Category Archives: Melissa Mark-Viverito

Mark-Viverito Press Q&A: The PSL Passing Edition

This afternoon Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito spoke with the press ahead of a stated council meeting, with passage of the Earned Sick Time Act and a resolution supporting Mayor de Blasio’s pre-K program and tax expected to pass.

Questions included how many people will be covered by the expanded pay sick leave bill, whether the agreement with Mayor de Blasio on such bill was too fast and unfair to other council members, how the expanded law will be enforced, whether convincing senate republicans or Governor Cuomo is more important on the mayor’s universal pre-K program, what to expect legislatively from the council and mayor, which city agencies will enforce the Earned Sick Time Act and how covered business owners will be advised or educated on their responsibilities, whether the speaker thinks Success Academy charter school supporters are right to urge parents to bring their children for a lobbying day in Albany, the reaction to the speaker’s decision to not have any official council delegation in the Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day Parade and her reaction to the domestic violence charges filed against the council’s finance director.

Here is the full press Q&A:

Mark-Viverito Press Q&A: The SOTC Edition

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito answered questions from the press this afternoon, immediately following the mayor’s State of the City address.  In the portion presented here, Mark-Viverito addressed the City’s open labor contracts and expected contract negotiations, the City’s fiscal situation and an expected expansion of the living wage law.  She was also asked whether she is concerned that the mayor is taking important actions on his own, such as the expansion of the living wage law, without going through the City Council.

Mark-Viverito Press Q&A: The Horse & Parade Edition (Updated)

Following the city council’s stated meeting today, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito answered questions from the press.  Among the topics: the council’s override of six Bloomberg vetoes, a timeline for a carriage horse bill, the Puerto Rican Day Parade and an investigation by NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the expected paid sick leave expansion and the mayor’s and her own decision to not attend the Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade:

Speaker Mark-Viverito discussed the Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the mayor’s announcement that he would not march in it because of the parade’s ban on LGBT-focused groups and organizations.  Mark-Viverito strongly supported the mayor’s decision and stated that she too would skip the parade.  She also discussed the effort by some to prohibit uniformed city workers, the NYPD, FDNY and Sanitation, from marching in uniform and under identifying banners.

Full Press Q&A:

Mark-Viverito Press Q&A: The First Stated Edition

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.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Paid Sick Leave Edition

This afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a substantial expansion of the 2013 paid sick leave law.  The proposed bill, agreed to by the mayor and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Vivertio but not yet introduced or passed in the council, will expand the size of businesses required to provide paid sick leave from 15 or more employees to 5 or more employees, accelerate it’s applicability so that all covered businesses must comply by April 1, 2014 (businesses with 15-20 employees have until April 1, 2015 under the existing law), remove exemptions for manufacturing businesses and remove economic measurements that could have caused a delayed implementation and expand the range of family members that employees can care for during such paid sick leave.

The benefits are clear; according to the mayor’s office 235,000 workers will receive paid sick leave for the first time, 95,000 will receive it a year earlier than presently required and 190,000 more will receive a legal guarantee of paid sick leave.  The costs, or at least who will bear them, are also clear.  It’s predominantly very small businesses, those with 5-14 employees.  Success or failure of the initiative is really about how those businesses are affected.  Will they ultimately benefit from having a healthier, and perhaps more satisfied, workforce?  Will they be able to pass along to their customers the added costs?  To the extent that the answers to those questions are negative, is the cost to those businesses the right result in order to raise the overall welfare of our workforce?

It’s a dramatic move by de Blasio.  He’s moving quickly to act on a point often discussed during the campaign, but one that he could easily have let wait for several months until the recently enacted law takes effect.  It’s also dramatic in that he appears to have quickly set the terms with the newly selected council speaker without much, or even any, engagement of the council rank and file.  While passage appears likely, he may face some vocal opposition around the terms and he, and his council speaker, may face future resentment from council members.

Following his announcement, Mayor de Blasio answered questions from the press.  Here is his full press Q&A.  (The press conference was held in front of Esmeralda’s Restaurant on Myrtle Avenue in Bushwick.  As you’ll see, the mayor paused periodically as the elevated M train loudly passed overhead.)

From #NextSpeaker to #NewSpeaker (Updated)

Today Melissa Mark-Viverito was elected speaker of the New York City Council,  prevailing over Council Member Dan Garodnick in what was initially a seven person contest.

Immediately after the council meeting, Speaker Mark-Viverito held her first press conference as speaker.  Here is the full video of that press conference.


Six council members were defeated by Melissa Mark-Viverito in the quest to be speaker.  We look at what those six said at the council meeting.

Three of those six members made extended remarks.  Here are full statements by:

Dan Garodnick:

Mark Weprin:

Jumaane Williams:

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)