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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, August 6


New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

There’s a state fundraising deadline on Thursday night, meaning candidates -- especially those in competitive party primaries -- for statewide and state legislative positions will be holding events and soliciting donations online for much of the week, hoping to bolster their abilities to get their messages out and affect the narrative around their candidacies and races heading into the final weeks before the September 13 primary and months before the November 6 general election.

The primary is just five weeks from this Thursday.

At this point, perhaps the most interesting and competitive statewide race is the Democratic primary for Attorney General, featuring four qualified candidates: Letitia James, Sean Patrick Maloney, Leecia Eve, and Zephyr Teachout. The candidates all shared a stage for the first time last week and attention on the race continues to heat up after a recent Siena poll showed that 42 percent of likely primary voters were undecided in the race. There’s a televised debate scheduled for August 28 on NY1, but Teachout and Eve are calling for a handful of other broadcast debates. (The candidates have each been appearing on the Max & Murphy podcast from Gotham Gazette and City Limits, with Rep. Maloney scheduled for this week. Hear interviews with Teachout; James; and Eve.)

The Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor also appears wide open, despite the fact that there is an incumbent, Kathy Hochul, running. The Siena poll showed almost 50 percent undecided between Hochul and Jumaane Williams.

It’s unclear, though, if polls are capturing the likely voter pool, especially given the energy on the progressive left, which would appear to be a boon for Teachout, Williams, and gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, who was far behind incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo in the Siena poll, which took into account “likely” primary voters in its modeling, though the Nixon campaign still questioned the sample Siena contacted and raised the question of whether even a better sample would truly gauge the electorate in today’s climate. We’ll know a lot more on September 13.

We’re awaiting news on one or more debates between Cuomo and Nixon. The governor has vaguely said there will be a debate, but has not agreed to a specific one as of yet. Williams and Hochul appeared on the same stage recently, it is unclear when they may have one or more broadcast debates. The primary has become increasingly nasty, with criticisms over one another’s past issue stances, but also Hochul calling on Williams to release five years of his taxes, as he has pushed for President Trump to do, and releasing an ad attacking Williams for his personal financial troubles, including debt related to an unsuccessful small business and a home loan. Williams has responded by calling Hochul an out-of-touch elitist who has been silent in the face of corruption in state economic development programs, while others have also criticized Hochul’s ad targeting Williams’ finances. (Listen to the Max & Murphy interviews with Williams and with Hochul.)

And there are, of course, also quite a few competitive legislative primaries, including the challenges being waged against the former members of the Independent Democratic Conference of the state Senate. Six of the eight IDC districts include parts of New York City. The two candidates in one race, Manhattan’s Senate District 31, appeared on this past week’s Max & Murphy show on WBAI. Listen to Senator Marisol Alcantara and challenger Robert Jackson discuss their race. And this week on Max & Murphy, Senator Tony Avella and challenger John Liu will appear (after Rep. Maloney).

There are few Republican primaries across the state, as the party has coalesced around its statewide candidates and is not seeing the type of infighting that Democrats have playing out this summer. The GOP is trying to hold onto its last bastion of statewide power in control of the Senate, while also attempting to win a statewide race for the first time since Governor George Pataki won his third term in 2002.

While the elections will increasingly be the focus as we head toward September, there is also governing and policy happening, including related to the MTA, NYCHA, NYPD, housing and neighborhood development, the taxi and for-hire vehicle industry (industries?), marijuana legalization, and more. Keep an eye out this week for news related to a federal monitor of NYCHA, movement in the NYPD departmental trial of two officers involved in Eric Garner’s death, and more, including for-hire vehicle regulations and land use decisions likely being passed by the City Council.

There are also several interesting panel and other events to be aware of -- see our day-by-day rundown below. 

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
e-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
"On Monday, Mayor de Blasio will deliver remarks at the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees board meeting. This event is closed press." Later, at 4 p.m. at City Hall, "the Mayor will hold public hearings for and sign seven pieces of legislation: Int. 399-B, to require the Department of the Aging to report annually on senior center costs and utilization; Int. 411-A, to require annual inspections of senior centers that are also food service establishments; Int. 510-B and Int. 724-A regarding a bill of a rights for those seeking bail bond services; Int. 741-A, requiring the city to provide free domestic telephone service to individuals within the custody of the department of corrections; Int. 779-A, requires the Department of Correction to issue reports on the use tasers; and Int. 981-A, requires online short-term rental platforms to report data about those transactions to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement. The Mayor will also hold a public hearing on Int. 157-C, which reduces permitted capacity for certain waste transfer stations in the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. This event is open press. There will be no Q-and-A." And, in the evening, the Mayor will appear on NY1’s Inside City Hall in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.

On Monday at 11:30 a.m., "Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and Council Member Mark Treyger will lead a community rally denouncing a pattern of anti-Chinese graffiti found at several sites in Bensonhurst, urging the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to investigate and designate these acts as hate crimes. Joined by leaders in the Chinese-American community, as well as elected officials such as Assembly Member William Colton and District Leader Nancy Tong, they will address the profane graffiti discovered over the weekend and a greater trend of bias-based crimes that have been committed across Brooklyn in recent days, including an alleged subway attack on a South Korean national last month on a Coney Island-bound N train."

At noon Monday, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will visit Judith C. White Senior Center in Manhattan with Senator Brad Hoylman.

At 2 p.m. Monday, New York Taxi Worker Alliance "app driver members, along with fellow NYTWA members who drive yellow, green, livery and black cars, will rally in Long Island City" in support of for-hire vehicle legislation in the City Council and to respond to the ad campaign by Uber and Lyft.

This week's What's The [Data] Point? podcast from Gotham Gazette and Citizens Budget Commission will be recorded and published on Monday, and will focus on MTA finances.

On Monday, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney will launch "30 town halls across New York State in the next 30 days," beginning with a telephone town hall Monday evening, in his campaign for Attorney General of New York.

At 7 p.m. Monday, gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon and lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Jumaane Williams will join activist Ady Barkan, journalist Shaun King, City Council Member Brad Lander, and others at Barkan’s “Be A Hero” forum in Brooklyn. Speakers will discuss “rejuvenating our democracy and mobilizing the progressive movement to make bold, systemic changes in New York.” The event is being hosted by Working Families Party, Make the Road Action, NY Communities for Change, Center for Popular Democracy Action, and the Be A Hero Fund, and will take place at the Green Building in Gowanus.

Tuesday
At the City Council on Tuesday: The Committee on Consumer Affairs will meet at 10:30 a.m. to discuss a proposed law allowing businesses selling tobacco products (save for cigarettes) 180 days to obtain a tobacco retail license if they have not done so already.

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, Republican nominee for Attorney General Keith Wofford will join the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce to discuss his candidacy, as part of the Chamber’s “Attorney General Roundtable” series, open to Chamber members.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the Board of Standards and Appeals will hold a public hearing at Spector Hall.

On Tuesday, “Congressional Candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and NYS Attorney General Barbara Underwood will be appearing at the Immigrant Arts Summit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. AG Underwood will be delivering a keynote address at 10AM and Ocasio-Cortez will be participating in a panel on mobilizing and organizing women through the arts at 10:30AM,” among other aspects of the summit.

Tuesday night is National Night Out Against Crime, with events all over the city, often in conjunction with local police precincts.

Wednesday
The City Council will hold a stated meeting at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Speaker Corey Johnson will likely host a pre-stated press conference at about 12:30 p.m.

Also at the City Council on Wednesday:
--The Committee on Finance will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss resolutions calling on the state to give the city design-build authority for capital projects, calling for “additional financing by the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation,” and “approving the new designation and changes in the designation of certain organizations to receive funding in the Expense Budget.”
--The Committee on Rules, Privileges, and Elections will meet at 10:30 a.m. to discuss the nomination of Health & Hospitals President Mitchell Katz to the City’s Board of Health.

At 8 a.m. Wednesday, the New York City Campaign Finance Board and New York Law School will host a panel on “improving NYC’s campaign finance program.” Frederick Schaffer, the CFB Chair, will give introductory remarks, which will be followed by a panel consisting of Citizens Union Executive Director and former Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, former City Council Speaker and current President of Women in Need Christine Quinn, and City Council Members Ritchie Torres and Eric Ulrich.

At 9 a.m. Wednesday, Democratic Attorney General candidate Zephyr Teachout will join the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce to discuss her candidacy, as part of the Chamber’s “Attorney General Roundtable” series, open to Chamber members.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting at 120 Broadway.

At noon Wednesday, the New York State Board of Elections will hold a commissioners’ meeting in Albany.

At 4 p.m. Wednesday, the Civilian Complaint Review Board will meet at 100 Church Street in Manhattan.

This week's Max & Murphy radio show/podcast will first air Wednesday from 5-6 p.m. on WBAI, 99.5FM and streaming at wbai.org, and will feature three interviews: with U.S. Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democratic candidate for New York Attorney General (Hear recent interviews with Maloney's opponents: Zephyr TeachoutLetitia James; and Leecia Eve.); State Senator Tony Avella of Queens; and Avella's Democratic primary challenger, former city Comptroller John Liu.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon will join a roundtable with Asian-American community leaders at Bellozino in Jackson Heights.

On Wednesday at 6 p.m., “U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) will host a town hall meeting at The Riverside Church in Morningside Heights. Gillibrand will take questions from constituents on issues ranging from health care to jobs and the economy. Last summer, Gillibrand hosted eight town halls across New York State, and this event will be the third of several more town halls Gillibrand will host around the state this year as part of her commitment to hearing from as many New Yorkers as possible.”

Thursday
At 8 a.m. Thursday, the Association for a Better New York will host a “Power Breakfast” discussing “how we’re spending” New York’s $89 billion budget and “what it means.” Panelists include Melanie Hartzog, the Mayor’s Budget Director; Carol Kellermann, President of the Citizens Budget Commission; Latonia McKinney, Director of the City Council’s Finance division; and Preston Niblack, the Deputy City Comptroller. David Goodman of The New York Times will moderate the event at the Hilton Hotel in Midtown.

At 9 a.m. Thursday, City & State will host its “Diversity Summit & Awards” at 36 Battery Place in Manhattan, discussing New York’s diversity initiatives, particularly in the realm of contracting and partnerships between state and local government. New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado will deliver the keynote address. Other speakers will include City Council Member Mark Gjonaj; State Senator James Sanders; Jonnel Doris, Director of the Mayor’s MWBE Office; Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services; Lisette Camillo, Commissioner of DCAS; Michael Garner, Chief Diversity Officer for the MTA; and others.

At 10 a.m. Thursday, the New York City Campaign Finance Board will hold a board meeting at 100 Church Street.

Friday and the weekend
Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show on Friday at 10 a.m.

***
Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

***
by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max
@GothamGazette



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