Public Invited to Comment on Report at Upcoming Hearings in All Five Boroughs Before Commission Decides on Ballot Proposals
NEW YORK, NY- Following hearings across all five boroughs and testimony from members of the public, experts, elected officials, good government groups, and academics, the 2018 New York City Charter Revision Commission released its Preliminary Staff Report today. The recommendations will serve as a guide for the Commission as it reviews the entire Charter and develops final ballot proposals to be decided by voters at this November's general election. Recommendations broadly fall into five policy areas: campaign finance, municipal elections, civic engagement, community boards and redistricting. Testimony was received at public hearings, expert forums, via the Commission's online comment portal, and through mail and email submissions.
Commission staff recommended the following:
Cesar Perales, the Commission's Chair, said: "I'd like to thank all of the New Yorkers who came out to the hearings to discuss how we can improve civic life in New York City. New Yorkers have been engaged since the start of this process and this report reflects the wide range of issues we discussed in all five boroughs. Now, the Commission is going to get back to work meeting with New Yorkers at another round of hearings to discuss this report and ultimately will issue a final report and proposals to put before the voters in the fall."
Rachel Godsil, the Commission's Vice-Chair, said: "This Preliminary Staff Report is an important step in the Charter revision process. With the report as a guide, we now resume the critical work of engaging the public in a meaningful dialogue on the issues presented in the document. I am looking forward to a series of robust and energetic conversations with New Yorkers."
Carlo Scissura, the Commission's Secretary, said: "This Preliminary Staff Report describes a set of issues that go to the heart of civic life in New York City. I am thankful to the Commission staff for producing this thoughtful and comprehensive analysis and am looking forward to further public discussion of issues relating to campaign finance, municipal elections, community boards, civic engagement and redistricting."
Matt Gewolb, the Commission's Executive Director said: "This Preliminary Staff Report reflects a focus on civic life and democracy in New York City—a theme that is particularly appropriate and relevant in contemporary times. The report also introduces a new and exciting phase in our process—one that I am confident will include a robust public discussion and debate about the future of the City Charter."
The public is invited to provide their ideas and comments regarding the Charter and the preliminary report. To help facilitate this process, the Charter Revision Commission is hosting "Charter Week," a series of public hearings in each of the five boroughs. The public is encouraged to attend and offer testimony to the Commission about the report and on any aspect of the Charter. As a part of "Charter Week," Commissioners and staff will host additional events to solicit further input on revising the Charter. The hearing schedule is available below and at nyc.gov/charter. The public can also submit testimony and comments by email (email@example.com), through the Commission's website and over social media.
"Charter Week" builds on the Commission's extensive public outreach campaign to ensure all communities throughout New York have access to the Commission revision process. New Yorkers provided comments and ideas for revising the Charter at public hearings held in all five boroughs. Issue forums provided the Commission with more in-depth information related to focus areas. All events where open to the public and live streamed over the internet. Language translation services, ASL interpreters, and L.O.O.P devices were provided. All events were held at accessible spaces. Testimony was also received at additional community forums, tabling events, including targeted efforts to engage youth, immigrant New Yorkers, and veterans, as well as through mail and email submissions and over social media.
The public was alerted to the Commission's public meetings through advertising in community and ethnic papers, and utilizing messages through organizations with large distribution lists. Notice was given to every Community Board, as well as City, State, and Federal elected officials. Media advisories were issued to a list of more than 3,000 people at least twice per public meeting. Public notices for each meeting were published in the City Record and made available on the Commission's website. All notices were translated into several languages: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese), French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu.