Comptroller Campaign Roundtable

The last-minute surprise entry of former Governor Eliot Spitzer into the race for comptroller required rapid strategic restructuring for the other campaigns and led to an unexpectedly heated Democratic primary race. The discussion at the roundtable included reflections on the contrasts between and among three highly qualified candidates; the ups and downs of press coverage; the impact of name recognition and personal notoriety; the role of public campaign financing, and the impact of a well-executed earned-media strategy.

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Mayoral Campaign Roundtable

The 2013 race for mayor included over 10 major candidates, over 300 public forums, a few unexpected announcements that derailed candidacies, and resulted in the election of the first Democratic mayor in New York City in 24 years. The lively discussion included critiques of political journalism and New York City's Campaign Finance Board, strategic reflections about which advertisements were effective, the impact of independent expenditures, and much more.

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The 2013 Campaign Roundtable

Strategy, tactics, opportunity and chance: Join campaign leaders, pollsters, communications specialists, journalists and others for a debrief on the early plans, unforeseen twists and last minute sprints that led up to New York City’s 2013 primary and general elections. Every four years, we organize these sessions to hear the first-hand, behind-the-scenes stories direct from the campaign teams, observers and analysts.

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Taking the Fear Out of Financial Aid: Making Higher Education Easier to Achieve for NYC Students

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.

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Choosing Leaders for a New Era: The NYC Post-Election Campaign Roundtables

Strategy, tactics, opportunity and chance: Join campaign leaders, pollsters, communications specialists, journalists and others for a debrief on the early plans, unforeseen twists and last minute sprints that led up to New York City’s 2013 primary and general elections.

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Food & Climate Change: Growing a Cultural Movement

Food has powerful cultural meaning, and has increasingly become part of the growing ideological and political discussions around the planet’s changing climate. Food can help communities develop, sustain, and increase their viability while helping mitigate negative impacts of climate change. This cross-disciplinary brainstorming and dialogue will examine how sustainable, locally designed and developed solutions can help communities respond to the challenges of climate change.

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The Future of Progressive States: Public Policies to Create Jobs and Expand Opportunity

Progressive state and local governments strive to build economies that create jobs, boost incomes, foster educational opportunity and strengthen government’s fiscal base. With continued congressional gridlock, the progressive agenda for these laboratories of democracy is more important than ever. Maryland Governor and former Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley discusses how states can secure the middle class and promote new and shared prosperity.

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Baby Steps: Poverty, Chronic Stress & New York's Youngest Children

Chronic stress and early trauma shape the brain development of very young children. Increasingly, research shows that innovative, early-life work with infants, toddlers and their parents can help prevent the need for much more costly interventions later on. Can we reduce the likelihood of abuse, neglect and mental illness in stressed-out, low-income families?

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Second Acts: Recovering from Scandal

Crisis management and scandal recovery have captured the moment, from big-league sports to New York City’s current political silly season. PR firms are rebranding themselves as crisis advisers. Ex-White House aides are peddling their bona fides. While the public sees scandal through a tabloid lens, at its heart are flawed human beings making mistakes, acting emotionally, and trying to preserve their reputations and careers.

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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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The Inside Story of Election 2012: Fast Politics and Faster Media Meet a Rapidly Changing Electorate

The 2012 election lacked the high drama of 2008, when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama made history, Sarah Palin went meteoric, and the economy was in freefall. In contrast, the 2012 campaigns may be remembered as a succession of mini-gaffes and hourly skirmishes fueled by over-caffeinated operatives and reporters on Twitter. Was it all just "sound and fury… signifying nothing?"

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