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NYS & NYC Government, Media & Politics 2013 - 2017

Nov 14, 2019 at 08:44 pm by mikewood


nyc government media politics new york city ny govt media politics

nyc politics media government new york city


De Blasio Wins 2nd Term by Landslide

Nationally Democrats Pick up New Jersey & Hold onto Virginia

November 8, 2017 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics / Gotham Buzz NYC.

nyc mayoral debates october 2017 nyc debatesCity-wide & Borough-wide Offices. Mayor de Blasio won a decisive victory against Republican challenger, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, on Tuesday by winning nearly 67% of the vote.

In fact it was a landslide for nearly all incumbent Democrats who won by comparably wide margins, including Letitia James for Public Advocate (74%), Scott Stringer for NYC Comptroller (77%), and all five Borough Presidents including Gale Brewer (Manhattan - 83%), Eric Adams (Brooklyn - 83%), Ruben Diaz (Bronx - 88%), Melinda Katz (Queens - 78%) and James Oddo (Staten Island - 75%).

Mayoral Election Results by Borough. De Blasio won four of the five boroughs by wide margins including roughly 5:1 in the Bronx, 3:1 in Manhattan and Brooklyn and approaching 2:1 in Queens. Malliotakis won her home borough of Staten Island approaching 3:1. Staten Island has a significantly smaller population than the other four boroughs as it has only between 20% and 30% the population of any of the other boroughs.

nyc mayoral debates october 2017 nyc debatesTrump Referendum & Job Performance Approval. Several pundits speculated that in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans six to one - this was an NYC referendum on the Trump presidency. This may be so, but some mention should also be given to how well NYC is performing vis a vis other cities in terms of jobs creation, improving performance in the public schools, fiscal management and low crime rate.

Results for the Three NYS Proposals on Ballot. The first Proposal - to change the NYS Constitution - lost overwhelmingly with 83% voting NO. The second Proposal - to take away pensions of some government employees found guilty of some crimes - won overwhelmingly with 73% voting YES. And the third Proposal - to allow some 'development' in public parks won in a close vote - 52% vote YES while 48% voted NO.

New Jersey Governor Race. On the national front, newcomer Phil Murphy (D) beat Lieutenant Governor Kim Quadagno (R) in the governor race in New Jersey. Murphy received 55% of the vote while Quadagno received 43% of the vote. Murphy will replace Chris Christie (R) who has an approval rating of 19%. In exit polls, 11% said they cast their votes in support of Trump, while 32% said they cast their votes in opposition to Trump.

Virginia Governor Race. In Virginia, the latest polls were once again off significantly, predicting a tight race that wasn't. Democrat Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam won 54% of the vote while Republican Ed Gillespie who was the former Chair of the Republican National Committee won 43% of the vote. Gillespie won the rural parts of the state, while Northam won the urban areas. Gillespie was reported to be using Trump-style campaign tactics to win the race, but from Japan, Trump distanced himself from Gillespie's loss.

We Elect Pols but Not Publishers. In the graphic at right, you can see the pill face of the unhappy Billionaire which I superimposed over the face of the Mayor. The power-hungry, media mogul's outlet had published the headline 'Stuck with the Bill' - which he published in defiance of the two-thirds of the NYC voters who came out to re-elect the Mayor. He appears to be working toward conquering the U.S. so he can make us a 'Fox Nation', like he did Australia.

We don't get to elect publishers, but every time you purchase one of his papers, or click into his TV stations or websites, you are indirectly supporting him [NY Post, Fox News, WWOR Ch9, WNYW Fox Ch5 and the WSJ]. Some of the people in his organizations do good work, but many of those he puts front and center, appear to be highly paid propagandist mouthpieces who push what appears to be his greedy, deceitful, power-grabbing agenda. The story below provides more detail.


Election 2017 Tuesday 11/7 - Please Vote

November 5, 2017 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics & Government / Queens Buzz.

nyc poll site locator queens poll site locator manhattan polls locationsThe New York City general election is this week, Tuesday November 7th.

The polling booths will be open from 6 am to 9 pm Tuesday.

To find your poll location click on the graphic at right.

Once on the website, input your address, and then click the small icon to the right of it to get the results of the search. I hope the NYS Board of Elections does better cyber security on their voting systems than they do web design for this site, as the tiny arrow mentioned above is easily overlooked.

NYS Ballot Propositions - Vote Tuesday

There are three Referendums on the Ballot.

Proposal I

Calling A State Constitutional Convention

This is where it appears that all the lobbyists would re-write the NYS Constitution to favor them and their interests, and screw the general public aka you. Their argument is to streamline government, but democracy works slowly for a reason - as it takes time for the general public to become aware of issues and then to organize in time for a proper vetting. That's why our Founding Fathers included so many checks and balances in the system - to give us - We The People - time to react.

I recommend voting NO.

Proposal II

Forfeiture of Public Officer's Pension if Convicted of Felony

This is where a public official who's found guilty of a felony that violates the public trust, loses their pension. This is targeted only at a certain class of government officials - not all of them. Voting Yes, mitigates the effort to expand the scope of government officials covered. It seems an unfair application of the law and I don't know who drafted this or why they limited it.

I have no recommendation.

Proposal III

Authorizing Use of Forest Preserve Land for Specified Purposes

This is what looks like the creation of a first opening for development in the Adirondack and Catskills parks. It's not specific to any identifiable project and open ended, which looks like giving government officials / developers a blank check. Each project should be evaluated on its own merits.

I recommend voting NO.


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NYC Mayoral Debates: De Blasio & Albanese

Democratic Candidates Discuss Issues Facing NYC

September 4, 2017 / Upper West Side Neighborhood / NYC Politics & Government Manhattan / Gotham Buzz NYC.

2017 mayoral debates nyc bill de blasio sal albanese photosOn Wednesday evening, August 23, I made my way to Symphony Space on the Upper West Side to watch the two Democratic candidates for mayor of New York City debate the issues.

Sal Albanese Democratic Challenger

Sal Albanese is the Democratic challenger, who raised just enough money to qualify for the NYC Campaign Finance Board qualification, which mandates debates between candidates who receive matching funds.

Albanese hails from Brooklyn and served as a member of the NYC City Council from 1983 to 1998. In the twenty years since he left public office, Sal has run for mayor on two previous occasions as a reformer. Since leaving office, Albanese spent ten years working in financial services and the rest of the time as an attorney, doing related work. Based on his political career efforts, Albanese appears to support many of the same progressive causes as Mayor de Blasio.

 

Conservative Commentator Sliwa Backs Albanese Bid

I ran into conservative talk show commentator Curtis Sliwa of the Guardian Angels who told me he was there to support liberal reformer Sal Albanese. I found this to 2017 mayoral debates nyc bill de blasio sal albanese photosbe ironic - given that Sliwa is a conservative Republican commentator who a couple years ago publicly announced that he was going to run as a Republican for Queens Borough President, challenging Democrat Melinda Katz. When I asked him if he still planned to run as a Republican against Democrat Katz, he replied no, and said he was here tonight supporting Sal Albanese and the Reform Party.

 

NYC Mayoral Debates 2017

What follows is a summary,in lieu of a full accounting of the debate.

As I came out of the subway, I saw people gathered in front of Symphony Space. Some were supporters of the Mayor and some supporters for Goodwin, a challenger to the Upper West Side NYC City Councilwoman, Helen Rosenthal.

Inside I found that the free tickets had been fully subscribed, and while the auditorium was generally filled - it was not full - as not everyone used the tickets they booked.

Errol Louis of NY1 was the debate moderator and the debate panelists included: Brian Lehrer of WNYC, Laura Nahmias of Politico, Grace Rauh of NY1 and Juan Manuel Benitez of Noticias on NY1.

Each candidate opened with brief statements.

 

Albanese: Cites The Issues Facing NYC & America

Albanese started by talking about many of the major issues facing not just New York, but in many respects, all of America. He mentioned class warfare, pay to play politics, public transit investment, empty 2017 mayoral debates nyc bill de blasio sal albanese photosstorefronts, lawless developers, and the negative impact of gentrification on communities, public space and tenants.

 

De Blasio: Cites Administration Accomplishments

De Blasio started by talking about the accomplishments of his administration over the past three and a half years. He noted that his administration is in the process of building affordable housing for 500,000 tenants and is on time and on budget. That Stop N Frisk is down 93% while the NYC crime rate has continued to fall, so that NYC is now one of the safest big cities in America. And that 78,000 children are now attending pre-school. He said while his Administration has achieved a lot, there's a lot more to do.

The Mayoral Debate between Sal Albanese and Mayor Bill de Blasio in September 2017.


NYC Crime Continues To Drop, Breaking Records

Mayor de Blasio & NYPD Discuss City Safety & Ongoing Improvements

February 7, 2017 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Government / Gotham Buzz NYC.

public safety nyc crime rates queens crimeThis just came in on the heels of our coverage of the Public Safety discussion below. Mayor de Blasio and NY Police Commissioner O'Neill spoke in the Bronx regarding ongoing efforts and results in improving safety in the city. The following are some of the crime statistics noted in their meeting taken directly out of a press release sent by them.


Chief of Crime Control Strategies Dermot Shea, NYPD: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Good afternoon, everyone. As you've heard, we have begun a strong start to 2017 in terms of overall crime reduction. Strategies that have been put in place to address repeat offenders, illegal gun possession and gangs are having the desired effect. We're building on the momentum of the last few years.

  • So, some of the highlights for crime statistics from this January - overall index crime is down 0.2 percent for the month of January. When you carry it over to this morning, we are now down 2.7 percent in overall index crime in New York City.
  • To note - with the overall index crime, January marks the tenth consecutive month of reduced index crime. That's the momentum we've been talking about. Currently, four out of five boroughs in New York City - all but Queens - are down to start the year.
  • Homicides - we recorded 20 homicides in January. That's down two from 22. That 20, as the Mayor alluded to, is the lowest January that we have ever recorded going back a minimum into the 1960s.
  • Shooting incidents - down 1.7 percent in January. Last January we hit the modern mark with 59 shooting incidents. We came in with 58 this January.
  • Talking about momentum again - nine of the last 13 months we've had a reduction in shooting incidents. Nine of the last 13.
  • Three months in a row we've had a reduction in shooting incidents in New York City. We have now, when you look at New York City as a whole, we now have 24-hour periods where we do not record a shooting incident in New York City. That kind of thinking was impossible in the not too distant past.
  • This is the new normal. We want to build on it and we feel that we will build on it but there's still plenty of work to do.
  • Stabbings and slashings for January - down 7.2 percent.
  • Robberies - down 7.5 percent. Lowest January robbery number we've seen.
  • Felony assaults in New York City - down 5.4 percent.
  • Burglaries tied the lowest mark set last year.
  • Transit crime - down 1.4 percent.
  • And housing crime - not to be outdone - down 1.9 percent.
  • Clearly, a wide breath of crime across New York City - property and violent crime, down.

    But there is, I alluded to, there is still work to do - three categories we saw increases in January.
  • Rape was up 8.9 percent.
  • Grand larceny, specifically, credit card related skimming and forging of checks - those two drove grand larcenies. And grand larceny was up for the month of January 4.7 percent.
  • And lastly, rounding out the crime totals - stolen vehicles which we have seen drop to unprecedented lows saw an increase of ten cars for January. So, that's 480 versus 470 - a two percent increase.

Commissioner O'Neill: Okay, thanks, Dermot. We'll take your questions.

Question: Do you think it's possible, really to keep driving crime down further at this point? And how could you achieve that?

O'Neill's response was yes, with some added context.


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Clinton Defeats Sanders, Trump Defeats Rivals

Clinton 58% vs Sanders 42%; Trump 60% vs Kasich 24% & Cruz 15%

April 20, 2016 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Elections / Gotham Buzz NYC _ D.

Bernie Sanders has been campaigning in New York the past week, drawing large crowds ranging from thousands to tens of thousands, as if he were a rock star. But on Tuesday, the voters weighed in and handed Hillary Clinton a convincing victory, helping her widen her delegate lead, and likely put her on the path to the Democratic Party nomination.

Democratic Delegate Count

queens election returns 2016To win the Democratic Party nomination, a candidate needs 2383 delegates of 4763 total. Within that total there are 712 super delegates, who can align themselves / vote for whomever they want but there's pressure to vote in favor of the direction that the state voted. The remaining 4051 delegates are won via the voting process and are called pledged delegates.

According to the Associated Press estimate, following the NY State win, Hillary Clinton now has 1428 pledged delegates and 469 super delegates, while Bernie Sanders has 1151 pledged delegates and 31 super delegates. There are 1472 pledged delegates remaining, so to win a majority of pledged delegates, Hillary has to win 598 or 41% of the remaining pledged delegates, while Bernie has to win 874 or 59% of them. Clinton has already received commitments from more than half of the 'super delegates'.

Given Sanders is generally still behind in the polls in some of the larger remaining states [behind 16% in Pennsylvania and behind 8% in California], that seems a tall order. While the polls were dead wrong in Michigan, they were spot on in New York. The Sanders campaign told a news outlet Tuesday evening that they will see how they do in the contests this coming week and then evaluate their chances going forward. The Democratic Convention has been scheduled from July 25 - 28, 2016 in Philadelphia.

Republican Delegate Count

Meanwhile on the Republican side there wasn't much news. Trump won handily defeating Kasich and Cruz. The Republicans have 2473 total delegates and 1237 are needed to win. According to the Associated Press estimate, following the NY State win, Trump has 845 delegates, while Cruz has 559 and Kasich has 147.

Trump needs 392 more delegates [about 40%] to go uncontested to the Republican Convention. There are 992 delegates remaining, but according to CBS only 674 delegates are available in the remaining voting contests prior to the Convention. So Trump may have to win 60% of the remaining unpledged delegates to go to the Convention uncontested. The Republican Convention is scheduled for July 18 - 21, 2016 in Cleveland.

The voting contests next week include Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland and Delaware.

The fat lady hasn't yet sung, but it is beginning to look like a Clinton / Trump race to the White House.


On the Campaign Trail & 'Feeling the Bern'

Sanders Introduces Democratic Socialism to the American People

Updated April 19, 2016 from 4/15/16 / Village Neighborhood / NYC Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC _ D.

bernie sanders queens nyc photosIf nothing else, this has been an interesting presidential election cycle. It's not 'reality TV', its televised reality.

Making America Great ... again?

The Republicans attracted most of the attention early on, thanks mostly to Donald J. Trump's shock jock presidential candidacy. A candidacy that turned presidential debates about public policy into name calling, discussions of poll numbers & penis size, and relentless barrages of vituperative insults.

The Donald has, in his campaign, essentially told us to forgeddabout the ballooning government deficit, a dated and at times crumbling infrastructure, fixing our public education system, helping the shrinking middle class and addressing global climate change.

The Donald has distracted us from an intelligent discussion about these 'loser' subjects, and told us that he's going to rip 12 million people [the equivalent of about 5% of the nation's population] away from their families by deporting them, punishing women for getting abortions, and erecting a wall along the border with Mexico which he tells us the Mexicans are going to pay for.

Does Trump really think this is how to 'make America great ... again'?

Trump Candidacy Increases Ratings Which Translates to Profits

Trump may not make America great again, but he's been good for corporate-owned, network television ratings. The Hollywood Reporter quotes CBS Chairman, Leslie Moonves telling a Morgan Stanley conference in San Francisco on February 29th, 2016 that,

"The money's rolling in and this is fun ... this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It's a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going."

While Sanders Delivers Substance & Expands Public Debate

So while Donald Trump has been filling the pockets of corporate-owned mass media, Bernie Sanders - the man with the real story - has largely been ignored. Ignored by the mass media, but embraced by the social media and a signficant and growing segment of the American populace. In fact Sanders, during the past week of campaigning in New York, attracted crowds of tens of thousands, while the other candidates on both sides of the ticket did not.

Click here to see photos of the Bernie Sanders rally in LIC Queens, as well as a story about the contest between Sanders and Clinton.


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Brewer Gives State of the Borough Address

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer Talks About Manhattan 2016

gale brewer photo manhattan borough president photo 2016February 1, 2016 / NYC Government, Media & Politics / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz.

I attended Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer's State of the Borough Address on Sunday afternoon. The event was held at the New School at 63 5th Avenue just south of 14th Street in the Village neighborhood. Last year Gale Brewer gave her State of the Borough Address up at Columbia University, followed by a forum where she discussed general issues facing the borough. This year, at the New School, the forum topic was about engaging Manhattan borough youth through school and after-school activities.

Gale Brewer's State of the Borough Address

Brewer began her address by thanking all of the other government officials in attendance, as well as members of her family. She encouraged folks to keep out their phones and use Twitter to comment on the forum as it proceeded. The Twitter posts were shown on a big screen behind her, which is something I found more a distraction / nuisance than helpful - but I don't have Attention Deficit Disorder - so my opinion may not reflect the general populace.

Social & Economic Issues Facing Manhattan

state of manhattan address new school photoBrewer focused on about four topics: 1) affordable housing, 2) small business, 3) urban gardening, 4) police / community relations and 5) public schools.

She told us that she introduced 32 pieces of legislation this year, 8 of which were passed by the NYC City Council. The bills included: 1) shielding applicants arrest records from employers so they can't discriminate against people who had conflicts with the police, 2) the passage of paid sick leave for employees where she claimed that she did all the work to get the bill passed, while the Mayor got the credit, rezoning bills for 3) Midtown that she worked on with NYCCM Garodnick and NY City Planning for Midtown East and 4) rezoning for the South Street Seaport with NYCCM Chin wherein the real estate developer finally withdrew their plans for a large tower along the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge. She mentioned something about the Zoning legislation set forth by the de Blasio Administration to enable development of affordable housing, which didn't pass, but I didn't catch the gist of it.

Manhattan Borough President's Community Efforts in 2015

state of manhattan address new school photoThere were other things that Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer talked about that she and her staff had done last year including, a) working with the police and the community to improve relations [not sure what], b) hosting small business round tables and an urban gardening symposium, c) organizing two mixers with teachers and private businesses in the arts and technology, and d) something about presenting a large scale map of Manhattan on the 19th floor gallery.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer noted that the Upper West Side was heralded as the second most livable communities for the 50 plus crowd by some organization or magazine, which also cited New York City as the 5th most livable city for the 50 plus crowd in the larger cities category. Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer noted that the age to serve on Community Boards had been lowered to 16 years and that applications to serve on the Community Boards must be submitted by February 1, 2016 [now closed].

[Editor's Comment: One has to question the wisdom of allowing 16 year olds to represent a community as there's a great deal of life's lessons that one doesn't have at that age which leaves them susceptible to manipulation by powerful people and politicians. Isn't 18 or 21 young enough?]

Manhattan Borough President Hosts Panel Discussion About Youth at the New School

state of manhattan address new school photoThen the panel began which featured: 1) an African American Khary Lazarre-White of the Brotherhood / Sister Sol, 2) an Asian Sumie Okazaki of the NYU Steinhardt School, 3) a Hispanic Francisco J. Nunez of Young Peoples Chorus of NYC and 4) a Caucasian Marc Murphy who is a chef / restaurateur.

The topic of the discussion was how to engage youth. They talked about: 1) income / opportuity inequality and discrimination, 2) that not everyone is able or interested in being a Rhodes Scholar and hence need to be engaged with in other endeavors or they become lost, 3) that music, farming and food are several of such avenues, 4) that income segregated housing isn't good for society, 5) that immigrant parents' language capabilities limit their ability to help their children evolve, 6) that ethics should be a part of the school curriculum because it's not always taught and reinforced in the home, and 7) that managing the impact of social media on kids complicates educators and parents ability to manage social situations that go awry.

Unfortunately I could not stay for the entire discussion, but I think you can get a flavor of the event from what I've reported above. Have a good year.


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Albany Legislative Session To End Friday

Pending Bills: Public School Funding & Rent Stabilization Law

nys governor cuomo photoJune 15, 2015 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Government / Gotham Buzz.

There are two important bills expected to be finalized by the New York State Legislature this week: 1) one having to do with taxation and funding for the public schools and 2) the second having to do with NYC rent stabilization law.

I've been paying some modest measure of attention to both of these bills, and the following is a brief snapshot of a critical talking point in each bill.

Use Public Money To Fund Private Education?

From what I can gather, perhaps the most contentious item in the public education funding bill is the provision for sizeable tax deductions for those who choose to send their children to private, not public schools.

As I understand it, these tax deductions would be included as part of the funding for the public schools budget and therefore will reduce what's left for the NYS / NYC public school systems.

It's worth noting that private school tuition in NYC can cost in the range of about $5,000 to $30,000 per year per student. And that there are about 900 private schools in NYC alone, so depending on how these proposed deductions are ultimately structured, the funds reallocated from the public schools to private individuals would be in the tens to hundreds of millions of dollars and possibly more.

You might want to contact Governor Cuomo's office at 1.518.474.8390 to let him know you support or oppose the measure, since we understand that he's been the major force pushing for this public school funding change. You can also send him an email via the Governor's contact form at http://www.governor.ny.gov/contact/GovernorContactForm.php

Albany & Expiring Rent Stabilization Laws

rent stabilzation laws nyc manhattanThe Rent Stabilization Laws are due to expire tonight, June 15, 2015.

There was talk earlier this year that there would be a push to expand or strengthen the Rent Stabilization Laws given the rapid growth in homelessness in New York City. The NYC homeless population is currently estimated at over 60,000 or nearly 1% of the entire NYC population. About 70% of New York City residents are renters, of which about two million of less than eight and a half million residents, live in rent stabilized apartments.

Over the past decade or so, the Rent Stabilization Laws have been curtailed in the favor of the free market and landlords. The curtailment of rent price control legislation is believed to have spurred additional real estate development investment, as the profits of most new buildings are no longer affected by rent stabilization laws.

Much of the rapid growth in homelessness over the past decade is believed to be the result of tenants losing their rent stabilized apartments, as new owners of buildings have found ways to circumvent the laws. A recent NYU Furman Center Study has shown the loss of over 330,000 unsubsidized affordable apartments since 2002, due in part to the rent stabilization legislative changes referenced above.

NYS legislative insiders told me that tenants rights supporters were hoping to make legislative gains this year, but that the NYS Assemblypeople and NYS Senators opposing the changes, were going to allow the rent stabilization laws to expire as a negotiating tactic.

Vicki Been, Commissioner of NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, informed us that the current rent stabilization laws remain in effect through the term of existing leases and leases up for renewal that are already in the hands of the tenants. She also said that tenants should call 311 with any questions or problems.

Cuomo & NYS Officials - Quinnipiac Poll

nyc public schools fundingOn June 3, 2015 Quinnipiac released a poll showing voters are feeling negatively about the NYS Legislature as a whole, while continuing to favor their local representatives. In the poll Governor Cuomo has only a 2% margin of those favoring him.

Governor Cuomo had a 44% approval rating versus 42% disapproval rating, as voters are not satisfied with his handling of the corruption scandals that have plagued Albany this year. In February 2015 Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver [Democrat Manhattan] was indicted on federal corruption charges. And in May 2015 NYS Senate Leader Dean Skelos [Republican Long Island] was indicted by a federal Grand Jury.

Less than a year ago, NYS gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University surprised polls by garnering nearly 2 votes for every 3 won by the governor in the NYS Democratic primary. Ms. Teachout did not have much in the way of significant private backing or union support, but won nearly 40% of the vote waging an online campaign.

According to the Quinnipiac poll, voters by a margin of 52% - 32% said that with respect to Albany's corruption problem:

"... the Governor is part of the problem, not part of the solution."

As for the NYS Assemblymembers and NYS Senators the Quinnipiac Poll reported the following:

"Voters disapprove 60 - 26 percent of the job the State Legislature is doing, but approve 44 - 37 percent of their own Assembly member and approve 54 - 31 percent of their own state senator."

"At the same time, 45 percent of voters say their state senator should be thrown out in a general house-cleaning, while 40 percent say their senator deserves reelection."

"Voters are divided 41 - 41 percent on whether their Assembly member should be reelected or thrown out."

As you can see, the sentiments collected in the Quinnipiac poll seem a bit contradictory, as the answers received depend on how the questions are stated. Nonetheless, this looks to be an interesting legislative week as things wind down in Albany, and as the 2016 election cycle begins to ramp up.


New York City Makes 'Budget Handshake'

manhattan politics new york city governmentJune 23, 2015 / NYC Neigbhorhoods / NYC Government & Politics / Gotham Buzz.

We received this missive from New York City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal of the Upper West Side. We've made few edits, but the text is essentially a reprint of her email.

Over 100 hours of budget hearings revealed much information that helped to shape the final agreement. [Helen Rosenthal said that] As a member of the City Council's Finance Committee and the Budget Negotiating Team, I can honestly say that all 51 members of the Council had input to ensure that New Yorkers in every borough will get the services they need. In addition to major investments in neighborhood police, there is additional funding for mental health services, veterans, and Vision Zero education.

Photo Credit: William Alatriste for the New York City Council

Education and Youth

• There will be an increase of 80 school crossing guards citywide, and the Upper West Side will gain more crossing guards. Renewed focus on recruitment and retention will happen in discussions over the summer.
• There are unprecedented amounts of funding for our young adults from summer jobs and year-round jobs to support for City University of New York (CUNY) students to keep them in college and help them graduate.
• The additional $39 million for libraries will yield 6-7 day a week service in every borough.
• The free lunch program in middle schools will continue, and there will be an expansion of the "breakfast after the bell" program, so that all elementary schools will offer it by 2018.
• Teachers will receive up to $125 in reimbursement for school supplies that they bring into the classroom. While this is an improvement, it is not enough. We must give teachers all the tools they need to teach well, and I will continue to work to improve this system in the next fiscal year.

Tenant Protections

• Over $35 million for lawyers, clinics, and advocacy to support tenants who experience harassment by landlords - the largest the City has ever dedicated to this issue.
• Dedicated legal advice for public housing (NYCHA) residents in housing court at 250 Broadway.
• Dedicated team of inspectors to investigate particularly egregious landlords.

Seniors and Safety Net

• Elimination of the wait list for seniors needing home care services.
• Commitment to build 5,000 new units of senior affordable housing over the next five years with dedicated on-site social services.
• Additional funding for the emergency food program and local food banks.
• The largest investment in addressing elder abuse through outreach and social services.

Small Business Support

• Dedicated funds to local Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and civic associations. Council members will be able to designate money to support small business in their area.
• Double the investments in worker cooperative support yielding an additional 30-40 new worker-owned businesses throughout the City.

Contract Services

• Community-based organizations providing EarlyLearn NYC services will receive wage parity with DOE employees providing that service.
• Increase of the minimum wage of "Human Service" contract workers to $11.50/hour with targeted career ladder support.
• Funding to continue providing local services from small, community non-profits that lost contracts through the citywide process.

The City Council will formally "adopt" the City's budget at a Stated meeting later this week. At that time, we will have additional information about my dedicated funding for the Upper West Side.

Again, this a reprint of an email from New York City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal of the Upper West Side.


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De Blasio's State Of The City Address

NYC Mayor Maps Out A Framework To Tackle NYC's Affordable Housing Crisis

mayor de blasio state of the city address photoReal Estate Lobbyist: "Zoning Is The Equivalent Of Minting Money"

February 9, 2015 / NYC Neigbhorhoods / NYC Government & Politics / Gotham Buzz.

Mayor Bill de Blasio sent the NYC political, media and real estate worlds abuzz on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 when he laid out his administration's plan to solve one of the severest shortages of affordable housing in the history of New York City. It seems everyone had something to say in response to it - from the folks on the street to the NYS Governor. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is shown standing in the bottom left corner of the photo, after giving his first State of the City Address.

The housing crisis in New York City reached crisis proportions during the Bloomberg Administration. Former Mayor Bloomberg's approach to the issue was to let rent regulated apartments expire or become transformed to encourage investment, provide generous tax incentives and city land deals to real estate developers to build luxury high rise apartments, and build more homeless shelters.mayor de blasio state of city address nyc photos

A severe shortage of affordable housing was lurking in the background, as candidate Bill de Blasio began running for the office of mayor with the theme of "the tale of two cities". His campaign keyed into the pinch being felt by the 70% of New Yorkers who rent.

Thus one year later, while giving his first State of the City Address, the 109th Mayor of New York City put the affordable housing problem front and center for his Administration in a manner similar to what he had done on the campaign trail.

And in doing so, the Mayor set afire talk about affordable housing by city and state pols, the media and city real estate developers.

Click here later in the week to read the rest of our report about Mayor Bill de Blasio's State of the City Address, including reactions by banking and real estate executives, members of labor unions and other government officials. By Michael Wood.


Tuesday - Primary Elections

The Real 'Choice' Is In The Primaries

primary elections queens poll locator placesSeptember 8, 2014 / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Manhattan Politics / Gotham Buzz.

Tuesday, September 9th, is an important election day as most Manhattan races are decided at that time given the borough of Manhattan is comprised of about 80% Democrats.

On Tuesday the polls open at 6 am and close at 9 pm for the primary elections for New York state and federal offices. The polls are primarily staffed by civic volunteers.

The number of people who vote in the primaries is about 10 - 25% of the electorate, generally ending up on the lower end of that range. Hence, every vote carries far more weight than in the general election.

Knowing who the candidates are, what they really stand for and voting for them is one of the key pillars of our democracy. Many of our ancestors died fighting for this right and almost all of our early American ancestors took great risks to come here to exercise that right.

One of my favorite quotes of Thomas Jefferson is, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free . . . it expects what never was and never will be".

I know you're busy with all kinds of other responsibilities. But I hope you'll do your best to stay informed about who the candidates are and make the effort to vote for those who best represent your point of view. It's a small investment to make to ensure we maintain our rights and freedoms. You needn't look far around the world to see what life is like in places that don't enjoy the right to elect / choose those who govern them.

Click here to find your Manhattan polling place - and again polls are open from 6 am - 9 pm.


De Blasio Wins Primary But May Face Runoff, Stringer Edges Out Spitzer

MayoralForumSeptember 11, 2013 / NYC Politics / NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz.

Scott Stringer, outgoing Manhattan Borough President, edged out Elliot Spitzer in the Democratic primary. Bill De Blasio won the Democratic NYC Mayoral primary with about 40% of the vote. A tabulation of some paper ballots may determine whether there will be a runoff later this month.

And Gale Brewer, City Council Member of the Upper West Side inManhattan District 6 won nearly 40% of the vote in the race for Manhattan Borough President. Jessica Lappin, formerly Community Board One Chair won nearly 24% of the vote and City Council Member Robert Jackson of District 7 of Morningside Heights and West Harlem won 29% of the vote. In District 5 Ben Kallos won nearly 46% of the vote, while Assemblyman Micah Kellner won nearly 40% of the vote. And in District 4 there wasn't any primary as the candidates went uncontested.


murray hill neighborhood nycStringer Conditionally Approves Midtown East Development

September 12, 2013 / Manhattan Politics & Government / Gotham Buzz. We attended the Community Board 6 Meeting in Manhattan on Wednesday following the election and heard the announcement that outgoing Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer had conditionally approved the large scale development in the eastern section of Midtown Manhattan.

We'll have more about the Midtown East real estate development, including residents' and businesses' concerns about it in a future report.


Borough Presidents Race September 10th

July 2013 / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Manhattan Politics / Gotham Buzz. The primary election for Manhattan Borough President will come to a close on September 10th. Click here to find your NYC polling place at http://www.vote.nyc.ny.us/html/voters/where.shtml

Midtown / UES / UWS - Manhattan NYC

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