This post was originally featured at the Gotham Center.
By Stephen Brier
The issue of who should control NYC’s public schools, like the poor, apparently will always be with us. These days, or at least since Michael Bloomberg’s mayoral reign, that control centers on how many years the city’s mayor will be allowed to play K-12 education’s top dog: one year or more? The answer to that question currently resides exclusively in the partisan clutches of Republicans who control the New York State Senate. They don’t like to miss an opportunity to stick it to the current occupant of Gracie Mansion, grudgingly doling out one year of mayoral control at a time to Bill de Blasio.
But control of the city’s public schools used to be a much larger and much more consequential issue than how many years the mayor gets to call the shots. Half a century ago this issue of control of the public schools roiled the city politically and racially, dividing thousands of parents of color from the overwhelmingly white (and largely Jewish) public school teachers and administrators. Continue reading Who Should Control NYC Schools?
Last month, San Francisco became the first US city to sue the Trump administration over its executive order cutting off federal funding to sanctuary cities. Indeed, sanctuary cities have become a beacon of hope for progressive communities hoping to build up their resistance to the Trump administration’s regressive and havoc-wreaking immigration policies.
But what, exactly, are sanctuary cities. And, as a sanctuary city, how can NYC effectively defend itself against the threats of the new reality?
Join the Pratt Center for Planning and the Environment and NYC Environmental Justice Alliance this Friday, March 3rd, 2017 from 6-8pm for “Sanctuary Cities For All: Growing Powerful Communities in Uncertain Times,” the second part in a 4-session series about the populism and the Trump administration’s first 100 days:
New York City has historically played the role of Sanctuary City, to the nation, and to the world.
As a premiere global city, it boasts one of the world’s most diverse populations. For many, the example of successful and prosperous coexistence of diversity embodied in NYC’s cultural, social, and economic fabric serves as a critical global symbol of the power of pluralism as a local and global ideal in action.
This strength, however, comes as the result of great historical and contemporary struggle. From the legacies of civil rights triumphs, the global village, and progressive visions of pluralism, NYC’s balance for equality and equity requires constant vigilance, collaboration, and action to defend empowerment.
This panel will bring together leaders from NYC’s diverse community to discuss what it means to be a Sanctuary City in action – not only word. We will explore what it takes to grow powerful communities and social cohesion and urban systems that support this important work – in the face of uncertain and targeted circumstances.
- Mark Winston Griffith, Executive Director, Brooklyn Movement Center,
- Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs,
- Roberto “Mukaro” Borrero, Taíno Nation, and
- Peter L. Markowitz, Professor of Law, Director, Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic, Cardozo School of Law
On Monday, residents of cities and states around the country celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day. New Yorkers, meanwhile, observed a holiday with what, for many, is an offensive and outdated name: Columbus Day.
Cities like Seattle, Denver and Phoenix have all renamed the civic holiday in honor of the indigenous people on whose land America was founded, rather than the colonial conqueror who claimed it in the name of Europeans. But New York City has yet to make such a move. For indigenous activists and their allies, this failure is part of a long chain of white supremacist actions, aggressions and traumas, the symbols of which are visible throughout the city.
One such symbol is a 10-foot tall statue in front of the American Museum of Natural History. The statue features Theodore Roosevelt on a horse, flanked on one side by an African man and on the other, an indigenous man: a starkly racist image of a colonialist history. This past Monday, hundreds of activists came together to cover the statue with a parachute and “Decolonize This Place,” demanding both the removal of the statue and the renaming of the holiday. Continue reading Decolonize This Museum: An Indigenous Peoples’ Day Action
On the occasion of Labor Day this year, New York City received some welcome news courtesy of “The State of the Unions 2016,” the latest report from Murphy Professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce. Amid declining rates of unionization nationwide, the Big Apple remains strong, with over 25% of workers unionized.
According to the report, entitled “The State of the Unions,” NYC’s unionization rate has increased steadily over the past three years, from 21.5% in 2012 up to 25.5% last year.
From the New York Times:
About 70 percent of public-sector workers in the city and the state are union members, compared with just 19 percent of private-sector workers in the city and 13 percent in the rest of the state. Still, both of those rates are much higher than those of the nation, where less than 7 percent of private-sector workers — or about one in 15 — belong to unions.
All told, there are about 901,000 unionized workers living in New York City, slightly less than half the state’s total of 1.99 million. Only California has more — about 2.5 million in 2015, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. But that total amounted to only about one in six workers in California, compared with slightly less than one in four in New York State.
Read more at the NYTimes or see the full report here.
Photo by MTA Photos via flickr (CC-BY)
In yesterday’s Gotham Gazette, Murphy Adjunct Professor Sam Stein, along with CUNY Professor Tarry Hum, wrote an op-ed about the “under the radar” re-zoning of an area some are calling “Flushing West” (Flushing’s Affordable Housing at Risk, 5/2/16).
According to Stein and Hum, this re-zoning threatens to destroy existing affordable housing by incentivizing real estate speculation. They write:
This proposed rezoning would have a transformative impact on Flushing, a densely populated, pan-Asian immigrant neighborhood with a sizable Latino population and a small but historic African-American community.[…]
Rent regulation accounts for nearly all of Flushing’s affordable housing. The neighborhood’s white-hot real estate market, however, increasingly threatens these rent-stabilized apartments. DCP’s proposed rezoning – which links the production of affordable housing with the construction of thousands of luxury units – has only increased land speculation and, therefore, landlords’ imperative to deregulate their holdings. Though the rezoning has been paired with an increase in funding for anti-eviction legal services, it has already catalyzed a number of hyper-speculative real estate transactions in downtown Flushing, including within the rezoning area.
Meanwhile, the “affordable housing” that will be built as part of the plan will be meager and largely unaffordable to low-income residents: Continue reading Flushing Re-zoning: a Threat to Affordable Housing?
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The New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building a fairer economy in neighborhoods across the five boroughs. New York City is a leader in building and supporting neighborhoods that thrive and innovate. SBS’s Neighborhood Development Division (NDD) supports community-based economic development organizations (CBDOs) throughout New York City in order to create the conditions under which local businesses thrive and residents enjoy access to a vibrant mix of goods and services.
NDD is seeking a dynamic Project Manager (PM) to coordinate the agency’s role in large-scale and multi-stakeholder neighborhood planning efforts in low-to-moderate income communities in close partnership with local community groups. The PM will serve as the “neighborhood champion” for his or her assigned geographies, spearheading efforts to direct both SBS and city programs and resources to the neighborhood and local partner CBDOs. The ideal candidate has stellar interpersonal and relationship-building skills, with a strong desire to work at the intersection of city government and community-based organizations to proactively engage diverse neighborhood stakeholders throughout the planning process.