Urbanite

Janison: Mayor de Blasio's school decision hits rough weather

A child holds an umbrella as she walks

(Credit: A child walks to school during a snowstorm on Feb. 13, 2014 in New York. (John Moore/Getty))

Trying to help defend Mayor Bill de Blasio’s controversial decision to open public schools Thursday, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña fueled skepticism with an odd weather report of her own.

Standing alongside the mayor during a late- morning snow briefing, she said: “And by the way, just coming down here, it has totally stopped snowing. It is absolutely a beautiful day out there right now.”

At...

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Janison: De Blasio in for the long haul

Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers the budget address

(Credit: Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers the budget address at City Hall on Feb. 12, 2014. (Craig Ruttle/Pool))

In unveiling his first fiscal plan as New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio did what’s expected from a freshly elected executive.

He played up challenges he inherited.

He cautiously played down cash surpluses.

He gave new numbers to buttress his agenda.

He dodged specifics in areas yet to be bargained, most obviously labor contracts.

And he announced some shifts in the...

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Mayor de Blasio unveils his $73.7 billion budget

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, standing

(Credit: De Blasio, left, with Dean Fuleihan at his budget address on Feb. 12, 2014. (Craig Ruttle/Pool))

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s strategy for resolving New York City’s 150-plus labor contracts was left opaque yesterday in his first budget proposal.

He presented a sobering fiscal outlook, saying the budget for fiscal year 2015, which begins July 1, is balanced only thanks to leftover resources from previous years. He projected a $1.1 billion deficit for fiscal year 2016.

“We enter this process...

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De Blasio 'miffed' at Dean Skelos' vow to block pre-K tax plan

Bill de Blasio

(Credit: Mayor Bill de Blasio on Feb. 11, 2014 (Charles Eckert))

Mayor Bill de Blasio led a battle cry Tuesday against Republican State Senate co-leader Dean Skelos and others lining up against his plan to raise city taxes on high-earning New Yorkers to fund universal prekindergarten.

“The gauntlet’s been thrown down in Albany,” he told a cheering crowd of clergy at a Bedford-Stuyvesant breakfast. “We will respond.”

Skelos, from Rockville Centre,...

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Column: De Blasio's State of the City speech sets formal tone

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers

(Credit: Bill de Blasio delivers his first State of the City on Feb. 10, 2014. (Charles Eckert))

Viewed through the lens of the day’s spot news, there were two key angles in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first State of the City speech.

For one, he called for the issuance of municipal ID cards — this year — to help the undocumented out of the “shadows” of city life.

For another, he dug into his position that top city earners must be taxed to support pre-K — even as powerful state Senate...

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Senate co-leader won't allow vote on de Blasio's pre-K tax

New York State Senator Dean Skelos speaks before

(Credit: Dean Skelos on Jan. 2, 2014. (Howard Schnapp))

UPDATED 2/10/14, 8:15 P.M.: Senate co-leader Dean Skelos said Monday he won’t allow a vote on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to raise city taxes on the wealthy to pay for expanding prekindergarten programs.

But co-leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) fired back quickly, reinforcing his commitment to the mayor’s plan and saying he wouldn’t approve a state budget without it.

The dispute could...

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De Blasio pushes municipal IDs 'regardless of immigration status'

Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers his first State

(Credit: Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers his State of the City on Feb. 10, 2014. (Charles Eckert))

Mayor Bill de Blasio used his first State of the City address Monday to outline initiatives to bridge the income inequality gap, provide immigrants with greater economic opportunities and usher in expanded prekindergarten by next fall.

He pushed municipal IDs for New Yorkers “regardless of immigration status” within the year, telling undocumented residents that the city is their home, too.

“We...

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'American Idol' singer Clay Aiken to run for Congress

American Idol finalist Clay Aiken performs a song

(Credit: Clay Aiken performs on "American Idol" on May 21, 2003. (Vince Bucci/Getty))

Former "American Idol" singer Clay Aiken said on Wednesday he will run for U.S. Congress as a Democrat in his home state of North Carolina, where he once worked as a special education teacher.

Aiken, 35, is likely to face a tough battle in his efforts to unseat Representative Renee Ellmers, a Tea Party Republican favorite, in the state's conservative 2nd congressional district.

The entertainer...

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Hillary Clinton kicks off literacy campaign in East Harlem

Former first lady, Secretary of State and U.S.

(Credit: From left, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Randy Falco and Bill de Blasio on Feb. 4, 2014. (Charles Eckert))

Hillary Rodham Clinton Tuesday kicked off a campaign to encourage Hispanic families to start reading to and serenading their children while still in the cradle because “you’re literally building brain cells when you talk to your child.”

Speaking at a Head Start program in East Harlem, the potential 2016 presidential candidate helped debut a series of Spanish-language television commercials...

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De Blasio won't ban NYPD, FDNY from St. Pat's parade

Marchers carry American flags as theY make their

(Credit: FDNY march in last year's St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 16, 2013. (AFP/Don Emmert))

Bill de Blasio on Tuesday rejected a call by gay rights activists and other elected officials to ban uniformed New York City workers from marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade, saying they have "the right" to participate.

However, de Blasio said he would not join the March 17 parade, whose organizers have enforced a long-standing ban on openly gay groups. He noted he has declined to march...

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