Up Close: New NYC Council Speaker

Diana Williams talks with the newly elected City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito
January 12, 2014 9:03:38 AM PST
Her name is not yet well known in New York, but this week she took over one of the highest profile jobs in the city: City Council Speaker.

Melissa Mark-Viverito of East Harlem is the first Latina to lead the 51-member council.

In an unusual move, Mayor Bill de Blasio lobbied hard for her, leading many to question can she maintain her independence and the council's.

The new council speaker joins us on this week's show.

Also, tourists love them, but Mayor de Blasio left little doubt about how he feels about the city's horse-drawn carriages.

Saying they are not right for 2014, he vowed to phase them out, keeping true to a campaign promise.

But the carriage owners say they are a small business, and the new mayor is taking their livelihoods away from them.

Joining us is Stephen Malone, a spokesman for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York, who is also an owner of 2 horses and the operator of a carriage.

Finally, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has apologized after the revelation that members of his inner circle deliberately engineered a traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge back in September.

The State Assembly plans to continue its investigation, calling on other officials involved in the scandal, but some critics say the conduct goes beyond local politics.

Joining us is long-time Democratic New Jersey State Senator from Union County, Ray Lesniak.

Watch Up Close with Diana Williams every Sunday morning at 11:00 on Channel 7.