THE MISSION
THE CITY is an independent, nonprofit news outlet dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that serves the people of New York.
Reporting For
New Yorkers

ARTICLES BY: Josefa Velasquez

Josefa is the state Capitol reporter for THE CITY. She’s previously worked at The Associated Press, Politico New York and the New York Law Journal covering the governor and Legislature. Most recently she worked as a money-in-politics reporter for the startup Sludge.

  1. 2020 vision

    Counting on Old Uptown Playbook for Citywide Census Success

    In 2010, Washington Heights and Inwood had the city’s best response rate. Officials are looking to replicate the magic amid Census 2020’s challenges.

    2020 vision

  2. new lease

    Pols Draft Proposal to Fine Brokers, Landlords Who Flout New Rent Laws

    Two Assembly members plan to introduce legislation to allow thousands in penalties for not following a $20 application cap and other reforms.

    new lease

  3. moving in

    Real Estate Brokers Blow Beyond New $20 Tenant Fee Cap

    Real estate group tells members that law’s limits on charges for apartment applications applies only to landlords. Tenants and lawmakers cry foul.

    moving in

  4. immigration

    New York Vows to Fight New Trump Green Card Benefits Policy

    Lawsuits planned over change that could hurt 400,000 New Yorkers legally receiving government aid. City pledges hospital access for “all people.”

    immigration

  5. running bill

    Complaint Hits de Blasio on Campaign Finance ‘Shell Game’

    A nonpartisan watchdog group cites THE CITY’s reporting in FEC complaint charging the mayor flouted federal campaign donation and spending rules.

    running bill

  6. comeback bid

    Melissa Mark-Viverito Runs for Congress, Touting Progressive Cred

    The ex-Council speaker tells THE CITY she’s ready to join a crowded field vying to replace retiring Bronx Rep. José Serrano at a “critical moment.”

    comeback bid

  7. running bill

    Bill De Blasio’s PACs for Dems Helped His Run, Records Show

    The mayor’s federal and state political action committees have spent nearly $1.2 million — but only $200,000 went to other candidates or committees.

    running bill

  8. making it count

    AOC Makes a Bronx Census Push Amid Fears of Lost House Seats

    More than a quarter of the residents in freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ district are non-citizens — the highest percentage in the state.

    making it count

  9. vance's chances

    No Decision From Cy Vance on Fourth DA Term as Challengers Mount

    Several potential candidates are mulling going up against the Manhattan district attorney, who told THE CITY it’s “too early” to say if he’ll run.

    vance's chances

  10. running bill

    MAYORAL MATH: De Blasio Claims Campaign Video Isn’t a Campaign Expense

    The video was paid for by a state PAC the mayor used for fundraising and spending before his presidential run — an approach that’s raised questions.

    running bill

  11. running bill

    Bill de Blasio Tapped His State PAC for White House Hopes

    The mayor’s team set up the committee to help Democrats win election in New York. But it helped in the run-up to his campaign, records show.

    running bill

  12. making it count

    Tiffany Cabán Beats Melinda Katz in Latest Fundraising and Legal Spending

    The two Queens district attorney hopefuls, locked in a tense recount battle, are looking to high-priced lawyers as they vie to generate donations.

    making it count

  13. rip

    What Labor Lion Héctor Figueroa Won for Workers

    Union and political worlds mourn a leader who helped secure a $15 minimum wage, paid sick leave and more for New Yorkers.

    rip

  14. bumpy road

    Mixed Signals on Guarding Undocumented Driver’s License Info

    Reports ICE accessed photos and personal information in other states sparks cryptic tweet from Cuomo official as lawmaker offers privacy reassurances.

    bumpy road

  15. a new record

    More Than 200,000 Pot Convictions Poised for Clearing

    Decriminalization measure will wipe away low-level marijuana cases — but will still leave many with criminal records stemming from other offenses.

    a new record

  16. son also rises

    Dante de Blasio Returns as His Father’s Secret Weapon

    Six years past his famous TV ad, the new Yale grad talks about his experience with cops after Bill de Blasio invokes him in the presidential debate.

    son also rises

  17. cloudy

    Scrapping Marijuana Raps a Daunting Task for Unprepared System

    The bill decriminalizing pot and expunging records leaves some dazed and confused over next steps. Meanwhile, repercussions remain for immigrants.

    cloudy

  18. primary facts

    As Queens DA Race Goes to Ballot Count, Former Favorite Faces Uphill Battle

    With 6,300 paper ballots outstanding, the Democratic primary between party stalwart Melinda Katz and insurgent Tiffany Cabán will run into next week.

    primary facts

  19. queens da race

    Tiffany Cabán Edging Melinda Katz in Close Queens DA Primary

    Insurgent progressive emerges to threaten upset against borough Democratic Party favorite. But 3,000 absentee ballots will decide the race.

    queens da race

  20. puff puff pass

    After Legal Weed Push Fails, Albany Goes to Pot Plan B

    State legislative leaders agree on bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana and expunges low-level convictions. Fines would start at $50.

    puff puff pass

  21. blown away

    Legal Pot Push Goes Up in Smoke as Deadline Nears

    With full marijuana legalization talks at an end-of-session impasse, Albany hashes out a decriminalization fallback and eyes loosening medical uses.

    blown away

  22. driving force

    Albany Approves Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented

    The bill passed the Senate Monday — and passed muster with the governor following an 11th-hour drama that threatened to upend the measure.

    driving force

  23. housing

    What Does N.Y.’s New Rent Law Mean for Tenants?

    A guide to the transformative legislation approved Friday in Albany.

    housing

  24. footing the bills

    Unfinished Business as Albany Session Clock Ticks Down

    There are six items high on the Legislature’s end-of-session to-do list. But even with control of both houses, Democrats may not get what they want.

    footing the bills

  25. albany

    Major Rent-Law Revamp Nears Finish Line in Albany

    Pendulum swings toward tenants as Democrat-dominated Legislature declares it’s “reached an agreement.” But tricky details still need resolving.

    albany

  26. key actions

    Prisoners Locked Out of State Criminal Justice Overhaul

    Bills calling for granting older inmates parole hearings and reining in solitary confinement languish late into the state Legislature’s session.

    key actions

  27. title bout

    Former Cuomo Official Slams Legislature Attempt to Gut Wine-and-Dine Ban

    Maria Vullo opposes bill, passed by the Assembly, to ease restrictions on title insurance agents notorious for wooing clients with strip club trips.

    title bout

  28. rent reform

    Cuomo and Lawmakers Signal Compromise on Rent Regulation Reforms

    With a June 15 deadline looming, it appears tenant advocates’ quest to eliminate charges for improvements to buildings and apartments is a no-go.

    rent reform

  29. cleaning up

    Car Wash Workers on Track to Get Long-Awaited Pay Raise

    A bill guaranteeing the auto cleaners minimum wage passed state Senate Wednesday, igniting new hopes for employees forced to rely on tips.

    cleaning up

  30. undocumented

    State Assembly Poised to Greenlight Licenses for Immigrant Drivers

    Gov. Cuomo supports the measure as pressure mounts on holdouts in the newly Democratic Senate with the legislative session nearing its end.

    undocumented

  31. albany

    What’s at Stake in New York’s Rent Wars

    How landlords raise rents on regulated apartments beyond annual Rent Guidelines Board hikes — but not if tenant advocates get their way in Albany.

    albany

  32. money in politics

    Queens District Attorney Hopeful Melinda Katz Rakes in Developer Dollars

    The Queens Borough President raised about $158,000 from the real estate industry in the seven-candidate race’s latest fundraising cycle.

    money in politics

  33. money in politics

    Queens DA Candidate Tiffany Cabán’s Most Zealous Donors: Her Staff

    Most of her campaign contributions are from outside Queens, finance filings show. Yet staffers’ small donations appear to bolster her grassroots cred.

    money in politics

  34. field notes

    Court OKs Farmworker Rights, Increasing Pressure on Albany to Act

    For two decades, a proposal to limit work hours and offer overtime to farmworkers has stalled. But a court decision could change that.

    field notes

  35. capitol bill

    Eyeing D.C. Job, de Blasio Avoids Albany as Rent Reform Fight Looms

    The mayor, who declared his presidential candidacy last week, already has spent far more days out of state this year than he has in the state capital.

    capitol bill

  36. change unfolding

    Push to Repeal Gravity Knife Ban Gains Momentum

    A court ruling, city prosecutors’ shifts and a new mood in Albany bolster effort to decriminalize blades commonly sold in stores and carried for work.

    change unfolding

  37. rent reform

    Landlords’ New Gambit: Teaming with Tenant Advocates on Rent Subsidies Push

    The real estate lobby backs new housing aid for the poor — seeking a bargaining chip as a firmly Democratic legislature tackles rent-law reforms.

    rent reform

  38. rocky road

    Public Defender’s Bumpy Insurgent Campaign to Become Queens’ Next DA

    After internal chaos, veteran advisors step in to reshape Tiffany Cabán’s bid to pull the seven-candidate Democratic primary race to the left.

    rocky road

  39. high hopes

    Albany Pols Firing Up Bill to Overhaul Medical Marijuana Program

    With hopes for recreational pot in New York in the weeds, the state legislature reignites a push for loosening medical marijuana regulations.

    high hopes

  40. commercial rent

    Landlords’ Ad Blitz Targets Tough Crowd: Tenants Rallying for Rent Law Reform

    As the newly Democratic-controlled state Legislature mobilizes to overhaul rent laws, the real estate industry is responding by spending big.

    commercial rent

  41. driving up costs

    Schools Bus Drivers Threaten Strike — and Management is on Their Side

    They hope a strike vote and lobbying will nudge Albany to approve a benefits boost on taxpayers’ dime. At stake: rides for 12,000 special-needs kids.

    driving up costs

  42. drug war

    No Problem Here: Pols Shun Drug Center in Bronx Opioid OD Hotspot

    Officials try to block planned upscale facility in Kingsbridge, despite local overdose fatality rate. Meanwhile, the operators won’t accept Medicaid.

    drug war

  43. census 2020

    Making it Count: Immigration Advocates Seek Census Outreach Funding Boost

    A pending U.S. Supreme Court decision and budget woes could stymie local efforts to get an accurate tally in next year’s count, some fear.

    census 2020

  44. albany

    Far-Reaching Rent Reforms Resist Albany Consensus

    The Assembly’s tenant-friendly gambit puts pressure on the newly Democratic Senate to up the ante. But sweeping change is far from a sure thing.

    albany

  45. nycha

    Cuomo Ready to Deliver on Long-Delayed NYCHA Aid, Says Monitor

    Repairs on public housing boilers and elevators in dozens of New York City Housing Authority buildings await $450M in pledged funds

    nycha

  46. undocumented

    Yellow Light for Immigrant Driver’s Licenses as State Bill Revs Up

    If bills from two Bronx Democrats pass, New York would join a dozen other states that issue licenses to the undocumented.

    undocumented

  47. albany

    Congestion Digestion: What You Need to Know About the MTA Budget Boosters

    Albany’s deal will wring funds from motorists, pricey properties and online transactions — but it’s still not enough to save ailing subways and buses.

    albany

  48. jails

    Sprint to Eliminate Cash Bail Raises Tough Choice: Whom to Jail?

    Lawmakers finalizing a bill to ban bail resist demands from DAs to jail defendants deemed dangerous

    jails

  49. amazon

    Interview with the Amazon Slayer: Queens Sen. Mike Gianaris

    The nomination of Queens State Sen. Mike Gianaris to a post with veto power doomed HQ2. His next target: New York’s vast corporate tax breaks.

    amazon