De Blasio’s horse-carriage ban stalls

A horse near Central Park. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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Bill de Blasio's push to ban New York City's horse-drawn carriages has stalled, for now, in the City Council.

De Blasio, whose candidacy was helped by spending on his behalf by a group of anti-carriage activists, had promised to ban the carriages in his first week as mayor.

But as the Council holds its second meeting of the new year under the leadership of de Blasio's ally and fellow carriage opponent, Melissa Mark-Viverito, a bill to ban them has yet to appear on the Council's agenda.

A spokesman for Mark-Viverito would not say when the bill will be introduced. The new speaker previously co-sponsored a similar measure when she was a councilwoman, but that legislation was shelved.

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As a candidate last year, de Blasio told an animal-rights group he would end the practice "within the first week on the job." His unequivocal position earned him the support of a group of well-heeled activists, who contributed to a $1 million-plus effort to defeat one of his chief rivals, former council speaker Christine Quinn, who refused to end the practice.

Drivers have vowed to fight the ban.

Among some of the other bills being introduced during the Council meeting on Tuesday is a measure to create a task force to study the sport of cricket.

Councilman Ruben Wills, a Queens Democrat sponsoring the measure, said the task force would be charged with "making sure that this city and the state does not fall behind on the advantages that cricket brings. The big picture goal is to see if we can get the first cricket stadium in the state."

Wills represents a district with fast-growing Indo-Caribbean and South Asian populations that have brought an enthusiasm for cricket with them to New York.

Councilman Dan Garodnick, a Manhattan Democrat who was Mark-Viverito's chief rival for speaker, is introducing a piece of legislation that requires political candidates to disclose who is paying for their campaign mailers.

The Council also will vote on de Blasio's pick for commissioner of the Department of Investigation—his former campaign treasurer, Mark Peters.

The appointment raised concerns during a committee hearing last week, with members questioning Peters' independence from the mayor given their close relationship. Peters said de Blasio would have "significant input" in helping him select a watchdog to oversee the NYPD, which would be one of the new commissioners first tasks.