Governor Cuomo Has Failed to Deliver a Solution for Plastic Bags (Or Even a Proposal)

“With his failure of leadership, every additional ton of plastic bag waste is on his hands.”

New York City Council Member Brad Lander -- prime sponsor of NYC’s “Bring Your Own Bag” Bill -- issued this statement on the release of the so-called report of Governor Cuomo's NYS Plastic Bag Task Force: Read more »

City Council Members Launch Public Website & Legislation for a New NYC Historic and Cultural Markers Program

Building on the work of the Mayor’s “Monuments Commission,” Council Members Lander, Cumbo, and Van Bramer push to establish a new NYC Historic & Cultural Markers Program, to commemorate a more inclusive set of histories, communities, struggles and sites that shape our city. The Council Members are launching and introducing legislation to authorize the program.
January 12, 2018
City Hall, NY

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Integrated Kindergarten & Pre-K options in our community


As you settle into the New Year and the bustle of life post-holidays, you may not be thinking about them right at this moment, but the PreK and Kindergarten application process are coming up fast. The Kindergarten application process is already underway (deadline is next Friday, January 12). And the Pre-Kindergarten application process opens on February 5th.

Most families in NYC go to their zoned school for kindergarten, but there several non-zoned options for Pre-K and K at schools that work to foster integrated student communities. We want to make sure that all families are aware of these options.

Bringing kids together across lines of race, class and language is one of the greatest promises of our public schools ... but one that is far from being fulfilled. That’s why I’ve been working for the past several years with advocates, educators and colleagues to fight school segregation (you can read more about that broader work here). This work is urgently necessary if we believe in equality, and research shows it also results in better education for all our kids. Read more »

Snow Day Update

The “bomb cyclone” is hitting NYC a few hours later than predicted – but it’s still likely to have a big impact. The National Weather Service is predicting that 4-8” will fall over the next few hours, and freezing temperatures will be with us for several days. Read more »

An Axe You Break Down Doors With: Some Sparks of Hope for 2018

When my daughter Rosa and I went to Washington DC earlier this month, we thought we were doing it to support my friend Ady Barkan. But it turns out, he was really the one helping us.

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Legislators Announce Proposal for “Mom & Pop Rent Increase Exemption” to Help Save NYC’s Most-Beloved Small Businesses

New York City’s small businesses are increasingly under pressure as commercial rents rise, often facing rent increases upwards of 50 percent, especially when their leases expire. New legislation would create a property tax exemption for landlords who offer independently-owned small businesses a long-term lease with fair increases & a fair renewal clause. This “Mom & Pop Rent Increase Exemption” would save some of NYC’s most-beloved small businesses, preserve retail diversity, and create more livable neighborhoods.
December 15, 2017
New York City

Today, a group of New York elected officials announced their plan to create a new “Mom & Pop Rent Increase Exemption” program to help save some of New York City’s most-beloved small businesses. The program would encourage landlords to enter into long-term, affordable leases, with fair renewal clauses, with mom & pop retailers. Read more »

What matters most

Yesterday, Ady Barkan took an unsteady but unfaltering walk through the halls of the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. Read more »

A New Protection for NYC Tenants: “Certification of No Harassment”

November 30, 2017
New York

Today, the City Council, the de Blasio Administration, and tenant advocates celebrated a new policy to protect tenants from the cycle of harassment. The “Certification of No Harassment” (CONH) legislation, which the Council is expected to pass at its meeting Thursday, will require covered building owners seeking to demolish or make significant alterations to their building to prove they have not engaged in harassment before they can get the permits they need from the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB). If a landlord is found to have harassed tenants, they would not be able to pull those permits for five years – unless they make a substantial portion of their building affordable to low-income families, with no public subsidy.

The CONH program has been in place in Hell’s Kitchen since 1974, and a similar requirement applies to all Single-Room Occupancy buildings (SROs) citywide. Tenant advocates have been working to expand the program to neighborhoods with rising rents, where tenants are at particular risk of displacement. While NYC has taken significant steps to prevent harassment through legislation, proactive enforcement, and providing legal counsel, some unscrupulous landlords continue to harass their tenants. Once a tenant is driven out, the landlord can make significant renovations, or demolish and rebuild, enabling them to dramatically raise rents.

In June 2016, a working group co-chaired by Council Member Brad Lander and the HPD Commissioner, and comprised of a wide range of stakeholders, including government agencies, building owners and managers, tenant advocates, legal service providers, and policy experts, met to explore ways to further deter harassment, including the potential for an expanded Certification of No Harassment program.  Working with members of the group, the City performed innovative data analyses to find the characteristics of buildings where tenant harassment was suspected, reported, or confirmed. The group looked at many factors and learned that buildings that are physically distressed or recently sold may be associated with reports of harassment.

As a result of the Working Group process, the City Council and the Administration have developed new legislation for a 36-month pilot that significantly expands the Certificate of No Harassment (CONH) program. Read more »

Tell Governor Cuomo: End the MTA’s signal failure.

Every day, New Yorkers wait in near-agony for subway trains running far behind schedule, late for work, for school, for doctor’s appointments. As the New York Times reported in anepic story on the subway crisis this Sunday, every single subway line has worsened dramatically (except one, more on that below). On-time performance has fallen far below every other major city (only Mexico City is even close).

What’s the number one cause of subway delays? Signal failures (even the MTA says so).

What’s the most important long-term fix for the subways? Modernizing the signal system. The Regional Plan Association says so. The MTA says so. The New York Times says so. And New Yorkers say so.

Unfortunately: Governor Cuomo and the MTA have not gotten the message.

The subway “rescue plan” developed by MTA Chairman Joe Lhota does not include any additional funding for signal modernization. Even worse, as the Times revealed this weekend, the MTA has cut half-a-billion dollars from signal projects under Governor Cuomo. The subway crisis is Governor Cuomo’s signal failure.

That’s why we are launching I hope you’ll check it out today, see how signal failures are harming New Yorkers, learn what we can do to modernize our signal system, and sign the petition calling on Governor Cuomo and the MTA to fix the signals. is a new online tool that my office developed to call attention to the need to fix the signals. We are launching it today, together with New York State Senators Liz Krueger and Kevin Parker, and Assembly Members Robert Carroll, Richard Gottfried, Jo Anne Simon, Assemblymember and Senator-Elect Brian Kavanagh   -- and hopefully you! -- to demand that the governor and the MTA to make modernizing the subway’s signal system their top long-term priority. Read more »


New Yorkers agree: Modernizing the signal system must be a top MTA priority. But the MTA actually cut $500 million from signal projects, and Chair Lhota’s subway rescue has not added $1 to signal modernization. At the current pace, a modern signal system will take 50 years. will reveal how signal failures affect New Yorkers daily commutes and build support to fix the signals.
November 21, 2017

NEW YORK -- A group of New York elected officials today launched, calling on Governor Cuomo and MTA Chairman Joe Lhota to fix-the-signals. According to the MTA's own, 20-year needs assessment, signal failure is the leading cause of subway delays. Read more »

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