The New York City Bar Association today released a report containing a wide range of policy recommendations for New York City’s next Mayor. The report comes one month before the City Bar will host a public forum, on June 6th, to which the Mayoral candidates have been invited.
“We have sent our report to the candidates to focus them on some of the most important legal policy issues facing New York City today, from the perspectives of lawyers who work daily on issues vital to the City’s welfare,” said City Bar President Carey R. Dunne. “With the report’s public distribution, the candidates should expect that voters will want to know their positions on these important issues.”
A collaborative effort of two dozen City Bar Committees, the report is being released on Law Day to underscore the relevance and scope of the law-related issues affecting New Yorkers, which include: Education, including Mayoral control of schools and the teacher disciplinary hearing process; Infrastructure, the Environment and Emergency Preparedness, including climate change, renewable energy, post-Sandy recommendations and transportation; Public Safety and Civil Liberties, including gun control, the reforming of Stop and Frisk, and human trafficking; Access to Justice, including initiatives to reduce the number of unrepresented litigants in civil cases and maintain the independence of judicial appointments; Consumer Protection, including the promotion of fair debt collection practices; Election Law, including the establishment of in-person early voting and no-excuse absentee ballot applications; Social Welfare and Equal Participation, including access to subsistence benefits and tools to promote greater child wellness; Animal Law, including the phasing out of horse-drawn carriages; New York as an International City, including the UN development plan; and Property Tax.
“In this age of snap judgments, sound bites and lightning quick communication, we tried to hold true to the City Bar’s time-honored process of asking groups of people to deliberate and reach a consensus viewpoint on something that collectively is important to them, and then convey that viewpoint in a way that not only advocates for change, but also invites others to think about and participate in the political process whether or not they agree with us,” said Dunne.
The report emphasizes the vast powers and responsibilities of the “Chief Executive Officer of the City,” stating, “Among other things, the Mayor appoints and can remove the commissioners of more than 40 City agencies; is responsible for preparing and administering the City’s annual Expense and Capital Budgets and financial plan; manages the City’s relations with federal, state and local governing entities; has the power to veto local laws enacted by the City Council; appoints Criminal Court Judges, Family Court Judges and Interim Civil Court Judges; and has powers and responsibilities relating to land use and City contracts and collaborates with city, state and federal agencies responsible for the City’s economic development and infrastructure. In addition to these official duties, the Mayor has unofficial powers. He or she can use the Mayor’s bully pulpit to weigh in on an astonishing array of issues, from the environment to gun control to immigration; can act as unofficial arbiter when diverse and competing interests collide; and can set broad new policy goals in conjunction with other levels of government.”
Collaborating on the report were the City Bar Committees on: Animal Law; Children and the Law; Council on Children; Civil Court; Civil Rights; Consumer Affairs; Corrections and Community Reentry; Criminal Advocacy; Criminal Courts; Criminal Justice Operations; Criminal Law; Drugs and the Law; Legal Issues Pertaining to People with Disabilities;
Domestic Violence; Education Law; Environmental Law; Legal Services for Persons of Moderate Means; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights; Matrimonial Law; New York City Affairs; Sex and Law; Social Welfare; Transportation Law; and the United Nations.
The report can be read here: http://bit.ly/10qmabf