The city council speaker rolled out a proposal for a municipal takeover of the transit system, and Michael Bloomberg again teased a presidential run before backing out.
Here's what else you may have missed in New York politics this week:
NEW YORK CITY PLANS TO EXPAND HALF-PRICED METROCARDS PROGRAM BY JANUARY 2020
(More New Yorkers are going to be able to get these cards for a reduced cost, the city announced Monday).
The city says it will expand a program to provide half-priced MetroCards to low-income New Yorkers by January, after criticism that the initial rollout was going to help only a fraction of those who needed the cheaper cards the most.
Who could benefit from the planned expansion of "Fair Fares"?
The city said Monday that, by January 2020, it will expand open enrollment for the "Fair Fares" program to all New Yorkers at or below the federal poverty line. New Yorkers who previously qualified for the program would be able to recertify, the city said. Customers who are 65 years of age or older, or have a qualifying disability, already get reduced fares.
COUNCIL SPEAKER PROPOSES MUNICIPAL TAKEOVER OF THE CITY'S TRANSIT SYSTEM
The city council speaker on Tuesday officially proposed a New York City takeover of the beleaguered city transit system, calling for the mayor and New Yorkers to have control of spending and transit decisions instead of the MTA Board.
That would happen if…
The mayor, governor, and state lawmakers, who would have to pass legislation to cede authority of the system, buy in and agree. Already Tuesday, the mayor and governor were not expressing support.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG SAYS HE WILL NOT RUN FOR PRESIDENT
(Once again, Michael Bloomberg explored a presidential run, and once again he has decided to stay out of the fight. Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP).
After months of speculation, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg confirmed Tuesday afternoon that he will not run for president in 2020, citing the difficulties he expected to face if he joined the large Democratic field.
Months of teases:
The billionaire had teased a run for months. He re-registered as a Democrat last year and had been barnstorming the country, including a December trip to Iowa, home to the first-in-the-nation nominating contest. Bloomberg's team was even looking last week at possible campaign office spaces in Manhattan, according to a source. But Bloomberg, as he has done in the past, explored a run but ended up not following through.
SOURCE: CHICAGO PUBLIC HOUSING BOSS ON SHORTLIST TO BE NAMED NYCHA CHAIRPERSON
The boss of Chicago's public housing authority is on the shortlist of contenders to run New York City's public housing system, a source told NY1 on Tuesday.
Who is Eugene Jones, Jr.?
The chief executive officer for the Chicago Housing Authority is a favorite of the federal housing department, sources said. His performance in Chicago on its jobs program there is what made him a contender.
But before Chicago, Jones had a turbulent exit from the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. He resigned the job after a report found he violated human resource policies, ignoring conflicts of interest. At the time, he was serving under the notorious then-mayor Rob Ford.
ALL NYPD PATROL OFFICERS ARE NOW EQUIPPED WITH BODY CAMERAS
(20,000 of these body cameras have been rolled out, equipping every patrol officer in New York City, the police department said Wednesday).
The city police department says it has finished equipping all uniformed patrol officers with body cameras meant to increase transparency.
The NYPD said Wednesday that it has handed out about 20,000 cameras and will give about 4,000 to specialized units like emergency services by August.
How often do New Yorkers see the footage?
Officers are required to turn on their cameras during any investigative or enforcement action, such as during a traffic stop or while making an arrest, and can face consequences if they don't.
But the public hasn't seen much of the video. Until last month, the police officers' union had successfully blocked the release of any footage for much of the past year. Before that, the NYPD did release video of some high-profile incidents. But the decision to make the footage public is entirely up to the police commissioner to make on a case-by-case basis.
NY1 filed a lawsuit — still ongoing — that allowed us to obtain some footage through a Freedom of Information request. But any such video can be heavily redacted.
NYC'S FIRST LADY DEFENDS HER MENTAL HEALTH INITIATIVE, ACCUSED OF SPENDING $850M INEFFICIENTLY
New York City's first lady faced heat this week for the performance of her $850 million mental health initiative amid concerns that spending hasn't produced results.
Why are there concerns the program hasn't been efficient?
A recent Politico New York report found the initiative, ThriveNYC, has "operated without much scrutiny or accountability" since its launch in 2015.
McCray defended the program's performance, but when NY1 asked Wednesday how many people who have used the program's mental health hotline got the health services they needed, McCray admitted it was difficult to track.
LAWMAKERS AND THE GOVERNOR CLASH OVER IF ANY MAJOR POLICY SHOULD BE IN THE STATE BUDGET
The New York state budget is due at the end of month, but the Democratic governor and Democratic-controlled state legislature took contrasting stances this week over what major policy priorities — if any — should be in the final document.
What are they having issues agreeing on?
In addition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislature leaders not being able to agree on the revenue forecast for the budget, they are also clashing on:
The legalization of recreational marijuana — Cuomo wants the implementation of a statewide program as part of the budget, but the state Senate has suburban members who represent swing districts where legalization is less popular.
Criminal justice reform — Cuomo said he will not approve a budget without criminal justice reform, but Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he and his members want to address bail reform and other critical criminal justice proposals outside of the budget.
If any major policy items will be in the budget — Overall, Heastie hasn't committed to including major policy in the budget unless it has a fiscal component, expressing skepticism this week to the governor's push to jam in a wave of new laws in the budget.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.
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