Reflecting on the New York State Governor Race (2014)

The winner was never in doubt, but the seemingly comfortable victory margin belied the drama that took place along the way. This race had more surprises than anyone would have imagined: the Moreland bombshell, Zephyr Teachout's robust primary showing, and RGA Chair Chris Christie's snub of Rob Astorino. What does this election tell us about the state of politics in New York? What does it portend for the next few years in Albany? And does it tell us anything about Cuomo's prospects in a potential presidential bid? 

Clara Hemphill, interim director, Center for NYC Affairs; Kate Albright-Hanna, communications director, Teachout campaign; Alexis Grenell, City & State; Peter Kauffmann, senior advisor, NYS Democratic Committee; Michael Lawler, campaign manager, Astorino campaign; Brian Murphy, CUNY Baruch College; William O'Reilly, consultant, Astorino campaign; Jessica Proud, spokesperson, Astorinio campaign; Zephyr Teachout, Democratic primary candidate; Matt Wing, Cuomo communications director; Rob George, The New York Post

Reflecting on the New York State Senate Race (2014)

New York City can't do anything without permission from Albany. The City can't raise local taxes or even lower speed limits on city streets without the approval of the state legislature, in particular the Republican-dominated Senate. And the legislature can cause the city a lot of grief--as it did when it forced the city to pay the rent of charter schools, undermining mayoral control. That's one reason among many why Mayor de Blasio mobilized resources to support Democratic Senate candidates this year. That effort failed - and now the Independent Democrats appear to have lost nearly all of their leverage. Still, no matter the outcome, Albany seems to be a cesspool of corruption--on both sides of the aisle. Why do the voters continue to re-elect legislators who are under indictment? Was the Moreland Commission doomed from the start - or will the specter of a pending federal investigation into Moreland leads motivate legislators to finally act on ethics reform?

Gerald Benjamin, SUNY New Paltz; Tom Doherty, Mercury strategy firm; Blair Horner, New York Public Interest Research Group; Naomi Konst, The Accountability Project; Ben Lazarus, StudentsFirstNY; Janos Marton, former special counsel, Moreland Commission; David Nir, Daily Kos; Jeff Plaut Democratic pollster; Basil Smikle, Basil Smikle Associates; Jeff Smith, assistant professor of politics and advocacy at The New School and Brigid Bergin, WNYC Radio.

Crossing Broadway:
How Community Activists Rescued Washington Heights from Crime (2014)

How did Washington Heights in New York City emerge from the crime and decay of the crack years? Historian Robert Snyder argues that community activists who crossed racial and ethnic lines played a vital role in restoring order and vitality to ravaged streets in upper Manhattan, only to see the fruits of their labors threatened by growing economic inequality. 

Michael Powell, reporter, New York Times; Robert W. Snyder, author, Crossing Broadway; associate professor of American studies and journalism, Rutgers University-Newark; Led Black, Dominican-American writer-blogger, Uptown Collective; Dave Crenshaw, president, Uptown Dreamers Alumni Association; Victoria Neznansky, chief program officer, YM/YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood

Ferguson in Black and White: A Discussion (2014)

A discussion of the recent events in Ferguson, MO – the aftermath of the death of Michael Brown, the Grand Jury decision not to indict the police officer involved in the shooting, and the tensions of racial and class inequality simmering and boiling over in St. Louis and other cities across the U.S. 

Milano Professor Jeff Smith -- St. Louis native and author of the new e-book Ferguson in Black & White; Joel Anderson, senior national reporter at Buzzfeed; Justyn Richardson, treasurer of the New Black School; and Robin Hayes, assistant professor of Nonprofit Management and Urban Policy at The New School.

Missing Link: What Absenteeism and Risk Load Reveal About NYC's Lowest-Income Schools (2014)

Mayor Bill de Blasio will unveil 45 new community schools this month in a much-touted effort to help low-income students. But which schools need the most help? And what kind of supports will have the greatest impact? A new report by the Center for New York City Affairs explores these questions in elementary schools, documenting how high absenteeism rates and community challenges can bedevil schools in low-income neighborhoods. We propose a new measure of poverty, designed to identify the highest needs schools, and discuss what should come next in the mayor's bid to reduce poverty's effects on students. 

Richard Buery, deputy mayor for strategic policy initiatives, City of New York; Rudy Crew, president, Medgar Evers College, City University of New York; Kevin Dahill-Fuchel, executive director, Counseling in Schools; Patricia Mitchell, principal, PS 48, William Wordsworth; Sheena Wright, president and CEO, United Way of New York City; Kim Nauer, education research director, Center for New York City Affairs.

Raise the Age: Changing Youth Justice in New York City (2014)

New York is one of just two states in the country that automatically treats 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system. In recent years, advocates and legislators—including the state’s chief judge—have pushed to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18. Now, in the midst of a national scandal over the treatment of adolescents at the Rikers Island Jail, we convene the experts for a discussion of the movement to Raise the Age: How will the influx of adolescents impact the city’s newly reformed juvenile justice programs? How can the system ensure that 16- and 17-year-olds get their best shot at success?

Hon. Edwina Richardson-Mendelson, administrative judge, New York County Family Court; Commissioner Ana Bermudez, NYC Department of Probation; Sonja Okun, founder + executive director, exalt; Soffiyah Elijah, executive director, Correctional Association of New York; Kevin Williams, participant, exalt; Charles Nunez, community advocate, Youth Represent; Abigail Kramer, associate editor, Center for New York City Affairs, The New School.

Ferguson + Staten Island: the Roots, the Reality, and the Response (2014)

This summer marked a turning point in community and police relationships in two very different cities. With the media focus on the tragic deaths of Eric Garner and Mike Brown, people across the country have begun to reflect on the complex relationships that communities often have with police, and on the underlying causes of these deaths.

In this discussion, law enforcement, policy makers, advocates, journalists, and community leaders will come together to explore the events in Ferguson -- and ask how New York and other cities are responding. What political and economic conditions in Ferguson and minority communities nationally underlie the anger that exploded in Ferguson? What kinds of policy changes are necessary to prevent more tragedies from occurring - and to prevent continued escalation of tension between police departments and minority communities? And how do we go about making this policy change happen?

Rembert Browne, staff writer, Grantland; Patricia Bynes, committeewoman, Ferguson township; Peter Coy, economics editor, Bloomberg Businessweek; Eugene O’Donnell, lecturer, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY; Vincent Warren, executive director, Center for Constitutional Rights; Jeff Smith, assistant professor of politics and advocacy, The New School

High School Choice: Busting Myths (2014)

Clara Hemphill, the staff of Insideschools and other experts bust common high school myths. 

The Mayoral Agenda: Affordable Housing and Historic Preservation (2014)

Historic Districts Council and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation are working together to present a panel discussion about affordable housing and historic preservation. With the mayor's plans for affordable housing given such a focus as well as the multitude of articles written about these two topics together, we thought that it was an appropriate time for public discussion about it. The program will feature a mix of community and affordable housing advocates, civic leaders and preservationists. 

Hon. Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President; Harvey Epstein, project director, Community Development Project, Urban Justice Center; NYC Rent Guidelines Board Member; Nadine Maleh, director, Inspiring Places program at Community Solutions; Rachel Meltzer, assistant professor of urban policy, The New School; Andrew Berman, executive director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

Coming to the Table: Immigrant Women and Food (2014)

Learn how immigrant women support their families, create community and maintain culture in a new country—through cooking, growing, selling, shopping for, and serving food.

Grace Young, award-winning cookbook author; Nadege Fleurimond, chef and author; Jessica Chakraborty, community & culinary manager, The League of Kitchens’; Barbara Sibley, chef & owner, La Palapa restaurant, and cookbook author 

Surveillance City: The War on Drugs in Urban Neighborhoods (2014)

The War on Drugs has created a powerful surveillance state in America's most disadvantaged neighborhoods. High-tech techniques criminalize entire blocks and transform informal community networks into liabilities for local residents as police use family relationships to demand information, pursue suspects and threaten incarceration. The presumption of criminality takes a relentless toll.

Alice Goffman, assistant professor of sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison; author, On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City; Jamelle Bouie, politics, policy, and race reporter, Slate; Jeff Smith, assistant professor of politics and advocacy, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, The New School

Big Dreams for New York's Youngest Children (2014)

With the creation of EarlyLearnNYC in 2012, New York City reinvented its system for subsidized early care and education for children from low-income families. Officials sought to ensure high quality, developmentally smart care--but a string of financial and logistical hurdles posed difficulties for many of the nonprofit organizations that run these programs. Today, some thrive while others have lost their contracts or struggle to remain open. Now, as the city launches an expanded Pre-K network for 4-year-olds, what will happen to subsidized child care for younger kids? Can the reform vision of EarlyLearn be put fully into action, and sustained? A conversation with experts in the field, and the release of findings from a new Center for New York City Affairs report on early care and education.

Steve Barnett, director, National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University; Maria Benejan, associate commissioner, Division of Early Care and Education at New York City Administration for Children's Services; Takiema Bunche-Smith, education director, Brooklyn Kindergarten Society; Gregory Brender, policy analyst, United Neighborhood Houses; Maria Contreras-Collier, executive director, Cypress Hills Child Care Corporation; Abigail Kramer, associate editor, Center for New York City Affairs

Youth Justice, Police and NYC's Neighborhoods (2014)

There's been a sea change in New York City juvenile justice policy and police practices over the last two years: Courts now place most teen delinquents in city programs close to home, rather than upstate; and police have sharply reduced the use of stop and frisk, a tactic that overwhelmingly targeted young men of color. Policymakers in the new administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio seek to drive change even further, to improve police-community relations and strengthen juvenile justice programs while also securing public safety. 

Gladys Carrion, commissioner, NYC Administration for Children's Services; Joanne Jaffe, bureau chief, New York Police Department; Chino Hardin, field trainer/organizer, Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions; Gabrielle Prisco, director, Juvenile Justice Project, Correctional Association of New York; Chris Watler, project director, Harlem Community Justice Center at Center for Court Innovation; Andrew White, director, Center for New York City Affairs, The New School

Grassroots Politics: From Brooklyn to the White House (2014)

The same type of grassroots politics that gave Mayor de Blasio his start helped turn a little-known, freshman senator from Chicago's South Side into the President of the United States. Learn how from Mitch Stewart, who, as Obama's 2008 Iowa caucus director and 2012 battleground states director, helped oversee the campaign's field operations in its most critical contests. 

Mitch Stewart, founding partner, 270 Strategies; Zakiyah Ansari, advocacy director, NY State Alliance for Quality Education; Michael Blake, principal, Atlas Strategy Group; Susan Lerner, executive director, Common Cause New York; Jeff Smith, assistant professor, The New School

The City & The State: Conflict or Collaboration? (2014)

A discussion on whether tension is inevitable between Albany and NYC or it is just that there's a new mayoral administration and an election-year governor, and press and politicos are shining the spotlight in search of every conflict. As Mayor de Blasio seeks to fulfill campaign promises and pursue the agenda that got him elected, a popular Governor Cuomo has his own program to fulfill. Will the city and state collaborate? Or will diverging fiscal and political priorities cause more conflict, more publicly than in the past?

Michael Benjamin, political columnist, New York Post; former NYS Assemblyman (D-Bronx); Thomas Kaplan, political reporter, The New York Times; Michael Powell, columnist, The New York Times; Liz Krueger, New York State Senator (D-Manhattan)

Financial Aid: Making Higher Education Easier to Achieve for NYC Students (2014)

Securing college financial aid can be intimidating for NYC students. Aid is crucial for low-income and first generation college students—but they need help, particularly navigating the government's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), finding grants and loans and working with college aid offices. Experts say the system is needlessly complicated and should be reformed. Watch a discussion about what needs to happen nationally and locally to ensure that the next generation of college students can afford to matriculate.

Judith Scott-Clayton, Assistant Professor of Economics and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University; Robert Gevertzman, Associate Director of Financial Aid, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY; Sandy Jimenez, Guidance Trainer and College Access Counselor, Goddard Riverside's Options Institute; Julieta Schiffino, Associate Director of Financial Aid Services, SUNY; Adam Stevens, College Adviser for Scholarships and Financial Aid, Brooklyn Technical High School