Melissa Mark-Viverito Announces Run for NYC Public Advocate
Former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito formally announced on Tuesday that she is running for NYC Public Advocate, the position being vacated by Letitia James who was recently elected New York State Attorney General. Since leaving the council at the end of 2017 due to term limits, Mark-Viverito has worked as the vice president of the Latino Action Fund, a political action committee to support Latinos running for office. Christine Quinn, another former council speaker who was floated as a possible candidate, made an announcement that she will not be running for the seat. Mayor Bill de Blasio is mandated to set a non-partisan special election in early 2019 to fill the position until the Democratic and Republican primaries to be held in September 2019. The winners of the respective primaries will go on to the November 2019 General Election to fill the remainder of James' term, which ends in 2021.
NYC Council Approves Appointment of Margaret Garnett as Department of Investigations Commissioner
On Wednesday, the New York City Council voted to approve the appointment of Margaret Garnett as the next commissioner to lead the city's Department of Investigations. Mayor de Blasio nominated Garnett after firing of former DOI Commissioner Mark Peters over accusations that Peters abused his role by seeking to take control of the NYC Department of Education's investigative office, an office separate from the DOI. In a letter to the NYC Council, Peters asserted that his firing was due to issuing reports critical of the administration. The council ultimately confirmed Garnett, a former senior prosecutor representing the Southern District of New York.
New Bills Aim to Legalize e-Bikes and e-Scooters
At a stated meeting on Wednesday, Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez and Rafael Espinal introduced a package of legislation to legalize e-bikes and e-scooters throughout the five boroughs. In the past, the de Blasio administration has been a vocal opponent of e-bikes citing safety concerns for pedestrians and motor vehicles. Speaker Corey Johnson has not taken a formal position on the proposed legislation. Another bill in the package would create a pilot program to see if e-scooters would be a helpful transportation alternative to address the closure of the L-Train subway line. The bills will now await a hearing date in the Council's Committee on Transportation.