Grassroots politics, from Brooklyn to the White House

No, Bill de Blasio hasn't announced his candidacy for president...yet. But the same type of grassroots politics that gave Mayor de Blasio his start and propelled him to the mayoralty 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. Stewart will be joined by leading New York City strategists who are managing local efforts to achieve universal pre-kindergarten and public campaign financing.

A conversation with:

  • Mitch Stewart, founding partner, 270 Strategies
  • Zakiyah Ansari, advocacy director, New York State Alliance for Quality Education
  • Michael Blake, principal, Atlas Strategy Group
  • Susan Lerner, executive director, Common Cause New York

Moderated by:

  • Jeff Smith, assistant professor of politics and advocacy, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, The New School

Admission is free but you must RSVP.

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The Center’s public policy forums are made possible thanks to the generous support of the Milano Foundation.

The City & The State: Conflict or Collaboration?

empire state

Is tension inevitable between Albany and NYC? Or is it just that there’s a new mayoral administration and an election-year governor, and press and politicos 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?

With:

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

Moderated by:

Admissions is free, but you must RSVP: thecityandthestate.eventbrite.com

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The Future of Public Housing: What Washington's new vision means for New York City

The New York City Housing Authority manages 178,000 apartments with more than 420,000 official residents, and by most accounts a budget that’s inadequate to the essential tasks of operation and upkeep. The federal government is moving steadily away from permanent housing supports to new models. What’s Washington’s vision, and how does it affect New York?

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Laying the Foundation for Greatness: A conversation with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio

How can city government overcome the divide that has made New York a Tale of Two Cities? Public Advocate Bill de Blasio discusses his vision for addressing the pervasive issues of social inequality and economic disparity, and proposes policy innovations in economic development for the future of New York City.

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Participatory Budgeting in NYC: Thinking Critically and Looking Forward

New York City is experiencing a new kind of democracy. Through participatory budgeting, residents of eight City Council districts deliberated and voted this year on how best to spend about $10 million of public money for capital projects in their districts. Can participatory budgeting help strengthen community infrastructure and residents’ own investment in their neighborhoods?

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The 2013 Nathan Levin Lecture: The Urban Agenda and the Second Obama Administration

How do cities fit into the current debate in Washington? Are the Obama policies on education, urban development, and social welfare leveraging meaningful improvements for New York and other cities? How will the administration's policies address the social justice issues that were central to the reelection campaign—particularly in terms of making opportunities available to economically and socially disadvantaged Americans?

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Improbable Scholars: What Union City, NJ, Can Teach New York City About Public Education

The striking achievement of Union City, N.J. — bringing very poor, mostly immigrant Latino kids into the educational mainstream — argues for reinventing our public schools into caring, hard-working communities. Author David Kirp’s latest book centers on the remarkable success of a school district five miles and a light year away from Washington Square.

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Brushes with the Law: Young New Yorkers, Neighborhoods and the Criminal Justice System

The city has overhauled its juvenile justice system to keep more young people out of confinement and in their communities. In the process, officials, organizers and providers also aim to strengthen families and neighborhoods. How can city government engage communities and tap into the strengths of local groups that work with teens and families?

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NYCHA & the Hurricane: Public housing learns from Sandy... What’s the plan for the next big storm?

The wrenching experience of thousands of New York’s public housing residents following Hurricane Sandy revealed vulnerabilities of physical structures and human services. Volunteers, tenant associations, social service providers and NYCHA technicians all stepped in to do what they could through the worst of the aftermath. What did we learn?

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Can You Replicate the Obama Strategy? Technology, Social Science, and the Campaign Revolution

Political campaigns have revolutionized the way they target, contact and motivate supporters. Strategists are taking the insights of experimental social science and marrying them to the corporate world's Big Data marketing tools. The Obama Campaign won in large part by using statistical modeling techniques to identify persuadable voters and to fine-tune persuasive messages.

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Stronger Schools for NYC: A conversation with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn

How can New York sustain and build on positive changes in public education while fixing what isn’t working in our schools? Council Speaker Quinn discusses her views on building a 21st century school system, including innovations for educational improvement to make sure every child graduates high school ready for college and a good job.

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NYC 1972-2012: Forty years of change and continuity

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of The New School’s graduate program in Urban Policy Analysis and Management, scholars and policymakers discuss our city's evolution since the early 1970s. Neighborhoods have been revived and rebuilt, migrations have transformed the five boroughs, local government has gone from the edge of insolvency to a steadier state. Yet the New York of 1972 is strikingly similar to the city of today.

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The Economy vs. Immigration: What will unlock the Latino vote in 2012?

Latino voters are expected to play a pivotal role in the presidential election, just as they did in 2008. This town hall event will explore the tensions in the complex relationship that has evolved between the Latino electorate and the presidential candidates. Will economic concerns such as unemployment and housing foreclosures guide at the voting booth? Will the candidates' immigration policies dominate?

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A Century of Social Justice: A Conversation with Peter Dreier

The American political and social landscape changed dramatically over the course of the 20th century. Social change did not happen as a natural course of history; countless individuals and groups labored to bring about the rights and privileges to which we’ve grown accustomed today. Some individuals stand above the rest and have become legends of social justice.

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Urban Policy in an Era of Fiscal Austerity - The 2012 Robert J. Milano Lecture

With the federal debt at $16 trillion, the fate of the nation's cities stands at a crossroads. While cities like New York appear to be doing better than ever, a rising tide of poverty and inequality threatens to undermine their progress. Meanwhile, a large group of second-tier cities, from Detroit and St. Louis to Stockton and San Bernardino, are besieged as never before.

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Respect and the City: Race, Class, and Development in Detroit... and NYC

Detroit and New York are both iconic American cities with long histories of tension at the intersections of race and class, labor and capital. In tough economic times, competition for resources and power can be fierce. How do groups demand respect and gain economic influence?

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Beyond Test Scores: Imagining New Ways to Measure NYC's High Schools

What matters most in high school? Graduation rates and Regents test scores? College-oriented academics, supportive teachers - or extra-curricular activities? All of these things matter to students, but inside information is hard to find. There is also intense debate about what makes for a "good" high school and how this can be measured.

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Creating College Ready Communities: Preparing NYC's Precarious New Generation of College Students

The good news is, New York City has seen dramatic increases in students graduating high school and applying to college. The bad news is, most will never get a college degree. This growing generation of college students is frequently stymied by poor academic preparation, financial aid issues or complicated personal lives. Observers say it is not enough to promote college.

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No Way to Pay Rent: What’s next for homeless families in NYC?

New York’s homeless population is near an all time high, with more than 40,000 New Yorkers living in shelters — including 16,500 children and their parents. Amid the continuing fiscal crunch, New York City and State recently ended a unique rent subsidy program that helped thousands move out of shelters and into apartments, and new federal rent subsidies are nowhere to be found.

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The Anatomy of Campaign Finance: Money's powerful influence on US politics and policy

The power of campaign donations to shape political decisions is front and center in the 2012 presidential election. Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations, mega- donors and unions to invest vast resources in candidates' campaigns, has been called an undemocratic giveaway to social and economic elites.

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