Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/charles-rangel 2017-12-12T17:48:30+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Rangel’s Replacement Decided, Other Uptown Races Take Shape 2016-06-30T04:00:00+00:00 2016-06-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6423:with-rangel-s-replacement-decided-other-uptown-races-take-shape Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/espaillat_wright_presser_june_30_2016.jpg" alt="espaillat wright presser june 30 2016" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>Espaillat &amp; co at unity press conference (photo via @EspaillatNY)</p> <hr /> <p>After 46 years and 23 terms, voters in the 13th Congressional District in Harlem have chosen someone other than Rep. Charles Rangel to represent them. The retiring 86-year-old, a legendary figure in Harlem&rsquo;s political scene, appeared to want to extend his legacy by keeping the seat he had held for decades in the hands of an experienced politician of his choosing, but changing community demographics, a 2012 redistricting, and a crowded 2016 Democratic primary field seem to have thwarted his efforts.</p> <p>State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who lost to Rangel in the 2012 and 2014 Democratic primaries, appears to have edged out a 1,200-vote win over his closest challenger and Rangel&rsquo;s prefered successor, Assemblymember Keith Wright. After initially refusing to concede, calling for every vote to be counted, and demanding a federal investigation into voter suppression, Wright declared Espaillat the winner on Thursday. Rangel, Espaillat, and Wright held a unity meeting and press conference, with Espaillat saying he expected to have Rangel as a mentor.</p> <p>Espaillat would be the first Dominican and the first formerly undocumented member of Congress. His win gives a boon to Hispanic political power, in New York City and elsewhere, while also showing a decline the strength of black political power in Harlem and nearby. In this heavily Democratic district, the winner of the party primary is a lock to win the November general.</p> <p>The outcome has other implications, too, especially around the state Legislature, with a game of musical chairs appearing to commence.</p> <p>While every vote in the NY-13 race is indeed counted, Espaillat&rsquo;s apparent congressional victory lends clarity to the race for his state Senate seat and raises questions about Wright&rsquo;s political future.</p> <p>Wright, who chairs the powerful Assembly housing committee, pledged in early June not to seek reelection to his Assembly seat should he lose and challenged Espaillat to promise not to run for his Senate seat should his bid fall short. Espaillat&rsquo;s camp dismissed the pledge as &ldquo;desperate.&rdquo; State legislative primaries are in September.</p> <p>Contenders have lined up for both seats. Micah Lasher, a former chief of staff to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, launched a campaign last month with the caveat that he would drop out if Espaillat lost his congressional bid and sought reelection to the Senate. With Espaillat&rsquo;s victory Lasher now seems locked in for a primary battle against former City Council Member Robert Jackson, who challenged Espaillat in 2014. Jackson endorsed Wright in the congressional primary and attended Thursday&rsquo;s press conference.</p> <p>So far that race has featured Jackson <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/micah-lasher-hit-ties-pro-charter-group-blog-entry-1.2613159" target="_blank">attacking Lasher</a> for his previous work for education reform group StudentsFirstNY, a pro-charter school group that has campaigned against Senate Democrats. Lasher&rsquo;s camp has in turn pointed out that Lasher has personally supported Democratic candidates. Lasher has been consolidating support among many elected Democrats, though the race will gain even more clarity now that Espaillat's future is clear.</p> <p>Less clear is the future of Wright&rsquo;s Assembly seat. Wright endorsed City Council Member Inez Dickens to replace him (she was also at Thursday&rsquo;s press conference), but with his loss many Harlem insiders wonder if Wright could renege on his promise. Wright may decide, though, to run for the Council seat Dickens is said to be leaving. There is plenty of chatter about Wright positioning himself to challenge Espaillat in two years, especially if he can work to ensure that there are fewer other black candidates in the running.</p> <p>On Wednesday, Wright&rsquo;s campaign invited reporters to an event featuring Wright and Rev. Al Sharpton, who had held a fiery rally condemning Wright&rsquo;s opponents last weekend. Wright didn&rsquo;t appear at the event and Sharpton struck a conciliatory tone, asking the district to come together to support Espaillat - which is what happened on Thursday.</p> <p>&ldquo;We need to have a climate of coming together, and not of acrimony and rancor that pits communities against communities inside the district,&rdquo; Sharpton told reporters. Espaillat&rsquo;s statement on Wednesday echoed Sharpton&rsquo;s pleas for unity. &ldquo;To those who voted for one of my worthy opponents - I pledge to work my heart out to represent you, knowing that our district is not a Latino or black or Asian district. It's a district that belongs to all of us, and we simply cannot succeed unless all of us are moving forward together," Espaillat said.</p> <p><a href="http://observer.com/2016/06/after-weekend-race-rant-al-sharpton-wants-coming-together-in-rangels-district/" target="_blank">According to The Observer</a>, Charlie King, Wright&rsquo;s top advisor, who did attend the event on Wednesday, appeared to dismiss the possibility of Wright positioning himself for a future congressional run. &ldquo;I either see him in Congress, or I see him hanging out with me in the private sector, having fun and going to the beach,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I would anticipate that whoever wins this race will likely hold the seat for years to come.&rdquo;</p> <p>What Wright does about his Assembly seat is the next shoe to drop as the Lasher-Jackson Senate race heats up. Dickens was an active supporter of Wright&rsquo;s congressional campaign and appears keen to move to the Assembly. She will be term-limited out of the Council at the end of 2017. There are no term limits for state legislators, Wright has served in the Assembly since 1992. Neither Wright&rsquo;s nor Dickens&rsquo; representatives responded to requests for comment for this story.</p> <p>The practice of trading City Council and state legislative seats is fairly common and easily achievable due to the facts that almost all races in New York City are decided during the Democratic primary and city and state elections do not occur in the same years. Current Council Member Inez Barron ran for her husband Charles Barron&rsquo;s Council seat after he was term-limited out of office - he then successfully ran for her Assembly seat the following year.</p> <p>The practice has an extremely high success rate because the Democratic County Committees have major sway in who runs and gets political and financial backing. Wright is the head of the Manhattan Democrats and would likely be able to maneuver himself into an easily winnable race should he choose to do so.</p> <p>If he does indeed decline to seek re-election, his replacement will be chosen in September&rsquo;s primary (agian, by virtue of the fact that there is virtually no Republican presence in Upper Manhattan). If Dickens were to win the seat, she would leave the Council and Wright could then run in the special election to replace her.</p> <p>

***
by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/espaillat_wright_presser_june_30_2016.jpg" alt="espaillat wright presser june 30 2016" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>Espaillat &amp; co at unity press conference (photo via @EspaillatNY)</p> <hr /> <p>After 46 years and 23 terms, voters in the 13th Congressional District in Harlem have chosen someone other than Rep. Charles Rangel to represent them. The retiring 86-year-old, a legendary figure in Harlem&rsquo;s political scene, appeared to want to extend his legacy by keeping the seat he had held for decades in the hands of an experienced politician of his choosing, but changing community demographics, a 2012 redistricting, and a crowded 2016 Democratic primary field seem to have thwarted his efforts.</p> <p>State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who lost to Rangel in the 2012 and 2014 Democratic primaries, appears to have edged out a 1,200-vote win over his closest challenger and Rangel&rsquo;s prefered successor, Assemblymember Keith Wright. After initially refusing to concede, calling for every vote to be counted, and demanding a federal investigation into voter suppression, Wright declared Espaillat the winner on Thursday. Rangel, Espaillat, and Wright held a unity meeting and press conference, with Espaillat saying he expected to have Rangel as a mentor.</p> <p>Espaillat would be the first Dominican and the first formerly undocumented member of Congress. His win gives a boon to Hispanic political power, in New York City and elsewhere, while also showing a decline the strength of black political power in Harlem and nearby. In this heavily Democratic district, the winner of the party primary is a lock to win the November general.</p> <p>The outcome has other implications, too, especially around the state Legislature, with a game of musical chairs appearing to commence.</p> <p>While every vote in the NY-13 race is indeed counted, Espaillat&rsquo;s apparent congressional victory lends clarity to the race for his state Senate seat and raises questions about Wright&rsquo;s political future.</p> <p>Wright, who chairs the powerful Assembly housing committee, pledged in early June not to seek reelection to his Assembly seat should he lose and challenged Espaillat to promise not to run for his Senate seat should his bid fall short. Espaillat&rsquo;s camp dismissed the pledge as &ldquo;desperate.&rdquo; State legislative primaries are in September.</p> <p>Contenders have lined up for both seats. Micah Lasher, a former chief of staff to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, launched a campaign last month with the caveat that he would drop out if Espaillat lost his congressional bid and sought reelection to the Senate. With Espaillat&rsquo;s victory Lasher now seems locked in for a primary battle against former City Council Member Robert Jackson, who challenged Espaillat in 2014. Jackson endorsed Wright in the congressional primary and attended Thursday&rsquo;s press conference.</p> <p>So far that race has featured Jackson <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/micah-lasher-hit-ties-pro-charter-group-blog-entry-1.2613159" target="_blank">attacking Lasher</a> for his previous work for education reform group StudentsFirstNY, a pro-charter school group that has campaigned against Senate Democrats. Lasher&rsquo;s camp has in turn pointed out that Lasher has personally supported Democratic candidates. Lasher has been consolidating support among many elected Democrats, though the race will gain even more clarity now that Espaillat's future is clear.</p> <p>Less clear is the future of Wright&rsquo;s Assembly seat. Wright endorsed City Council Member Inez Dickens to replace him (she was also at Thursday&rsquo;s press conference), but with his loss many Harlem insiders wonder if Wright could renege on his promise. Wright may decide, though, to run for the Council seat Dickens is said to be leaving. There is plenty of chatter about Wright positioning himself to challenge Espaillat in two years, especially if he can work to ensure that there are fewer other black candidates in the running.</p> <p>On Wednesday, Wright&rsquo;s campaign invited reporters to an event featuring Wright and Rev. Al Sharpton, who had held a fiery rally condemning Wright&rsquo;s opponents last weekend. Wright didn&rsquo;t appear at the event and Sharpton struck a conciliatory tone, asking the district to come together to support Espaillat - which is what happened on Thursday.</p> <p>&ldquo;We need to have a climate of coming together, and not of acrimony and rancor that pits communities against communities inside the district,&rdquo; Sharpton told reporters. Espaillat&rsquo;s statement on Wednesday echoed Sharpton&rsquo;s pleas for unity. &ldquo;To those who voted for one of my worthy opponents - I pledge to work my heart out to represent you, knowing that our district is not a Latino or black or Asian district. It's a district that belongs to all of us, and we simply cannot succeed unless all of us are moving forward together," Espaillat said.</p> <p><a href="http://observer.com/2016/06/after-weekend-race-rant-al-sharpton-wants-coming-together-in-rangels-district/" target="_blank">According to The Observer</a>, Charlie King, Wright&rsquo;s top advisor, who did attend the event on Wednesday, appeared to dismiss the possibility of Wright positioning himself for a future congressional run. &ldquo;I either see him in Congress, or I see him hanging out with me in the private sector, having fun and going to the beach,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I would anticipate that whoever wins this race will likely hold the seat for years to come.&rdquo;</p> <p>What Wright does about his Assembly seat is the next shoe to drop as the Lasher-Jackson Senate race heats up. Dickens was an active supporter of Wright&rsquo;s congressional campaign and appears keen to move to the Assembly. She will be term-limited out of the Council at the end of 2017. There are no term limits for state legislators, Wright has served in the Assembly since 1992. Neither Wright&rsquo;s nor Dickens&rsquo; representatives responded to requests for comment for this story.</p> <p>The practice of trading City Council and state legislative seats is fairly common and easily achievable due to the facts that almost all races in New York City are decided during the Democratic primary and city and state elections do not occur in the same years. Current Council Member Inez Barron ran for her husband Charles Barron&rsquo;s Council seat after he was term-limited out of office - he then successfully ran for her Assembly seat the following year.</p> <p>The practice has an extremely high success rate because the Democratic County Committees have major sway in who runs and gets political and financial backing. Wright is the head of the Manhattan Democrats and would likely be able to maneuver himself into an easily winnable race should he choose to do so.</p> <p>If he does indeed decline to seek re-election, his replacement will be chosen in September&rsquo;s primary (agian, by virtue of the fact that there is virtually no Republican presence in Upper Manhattan). If Dickens were to win the seat, she would leave the Council and Wright could then run in the special election to replace her.</p> <p>

***
by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p>
New York Congressional Primary Results; Espaillat, Teachout Among Winners 2016-06-28T04:00:00+00:00 2016-06-28T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6420:new-york-congressional-primary-results-espaillat-teachout-among-winners Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Espaillat_presser.jpg" alt="Espaillat presser" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>Adriano Espaillat (photo: @EspaillatNY)</p> <hr /> <p>New York voters chose congressional candidates in 13 primaries across the state on Tuesday, with seven of those contests taking place within New York City&mdash;all of which were Democratic. New York has 27 seats in the House of Representatives.</p> <p>While the current New York City congressional delegation consists of 11 Democrats and one Republican, a makeup that is unlikely to change this year, results from key primaries in three swing districts outside the city have set the stage for races that could factor into which party controls the House after November&rsquo;s elections.</p> <p>In the most-watched and only competitive primary in New York City, nine candidates contended to be the Democratic nominee for New York&rsquo;s 13th Congressional District, where longtime incumbent Charlie Rangel announced he will step down after 46 years in office. The district includes much of Upper Manhattan and some of the South Bronx. Because the district is overwhelmingly Democratic, the primary winner is a lock to become the next district representative in Congress.</p> <p>State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who lost primary challenges to Rangel in 2012 and 2014, declared victory in NY-13, barely defeating Assemblymember Keith Wright. While Wright did not immediately concede, asserting that every vote must be counted and that efforts to suppress the vote of African-Americans must be investigated, <a href="https://twitter.com/InsideCityHall/status/747995597248958465" target="_blank">NY1 projected</a> Espaillat the winner just after 11 p.m., at which point 98% of precincts had reported their ballots and Espaillat held a lead of about 1,270 votes. <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/election-results-2016-new-york-federal-primary/" target="_blank">The NY-13 vote</a> was relatively high among expectedly low turnout affairs across the city and state, with about 43,000 votes cast -- Espaillat received about 15,700 (37%); Wright about 14,400 (34%).</p> <p>Clyde Williams (11%) finished a somewhat distant third, followed by Adam Clayton Powell IV (6%), Guillermo Linares (5.5%), Suzan Johnson-Cook (5%), Michael Gallagher, Sam Sloan, and Yohanny Caceres.</p> <p>Most New York City congressional primaries were marked by victories for incumbent candidates. Democrats Gregory Meeks of Queens; Nydia Velazquez of Brooklyn; Jerrod Nadler and Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan; and Jose Serrano of the Bronx kept their seats by wide margins in contested primaries. All are expected to win general election races in November, along with other Democrats, like Grace Meng and Hakeem Jeffries, who did not have primary challenges, and Republican Rep. Daniel Donovan, who was unopposed in the primary.</p> <p>A key primary outside the city was the 19th Congressional District in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills, where current Republican Rep. Chris Gibson has announced he will retire this year. Zephyr Teachout defeated Will Yandik to clinch the Democratic nomination there, while John Faso won the Republican nomination over Andrew Heaney. Teachout and Faso are preparing for what could be a very competitive general election that may garner national attention and resources from the two major party apparatuses.</p> <p>Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, who represents the state&rsquo;s 3rd Congressional District on Long Island, will also retire at the end of this term. In the primaries, Thomas Suozzi defeated Jon Kaiman, Steve Stern, Jonathan Clarke, and Anna Kaplan to become the Democratic nominee. Suozzi will face Republican candidate Jack Martins in the general election.</p> <p>Republican Rep. Richard Hanna of the 22nd Congressional District in Utica has also announced he will step down this year after three terms in office. In the district&rsquo;s Republican primary, Claudia Tenney defeated George Philips and Steven Wells to become the nominee, and will run against Democratic candidate Kim Meyers in November.</p> <p>As the November general election approaches, candidates on both sides of the aisle will be looking up the ticket at presidential nominees. The two major parties both have presumptive nominees from New York, Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and Donald Trump for the Republicans. The official nominating conventions are in July.</p> <p>Come November, there will be one New York Senate race on the ballot, with incumbent Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat from Brooklyn, facing Republican challenger Wendy Long. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat who defeated Long in 2012, is not up for reelection this year.</p> <p>The general election will take place November 8. Before the November election, New Yorkers will have a third primary election day, with state Assembly and Senate primaries on September 13. Few New York City-based races are expected to be competitive, but if Espaillat is indeed the winner in NY-13, his state Senate seat will be open and there are at least two Democrats, Micah Lasher and Robert Jackson, already in the running.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[<a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/election-results-2016-new-york-federal-primary/" target="_blank">See the details of New York primary voting results via WNYC here</a>]</p> <p>

***
by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p> <p>Aaron Holmes contributed reporting.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Espaillat_presser.jpg" alt="Espaillat presser" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>Adriano Espaillat (photo: @EspaillatNY)</p> <hr /> <p>New York voters chose congressional candidates in 13 primaries across the state on Tuesday, with seven of those contests taking place within New York City&mdash;all of which were Democratic. New York has 27 seats in the House of Representatives.</p> <p>While the current New York City congressional delegation consists of 11 Democrats and one Republican, a makeup that is unlikely to change this year, results from key primaries in three swing districts outside the city have set the stage for races that could factor into which party controls the House after November&rsquo;s elections.</p> <p>In the most-watched and only competitive primary in New York City, nine candidates contended to be the Democratic nominee for New York&rsquo;s 13th Congressional District, where longtime incumbent Charlie Rangel announced he will step down after 46 years in office. The district includes much of Upper Manhattan and some of the South Bronx. Because the district is overwhelmingly Democratic, the primary winner is a lock to become the next district representative in Congress.</p> <p>State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who lost primary challenges to Rangel in 2012 and 2014, declared victory in NY-13, barely defeating Assemblymember Keith Wright. While Wright did not immediately concede, asserting that every vote must be counted and that efforts to suppress the vote of African-Americans must be investigated, <a href="https://twitter.com/InsideCityHall/status/747995597248958465" target="_blank">NY1 projected</a> Espaillat the winner just after 11 p.m., at which point 98% of precincts had reported their ballots and Espaillat held a lead of about 1,270 votes. <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/election-results-2016-new-york-federal-primary/" target="_blank">The NY-13 vote</a> was relatively high among expectedly low turnout affairs across the city and state, with about 43,000 votes cast -- Espaillat received about 15,700 (37%); Wright about 14,400 (34%).</p> <p>Clyde Williams (11%) finished a somewhat distant third, followed by Adam Clayton Powell IV (6%), Guillermo Linares (5.5%), Suzan Johnson-Cook (5%), Michael Gallagher, Sam Sloan, and Yohanny Caceres.</p> <p>Most New York City congressional primaries were marked by victories for incumbent candidates. Democrats Gregory Meeks of Queens; Nydia Velazquez of Brooklyn; Jerrod Nadler and Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan; and Jose Serrano of the Bronx kept their seats by wide margins in contested primaries. All are expected to win general election races in November, along with other Democrats, like Grace Meng and Hakeem Jeffries, who did not have primary challenges, and Republican Rep. Daniel Donovan, who was unopposed in the primary.</p> <p>A key primary outside the city was the 19th Congressional District in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills, where current Republican Rep. Chris Gibson has announced he will retire this year. Zephyr Teachout defeated Will Yandik to clinch the Democratic nomination there, while John Faso won the Republican nomination over Andrew Heaney. Teachout and Faso are preparing for what could be a very competitive general election that may garner national attention and resources from the two major party apparatuses.</p> <p>Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, who represents the state&rsquo;s 3rd Congressional District on Long Island, will also retire at the end of this term. In the primaries, Thomas Suozzi defeated Jon Kaiman, Steve Stern, Jonathan Clarke, and Anna Kaplan to become the Democratic nominee. Suozzi will face Republican candidate Jack Martins in the general election.</p> <p>Republican Rep. Richard Hanna of the 22nd Congressional District in Utica has also announced he will step down this year after three terms in office. In the district&rsquo;s Republican primary, Claudia Tenney defeated George Philips and Steven Wells to become the nominee, and will run against Democratic candidate Kim Meyers in November.</p> <p>As the November general election approaches, candidates on both sides of the aisle will be looking up the ticket at presidential nominees. The two major parties both have presumptive nominees from New York, Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and Donald Trump for the Republicans. The official nominating conventions are in July.</p> <p>Come November, there will be one New York Senate race on the ballot, with incumbent Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat from Brooklyn, facing Republican challenger Wendy Long. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat who defeated Long in 2012, is not up for reelection this year.</p> <p>The general election will take place November 8. Before the November election, New Yorkers will have a third primary election day, with state Assembly and Senate primaries on September 13. Few New York City-based races are expected to be competitive, but if Espaillat is indeed the winner in NY-13, his state Senate seat will be open and there are at least two Democrats, Micah Lasher and Robert Jackson, already in the running.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[<a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/election-results-2016-new-york-federal-primary/" target="_blank">See the details of New York primary voting results via WNYC here</a>]</p> <p>

***
by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p> <p>Aaron Holmes contributed reporting.</p>
Espaillat Unveils Plan to Address Child Care Costs 2016-06-09T04:00:00+00:00 2016-06-09T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6387:espaillat-unveils-plan-to-address-child-care-costs Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/Espaillat_news_conference.jpg" width="600" height="450" alt="Espaillat news conference" /></p> <p>Sen. Espaillat (photo: @EspaillatNY)</p> <hr /> <p>To address the city’s escalating affordability crisis, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, Democratic candidate in the 13th Congressional District, is unveiling a proposal to increase the federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.</p> <p>The announcement comes as the heated Congressional primary enters its final weeks. Espaillat’s campaign is announcing a series of policy papers in an attempt to separate itself in a race that has focused on political allegiances, polls, and fundraising. Other candidates vying to replace retiring Rep. Charles Rangel include Assemblymember Keith Wright, former Assemblymember Adam Clayton Powell, Assemblymemeber Guillermo Linares, and Clyde Williams, former political director of the Democratic National Committee. Espaillat unsuccessfully challenged Rangel in 2012 and 2014. This year’s primary is set for June 28.</p> <p>“I think there is a growing affordability crisis in the city and the state that has been framed around rent and the minimum wage, but not that fine-tuned to address issues young families face as far child care,” Espaillat told Gotham Gazette. “There are big costs these families face to live in the city while trying to raise kids. Some parents won’t go to work if they aren’t sure their children are receiving proper care.”</p> <p>Espaillat cites <a href="http://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/ChildCare.pdf" target="_blank">a study</a> by Democratic New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office that shows child care costs for city residents rising $1,612 per family each year. The study further shows that the average New York City family spends up to $16,250 per year on child care for an infant, $11,648 for a toddler and $9,620 for a school-age child. Gillibrand, like Rangel, has endorsed Wright in the congressional race. Espaillat said he had not spoken to the senator about his plan.</p> <p>Espaillat’s plan would increase the CDCTC for families with children under four, allow families to claim 50 percent of child care costs up to $6,000 per child, and increase the maximum credit for families receiving federal, state, and city credits by 43 percent per child, making the maximum credit $8,775 per child.</p> <p>Only families making under $30,000 a year with children under four years of age are eligible for the city tax credit. Families of all income levels with children up to the age of 13 are eligible for the state and federal credits, but the credits shrink depending on income. The state and city CDCTC are calculated as a percentage of the federal credit, so an increase to the federal plan would in turn boost state and local aid.</p> <p>Espaillat’s policy paper estimates that “A family receiving the maximum federal, state, and city credits would receive $6,143-just over one-third the average price of child care for an infant in New York City. But a family earning $50,000 with a three-year-old child would only receive $2,400. This is a massive burden on New York City’s working- and middle-class families.”</p> <p>Espaillat said he believes his proposal is one that could attract bipartisan support and gain traction in Congress because people across the country struggle to pay for child care. “This cuts across state and party lines,” Espaillat told Gotham Gazette. “This is like student loans; it has universal appeal whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or independent.”</p> <p>

***
by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette
     

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/Espaillat_news_conference.jpg" width="600" height="450" alt="Espaillat news conference" /></p> <p>Sen. Espaillat (photo: @EspaillatNY)</p> <hr /> <p>To address the city’s escalating affordability crisis, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, Democratic candidate in the 13th Congressional District, is unveiling a proposal to increase the federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.</p> <p>The announcement comes as the heated Congressional primary enters its final weeks. Espaillat’s campaign is announcing a series of policy papers in an attempt to separate itself in a race that has focused on political allegiances, polls, and fundraising. Other candidates vying to replace retiring Rep. Charles Rangel include Assemblymember Keith Wright, former Assemblymember Adam Clayton Powell, Assemblymemeber Guillermo Linares, and Clyde Williams, former political director of the Democratic National Committee. Espaillat unsuccessfully challenged Rangel in 2012 and 2014. This year’s primary is set for June 28.</p> <p>“I think there is a growing affordability crisis in the city and the state that has been framed around rent and the minimum wage, but not that fine-tuned to address issues young families face as far child care,” Espaillat told Gotham Gazette. “There are big costs these families face to live in the city while trying to raise kids. Some parents won’t go to work if they aren’t sure their children are receiving proper care.”</p> <p>Espaillat cites <a href="http://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/ChildCare.pdf" target="_blank">a study</a> by Democratic New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office that shows child care costs for city residents rising $1,612 per family each year. The study further shows that the average New York City family spends up to $16,250 per year on child care for an infant, $11,648 for a toddler and $9,620 for a school-age child. Gillibrand, like Rangel, has endorsed Wright in the congressional race. Espaillat said he had not spoken to the senator about his plan.</p> <p>Espaillat’s plan would increase the CDCTC for families with children under four, allow families to claim 50 percent of child care costs up to $6,000 per child, and increase the maximum credit for families receiving federal, state, and city credits by 43 percent per child, making the maximum credit $8,775 per child.</p> <p>Only families making under $30,000 a year with children under four years of age are eligible for the city tax credit. Families of all income levels with children up to the age of 13 are eligible for the state and federal credits, but the credits shrink depending on income. The state and city CDCTC are calculated as a percentage of the federal credit, so an increase to the federal plan would in turn boost state and local aid.</p> <p>Espaillat’s policy paper estimates that “A family receiving the maximum federal, state, and city credits would receive $6,143-just over one-third the average price of child care for an infant in New York City. But a family earning $50,000 with a three-year-old child would only receive $2,400. This is a massive burden on New York City’s working- and middle-class families.”</p> <p>Espaillat said he believes his proposal is one that could attract bipartisan support and gain traction in Congress because people across the country struggle to pay for child care. “This cuts across state and party lines,” Espaillat told Gotham Gazette. “This is like student loans; it has universal appeal whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or independent.”</p> <p>

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by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette
     

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New Yorkers Vote in Congressional Primaries June 28 2016-06-06T04:00:00+00:00 2016-06-06T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6380:new-yorkers-vote-in-congressional-primaries-june-28 Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/14245896804_8e874fd358_z.jpg" alt="rangel voting congress new york" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p dir="ltr">Rep. Charles Rangel is retiring (photo via Rep. Rangel on Flickr)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">While many voters and most media are focused on the race for President, this year will also see all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 34 of the 100 U.S. Senate seats on the ballot. New York’s 27 seats in the House and one of its two Senate seats - the one held by Senator Charles Schumer - &nbsp;will be voted on during June 28 primaries and the November 8 general election.</p> <p dir="ltr">In an odd - some say counterproductive and undemocratic - twist, New York is holding four election days this year. Many New Yorkers have already had the chance to vote in one election this year—the April 19 presidential primaries—and, in the fall, will have the opportunity to vote in September state Senate and state Assembly primary elections before the general election with all of the aforementioned offices on the ballot.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ahead of the June 28 congressional primaries, things are largely quiet in New York City’s 13 districts, though a few incumbents are being challenged and there is one particularly prominent primary - that to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel. Rangel is one of three congressional incumbents across the state not seeking reelection this year.</p> <p dir="ltr">Twelve of New York City’s 13 districts are currently represented by Democrats, with the exception of District 11, which includes Staten Island and part of Brooklyn and is represented by Rep. Daniel Donovan, who is not facing a primary challenge.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rangel represents New York’s thirteenth congressional district, which includes upper Manhattan and a small part of the Bronx. Rangel has served the area since 1971. His decision to retire has prompted a crowded field eager to fill the rare empty seat. That crowd includes state Senator Adriano Espaillat, who challenged Rangel in both 2012 and 2014. Rangel has endorsed Assembly Member Keith Wright as his chosen successor.</p> <p dir="ltr">Christine Greer, a political science professor at Fordham University, says that Rangel’s endorsement is a boon to Wright’ campaign. “Having Charlie Rangel’s endorsement is important because Charlie Rangel’s people, who support [Wright], know they have to vote in June, not just in November,” Greer told Gotham Gazette.</p> <p dir="ltr">Greer says that the June congressional primary is often forgotten, especially since New Yorkers will be asked to go to the polls three other times this year. With a bevy of other Democratic candidates in the running, Rangel’s endorsement could indeed be a difference-maker. It is a virtual certainty that the Democratic primary winner will win the general election in November and be seated in Congress come January.</p> <p dir="ltr">Along with Wright and Espaillat, other Democratic primary candidates <a href="http://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2016/04/rangel-endorses-wright-knocks-espaillat-and-other-rivals-101234" target="_blank">in NY13</a> are Assembly Member Guillermo Linares, Adam Clayton Powell IV, Clyde Williams, Suzan Johnson Cook, and Michael Gallagher.</p> <p dir="ltr">In New York City, several Democratic congressional incumbents will face primary challengers, though they are expected to win reelection easily:</p> <p dir="ltr">In District 5, which is located largely in Queens, incumbent Rep. Gregory Meeks will face Ali Mirza, a businessman and advocate for immigrants, according to his campaign <a href="http://www.mirzaforcongress.com/about.html" target="_blank">website</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">In District 7, &nbsp;which is mostly located in Brooklyn, incumbent Rep. Nydia Valázquez will face two Democratic challengers: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.jeffkurzon.com/">Jeff Kurzon</a> and Yungman Lee. Kurzon, an attorney, challenged Valázquez in 2014, but lost to the 24 year-incumbent. Lee is a community banker, who has worked as an attorney and a bank regulator, according to his campaign <a href="http://yungmanleeforcongress.com/meet-yungman-lee/" target="_blank">website</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">In District 10, mostly in Manhattan, incumbent Rep. Jerrold Nadler will take on his first Democratic primary challenger in 20 years - Oliver Rosenberg. Rosenberg is a businessman, a banker, and advocate for the LGBTQ Jewish community, according to his campaign <a href="http://oliverrosenberg.com/meet-oliver/" target="_blank">website</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">In District 12, which includes parts of Manhattan and Queens, incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney is being challenged by Pete Lindner, who, according to his campaign <a href="http://4petesakenyc.nationbuilder.com/" target="_blank">website</a>, is a statistical analyst and advocate for the national legalization of marijuana.</p> <p dir="ltr">In District 15, in the Bronx, José Serrano, the incumbent, has served the district for 26 years. Democratic challenger Leonel Baez will also be on the ballot; however, it does not seem that Baez has made a strong effort to campaign (his&nbsp;official campaign <a href="http://www.baez2016.com/" target="_blank">website</a> is limited).</p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, several city-based races appear that they will see incumbents unopposed in the primary. This will also be the case outside New York City. However, there will also be a number of contested races leading to November’s Election Day, especially in places considered swing districts, where Republicans and Democrats have recently held the same seat or where party registration numbers are closer than they are in many heavily-Democratic New York City districts.</p> <p dir="ltr">Within the bounds of New York City, only one congressional seat appears open to party oscillation - the eleventh congressional district, which includes Staten Island and part of Southern Brooklyn. That congressional seat is currently held by Daniel Donovan, a Republican, who succeeded his predecessor Michael Grimm in a 2015 special election called after Grimm pleaded guilty to tax fraud. Even while facing charges in 2014, Grimm had kept his seat in a reelection bid.</p> <p dir="ltr">Donovan, formerly the Staten Island District Attorney, is heavily favored to keep the seat, though Richard Reichard, the Democratic challenger, and his supporters are looking to see how a likely Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump presidential matchup could help lift down-ballot Democrats. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">David Birdsell, a professor and dean at Baruch College, doubts that the race will be competitive.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This seat has seen a&nbsp;good deal of turnover in recent years, owing to redistricting and to incumbents’ personal and legal troubles. Donovan won the special election handily against a Democrat and a Green Party candidate; he’s drawing the same mix in the fall,” said Birdsell.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite believing that there won’t be much of a district 11 contest in November, Birdsell concedes that Trump’s candidacy could potentially boost Democratic voter turnout. &nbsp;“[Trump’s candidacy] could help Reichard in the eleventh, irrespective of what Republican voters think of Donovan’s willingness to campaign on Trump’s behalf. There isn’t compelling evidence as yet that Trump has expanded GOP appeal, but he could yet deliver on the promise of lots of independent votes, and that could make a major difference in the other direction. Probably not enough so to make a difference in any city races with the possible exception of the eleventh.”</p> <p dir="ltr">While New Yorkers will vote for their congressional representatives in the House and for President come November, there will also be one New York Senate seat on the ballot as well as all 213 seats of the state Legislature. Incumbent Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer will be running for reelection against Republican candidate Wendy Long and Libertarian candidate Alex Merced. If Schumer wins, he would enter his fourth six-year term serving as a senator.</p> <p dir="ltr">As of now, New York’s two Senators are Democrats, as are 18 of its 27 congressional representatives. However, the U.S. Senate and U.S. House are both controlled by Republicans. November’s elections will determine control of both houses, as well as the presidency.</p> <p dir="ltr">Within New York, Democrats hold an overwhelming majority in the state Assembly, with more than 100 of the Assembly’s 150 seats. The state Senate has a much more complicated picture, with its 63 seats split in somewhat strange fashion and control of the chamber on the line in November. Republicans currently hold 31 seats, not quite a majority, but one Democrat, Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, continues to caucus with them. There are also five members of the Independent Democratic Conference, which has a governing coalition with Republicans through this year. Democrats recently flipped one seat in a special election, that for the Long Island seat vacated by former Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who was convicted on federal corruption charges.</p> <p dir="ltr">In terms of party control of government and the policy ramifications thereof, there is a great deal at stake for New York and the country come November 8.</p> <p dir="ltr">For the upcoming New York congressional primaries June 28, only voters registered with a party can vote - voters can check their registration <a href="https://voterlookup.elections.state.ny.us/" target="_blank">through the state Board of Elections</a>. New voters had to register several weeks ago to be eligible for this vote, while anyone changing party registration had to do so more than a year ago.</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />by Rebecca Oh, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/14245896804_8e874fd358_z.jpg" alt="rangel voting congress new york" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p dir="ltr">Rep. Charles Rangel is retiring (photo via Rep. Rangel on Flickr)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">While many voters and most media are focused on the race for President, this year will also see all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 34 of the 100 U.S. Senate seats on the ballot. New York’s 27 seats in the House and one of its two Senate seats - the one held by Senator Charles Schumer - &nbsp;will be voted on during June 28 primaries and the November 8 general election.</p> <p dir="ltr">In an odd - some say counterproductive and undemocratic - twist, New York is holding four election days this year. Many New Yorkers have already had the chance to vote in one election this year—the April 19 presidential primaries—and, in the fall, will have the opportunity to vote in September state Senate and state Assembly primary elections before the general election with all of the aforementioned offices on the ballot.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ahead of the June 28 congressional primaries, things are largely quiet in New York City’s 13 districts, though a few incumbents are being challenged and there is one particularly prominent primary - that to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel. Rangel is one of three congressional incumbents across the state not seeking reelection this year.</p> <p dir="ltr">Twelve of New York City’s 13 districts are currently represented by Democrats, with the exception of District 11, which includes Staten Island and part of Brooklyn and is represented by Rep. Daniel Donovan, who is not facing a primary challenge.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rangel represents New York’s thirteenth congressional district, which includes upper Manhattan and a small part of the Bronx. Rangel has served the area since 1971. His decision to retire has prompted a crowded field eager to fill the rare empty seat. That crowd includes state Senator Adriano Espaillat, who challenged Rangel in both 2012 and 2014. Rangel has endorsed Assembly Member Keith Wright as his chosen successor.</p> <p dir="ltr">Christine Greer, a political science professor at Fordham University, says that Rangel’s endorsement is a boon to Wright’ campaign. “Having Charlie Rangel’s endorsement is important because Charlie Rangel’s people, who support [Wright], know they have to vote in June, not just in November,” Greer told Gotham Gazette.</p> <p dir="ltr">Greer says that the June congressional primary is often forgotten, especially since New Yorkers will be asked to go to the polls three other times this year. With a bevy of other Democratic candidates in the running, Rangel’s endorsement could indeed be a difference-maker. It is a virtual certainty that the Democratic primary winner will win the general election in November and be seated in Congress come January.</p> <p dir="ltr">Along with Wright and Espaillat, other Democratic primary candidates <a href="http://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2016/04/rangel-endorses-wright-knocks-espaillat-and-other-rivals-101234" target="_blank">in NY13</a> are Assembly Member Guillermo Linares, Adam Clayton Powell IV, Clyde Williams, Suzan Johnson Cook, and Michael Gallagher.</p> <p dir="ltr">In New York City, several Democratic congressional incumbents will face primary challengers, though they are expected to win reelection easily:</p> <p dir="ltr">In District 5, which is located largely in Queens, incumbent Rep. Gregory Meeks will face Ali Mirza, a businessman and advocate for immigrants, according to his campaign <a href="http://www.mirzaforcongress.com/about.html" target="_blank">website</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">In District 7, &nbsp;which is mostly located in Brooklyn, incumbent Rep. Nydia Valázquez will face two Democratic challengers: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.jeffkurzon.com/">Jeff Kurzon</a> and Yungman Lee. Kurzon, an attorney, challenged Valázquez in 2014, but lost to the 24 year-incumbent. Lee is a community banker, who has worked as an attorney and a bank regulator, according to his campaign <a href="http://yungmanleeforcongress.com/meet-yungman-lee/" target="_blank">website</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">In District 10, mostly in Manhattan, incumbent Rep. Jerrold Nadler will take on his first Democratic primary challenger in 20 years - Oliver Rosenberg. Rosenberg is a businessman, a banker, and advocate for the LGBTQ Jewish community, according to his campaign <a href="http://oliverrosenberg.com/meet-oliver/" target="_blank">website</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">In District 12, which includes parts of Manhattan and Queens, incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney is being challenged by Pete Lindner, who, according to his campaign <a href="http://4petesakenyc.nationbuilder.com/" target="_blank">website</a>, is a statistical analyst and advocate for the national legalization of marijuana.</p> <p dir="ltr">In District 15, in the Bronx, José Serrano, the incumbent, has served the district for 26 years. Democratic challenger Leonel Baez will also be on the ballot; however, it does not seem that Baez has made a strong effort to campaign (his&nbsp;official campaign <a href="http://www.baez2016.com/" target="_blank">website</a> is limited).</p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, several city-based races appear that they will see incumbents unopposed in the primary. This will also be the case outside New York City. However, there will also be a number of contested races leading to November’s Election Day, especially in places considered swing districts, where Republicans and Democrats have recently held the same seat or where party registration numbers are closer than they are in many heavily-Democratic New York City districts.</p> <p dir="ltr">Within the bounds of New York City, only one congressional seat appears open to party oscillation - the eleventh congressional district, which includes Staten Island and part of Southern Brooklyn. That congressional seat is currently held by Daniel Donovan, a Republican, who succeeded his predecessor Michael Grimm in a 2015 special election called after Grimm pleaded guilty to tax fraud. Even while facing charges in 2014, Grimm had kept his seat in a reelection bid.</p> <p dir="ltr">Donovan, formerly the Staten Island District Attorney, is heavily favored to keep the seat, though Richard Reichard, the Democratic challenger, and his supporters are looking to see how a likely Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump presidential matchup could help lift down-ballot Democrats. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">David Birdsell, a professor and dean at Baruch College, doubts that the race will be competitive.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This seat has seen a&nbsp;good deal of turnover in recent years, owing to redistricting and to incumbents’ personal and legal troubles. Donovan won the special election handily against a Democrat and a Green Party candidate; he’s drawing the same mix in the fall,” said Birdsell.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite believing that there won’t be much of a district 11 contest in November, Birdsell concedes that Trump’s candidacy could potentially boost Democratic voter turnout. &nbsp;“[Trump’s candidacy] could help Reichard in the eleventh, irrespective of what Republican voters think of Donovan’s willingness to campaign on Trump’s behalf. There isn’t compelling evidence as yet that Trump has expanded GOP appeal, but he could yet deliver on the promise of lots of independent votes, and that could make a major difference in the other direction. Probably not enough so to make a difference in any city races with the possible exception of the eleventh.”</p> <p dir="ltr">While New Yorkers will vote for their congressional representatives in the House and for President come November, there will also be one New York Senate seat on the ballot as well as all 213 seats of the state Legislature. Incumbent Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer will be running for reelection against Republican candidate Wendy Long and Libertarian candidate Alex Merced. If Schumer wins, he would enter his fourth six-year term serving as a senator.</p> <p dir="ltr">As of now, New York’s two Senators are Democrats, as are 18 of its 27 congressional representatives. However, the U.S. Senate and U.S. House are both controlled by Republicans. November’s elections will determine control of both houses, as well as the presidency.</p> <p dir="ltr">Within New York, Democrats hold an overwhelming majority in the state Assembly, with more than 100 of the Assembly’s 150 seats. The state Senate has a much more complicated picture, with its 63 seats split in somewhat strange fashion and control of the chamber on the line in November. Republicans currently hold 31 seats, not quite a majority, but one Democrat, Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, continues to caucus with them. There are also five members of the Independent Democratic Conference, which has a governing coalition with Republicans through this year. Democrats recently flipped one seat in a special election, that for the Long Island seat vacated by former Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who was convicted on federal corruption charges.</p> <p dir="ltr">In terms of party control of government and the policy ramifications thereof, there is a great deal at stake for New York and the country come November 8.</p> <p dir="ltr">For the upcoming New York congressional primaries June 28, only voters registered with a party can vote - voters can check their registration <a href="https://voterlookup.elections.state.ny.us/" target="_blank">through the state Board of Elections</a>. New voters had to register several weeks ago to be eligible for this vote, while anyone changing party registration had to do so more than a year ago.</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />by Rebecca Oh, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> Wright Runs for Congress as Tenants Champion, to Mixed Reviews 2016-05-15T04:00:00+00:00 2016-05-15T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6335:wright-runs-for-congress-as-tenants-champion-to-mixed-reviews Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/wright_rangel.jpg" width="600" height="450" alt="wright rangel" /></p> <p>Keith Wright, Charles Rangel, and others (photo via Wright's campaign)</p> <hr /> <p>New York Assemblymember Keith Wright’s congressional campaign has flooded inboxes declaring him a “champion” for tenants. Many see it as an appropriate description for the housing committee chair - his campaign touts the support of “100 tenant leaders” and he has a long history of advocating for renters, starting in the 1980s as the head of the tenant association in Harlem’s Riverton Houses, where he still lives. Wright and his fellow tenants recently settled a lawsuit with their landlord for $2 million after alleging they were charged improper rent and other misdeeds.</p> <p>One of several campaign emails to supporters seeking donations based on Wright’s tenant advocacy reads: “Keith has been a voice for our neighborhoods for decades. His leadership has made sure that NYC protects and expands affordable housing. He pushes to stand up for tenants and hold NYCHA management accountable.”</p> <p>Wright is a leader in the crowded Democratic primary to replace retiring Rep. Charles Rangel, who has endorsed him, and he’s very much running on his housing record.</p> <p>There is another view of Wright held by some tenant advocates and legislators, though, who&nbsp;see him as being an outspoken advocate on housing issues who has failed to turn his bully pulpit and considerable power and influence in Albany into actual results.</p> <p>These critics maintain that Wright failed to buck former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Governor Andrew Cuomo and fight for drastic changes to the rent laws that would do away with what they see as incentives for landlords to increase rent and drive out rent-controlled tenants.</p> <p>In the 13th Congressional District largely made up of Harlem and Washington Heights, Wright is facing state Senator Adriano Espaillat; Clyde Williams, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton; Assemblymember Guillermo Linares; and former Assemblymember Adam Clayton Powell. Appearing the favored establishment candidate, Wright - along with Espaillat and Linares - has faced criticism from Williams and others for connections to Albany and its notorious corruption and dysfunction.</p> <p>Several tenant groups were excited when Wright took over the housing committee from disgraced Assemblymember Vito Lopez in 2013, but a number of them were quickly disillusioned, representatives say. They believe Wright has simply maintained the status quo and amassed power in anticipation for his run for Congress. They point to Wright’s fundraising records that show he’s taken significant donations from real estate interests and question his loyalty to tenant issues such as doing away with the process by which landlords can deregulate affordable units or ending the 421-a subsidy they call a giveaway to developers.</p> <p>“The problem with Keith is that he says all the right things but then follows orders, resulting in the ongoing destruction of our rent-regulated housing. And I am disturbed by the staggering amount of real estate money he has amassed for his congressional race,” said Michael McKee of Tenants PAC, which organizes around affordable housing issues and backs like-minded candidates. Tenants PAC does not endorse in national races.</p> <p>A 2014 study by the Community Service Society, an advocacy group for low-income New Yorkers, <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303393804579310832380848024" target="_blank">found</a> that the city lost 40 percent of apartments for low-income residents over the prior decade.</p> <p>Wright defended his record in an interview: “As chair of the housing committee we’ve had to work against a very conservative state Senate,” Wright said, referring to the Republican-controlled upper house of the New York Legislature. “Listen, no matter what you do you are not going to be able to please everyone. Sure you get folks who want me to hold up the budget and this that, but I’ve been through those days before and it didn't quite work. If I thought it would work I would do it again. You can’t please everyone.”</p> <p>As for his major wins, Wright counts his “greatest achievement” as a 2014 lawsuit he filed with his fellow tenants at Riverton Square accusing the landlords of illegally inflating rent, improperly evicting tenants, and overstating the value of the improvements made to apartments. In February the landlord, CWCapital and CompassRock, agreed to a $2 million settlement that will be paid in rent credits (they admitted no wrongdoing).</p> <p>Wright was also a key player in negotiations of the recent sale of Riverton to A&amp;E Real Estate. Part of the sale included an agreement that A&amp;E would repair homes and include 975 apartments, including Wright’s, in a 30-year affordability agreement.</p> <p>Two of Wright’s major wins didn’t come legislatively, but instead in actions he took to protect his own housing complex.</p> <p>Wright rejected the idea that contributions from real estate influenced his fight for stronger rent laws. “Ask him why he’s taken so much Wall Street money and D.C. money,” Wright said, apparently referencing his opponent Clyde Williams, who brought up donations Wright has taken from real estate interests in recent debates. “We’ve all taken real estate money. It has nothing to do with my commitment to the tenants of New York City. I think my record is plain on its face.”</p> <p>Filings with the State Board of Elections and Federal Elections Commission dating back to 2013 show that Wright has taken tens of thousands of dollars in donations from major real estate and construction interests and their subsidiaries. Real estate groups are known for donating to many state politicians in hopes of influencing policy.</p> <p>Major donations to Wright from real estate interests include $2,050 from the Real Estate Board PAC; $4,100 from JSignal LLC, which is connected to Cayuga Capital, a real estate management and development firm; $500 from John Banks, president of the Real Estate Board of NY; $2,700 from Eliot Spitzer, the former governor who now focuses on real estate; $5,000 from Empire PAC, which represents real estate interests; $2,500 from REBNY member Daniel Zucker; and a total of $4,200 over three contributions from Donald Capoccia, head of BFC Partners, a development firm that specializes in affordable housing.</p> <p>Wright’s first action as housing chair in 2013 was to introduce a package of housing bills that included a surprise: renewal of the lapsed J-51 program. The program is intended to provide tax breaks to landlords who make improvements to affordable housing, but tenant groups asserted it was abused by landlords. A study found half of the tax breaks went to owners of market-rate buildings.</p> <p>“I was named housing chair on a Friday and we had a very large bill that was somewhat controversial that had to be done on Monday," Wright told Gotham Gazette during an interview in February 2013. "I know folks in the tenant movement were upset, they wanted that bill to be used as leverage, but it was a bill for coops, condos, and lofts, and those type of people do live in New York City. We had to do this bill.”</p> <p>Last year, as rent regulations that govern affordable housing in the city and across the state came up for renewal, tenant groups were hoping Wright and newly sworn-in Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, would be able to win significant changes to the rent laws to do away with what they call incentives for landlords to take apartments off of the affordable housing rolls. Instead they say they got tweaks.</p> <p>The threshold for rent at which a vacant apartment can be deregulated was increased from $2,500 to $2,700. The deal also required landlords stretch out the period they increase tenants’ rent after making major capital improvements. Landlords were also limited in how much they can increase rent between tenants. The wins were seen as small, minimal in comparison to what Cuomo and the Assembly publicly pushed for. Wright said he was nevertheless proud of the changes that were made.</p> <p>Last year was a not a typical year - both legislative leaders Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver were indicted during budget season (and later convicted). Rather than a traditional negotiation of the expiring rent laws and 421-a program that gives tax breaks to developers for including affordable housing in their projects, Cuomo allowed real estate and labor interests to negotiate 421-a renewal on their own, outside the Legislature.</p> <p>Tenant groups say 421-a is a “tax suck” that has been demonstrated to produce very few affordable units and been the subject to major abuse and fraud by developers. Investigations, like one <a href="https://www.propublica.org/article/nyc-landlords-flout-rent-limits-but-still-rake-in-lucrative-tax-breaks" target="_blank">by ProPublica</a>, have proven those claims to be true. Still, Mayor Bill de Blasio and others want to see a new, strengthened 421-a program enacted.</p> <p>Cuomo attributed giving real estate and labor control of negotiations to the sensitivity of legislators towards the Silver and Skelos scandals that included revelations about the political influence of Glenwood Management, a real estate company that was the state’s largest campaign donor.</p> <p>Labor and real estate failed to reach an agreement on renewing 421-a, so the program lapsed. Still, Cuomo and other stakeholders <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/state/6267-major-city-issues-at-play-in-politically-charged-post-budget-legislative-session" target="_blank">appear loathe to let it go</a>, to the dismay of some tenant groups.</p> <p>Results of the legislative negotiations on rent laws last year were hailed as “historic” by Cuomo, but tenant groups found it lacking. They say it basically cemented the status quo allowing landlords to steadily raise rents and move apartments off the affordable housing rolls.</p> <p>"We pretty much got nothing," said Delsenia Glover, director of Alliance for Tenant Power, said at a press conference in Albany in early April. "At the time Governor Cuomo said they were the 'strongest rent laws in history.' It's not true, we got nothing."</p> <p>Glover, who is from Harlem, does not blame Wright for the rent law negotiations. “Keith is extremely supportive,” Glover told Gotham Gazette in a recent interview. “He was one of our lead champions last year along with Speaker Heastie. He worked as hard as he could on the rent laws.”</p> <p>The focus of Alliance for Tenant Power’s April press conference was demanding that if Albany does decide to find a replacement for 421-a that they must also reopen negotiations on rent laws. Glover says lawmakers should end current rules that incentivize landlords to make apartments unaffordable.</p> <p>“Instead of discussing benefits for rich developers, all attention should be on fixing the major loopholes in the rent regulation system that houses 2.5 million tenants in approximately 1 million units with no cost whatsoever to the taxpayer,” Glover wrote in an April op-ed at Gotham Gazette.</p> <p>Glover and other tenant groups deride the idea of any replacement for 421-a. Wright attended the press conference and appeared to agree, despite the fact he introduced what many tenant advocates saw as a direct replacement. Wright proposed a program that would provide $100,000 to developers per affordable unit they build that would be funded by the state abandoned property fund.</p> <p>Wright said at the time that the bill was negotiated with the Real Estate Board of New York the NYS Association for Affordable Housing, and the Building &amp; Construction Trades Council. All three groups indicated <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/wright-proposes-replacement-expired-421-a-tax-break-article-1.2567341" target="_blank">to the Daily News</a> at the time that they didn’t actually support the plan.</p> <p>“I’m sorry the press picked it up as a replacement for 421-a,” Wright told Gotham Gazette, implying that his plan was not aimed to be such and that a lack of enthusiasm for it was the result of that mistaken characterization.</p> <p>Asked for her take on Wright’s plan, Glover demurred, saying, “You’d have to ask someone who was in the room.”</p> <p>Barika Williams, deputy director of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD), praised Wright for bringing together disparate groups to discuss the creation of “a tool” to spur the creation of affordable housing. “It was a unique table that brought together different parts of the for-profit and nonprofit set. You saw a lot of people who don’t normally sit at the same table. We were looking at achieving the deepest affordability and trying to target resources to those buckets of the population that are desperately in need.”</p> <p>Williams said that in the end all of the groups may not have been on the same page because not all the groups involved were present for the entire process. “It was a long process that took commitment and being consistently involved for over two months.”</p> <p>Wright has been criticized by advocates and fellow legislators for not being properly versed in the bills he supports. He’s also been criticized for being too close to Governor Cuomo.</p> <p>Wright said he would love to see the rent laws reopened for negotiation this year.</p> <p>City &amp; State NY <a href="http://cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-city/tenant-rights-group-criticizes-wright%E2%80%99s-illegal-hotel-legislation.html#.VypnlIQrLGI" target="_blank">recently reported</a> that Tom Cayler, chair of the West Side Neighborhood Alliance’s Illegal Hotel Committee, was unhappy with a bill Wright carries that is technically designed to deal with illegal hotels.</p> <p>Wright’s bill would create a process by which permanent residents of certain apartment buildings could register to rent their apartments in the short term - similar to how Airbnb functions.</p> <p>Cayler said the bill would simply allow residents to rent their apartments as “illegal hotels,” rather than ending the practice. There is a good deal of pushback against Airbnb <a href="https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20151208/greenpoint/heres-how-landlords-are-striking-back-against-airbnb" target="_blank">in Manhattan</a>. The group met with Wright and were asked to send him a memo with their concerns. They say they never heard back.</p> <p>“It was really shocking to us that he didn’t actually seem to know much about the bill he had his name on,” Cayler told City &amp; State. “He was not well-informed about it. His chief of staff was the one who knew about this particular bill.”</p> <p>Wright’s spokesperson Emma Forbes told City &amp; State that the bill was designed to increase transparency and that the bill had yet to move because there wasn’t “consensus” from residents and stakeholders.</p> <p>Asked about Cayler’s criticism Wright told Gotham Gazette: “I thought he was somewhat misinformed.”</p> <p>Wright said his door is always open and he is willing to discuss legislation.</p> <p>WIlliams, of ANHD, countered the idea that Wright was ill informed about legislation. “I think from our experience Assemblymember Wright understands the complexity of housing and the complex mix of interests that are involved. With all of that in mind, his goal always seems to be thinking about deep affordability and how to help those folks in New York City who are struggling and who are the most underserved.”</p> <p>Asked if he expects legislation on illegal hotels to move this session, which ends in mid-June, Wright replied, “The bill is in my name in a committee I head and I control the bill and it hasn’t moved.” “So if it quacks like a duck...,” he added, implying there was little chance the bill would advance.</p> <p>Wright said he is proud of his record as a tenant advocate and that despite the overwhelming support he has received from the Democratic establishment, including words of support from former President Bill Clinton and formal endorsements from Gov. Cuomo, Speaker Heastie, and Rep. Rangel, he does not take it for granted that he will be leaving Albany for Washington. “We have a lot to do here,” Wright said, adding that should he be elected to Congress his main focus will be on changing the definition of area median income because of the way it impacts affordable housing in the city.</p> <p>“The reason I’m running is to change the definition of area median income and the way it is put forward with affordable housing,” said Wright. “The housing that is being built is called “affordable,” but it's not affordable to anyone I know or even me.” (Wright, who lives in rent-stabilized housing, has an Assembly salary of $79,500, not including the stipend he receives for heading the housing committee, and he has served for 24 years.)</p> <p>Citing the fact that the AMI used for New York City to determine rent thresholds takes into account Westchester and Rockland counties, greatly increasing the number, Wright said that reform would benefit city residents.</p> <p>“Changing the definition is what I want to do the first day I get to Congress, most definitely,” said Wright.</p> <p>New Yorkers are tired of seeing condos going for millions of dollars while they worry about paying the bills and staying in their neighborhood, Wright said.</p> <p>“The people of Harlem shed blood, sweat, and tears to make their neighborhood a safe place to live,” Wright said. “People are scared to death their children won't be able to afford to live in the neighborhood because it won’t be affordable.”</p> <p>

***
by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/wright_rangel.jpg" width="600" height="450" alt="wright rangel" /></p> <p>Keith Wright, Charles Rangel, and others (photo via Wright's campaign)</p> <hr /> <p>New York Assemblymember Keith Wright’s congressional campaign has flooded inboxes declaring him a “champion” for tenants. Many see it as an appropriate description for the housing committee chair - his campaign touts the support of “100 tenant leaders” and he has a long history of advocating for renters, starting in the 1980s as the head of the tenant association in Harlem’s Riverton Houses, where he still lives. Wright and his fellow tenants recently settled a lawsuit with their landlord for $2 million after alleging they were charged improper rent and other misdeeds.</p> <p>One of several campaign emails to supporters seeking donations based on Wright’s tenant advocacy reads: “Keith has been a voice for our neighborhoods for decades. His leadership has made sure that NYC protects and expands affordable housing. He pushes to stand up for tenants and hold NYCHA management accountable.”</p> <p>Wright is a leader in the crowded Democratic primary to replace retiring Rep. Charles Rangel, who has endorsed him, and he’s very much running on his housing record.</p> <p>There is another view of Wright held by some tenant advocates and legislators, though, who&nbsp;see him as being an outspoken advocate on housing issues who has failed to turn his bully pulpit and considerable power and influence in Albany into actual results.</p> <p>These critics maintain that Wright failed to buck former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Governor Andrew Cuomo and fight for drastic changes to the rent laws that would do away with what they see as incentives for landlords to increase rent and drive out rent-controlled tenants.</p> <p>In the 13th Congressional District largely made up of Harlem and Washington Heights, Wright is facing state Senator Adriano Espaillat; Clyde Williams, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton; Assemblymember Guillermo Linares; and former Assemblymember Adam Clayton Powell. Appearing the favored establishment candidate, Wright - along with Espaillat and Linares - has faced criticism from Williams and others for connections to Albany and its notorious corruption and dysfunction.</p> <p>Several tenant groups were excited when Wright took over the housing committee from disgraced Assemblymember Vito Lopez in 2013, but a number of them were quickly disillusioned, representatives say. They believe Wright has simply maintained the status quo and amassed power in anticipation for his run for Congress. They point to Wright’s fundraising records that show he’s taken significant donations from real estate interests and question his loyalty to tenant issues such as doing away with the process by which landlords can deregulate affordable units or ending the 421-a subsidy they call a giveaway to developers.</p> <p>“The problem with Keith is that he says all the right things but then follows orders, resulting in the ongoing destruction of our rent-regulated housing. And I am disturbed by the staggering amount of real estate money he has amassed for his congressional race,” said Michael McKee of Tenants PAC, which organizes around affordable housing issues and backs like-minded candidates. Tenants PAC does not endorse in national races.</p> <p>A 2014 study by the Community Service Society, an advocacy group for low-income New Yorkers, <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303393804579310832380848024" target="_blank">found</a> that the city lost 40 percent of apartments for low-income residents over the prior decade.</p> <p>Wright defended his record in an interview: “As chair of the housing committee we’ve had to work against a very conservative state Senate,” Wright said, referring to the Republican-controlled upper house of the New York Legislature. “Listen, no matter what you do you are not going to be able to please everyone. Sure you get folks who want me to hold up the budget and this that, but I’ve been through those days before and it didn't quite work. If I thought it would work I would do it again. You can’t please everyone.”</p> <p>As for his major wins, Wright counts his “greatest achievement” as a 2014 lawsuit he filed with his fellow tenants at Riverton Square accusing the landlords of illegally inflating rent, improperly evicting tenants, and overstating the value of the improvements made to apartments. In February the landlord, CWCapital and CompassRock, agreed to a $2 million settlement that will be paid in rent credits (they admitted no wrongdoing).</p> <p>Wright was also a key player in negotiations of the recent sale of Riverton to A&amp;E Real Estate. Part of the sale included an agreement that A&amp;E would repair homes and include 975 apartments, including Wright’s, in a 30-year affordability agreement.</p> <p>Two of Wright’s major wins didn’t come legislatively, but instead in actions he took to protect his own housing complex.</p> <p>Wright rejected the idea that contributions from real estate influenced his fight for stronger rent laws. “Ask him why he’s taken so much Wall Street money and D.C. money,” Wright said, apparently referencing his opponent Clyde Williams, who brought up donations Wright has taken from real estate interests in recent debates. “We’ve all taken real estate money. It has nothing to do with my commitment to the tenants of New York City. I think my record is plain on its face.”</p> <p>Filings with the State Board of Elections and Federal Elections Commission dating back to 2013 show that Wright has taken tens of thousands of dollars in donations from major real estate and construction interests and their subsidiaries. Real estate groups are known for donating to many state politicians in hopes of influencing policy.</p> <p>Major donations to Wright from real estate interests include $2,050 from the Real Estate Board PAC; $4,100 from JSignal LLC, which is connected to Cayuga Capital, a real estate management and development firm; $500 from John Banks, president of the Real Estate Board of NY; $2,700 from Eliot Spitzer, the former governor who now focuses on real estate; $5,000 from Empire PAC, which represents real estate interests; $2,500 from REBNY member Daniel Zucker; and a total of $4,200 over three contributions from Donald Capoccia, head of BFC Partners, a development firm that specializes in affordable housing.</p> <p>Wright’s first action as housing chair in 2013 was to introduce a package of housing bills that included a surprise: renewal of the lapsed J-51 program. The program is intended to provide tax breaks to landlords who make improvements to affordable housing, but tenant groups asserted it was abused by landlords. A study found half of the tax breaks went to owners of market-rate buildings.</p> <p>“I was named housing chair on a Friday and we had a very large bill that was somewhat controversial that had to be done on Monday," Wright told Gotham Gazette during an interview in February 2013. "I know folks in the tenant movement were upset, they wanted that bill to be used as leverage, but it was a bill for coops, condos, and lofts, and those type of people do live in New York City. We had to do this bill.”</p> <p>Last year, as rent regulations that govern affordable housing in the city and across the state came up for renewal, tenant groups were hoping Wright and newly sworn-in Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, would be able to win significant changes to the rent laws to do away with what they call incentives for landlords to take apartments off of the affordable housing rolls. Instead they say they got tweaks.</p> <p>The threshold for rent at which a vacant apartment can be deregulated was increased from $2,500 to $2,700. The deal also required landlords stretch out the period they increase tenants’ rent after making major capital improvements. Landlords were also limited in how much they can increase rent between tenants. The wins were seen as small, minimal in comparison to what Cuomo and the Assembly publicly pushed for. Wright said he was nevertheless proud of the changes that were made.</p> <p>Last year was a not a typical year - both legislative leaders Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver were indicted during budget season (and later convicted). Rather than a traditional negotiation of the expiring rent laws and 421-a program that gives tax breaks to developers for including affordable housing in their projects, Cuomo allowed real estate and labor interests to negotiate 421-a renewal on their own, outside the Legislature.</p> <p>Tenant groups say 421-a is a “tax suck” that has been demonstrated to produce very few affordable units and been the subject to major abuse and fraud by developers. Investigations, like one <a href="https://www.propublica.org/article/nyc-landlords-flout-rent-limits-but-still-rake-in-lucrative-tax-breaks" target="_blank">by ProPublica</a>, have proven those claims to be true. Still, Mayor Bill de Blasio and others want to see a new, strengthened 421-a program enacted.</p> <p>Cuomo attributed giving real estate and labor control of negotiations to the sensitivity of legislators towards the Silver and Skelos scandals that included revelations about the political influence of Glenwood Management, a real estate company that was the state’s largest campaign donor.</p> <p>Labor and real estate failed to reach an agreement on renewing 421-a, so the program lapsed. Still, Cuomo and other stakeholders <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/state/6267-major-city-issues-at-play-in-politically-charged-post-budget-legislative-session" target="_blank">appear loathe to let it go</a>, to the dismay of some tenant groups.</p> <p>Results of the legislative negotiations on rent laws last year were hailed as “historic” by Cuomo, but tenant groups found it lacking. They say it basically cemented the status quo allowing landlords to steadily raise rents and move apartments off the affordable housing rolls.</p> <p>"We pretty much got nothing," said Delsenia Glover, director of Alliance for Tenant Power, said at a press conference in Albany in early April. "At the time Governor Cuomo said they were the 'strongest rent laws in history.' It's not true, we got nothing."</p> <p>Glover, who is from Harlem, does not blame Wright for the rent law negotiations. “Keith is extremely supportive,” Glover told Gotham Gazette in a recent interview. “He was one of our lead champions last year along with Speaker Heastie. He worked as hard as he could on the rent laws.”</p> <p>The focus of Alliance for Tenant Power’s April press conference was demanding that if Albany does decide to find a replacement for 421-a that they must also reopen negotiations on rent laws. Glover says lawmakers should end current rules that incentivize landlords to make apartments unaffordable.</p> <p>“Instead of discussing benefits for rich developers, all attention should be on fixing the major loopholes in the rent regulation system that houses 2.5 million tenants in approximately 1 million units with no cost whatsoever to the taxpayer,” Glover wrote in an April op-ed at Gotham Gazette.</p> <p>Glover and other tenant groups deride the idea of any replacement for 421-a. Wright attended the press conference and appeared to agree, despite the fact he introduced what many tenant advocates saw as a direct replacement. Wright proposed a program that would provide $100,000 to developers per affordable unit they build that would be funded by the state abandoned property fund.</p> <p>Wright said at the time that the bill was negotiated with the Real Estate Board of New York the NYS Association for Affordable Housing, and the Building &amp; Construction Trades Council. All three groups indicated <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/wright-proposes-replacement-expired-421-a-tax-break-article-1.2567341" target="_blank">to the Daily News</a> at the time that they didn’t actually support the plan.</p> <p>“I’m sorry the press picked it up as a replacement for 421-a,” Wright told Gotham Gazette, implying that his plan was not aimed to be such and that a lack of enthusiasm for it was the result of that mistaken characterization.</p> <p>Asked for her take on Wright’s plan, Glover demurred, saying, “You’d have to ask someone who was in the room.”</p> <p>Barika Williams, deputy director of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD), praised Wright for bringing together disparate groups to discuss the creation of “a tool” to spur the creation of affordable housing. “It was a unique table that brought together different parts of the for-profit and nonprofit set. You saw a lot of people who don’t normally sit at the same table. We were looking at achieving the deepest affordability and trying to target resources to those buckets of the population that are desperately in need.”</p> <p>Williams said that in the end all of the groups may not have been on the same page because not all the groups involved were present for the entire process. “It was a long process that took commitment and being consistently involved for over two months.”</p> <p>Wright has been criticized by advocates and fellow legislators for not being properly versed in the bills he supports. He’s also been criticized for being too close to Governor Cuomo.</p> <p>Wright said he would love to see the rent laws reopened for negotiation this year.</p> <p>City &amp; State NY <a href="http://cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-city/tenant-rights-group-criticizes-wright%E2%80%99s-illegal-hotel-legislation.html#.VypnlIQrLGI" target="_blank">recently reported</a> that Tom Cayler, chair of the West Side Neighborhood Alliance’s Illegal Hotel Committee, was unhappy with a bill Wright carries that is technically designed to deal with illegal hotels.</p> <p>Wright’s bill would create a process by which permanent residents of certain apartment buildings could register to rent their apartments in the short term - similar to how Airbnb functions.</p> <p>Cayler said the bill would simply allow residents to rent their apartments as “illegal hotels,” rather than ending the practice. There is a good deal of pushback against Airbnb <a href="https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20151208/greenpoint/heres-how-landlords-are-striking-back-against-airbnb" target="_blank">in Manhattan</a>. The group met with Wright and were asked to send him a memo with their concerns. They say they never heard back.</p> <p>“It was really shocking to us that he didn’t actually seem to know much about the bill he had his name on,” Cayler told City &amp; State. “He was not well-informed about it. His chief of staff was the one who knew about this particular bill.”</p> <p>Wright’s spokesperson Emma Forbes told City &amp; State that the bill was designed to increase transparency and that the bill had yet to move because there wasn’t “consensus” from residents and stakeholders.</p> <p>Asked about Cayler’s criticism Wright told Gotham Gazette: “I thought he was somewhat misinformed.”</p> <p>Wright said his door is always open and he is willing to discuss legislation.</p> <p>WIlliams, of ANHD, countered the idea that Wright was ill informed about legislation. “I think from our experience Assemblymember Wright understands the complexity of housing and the complex mix of interests that are involved. With all of that in mind, his goal always seems to be thinking about deep affordability and how to help those folks in New York City who are struggling and who are the most underserved.”</p> <p>Asked if he expects legislation on illegal hotels to move this session, which ends in mid-June, Wright replied, “The bill is in my name in a committee I head and I control the bill and it hasn’t moved.” “So if it quacks like a duck...,” he added, implying there was little chance the bill would advance.</p> <p>Wright said he is proud of his record as a tenant advocate and that despite the overwhelming support he has received from the Democratic establishment, including words of support from former President Bill Clinton and formal endorsements from Gov. Cuomo, Speaker Heastie, and Rep. Rangel, he does not take it for granted that he will be leaving Albany for Washington. “We have a lot to do here,” Wright said, adding that should he be elected to Congress his main focus will be on changing the definition of area median income because of the way it impacts affordable housing in the city.</p> <p>“The reason I’m running is to change the definition of area median income and the way it is put forward with affordable housing,” said Wright. “The housing that is being built is called “affordable,” but it's not affordable to anyone I know or even me.” (Wright, who lives in rent-stabilized housing, has an Assembly salary of $79,500, not including the stipend he receives for heading the housing committee, and he has served for 24 years.)</p> <p>Citing the fact that the AMI used for New York City to determine rent thresholds takes into account Westchester and Rockland counties, greatly increasing the number, Wright said that reform would benefit city residents.</p> <p>“Changing the definition is what I want to do the first day I get to Congress, most definitely,” said Wright.</p> <p>New Yorkers are tired of seeing condos going for millions of dollars while they worry about paying the bills and staying in their neighborhood, Wright said.</p> <p>“The people of Harlem shed blood, sweat, and tears to make their neighborhood a safe place to live,” Wright said. “People are scared to death their children won't be able to afford to live in the neighborhood because it won’t be affordable.”</p> <p>

***
by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
40 Questions for New York Politics in 2016 2016-01-04T01:15:12+00:00 2016-01-04T01:15:12+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6060:40-questions-for-new-york-politics-in-2016 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/22561857160_e0e40378c6_z.jpg" alt="bdb mmv lupo" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p>photo: William Alatriste</p> <hr /> <p>Happy new year! As we jump right into 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepares for his State of the State and budget address, Mayor Bill de Blasio works to improve his public approval ratings, and the two keep on feuding. There's a lot to look for in the new year, here are about 40 political questions we're asking as the year begins - if you want to share them, answer any, or let us know one we missed, tweet <a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a>:</p> <ol> <li>How will <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6016-cuomo-increasingly-uses-state-power-to-undermine-de-blasio" target="_blank">the Cuomo-de Blasio feud</a> play out?</li> <li>Who's next for Preet Bharara?</li> <li>What will Albany do about preventing public corruption?<ol style="list-style-type: lower-alpha;"> <li>Will the LLC loophole close?</li> <li>Will New York move forward on a public campaign finance system?</li> <li>Will there be agreement on pension forfeiture?</li> <li>Will further limits be placed on legislators' outside income?</li> <li>Will legislator salaries be raised?</li> <li>Does the budget process become more transparent?</li> </ol></li> <li>What kind of Assembly reforms will Speaker Carl Heastie allow in terms of the ways in which <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6043-assembly-reform-group-will-miss-own-deadline" target="_blank">his legislative house conducts its business</a>?</li> <li>How does <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5923-progressive-critics-largely-convinced-by-cuomos-wage-push" target="_blank">the Governor's minimum wage</a> push wind up?</li> <li>What happens with <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6038-negotiations-to-extend-important-affordable-housing-tax-break-said-to-reach-impasse" target="_blank">the 421-a tax break/affordable housing program</a>?</li> <li>Will the de Blasio administration show significant progress in turning around struggling schools?</li> <li>What happens with mayoral control of city schools, as dictated by state policy?</li> <li>What do teacher evaluations look like next, as dictated by state policy?</li> <li>What's the future of the Common Core in New York?</li> <li>Does the opt-out movement continue to grow?</li> <li>How do the 2016 elections affect which party controls the state Senate?<ol style="list-style-type: lower-alpha;"> <li>Who wins the special election for the seat <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6032-skelos-conviction-greeted-with-calls-for-immediate-action-on-reform" target="_blank">previously held by Dean Skelos</a>?</li> <li>Who wins other vacant state legislative seats, like <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5955-as-sheldon-silver-heads-to-trial-a-democratic-challenger-is-poised-to-run" target="_blank">that held by Sheldon Silver</a>?</li> </ol></li> <li>Will de Blasio improve his relationship with Albany Democrats?</li> <li>Can de Blasio effectively reduce the street and shelter homeless populations?</li> <li>How will the city and the state approach the homelessness crisis together/separately?</li> <li>Will New York <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5916-will-new-york-be-last-to-raise-the-age" target="_blank">"raise the age" of criminal responsibility</a> from 16 (to 17 or 18)?</li> <li>Will de Blasio successfully negotiate paid parental leave with the city's municipal unions after <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6052-de-blasio-moves-on-paid-parental-leave" target="_blank">announcing he is offering it to nonunion city employees</a>?</li> <li>Will the State move on a paid family leave program?</li> <li>Can Cuomo show more progress in his efforts to revive struggling city and regional economies?</li> <li>How do <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6027-next-steps-for-the-mayors-controversial-zoning-proposals" target="_blank">the mayor's rezoning proposals</a> fare in the City Council?</li> <li>How does City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito differentiate herself from Bill de Blasio?</li> <li>Will the City Council move any bills that the mayor isn't behind - like the Right to Know Act?<ol style="list-style-type: lower-alpha;"> <li>Will de Blasio use a veto for the first time as mayor?</li> </ol></li> <li>What's next for Mark-Viverito as she faces term-limits (at the end of 2017)?</li> <li>Can the Mayor keep making progress toward his affordable housing goals?</li> <li>What will city elected officials' compensation increases look like once the mayor and Council come to an agreement based on <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6049-pay-commission-recommends-raises-reforms-for-elected-compensation" target="_blank">the compensation commission's recommendations</a>?<ol style="list-style-type: lower-alpha;"> <li>Will Council pay increases come <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6049-pay-commission-recommends-raises-reforms-for-elected-compensation" target="_blank">with the elimination of lulus and other reforms</a>?</li> </ol></li> <li>Who will replace Charlie Rangel in Congress?</li> <li>How does it go for <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6005-incoming-das-plan-to-join-thompson-and-vance-warrant-clearing-efforts" target="_blank">the two new District Attorneys</a>, in the Bronx and on Staten Island?</li> <li>Can the NYPD continue to drive crime down, reducing murders after a small rise, while also improving community relations?</li> <li>Will there be progress on Rikers Island?</li> <li>What steps will the City take <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6055-first-doe-school-diversity-report-will-spur-further-desegregation-efforts" target="_blank">to desegregate its schools</a>?</li> <li>What does Bill de Blasio's cabinet look like after a deputy mayor is replaced and the homeless services department is reassessed?<ol style="list-style-type: lower-alpha;"> <li>Will other top officials leave the administration?</li> </ol></li> <li>What will happen with Uber?</li> <li>Will the City pass a plastic bag fee?</li> <li>Is there a compromise on reducing Central Park carriage horses?</li> <li>Can de Blasio improve his public approval ratings?</li> <li>Does anyone formidable emerge to declare a challenge to de Blasio for 2017?</li> <li>What will Comptroller Scott Stringer's charter school audits look like?<ol style="list-style-type: lower-alpha;"> <li>What other audits and reports come from Stringer's office?</li> </ol></li> <li>Will Public Advocate Tish James continue <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5856-suing-the-hand-that-feeds-you-tish-james-de-blasio" target="_blank">to use litigation against the city to seek change?</a> If so, what suits?</li> <li>How are New York officials involved in the presidential race?<ol style="list-style-type: lower-alpha;"> <li>How will de Blasio, Cuomo, Mark-Viverito and other city and state officials who have endorsed her be involved in Hillary Clinton's campaign?</li> <li>Who wins New York in the Democratic and Republican primaries?</li> </ol></li> <li>Who becomes the next President of the United States?</li> </ol> <p>***<br />by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank">@tweetBenMax</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/22561857160_e0e40378c6_z.jpg" alt="bdb mmv lupo" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p>photo: William Alatriste</p> <hr /> <p>Happy new year! As we jump right into 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepares for his State of the State and budget address, Mayor Bill de Blasio works to improve his public approval ratings, and the two keep on feuding. There's a lot to look for in the new year, here are about 40 political questions we're asking as the year begins - if you want to share them, answer any, or let us know one we missed, tweet <a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a>:</p> <ol> <li>How will <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6016-cuomo-increasingly-uses-state-power-to-undermine-de-blasio" target="_blank">the Cuomo-de Blasio feud</a> play out?</li> <li>Who's next for Preet Bharara?</li> <li>What will Albany do about preventing public corruption?<ol style="list-style-type: lower-alpha;"> <li>Will the LLC loophole close?</li> <li>Will New York move forward on a public campaign finance system?</li> <li>Will there be agreement on pension forfeiture?</li> <li>Will further limits be placed on legislators' outside income?</li> <li>Will legislator salaries be raised?</li> <li>Does the budget process become more transparent?</li> </ol></li> <li>What kind of Assembly reforms will Speaker Carl Heastie allow in terms of the ways in which <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6043-assembly-reform-group-will-miss-own-deadline" target="_blank">his legislative house conducts its business</a>?</li> <li>How does <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5923-progressive-critics-largely-convinced-by-cuomos-wage-push" target="_blank">the Governor's minimum wage</a> push wind up?</li> <li>What happens with <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6038-negotiations-to-extend-important-affordable-housing-tax-break-said-to-reach-impasse" target="_blank">the 421-a tax break/affordable housing program</a>?</li> <li>Will the de Blasio administration show significant progress in turning around struggling schools?</li> <li>What happens with mayoral control of city schools, as dictated by state policy?</li> <li>What do teacher evaluations look like next, as dictated by state policy?</li> <li>What's the future of the Common Core in New York?</li> <li>Does the opt-out movement continue to grow?</li> <li>How do the 2016 elections affect which party controls the state Senate?<ol style="list-style-type: lower-alpha;"> <li>Who wins the special election for the seat <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6032-skelos-conviction-greeted-with-calls-for-immediate-action-on-reform" target="_blank">previously held by Dean Skelos</a>?</li> <li>Who wins other vacant state legislative seats, like <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5955-as-sheldon-silver-heads-to-trial-a-democratic-challenger-is-poised-to-run" target="_blank">that held by Sheldon Silver</a>?</li> </ol></li> <li>Will de Blasio improve his relationship with Albany Democrats?</li> <li>Can de Blasio effectively reduce the street and shelter homeless populations?</li> <li>How will the city and the state approach the homelessness crisis together/separately?</li> <li>Will New York <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5916-will-new-york-be-last-to-raise-the-age" target="_blank">"raise the age" of criminal responsibility</a> from 16 (to 17 or 18)?</li> <li>Will de Blasio successfully negotiate paid parental leave with the city's municipal unions after <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6052-de-blasio-moves-on-paid-parental-leave" target="_blank">announcing he is offering it to nonunion city employees</a>?</li> <li>Will the State move on a paid family leave program?</li> <li>Can Cuomo show more progress in his efforts to revive struggling city and regional economies?</li> <li>How do <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6027-next-steps-for-the-mayors-controversial-zoning-proposals" target="_blank">the mayor's rezoning proposals</a> fare in the City Council?</li> <li>How does City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito differentiate herself from Bill de Blasio?</li> <li>Will the City Council move any bills that the mayor isn't behind - like the Right to Know Act?<ol style="list-style-type: lower-alpha;"> <li>Will de Blasio use a veto for the first time as mayor?</li> </ol></li> <li>What's next for Mark-Viverito as she faces term-limits (at the end of 2017)?</li> <li>Can the Mayor keep making progress toward his affordable housing goals?</li> <li>What will city elected officials' compensation increases look like once the mayor and Council come to an agreement based on <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6049-pay-commission-recommends-raises-reforms-for-elected-compensation" target="_blank">the compensation commission's recommendations</a>?<ol style="list-style-type: lower-alpha;"> <li>Will Council pay increases come <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6049-pay-commission-recommends-raises-reforms-for-elected-compensation" target="_blank">with the elimination of lulus and other reforms</a>?</li> </ol></li> <li>Who will replace Charlie Rangel in Congress?</li> <li>How does it go for <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6005-incoming-das-plan-to-join-thompson-and-vance-warrant-clearing-efforts" target="_blank">the two new District Attorneys</a>, in the Bronx and on Staten Island?</li> <li>Can the NYPD continue to drive crime down, reducing murders after a small rise, while also improving community relations?</li> <li>Will there be progress on Rikers Island?</li> <li>What steps will the City take <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6055-first-doe-school-diversity-report-will-spur-further-desegregation-efforts" target="_blank">to desegregate its schools</a>?</li> <li>What does Bill de Blasio's cabinet look like after a deputy mayor is replaced and the homeless services department is reassessed?<ol style="list-style-type: lower-alpha;"> <li>Will other top officials leave the administration?</li> </ol></li> <li>What will happen with Uber?</li> <li>Will the City pass a plastic bag fee?</li> <li>Is there a compromise on reducing Central Park carriage horses?</li> <li>Can de Blasio improve his public approval ratings?</li> <li>Does anyone formidable emerge to declare a challenge to de Blasio for 2017?</li> <li>What will Comptroller Scott Stringer's charter school audits look like?<ol style="list-style-type: lower-alpha;"> <li>What other audits and reports come from Stringer's office?</li> </ol></li> <li>Will Public Advocate Tish James continue <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5856-suing-the-hand-that-feeds-you-tish-james-de-blasio" target="_blank">to use litigation against the city to seek change?</a> If so, what suits?</li> <li>How are New York officials involved in the presidential race?<ol style="list-style-type: lower-alpha;"> <li>How will de Blasio, Cuomo, Mark-Viverito and other city and state officials who have endorsed her be involved in Hillary Clinton's campaign?</li> <li>Who wins New York in the Democratic and Republican primaries?</li> </ol></li> <li>Who becomes the next President of the United States?</li> </ol> <p>***<br />by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank">@tweetBenMax</a></p>