Gotham Gazette http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/172 Sun, 15 Jul 2018 22:56:33 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Webmaster) A Closer Look at Voter Turnout in 2018 New York Congressional Primaries http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7774:a-closer-look-at-voter-turnout-in-2018-new-york-congressional-primaries http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7774:a-closer-look-at-voter-turnout-in-2018-new-york-congressional-primaries joe crowley voting

Rep. Joe Crowley votes (photo: @JoeCrowleyNY)


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset primary defeat of Representative Joe Crowley has sent shockwaves through both the New York and national political worlds.

The 28-year-old Latina democratic-socialist who has never held elected office and refused money from corporate PACs stood in stark contrast to Crowley, a 56-year-old, ten-term Congressional representative who was a prolific Democratic Party fundraiser, served as the chair of the Queens Democratic Party, and was seen by some as the next Democratic Speaker of the House.

Ocasio-Cortez’s win is being partly attributed to her campaign’s organizing, strong ground game, and significant social media presence, as well as its embrace of progressive policies such as ICE abolition and single-payer healthcare. She didn’t merely upset Crowley, she won handily, by a margin of 57.5 percent to 42.5 percent.

Maps compiled by the CUNY Center for Urban Research show that support in the election that has the country buzzing did not break down neatly on racial lines; in fact, Ocasio-Cortez maintained strong support throughout the district, across areas of various demographic makeups.

“This wasn’t a fluke,” said Steven Romalewski, of the Center for Urban Research. “She was able to get voters from almost every neighborhood to come out and support her.” Romalewski noted that, contrary to the conventional wisdom of voting on racial lines, the areas where Ocasio-Cortez’s showing was strongest were areas that weren’t predominantly Hispanic, signaling that her showing may not have been due to the district’s changing demographics (it has been steadily becoming less white for years), but due to desire for change from Crowley.

ny14 primary 2018 electionnightdraft

Though Ocasio-Cortez whipped up energy among voters in the Queens and Bronx district, and there is little to compare voter turnout to because Crowley had not been challenged since 2004, the primary election was decided, like most elections in New York, by a relatively small number of people.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting as of Wednesday, the State Board of Elections shows 27,826 registered Democrats cast votes in Tuesday’s primary in New York’s 14th District. With 235,745 registered Democrats as of April, according to the BOE, this comes out to a turnout of around 11.8 percent.

This turnout is about the same as in Crowley’s last competitive primary, in 2004. According to the Federal Election Commission, 12.4 percent of Democrats in Crowley’s district voted that year, which was a presidential election year, unlike this year, and saw congressional and state-level primaries on the same September day. New York has since moved its congressional primaries to June.

For comparison, when Crowley was reelected to Congress two years ago, in 2016, he faced no primary opponent and nominal competition in the general election, but in the general he received 147,567 votes as many more voters turned out on Election Day than typically do for party primaries, even when they are competitive. Ocasio-Cortez will herself now face Republican Anthony Pappas and Conservative Elizabeth Perri in the general election, but is expected to win easily.

Regardless of the low primary turnout, Romalewski characterized Ocasio-Cortez’s win in the same way as most other observers: a massive upset.

“The challenger was able to do something with her supporters that the incumbent wasn’t,” Romalewski said. “And that’s surprising given that the incumbent has the power of incumbency, has the power of the party machine behind him, and has the power of endorsements, and long time political support in both counties, Queens and the Bronx, and that was not enough to hold off the challenger. So that’s a big upset.”

Turnout on Tuesday was similarly low in other closely-watched congressional primaries. In the 9th District, in Brooklyn, where Representative Yvette Clarke narrowly beat New York Times-endorsed Adem Bunkeddeko 52 to 48 percent, Democratic turnout is only at about 8.2 percent with 99 percent of precincts reporting, according to the BOE. 28,663 Democrats voted out of 347,466 total in the district.

In the 12th District, including parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, where Representative Carolyn Maloney dispatched challenger Suraj Patel 58 to 41 percent, Democratic turnout stands at about 13.6 percent with 99 percent reporting. 41,460 Democrats voted out of 304,115 total in the district.

Turnout was slightly higher in the Republican primary in the 11th District, covering Staten Island and part of southern Brooklyn, where incumbent Representative Dan Donovan was seemingly running a tight race with his predecessor Michael Grimm, only for Donovan to handily beat Grimm, 63 to 36 percent. That primary, featuring a rare such primary battle of the two most recent officeholders and an apparently race-altering endorsement of Donovan by President Donald Trump, saw a turnout of 17 percent of registered Republicans -- 20,118 Republicans voted out of 117,983 registered in the district.

Romalewski said that the high profile nature of the race played a part in the higher turnout. “Not only was it a high profile race, but there was an incumbent and a former incumbent running for the primary vote,” he said. “So there was a lot of institutional support on both sides, and a lot of interest on both sides, and a lot of familiarity with the voters, so it’s not surprising that there was relatively robust turnout in District 11.”

ny11 primary 2018 electionnightdraft

Similarly to Ocasio-Cortez’s convincing win District 14, Romalewski noted that Donovan’s strong support was widespread across the district rather than being concentrated in pockets. He won the overwhelming majority of election districts, and beat Grimm by significant margins in both the Staten Island and Brooklyn sections of the district.

In the crowded Democratic primary in District 11, Max Rose defeated five other Democratic hopefuls with 63 percent of the vote. That primary saw a turnout of 8.5 percent -- 17,098 Democrats voted out of 200,410 total registered in the district. The Donovan-Rose general election is expected to draw a lot of interest, and money, from around the state and country, as Democrats see it as a possible pick-up toward flipping the House.

In Maloney’s last noteworthy primary challenge, from Reshma Saujani in 2010, turnout stood at 16.4 percent. The last competitive primary in the district represented by Donovan was in 2010, when it was the 13th District and Grimm defeated Michael Allegretti in an election with 13.7 percent turnout. Both of these primaries occurred before a 2012 federal court decision that led New York to become the only state this year with separate federal and state primary days, wherein the state was forced to move its congressional primary earlier in the year and lawmakers declined to also move the state-level vote. The separate days can depress turnout, says Romalewski.

“In recent years, there’s been as many as four elections within a year, primaries and generals, that people have to turn out for,” he said. In 2016, New York voters turned out for presidential primaries in April, congressional primaries in June, state and local primaries in September, and finally the general election in November. “It definitely risks voter burnout, the opposite of turnout.”

Clarke’s last primary challenge, in 2012, saw a 6.2 percent turnout. Maloney faced a challenge in 2016 from attorney Peter Lindner, in a race that saw a 6.7 percent turnout.

Turnout was similarly low elsewhere in the city and state. In the 5th District, where Representative Gregory Meeks won 81 percent of the vote against two challengers, Mizan Choudhury and Carl Achille, saw a 3.8 percent turnout. In the 16th District, Eliot Engel dispatched three challengers -- Jonathan Lewis, Derickson Lawrence, and Joyce Briscoe -- with 74 percent of the vote in an election with 9.8 percent turnout.

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by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

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A Closer Look at Voter Turnout in 2018 New York Congressional Primaries Wed, 27 Jun 2018 04:00:00 +0000
New York General Election Congressional Matchups to Watch http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7775:new-york-general-election-congressional-matchups-to-watch http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7775:new-york-general-election-congressional-matchups-to-watch rosen donovan

Dan Donovan (center) & Max Rose (photos via @dandonovan_ny & @MaxRose4NY)


The congressional primaries in New York on Tuesday saw a shocking defeat for a Democratic party giant in Queens while other Democratic incumbents in the city held on with close margins. And on Staten Island, a closely-watched Republican primary ended with a wider margin for the incumbent victor than expected.

[Read: Ocasio-Cortez Upsets Crowley, Donovan Defeats Grimm & Other 2018 New York Congressional Primary Results]

All eyes will now turn to the general election, with the full slate of candidates in focus. Nationally, Democrats are attempting to claw back a majority in the 435-seat House of Representatives by flipping key Republican seats -- they currently hold 193 seats and Republicans hold 235, and there are seven vacancies -- while Republicans are hoping to fend off a blue wave that has put them on the back foot in dozens of races across the country. New York races are expected to factor significantly into the House balance of power.

In New York, according to The Cook Political Report, there are five competitive congressional races, all held by Republicans, among the state’s 27 seats. Two are considered a toss-up -- the District 19 seat held by Rep. John Faso and the District 22 seat held by Rep. Claudia Tenney; the District 11 seat, where incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan prevailed in Tuesday’s primary, leans Republican; and District 1, held by Rep. Lee Zeldin, and District 24, held by Rep.  John Katko, per Cook’s predictions, are considered “likely Republican.”

The Donovan seat is the only congressional district held by Republicans in New York City.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is more closely focused on Districts 11 and 22, under its organized ‘Red to Blue’ effort, backing army veteran Max Rose to challenge Donovan, and state Assembly member Anthony Brindisi against Tenney.

And there are still other races where candidates are seen as more long-shots to win, but given the surprise leveled Tuesday by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez against Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley and the successes of Democrats, especially women, in other races in New York and elsewhere since Donald Trump’s election, some additional districts may be in play. For example, Liuba Grechen Shirley won her Democratic primary Tuesday and will now attempt to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Peter King on Long Island.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, a two-term Democrat running for reelection himself, has also committed the state Democratic Party’s machinery to support Democratic congressional challengers. “Our focus now must turn to winning back the House of Representatives, and the road to accomplishing that runs right through New York State,” Cuomo said, in an email blast sent out by the state party on Wednesday morning. “The only way to stop Donald Trump and his hateful agenda over the next two years is to win back the House of Representatives,” he added, appealing for volunteers to join phone banking and canvassing efforts in the next few weeks.

As New York and the country move toward November’s Election Day, congressional races are now set, while state-level primaries will happen on September 13 for all 213 seats in the state Legislature and the state-wide posts of governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller, and attorney general. While those elections are being fought out, throughout the summer and into the fall, there will also be a good deal of attention of the state’s most contentious congressional races.

District 11
After a caustic primary battle, Rep. Dan Donovan, a former district attorney, emerged victorious over Michael Grimm, who held the seat before Donovan but resigned after pleading guilty on charges of tax fraud. Both candidates tried to ride the coattails of Republican President Donald Trump, tying their records to his own in a district that overwhelmingly voted for him in 2016 -- the district covers all of Staten Island and a small section of southern Brooklyn.

Grimm, despite his felony conviction, had a strong base of support on Staten Island but Trump endorsed Donovan a few weeks before the primary, pushing him far over the top in what became one of the most hard-fought primaries across the state. Donovan claimed victory with 63.9 percent of the vote to Grimm’s 36.1 percent.

On the Democrat side, decorated army veteran Max Rose emerged victorious with a similar vote share, pulling in 64.7 percent to beat five other Democrats for the nomination. Rose ran a well-funded campaign with support from the DCCC, raising a total of $1.6 million through June 6, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Rose was formerly an executive at a nonprofit health care organization and worked as director of public engagement and special assistant under late Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson. He has received endorsements from several local and state-level elected Democrats as well as prominent national Democrats -- including U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Rep. Crowley. He was also backed by the local Brooklyn City Council Member, Justin Brannan. The Working Families Party and the Women’s Equality Party endorsed him, as did several unions and political action groups.   

In a brief phone interview Wednesday, Rose said he will stay the course on his approach to the campaign. “The strategy does not change,” he said of moving on to the general election. Rose said his opponent “will do and say anything” to get reelected, including attempting to rewrite his record as he moves closer to the president. “So we’re gonna win the old-fashioned way. We’re gonna take it day-by-day, door-by-door, and Dan Donovan doesn’t stand a chance,” he said.

Though the district is split between two boroughs, Rose said his pitch wouldn’t be determined by the community where he campaigns, but rather by the bread-and-butter issues that residents care about. “[W]hat matters is what is troubling voters each and every day,” he said, pointing to crumbling infrastructure, interminable commutes, an increasing cost-of-living and the hundreds of opioid overdoses in Staten Island.

“We have got to earn voters’ trust first and then convince them that it does not have to be this way under any circumstances,” he said.

“People are disgusted across the board,” he continued. “We don’t have a South Brooklyn strategy, a Tottenville strategy, a St. George Strategy. That’s what’s wrong with politics, is that politicians try to slice and dice the electorate. They use poll-testing and based off some high-level analytics they say one thing to the community here and…say something in another community.”

For his part, Donovan used part of his victory speech Tuesday night to stress the importance of holding onto the GOP’s lone New York City congressional seat, and he connected the race to the larger battle for the House, warning his supporters that Democrats want to impeach Trump if they win control of the chamber.

District 19
Republican John Faso currently holds the District 19 seat in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills but is widely seen as a vulnerable incumbent in a toss-up seat. A former state Assembly member, Faso won the seat in 2016 after the retirement of Republican Rep. Chris Gibson. Like Donovan, Faso voted against the recent tax cuts passed by Congress and signed by Trump, and has also criticized the president’s “zero tolerance” policy that separated thousands of  migrant children from their parents. He ran unopposed in the primary and FEC filings show he has about $1.1 million in his campaign coffers.

Faso’s Democratic opponent in the general is Harvard Law graduate and Rhodes scholar Antonio Delgado, who won in a crowded primary that saw millions in campaign money coming in for all the candidates. Delgado was endorsed by Citizen Action of New York, a progressive, left-leaning organization that is now one of the few groups at the core of the Working Families Party. Delgado secured about 22 percent of the vote, which was enough to place him first over six other Democrats. He outraised all his primary opponents and has about $759,000 left for the general election.  

District 1
Last night, Perry Gershon, a former businessman who’s framed his race as one against Trump, won the Democratic Party’s nomination to run in this eastern Long Island district. The Cook Political Report rates NY-01 as “Likely Republican,” and it went twice for Barack Obama before supporting Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Gershon will challenge two-term Republican incumbent Rep. Lee Zeldin, who won re-election in 2016 by 16 points over his Democratic opponent. As of June 6, Zeldin maintains over a 3-1 fundraising lead over Gershon.

District 2
First-time candidate Democrat Liuba Grechen Shirley will challenge incumbent Republican Rep. Peter King, who has been in office since 1992, in this Long Island district that also voted for Trump after supporting Obama twice. King won his most recent re-election with 62.5% of the vote, defeating Democrat DuWayne Gregory, who also lost to Grechen Shirley in Tuesday’s primary election. The day after her primary victory, Grechen Shirley challenged King, who recently said that town halls “diminish democracy,” to a series of five public debates. The incumbent, as of the beginning of the month, has over $3 million on hand, while Grechen Shirley has slightly less than $150,000 left over after her primary campaign.

District 3
Democrat Rep. Tom Suozzi won his seat in this district covering Long Island’s North Shore and part of Queens by a six-percent margin in 2016. NY-3 is narrowly Democratic, and it voted for Clinton in 2016 by the same margin as Suozzi. Republican challenger Dan DeBono ran unopposed in the Republican primary but, going into the general election, has less than one-tenth of the cash on hand as the incumbent.  

District 22
First-term Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney narrowly won this large, rural, and majority-white central New York district in 2016. Democratic State Assembly Member Anthony Brindisi, who faced no primary challenger, will challenge Tenney in the general election. Tenney is a hardline conservative endorsed by the Tea Party and the National Rifle Association, and the district went for Donald Trump by 16 percent in 2016.

Brindisi’s fundraising has, at times, outpaced Tenney’s, and, as of June 6, the challenger maintains a $400,000 cash lead over Tenney. An April poll conducted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reported that 50% of voters in the district would favor Brindisi, who has been attempting to appeal to the district’s moderate Republicans, in the general election, compared to 44% supporting Tenney.

District 24
In this central New York district that voted for Trump once and Obama twice, Democratic law professor Dana Balter will face off against incumbent Republican Rep. John Katko. Katko styles himself a moderate Republican, claiming to have written in Nikki Haley’s name for president in 2016, though he has voted in line with the president approximately 90 percent of the time. Running for a third term in the House of Representatives, Katko won both his previous races by margins of about twenty percent. He maintains a 13-1 fundraising lead over Balter, who advocates for Medicare-for-All, a carbon tax, and elimination of cash bail.

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by Samar Khurshid and Daniel Yadin

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

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New York General Election Congressional Matchups to Watch Wed, 27 Jun 2018 04:00:00 +0000
Ocasio-Cortez Upsets Crowley, Donovan Defeats Grimm & Other 2018 New York Congressional Primary Results http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7770:ocasio-cortez-upsets-crowley-donovan-defeats-grimm-other-2018-new-york-congressional-primary-results http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7770:ocasio-cortez-upsets-crowley-donovan-defeats-grimm-other-2018-new-york-congressional-primary-results ocasio-cortez campaign buttons

Ocasio-Cortez campaign buttons (image via @Ocasio2018)


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old self-identified democratic socialist, unseated 10-term Congressional representative and Queens Democratic Party leader Joe Crowley in a dramatic upset quickly having ripple effects both locally and nationally. And she won handily, by about 4,000 votes and a 57.5 to 42.5 percent margin.

Crowley entered the House in 1999 and maintained a largely center-left voting record; he was seen as a strong contender to become the next Democratic Speaker of the House, after Nancy Pelosi. Crowley is also the chair of the Queens Democratic Party, making him one of the most powerful kingmakers in New York City politics. Ocasio-Cortez, a Latina from the Bronx, ran an aggressive, organized, energetic campaign to Crowley’s left, accusing the incumbent of acquiescing to real estate and financial interests rather than adequately representing constituents of the district. She has professed support for Medicare for All (which Crowley also supported during the campaign), a federal jobs guarantee, tuition-free public college, reinstating Glass-Steagall, and abolishing ICE.

She further distinguished herself from Crowley by refusing money from corporate PACs; Crowley, a prolific fundraiser for the party, has raised millions of dollars over the course of his career from corporations. Crowley significantly outraised and outspent Ocasio-Cortez, but she made up for it with a significant social media presence, strong ground game, and glowing profiles in national publications. Crowley raised more eyebrows when he failed to show up for a debate with Ocasio-Cortez, instead sending former City Council Member Annabel Palma in his place, which earned him a rebuke from The New York Times editorial board.

Ocasio-Cortez has said that her campaign is part of a movement, emblematic of a far-left wave that is seeking to take over the Democratic primary in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, and with a chance to flip the House at stake this fall. She is all but certain to win the general election, something Crowley noted in a gracious concession speech wherein he also said he’d be supporting Ocasio-Cortez moving forward.

The challenger’s win appeared to give a shot in the arm to other progressives hoping to unseat incumbent Democrats this year, namely gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, who is challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo, had exchanged endorsements with Ocasio-Cortez on Monday and attended what became her victory party Tuesday night. Also apparently boosted by the result are the challengers to the former members of the Independent Democratic Conference of the State Senate. Those primaries will all be held September 13.

Crowley was among a handful of long-time Democratic incumbents facing spirited primary challenges on Tuesday. The others appeared to hang on, with Rep. Yvette Clarke of Brooklyn leading Adem Bunkedekko by a 1,000-vote margin with 99 percent of precincts reporting at about midnight. Bunkedekko had earned the endorsement of the Times editorial board in his insurgent campaign, but it did not appear to do quite enough to get him over the hump against Clarke.

Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Eliot Engel also fended off primary challengers, by wider margins.

Other than the Ocasio-Cortez victory, the other top storyline of the night was Rep. Dan Donovan fending off a primary challenge from his predecessor, Michael Grimm, that looked to be going Grimm's way before President Donald Trump endorsed Donovan. Donovan wound up winning by more than 20 percentage points, though.

On the Democratic side in New York’s 11th Congressional District, Max Rose won a crowded primary by a wide margin and will take on Donovan in the general election, attempting to swing the lone New York City House seat in GOP hands.

In other notable congressional primary results around the city and state (many incumbents were unchallenged in the primary, some faced only nominal competition):

Perry Gershon won the Democratic primary to earn the chance to face incumbent Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin in Congressional District 1.

Liuba Grechen Shirley won the Democratic primary to earn the chance to face incumbent Republican Rep. Peter King in Congressional District 2.

Antonio Delgado won a crowded Democratic primary to earn the chance to face incumbent Republican Rep. John Faso in Congressional District 19.

Tedra Cobb won a crowded Democratic primary to earn the chance to face incumbent Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik in Congressional District 21.

Dana Balter won the Democratic primary to earn the chance to face incumbent Republican Rep. John Katko in Congressional District 24.

Assemblymember Joseph Morelle won the Democratic primary to earn the chance to face incumbent Republican Jim Maxwell in Congressional District 25, a seat vacated when Rep. Louise Slaughter passed away earlier this year.

These results now largely set the stage for the general elections for Congress in New York, with all 27 House seas on the ballot and one U.S. Senate seat -- where Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is facing Republican challenger Chele Farley.

State-level primaries, including for all the seats in the state Legislature and the four state-wide positions of governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller, and attorney general will be September 13.

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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Ocasio-Cortez Upsets Crowley, Donovan Defeats Grimm & Other 2018 New York Congressional Primary Results Tue, 26 Jun 2018 04:00:00 +0000
Donovan, Grimm in Final Days of Contentious Congressional Primary http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7765:donovan-grimm-in-final-days-of-contentious-congressional-primary http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7765:donovan-grimm-in-final-days-of-contentious-congressional-primary grimm donovan ny1

Rep. Donovan, left, and former Rep. Grimm on NY1


Perhaps the most-watched congressional primary in New York ahead of Tuesday’s vote is the Republican contest centered on Staten Island, where former Congressional Representative Michael Grimm is attempting to unseat incumbent Representative Dan Donovan in what has been a nasty, hard-fought race with a heavy focus on President Donald Trump.

The district, which includes all of Staten Island and a sliver of southern Brooklyn, is home to many Trump supporters, especially in the Republican primary, and both candidates have been pledging allegiance to the commander in chief, despite each having a fairly moderate record. Trump recently endorsed Donovan, a fact that the incumbent -- who voted against Trump’s signature tax reform legislation -- has been touting as he attempts to stave off what appears to be a very serious threat to his reelection.

The winner of the Republican primary will face the victor on the Democratic side in what promises to be a spirited general election also centered around Trump and the first-term president’s policies. While the district almost exclusively elects Republicans to Congress, Democrats see an opportunity this year given heightened expectations about turnout in the first national elections since Trump shocked much of the world in 2016.

But first, the Grimm-Donovan contest has been full of energy, policy, and drama. While Donovan has virtually all of the institutional support, including from all of the Republican elected officials in the area, a long list of labor unions, and the two newspaper editorial boards that stand to matter to primary voters -- the Staten Island Advance and the New York Post -- Grimm still retains a strong following in the district and is putting his formidable campaign skills to work.

In endorsing Donovan in a move it acknowledged as exceptional given its reluctance to weigh in during party primaries, the Advance editorial board called it an "extraordinary race" indicative of "this era of out-of-the-ordinary phenomena on America's political landscape." "For us, there is no question: Dan Donovan deserves to be the Republican nominee," the board wrote. "He has served Staten Island with distinction and sensitivity, despite accusations to the contrary tossed about by Mr. Grimm."

The two candidates recently engaged in one radio and one television debate, where they lobbed personal and professional attacks against each other, attempted to prove who is the most supportive of the president, defended their policy records, and presented some sense of their vision for representing the district into the future if entrusted by voters to do so.

The debate on WABC radio, hosted by Rita Cosby, was full of argument and insults, emblematic of the overall race, which has been bitterly fought and has included a number of specific allegations of wrongdoing in each direction, not to mention discussion of Grimm’s time in prison after he pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion. It was that plea that led him to resign from Congress just after winning reelection in 2014, in what is the only Republican-held Congressional seat in New York City.

The debate on NY1 television, moderated by Errol Louis along with Courtney Gross and Anthony Pascale at the College of Staten Island, was a somewhat tamer affair than the radio debate, and included a bit more substance, though it did not lack for candidate attacks.

“My opponent’s whole campaign has been based on lies about my record and about his,” Donovan said near the start of the radio debate, responding to a question about whether his own campaign excessively used Grimm’s criminal record. “The people have to know what the truth is.”

“What I think it is,” Grimm responded, “is he’s trying to reflect onto me the fact that he’s been lying about his own record.”

During his opening statement of the TV debate, Grimm criticized Donovan’s decision to not rent a D.C. apartment but to instead sleep at his office while working in the capital, which the incumbent calls an efficiency measure.

“I’m running again because over the last three years, my opponent hasn’t just been sleeping in his office, he’s been sleeping on the job,” Grimm said. “And that’s why I’m asking for your vote.

In asking for votes, Grimm cannot bolster his pleas with the backing of the president, whom he has heaped praise on an attacked Donovan for not supporting enough.

The president backed Donovan’s candidacy in two tweets that lauded the incumbent for his stances on borders, crime, the military, and tax cuts. Donovan boasted of Trump’s support during the NY1 debate,  noting that not Trump not only supported his candidacy but denounced Grimm’s, making an apparent reference to Grimm’s record and the notion that Grimm would be a weaker general election candidate than Donovan. The president analogized Grimm’s candidacy to that of Roy Moore in the 2017 special Senate election in Alabama. Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, was the rare Republican to lose an Alabama Senate race to a Democrat, doing so amid allegations of sexual assault.

“I have a campaign going on now that you’re watching and witnessing that’s filled with lies and distortions, so much so that the president of the United States had to come in and set the record straight,” Donovan said. “He told the people of our community he wants me to be the candidate, he wants me back in Congress to help him make the America first agenda succeed and help make America great again.”

With each candidate’s allegiance to the president clear, they were asked if they would side with Trump even if it meant harming the district. Both said while they support the president’s national goals, the district will always come first. They each cited a time when they opposed the Republican Party while they were in Congress.

Grimm spoke about his flood insurance reform bill in 2014 — a measure put in place to repeal overwhelming increases in flood-insurance rates after Superstorm Sandy devastated New York — citing that he “risked my career” to get the bill passed despite harsh opposition from Republicans.

Donovan reminded viewers that he was one of only 12 House Republicans to vote against the GOP tax bill in December, citing that it harms high-tax states like New York.

“I voted with the president 90% of the time,” Donovan said during the NY1 debate. “I voted with the people I represent 100% of the time.”

Still, Grimm challenged Donovan’s allegiance to the president during the WABC debate, citing how the incumbent has voted against major legislation pushed by the Trump administration, such as the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a ban of sanctuary cities, and the passage of the tax reform bill.

“Those are three signature issues that our president actually ran on,” Grimm said.

Though he doesn’t have Trump’s endorsement Grimm drew his own parallel with the president, saying that he was targeted by then-U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch just as Trump has been targeted by special counsel Robert Mueller in the federal investigation into possible Russian collusion and other matters during the presidential election.

“I think everyone knows that I had three delivery boys and a dishwasher off the books,” Grimm said during the radio debate, referring to his hiring of undocumented employees to work at his Manhattan-based health food restaurant, Healthalicious. “And I never hid from that. It was a civil offense that the Obama Justice Department, that is politically corrupt, used against me.”

In 2014, Grimm was indicted on 20 counts, including charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, and the preparation of false federal tax returns, although he only pleaded guilty to one charge of tax evasion. When asked during the radio debate if he would now release his tax returns, Grimm said he would not because he’s “not required to,” then said that Donovan pushing for the release of his tax returns was “a typical liberal line.”

On more substantive matters facing the country and the district, the race has had a lot of discussion of immigration, as well as storm recovery and resiliency, the opioid addiction crisis, and other matters.

Neither candidate’s website specifically addresses immigration policy, but Grimm’s prior employment of undocumented workers and Donovan’s vote against punishing sanctuary cities like New York — cities that limit their cooperation with the federal government over the enforcement of immigration law — has elicited strong criticism from one another and some discussion of policy proposals.

Grimm advocates for the implementation of a stronger guest worker program and e-verify, a system that allows employers to verify the eligibility of employees to work in the U.S. Donovan snapped backed during both debates that Grimm’s sudden support of e-verify is contradictory given his history of hiring of undocumented workers.

“The one thing he mentioned that’s pretty ironic, though, is e-verify,” Donovan said on NY1. “If we had e-verify when he owned his restaurant, he would have been caught a lot earlier because e-verify requires employers to check and verify the status of anybody that they hire.”

“Sanctuary city policy is a horrible, dangerous policy,” Grimm said during the WABC debate. “It came down to when you had an opportunity to send the message to Mayor de Blasio and ban sanctuary cities, the bottom line is he voted ‘no.’”

The former Richmond County district attorney defended his vote, stating on NY1 that he worked in law enforcement for 20 years.

“I believe that you have to enforce the laws and you can’t pick and choose which ones,” Donovan said. “Sanctuary cities choose which laws to enforce and they don’t enforce our federal immigration laws…if you’re not going to enforce the federal law, we’re not going to give you federal funds to do it.” He explained his vote, however, by saying he was worried about how Mayor Bill de Blasio, a liberal Democrat, would adjust policing in the city based on withholding of federal funds.

In regards to the opioid epidemic on Staten Island, a significant issue in the district discussed during both debates, the two again quarreled. Donovan said within his first few months of office, he helped incorporate New York into a national database that would allow the state’s pharmacists and physicians to see whether or not patients were going to bordering states to get their prescriptions filled.

Grimm, on the other hand, contends that New York already had such a program in place with the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act, or I-STOP, and associates the rise of the opioid epidemic with Donovan’s 12-year tenure as Richmond County’s district attorney.

“If you really look at my opponent’s record as the district attorney, when he first came in…there was barely a problem,” Grimm said on WABC. “That problem grew into a crisis, that crisis became an epidemic on his watch. The reality is this epidemic was fostered under your watch.”

The allegation incensed Donovan, who argued that he was both tough and smart about the growing crisis while district attorney, and was not caught flat-footed by its growth, helping by both prosecuting dealing and pursuing preventative approaches for users.

Grimm also said that he attempted to make New York’s I-STOP program, which enables doctors and pharmacists to access data that could identify potential drug interactions or abuse between patients and other doctors, into a federal law, although it didn’t pass during his time in Congress.

On the issue of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, which was discussed during the NY1 debate, Grimm and Donovan agreed that parts of the program should remain, such as child eligibility for parental plans until the age of 26 and covering those with preexisting conditions.

Nevertheless, Grimm said the act should be torn apart and renewed from scratch, and he criticized Donovan for not voting for its repeal, though Donovan argued he didn’t vote to rescind the act only because there was not a suitable replacement plan.

“Government intervention into our healthcare system was probably the worst thing we could do,” Grimm said on Thursday. “The private sector does things more efficiently, more effectively, and we should keep the government as much as we can out of our health care.”

Donovan’s platform additionally pushes for creating new transportation projects to help those on Staten Island and in southern Brooklyn with long commutes, improving student aid for covering the costs of higher education, increasing healthcare competition while reducing premiums, supporting the Veterans Healthcare Choice Improvement Act, and fighting cuts to law enforcement resources, although these issues were barely — or not at all — brought up during either debate.

Grimm, whose campaign website does not have a page dedicated to issues, has announced his support of Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and supports the termination of the Diversity Lottery program in various press releases posted onto his website.

The only public poll of the primary put Grimm ahead by 10 points over Donovan, as conducted by NY1 and Siena College, though potential voters were polled right around the time of the Trump endorsement, the effect of which was likely untapped. Donovan also has former Mayor (and now Trump lawyer) Rudy Giuliani and virtually the entire New York Republican establishment behind him, including Republican elected officials from Staten Island like conservative City Council Member Joe Borelli and moderate Borough President Jimmy Oddo.

It’s a fact not lost on Grimm, who is using it to portray himself as the candidate of the people, though it is indicative of the fact that he is seen as toxic by many due to his criminal record and behavior such as his threatening a NY1 reporter while he was still in Congress.

“Dan Donovan has the entire establishment behind him,” Grimm said, responding to a question about the poll. “He has the president behind him. He has all of these endorsements and I only have the people behind me. And I’m okay with that.”

A Donovan campaign spokesperson, on the other hand, dismissed the lone poll results. “Siena poll means nothing,” tweeted Jessica Proud. “In the field prior to Trump endorsement, our internals show us up. Weight of paid media on endorsement going to crush his false narrative. Talk to me in a few weeks.”

Voters will do that talking on Tuesday.

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by Jordan Kimmel and Chelsey Sanchez

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Donovan, Grimm in Final Days of Contentious Congressional Primary Fri, 22 Jun 2018 04:00:00 +0000
New York Congressional Primaries to Watch Ahead of June 26 Vote http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7728:new-york-congressional-primaries-to-watch-ahead-of-june-26-vote http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7728:new-york-congressional-primaries-to-watch-ahead-of-june-26-vote trump dan donovan

Rep. Dan Donovan with President Trump (photo: @DanDonovanSI)


New Yorkers will head to the polls on Tuesday, June 26 to vote in Democratic and Republican congressional primary elections, determining which candidates will appear on the parties’ ballots in November’s general election. Not every one of New York’s 27 congressional districts is home to one or two primaries, but some districts are in the midst of competitive primary campaigns.

In New York City, where just one seat in the House of Representatives delegation is held by a Republican, there are several hotly-contested primaries, though only one race is expected to be competitive in the general election. The lone GOP-held seat is also the one where a tough general election is expected -- there is currently an intense primary on each side of the aisle in the 11th Congressional District, which includes Staten Island and a sliver of Southern Brooklyn and is represented by incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan.

A small handful of Democratic incumbents representing parts of the city are facing spirited primary challenges, largely from the left, though incumbents, as is almost always the case, are favored. Without public polling, it is often difficult to tell if challengers are breaking through at all, or how voters feel about their incumbent representative.

Candidates are campaigning feverishly leading up to the primary, which is expected to see fairly low turnout, though it may see a boost relative to past years due to the competitive nature of some races and the larger atmosphere surrounding “the resistance” to President Donald Trump.

While NY-11 will factor into the discussion for the general election, other congressional seats outside New York City will form the vast majority of those seen as the state’s swing districts, where either a Democrat or a Republican could win and influence which party controls the House in January.

While every one of the country’s 435 House seats are on the ballot this year, as they are every other year, there are some U.S. Senate seats up for election this year as well -- Senators serve six-year terms and states stagger the elections of their two Senate seats. This year, Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is seeking another term and is being challenged by Republican Chele Farley in the general election.

In order to vote in the upcoming federal primaries, New Yorkers have to already be registered to vote and with the party holding a primary in their district. A closer look at the congressional primaries to watch leading up to June 26:

District 9
In Central Brooklyn’s District 9, 12-year Democratic incumbent Rep. Yvette Clarke faces her first primary challenge in six years. Adem Bunkeddeko, 29, was, until recently, an associate director at Brooklyn Community Services and, for five years, a member of Brooklyn Community Board 8, which includes Prospect Heights, Crown Heights and Weeksville.

He says he is running because “the political culture is so static” in the nation’s largest and most diverse city. Bunkeddeko’s platform includes the expansion of charter schools, legalization of marijuana, and an aggressive housing plan that, he says, would open paths to homeownership for families making between $30,000 and $80,000 a year.

Bunkeddeko has raised more than $200,000 in his bid for the Democratic nomination as of March 31. Clarke, meanwhile, has raised at least $600,000 in her bid for re-election. Almost 60% of Clarke’s campaign contributions have come from political action committees; Bunkeddeko has reported zero donations from PACs.

Clarke’s campaign highlights her introduction of legislation granting new legal rights to homeowners facing foreclosure, work on the Affordable Care Act, and support for universal firearm background checks. She also is a signatory to the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. Clarke has not stated her positions on other marquee Democratic issues like  legalization of marijuana and the abolition of ICE, though she has introduced legislation that would equip ICE agents with body cameras.

“Our community is under siege and has been for quite some time,” Bunkeddeko wrote on his website, with reference to the Trump administration. “More and more of our neighbors are finding inequality and injustice in Central Brooklyn (NY-9), and good folks are being pushed out in droves.”

District 11
In New York City’s only Republican-represented congressional district, Rep. Dan Donovan is facing a primary challenge from his predecessor, former Rep. Michael Grimm, who resigned the office three-and-a-half years ago just after winning reelection while under federal indictment. Grimm pleaded guilty to tax evasion and served time in federal prison. He now wants his old job back and is challenging Donovan in a Republican-heavy district where, unlike in most of the rest of the city, allegiance to President Donald Trump is seen as essential -- at least in the primary.

Grimm represented the mostly-Staten Island district from 2010 to 2015. In 2014, he was charged with 20 counts of fraud, federal tax evasion and perjury. He resigned in January of 2015, and served eight months in federal prison.

Grimm recently gathered over 3,000 signatures from those in the district, easily surpassing the 1,250 required to appear on the primary ballot, and, while Donovan has raised over three times as much money as Grimm, a recent NY1/Siena poll shows Grimm with a ten-point lead over the incumbent.

Differences between the candidates have been largely non-ideological — Grimm’s campaign website does not even offer a list of his positions, and Donovan’s stakes out his stances on widely-agreeable issues like Staten Islanders’ commutes (shorten them), taxes (cut them), and homeland security (protect it).

As representatives, Donovan introduced legislation this year to target federal funding for sanctuary cities, and Grimm, in 2013, urged the Department of Homeland Security to stop releasing low-risk undocumented immigrants from detention camps.

In 2012, the two worked together — Donovan as Staten Island District Attorney, Grimm as Congressional representative — on legislation to fight prescription drug abuse.

Both candidates have made a show of their support for Trump in the only New York City district he carried. While Grimm has attacked Donovan as a moderate who voted against the Trump tax reform package, Donovan has pointed to Grimm’s moderate record when he represented the district. Donovan introduced a bill that would mandate every post office display photos of the president and vice president.

Trump recently endorsed Donovan, tweeting that “There is no one better to represent the people of N.Y. and Staten Island (a place I know very well) than @RepDanDonovan, who is strong on Borders & Crime, loves our Military & our Vets, voted for Tax Cuts and is helping me to Make America Great Again.”

“Dan has my full endorsement!” he concluded. Donovan was quick to boast about the endorsement, while Grimm downplayed it.

The winner of the Republican primary will face the winner of a competitive Democratic primary in NY-11, which includes six Democrats. That pack is led by fundraising leader and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee endorsee Max Rose, a veteran who has raised more money as of the March 31 filing date than all of his Democratic competitors combined. Michael DeVito is also running an especially active campaign, while other Democrats include Omar Vaid, Zach Emig, Paul Sperling, and Radhakrishna Mohan.

NY-11 is on the Democratic Party’s “Red to Blue” shortlist of currently-Republican congressional districts that realistically may elect a Democrat in November.

District 12
Meanwhile, in District 12, covering much of Manhattan’s East Side and parts of Brooklyn and Queens, 34-year-old Suraj Patel, an entrepreneur and business ethics professor at New York University, is attempting to unseat 25-year incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney.

Patel has raised slightly over $1 million for his bid, nearly matching Maloney’s $1.4 million war chest -- a rare development for a primary challenger to an incumbent. Maloney retained the money advantage, at least as of the March 31 filing, and has significant establishment support for her reelection.

Patel was born in Mississippi to Indian immigrant parents, and has worked in various capacities in Barack Obama’s orbit, including as a volunteer on his 2008 presidential campaign.

“Our republic is broken,” Patel wrote on his website. “Big money has corrupted the system, there are too many obstacles to voting, and undemocratic policies like partisan gerrymandering have made our House of Representatives unrepresentative of the American people.”

The upstart and insurgent candidate challenging a well-established party representative is something Maloney has seen before. She last faced a serious primary challenge in 2010, when lawyer Reshma Saujani raised upwards of $1.3 million in a bid to unseat the incumbent. Nevertheless, Maloney prevailed with 81% of the vote.

Saujani endorsed Maloney in early March, according to the New York Post, as have several advocacy groups and unions, including 32BJ SEIU, the largest union of property service workers in America.

She is running on her consumer protection bona fides, experience “on the front lines in the fight for women’s rights,” and legislative work for paid parental leave, among other positions.

District 14
In District 14, covering northwest Queens and the eastern Bronx, 28-year-old organizer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is offering 56-year-old Rep. Joe Crowley his first contested primary in his 14 years in office.

Crowley has significant establishment ties: as the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, he’s the fourth highest ranking official in the House Democratic leadership and is frequently mentioned as a possible successor to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Crowley runs the Queens County Democratic Party, with great influence over local elections, the courts, and government in Queens and beyond.

Crowley touts his support for equal pay legislation, co-sponsorship of legislation mandating universal firearm background checks, and authorship of an act providing tax relief for poor renters.

Ocasio-Cortez is challenging Crowley from his left as part of the slate of the Justice Democrats, a political action committee that supports progressive candidates who pledge to not accept corporate donations. She’s staked out her support for a federal jobs guarantee, the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and tuition-free public college.

Both candidates tout their immigrant roots — Crowley’s family is Irish, Ocasio-Cortez’s is Puerto Rican — and their support for Medicare-for-All.

The fundraising gap between the two candidates is significant — with $2.78 million on hand compared to Ocasio-Cortez’s $116,000, Crowley’s outraised his opponent almost twenty-four times over.

“It's a major David-vs-Goliath tale for the soul of the Democratic Party,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a blog post on Reddit. “We are going to have to choose whether we will continue down the path of corporate patronage or return to the Democratic spirit of our governance.”

Races Outside New York City: Districts 1, 19, 22, and 24
The Cook Political Report carefully designates “competitive” House races and lists a few New York races outside the five boroughs.

In Long Island’s 1st District, five Democrats are running for their party’s nomination. Perry Gershon, a former businessman who says he was inspired by Trump’s election to “set out to personally fight for change,” has raised more money than all his competitors combined. The winner of the contested primary will face off against two-term Republican incumbent Rep. Lee Zeldin, who co-sponsored a ban on abortions after 20 weeks and voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

Voters in the 19th District, which comprises of much of the Hudson Valley and the Catskills, will choose from seven Democrats competing for a chance to challenge incumbent Republican Rep. John Faso in the general election.

The district backed Barack Obama in 2012 but favored Donald Trump in 2016, and its past three representatives have been Republican. Most recently, Faso defeated Democrat Zephyr Teachout in 2016.

The Democratic candidates debated each other this past Thursday on WAMC, a public radio network headquartered in Albany, for nearly two hours, regarding topics ranging from the environment to health care.

In District 22, another vital district that the national Democratic Party is prioritizing, Assemblymember Anthony Brindisi is challenging Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney in what looks to be a tight race.

In District 24, which includes a chunk of central New York, Democrats Dana Balter and Juanita Perez Williams are competing for the chance to challenge Republican Rep. John Katko in the general.

Districts 22 and 24 are also on the Democratic Party’s “Red to Blue” list.

National
The Democratic Party is hoping to gain control of the House of Representatives through November’s general elections. Currently, the House is composed of 235 Republicans and 193 Democrats with seven vacancies. Democrats see several recent elections results, in New York and elsewhere, as encouraging in their efforts to flip the House this year, including through a few New York wins.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke at a rally last year with House Minority Leader Pelosi, of California, and other Democratic leaders to announce a movement to flip six New York House seats from red to blue. Cuomo vowed to unseat New York Representatives Lee Zeldin (CD1), John Faso (CD19), Elise Stefanik (CD21), Claudia Tenney (CD22), and Tom Reed (CD23), and Chris Collins (CD27). The districts represented by Reps. Stefanik, Reed, and Collins are generally regarded as safely Republican.

You can find your local polling station here.

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by Jordan Kimmel and Daniel Yadin

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by Jordan Kimmel, Gotham Gazette
@GothamGazette

Read more by this writer.

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New York Congressional Primaries to Watch Ahead of June 26 Vote Mon, 11 Jun 2018 04:00:00 +0000
2018 Will Be a Busy, Contentious Election Year in New York http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7434:2018-will-be-a-busy-contentious-election-year-in-new-york http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7434:2018-will-be-a-busy-contentious-election-year-in-new-york election polling place Brooklyn

a polling place (photo: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


This year will be another busy, contentious election year for New Yorkers. While 2017 saw the majority of elections confined to local government, 2018 will see three election days and races for state-level offices, including five of six statewide positions and all of the state Legislature, as well as all of the state’s delegation to the House of Representatives.

A fourth election day will occur in some districts after Governor Andrew Cuomo called special elections to fill 11 vacant state Senate and Assembly seats. That election day is Tuesday April 24. Cuomo could have called the special election weeks earlier, but waited to do so, leaving those 11 districts with less than full representation throughout budget negotiations in Albany.

Aside from those special elections and depending on political party affiliation, New Yorkers will be able to vote in the federal primaries on Tuesday June 26; the state primaries in September (the date is likely being moved from Tuesday September 11 to Thursday September 13 because of Rosh Hashanah); and Election Day, Tuesday November 6. Only those registered with a party can vote in party primaries in New York, but the November general elections are open to all registered voters. So-called “independent” voters -- those registered to vote but not with a party -- cannot participate in party primaries, nor can those registered with parties wherein primaries are not being decided.

In 2016 there was an unsuccessful push to combine the congressional and state primaries to a single date, which ensured four election days given it was a presidential year and that primary was in April. There is a good chance there will be a similar push this year to combine primary dates, but while Democrats have sought to move the state primaries to June, Republicans have suggested an August date, leaving the sides at an impasse.

Along with all the 27 New York House seats, which are elected every two years, one of New York’s two United State Senate seats, elected every six years, is on the ballot this year -- the one currently held by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. At the state government level, the four statewide posts of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Comptroller are all on the ballot in their four-year cycle, as well as the every-two-year elections of all 150 seats in the state Assembly and all 63 seats in the state Senate.

In New York, this year’s deadlines for candidates to file for federal office is April 12 and for state offices, July 12.

Another macro issue to watch ahead of this year’s elections is voting reform in New York. There is an ongoing push to see early voting passed, among other reforms like same-day registration and no-excuse absentee voting. While Cuomo, a Democrat, and the Democrat-controlled Assembly support such reforms, Republicans who control the state Senate do not.

[Read: 11 Special Elections Set for April 24]

2018 Federal Elections in New York
While Gillibrand is up for reelection this year, New York’s other U.S. Senator, Charles Schumer, won reelection in 2016 and won’t be on the ballot again until 2022. Gillibrand served in the House of Representatives from 2007 to 2009 before being appointed to the Senate in 2009, and winning a special election in 2010, to fill Hillary Clinton’s vacant seat when she was appointed Secretary of State. Gillibrand went on to win the regularly-scheduled 2012 election for the seat as well and is now running for her second full term as a senator. She is rumored as a possible 2020 presidential candidate. It is unclear who Republicans will run against her this year in New York.

In the House, New York and national Democrats are eyeing several seats to help flip control of the chamber through the 2018 elections. As of January 2018, the House is composed of 238 Republicans and 193 Democrats, with 4 vacancies.

Given Republican President Donald Trump’s record unpopularity, which is especially acute in his home state of New York; recent Democratic electoral wins in New York and elsewhere; and historical trends whereby a new president’s party loses congressional seats in the midterm elections, many are expecting a Democratic wave in 2018, with the potential for flipping the House and possibly the Senate.

Democrats’ “red to blue” campaign across the country will include multiple New York districts while local party activists may target others. Governor Cuomo, himself seeking a third term this year, has promised a campaign to flip six New York House seats after their officeholders have supported legislation Cuomo deems detrimental to New York. Cuomo joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats at a June 2017 rally in Manhattan to kick off a campaign to unseat Reps. Lee Zeldin (CD1), Chris Collins (CD27), John Faso (CD19), Elise Stefanik (CD21), Claudia Tenney (CD22), and Tom Reed (CD23).

The national Democratic Party is currently prioritizing two of those New York Congressional Districts, the 11th and the 22nd. Rep. Donovan currently represents the 11th, which includes all of Staten Island and some of Brooklyn. Max Rose is seen as the Democrats’ best chance to unseat Donovan in November, though Donovan also must first survivie a primary challenge by former Rep. Michael Grimm, who resigned from Congress after pleading guilty to tax evasion charges. Rep. Tenney represents the 22nd, sitting just east of Syracuse and including Binghamton, Cortland, and Utica, and the Democratic Party is apparently behind Anthony Brindisi, a state Assembly member.

New York’s 19th Congressional District, currently represented by Faso, is expected to be a toss up. Faso won a hotly contested 2016 race against Democrat Zephyr Teachout. The Hudson Valley seat is likely to again be home to a great deal of political spending.

The 24th Congressional District may also be home to a strong challenge to a sitting Republican. Syracuse’s recently-former mayor Stephanie Miner, a Democrat, has hinted at potentially challenging current Rep. Katko. The Democratic Party’s “red to blue” campaign lists the district in its efforts as well but has not found a candidate to support yet.

In the other direction, in early February 2017 the National Republican Congressional Committee released it’s Democratic targets for the 2018 elections. The list contained references to two New York Democrats: Tom Suozzi, who represents Congressional District 3 in the north and western portion of Nassau County, Long Island and Sean Patrick Maloney, who represents the 18th Congressional District containing Poughkeepsie, Woodbury, and Newburgh.

Aside from the Grimm-Donovan primary, there may be a handful of other intraparty challenges to sitting representatives worth watching. Rep. Joe Crowley of Queens, for example, is being challenged from the left by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. While Ocasio-Cortez faces very long odds, she may be able to at least make Crowley pay more attention to his home district than his larger ambitions and agenda.

State-Level Special Elections
11 Special Elections Set for April 24

2018 State-Level Elections in New York
As mentioned, 2018 is an election year for the four state-level statewide positions of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Comptroller. All four posts are held by Democrats expected to seek another term.

Governor Cuomo was first elected to the position in 2010 and won reelection in 2014. While Bob Duffy was Cuomo’s first-term Lieutenant Governor, he declined to run for reelection in 2014 and Cuomo chose Kathy Hochul as his running mate. She has said she is running again. Candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor can run as a slate, but they are elected separately in party primaries, then together in the general election. Cuomo and Hochul may have to each survive Democratic primary challengers before they can rejoin as a ticket for the general election.

The Lieutenant Governor’s role is similar to the Vice President of the United States. The LG is President of the State Senate and acts as Governor in the Governor’s absence from the state, in the case of severe disability, death, impeachment, or resignation from office. Otherwise it is a largely ceremonial position often seen as a cheerleader for the governor and the administration’s policies. Hochul often represents the Cuomo administration at events across the state, and has taken the lead on certain issues, such as co-chairing a recent task force put together by Cuomo on women’s opportunity.

It is unclear who Republicans will nominate for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, but GOP leadership has indicated it wants to avoid a primary. Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb has launched a gubernatorial campaign on the Republican side. Meanwhile, several minor parties will also put forward candidates. Democratic challengers to Cuomo and Hochul have begun to emerge, with former State Senator Terry Gibson aggressively testing the gubernatorial waters and New York City Council Member Jumaane Williams opening an exploratory committee to run for LG.

New York State’s Attorney General is also up for election in 2018. Eric Schneiderman first won election to the office of Attorney General in 2010. He would go on to win reelection in 2014. The Attorney General will be running for his third term in 2018 should he seek reelection. Schneiderman has been in the news a lot lately for his frequent lawsuits on behalf of New York against the Trump Administration and its policies.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is also expected to run for reelection this year. Dinapoli was first appointed to the position in 2007 after the resignation of Alan Hevesi. He would go on to win election to the Comptroller’s Office in 2010 and 2014. The Comptroller is tasked with managing the state’s enormous pension fund, auditing state agencies and local governments, and reviewing state and local budgets.

All 63 seats in the state Senate will be on the ballot this fall. Unlike the Assembly, control of the Senate will be at stake, with several swing districts at play. There is currently a complicated and contentious breakdown of power in the Senate, where Republicans hold 31 seats, but have a majority because of nine Democrats -- Brooklyn Senator Simcha Felder conferences with the GOP while the eight-member Independent Democratic Conference forms a ruling coalition with that Republican conference.

Mainline and Independent Democrats reached a tentative deal in late 2017 to begin to work together in the State Senate, but only on a number of conditions, including winning the two special elections for currently vacant seats. The empty seat in the Bronx is all but a lock, while the empty Westchester seat will be closer to a toss-up. Felder’s status is not completely clear in terms of what he will do -- he has always maintained he’ll take the best deal for him and his constituents.

Complicating things is grassroots anger at members of the IDC, whereby several if not all IDC members will be facing primary challenges. IDC Leader Jeff Klein of the Bronx (SD34), Jesse Hamilton of Brooklyn (SD20), Jose Peralta of Queens (SD13), and Marisol Alcantara of Manhattan (SD31) are among those members already facing primary challenges.

Meanwhile, there are somewhere around a half-dozen swing districts to watch outside New York City, and one potential swing district within the five boroughs -- the Brooklyn seat currently held by Senator Martin Golden. The expected Democratic wave could lead to several seats switching hands, though local races can turn on different issues and long-time incumbents like Golden can be very difficult to beat. Districts on Long Island and in the suburbs just north of New York City are often more likely to change hands, while New York City and other large cities around the state are overwhelmingly represented by Democrats and upstate areas outside of other major cities are heavily Republican.

All 150 state Assembly seats are up for election in 2018. The chamber is heavily Democratic, with a current partisan split of 103 Democrats, 37 Republicans, one Independence Party member, and the nine vacancies.

With all that is happening in other races, especially those for Governor and in key House and state Senate swing districts, there will likely be little attention paid to most Assembly races this year.

There will be other local elections in 2018, including local school board and trial court judicial elections, among others.

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by Matthew Sweeney, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

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2018 Will Be a Busy, Contentious Election Year in New York Mon, 22 Jan 2018 05:00:00 +0000
As New Yorkers Go to the Polls, Activists Launch 'Vote Better' Campaign http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5963:as-new-yorkers-go-to-the-polls-activists-launch-vote-better-campaign http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5963:as-new-yorkers-go-to-the-polls-activists-launch-vote-better-campaign voter registration via NYC Votes

Voter registration efforts (photo: @NYCVotes)


On Tuesday morning - Election Day - in Manhattan's Foley Square, a large group of New Yorkers will hold a rally, kicking off a campaign to address two of New York's enduring problems: voting access and voter turnout.

While New York City voters go to the polls Tuesday to fill vacant City Council, District Attorney, and state legislative seats, as well as to vote for judges, a coalition of advocates and activists, including good government and community groups, will launch a petition drive toward passing legislation it says will "modernize elections in New York."

The "Vote Better NY" coalition is led by NYC Votes, the voter outreach arm of the city Campaign Finance Board; and also includes Dominicanos USA; Generation Citizen; New York Immigration Coalition, and other advocacy groups, along with good government organizations Citizens Union, League of Women Voters, and NYPIRG. The push is to garner popular support and "show lawmakers" that "New Yorkers from across the state want election reform to be a priority in Albany."

The petition calls for three key reforms to make voting easier in New York:
-The Voter Empowerment Act (A5972/S2538A) to upgrade our voter registration system
-The Voter Friendly Ballot Act (A3389) to establish better ballot design
-Early voting so New Yorkers have more than one day to cast their ballots

The hope is that Albany lawmakers will pass these measures during their 2016 legislative session.

Speaking of 2016, New Yorkers will go to the polls several times next year as they vote in presidential, congressional, and state-level elections on a variety of dates. Then, come 2017, there will be another round of New York City elections featuring a mayoral race as well as other citywide and City Council seats.

First, though, there's this Tuesday's Election Day. There aren't a lot of high-profile races on the ballot, but New York City will soon have two new members of the City Council (one in Queens, one on Staten Island), two new District Attorneys (Staten Island and the Bronx), two new Assembly members (Queens and Brooklyn), a new state Senator (Brooklyn), and perhaps a few new judges.

Judicial elections can often be the most mysterious, as City Limits recently pointed out, along with its discussion of how the election for Bronx District Attorney has transpired in a fashion that good government groups and other watchers have called an insult to democracy.

On Staten Island, the district attorney race has been far different as two candidates seek to replace Congressional Rep. Dan Donovan. It's unclear who has the edge heading into Tuesday's vote as former Rep. Michael McMahon, the Democrat, faces Republican Joan Illuzzi, a longtime prosecutor.

Along with its voter guide for Tuesday's city elections, the New York City Campaign Finance Board offers, "To learn more about judicial candidates running in your district, visit the online Judicial Voter Guide published by the New York State Unified Court." Still, there's limited information to be found on the candidates, as City Limits has shown.

The CFB outlines candidates for several special elections taking place on Tuesday to fill vacant seats in the City Council or the state Legislature.

The two Council vacancies are due to members who resigned to take other jobs. There are three vacancies in the state Legislature that are being filled. One, a Brooklyn Assembly seat (District 46), is due to a resignation for another job opportunity. Two others are due to corruption, where the former members were forced to resign. Those two seats include one Queens Assembly seat (District 29) and one Brooklyn Senate seat (District 19).

In District 23 in Queens there is a City Council vacancy created by the resignation of Mark Weprin, who took a job in Governor Cuomo's administration. The Democratic candidate, Barry Grodenchik, faces Republican candidate Joseph Concannon. Grodenchik, a former Assembly member, came out of a crowded Democratic primary.

In District 51 on Staten Island, there is another vacancy being filled - it is an uncontested race for City Council, where Assemblymember Joseph Borelli will be elected to the Council to fill the seat vacated by former Minority Leader Vinny Ignizio, who resigned to take a job as a nonprofit leader. Like Ignizio, Borelli is a Republican.

Borelli and the winner of the Grodenchik-Concannon race will have to run for re-election in 2017, when the entirety of the City Council and the citywide officials will be on the ballot.

First, a year from now, there will be elections for all the seats in the New York State Assembly and Senate. Just ten months from now, there will be primaries in those races.

As both former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and form Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos head to trial this month on corruption charges (Silver's trial starts Monday), speculation continues to swirl around whether either will still be in office come next year's elections, and if they are, whether they will see significant challenges.

While there is more intrigue ahead in 2016 and 2017, don't forget to go out and vote on Tuesday in the 2015 elections, if you have races to vote in - check your poll site here, via the City Board of Elections. Turnout is expected to be quite low this year, even lower than it has been in other recent years with more high-profile offices on the ballot, part of why 'Vote Better' activists are launching their campaign Tuesday.

***
by Ben Max, editor, Gotham Gazette
@TweetBenMax

Note: Gotham Gazette is an independent publication of Citizens Union Foundation, sister organization of Citizens Union.

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As New Yorkers Go to the Polls, Activists Launch 'Vote Better' Campaign Mon, 02 Nov 2015 02:19:48 +0000
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 27 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5698:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-april-27 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5698:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-april-27 New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

  • Movement toward Mayor de Blasio's Executive Budget, due out May 7, according to the mayor
    • the mayor has promised additional detail on a number of fronts, and the city's updated 10-year capital plan is due along with the updated FY16 budget
    • what will happen regarding NYPD staffing - will there be money for the 1,000 new officers the Council has asked for? a compromise at 500, perhaps?
    • other key issues on the table include funding for libraries, seniors, farmland, and more
  • Tuesday marks one week until the special elections in New York's 11th Congressional District and 43rd Assembly District
    • does Democrat Vinnie Gentile have a chance to defeat Republican Dan Donovan to rep Staten Island and a small chunk of Brooklyn in Congress?
    • could we have the first Working Families Party-only candidate elected to the state Assembly?

As always, there's a great deal happening all over the city, with many events to be aware of, see below for our day-by-day rundown.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
After another trip out of town - this time he was in Wisconsin talking about the inequality crisis and bashing WI Republican Governor and presidential candidate Scott Walker - Mayor Bill de Blasio starts the new week with a limited public schedule, he "will travel to Connecticut and return to New York City in the afternoon. Later, the Mayor will swear in 28 judges to Family Court, Criminal Court, and Civil Court."

Governor Cuomo starts his Monday in New York City with a 9:30 a.m. appearance at the "Daily News Citizenship NOW! Phonebank Event" at Stella and Charles Guttman Community College. The governor will then travel to Albany later in the day.

On Monday morning at 10 a.m., City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will appear on "HuffPost Live"; then at 11:15 she will attend CUNY Citizenship Now Call-In; and at 4 p.m. she will speak at Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adam's Community Affairs Recognition Ceremonial at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

On Monday at 11 a.m., it is reported that Vice President Joe Biden will swear in Loretta E. Lynch as the 83rd Attorney General of the United States.

At 11:30 Monday morning, the State Senate Democrats will renew their push to close the infamous LLC loophole, preceeding a vote in senate committee. The push is being led by Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and bill sponsor Daniel Squadron. They will be joined at the press conference by other legislators from both houses and advocates. [Read about the pending Monday vote on the LLC loophole and the larger campaign finance reform push in our recent article on the subject]

On Monday morning, WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show will welcome City Council Member Brad Lander, who will discuss, among other city news, "the "Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act" he sponsored that was approved by the City Council. It would prohibit credit checks for hiring for many jobs."

On Monday morning, ahead of the City Council's hearing on a resolution declaring the city a "TPP-free zone" there will be a 9:30 a.m. press conference at City Hall: "Leaders from New York City's labor, environmental, social justice and faith communities will rally and testify in support of City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal's resolution urging Congress to reject "Fast Track" legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and declaring the city a "TPP-free zone." The rally will include "City Council members, Communications Workers of America, Working Families Party, Sierra Club NYC Group, New York City Central Labor Council, New York State AFL-CIO, Food & Water Watch, MoveOn.org, Voices Of Community Activists & Leaders (VOCAL-NY), United Steel Workers, Alliance for Retired Americans and WE ACT for Environmental Justice." Speakers will include Zephyr Teachout and Josh Fox, director of Gasland.

Just after that rally, also outside City Hall, Council Members Margaret Chin and Paul Vallone will hold a "press conference calling on Mayor de Blasio to add new funding for vital senior services in his forthcoming Fiscal Year 2016 executive budget."

Human Services Council will lead a "COLA Rally" at City Hall at noon on Monday: "Join HSC, social service providers, and friends of the sector in urging the City to increase [cost of living adjustments in city contracts] for the social service sector."

Monday’s City Council schedule includes a meeting of the Committee on Women’s Issues to consider a resolution regarding “Prohibition of differential pay based on gender”;  a meeting of the Committee on State and Federal Legislation to consider a resolution declaring the City of New York a ‘TPP-Free Zone’; a meeting of the Committee on Land Use; a meeting of the Committee on Health to consider a resolution “recognizing this and every April as Organ Donation Awareness Month in the City of NY” and to discuss a new bill which would “require the department of health and mental hygiene to issue an annual report regarding hepatitis B and hepatitis C”; and a meeting of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations to discuss a “comprehensive cultural plan.”

At 1:30 p.m. on Monday in Albany, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie will hold a "news conference regarding equal pay. He will be joined by Labor Chair Michele Titus, members of the Assembly Majority and advocates."

Monday afternoon: City College of New York competition expo and Standard Chartered Women Entrepreneurs Prize awards.

At 5:30 p.m Monday, the Contracts Committee of the Panel for Educational Policy will hold a public meeting at Tweed Courthouse.

On Monday evening, City Council Member Helen Rosenthal will hold a town hall with representatives of several city agencies there to answer constituent questions and at which she'll announce the winners of her district's participatory budgeting process.

Also Monday evening, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and special guests Lin-Manuel Miranda and Arturo O’Farril will host An Evening of Arts and Culture at Pregones Theater, in the Bronx.

Comptroller Scott Stringer starts his week with one public event: at 6:30 p.m., Financial Women's Association will host him for an open conversation at TIAA-CREF in Manhattan.

At 8 p.m. on Monday, New York City "First Lady Chirlane McCray will introduce author Toni Morrison at a reading and discussion of Morrison's new book, God Help the Child, at the 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center."

And, there is another scheduled debate in the NY-11 congressional race scheduled for Monday evening. Republican Dan Donovan has skipped several opportunities to appear alongside Democrat Vinnie Gentile and Green James Lane and it was reported that he will not be debating again, though it is unclear if he will attend Monday evening's event at 7 p.m. at the College of Staten Island.

Tuesday
Tuesday is one week until the special elections in New York’s 11th Congressional District (Staten Island, Brooklyn) and 43rd Assembly District (Brooklyn).

Tuesday morning in Albany, the New York League of Conservation Voters will host a Capital Region Eco-Breakfast at Fort Orange Club: “Every year, our Capital Region Eco-Breakfast brings together environmental leaders from across the state. We are excited to welcome all three Environmental Conservation Committee chairs in the State Legislature as our featured guest speakers. We will also honor The Nature Conservancy for their tireless work on the Community Risk and Climate Resiliency Act, which was signed into law last year. State Senator Diane Savino will join us to give remarks on this achievement and to present them with their award.”

Tuesday afternoon in Albany, Empire State Pride Agenda will host New York LGBT Equality & Justice Day 2015, "the largest statewide annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy day." 

Tuesday at noon at City Hall, there will be a rally led by New Yorkers Against Gun Violence with Council Member Jumaane Williams, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, and others calling on the state Legislature to pass 'Nicholas' Law.' [Read this recent op-ed explaining and promoting passage of the law]

Tuesday’s City Council schedule includes a meeting of the Committee on Finance to consider the following resolutions including one “Establishing a property tax credit for commercial landlords who voluntarily limit the amount of rent increases to small business owner tenants upon lease renewal”; and one “Establishing a real property tax credit for small business owners who own their properties and for commercial landlords who retain tenants”; another meeting of the Committee on State and Federal Legislation on the resolution “Declaring the City of New York a “TPP-Free Zone”; and a full-body Stated meeting of the City Council starting at 1:30 p.m., with the usual pre-stated press conference at 12:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Tuesday evening, the New York City Bar Association will host The Evolving City Council: “The Committee on New York City Affairs is presenting a panel discussion addressing the governance of the City Council. What impact do the recent amendments to the Council's Rules have upon the Speaker's powers, independence of Council Members and Committee Chairs, and the effectiveness of the Council in performing its obligations under the Charter? Is a strong Speaker necessary for the Council to act as a check and balance to the Mayor? What further amendments to the Rules are necessary, or should any of the recent amendments be reconsidered? What additional powers, if any, does the Council need to perform its duties effectively and to act as a check and balance to the Mayor?” Participants will include Public Advocate Letitia James Advocate, several current and former City Council members, Manhattan BP Gale Brewer and Queens BP Melinda Katz, Common Cause New York's Susan Lerner, and several law experts.

Also Tuesday evening, the African Leadership Project will hold a panel discussion on access to quality education titled: "Our Children Matter: Is Access to Quality Education a Civil Rights Issue?" at the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building on West 125th Street.

Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will hold three fundraisers in New York City, followed by a Wednesday morning speech at former Mayor David Dinkins' annual forum at Columbia University.

Wednesday
Wednesday morning, Hillary Clinton will give the keynote address at the 18th Annual David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum at Columbia University.

Wednesday is #DenimDayNYC, and there will be a rally at City Hall led by City Council Women's Issues Committee Chair Laurie Cumbo and others to raise awareness about domestic violence and continue the push against it: "Sexual Violence must end. Join the #DENIMDAYNYC rally on Wed. April 29, 11AM, City Hall."

All day Wednesday, Capgemini and Thomson Reuters hosts its Chief Digital Officer Summit New York City. Amen Mashariki, Chief Analytics Officer at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics, will attend and speak at one of the panels.

Wednesday’s City Council schedule includes a joint meeting of the Committees on Consumer Affairs and Housing and Buildings on new bills regarding “Licensing tenant relocation specialists”; “Required notifications by persons negotiating tenant buyout offers”; and “Amending the definition of harassment to include repeated buyout offers”; a meeting of the Committee on Sanitation Solid Waste Management for an oversight hearing regarding “Sustainability in the Commercial Waste Industry”; a meeting of the Committee on Technology, jointly with the Committee on Higher Education for an oversight hearing regarding “Diversity at CUNY TV”; a meeting of the Committee on Environmental Protection on “limiting nighttime illumination for certain buildings”; and a meeting of the Committee on Veterans for an oversight hearing on “Veterans Liaisons at City Agencies.”

Wednesday afternoon, the Rockefeller Institute of Government will host a forum on state government immigrant policy with New York Secretary of State Cesar Perales: “This forum engages key policymakers from both the executive and legislative branches to discuss achievements and new initiatives to help new immigrants and refugees, as well as assist permanent residents become U.S. citizens. As comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level has stalled, the states are increasingly passing legislation and implementing initiatives to further immigrant integration. New York is among the handful of states with an Office for New Americans. Working together with a taskforce in the legislature, the Office for New Americans has developed innovative programs that are increasingly referenced across the country, most recently in the “Federal Strategic Action Plan on Immigrant and Refugee Integration” issued on April 14th by the White House Task Force on New Americans.” Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, chair of the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force and chair of the Task Force on New Americans will attend.

Wednesday at 6 p.m., there will be a Panel for Educational Policy meeting at M.S. 131, 100 Hester Street, Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, The Center for New York City Affairs at The New School will host Affordable Housing: Rent and Reality. “Mayor de Blasio’s ambitious affordable housing agenda is at the heart of his administration’s pledge to start a new chapter in “a tale of two cities.” In 2015, Albany serves as the rent-regulation battleground but the true impact of this fight will be felt in the five boroughs where more than 2.3 million people live in rent-regulated housing. While proposals to construct new affordable housing continue to garner the most media attention, the mayor’s State of the City address revealed just how dependent his strategy is on preserving the affordability of existing units. What does the battle over rent regulation in the state capital portend for turning de Blasio’s vision into reality? Join a forum with leading officials, experts, and practitioners who will shed light on this question and more.”

Thursday
On Thursday, Public Advocate Letitia James will hold a "Forum on Housing Crisis and Rent Reform" at 10 a.m. at the 1199 SEIU Auditorium: "a forum to discuss New York City's housing crisis, landlord abuses of tenants, and the need to strengthen the rent laws that protect the affordable housing of over 2 million New Yorkers. The forum will consist of two panels followed by an intimate roundtable between the Public Advocate and four tenants. The forum is being hosted by the Real Rent Reform Coalition, The Alliance for Tenant Power, and 1199 SEIU." [Read our recent profile of Public Advocate James]

Thursday’s City Council schedule includes a meeting of the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency, jointly with the Committee on Public Housing for an oversight hearing regarding “Monitoring FEMA’s $3 Billion Dollar Grant to NYCHA for Sandy-Damaged Developments”; a meeting of the Committee on Governmental Operations to discuss new bills relating to “Establishing term limits for community board members”; and “Making urban planning professionals available to community boards.” [Read our recent report on the bill to establish terms limits for community board members and read our recent report on the bill to require a city planner for community boards]

On Thursday evening, City & State NY hosts its "inaugural 'On Queens' cocktail reception featuring Queens Borough President Melinda Katz...City & State's first-ever Queens Special Issue, which will be officially released at the event, will focus on the landscape of Queens' politics, feature spotlights specific to the borough, and have perspectives from Queens leaders." 6:30 p.m. in Long Island City.

Friday and the weekend
Friday morning, NYU Steinhardt hosts another in its Education Policy Breakfast Series. The topic will be affordability and sustainability in early childhood education: “As New York prepares to expand pre-K, what can we learn from other cities and countries that have undergone similar efforts?  In particular, what are the different models for funding early childhood education?  How have countries with less wealth succeeded in implementing pre-K?  Our guest speakers will include an economist who focuses on early childhood development and poverty alleviation issues internationally, and a former appointee in the Obama Administration who oversaw pre-K programs in Washington, DC.”

Also Friday morning, the Center for New York City Law at New York Law School will celebrate its 20-year anniversary with a breakfast event featuring NYC Law Department Corporation Counsels past and present, including current corp counsel Zachary Carter, and formers Michael Cardozo and Paul Crotty.

At 10 a.m. Friday, the City Council Committees on Health and Consumer Affairs will meet jointly for a hearing on a variety of business and regulatory policies and practices. Also at 10 a.m., the City Council Committee on Immigration will meet for an oversight hearing on “Implementation of IDNYC - New York City’s Municipal Identification Program.” 

On Saturday, the FDNY celebrates its 150th anniversary with open houses at fire houses and EMS stations all over the city.

***
Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time: bmax@gothamgazette.com (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

***
by Rati Mukhuradze, Marco Poggio, and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 27 Sun, 26 Apr 2015 05:00:00 +0000
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 30 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5659:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-march-30 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5659:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-march-30 New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

March madness in Albany has been quite a ride, and word Sunday night is that a fiscal year 2016 budget agreement is in place. At about 9:30 p.m., the governor's office announced that Cuomo is now five for five in on-time budgets as governor - not a small feat: "The Budget agreement includes landmark education reforms and investment, an ethics package with the nation's strongest disclosure laws for legislators with outside income, and new investments in rebuilding and growing the state's economy, including $1.5 billion for the Upstate Revitalization Initiative and $500 million to make New York the first in the nation to have statewide broadband. The Budget agreement holds spending growth below two percent for the fifth consecutive year, continuing a record of fiscal discipline that has reversed decades of state budgets where spending grew at a higher rate than inflation or personal income growth." Full details will be released on Monday.

As negotiations continued the governor has admitted that more and more of the policies that he attempted to include in the budget were being pushed to the legislative session to follow - which has frustrated some fellow Democrats. Policies the governor has said he included in his budget but will be taken up in the legislative session (which runs until mid-June) include the Dream Act, an education tax credit, and 'Raise the Age' juvenile justice reform. Also likely: minimum wage. Education policy and ethics reforms continue to be the big ticket items that the governor has said he is committed to movement on. Over the weekend many rallied outside the governor's New York City office in protest of his education policy reforms; while others rallied at City Hall in support.

In quite the well-timed release, a new unauthorized biography of Cuomo is due out on Tuesday: Michael Shnayerson's "The Contender."

Meanwhile, in New York City, the City Council has just wrapped its month of preliminary budget hearings, calling in city agencies to discuss expenditures, policies, and needs. Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council members are eagerly awaiting a final deal in Albany, of course, to see how state policy and funding decisions will impact the city. A city budget is due by July 1. [Read our new look at how the City Council defines "women's issues" when it comes ot the budget and otherwise]

Mayor de Blasio begins his week with a 3 p.m. event: "On Monday, Mayor de Blasio will hold public hearings for and sign Intro. 685, in relation to extending rent stabilization laws; Intro. 435-A, in relation to reporting of special education services provided by the Department of Education; and Intro. 485-A, in relation to requiring the Department of Consumer Affairs to provide outreach and education for young adults."

May 5 is not so far away. It is the date of the special election for New York's 11th Congressional District (and the 43rd State Assembly District). The race in NY-11 between Democrat Vincent Gentile and Republican Dan Donovan is heating up, and the two will meet Tuesday night for a debate in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, along with Green Party candidate James Lane. See below for details.

There's a great deal happening at the City Council this week, including a full-body Stated meeting on Tuesday; and plenty of events all over the city, see our day-by-day run below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's public schedule on Monday includes preparing and distributing kosher for Passover meals with other Council Members, Masbia Soup Kitchen, Queens; and remarks at the Council's Women's History Month celebration.

At 8:15 Monday morning, City Comptroller Scott Stringer will appear live on 91.1 FM's "JM in the AM."

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will be a guest on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show this morning, discussing help for small business owners.

Monday’s City Council schedule will include a meeting of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor calling upon the United States Congress to pass, and the President to sign the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act; a meeting of the Committee on Civil Rights to discuss the powers and duties of the Commission on Human Rights, as well as establishing a housing discrimination testing program and an employment discrimination testing program; a meeting of the Committee on Education on a resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to reject any attempt to raise the cap on the number of charter schools, a resolution calling upon the Department of Education to amend its Parent’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities to include information about opting out of high-stakes testing and distribute this document at the beginning of every school year, to every family, in every grade, and a resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to fully implement the education funding requirements for New York City resulting from the Campaign for Fiscal Equity v State of New York case.

At 11 a.m., Attorney General Eric Schneiderman "will detail his agreement with retail giant GNC to implement landmark reforms in the authentication, testing and public information and transparency of herbal supplements," from his Manhattan office.

Also Monday morning at 11 a.m., "as part of the city's unprecedented tax season outreach cmapaign," an event in Flushing "to promote free tax filing" is being put on by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Rep. Grace Meng, Community Tax Aid, and the Flushing YMCA. DCA Commissioner Julie Menin, Meng and others "are hosting Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Awareness Day to promote free tax preparation services available in Flushing."

On Monday at noon, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña "launches literacy program in 20 Family Shelters with DHS Commissioner Gilbert Taylor" from HELP Bronx Crotona Park North.

Monday afternoon at 2 p.m., U.S. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries will speak at New York Law School: “Jeffries will speak about innovation in New York and his work in Washington developing policies to further innovation nationally.”

Also at 2 p.m. Monday, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen and city Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball announce two major initiatives to further New York City’s life sciences sector, at Rockefeller University - according to City & State NY.

At 3 p.m. Mayor de Blasio will hold his aforementioned bill-signing event.

On Monday at 4:30, "Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer will host a Technology & Education Mixer at Civic Hall, the newly-opened community for civic technology...bringing public school principals seeking partnerships with technology organizations..." Brewer: "With passage of the New York State Smart Schools Bond Act, as well as recent changes to E-Rate funding streams at the federal level, New York City schools stand to receive significant capital funds to invest in education technology. Our event will help both tech organizations and schools prepare." Present will be Hal Friedlander, Chief Information Officer, NYC Dept of Education; over 40 Manhattan Public School principals and staff; Civic & Educational Technology organizations, including Citizen Schools, The LAMP, and others.

Monday afternoon, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito; Public Advocate Letitia James; Council Women’s Issues Committee Chair Laurie Cumbo; and the City Council Women’s Caucus will host The Second Annual Women’s Herstory Month Celebration at the Council Chambers in City Hall: “This year we recognize Women With Vision, trail blazers who embody the entrepreneurial spirit in pursuit of greatness in the public, political, or private sectors by harnessing opportunities through their vision that transform all of our lives for the better.”

At Brooklyn Borough Hall there will be a Women's History Month celebration hosted by Borough President Eric Adams and Council Member Laurie Cumbo. It will feature an expo of women-owned businesses and then an awards ceremony. Rikki Klieman is the highlighted guest speaker.

Council Member Andy King will hold a “Town Hall” meeting in Eastchester Heights: “New York City Council Member Andy King will be speaking at the meeting as a part of an ongoing series to bring constituent services directly to 12th Council District residents, listen to concerns and answer questions from members of the community.”

Also Monday evening, the Queens Library will host an open budget hearing in Flushing: “The public is invited to find out what the library's funding priorities are, and to give the library their input.”

Tuesday
On Tuesday, Comptroller Scott Stringer will attend the Council of Institutional Investors 2015 Spring Conference and 30th Anniversary Celebration in Washington D.C.

As mentioned, Michael Shnayerson’s Andrew Cuomo biography “The Contender,” is slated for release Tuesday.

Tuesday is the last day of the state's 2015 fiscal year. A new fiscal year 2016 budget is due by midnight.

Tuesday morning at 8 a.m., City & State will host Real Estate, Construction & Housing Awards Breakfast to “honor outstanding professionals from New York’s Real Estate, Construction and Housing Industries.” Attendees will include Adolfo Carrion, Executive VP of Stagg Group, former Bronx Borough President; Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development; and others.

Also Tuesday morning, there will be a Crain's New York Business breakfast forum with New York City Council Members Julissa Ferreras, Brad Lander, Mark Levine, and Jumaane Williams. The council members will discuss how the Council is changing the playing field for businesses, land-use priorities in their districts and citywide, and what they would like from the de Blasio and Cuomo administrations.

Tuesday at 9 a.m., Chalkbeat will present a community schools conversation with Nancy Zimpher and Jeff Edmondson, moderated by Motoko Rich of the New York Times: “SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and Jeff Edmunson, co-authors of "Strive Together" about their work in developing community schools in Cincinnati, discuss early lessons for other cities hoping to replicate the model.”

Tuesday’s City Council schedule will include a 10 a.m. meeting of the Committee on Finance to review a resolution calling on the New York State Legislature to pass a law that would provide a property tax exemption for privately-owned vacant land while such property is being used for the public benefit; and a City Council Stated Meeting at 1:30 p.m. It's the Council's second full-budy Stated meeting of the month. Bills will be introduced and others previously introduced will be voted on - one that will be introduced is from Council Member Dan Garodnick and would require the NYPD to publish its patrol guide.

Tuesday evening, Educators for Excellence will host Manhattan Policy Roundtable: Teacher Evaluation and Tenure.

Also Tuesday evening, Queens College will host Women in Leadership: Economic Justice in ‘UnBankable’ Communities: “Shared Interest, a non-profit social investment fund, provides access to credit and mentorship for microenterprise and small business owners, farmers and cooperative members. The majority of these business owners are women, who would otherwise be considered ‘unbankable.’Donna Katzin, Executive Director of Shared Interest, will highlight themes related to community and international development, impact investing, women’s leadership, and strategies to promote social and economic justice.”

Tuesday at 5 p.m., NYU Wagner and NYU’s Leadership Initiative will host All Things Being Equal: Reflections of a Social Justice Leader: “Join us for a fascinating discussion with one of America’s most influential public service leaders, Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation. Melody Barnes, NYU’s Vice Provost for Global Student Leadership Initiatives and Senior Fellow at NYU Wagner, will engage him in discussion about his journey in leadership - from his birth in a charity hospital in Louisiana to becoming President of the second largest philanthropy in the United States.”

Tuesday evening, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence will host its spring meeting: “You’ll get an update from Executive Director Leah Gunn Barrett and others about pending state and federal legislation and other NYAGV activities and find out how you can help advocate to reduce gun violence.” [Read a recent op-ed by Barrett on the need to pass Nicholas' Law]

Tuesday at 6 p.m., The Center For New York City Affairs at New School will host Low-Down on Pre-K from Insideschools: “If your child turns 4 this year, he or she is eligible for free pre-kindergarten, either in a public school or at a site run by a community organization. The de Blasio administration gets an A for effort in its rapid expansion of pre-kindergarten, with more than 30,000 new seats last fall and another 20,000 planned for this coming fall. But what is the quality of these new programs?”

There will be a meeting of the National Women's Political Caucus New York City chapter, at which Manhattan BP Brewer will speak.

And also Tuesday evening, a debate in the 11th Congressional District race: 8:15 PM at Guild for Exceptional Children's headquarters in Brooklyn. Staten Island Advance: "Republican District Attorney Daniel Donovan, Democratic Councilman Vincent Gentile and Green Party candidate James Lane will debate on March 31 at an event held by the Bay Ridge Community Council. The three men are facing off in a special election on May 5 for the vacant seat in Congress, left empty by Michael Grimm's resignation in January."

[Read the latest reporting from Gotham Gazette on New York City and State politics and policy]

Wednesday
Wednesday is the first day of the New York State 2016 fiscal year.

Wednesday’s City Council schedule will include a meeting of the Committee on Housing and Buildings; a meeting of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor jointly with the Committee on Finance for an oversight hearing regarding examining health care savings under recent collective bargaining agreements; a meeting of the Committee on General Welfare jointly with the Committee on Health for an oversight hearing on examining health and safety at ACS-funded Head Start Programs; a meeting of the Committee on Waterfronts jointly with the Committee on Environmental Protection to discuss a resolution calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the application by Liberty Natural Gas, LLC to construct the Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas terminal off the coast of New York.

Wednesday at 1 p.m., School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University will present Dean’s Seminar Series On Race and Policy: At the Intersection of Tech and Social Impact: “Benjamin Jealous, former president and CEO of the NAACP and current partner at the Kapor Center for Social Impact, will discuss technology and its relevance to social policy.”

Also at Columbia University mid-day Wednesday, Manhattan BP Brewer will speak at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs "One Billion Rising" event raising awareness to end violence against women.

Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., BetaNYC will present NYC Department of Transportation Open Data Forum: “We're joining up with our friends at NYC's Department of Transportation for the third open data forum. Join NYC DOT staff for a town hall-style meeting to discuss open data formatting and access. Bring your questions about DOT's data!!”

Also Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., City Council Members Costa Constantinides and Paul Vallone, in conjunction with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, will celebrate the anniversary of Greek Independence: “The celebration will honor Greek-Americans who have dedicated themselves to serving their communities.”

Thursday
Thursday evening, Big Apple Coffee Party, Common Cause/NY, Public Citizen and Occupy Wall Street Special Projects Affinity Group  will hold a Rally to Shine a Light on Corruption in Our Democracy: “Join a national campaign to encourage President Obama to sign an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to disclose their campaign activities and contributions.”

Also Thursday evening, the Digital NYC Five Borough Tour will return to Manhattan for a session in partnership with General Assembly and Flatiron BID. Panelists will include Jake Schwartz, Co-Founder & CEO of General Assembly, Hagos Mehreteab, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition at AppNexus, Madison (“Maddy”) Maxie, Creative Technologist, and Kristen Titus, Founding Director at NYC Tech Talent Pipeline.

Friday and the weekend
Friday is Good Friday and Passover begins at sundown on Friday, so things will be quiet at the end of the week and into the weekend - we think, at least.

***Read some of the latest original content from Gotham Gazette - explore our stories or recent op-eds***

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Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time: bmax@gothamgazette.com (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

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by Rati Mukhuradze, Marco Poggio, and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 30 Sun, 29 Mar 2015 05:00:00 +0000
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 9 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5619:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-march-9 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5619:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-march-9 New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This week will be another dominated by budget negotiations and hearings, both in New York City and Albany. In the city, the City Council began its preliminary budget hearings last week and continues them this week and throughout March, evaluating Mayor Bill de Blasio's spending plans agency by agency. In Albany, discussions swirl around how the Legislature might attempt to move Governor Andrew Cuomo on some of the hard stances he's taking with respect to education and ethics policies and the ways in which he is budgeting them. Both the State Senate and the State Assembly are expected to introduce and vote on their respective one-house budgets this week, which will further intensify negotiations with the governor. Of course, there are key aspects of what de Blasio and other city officials want from the State that are at stake in Albany negotiations. An Albany budget is due by April 1; a New York City budget by July 1.

Mayor de Blasio and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner are reportedly set to push the governor and the State Legislature for increased education funding on Monday  - apart from Cuomo's education reform plan, which he has tied to funding increases in order to force the Legislature's hand.

Other highlights to watch this week include the race in New York's 11th Congressional District heating up as there is limited time before the May 5 special election between Dan Donovan and Vincent Gentile to replace former Congressman Michael Grimm; Public Advocate Letitia James continues her "mayoral control forums;" and various celebrations of Women's History Month.

As always, there are many events to be aware of this week. See our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray start the week hosting "the Beijing +20 Reception at Gracie Mansion" Monday evening.

On Monday morning, Rep. Joe Crowley and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will hold a press conference to celebrate Women’s History Month in the Bronx, according to City & State NY.

At 10 a.m., on steps of City Hall, there will be a news conference condemning Fast Track legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the so-called "free" trade deal that has been described as "NAFTA on steroids." Attendees will  include Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (8th District, Brooklyn and Queens), Rep. Grace Meng (6th District, Queens), Mario Cilento, President of NYS AFL-CIO, Vincent Alvarez, President of NYC Central Labor Council, James Conigliaro, Business Representative of Machinists Union District 15, George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16, Carmen Charles, President of AFSCME Local 420m, Eric Weltman, Senior Organizer at Food and Water Watch, and Thelma Fellows, Executive Committee at Sierra Club NYC.

Also 10 a.m. Monday, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball will present a $1 billion plan to redevelop property in the Sunset Park area, according to City & State NY.

Monday at 11:30 a.m., on the steps of City Hall, “Council Member Mark S. Weprin, along with his colleagues in the City Council, announces the introduction of a bill to allow and regulate youth hostels in New York City.”

Monday, at 11:30 a.m., schools Chancellor Carmen Farina will be a guest on WNYC’s the Brian Lehrer show discussing why 7th grade is such a pivotal year in a child’s life.

Also Monday morning, "three of the largest New York City faith-based institutions on Monday March 9th to unveil a historic study about poverty reduction in New York City. The three faith-based organizations releasing the study are: The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, and UJA-Federation of New York. Together they will release the results of a major new research study that demonstrates the effects anti-poverty policy combinations can have on reducing poverty in New York.

Monday at noon, at Governor Cuomo’s Office in New York City, faith and labor leaders, voters, and community members will take part in a rally organized by Common Cause “to demand morality, fairness and honesty from our elected officials.”

At 1 p.m. Monday, members of Gov. Cuomo’s Commission on Youth, Public Safety & Justice will hold a panel discussion on raising the age of criminal prosecution at The New York Bar Association in Albany, according to City & State NY.

"Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman will announce a groundbreaking settlement with the nation's three leading national credit reporting agencies to implement critical reforms to protect consumers" on Monday at 1:30, joined by Julie Menin, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs and Susan Shin, senior staff attorney at the New Economy Project.

Monday’s City Council schedule will include a meeting of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises to review land use in the Soho Cast-Iron Historic District in Manhattan; a meeting of the Committee on Higher Education to consider resolution “calling upon Congress to pass and the President to sign legislation to implement President Barack Obama’s ‘America’s College Promise’ plan to make two years of community college free to anyone who maintains a 2.5 GPA and calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign legislation funding the State’s obligation under the plan”; a meeting of the Committee on Parks and Recreation for preliminary budget oversight; and a meeting of the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions to review submitted Land Use Applications.

Monday’s State Senate Committee Hearings will include a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Labor to discuss a variety of acts to amend the labor law; a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions to discuss a variety of legislation, including an act to amend the New York State Urban Development Corporation Act in relation to creating the New York State innovative energy and environmental technology program; and several in relation to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Monday at 5:30 p.m., the Queens Borough Board, as led by Queens BP Melinda Katz, will meet and vote on FY2016 Budget Priorities

On Monday evening, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will make a “special presentation at Women’s History Month reception, Metropolitan Museum of Art.”

And on Monday evening, schools Chancellor Farina will deliver remarks at the Shubert Foundation High School Theatre Festival at the Imperial Theatre in Manhattan.

Tuesday
Tuesday is the funeral for Cardinal Edward Egan, which will be attended by many, including Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and other elected officials.

That will be part of a busy Tuesday for de Blasio, who before the funeral will visit a classroom at the Boys and Girls High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant and then host a press conference to make an education announcement. Then, after the funeral, the mayor will deliver remarks at a Mayor's Fund reception and then deliver remarks at the Beijing+20 Opening Reception.

Tuesday’s State Senate Committee Hearing schedule will include a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Education to consider a variety of legislation, including to amend chapter 91 of the laws of 2002, amending the education law and other laws relating to the reorganization of the New York city school construction authority, board of education, and community boards, in relation to the effectiveness thereof; and to repeal section 4 of chapter 91 of the laws of 2002, amending the education law and other laws relating to the reorganization of the New York city school construction authority, board of education, and community boards; a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Transportation to consider a variety of legislation; a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Codes to consider a variety of legislation, including in relation to providing that an elementary or secondary school student shall be incapable of consenting to sexual conduct with a school employee; an act to amend the penal law, in relation to forged instruments and the sale thereof; an act to amend the penal law, in relation to the theft of controlled substances.

Tuesday morning, YWCA will present: “Women’s History Month Breakfast Panel Series: Leadership and Generosity: A Call to Action” featuring local leaders Sheelah A. Feinberg, Jennifer Jones Austin, Cecilia Clarke, Maya Wiley, Akiba Solomon and Anne Williams-Isom.

Tuesday’s City Council schedule will include a meeting of the Committee on Housing and Buildings to consider the extension of rent stabilization laws, a resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to approve, A.1865, in relation to repealing vacancy decontrol, a resolution determining that a public emergency requiring rent control in the City of New York continues to exist and will continue to exist on and after April 1, 2015; a resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign legislation that would end deregulation of rent regulated apartments and several others; a meeting of the Committee on Education to discuss introduction of a new bill relating to: “Requiring the Department of Education to report information regarding students receiving special education services” ; a meeting of the Committee on Consumer Affairs to discuss making of a new bill regarding: “Dept of consumer affairs to provide young adults with outreach and education regarding consumer protection issues”;

And preliminary budget hearings in response to Mayor de Blasio’s initial fiscal year 2016 budget outline: the Committee on Land Use; the Committee on Technology jointly with the Committee on Land Use; and the Committee on Housing and Buildings.

Tuesday, at 12 p.m., the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research will present “The Truth About Campus Sexual Assault: Is there really an epidemic of campus rape? If so, is government leading a constructive path forward?”

Tuesday evening, Public Advocate Letitia James will host one in her series of Mayoral Control Forums at P.S. 69, in Queens: “New Yorkers are encourage to come and share their thoughts about mayoral control and how modifications to the law can help to improve our education system. This is an opportunity to discuss what real community and parent engagement should look like moving forward.”

Also Tuesday evening, at 6 p.m., Wix Lounge will host NYC Lean In: Women’s History Month Event.

Tuesday at 6 p.m., Manhattan Borough President, Gale Brewer will host an Immigrant Small Business Town Hall: “My office’s African Immigrant Task Force is sponsoring a Town Hall jointly with the Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs, Dept. of Small Business Services, and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. Please join us for a presentation on how to obtain city resources to help manage your small business better, moderated by Lloyd Williams of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce. Panelists include myself; Julie Menin, Commissioner, Dept. of Consumer Affairs; Alejandro Alvarez, Director of Community Affairs, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs; Maria Torres-Springer, Commissioner, Dept. of Small Business Services.”

Also Tuesday at 6 p.m., Council Member Annabel Palma will host a Scam Prevention Forum at New York Public Library’s Parkchester Branch.

Tuesday, at 6:30 p.m., the NYC Charter School Center and the NYC Special Education Collaborative will host the 5th annual NYC Charter School Career Fair at Harlem Children's Zone Gymnasium and Cafeteria: “Last year’s fair hosted over 1,000 teachers, counselors, related service providers, and administrators with over 85% of NYC charter schools participating. This year, we’re looking forward to an even larger turnout.”

Wednesday
Wednesday morning in Albany the Assembly Standing Committee on Codes, will hold a joint meeting with the Assembly Standing Committee on Judiciary to “examine the need for reforms to the criminal justice system to ensure fairness, improve community/police relations, and protect the safety of law enforcement officers.”

Also Wednesday morning, the Senate Standing Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Correction, will hold a joint meeting with the Senate Standing Committee on Civil Service and Pensions, and Senate Standing Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, for an oversight hearing “Examining police safety and public protection throughout New York State.”

Wednesday’s State Senate Committee Hearing schedule will include a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities to consider a variety of bills; a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Higher Education to consider a variety of legislation, including an act to amend the education law, in relation to changing the eligibility dates for a military service recognition scholarship to include the conflicts that occurred after June 1, 1982; and an act to amend the education law, in relation to providing scholarships for surviving dependent family members of New York state military personnel who have died while performing official military duties.

Also Wednesday, Alliance for Quality Education and Citizen Action of New York will hold "Parade for Public Education and Lobby: Rally to Save Public Education in New York: We will meet with parents, students, teachers, and community leaders from across the state at the Armory and then we will parade down to the Capitol to demand $2.2 billion in new school aid, $150 billion in pre-K outside of NYC, and that we maintain current cap on charter schools to stop school privatization, as well as a resolution to the 20-year Campaign for Fiscal Equity.”

Wednesday morning, at 10 a.m., there will be a rally for preserving housing and for permanent affordable housing in East New York.

Wednesday’s City Council schedule will include a meeting of the Committee on Finance to review submitted land use applications and to go over: “Meatpacking Area business improvement district, Manhattan” and a Stated meeting of City Council at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Wednesday evening, Public Advocate Letitia James will host the Manhattan episode of her Mayoral Control Forum series, at John Jay College of Criminal Justice - co-hosted by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. According to Brewer: “I am co-sponsoring with Public Advocate Tish James a Manhattan Forum on Mayoral Control of schools, one in a series of forums taking place in all five boroughs. The forum will focus on one aspect of mayoral control -- community and parent engagement -- and provide a platform for educators, parents, guardians, and elected officials to discuss what real community and parent engagement should look like under mayoral control, which is set to expire this June.”

Comptroller Scott Stringer is hosting a Women’s History Month celebration Wednesday evening in Manhattan.

Also Wednesday evening, at 6:30 p.m., City Council Member Corey Johnson will host "Let’s Talk!: Reforming the Rent Guidelines Board" at P.S. 3, in Manhattan: “Join Council Member Corey Johnson, housing policy experts and tenant organizers for a discussion about reforming the Rent Guideline Board and confronting New York City’s affordability crisis.”

Wednesday evening, at 6:30 p.m., Manhattan Neighborhood Network will host The State of Women in New York City, a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Christina Greer, and including Ashley Emerole, Alexis Grenell, Erica Ford, and Karina Aybar-Jacob.

Wednesday evening, there will be a fundraiser for Vincent Gentile’s congressional campaign, on Staten Island.

Thursday
At 8:30 Thursday morning, Manhattan Institute will host a breakfast forum discussion titled “Are NYC Charter Schools Doing All They Can to Serve the Neediest Students?” Panelists will include Seth Andrew, Founder and Democracy Prep Public Schools and Democracy Builders; James Merriman, President of New York City Charter School Center; Ian Rowe, Chief Executive Officer of Public Prep; and Marcus Winters, Senior Fellow at Manhattan Institute: “At this breakfast forum, Winters will unveil the findings from his latest study on low-performers. Then, a panel will discuss the broader issue of whether New York City charters are doing all they can to serve the neediest students.”

Also Thursday, Association for a Better New York “cordially invites you to be our guest at a lunch meeting featuring Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Secretary Foxx will discuss his priorities for the federal Department of Transportation.”

Thursday will be the next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board, at 10:00 a.m.

"Brooklyn Parents, Students, and Teachers will take to the streets in Carroll Gardens to protest Governor Cuomo's proposed education policies on Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 3:15 p.m. The march is led by the Community Alliance for Student Education (CASE), a group formed to support public school students, teachers, and the community. CASE and the parents and students of PS 58 will join parents, students, and teachers from PS 261 in a march to voice their opposition to Gov. Cuomo's plans, which include placing more of an emphasis on the testing of young children, budgeting that reflects less than HALF the increase recommended for public school success, and putting teacher's ratings in the hands of outside "professional" consultants hired by Albany."

The Joint Legislative Budget schedule is to include "Senate and Assembly budget actions," and "joint Senate and Assembly budget conference committees commence."

Thursday’s City Council schedule will include a meeting of the Committee on Public Safety and a meeting of the Committee on Standards and Ethics for preliminary budget oversight hearings.

Thursday at 6:30 p.m., PROP Public Forum: "The Whole System Is Guilty: the panel will feature speakers presenting critiques on the key agencies of our so-called system of justice that, in effect, join forces everyday to inflict harm and hardship on low-income New Yorkers of color: the NYPD, prosecutors, judges, the defense bar, jails and prisons, and the New York City Council.”

Also Thursday, at 7 p.m., "How Would the TPP Affect Our Community?: Join us for a community meeting to learn about the threats posed by the Trans-Pacific Partnership and how efforts to fast track this dangerous trade agreement can be stopped. We'll highlight how the TPP risks our jobs, health, communities, and environment. Fortunately, Congressman Charles Rangel can play a key role in stopping the fast tracking of the TPP! Sponsors include Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, Food & Water Watch, Communications Workers of America, Working Families Party, Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Three Parks Independent Democrats, Sierra Club New York City Group, Broadway Democrats, MoveOn NYC Councils, 350NYC, Franciscan Earth Corps, United for Action, Health GAP, ALIGN-NY, Global Justice for Animals and the Environment, Show Up! America, Environmental Action,, NY4Whales, Polo Democratico NY, Terraza 7, New York Environmental Law and Justice Project, OWS Special Projects Affinity Group, OWS Outreach Working Group, TradeJustice New York Metro, Global Justice for Animals and the Environment, Sane Energy Project.”

Thursday evening, City Council Member Andy King will host the State of the 12th District: “The address will highlight the district’s finances, accomplishments over the past year, challenges facing the district, and future planning. All community members are invited to attend the State of the District Address, as well as stay for a birthday celebration for Council Member King.”

Friday
Friday morning, the State Senate Standing Committee on Social Services will meet to discuss “Policies to Assist Working Families in New York.”

On Friday, Public Advocate James' mayoral control forum series sees its big finale with an event featuring Diane Ravitch, Assemby Member Cathy Nolan, and others.

Also Friday morning, the Murphy Institute at CUNY, in collaboration with 1199SEIU and Cornell University’s Worker Institute, will present Identity Politics: A Foundation for Coalition Building: “Barbara Smith argues that “identity politics” rather than presenting an obstacle to forming coalitions for social and economic justice – offer an essential foundation for such coalitions. Drawing on forty years of work with civil rights, feminist, LGBTQ and other movements, Smith’s new book, Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around, edited by Alethia Jones and Virginia Eubanks, poses an urgent set of related questions that she and forum panelists will consider.”

Friday at 11 a.m., the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Financial Empowerment, the DESIS Lab (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability) at Parsons The New School for Design, the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity, and Citi Community Development will host Designing for Financial Empowerment: Improving Tax-Time Services for New Yorkers: “There are about 950,000 New York City families who are eligible to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which averages approximately $2,500, and, combined with other credits, can translate to a refund of as much as $10,000. But one in every five eligible households do not claim this vital tax credit; and of those who do, too many pay an average of $250 to file their taxes instead of using the free tax preparation services available at the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites around the city. How can we enable more of our fellow New Yorkers who have low incomes to file for free, claim their money and get access to other financial empowerment services? To answer that challenge, we are re-imagining how free tax preparation is provided in New York City and want your input.” Attendees will include Commissioner of DCA Julie Menin and Darren Bloch, Executive Director at The Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC.

Friday’s City Council schedule will include a meeting of the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services and a meeting of the Committee on Environmental Protection for preliminary budget oversight hearings.

***
Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time: bmax@gothamgazette.com (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

***
by Rati Mukhuradze, Marco Poggio, and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

Note: this article has been updated.

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 9 Sun, 08 Mar 2015 17:56:50 +0000