New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Ross Barkan

New York Observer ‘We Need a Democratic Senate This Year': City Democrats Fight For Urstadt Repeal by Ross Barkan

‘We Need a Democratic Senate This Year': City Democrats Fight For Urstadt Repeal

A slew of city council and assembly members rallied at City Hall today to call for a rent freeze on rent-regulated apartments next year and, more ambitiously, the end of a law that has granted Albany great sway over how New York City regulates affordable housing.

Mr. Williams–along with Council members Ben Kallos, Vanessa Gibson, Mark Levine and Corey Johnson and Assembly members Richard Gottfried, Walter Mosley and Linda Rosenthal–took turns railing against both the restrictions placed on the city’s ability to rent regulate and the failure of the Rent Guidelines Board to not enact a freeze on rent-controlled apartments this year.

New York Observer Participatory Budgeting Gleefully Expands at City Council by Ross Barkan

Participatory Budgeting Gleefully Expands at City Council

22 council members will now take part in participatory budgeting, up from 10 currently. Each council member will have at least $1 million to dole out to projects that their district votes for in next year’s budget. In total, more than $25 million will be spent on future projects, Ms. Mark-Viverito said.

Began in 2011 with just four council members (Ms. Mark-Viverito, not yet the speaker, was one of them), the program is now enticing many council members from the body’s liberal wing and even a handful of moderates. Many freshmen lawmakers are also getting involved, including Council members Andrew Cohen, Paul Vallone, Mark Levine, Carlos Menchaca, Daneek Miller, Ritchie Torres, Mark Treyger, Corey Johnson, Mark Treyger, Ben Kallos and Helen Rosenthal.

New York Observer Council Progressive Caucus Elects New Leadership Team by Ross Barkan

Council Progressive Caucus Elects New Leadership Team

The City Council’s Progressive Caucus, the left-leaning coalition that sparked the liberal shift of the council this year, has elected new leadership.

Councilmen Donovan Richards and Antonio Reynoso have been elected co-chairs of the caucus, replacing Melissa Mark-Viverito, who is now speaker of the body, and Councilman Brad Lander, now a deputy leader of the council. The two councilmen beat out Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez in a vote taken last week, according to caucus spokeswoman Mary Tek.