electeds Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Tish James. Among the legislators were State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assembly Member Guillermo Linares and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, each born in the Dominican Republic. de Blasio did not hold a Q&A or take press questions, and reporters and photographers were kept well away from the Mayor as he marched. Governor Andrew Cuomo, the honoree at the 2015 Dominican Day Parade breakfast, did not attend.
Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated the passage of three City Council bills increasing access to tampons and pads in schools, jails and shelters with a Tuesday signing ceremony and press conference. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Members Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and Vanessa Gibson and Assembly Member Michael Blake joined de Blasio at the High School of Violin and Dance in the Bronx.
After remarks by the elected officials, following an introduction by 11th grader Mayelin Sanchez, de Blasio sat for the actual bill signing. He then returned to the lectern for a lengthy press Q&A.
Here is his full press Q&A, split into on and off topic portions:
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito went to Donald Trump’s home and office Monday, holding a press conference outside Trump Tower to condemn Trump’s claims that a federal judge hearing a lawsuit focused on “Trump University” could not be fair to Trump because, in Trump’s words, “[h]e’s a Mexican.” Mark-Viverito was joined by Council Member Carlos Menchaca, the first Mexican-American elected official in New York City.
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito hosted a rally on the steps of City Hall Wednesday to denounce many of Donald Trump’s statements, especially his call for a complete ban on Muslims entering the United States. Joined by Public Advocate Tish James, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, NY State Senators Adriano Espaillat and Liz Krueger and many members of the City Council, Mark-Viverito strongly condemned Trump.
She trumped the Trump trumpers, at least momentarily.
At today’s City Hall Plaza rally and press conference hosted by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to condemn Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim statements, a woman voicing support for Trump interrupted Mark-Viverito’s opening remarks. The protester seemed to momentarily flummox Mark-Viverito, calling out “long live Donald Trump” and proclaiming him “a peaceful man”, with the Speaker’s supporters then chanting over the protester. After interrupting Mark-Viverito several times the protester was removed from City Hall Plaza by the NYPD. As she was being walked to the exit by the NYPD she declared that Trump “doesn’t always express himself right, that’s it, that’s all it is.”
The protester was certainly not welcomed by Mark-Viverito or those joining her, but it’s worth noting that protesters at Donald Trump rallys are also removed by security and/or local police and that some of those protesters have been punched and kicked by Trump supporters.
It was smiles and praise as the 108th and 109th mayors of New York City appeared together this morning in the Bronx. Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio spoke at a ceremony marking the planting of more than 1 million trees in the City under the “MillionTreesNYC initiative.” The program was launched during the Bloomberg administration, with inspiration and significant involvement by Bette Midler.
Bloomberg and de Blasio have rarely appeared together since de Blasio took office. They recently crossed paths at the Al Smith Dinner, where Bloomberg delivered a funny, but stinging, “tribute” to the current mayor. They previously shared a stage at de Blasio’s inauguration, which featured some biting critiques of the Bloomberg years. Among those critiques was a speaker who referred to Bloomberg-era New York City as a “plantation.” Today, however, they spoke of plantings, not plantations.
Bette Midler, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Council Member Mark Levine, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and Executive Director of New York Restoration Project Deborah Marton also joined the ceremony, held at Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx.
Mayor de Blasio today attended his second Flight 587 memorial service as mayor, arriving early and avoiding a repeat of his 2014 public relations disaster.
The memorial service is held annually in Rockaway on the date of the 2001 crash of American Airlines flight #587, with a moment of silence timed to the exact moment of the crash. Last year de Blasio infamously arrived after the moment of silence, bringing simmering discontent with his then-frequent lateness to a boil. Today de Blasio arrived early, speaking with many mourners before the 9:05 ceremony began and visiting the granite memorial wall afterwards. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, NYS Senator Adriano Espaillat and NYS Assembly Member Guillermo Linares also attended.
Mayor Bill de Blasio avenged his 2014 softball loss to the City Council, leading his team to a 13-12 victory last night. Playing before a handful of fans at the Staten Island Yankees home stadium, the teams fought hard for the City Hall bragging rights at stake. Our full photo gallery is here.
Mayor de Blasio boosted his team by enlisting Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo. Oddo, a former City Council member, and de Blasio asserted that as an “executive branch” employee Oddo was eligible for the Mayor’s team. Oddo razzed his former colleagues and raised the level of play for the Mayor’s team.
New York City’s three citywide elected officials – Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Tish James and Comptroller Scott Stringer – and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito joined a press conference today demanding federal action to address Puerto Rico’s deep fiscal and financial crisis. Puerto Rico’s government and related public authorities owe more than $70 billion to creditors, an amount which Puerto Rico’s governor recently termed “unpayable”, with looming large payments pushing the Commonwealth toward a critical moment.
The City Hall Plaza press conference, hosted by the Hispanic Federation, called for a laundry list of federal actions, including implementing “a federal investment plan”, eliminating Jones Act requirements that goods shipped between Puerto Rico and other places in America be transported on U.S. ships with U.S. crews, changing the U.S. bankruptcy code to allow Puerto Rico and its government related enterprises to file bankruptcy petitions and urging President Obama to “explore a Federal Reserve loan” and “oppose severe austerity.”
Puerto Rico’s crisis is decades in the making. With a shrinking population and a shrinking economy Puerto Rico has long borrowed to fund operating costs. As described in a recent report commissioned by the Puerto Rican government, Puerto Rico’s fiscal shortcomings have been masked and ultimately worsened by poor fiscal and accounting practices.
The press conference produced an infrequent appearance of all three citywide elected officials and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito – the “CW3+MMV”, perhaps – at an event. There appeared to be polite interaction among them, but no sign of great warmth.
Mayor Bill de Blasio today touted a high level of affordable housing activity in the City, reporting that the City “financed the creation and preservation of 20,325 affordable apartments and homes during fiscal year 2015.” de Blasio spoke at a Bronx press conference, accompanied by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and several Bronx elected officials including Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Congressman Jose E. Serrano, State Senator Jose M. Serrano and Assembly Members Luis Sepulveda, Michael Blake and Latoya Joyner.
Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Mark-Viverito both expressed support for federal government action to address Puerto Rico’s deep fiscal crisis. de Blasio suggested federal financial assistance, urging the federal government to “take responsibility” for resolving the crisis and that it has both the “obligation” and “capacity” to do so. Mark-Viverito suggested a change in federal bankruptcy law to allow Puerto Rico to file a bankruptcy petition and operate as a debtor under federal bankruptcy law (Puerto Rico, like states, is not eligible to do so). Here are their full answers, including the Spanish portion of Mark-Viverito’s.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the addition of two Muslim holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, to the New York City school system’s calendar. They are the first Muslim holidays included on the City school calendar. It’s a change long-sought by New York’s Muslim community and reflects a Muslim population in the City and it’s schools growing in both number and political influence.