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City Limits is a non-profit, award-winning news organization that publishes investigative reporting, commentary and multimedia and has covered urban affairs in New York City since 1976.
Bryan Koenig, Jenny Hollander and Whitney Light
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Matthew J. Perlman
Charu Sudan Kasturi
NYC's Unopposed Candidates: Accountability Tools
A Third of NYC Races are Uncontested
On Election Day--Tuesday, November 4--more than a third of all races for seats in the New York State Legislature, 74 out of 213, feature a candidate running unopposed. The same holds true when you zoom in on New York City, where 21 of 63 races are uncontested.
Looking at this startling democratic mutation, Gotham Gazette spoke with experts seeking answers as to why such a phenomenon exists and what can be done to make New York elections more competitive. The theory goes, of course, that more competition for office moves candidates to further engage with voters, explain specific policy positions, and remain more accountable to constituents if victorious.
Talking Corruption, Brooklyn-Style
But does the recent wave of corruption allegations and arrests indicate the presence of more wrongdoing, or the effect of more sunshine? How do politicians deemed to have been corrupt see themselves? And with the Michael Grimm-Domenic Recchia race in the forefront, how does an allegation of corruption play as a campaign issue?
To answer those questions, Brooklyn Independent Media brought Azi Paybarah of Capital New York and Gotham Gazette's Ben Max to hang out with me at The Emerson Bar in Clinton Hill. Watch our chat below:
Steal this Poster About Tenant Rights
But a recent report by an East Harlem advocacy group suggests that, in that neighborhood at least, HPD doesn't have sufficient visibility. A survey of several hundred East Harlem pedestrians late last year by the group Movement for Justice in El Barrio revealed that “1 out of every 2 respondents had not called 311, even though all tenants surveyed had maintenance problems." The report added: “The most common reason was that tenants didn’t know about HPD or 311 or its features." It also found that two-thirds of respondents “did not feel confident that calling 311 improved their housing conditions" and that many of those who did call 311 had been told to submit their housing complaint online even though they don't have access to a computer. And it noted that the HPD website isn't especially well-designed for the purpose of receiving complaints.
Will the State Wage Board Listen to Harvey Keitel?
In that film's famous diner sequence (which also includes a frank discussion of what Madonna is really laying on us in the lyrics to “Like a Virgin") Keitel rises to the defense of food-service workers when a fellow thug—Mr. Pink, played by Steve Buscemi—refuses to leave a tip. (The clip is below. Be warned: Bad guys say naughty, naughty things.)
Where Do the Homeless Come From?
That's according to a report out today from the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness called "On the Map: The Atlas of Family Homelessness in New York City."
Trash Fight is Sequel to Bloomberg Battle
The brawl over that earlier initiative—the 2005 Solid Waste Management Plan, lovingly nicknamed "the swamp"—was one of the real legislative tussles of the Bloomberg years.
City Revamping its Affordable Housing Toolkit
That's a lot of units. But that's also a pace that would put the city far short of de Blasio's target of 200,000 in 10 years.
"It will take time to ramp up," Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been told a lunchtime crowd Tuesday afternoon just blocks from City Hall. The plan is to keep accelerating "until we reach full production."
Long Before Today's Ebola Scare, City Fended Off Smallpox
Not only has ebola been on the city's radar screen for nearly 20 years—there was a scare in the Bronx in 1996—but the city's epic 1947 campaign to prevent a smallpox outbreak indicates that disease threats can come on buses as well as airplanes and that aggressive public health efforts can squelch even the most frightening epidemic.