Category Archives: Melissa Mark-Viverito

Speaker Selection: Home Stretch (Updated x 2)



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.

Speaker-to-be Discusses Speaker’s Race



This afternoon we spoke with Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito about the speaker’s race.  Mark-Viverito is the leading contender, and presumptive speaker, with the public support of 30 of her 50 colleagues.  Despite that public display of more than sufficient support, Queens Democratic Chairman Joe Crowley, who supports Dan Garodnick for Speaker, recently declared that the race “has a ways to go” and said that Mark-Viverito’s public display of support “reminds me a little bit of George Bush on the aircraft carrier.”

I began by asking Mark-Viverito whether she believes the race has concluded or whether Crowley or others are still actively seeking votes for any other candidates.  We spoke at the swearing-in ceremony of Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, held in his Washington Heights district office.

Speaker Selection: The Talking Transition Tent Edition (Updated x 2)



Last night the council speaker forum series rolled into the Talking Transition tent for a forum moderated by Errol Louis and Juan Manuel Benitez and broadcast live on NY1 and NY1 Noticias.

Here’s an insightful question asked by Louis:  Describe one piece of legislation that you think speaks most directly to why you would be a good city council speaker?  Their answers:

Weprin:  Workplace Religious Freedom Act.

Vacca:  Pregnancy Rights Act.

Palma:   a bill to provide shelters with adequate food and supplies in the event of a future severe storm (not specifically named in her answer).

Mark-Viverito:  ICE Out of Rikers.

Garodnick:  Tenant Protection Act.

Dickens:  a bill centralizing plumbing complaints to the Department of Buildings (not specifically named in her answer).

Update – Corey Johnson:

We spoke with Council Member-elect Corey Johnson about the public forums, the speaker selection process and the progressive bloc’s timing and process.

Update #2 – Full Forum:

Here is the full forum:


Be sure to watch our coverage from the prior forums held in Jackson Heights, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan.  Also watch some lighter moments from this forum here.

Politicians Are People Too (Updated)



This brief clip features six of the contenders for city council speaker, just before a forum broadcast live on NY1.  The six are seated onstage, in place just a few minutes before the broadcast is to begin.  As last minute tech checks are completed and the clock ticks toward air time, the production team played a few songs, both in the hall and on the sound feed.  (The sound was not edited or dubbed for this video.)

Update – Busting Out …:

The pre-forum fun also included a brief dance move by one of the speaker aspirants.

Speaker Selection: The Muzzio Edition (Updated x 2)



Wednesday evening, Professor Doug Muzzio moderated a council speaker forum at Baruch College.  Seven contenders participated; Jumaane Williams, Dan Garodnick, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Annabel Palma, James Vacca, Mark Weprin and Inez Dickens.

Karen Koslowitz:

Following the forum, we spoke with Council Member Karen Koslowitz about the race, how it’s shaping up with her fellow council members and when she expects the winner to be identified.  Koslowitz, a Queens Democrat, was elected to office in 2009 and re-elected this year.  She previously served on the Council from 1991-2001.

(Lots more video on the full page.) Continue reading Speaker Selection: The Muzzio Edition (Updated x 2)

Speaker Selection: The Bronx Edition (Updated)



Last night, city council speaker contenders met in the Mt. Eden section of the Bronx for the second in a series of five public forums.  Council members Jimmy Vacca, Annabel Palma, Mark Weprin, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Dan Garodnick and Inez Dickens appeared before an energized crowd, in a discussion moderated by BronxTalk radio host Gary Axelbank.

The series of public forums is unprecedented for selection of the city council speaker.  The city council speaker is not elected by voters, but is selected by the 51 members of the city council without any direct role for the public.  Several newly elected council members, including Ritchie Torres and Helen Rosenthal, conceived and organized the series in an effort to change, or at least expand, the way the speaker is selected.  We spoke with Torres and Rosenthal about their purpose in doing so and whether the forums have, so far, met their goals. Continue reading Speaker Selection: The Bronx Edition (Updated)

Speaker Hopefuls First Forum



On Thursday evening, five City council members hoping to succeed Christine Quinn as Council Speaker participated in a public forum.  It was an unusual event, held for an office that only the 51 members of the next council will vote for yet mirroring the format of forums held for countless public offices.

We spoke with each of the five participating council members: Dan Garodnick, Mark Weprin, Annabel Palma, Jimmy Vacca and Melissa Mark-Viverito.  I asked each the same question: what do they think of the Speaker Quinn/Mayor Bloomberg relationship and do  they see it as a good model their speakership and relationship with Mayor de Blasio.  Here’s how each responded.

Dan Garodnick:

Mark Weprin:

Annabel Palma:

Jimmy Vacca:

Melissa Mark-Viverito: