The election of Donald Trump deeply impacted students at New York Law School. The School sponsored public meetings at which several students described their personal and family fears about the new administration. Other students were far more hopeful, but they carefully respected the views of their fellow students. The students as a whole are newly energized. A new political generation is emerging.
These changes in the electoral environment have occurred just as the City of New York begins its municipal election cycle with the mayoral election set for November 7, 2017. The Center for New York City Law will play its special role during the year as an open forum and transparent window into the workings of municipal government. In anticipation of the election, during fall of 2016 the Center for New York City Law sponsored programs on the City’s readiness to address the Zika virus threat, reforms at Rikers Island, the changes in stop and frisk at the NYPD, and the role of the Public Advocate. Upcoming on December 16th the Center will host a program on the care of the City’s homeless population.
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UPDATE: On November 29, 2016, the City Council voted 49-0 to approve the Lambert Houses application with modification. The approved application now includes the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing option with deep affordability—half of the apartments will now be affordable for those making 30 percent or less of the average median income. The City has committed $12.3 million for infrastructure improvements in the West Farms area, including the construction of two new schools in the area—adding at least 500 new school seats to the school district. Of the project, City Council Member Ritchie Torres said, “It will offer deeper affordability, significant infrastructure improvements and community upgrades that will benefit all of the residents of the West Farms neighborhood in the Bronx.”
UPDATE: On November 29, 2016, the City Council voted 49-0 to approve the Lexington Gardens II project. The approval will allow Tahl Propp Equities and L+M Development Partners to proceed with the proposed development which will provide 400 new affordable units. One quarter of the affordable units will be permanently affordable under the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing law, and the remainder will be affordable for 40 years under a regulatory agreement with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. “The Lexington Gardens development will advance the goals of the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan by making sure that hundreds of existing local community members can benefit from affordable units,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in a statement.
Comptroller’s audit finds that HPD’s collection efforts did not result in the collection of the vast majority of the money judgments referred to its Judgment Enforcement Unit. On November 17, 2016, the Office of the City Comptroller Scott Stringer released a report of an audit of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The audit sought to evaluate HPD’s efforts in collecting outstanding money judgments resulting from assessed penalties.
The City Council, Public Advocate and administration officials agree that new measures should be taken to ensure 421-a compliance, proposed legislation is a good start. On November 22, 2016, the City Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings and Committee on Finance held a joint hearing on the City’s enforcement of 421-a requirements. The meeting also served as a public hearing for three proposed bills to strengthen enforcement efforts.