Congressional candidate Adriano Espaillat today led a group of supporters on a four mile walk through Manhattan, from 135th Street to his campaign headquarters on Sherman Avenue. With several dozen cars in a caravan following him and music blasting, the candidate and supporters sang and danced their way up Broadway.
Espaillat spoke to the press and his supporters just before the walk. Giving a fiery speech, he attacked Rangel for being “in the center of [the] dysfunction” in a “broken” Washington. Espaillat also attacked Rangel for having “sided with Wall Street” repeatedly. Here is the portion of Espaillat’s remarks made in english.
We talk with City Council Speaker, and Espaillat supporter, Melissa Mark-Viverito, about the congressional primary campaign in her East Harlem council district:
Update – Dancing & Singing on Broadway:
It was a bit north of the theater district, but there were some solid performances on Broadway.
Fresh off of securing pre-K funding in the state budget, Mayor Bill de Blasio pivoted to the next phase of his pre-K initiative with a visit to Ridgewood’s P.S. 239 aimed at encouraging parents to register for fall 2014 enrollment. Among those joining de Blasio for a press conference following the mayor’s tour of the school; Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, NYS Senator Mike Gianaris, Council Member Danny Dromm and Council Member Antonio Reynoso.
Bratton & Police Morale:
During the Q&A portion of the press conference, Newsday’s Emily Ngo asked de Blasio about Police Commissioner Bratton’s recent statement on NYPD morale and his attribution of responsibility for it to former Commissioner Ray Kelly. Here’s how de Blasio responded:
Update – Full Q&A:
On topic questions included the application process for admission to the pre-K program, whether the website and other enrollment tools have been sufficiently tested, how applicants will be chosen or assigned to specific pre-K spots, how the public schools hosting expanded pre-K will be chosen, how the space sharing arrangements between new pre-K classes and existing classes will be managed, the role of charter schools in providing new pre-K seats, whether pre-K students may also enroll in after school programs and whether parents applying for public school pre-K spots should refrain from also applying for community based organization pre-K spots. Off topic questions included Commissioner Bratton’s statement regarding NYPD morale, whether the mayor agrees with parents opting out of Common Core testing and whether such opt outs may skew the test data, the process for parents wishing to opt out of Common Core testing, specialized high school entrance exams and the mayor’s actions concerning raising the minimum wage.
Here is the full press Q&A:
Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference this afternoon discussing the building explosion yesterday in East Harlem. de Blasio answered a lengthy series of on-topic questions in this Q&A:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.)
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.