CITY Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. https://www.gothamgazette.com/city 2022-07-04T13:11:39+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Joomla! - Open Source Content Management Making a Down Payment on the Future of New York City 2022-07-01T04:00:00+00:00 2022-07-01T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11433-down-payment-future-new-york-city-kids-rise Sideya Sherman & Debra-Ellen Glickstein mauthors@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/making-a-down.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Children get support from NYC Kids RISE (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Across the five boroughs this graduation season, students are closing out the school year and beginning a new chapter in their educational journeys. But we’re not just talking about the students eager to throw their caps in the air. For the first time in our city’s history, the vast majority of New York City public school kindergarteners are stepping up to first grade with NYC Scholarship Accounts that have an initial financial investment through NYC Kids RISE and the City of New York.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The inaugural, citywide class of the Save for College Program may not be graduating until 2034, but their toolbox now includes a financial asset for college and career training, opportunities to gain more over time, and reinforced expectations of success from across the city’s neighborhoods and institutions along the way. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Higher education is a critical component of increasing economic mobility and reducing inequality, but for too many, the prospects of higher education have remained out of reach. For others who do pursue higher education, their decision comes at a high price. Today, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">45 million Americans have $1.7 trillion in student debt</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. This reality can deter young people from accessing higher education, exacerbating a widening wealth gap in New York City and across the country, with communities of color shouldering most of the burden. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are so many different factors that impact a child’s chance of future success, and many of these factors come into play outside a student’s school. We also know that neighborhoods differ dramatically in investment and the ingredients that promote economic mobility and income growth. And research suggests that social capital -- the strength of social networks and community involvement -- plays as important a role as financial capital. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the White House and Congress continue to debate solutions to address the student debt crises and college affordability, New York City isn’t waiting. The Save for College Program was created to not only provide public school students with a financial asset for their higher education, but to tap into and support the set of individuals, organizations, businesses, and institutions that make up the neighborhood ecosystems and social infrastructure around a child’s life. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Consider how Sunnyside Community Services -- a community-based organization serving students and families in western Queens -- took some of our youngest students in pilot communities on college trips, reinforcing the idea that you have to “see it to be it.” Or how Make the Road NY’s Parent Committee organized parent-to-parent education sessions so that families could hear and understand the rewards structure from a trusted source. How Seamless got its diners from across the five boroughs to “Donate the Change” directly into students’ NYC Scholarship Accounts, or how tenant leaders in Queens organized their community to raise $1,000 for each participating student that lives in Astoria Houses. Consider how the School Team led by the Parent Coordinator at PS 212 has already worked with over 85% of families in her school to help families activate and view their account for the very first time -- a critical step in helping families plan for a child’s future. In our latest example, just this month Flushing Bank is contributing $15,000 to the NYC Scholarship Accounts of 140 kindergarteners in their local community. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Through the Save for College Program, we’ve not only created a means to invest in our students from their earliest days in school, but we’ve created a way to invest in the financial and social resiliency of New York City neighborhoods, through a platform that recognizes and supports other stakeholders and their critical and connected roles as part of an ecosystem.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Last month, Mayor Eric Adams joined NYC Kids RISE and local elected officials in the Bronx to celebrate that 97% of the city’s public school kindergarteners now have an NYC Scholarship Account and each year this number will grow. Whether you recognize your role or not, every New Yorker is already playing a part in the systems that either support or impede a student’s chance of success.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You now have an opportunity to support students in and across your community, and to get involved in building out this platform to its full potential. If you’re a parent of a kindergartener, you can </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">activate your child’s account </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">and learn more about the reward structure. If you’re part of a community-based organization, consider integrating the Save for College Program into your services, and if you’re part of a business or corporation, your employer can organize or contribute to a </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">community scholarship</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> The opportunities to plug in are truly endless, and we can’t wait for you to join us. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sideya Sherman is Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Equity. Debra-Ellen Glickstein is the Founding Executive Director of nonprofit NYC Kids RISE. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/NYCKidsRISE" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@NYCKidsRISE</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/making-a-down.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Children get support from NYC Kids RISE (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Across the five boroughs this graduation season, students are closing out the school year and beginning a new chapter in their educational journeys. But we’re not just talking about the students eager to throw their caps in the air. For the first time in our city’s history, the vast majority of New York City public school kindergarteners are stepping up to first grade with NYC Scholarship Accounts that have an initial financial investment through NYC Kids RISE and the City of New York.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The inaugural, citywide class of the Save for College Program may not be graduating until 2034, but their toolbox now includes a financial asset for college and career training, opportunities to gain more over time, and reinforced expectations of success from across the city’s neighborhoods and institutions along the way. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Higher education is a critical component of increasing economic mobility and reducing inequality, but for too many, the prospects of higher education have remained out of reach. For others who do pursue higher education, their decision comes at a high price. Today, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">45 million Americans have $1.7 trillion in student debt</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. This reality can deter young people from accessing higher education, exacerbating a widening wealth gap in New York City and across the country, with communities of color shouldering most of the burden. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are so many different factors that impact a child’s chance of future success, and many of these factors come into play outside a student’s school. We also know that neighborhoods differ dramatically in investment and the ingredients that promote economic mobility and income growth. And research suggests that social capital -- the strength of social networks and community involvement -- plays as important a role as financial capital. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the White House and Congress continue to debate solutions to address the student debt crises and college affordability, New York City isn’t waiting. The Save for College Program was created to not only provide public school students with a financial asset for their higher education, but to tap into and support the set of individuals, organizations, businesses, and institutions that make up the neighborhood ecosystems and social infrastructure around a child’s life. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Consider how Sunnyside Community Services -- a community-based organization serving students and families in western Queens -- took some of our youngest students in pilot communities on college trips, reinforcing the idea that you have to “see it to be it.” Or how Make the Road NY’s Parent Committee organized parent-to-parent education sessions so that families could hear and understand the rewards structure from a trusted source. How Seamless got its diners from across the five boroughs to “Donate the Change” directly into students’ NYC Scholarship Accounts, or how tenant leaders in Queens organized their community to raise $1,000 for each participating student that lives in Astoria Houses. Consider how the School Team led by the Parent Coordinator at PS 212 has already worked with over 85% of families in her school to help families activate and view their account for the very first time -- a critical step in helping families plan for a child’s future. In our latest example, just this month Flushing Bank is contributing $15,000 to the NYC Scholarship Accounts of 140 kindergarteners in their local community. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Through the Save for College Program, we’ve not only created a means to invest in our students from their earliest days in school, but we’ve created a way to invest in the financial and social resiliency of New York City neighborhoods, through a platform that recognizes and supports other stakeholders and their critical and connected roles as part of an ecosystem.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Last month, Mayor Eric Adams joined NYC Kids RISE and local elected officials in the Bronx to celebrate that 97% of the city’s public school kindergarteners now have an NYC Scholarship Account and each year this number will grow. Whether you recognize your role or not, every New Yorker is already playing a part in the systems that either support or impede a student’s chance of success.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You now have an opportunity to support students in and across your community, and to get involved in building out this platform to its full potential. If you’re a parent of a kindergartener, you can </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">activate your child’s account </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">and learn more about the reward structure. If you’re part of a community-based organization, consider integrating the Save for College Program into your services, and if you’re part of a business or corporation, your employer can organize or contribute to a </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">community scholarship</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> The opportunities to plug in are truly endless, and we can’t wait for you to join us. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sideya Sherman is Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Equity. Debra-Ellen Glickstein is the Founding Executive Director of nonprofit NYC Kids RISE. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/NYCKidsRISE" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@NYCKidsRISE</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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New Housing Blueprint Gives LGBTQ New Yorkers Another Reason to Celebrate 2022-07-01T04:00:00+00:00 2022-07-01T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11434-adams-housing-blueprint-lgbtq-new-yorkers Andy Bowen & Sean Coleman mauthors@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/new-housing-blueprint1.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Pride (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This June in New York City unfolded with a welcome, if not obviously connected, set of events: Pride Month, and the new </span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/office-of-the-mayor/2022/Housing-Blueprint.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Housing Blueprint</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> from the administration of Mayor Eric Adams. As two transgender advocates who worked together last year on an</span><a href="https://chpcny.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/LGBTQ_Housing_Plan.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> LGBTQ+ housing plan</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, we see a number of ideas that our community has championed reflected in the new Housing Blueprint – a plan that will directly benefit LGBTQ+ New Yorkers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">First, it’s important to note the disparities that LGBTQ+ people in New York face when it comes to housing and poverty. As a </span><a href="https://www.health.ny.gov/press/releases/2022/2022-06-07_pride_month.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">recent report from the New York State Department of Health shows</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, LGBTQ+ adults are more likely than non-LGBTQ+ populations to experience low educational attainment, incomes below $25,000, unemployment, and disability. All of these factors contribute to a greater need for safe and affordable housing for members of our communities. As our housing report highlighted, LGBTQ+ community enclaves, the very neighborhoods that make New York City the LGBTQ+ haven that it is, are dependent on the availability of affordable housing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A cornerstone of the LGBTQ+ housing plan, and the administration’s blueprint, is the dire need to eliminate bureaucratic barriers that both limit the city’s ability to create affordable housing and get people placed once that housing is built. When convening LGBTQ+ homeless community members last year to devise our housing plan, we heard heart-rending testimonies about decreasing availability of affordable units and how difficult it has been for homeless LGBTQ+ New Yorkers (disproportionately Black, Indigenous, and people of color, and transgender, gender non-conforming, or non-binary) to get from shelter to housing placement. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The blueprint includes a number of regulatory changes that would help create more affordable homes: easing burdens on legalizing basement apartments and smaller-sized apartment units and ridding ourselves of archaic parking space requirements that reduce the number of affordable units that can be included in new development. The blueprint also commits to tracking and reducing the amount of time it takes to place New Yorkers into affordable homes. For a community in desperate need of affordable housing, these are changes LGBTQ+ New Yorkers need to see. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We noted before that LGBTQ+ enclaves can only exist where housing is affordable. Our community, disproportionately low-income as it is, finds affordable housing stock and builds strength and safety in numbers. This has been the trend for over a hundred years in New York City, and it still exists in neighborhoods like Bed-Stuy, Jackson Heights, and communities in the South Bronx. But affordability in these neighborhoods is in peril.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new blueprint’s emphasis on equitable zoning changes to distribute affordability means LGBTQ+ people can maintain footholds where they’re living now, but also find other safe neighborhoods to move to and build the kind of critical mass that has always been key to LGBTQ+ communities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As advocates and people who talk to community members about politics and government, we also know how disinvested and jaded many LGBTQ+ people can be about government processes, especially as it relates to housing. We, the authors, have long promoted, individually and collectively, political education work. So, it is profoundly heartening to see an emphasis in the administration’s blueprint on tenant democracy – along with new capital commitments to affordable housing and incoming support for NYCHA developments. All of this – tenant democracy informing how to spend money and improve communities – means that low-income LGBTQ+ people in public housing will have real power to improve their lives.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The first Prides were celebrations of new political possibility. We see so much in this Housing Blueprint that’s aligned with our own visions of LGBTQ+ community housing needs that we’re taking a page from our forebears and, coming out of June’s Pride month, celebrating new tools that empower our communities, and keep New York City as the LGBTQ+ mecca it has historically been.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Andy Bowen is Founder of Bowen Public Affairs Consulting. Sean Coleman is Founder and Executive Director of Destination Tomorrow, the Bronx LGBTQ+ Center. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/andymbowen" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@AndyMBowen</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/RamblinRantic" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@RamblinRantic</a>.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/new-housing-blueprint1.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Pride (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This June in New York City unfolded with a welcome, if not obviously connected, set of events: Pride Month, and the new </span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/office-of-the-mayor/2022/Housing-Blueprint.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Housing Blueprint</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> from the administration of Mayor Eric Adams. As two transgender advocates who worked together last year on an</span><a href="https://chpcny.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/LGBTQ_Housing_Plan.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> LGBTQ+ housing plan</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, we see a number of ideas that our community has championed reflected in the new Housing Blueprint – a plan that will directly benefit LGBTQ+ New Yorkers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">First, it’s important to note the disparities that LGBTQ+ people in New York face when it comes to housing and poverty. As a </span><a href="https://www.health.ny.gov/press/releases/2022/2022-06-07_pride_month.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">recent report from the New York State Department of Health shows</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, LGBTQ+ adults are more likely than non-LGBTQ+ populations to experience low educational attainment, incomes below $25,000, unemployment, and disability. All of these factors contribute to a greater need for safe and affordable housing for members of our communities. As our housing report highlighted, LGBTQ+ community enclaves, the very neighborhoods that make New York City the LGBTQ+ haven that it is, are dependent on the availability of affordable housing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A cornerstone of the LGBTQ+ housing plan, and the administration’s blueprint, is the dire need to eliminate bureaucratic barriers that both limit the city’s ability to create affordable housing and get people placed once that housing is built. When convening LGBTQ+ homeless community members last year to devise our housing plan, we heard heart-rending testimonies about decreasing availability of affordable units and how difficult it has been for homeless LGBTQ+ New Yorkers (disproportionately Black, Indigenous, and people of color, and transgender, gender non-conforming, or non-binary) to get from shelter to housing placement. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The blueprint includes a number of regulatory changes that would help create more affordable homes: easing burdens on legalizing basement apartments and smaller-sized apartment units and ridding ourselves of archaic parking space requirements that reduce the number of affordable units that can be included in new development. The blueprint also commits to tracking and reducing the amount of time it takes to place New Yorkers into affordable homes. For a community in desperate need of affordable housing, these are changes LGBTQ+ New Yorkers need to see. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We noted before that LGBTQ+ enclaves can only exist where housing is affordable. Our community, disproportionately low-income as it is, finds affordable housing stock and builds strength and safety in numbers. This has been the trend for over a hundred years in New York City, and it still exists in neighborhoods like Bed-Stuy, Jackson Heights, and communities in the South Bronx. But affordability in these neighborhoods is in peril.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new blueprint’s emphasis on equitable zoning changes to distribute affordability means LGBTQ+ people can maintain footholds where they’re living now, but also find other safe neighborhoods to move to and build the kind of critical mass that has always been key to LGBTQ+ communities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As advocates and people who talk to community members about politics and government, we also know how disinvested and jaded many LGBTQ+ people can be about government processes, especially as it relates to housing. We, the authors, have long promoted, individually and collectively, political education work. So, it is profoundly heartening to see an emphasis in the administration’s blueprint on tenant democracy – along with new capital commitments to affordable housing and incoming support for NYCHA developments. All of this – tenant democracy informing how to spend money and improve communities – means that low-income LGBTQ+ people in public housing will have real power to improve their lives.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The first Prides were celebrations of new political possibility. We see so much in this Housing Blueprint that’s aligned with our own visions of LGBTQ+ community housing needs that we’re taking a page from our forebears and, coming out of June’s Pride month, celebrating new tools that empower our communities, and keep New York City as the LGBTQ+ mecca it has historically been.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Andy Bowen is Founder of Bowen Public Affairs Consulting. Sean Coleman is Founder and Executive Director of Destination Tomorrow, the Bronx LGBTQ+ Center. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/andymbowen" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@AndyMBowen</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/RamblinRantic" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@RamblinRantic</a>.</span></p> <p>

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The Governor Must Act to Protect Health Care for LGBTQ New Yorkers 2022-06-29T13:00:00+00:00 2022-06-29T13:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11426-governor-health-care-lgbtq-new-yorkers-medicaid Kishani Moreno kcmoreno@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/must-act-pro.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul at a Pride parade (photo: Don Pollard/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we celebrate Pride Month, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) has just released a </span><a href="https://www.health.ny.gov/statistics/brfss/reports/docs/2022-16_brfss_sogi.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">sobering report</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> revealing the startling health disparities faced by LGBTQI+ New Yorkers. We need continued action to advance equity in our health-care system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Yet the DOH plans to proceed with a Medicaid pharmacy benefit carve-out that’s a legacy of the Cuomo era and would disrupt health care for millions of Medicaid recipients, many of whom are LGBTQI+. It also could lead to the closure of the community clinics that serve them—all in the name of generating dubious savings.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Proceeding with the Medicaid pharmacy carve-out would make it more difficult for LGBTQI+ New Yorkers to access the life-saving care they need. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York State’s own data recognizes long-standing inequalities in health care delivery and health outcomes, particularly among Latino and other communities of color, as well as low-income communities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new DOH report shows that LGBTQI+ New Yorkers are more likely to face frequent mental distress, depression, and other complex health issues—but less likely to have access to health care.</span></p> <p><a href="https://etedashboardny.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">DOH HIV surveillance data</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> further demonstrates that LGBTQI+ New Yorkers, communities of color, and low-income communities continue to bear the brunt of the HIV epidemic, despite advances in effective HIV treatment and prevention: They have higher infection rates, are less likely to be engaged in treatment to become virally suppressed, and those who are at high risk for HIV have lower rates of PrEP uptake.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One effective way to tackle these troubling health outcomes has been Medicaid Special Needs Health Plans (SNPs). SNPs help people living with HIV and AIDS access life-extending medications, and they reduce hospital use associated with unmanaged HIV.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A large portion of SNP participants are communities of color and people of LGBTQI+ experience—in particular, transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) New Yorkers. SNPs work closely with their members, pharmacies, and culturally competent providers, and they have expert pharmacists trained in LGBTQI+ health care.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Currently, Medicaid beneficiaries receive their pharmacy benefit through their SNP. The carve-out would irreparably disrupt their access to pharmacy support by removing it from SNPs and instead pooling all Medicaid beneficiaries in the State under a single Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Approximately 6 million New Yorkers would lose access to specialized pharmacists, including those with expertise in HIV, mental health, and gender-affirming care. The pharmacy carve-out contradicts Governor Hochul’s and the DOH’s actions to address HIV and health care disparities, which are outlined in the </span><a href="https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/aids/ending_the_epidemic/docs/call_to_action_2022.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York State AIDS Institute Director’s call to action</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Governor has the power to repeal the carve-out, and we call on her to do so immediately.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We only have to look to California to see how catastrophic following through on this short-sighted policy would be. After a similar pharmacy carve-out was implemented in California earlier this year, </span><a href="https://californiahealthline.org/news/article/california-medicaid-patients-struggle-to-fill-prescriptions-medi-cal-rx/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">thousands of Medicaid beneficiaries went weeks without their medications</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Providers faced authorization delays, making it harder to treat complex conditions. Call centers were overwhelmed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Magellan Health, the company California made its pharmacy benefit manager, lacked experience in LGBTQI+ health issues, leading to long wait times and delays in accessing care. Concerningly, Magellan would also handle New York’s pharmacy benefits if the carve-out is implemented here next year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The state argues that this model will save money. However, </span><a href="https://hcpsocal.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Summary-of-Menges-Group-Report-May-15-2019.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">studies</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> indicate it will actually cost taxpayers billions in the long run. California’s experience clearly demonstrates that the carve-out will cause treatment delays that will cost New York more money, not to mention higher emergency room and inpatient costs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For the LGBTQI+ community, accessing care is already difficult enough. LGBTQI+ people routinely face discrimination and harassment in medical settings. TGNC people often have to educate their health-care providers about transgender health issues, due to a lack of provider training.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The pharmacy carve-out would worsen New York’s health disparities for LGBTQI+ communities and communities of color. It’s easy to see why so many New Yorkers aren’t engaged in care. If we force people to confront another obstacle in our state’s health care system, who knows how many will drop out of care for good?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York State needs to expand access to care for LGBTQI+ people,</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> including gender-affirming care, HIV treatment, and mental health care. The pharmacy carve-out takes us in the wrong direction: It will cost the state more money and needlessly place millions of lives at risk.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Let’s not create more barriers for those already facing grave health disparities, and instead make it easier for all New Yorkers to live their healthiest, most authentic lives. We ask Governor Hochul to take action today and repeal the Medicaid pharmacy benefit carve-out.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kishani C. Moreno, MA, is Interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer at GMHC. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/GMHC" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@GMHC</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/must-act-pro.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul at a Pride parade (photo: Don Pollard/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we celebrate Pride Month, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) has just released a </span><a href="https://www.health.ny.gov/statistics/brfss/reports/docs/2022-16_brfss_sogi.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">sobering report</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> revealing the startling health disparities faced by LGBTQI+ New Yorkers. We need continued action to advance equity in our health-care system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Yet the DOH plans to proceed with a Medicaid pharmacy benefit carve-out that’s a legacy of the Cuomo era and would disrupt health care for millions of Medicaid recipients, many of whom are LGBTQI+. It also could lead to the closure of the community clinics that serve them—all in the name of generating dubious savings.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Proceeding with the Medicaid pharmacy carve-out would make it more difficult for LGBTQI+ New Yorkers to access the life-saving care they need. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York State’s own data recognizes long-standing inequalities in health care delivery and health outcomes, particularly among Latino and other communities of color, as well as low-income communities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new DOH report shows that LGBTQI+ New Yorkers are more likely to face frequent mental distress, depression, and other complex health issues—but less likely to have access to health care.</span></p> <p><a href="https://etedashboardny.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">DOH HIV surveillance data</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> further demonstrates that LGBTQI+ New Yorkers, communities of color, and low-income communities continue to bear the brunt of the HIV epidemic, despite advances in effective HIV treatment and prevention: They have higher infection rates, are less likely to be engaged in treatment to become virally suppressed, and those who are at high risk for HIV have lower rates of PrEP uptake.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One effective way to tackle these troubling health outcomes has been Medicaid Special Needs Health Plans (SNPs). SNPs help people living with HIV and AIDS access life-extending medications, and they reduce hospital use associated with unmanaged HIV.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A large portion of SNP participants are communities of color and people of LGBTQI+ experience—in particular, transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) New Yorkers. SNPs work closely with their members, pharmacies, and culturally competent providers, and they have expert pharmacists trained in LGBTQI+ health care.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Currently, Medicaid beneficiaries receive their pharmacy benefit through their SNP. The carve-out would irreparably disrupt their access to pharmacy support by removing it from SNPs and instead pooling all Medicaid beneficiaries in the State under a single Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Approximately 6 million New Yorkers would lose access to specialized pharmacists, including those with expertise in HIV, mental health, and gender-affirming care. The pharmacy carve-out contradicts Governor Hochul’s and the DOH’s actions to address HIV and health care disparities, which are outlined in the </span><a href="https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/aids/ending_the_epidemic/docs/call_to_action_2022.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York State AIDS Institute Director’s call to action</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Governor has the power to repeal the carve-out, and we call on her to do so immediately.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We only have to look to California to see how catastrophic following through on this short-sighted policy would be. After a similar pharmacy carve-out was implemented in California earlier this year, </span><a href="https://californiahealthline.org/news/article/california-medicaid-patients-struggle-to-fill-prescriptions-medi-cal-rx/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">thousands of Medicaid beneficiaries went weeks without their medications</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Providers faced authorization delays, making it harder to treat complex conditions. Call centers were overwhelmed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Magellan Health, the company California made its pharmacy benefit manager, lacked experience in LGBTQI+ health issues, leading to long wait times and delays in accessing care. Concerningly, Magellan would also handle New York’s pharmacy benefits if the carve-out is implemented here next year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The state argues that this model will save money. However, </span><a href="https://hcpsocal.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Summary-of-Menges-Group-Report-May-15-2019.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">studies</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> indicate it will actually cost taxpayers billions in the long run. California’s experience clearly demonstrates that the carve-out will cause treatment delays that will cost New York more money, not to mention higher emergency room and inpatient costs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For the LGBTQI+ community, accessing care is already difficult enough. LGBTQI+ people routinely face discrimination and harassment in medical settings. TGNC people often have to educate their health-care providers about transgender health issues, due to a lack of provider training.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The pharmacy carve-out would worsen New York’s health disparities for LGBTQI+ communities and communities of color. It’s easy to see why so many New Yorkers aren’t engaged in care. If we force people to confront another obstacle in our state’s health care system, who knows how many will drop out of care for good?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York State needs to expand access to care for LGBTQI+ people,</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> including gender-affirming care, HIV treatment, and mental health care. The pharmacy carve-out takes us in the wrong direction: It will cost the state more money and needlessly place millions of lives at risk.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Let’s not create more barriers for those already facing grave health disparities, and instead make it easier for all New Yorkers to live their healthiest, most authentic lives. We ask Governor Hochul to take action today and repeal the Medicaid pharmacy benefit carve-out.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kishani C. Moreno, MA, is Interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer at GMHC. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/GMHC" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@GMHC</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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Rethinking Economic Development in the Post-Covid World 2022-06-30T04:00:00+00:00 2022-06-30T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11404-rethinking-economic-development-post-covid Carol Kellermann & Sherry Glied mauthors@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/rethinking-econ-dev.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Rethinking economic development (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly altered state economies. At this point, it’s clear that some of the changes will last, with significant implications for how governments should think about the future. State economic development agencies are tasked with building that future and they need new approaches to address these changes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In January 2021, with the assistance of staff from the New York Empire State Development Corporation, we began a process of reviewing research literature and reports and interviewing experts across the country to develop a new approach to state economic development in the post-pandemic environment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The result is a report, issued June 16 and titled </span><a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4136503" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Strategies for Building Inclusive and Progressive State Economies in the Post-COVID Era</span></i></a>,<span style="font-weight: 400;"> that discusses how existing state policy tools can be adapted, reoriented, and improved to build a more equitable and prosperous society.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our report emphasizes there are three key imperatives that must inform a new approach to economic development.</span></p> <p><b>Confronting Systemic Inequality<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">The most important lesson of COVID-19 is that we must do more to confront the enormous systemic inequities that continue to plague our society. </span><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/investigations-discovery/hospitalization-death-by-race-ethnicity.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the CDC</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, Black and Hispanic Americans were roughly three times as likely to be hospitalized and twice as likely to die from covid as white Americans.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At the same time, the economic impact of COVID-19 fell particularly hard on people of color and lower-income communities, in part because they are over-represented in the most impacted industries, such as food and hospitality. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">No longer can government policy, including the billions spent on economic development, be detached from a central focus on bridging inequities and addressing structural barriers to success. An estimate </span><a href="https://www.epi.org/publication/secular-stagnation/#:~:text=EPI%20estimates%20that%20rising%20inequality,GDP%20annually%20in%20recent%20years.&amp;text=In%20the%20longer%20run%2C%20we,%2D%20and%20middle%2Dwage%20workers" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">from the Economic Policy Institute</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> found that rising inequality has slowed U.S. economic growth in aggregate demand by two to four percentage points in recent years as the share of income has shifted from lower income, lower-saving households to higher income, higher-saving households. Addressing structural inequality is not only a moral imperative – it is an economic imperative. </span></p> <p><b>Embracing New Models of Work<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Covid changed how many people work and live and those changes are proving to be long lasting, not transitory. State government must help lay the groundwork for new “spoke and hub” models of work that involve better transit-based, sustainable infrastructure.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the past, jobs that required high levels of interaction with peers were mainly located in dense urban centers and some of their employees traded off higher housing costs and smaller spaces for shorter commutes. An infrastructure of in-person services – from restaurants and bars to shoe repair and dry-cleaning shops – grew up around the businesses. Service firm employees often struggled to find affordable housing within reasonable distance of their jobs. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the post-covid world, many people who can do their jobs all or in part remotely will choose to live further away from the urban core. For example, the commuting hub around New York City will expand substantially – perhaps by up to 100 miles, encompassing all of Long Island, the Hudson River Valley nearly up to Albany, and much of the way to Binghamton. </span></p> <p><b>Leveraging Increased Federal Spending<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Policy levers on the federal and state level that were previously politically untenable or considered too costly – ranging from eviction moratoria to economic stimulus – have been utilized.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The influx of federal funding, including from the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed in March 2020, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act passed in March 2021, and the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed in November 2021, will have long-term implications. These new funding streams, if used strategically and effectively, have the potential to make a lasting impact on state economies.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Based on these themes, our report offers a clear thesis for change over the next five years focused on five key areas and objectives:<br /><br /></span><b>1. Economic Development Policy:</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Reorient states’ economic development tools to focus on strategic, data-driven investments.<br /><br /></span><b>2. Workforce Development:</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Align workforce development investments with business needs and future job opportunities.<br /><br /></span><b>3. Affordable Communities:</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Reimagine cities and new commuter hubs as affordable, sustainable communities where people can live and work.<br /><br /></span><b>4. New Business Development: </b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Support business expansion and leverage  universities to drive new R&amp;D ecosystems.<br /><br /></span><b>5. 21</b><b>st</b><b> Century Digital Infrastructure:</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Lead on digital infrastructure to lay the foundation for economic growth in the 21</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">st</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> century.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The post-covid world poses new challenges for state economies. Without further action, remote work is likely to exacerbate already unacceptable economic inequalities. Existing neighborhoods, communities, and transportation networks may be a poor fit for the new economic environment. State economic development agencies will be expected to respond, and if they do so by using the tools of the past, they are unlikely to achieve the results needed in this unexpected future.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The good news is that there has been a wealth of research and an explosion of data that economic development agencies can use to improve and target their practices.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">State economic policy has the tools to focus on projects that produce not only more but better jobs for disadvantaged communities, to leverage data that enables the promotion of efficient workforce and infrastructure development policy, and to emphasize building a more equitable and flexible labor force and economy. It can, and must, shift from an emphasis on individual firms and projects to a strategy that emphasizes the development of human capital and infrastructure.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our hope is that our report can serve as a blueprint for states at a moment when we have the potential to produce the most progressive economic change since the great depression. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sherry Glied is Dean of New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Carol Kellermann was president of Citizens Budget Commission from 2008 through 2018.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/rethinking-econ-dev.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Rethinking economic development (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly altered state economies. At this point, it’s clear that some of the changes will last, with significant implications for how governments should think about the future. State economic development agencies are tasked with building that future and they need new approaches to address these changes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In January 2021, with the assistance of staff from the New York Empire State Development Corporation, we began a process of reviewing research literature and reports and interviewing experts across the country to develop a new approach to state economic development in the post-pandemic environment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The result is a report, issued June 16 and titled </span><a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4136503" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Strategies for Building Inclusive and Progressive State Economies in the Post-COVID Era</span></i></a>,<span style="font-weight: 400;"> that discusses how existing state policy tools can be adapted, reoriented, and improved to build a more equitable and prosperous society.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our report emphasizes there are three key imperatives that must inform a new approach to economic development.</span></p> <p><b>Confronting Systemic Inequality<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">The most important lesson of COVID-19 is that we must do more to confront the enormous systemic inequities that continue to plague our society. </span><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/investigations-discovery/hospitalization-death-by-race-ethnicity.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the CDC</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, Black and Hispanic Americans were roughly three times as likely to be hospitalized and twice as likely to die from covid as white Americans.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At the same time, the economic impact of COVID-19 fell particularly hard on people of color and lower-income communities, in part because they are over-represented in the most impacted industries, such as food and hospitality. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">No longer can government policy, including the billions spent on economic development, be detached from a central focus on bridging inequities and addressing structural barriers to success. An estimate </span><a href="https://www.epi.org/publication/secular-stagnation/#:~:text=EPI%20estimates%20that%20rising%20inequality,GDP%20annually%20in%20recent%20years.&amp;text=In%20the%20longer%20run%2C%20we,%2D%20and%20middle%2Dwage%20workers" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">from the Economic Policy Institute</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> found that rising inequality has slowed U.S. economic growth in aggregate demand by two to four percentage points in recent years as the share of income has shifted from lower income, lower-saving households to higher income, higher-saving households. Addressing structural inequality is not only a moral imperative – it is an economic imperative. </span></p> <p><b>Embracing New Models of Work<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Covid changed how many people work and live and those changes are proving to be long lasting, not transitory. State government must help lay the groundwork for new “spoke and hub” models of work that involve better transit-based, sustainable infrastructure.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the past, jobs that required high levels of interaction with peers were mainly located in dense urban centers and some of their employees traded off higher housing costs and smaller spaces for shorter commutes. An infrastructure of in-person services – from restaurants and bars to shoe repair and dry-cleaning shops – grew up around the businesses. Service firm employees often struggled to find affordable housing within reasonable distance of their jobs. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the post-covid world, many people who can do their jobs all or in part remotely will choose to live further away from the urban core. For example, the commuting hub around New York City will expand substantially – perhaps by up to 100 miles, encompassing all of Long Island, the Hudson River Valley nearly up to Albany, and much of the way to Binghamton. </span></p> <p><b>Leveraging Increased Federal Spending<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Policy levers on the federal and state level that were previously politically untenable or considered too costly – ranging from eviction moratoria to economic stimulus – have been utilized.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The influx of federal funding, including from the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed in March 2020, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act passed in March 2021, and the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed in November 2021, will have long-term implications. These new funding streams, if used strategically and effectively, have the potential to make a lasting impact on state economies.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Based on these themes, our report offers a clear thesis for change over the next five years focused on five key areas and objectives:<br /><br /></span><b>1. Economic Development Policy:</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Reorient states’ economic development tools to focus on strategic, data-driven investments.<br /><br /></span><b>2. Workforce Development:</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Align workforce development investments with business needs and future job opportunities.<br /><br /></span><b>3. Affordable Communities:</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Reimagine cities and new commuter hubs as affordable, sustainable communities where people can live and work.<br /><br /></span><b>4. New Business Development: </b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Support business expansion and leverage  universities to drive new R&amp;D ecosystems.<br /><br /></span><b>5. 21</b><b>st</b><b> Century Digital Infrastructure:</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Lead on digital infrastructure to lay the foundation for economic growth in the 21</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">st</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> century.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The post-covid world poses new challenges for state economies. Without further action, remote work is likely to exacerbate already unacceptable economic inequalities. Existing neighborhoods, communities, and transportation networks may be a poor fit for the new economic environment. State economic development agencies will be expected to respond, and if they do so by using the tools of the past, they are unlikely to achieve the results needed in this unexpected future.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The good news is that there has been a wealth of research and an explosion of data that economic development agencies can use to improve and target their practices.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">State economic policy has the tools to focus on projects that produce not only more but better jobs for disadvantaged communities, to leverage data that enables the promotion of efficient workforce and infrastructure development policy, and to emphasize building a more equitable and flexible labor force and economy. It can, and must, shift from an emphasis on individual firms and projects to a strategy that emphasizes the development of human capital and infrastructure.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our hope is that our report can serve as a blueprint for states at a moment when we have the potential to produce the most progressive economic change since the great depression. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sherry Glied is Dean of New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Carol Kellermann was president of Citizens Budget Commission from 2008 through 2018.</span></p> <p>

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New York Searches for New ‘Concealed Carry’ Policy 111 Years After Its First 2022-06-28T14:00:00+00:00 2022-06-28T14:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11427-new-york-new-concealed-carry-gun-control Bruce W. Dearstyne bwdearstyne@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/searches-concealed-policy.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul signs gun control legislation (photo: Don Pollard/Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The U.S. Supreme Court, in the June 23 decision in </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York State Rifle and Pistol Association et al v.  Bruen, Superintendent of the New York State Police et al</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">, invalidated New York’s historic “concealed carry” law, sometimes called the “Sullivan Law” after its lead sponsor, State Senator Timothy Sullivan.</span></p> <p><b>1911: Rising public concern with gun violence</b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is helpful to recall why the Sullivan Law was passed in the first place. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That 1911 law provided that: ”Any person over the age of sixteen years, who shall have in his possession in any city, village or town of this state, any pistol, revolver, or other firearm of a size which may be concealed upon the person, without a written license therefor, issued by a police magistrate or any such city or village, or by a justice of the peace of such town, or in such manner as shall be prescribed by ordinance in such city, village or town, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor” (NY Laws of 1911, Ch.. 195).  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rising public concern with gun violence in the early 20</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">th</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> century led to the law. In August 1910, New York City Mayor William J. Gaynor, waiting to board a passenger ship in Hoboken, NJ, was shot by an aggrieved New York City dock worker who had been fired from his job. Gaynor was grievously wounded but survived.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In January 1911, famous novelist David Graham Phillips was shot dead near Gramercy Park by a deranged man who believed Phillips used one of the man’s family members as a character in one of his novels. The shooter then killed himself.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Gaynor and Phillips shootings sparked public outrage. But it was a rising tide of shootings using concealed weapons in New York City streets that led to legislative action.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Senator Sullivan explained that “gun toters” fell into three categories. The first was professional criminals. The second was deranged people. His proposed law would help in those areas. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But he was most concerned with a third category, “young fellows who carry guns around in their pockets all the time not because they are murderers or criminals but because the other fellows do it and they want to be able to protect themselves. [T]hose boys aren’t all bad but…just carrying their guns around makes them itch to use them.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Opponents of the bill objected that law-abiding citizens needed firearms to defend themselves and their homes. You cannot force a criminal to get a license to use a gun, others asserted. Guns would flow into New York from other states with lax gun restrictions, rendering it hard to enforce.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Other critics said the law could be used disproportionately against newly-arrived immigrants and other minority groups. Still other skeptics warned that the law might enable unscrupulous police officers to frame suspects by planting guns on them at the time of arrest.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But press and public opinion strongly favored the measure. The city coroner’s office issued  reports highlighting deaths from handguns. “A rigid law making it difficult to buy revolvers would be the means of saving hundreds of lives,” said the office’s  January 1911 report. New York County District Attorney Charles Whitman told reporters that “carrying a weapon is an invitation to a crime. Reduce the weapons carried and you reduce the crimes of violence.” Civic and commercial groups endorsed Sullivan’s proposal.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democrats held a majority in the State Legislature. Sullivan was a Democrat and the New York City Tammany Hall Democratic Party organization backed his proposal. But legislators from both parties, sensing the public demand for action, jumped on board. The bill garnered 46 of 51 votes in the Senate and 148 out of 150 in the Assembly. Democratic governor John A. Dix quickly signed it into law. It took effect on August 31, 1911.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York amended the law in 1913 to clarify the licensing standard: magistrates could “issue to [a] person a license to have and carry concealed a pistol or revolver without regard to employment or place of possessing such weapon” only if that person proved “good moral character” and “proper cause” (NY Laws of 1913, Ch. 608). </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The procedures have been revised since then but, as the Supreme Court’s opinion in </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">notes, “today’s licensing scheme largely tracks that of the early 1900s.”</span></p> <p><b>After More Than a Century, the Law Falls</b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Sullivan Law has been challenged in state and federal courts several times but, until now, has been deemed constitutional.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the new Supreme Court decision overturning the law, Justice Clarence Thomas notes that “No New York State statute defines ‘proper cause.’” He offers a lengthy discussion of historical precedents and previous court decisions. He notes that “at the end of this long journey through the Anglo-American history of public carry, we conclude that respondents have not met their burden to identify an American tradition justifying the State’s proper-cause requirement. The Second Amendment guaranteed to ‘all Americans’ the right to bear commonly used arms in public subject to certain reasonable, well-defined restrictions.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The opinion concludes that “New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is a 6-3 decision, with the dissenters citing their own view of historical precedent and statistics about people killed by handguns every year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The decision is a reminder that courts play a powerful role in our society. “We are under a constitution but the constitution is what the judges say it is,” Charles Evans Hughes, Chief Justice 1930-1941 remarked early in his career. That may be an overstatement but it indicates the courts’ strong authority.</span></p> <p><b>What happens next?</b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Supreme Court decision reversed a state Court of Appeals opinion that had supported the law. The decision ends with these words: “We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is not certain what that Court will do; “…further proceedings consistent with this opinion” seems like a fairly broad concept.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But attention has already shifted to the Legislature and Governor Kathy Hochul. Ironically, the decision comes shortly after the Legislature enacted other gun control measures. Now, as in 1911, the Legislature is led by New York City Democrats (and a Senate majority leader from the suburbs) and the governor hails from upstate (John Dix was from Glens Falls, Kathy Hochul is from Buffalo).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As Justice Stephen Breyer noted in his dissent in the new Supreme Court decision:</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What kinds of firearm regulations should a State adopt? Different States might choose to answer that question differently. They may face different challenges because of their different geographic and demographic compositions. A State like New York, which must account for the roughly 8.5 million people living in the 303 square miles of New York City, might choose to adopt different (and stricter) firearms regulations than States like Montana or Wyoming, which do not contain any city remotely comparable in terms of population or density….For a variety of reasons, States may also be willing to tolerate different degrees of risk and therefore choose to balance the competing benefits and dangers of firearms differently.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Governor Hochul has already announced a special session of the Legislature for this week to deal with the issue. History may in a sense repeat itself as New York, 111 years after its first concealed carry law, again takes the lead in searching for a solution that addresses public safety concerns and also recognizes and abides by constitutional protections and guarantees as outlined by the court.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Bruce W. Dearstyne is a historian in Albany, NY. SUNY Press recently published the second edition of his book  </span><a href="https://sunypress.edu/Books/T/The-Spirit-of-New-York-Second-Edition" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Spirit of New York: Defining Events in the Empire State's History</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">  and his new book </span><a href="https://sunypress.edu/Books/T/The-Crucible-of-Public-Policy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Crucible of Public Policy: New York Courts in the Progressive Era</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/searches-concealed-policy.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul signs gun control legislation (photo: Don Pollard/Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The U.S. Supreme Court, in the June 23 decision in </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York State Rifle and Pistol Association et al v.  Bruen, Superintendent of the New York State Police et al</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">, invalidated New York’s historic “concealed carry” law, sometimes called the “Sullivan Law” after its lead sponsor, State Senator Timothy Sullivan.</span></p> <p><b>1911: Rising public concern with gun violence</b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is helpful to recall why the Sullivan Law was passed in the first place. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That 1911 law provided that: ”Any person over the age of sixteen years, who shall have in his possession in any city, village or town of this state, any pistol, revolver, or other firearm of a size which may be concealed upon the person, without a written license therefor, issued by a police magistrate or any such city or village, or by a justice of the peace of such town, or in such manner as shall be prescribed by ordinance in such city, village or town, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor” (NY Laws of 1911, Ch.. 195).  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rising public concern with gun violence in the early 20</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">th</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> century led to the law. In August 1910, New York City Mayor William J. Gaynor, waiting to board a passenger ship in Hoboken, NJ, was shot by an aggrieved New York City dock worker who had been fired from his job. Gaynor was grievously wounded but survived.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In January 1911, famous novelist David Graham Phillips was shot dead near Gramercy Park by a deranged man who believed Phillips used one of the man’s family members as a character in one of his novels. The shooter then killed himself.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Gaynor and Phillips shootings sparked public outrage. But it was a rising tide of shootings using concealed weapons in New York City streets that led to legislative action.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Senator Sullivan explained that “gun toters” fell into three categories. The first was professional criminals. The second was deranged people. His proposed law would help in those areas. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But he was most concerned with a third category, “young fellows who carry guns around in their pockets all the time not because they are murderers or criminals but because the other fellows do it and they want to be able to protect themselves. [T]hose boys aren’t all bad but…just carrying their guns around makes them itch to use them.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Opponents of the bill objected that law-abiding citizens needed firearms to defend themselves and their homes. You cannot force a criminal to get a license to use a gun, others asserted. Guns would flow into New York from other states with lax gun restrictions, rendering it hard to enforce.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Other critics said the law could be used disproportionately against newly-arrived immigrants and other minority groups. Still other skeptics warned that the law might enable unscrupulous police officers to frame suspects by planting guns on them at the time of arrest.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But press and public opinion strongly favored the measure. The city coroner’s office issued  reports highlighting deaths from handguns. “A rigid law making it difficult to buy revolvers would be the means of saving hundreds of lives,” said the office’s  January 1911 report. New York County District Attorney Charles Whitman told reporters that “carrying a weapon is an invitation to a crime. Reduce the weapons carried and you reduce the crimes of violence.” Civic and commercial groups endorsed Sullivan’s proposal.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democrats held a majority in the State Legislature. Sullivan was a Democrat and the New York City Tammany Hall Democratic Party organization backed his proposal. But legislators from both parties, sensing the public demand for action, jumped on board. The bill garnered 46 of 51 votes in the Senate and 148 out of 150 in the Assembly. Democratic governor John A. Dix quickly signed it into law. It took effect on August 31, 1911.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York amended the law in 1913 to clarify the licensing standard: magistrates could “issue to [a] person a license to have and carry concealed a pistol or revolver without regard to employment or place of possessing such weapon” only if that person proved “good moral character” and “proper cause” (NY Laws of 1913, Ch. 608). </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The procedures have been revised since then but, as the Supreme Court’s opinion in </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">notes, “today’s licensing scheme largely tracks that of the early 1900s.”</span></p> <p><b>After More Than a Century, the Law Falls</b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Sullivan Law has been challenged in state and federal courts several times but, until now, has been deemed constitutional.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the new Supreme Court decision overturning the law, Justice Clarence Thomas notes that “No New York State statute defines ‘proper cause.’” He offers a lengthy discussion of historical precedents and previous court decisions. He notes that “at the end of this long journey through the Anglo-American history of public carry, we conclude that respondents have not met their burden to identify an American tradition justifying the State’s proper-cause requirement. The Second Amendment guaranteed to ‘all Americans’ the right to bear commonly used arms in public subject to certain reasonable, well-defined restrictions.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The opinion concludes that “New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is a 6-3 decision, with the dissenters citing their own view of historical precedent and statistics about people killed by handguns every year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The decision is a reminder that courts play a powerful role in our society. “We are under a constitution but the constitution is what the judges say it is,” Charles Evans Hughes, Chief Justice 1930-1941 remarked early in his career. That may be an overstatement but it indicates the courts’ strong authority.</span></p> <p><b>What happens next?</b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Supreme Court decision reversed a state Court of Appeals opinion that had supported the law. The decision ends with these words: “We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is not certain what that Court will do; “…further proceedings consistent with this opinion” seems like a fairly broad concept.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But attention has already shifted to the Legislature and Governor Kathy Hochul. Ironically, the decision comes shortly after the Legislature enacted other gun control measures. Now, as in 1911, the Legislature is led by New York City Democrats (and a Senate majority leader from the suburbs) and the governor hails from upstate (John Dix was from Glens Falls, Kathy Hochul is from Buffalo).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As Justice Stephen Breyer noted in his dissent in the new Supreme Court decision:</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What kinds of firearm regulations should a State adopt? Different States might choose to answer that question differently. They may face different challenges because of their different geographic and demographic compositions. A State like New York, which must account for the roughly 8.5 million people living in the 303 square miles of New York City, might choose to adopt different (and stricter) firearms regulations than States like Montana or Wyoming, which do not contain any city remotely comparable in terms of population or density….For a variety of reasons, States may also be willing to tolerate different degrees of risk and therefore choose to balance the competing benefits and dangers of firearms differently.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Governor Hochul has already announced a special session of the Legislature for this week to deal with the issue. History may in a sense repeat itself as New York, 111 years after its first concealed carry law, again takes the lead in searching for a solution that addresses public safety concerns and also recognizes and abides by constitutional protections and guarantees as outlined by the court.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Bruce W. Dearstyne is a historian in Albany, NY. SUNY Press recently published the second edition of his book  </span><a href="https://sunypress.edu/Books/T/The-Spirit-of-New-York-Second-Edition" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Spirit of New York: Defining Events in the Empire State's History</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">  and his new book </span><a href="https://sunypress.edu/Books/T/The-Crucible-of-Public-Policy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Crucible of Public Policy: New York Courts in the Progressive Era</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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Better Managing Public Space is Key to New York City’s Recovery 2022-06-27T14:00:00+00:00 2022-06-27T14:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11417-public-space-management-new-york-city-recovery Elizabeth Goldstein, Benjamin Prosky & Jackson Chabot mauthors@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/better-public-space.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Public space (photo: John McCarten/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Summer is in full swing and street fairs, parades, and block parties are enlivening public space across New York City. But these vital signs of city life exist alongside indicators of the challenges we are facing: trash blocking sidewalks, lack of staff to keep crucial community spaces activated, and the threat of traffic violence.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The activity on our streets, parks, and stoops helps define what makes New York special. These spaces would not thrive without committed neighborhood volunteers who fill in the gaps in management and operation on open streets, business corridors, and local parks as well as our waterfronts, plazas, and natural areas. This over-reliance on neighborhood partners is emblematic of a lack of a coordinated framework to adequately fund and manage our critical shared spaces.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is currently no holistic management or investment in New York’s public space. Every Open Street, block party, or neighborhood safety initiative is the product of intense volunteer effort, organization, and coordination. Too often, city government agencies and departments are working in isolation instead of focusing on collaborative problem-solving. This has to change.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City needs leadership to ensure public spaces throughout the five boroughs can thrive regardless of available resources. We need public spaces that reflect the complexity of the communities that use them and can do the important work of bringing the city together.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our organizations are pushing for innovative approaches to these issues. We believe the city must make a commitment and investment to equitably planning and managing our public spaces. We have joined forces to advocate for solutions in the shared public spaces that span interests and geographies — from commerce to culture, safety to sustainability, mobility to making space for play at the local, borough, and city-wide scale.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our group envisions a public realm that celebrates and enriches city life. Well-managed public space is critical to keeping people safe, connected, and healthy. It reinforces the vitality of our communities and supports local businesses. Leadership can close these gaps and make this a reality in every neighborhood.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The innovation needed here isn’t just more bureaucracy, it is about how well the government is organized to address nuanced challenges that have real-world impacts on how people experience and work with our city’s public spaces.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Effective governance looks like expedited permitting for users in the public realm from street vendors to block associations. Designing spaces so that people can be comfortable in all seasons starts with a plan to plant trees for shade and ensure access to sun during the colder months. Partnership is sharing the responsibility for the success of Open Streets so that areas need not be anchored by a business improvement district to function. Cooperation is coordinating city services across departments to better support BIDs planning, managing, and programing public space. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We call for structural leadership through the appointment and empowerment of a central, accountable Director of the Public Realm to plan for citywide needs. We call for management leadership through the creation of a new Office of Public Space Management designed to more equitably manage our streets, permits, and day-to-day operational needs for our most in-demand corridors. We call for design leadership to uplift the quality of public spaces and their interface with private developments that maximize the expertise of architects, landscape architects, and planners. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new city budget fell short of the opportunity to fully invest in our city’s shared spaces, meaning the gap between what is possible and what is funded exists department to department and neighborhood to neighborhood. This gap is further expanded by missed opportunities to advance mutually beneficial goals across agencies and address longstanding infrastructure needs in historically underinvested neighborhoods. Cuts to agencies are already being felt and seen across the city. Failure to fully fund the Streets Plan leaves too many gaps in our citywide system and pushes the responsibility to invest to a future administration and City Council. This choice to partially fund only prolongs the impacts and increases the costs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now that this year’s budget fight is over, we must advance and implement visionary policies that equip the city to coordinate, set goals, and actualize the benefits from a shared management framework. Ideas like the five-point plan by City Council Member Shekar Krishnan and the bills introduced by Council Member Carlina Rivera to create an office of pedestrians and require a citywide plan for greenways between the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Transportation are important opportunities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The City Council is responding to pressing challenges on the ground but would benefit from expansion to cover more of the public realm’s critical systems and address opportunities for increased coordination and implementation. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">We are also encouraged by Mayor Eric Adams’ announcement of the creation of an interagency task force to ensure healthy commercial corridors in the Blueprint for Economic Recovery and the New New York Blue Ribbon Panel. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We need leaders who increase collaboration across departments by setting and advancing meaningful goals for equity, livability, and performance. We need a dynamic investment strategy that can increase accountability, bring new infrastructure to underserved neighborhoods, and respond to opportunities to prototype and scale innovations within the public realm. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The city we want now, as well as the city we are building for, is built upon the success of our streets and public spaces. Leadership helps us bridge the short-term opportunities to the longer-term strategies to keep New York City competitive, livable, and resilient. A holistic vision must combine funding, policy, and coordination to create a thriving and vibrant New York City.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Elizabeth Goldstein is the President of the Municipal Art Society of New York. Benjamin Prosky is Executive Director of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY). Jackson Chabot is the Director of Public Space Advocacy at Open Plans. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/AIA_NewYork">@AIA_NewYork</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/OpenPlans">@OpenPlans</a> &amp;  <a href="https://twitter.com/MASNYC">@MASNYC</a>.</span></p> <p>

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</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/better-public-space.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Public space (photo: John McCarten/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Summer is in full swing and street fairs, parades, and block parties are enlivening public space across New York City. But these vital signs of city life exist alongside indicators of the challenges we are facing: trash blocking sidewalks, lack of staff to keep crucial community spaces activated, and the threat of traffic violence.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The activity on our streets, parks, and stoops helps define what makes New York special. These spaces would not thrive without committed neighborhood volunteers who fill in the gaps in management and operation on open streets, business corridors, and local parks as well as our waterfronts, plazas, and natural areas. This over-reliance on neighborhood partners is emblematic of a lack of a coordinated framework to adequately fund and manage our critical shared spaces.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is currently no holistic management or investment in New York’s public space. Every Open Street, block party, or neighborhood safety initiative is the product of intense volunteer effort, organization, and coordination. Too often, city government agencies and departments are working in isolation instead of focusing on collaborative problem-solving. This has to change.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City needs leadership to ensure public spaces throughout the five boroughs can thrive regardless of available resources. We need public spaces that reflect the complexity of the communities that use them and can do the important work of bringing the city together.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our organizations are pushing for innovative approaches to these issues. We believe the city must make a commitment and investment to equitably planning and managing our public spaces. We have joined forces to advocate for solutions in the shared public spaces that span interests and geographies — from commerce to culture, safety to sustainability, mobility to making space for play at the local, borough, and city-wide scale.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our group envisions a public realm that celebrates and enriches city life. Well-managed public space is critical to keeping people safe, connected, and healthy. It reinforces the vitality of our communities and supports local businesses. Leadership can close these gaps and make this a reality in every neighborhood.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The innovation needed here isn’t just more bureaucracy, it is about how well the government is organized to address nuanced challenges that have real-world impacts on how people experience and work with our city’s public spaces.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Effective governance looks like expedited permitting for users in the public realm from street vendors to block associations. Designing spaces so that people can be comfortable in all seasons starts with a plan to plant trees for shade and ensure access to sun during the colder months. Partnership is sharing the responsibility for the success of Open Streets so that areas need not be anchored by a business improvement district to function. Cooperation is coordinating city services across departments to better support BIDs planning, managing, and programing public space. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We call for structural leadership through the appointment and empowerment of a central, accountable Director of the Public Realm to plan for citywide needs. We call for management leadership through the creation of a new Office of Public Space Management designed to more equitably manage our streets, permits, and day-to-day operational needs for our most in-demand corridors. We call for design leadership to uplift the quality of public spaces and their interface with private developments that maximize the expertise of architects, landscape architects, and planners. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new city budget fell short of the opportunity to fully invest in our city’s shared spaces, meaning the gap between what is possible and what is funded exists department to department and neighborhood to neighborhood. This gap is further expanded by missed opportunities to advance mutually beneficial goals across agencies and address longstanding infrastructure needs in historically underinvested neighborhoods. Cuts to agencies are already being felt and seen across the city. Failure to fully fund the Streets Plan leaves too many gaps in our citywide system and pushes the responsibility to invest to a future administration and City Council. This choice to partially fund only prolongs the impacts and increases the costs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now that this year’s budget fight is over, we must advance and implement visionary policies that equip the city to coordinate, set goals, and actualize the benefits from a shared management framework. Ideas like the five-point plan by City Council Member Shekar Krishnan and the bills introduced by Council Member Carlina Rivera to create an office of pedestrians and require a citywide plan for greenways between the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Transportation are important opportunities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The City Council is responding to pressing challenges on the ground but would benefit from expansion to cover more of the public realm’s critical systems and address opportunities for increased coordination and implementation. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">We are also encouraged by Mayor Eric Adams’ announcement of the creation of an interagency task force to ensure healthy commercial corridors in the Blueprint for Economic Recovery and the New New York Blue Ribbon Panel. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We need leaders who increase collaboration across departments by setting and advancing meaningful goals for equity, livability, and performance. We need a dynamic investment strategy that can increase accountability, bring new infrastructure to underserved neighborhoods, and respond to opportunities to prototype and scale innovations within the public realm. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The city we want now, as well as the city we are building for, is built upon the success of our streets and public spaces. Leadership helps us bridge the short-term opportunities to the longer-term strategies to keep New York City competitive, livable, and resilient. A holistic vision must combine funding, policy, and coordination to create a thriving and vibrant New York City.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Elizabeth Goldstein is the President of the Municipal Art Society of New York. Benjamin Prosky is Executive Director of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY). Jackson Chabot is the Director of Public Space Advocacy at Open Plans. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/AIA_NewYork">@AIA_NewYork</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/OpenPlans">@OpenPlans</a> &amp;  <a href="https://twitter.com/MASNYC">@MASNYC</a>.</span></p> <p>

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The Right to Reproductive Health in the Wake of Roe 2022-06-27T14:00:00+00:00 2022-06-27T14:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11419-right-reproductive-health-wake-roe-v-wade-ny Dr. Ayman El-Mohandes daemohandes@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/vaccinated-leaders-at.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Health care (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is an affront to the key principles of United States citizenry by failing to protect the life, liberty, autonomy, and health of those who can become pregnant. The recent cascade of total bans or severe restrictions on abortion is not based on science, but ideological biases, and is clearing a legislative path to a draconian future in reproductive freedom and health.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The ramifications of this decision on health and society, not just women, will be devastating. A recent </span><a href="https://read.dukeupress.edu/demography/article/58/6/2019/265968/The-Pregnancy-Related-Mortality-Impact-of-a-Total" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> projected that a total ban on abortion in the U.S. would increase maternal death by 21% in the second year following such a ban, with Black women the most affected with 33% more deaths. Maternal mortality and morbidity is already a crisis in the U.S. – higher than most developed countries – </span><a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2022/05/03/people-color-most-impacted-if-roe-v-wade-overturned/9626866002/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">and disproportionately affecting Black mothers</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> due to institutional racism and socio-economic inequities. When mothers die or are unable to care for their families, all of society pays the price.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City and State are valiant safe havens protecting the reproductive rights and health of all Americans. On June 13, Governor Kathy Hochul </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">signed </span><a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-nation-leading-legislative-package-protect-abortion-and-reproductive" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">a six-part legislative package</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to immediately protect the rights of patients and empower reproductive health-care providers; and Friday she</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">announced the </span><a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/abortion-access-always-governor-hochul-announces-robust-multi-platform-public-education" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Abortion Access Always public education campaign</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> supporting safe, legal abortions for all. In May, she announced a </span><a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-announces-nation-leading-35-million-investment-support-abortion-providers-new" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">$35 million investment</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the largest in the nation, to support abortion providers serving more patients including low-income people. Such services are guaranteed to all New York residents.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At the same time a national ban on abortion and curtailing of reproductive health should be expected if Republicans control Congress and the White House, as promised by </span><a href="https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2022/06/24/republican-mccarthy-congress-abortion-roe-v-wade" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> on Friday with the posit of a national ban on abortion after 15 weeks.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This erosion of health rights is a dire outcome that we as a state and a nation must not allow.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As a public health professional and pediatrician who has worked in vastly under-resourced maternal clinics in the U.S. and all over the world, I have seen first-hand the personal anguish and loss facing those for whom preventive health services and family planning are not available. In the wake of this court decision, I now contemplate how detrimental the impact will be for so many, especially those without the financial or family resources to access comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion services if they choose it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What protections are there from illness and death when a woman has a troubled or ectopic pregnancy? What effect is there on her mental health and ability to work and care for a family, when carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Perhaps even more dystopian, when politicians are permitted to rule on conception, what is to stop them from banning birth control, IVF treatment, pre-conception planning, and other services that help women and families make proactive decisions to prevent or enable pregnancy based on their own needs and free will?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the dissent stated, “Taking away the right to abortion, as the majority does today, destroys all those individual plans and expectations. In so doing, it diminishes women’s opportunities to participate fully and equally in the Nation’s political, social and economic life.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Studies cited in a “friend of the court” document accompanying the dissent show that access to abortion has reduced teen motherhood, and increased the probability that women attend college and enter professional occupations.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Research has long demonstrated that children’s ability to thrive is linked to </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5857959/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">maternal well-being, education, and economic status.</span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the wake of this ruling, those of us in the public health arena must act to fiercely protect the public health and rights of those who are now put at risk.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We must open and proliferate clinics offering comprehensive reproductive health care, online education, and physical and mental health hotline access. We must redouble our work in preparing public health professionals to widen, not narrow, these options. And we must educate voters on how their legislators and judges can protect the right to public health that is now unthinkably in peril.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dr. Ayman El-Mohandes, MBBCh, MD, MPH, FAAP, is Dean of CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.</span></p> <p>

***
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</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/vaccinated-leaders-at.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Health care (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is an affront to the key principles of United States citizenry by failing to protect the life, liberty, autonomy, and health of those who can become pregnant. The recent cascade of total bans or severe restrictions on abortion is not based on science, but ideological biases, and is clearing a legislative path to a draconian future in reproductive freedom and health.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The ramifications of this decision on health and society, not just women, will be devastating. A recent </span><a href="https://read.dukeupress.edu/demography/article/58/6/2019/265968/The-Pregnancy-Related-Mortality-Impact-of-a-Total" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> projected that a total ban on abortion in the U.S. would increase maternal death by 21% in the second year following such a ban, with Black women the most affected with 33% more deaths. Maternal mortality and morbidity is already a crisis in the U.S. – higher than most developed countries – </span><a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2022/05/03/people-color-most-impacted-if-roe-v-wade-overturned/9626866002/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">and disproportionately affecting Black mothers</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> due to institutional racism and socio-economic inequities. When mothers die or are unable to care for their families, all of society pays the price.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City and State are valiant safe havens protecting the reproductive rights and health of all Americans. On June 13, Governor Kathy Hochul </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">signed </span><a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-nation-leading-legislative-package-protect-abortion-and-reproductive" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">a six-part legislative package</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to immediately protect the rights of patients and empower reproductive health-care providers; and Friday she</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">announced the </span><a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/abortion-access-always-governor-hochul-announces-robust-multi-platform-public-education" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Abortion Access Always public education campaign</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> supporting safe, legal abortions for all. In May, she announced a </span><a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-announces-nation-leading-35-million-investment-support-abortion-providers-new" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">$35 million investment</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the largest in the nation, to support abortion providers serving more patients including low-income people. Such services are guaranteed to all New York residents.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At the same time a national ban on abortion and curtailing of reproductive health should be expected if Republicans control Congress and the White House, as promised by </span><a href="https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2022/06/24/republican-mccarthy-congress-abortion-roe-v-wade" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> on Friday with the posit of a national ban on abortion after 15 weeks.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This erosion of health rights is a dire outcome that we as a state and a nation must not allow.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As a public health professional and pediatrician who has worked in vastly under-resourced maternal clinics in the U.S. and all over the world, I have seen first-hand the personal anguish and loss facing those for whom preventive health services and family planning are not available. In the wake of this court decision, I now contemplate how detrimental the impact will be for so many, especially those without the financial or family resources to access comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion services if they choose it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What protections are there from illness and death when a woman has a troubled or ectopic pregnancy? What effect is there on her mental health and ability to work and care for a family, when carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Perhaps even more dystopian, when politicians are permitted to rule on conception, what is to stop them from banning birth control, IVF treatment, pre-conception planning, and other services that help women and families make proactive decisions to prevent or enable pregnancy based on their own needs and free will?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the dissent stated, “Taking away the right to abortion, as the majority does today, destroys all those individual plans and expectations. In so doing, it diminishes women’s opportunities to participate fully and equally in the Nation’s political, social and economic life.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Studies cited in a “friend of the court” document accompanying the dissent show that access to abortion has reduced teen motherhood, and increased the probability that women attend college and enter professional occupations.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Research has long demonstrated that children’s ability to thrive is linked to </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5857959/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">maternal well-being, education, and economic status.</span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the wake of this ruling, those of us in the public health arena must act to fiercely protect the public health and rights of those who are now put at risk.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We must open and proliferate clinics offering comprehensive reproductive health care, online education, and physical and mental health hotline access. We must redouble our work in preparing public health professionals to widen, not narrow, these options. And we must educate voters on how their legislators and judges can protect the right to public health that is now unthinkably in peril.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dr. Ayman El-Mohandes, MBBCh, MD, MPH, FAAP, is Dean of CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.</span></p> <p>

***
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Latino Vote ‘22: 5 Assembly Primaries to Watch 2022-06-26T15:00:00+00:00 2022-06-26T15:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11416-latino-vote-2022-assembly-primaries Eli Valentin evalentin@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/lv-assembly-primaries.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Puerto Rican Day Parade (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Though the governor and lieutenant governor races are getting the most buzz this state election cycle, a number of state legislative races—both Assembly and State Senate— are also surprisingly competitive.</p> <p>Five of those competitive races happen to be in Latino-majority or Latino-plurality Assembly districts of New York City: two in the Bronx, two in Queens, and one in Brooklyn.</p> <p>These are the five to watch as the Assembly primaries are decided on Tuesday, June 28: </p> <p><strong>The Bronx</strong><br />Jose Rivera has represented the 78th Assembly district in the Bronx since 2000, when he won a seat previously occupied by Roberto Ramirez. Prior to winning this seat in 2000, Rivera served on the New York City Council, and before that, a five-year stint in the New York State Assembly. (Disclaimer: I have informally advised Rivera on his campaigns.)</p> <p>Rivera represents the last of a generation of pioneering Latino politicians that are in elected office. <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/1982/08/03/nyregion/bronx-minority-democrats-given-aid.html">He rose to power in 1982</a> after defeating the incumbent Sean Walsh. This was a time of rapid demographic change in the Bronx as Puerto Ricans spread to areas beyond the South Bronx. Rivera took on the powers-that-be of the time, mostly Irish and Italian, and after years of organizing, won his seat exactly 40 years ago.</p> <p>Now, Rivera has a fight on his hands as he seeks to fend off challenges from George Alvarez and Emmanuel Martinez.</p> <p>Alvarez has the support of Congressman Adriano Espaillat and this endorsement has led to that of two others — Bronx City Council Members Oswald Feliz and Pierina Sanchez. By strategically endorsing Alvarez, it is clear that Espaillat is attempting to solidify his hold in the West Bronx, opting to depart from the unwritten rule of incumbents supporting other incumbents.</p> <p>Martinez, who served as chairperson of Community Board 7 in the Bronx and was also elected a Democratic State Committee member, has received the support of the Moving NY Forward PAC, which is largely funded by a wealthy hedge-funder who, according to the Albany Times Union, is the<a href="https://www.timesunion.com/state/article/With-financier-s-1-5M-an-outside-group-knocked-17172084.php"> “co-founder of a secretive Wall Street firm.”</a> </p> <p>The Alvarez and Martinez challenges are the toughest Rivera has faced in years. Yet Rivera has a solid and loyal base, is a formidable campaigner, and is known to frequent events with his ever-present camera on hand. Labor unions and the Bronx Democratic Party are solidly behind him, and Mayor Eric Adams has now endorsed Rivera too.</p> <p>Moving northeast in the Bronx, the 82nd Assembly district is also home to an intense primary race. Assemblymember Michael Benedetto faces a strong challenge from Jonathan Soto.</p> <p>Benedetto has served in office since 2004. The demographics of the 82nd district have changed significantly over the last two decades, and that district now has a Latino plurality. Among the Democratic electorate, Latinos make up 45% of all voters and their turnout has been consistent over the years. Evidence of this demographic change is Marjorie Velazquez’s City Council victory last year. The 82nd Assembly district represents 54% of Velazquez’s district, and Velazquez won her race handily, including in the 82nd Assembly district portion of the district.</p> <p>In this district, however, Latino votes alone will not push Soto to the victory line. Black and white voters are a significant chunk of the electorate, and to win a candidate will need to form a multi-racial coalition.</p> <p>Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s PAC, the Working Families Party, and other progressive groups are backing Soto. He is also receiving support from the Move NY Forward PAC mentioned above. Soto is charismatic, whip-smart, and presents Benedetto’s biggest challenge yet. </p> <p><strong>Queens</strong><br />In Queens, two Assembly districts are ones to watch in terms of the Latino vote—the 30th and the 35th. </p> <p>As a result of Assemblymember Brian Barnwell’s decision not to seek re-election, the 30th Assembly district is an open seat and pits Steven Raga, a former Barnwell aide and a Filipino, against Ramon Cando, a Latino of Ecuadorian descent.</p> <p>The district’s demographic makeup in many ways represents the diversity that is Queens. Of the potential Democratic electorate there, 29% is Latino, 24% Asian, and 22% white. Several voter data experts (including the renowned Jerry Skurnik), deem  another quarter of Democratic voters in that district as “other” since modeled demographic data cannot precisely match their ethnicities. Interestingly enough, when factoring in voting participation, the ethnic makeup of the voters remains the same; no particular ethnic group dominates when it comes to turnout.</p> <p> The Queens Democratic Party apparatus and a number of labor groups are supporting Raga, but for some reason Barnwell, his former boss, is not. Cando is supported by Rep. Tom Suozzi, City Council Member Robert Holden, and Hiram Monserrate’s Democratic club. While Raga has received critical establishment support, Cando’s seeming support among Latinos and white voters appears to make him formidable.</p> <p>Cando has presented himself as a more moderate “common sense” Democrat, eschewing the “defund” movement to divest police funding for community investments that Raga has espoused. Election day will demonstrate whether message trumps establishment support in this district.</p> <p>In the 35th Assembly district, Monserrate is taking on the incumbent, Jeff Aubrey, in a rematch of 2020. Aubrey won that race but Monserrate is presenting a formidable challenge in what is a Latino plurality district. Latinos are 43% of the Democratic electorate, compared to 21% of the electorate that is Black and 9% that is Asian.</p> <p>While Monserrate will always have to contend with his controversial and criminal past, his support among many Latinos in the district remains solid, and his Democratic club is a formidable force, having helped to elect other candidates in East Elmhurst and Corona.</p> <p>Aubrey has the support of the Queens Democratic organization, in addition to numerous elected officials in surrounding districts, many who are mobilizing behind him and, sometimes more so, in opposition to Monserrate. Aubrey also has been able to maintain the support of a large number of African American voters who have been in the Elmhurst neighborhood for many years.</p> <p><strong>Brooklyn</strong><br />Brooklyn is also experiencing primary rumbles of particular significant to the Latino vote, in this case in the 54th Assembly district. Progressive Samy Nemir Olivares is challenging Assemblymember Erik Dilan, son of former State Senator Martin Dilan, who lost to a progressive challenger himself in the 2018 primary when he was defeated by now-Senator Julia Salazar.</p> <p>The two Latina congressional representatives in New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nydia Velazquez, are backing Nemir Olivares, as is Senator Salazar, the Working Families Party, the Democratic Socialists of America-New York City, and other progressive individuals and groups. By beating Tommy Torres for the district leader position, Nemir Olivares has already shown an ability to take on the Brooklyn machine and win.</p> <p>This race is a particularly interesting one as a new test of the progressive-moderate split under the latest larger political context. Perhaps the race can show glimpses of where some Latino voters stand on the ideological spectrum, particularly in an area of the city where progressives have been on the rise but not necessarily because of the Latino vote. When Salazar defeated Martin Dilan in 2018, he won the most votes in the 54th Assembly district portion of the Senate district. Will the last vestiges of the Dilan dynasty fall? We’re about to find out.</p> <p>

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Eli Valentin is a political analyst and author of the forthcoming book, Reinhold Niebuhr: A Political Life. On Twitter @EliValentinNY.

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/lv-assembly-primaries.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Puerto Rican Day Parade (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Though the governor and lieutenant governor races are getting the most buzz this state election cycle, a number of state legislative races—both Assembly and State Senate— are also surprisingly competitive.</p> <p>Five of those competitive races happen to be in Latino-majority or Latino-plurality Assembly districts of New York City: two in the Bronx, two in Queens, and one in Brooklyn.</p> <p>These are the five to watch as the Assembly primaries are decided on Tuesday, June 28: </p> <p><strong>The Bronx</strong><br />Jose Rivera has represented the 78th Assembly district in the Bronx since 2000, when he won a seat previously occupied by Roberto Ramirez. Prior to winning this seat in 2000, Rivera served on the New York City Council, and before that, a five-year stint in the New York State Assembly. (Disclaimer: I have informally advised Rivera on his campaigns.)</p> <p>Rivera represents the last of a generation of pioneering Latino politicians that are in elected office. <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/1982/08/03/nyregion/bronx-minority-democrats-given-aid.html">He rose to power in 1982</a> after defeating the incumbent Sean Walsh. This was a time of rapid demographic change in the Bronx as Puerto Ricans spread to areas beyond the South Bronx. Rivera took on the powers-that-be of the time, mostly Irish and Italian, and after years of organizing, won his seat exactly 40 years ago.</p> <p>Now, Rivera has a fight on his hands as he seeks to fend off challenges from George Alvarez and Emmanuel Martinez.</p> <p>Alvarez has the support of Congressman Adriano Espaillat and this endorsement has led to that of two others — Bronx City Council Members Oswald Feliz and Pierina Sanchez. By strategically endorsing Alvarez, it is clear that Espaillat is attempting to solidify his hold in the West Bronx, opting to depart from the unwritten rule of incumbents supporting other incumbents.</p> <p>Martinez, who served as chairperson of Community Board 7 in the Bronx and was also elected a Democratic State Committee member, has received the support of the Moving NY Forward PAC, which is largely funded by a wealthy hedge-funder who, according to the Albany Times Union, is the<a href="https://www.timesunion.com/state/article/With-financier-s-1-5M-an-outside-group-knocked-17172084.php"> “co-founder of a secretive Wall Street firm.”</a> </p> <p>The Alvarez and Martinez challenges are the toughest Rivera has faced in years. Yet Rivera has a solid and loyal base, is a formidable campaigner, and is known to frequent events with his ever-present camera on hand. Labor unions and the Bronx Democratic Party are solidly behind him, and Mayor Eric Adams has now endorsed Rivera too.</p> <p>Moving northeast in the Bronx, the 82nd Assembly district is also home to an intense primary race. Assemblymember Michael Benedetto faces a strong challenge from Jonathan Soto.</p> <p>Benedetto has served in office since 2004. The demographics of the 82nd district have changed significantly over the last two decades, and that district now has a Latino plurality. Among the Democratic electorate, Latinos make up 45% of all voters and their turnout has been consistent over the years. Evidence of this demographic change is Marjorie Velazquez’s City Council victory last year. The 82nd Assembly district represents 54% of Velazquez’s district, and Velazquez won her race handily, including in the 82nd Assembly district portion of the district.</p> <p>In this district, however, Latino votes alone will not push Soto to the victory line. Black and white voters are a significant chunk of the electorate, and to win a candidate will need to form a multi-racial coalition.</p> <p>Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s PAC, the Working Families Party, and other progressive groups are backing Soto. He is also receiving support from the Move NY Forward PAC mentioned above. Soto is charismatic, whip-smart, and presents Benedetto’s biggest challenge yet. </p> <p><strong>Queens</strong><br />In Queens, two Assembly districts are ones to watch in terms of the Latino vote—the 30th and the 35th. </p> <p>As a result of Assemblymember Brian Barnwell’s decision not to seek re-election, the 30th Assembly district is an open seat and pits Steven Raga, a former Barnwell aide and a Filipino, against Ramon Cando, a Latino of Ecuadorian descent.</p> <p>The district’s demographic makeup in many ways represents the diversity that is Queens. Of the potential Democratic electorate there, 29% is Latino, 24% Asian, and 22% white. Several voter data experts (including the renowned Jerry Skurnik), deem  another quarter of Democratic voters in that district as “other” since modeled demographic data cannot precisely match their ethnicities. Interestingly enough, when factoring in voting participation, the ethnic makeup of the voters remains the same; no particular ethnic group dominates when it comes to turnout.</p> <p> The Queens Democratic Party apparatus and a number of labor groups are supporting Raga, but for some reason Barnwell, his former boss, is not. Cando is supported by Rep. Tom Suozzi, City Council Member Robert Holden, and Hiram Monserrate’s Democratic club. While Raga has received critical establishment support, Cando’s seeming support among Latinos and white voters appears to make him formidable.</p> <p>Cando has presented himself as a more moderate “common sense” Democrat, eschewing the “defund” movement to divest police funding for community investments that Raga has espoused. Election day will demonstrate whether message trumps establishment support in this district.</p> <p>In the 35th Assembly district, Monserrate is taking on the incumbent, Jeff Aubrey, in a rematch of 2020. Aubrey won that race but Monserrate is presenting a formidable challenge in what is a Latino plurality district. Latinos are 43% of the Democratic electorate, compared to 21% of the electorate that is Black and 9% that is Asian.</p> <p>While Monserrate will always have to contend with his controversial and criminal past, his support among many Latinos in the district remains solid, and his Democratic club is a formidable force, having helped to elect other candidates in East Elmhurst and Corona.</p> <p>Aubrey has the support of the Queens Democratic organization, in addition to numerous elected officials in surrounding districts, many who are mobilizing behind him and, sometimes more so, in opposition to Monserrate. Aubrey also has been able to maintain the support of a large number of African American voters who have been in the Elmhurst neighborhood for many years.</p> <p><strong>Brooklyn</strong><br />Brooklyn is also experiencing primary rumbles of particular significant to the Latino vote, in this case in the 54th Assembly district. Progressive Samy Nemir Olivares is challenging Assemblymember Erik Dilan, son of former State Senator Martin Dilan, who lost to a progressive challenger himself in the 2018 primary when he was defeated by now-Senator Julia Salazar.</p> <p>The two Latina congressional representatives in New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nydia Velazquez, are backing Nemir Olivares, as is Senator Salazar, the Working Families Party, the Democratic Socialists of America-New York City, and other progressive individuals and groups. By beating Tommy Torres for the district leader position, Nemir Olivares has already shown an ability to take on the Brooklyn machine and win.</p> <p>This race is a particularly interesting one as a new test of the progressive-moderate split under the latest larger political context. Perhaps the race can show glimpses of where some Latino voters stand on the ideological spectrum, particularly in an area of the city where progressives have been on the rise but not necessarily because of the Latino vote. When Salazar defeated Martin Dilan in 2018, he won the most votes in the 54th Assembly district portion of the Senate district. Will the last vestiges of the Dilan dynasty fall? We’re about to find out.</p> <p>

***
Eli Valentin is a political analyst and author of the forthcoming book, Reinhold Niebuhr: A Political Life. On Twitter @EliValentinNY.

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

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It’s Darkest Just Before The Dawn 2022-06-27T04:00:00+00:00 2022-06-27T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11418-darkest-dawn-delgado-lt-gov Antonio Delgado adelgado@gmail.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/before-the-dawn.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado, middle (photo: @DelgadoforNY)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Every single day you can turn on the news and find evidence of the hate and divisiveness that roils our state and infects our country. From conspiracies in our capitol, to crime in our community, to hate in our hometowns, there are dark and dangerous forces at work in America today. Whether it’s hatred that’s spreading in dark corners of the internet or the highest court in our land making devastating decisions to control what women do with their bodies, our very freedoms are being taken from us. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many are raised and taught to hate. Others are imbued with a deep fear that their status and power in society is at risk so they choose to hate. And many more, too many more, are merely using division and hate to amass more power for themselves. It’s all destructive, dark, and ugly. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As a wise leader once told our country, “A house divided cannot stand.” They are words to remember these days. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, when I look at my two young twin boys – born to a Black father with Cape Verdean and Latino roots and a mother who is Black and Jewish  – my resolve that we can heal this division is reaffirmed. It won’t be easy. It won’t happen overnight. There will be steps backward at times, but we will keep marching forward.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The merchants of conspiracy and peddlers of hate are doing all they can to eliminate objective reference points, to disregard truth and defy reality. They know that is their only path to power. But I grew up learning something different.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Growing up in Schenectady, I was raised by two proud parents in a working class family. They instilled in me values of faith, hard work, discipline, and love. We spent every Sunday at Macedonia Baptist Church, in the 2nd middle pew. It’s those values which stick with me today. Too many of our politicians make decisions based on left versus right politics. Based on who’s up and who’s down. Instead, what we need is public servants who make decisions based on right versus wrong. That’s how we start to restore faith in government, attachment in community, and heal our divisions. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My path to politics wasn’t meticulously laid out. After earning a Rhodes Scholarship and graduating with a Harvard Law degree, I followed my heart to become a hip hop artist in Los Angeles. After five hard years living on air mattresses and doing odd jobs, I came back to New York to start our family. And I joined a corporate law firm in New York City. Those diverse experiences are what give me confidence that we can bridge divides today. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When I first stepped into public life to run for Congress, those same agents of intolerance and promoters of division came after me. They took lyrics and photos from my career as a hip hop artist and tried to use them to divide the mostly white community I was seeking to represent in Upstate New York. Guess what? It didn’t work. In a district that’s nearly 90% white, the 8th most rural district in our entire country, and one that decisively voted for Donald Trump in 2016, they elected the first person of color to represent Upstate New York in Congress. Anyone who believes that divisive politics will always triumph, needs to become a better student of history.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When I first got to Congress, my team asked me what we wanted to do. I told them we wanted to do town halls in every part of my district, three per county – 33 in total – in the first year. And, I told them to start in places that disagreed with me the most. We can’t reconnect with people if we aren’t willing to listen and to dialogue. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And, it worked. I got re-elected to a district that Trump had won a few years earlier. The meaningful connection with people gave them confidence to trust me – even when they didn’t always agree with me. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You can’t be people's voice if you don’t hear them. And you can’t hear them if you don’t listen to them. That’s what I intend to do as Lieutenant Governor and have already begun doing. That’s how we begin to reconnect with people who feel detached. That’s how we begin to undo the division that so many are spreading. That’s the work. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some will claim I’m naïve about what we’re up against out there. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m well aware of the challenge in front of us but also aware that the only way to win this battle for hearts and minds is to heal from a place of love. People aren’t born to hate. They are taught to hate. We have to begin the long, hard, difficult work of helping them unlearn what they have learned.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If we truly believe in being on the right side of history then it’s the only option we have. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As it says on the very motto of our nation, E pluribus unum – Out of many, we are one. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Antonio Delgado is Lieutenant Governor of New York and a former member of Congress representing New York’s 19th Congressional district. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/DelgadoforNY" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@DelgadoforNY</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/before-the-dawn.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado, middle (photo: @DelgadoforNY)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Every single day you can turn on the news and find evidence of the hate and divisiveness that roils our state and infects our country. From conspiracies in our capitol, to crime in our community, to hate in our hometowns, there are dark and dangerous forces at work in America today. Whether it’s hatred that’s spreading in dark corners of the internet or the highest court in our land making devastating decisions to control what women do with their bodies, our very freedoms are being taken from us. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many are raised and taught to hate. Others are imbued with a deep fear that their status and power in society is at risk so they choose to hate. And many more, too many more, are merely using division and hate to amass more power for themselves. It’s all destructive, dark, and ugly. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As a wise leader once told our country, “A house divided cannot stand.” They are words to remember these days. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, when I look at my two young twin boys – born to a Black father with Cape Verdean and Latino roots and a mother who is Black and Jewish  – my resolve that we can heal this division is reaffirmed. It won’t be easy. It won’t happen overnight. There will be steps backward at times, but we will keep marching forward.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The merchants of conspiracy and peddlers of hate are doing all they can to eliminate objective reference points, to disregard truth and defy reality. They know that is their only path to power. But I grew up learning something different.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Growing up in Schenectady, I was raised by two proud parents in a working class family. They instilled in me values of faith, hard work, discipline, and love. We spent every Sunday at Macedonia Baptist Church, in the 2nd middle pew. It’s those values which stick with me today. Too many of our politicians make decisions based on left versus right politics. Based on who’s up and who’s down. Instead, what we need is public servants who make decisions based on right versus wrong. That’s how we start to restore faith in government, attachment in community, and heal our divisions. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My path to politics wasn’t meticulously laid out. After earning a Rhodes Scholarship and graduating with a Harvard Law degree, I followed my heart to become a hip hop artist in Los Angeles. After five hard years living on air mattresses and doing odd jobs, I came back to New York to start our family. And I joined a corporate law firm in New York City. Those diverse experiences are what give me confidence that we can bridge divides today. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When I first stepped into public life to run for Congress, those same agents of intolerance and promoters of division came after me. They took lyrics and photos from my career as a hip hop artist and tried to use them to divide the mostly white community I was seeking to represent in Upstate New York. Guess what? It didn’t work. In a district that’s nearly 90% white, the 8th most rural district in our entire country, and one that decisively voted for Donald Trump in 2016, they elected the first person of color to represent Upstate New York in Congress. Anyone who believes that divisive politics will always triumph, needs to become a better student of history.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When I first got to Congress, my team asked me what we wanted to do. I told them we wanted to do town halls in every part of my district, three per county – 33 in total – in the first year. And, I told them to start in places that disagreed with me the most. We can’t reconnect with people if we aren’t willing to listen and to dialogue. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And, it worked. I got re-elected to a district that Trump had won a few years earlier. The meaningful connection with people gave them confidence to trust me – even when they didn’t always agree with me. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You can’t be people's voice if you don’t hear them. And you can’t hear them if you don’t listen to them. That’s what I intend to do as Lieutenant Governor and have already begun doing. That’s how we begin to reconnect with people who feel detached. That’s how we begin to undo the division that so many are spreading. That’s the work. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some will claim I’m naïve about what we’re up against out there. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m well aware of the challenge in front of us but also aware that the only way to win this battle for hearts and minds is to heal from a place of love. People aren’t born to hate. They are taught to hate. We have to begin the long, hard, difficult work of helping them unlearn what they have learned.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If we truly believe in being on the right side of history then it’s the only option we have. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As it says on the very motto of our nation, E pluribus unum – Out of many, we are one. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Antonio Delgado is Lieutenant Governor of New York and a former member of Congress representing New York’s 19th Congressional district. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/DelgadoforNY" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@DelgadoforNY</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
New York’s Opportunity to Advance Two Great Choices to the General Election for Governor 2022-06-24T04:00:00+00:00 2022-06-24T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11405-new-york-governor-election-primaries-citizens-union Randy Mastro rmastro@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/opportunity-great-choices.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Voting is underway (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York is at a crossroad. Our state faces many challenges, including a resurgent virus, rising gun violence, and political turmoil. We need a Governor who is up to those challenges, who can build consensus in addressing them, who can restore ethics and integrity and honesty to our state government, and who can make us proud again.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fortunately, there are such candidates running on both sides of the aisle. That is why Citizens Union, where I am Chair of the Board, prefers Kathy Hochul in the Democratic primary and Harry Wilson in the Republican primary for Governor.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For 125 years, Citizens Union, New York's preeminent, non-partisan "good government" group, has been endorsing state and local candidates who share its mission of promoting honesty, integrity, ethics, accessibility, transparency, and accountability in government. In 2020, because our democracy was literally at stake, we even chose for the first time in our history to endorse in a U.S. presidential race, recommending Joe Biden over Donald Trump.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And once again, this year, the stakes are high for New York, raising the importance of voters’ choices.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Governor Kathy Hochul stands out in a strong Democratic field. She assumed the office under daunting circumstances, with covid raging and the state engulfed in a political scandal that forced yet another New York governor to resign in shame.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since then, Hochul has proven to be an effective consensus-builder. One of her first promises was to “change the culture of Albany,” and she indeed brought a new style of governing that was sorely needed. Her collaborative approach allowed her to build strong working relationships with the State Legislature and New York City's Mayor, a rarity in New York. And she has assembled a professional team of dedicated public servants to help her achieve her agenda.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hochul has also taken steps to advance government ethics reforms that had no chance of moving forward in the previous administration, like restructuring the state’s ethics watchdogs. She has signed legislation and committed to pursuing policies to strengthen New York’s democracy, including modernizing the state’s antiquated election administration system and supporting a public campaign finance program.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But there are challenges ahead, like reducing crime, fixing the problems with bail reform, preventing future gerrymandering, and protecting a woman’s right to choose. And there is more to be done to be transparent and maintain the public trust. (Hochul admits, for example, she could have done a better job disclosing the plan to fund the Buffalo Bills stadium project.) She is learning on the job and proving to be a quick study. She understands the issues and seems poised to tackle them.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hochul's Democratic challengers bring vastly different experiences to the race. Tom Suozzi, who has distinguished himself as a Congressman and Nassau County Executive, received support from some Citizens Union board members for his proven record of success as a government executive, his pragmatic approach, and his focus on public safety. Jumaane Williams, New York City's Public Advocate, has been a tireless advocate for progressive causes. But it is Hochul who has built a broad coalition and risen above the field.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Harry Wilson is by far the class of the Republican primary field. An outsider who wants to clean up Albany, he has a proven track record of success in business as a turnaround specialist, something that our state surely needs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He was one of the leaders of President Obama’s auto industry rescue task force during the Financial Crisis and later mounted a very credible race for State Comptroller, which he almost won.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson brings a refreshing perspective to running state government and tackling its dysfunctions. Ethics reform is a top priority for him – he launched his campaign platform with a government reform and accountability plan – and he has proven to be a person of the highest integrity and an independent voice who speaks the truth to power within his own party.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although he differs from Citizens Union on some major issues, such as public campaign financing, Wilson has demonstrated a willingness to cross the aisle and work collaboratively. For example, he would maintain New York law protecting a woman's right to choose. In short, he would be a formidable candidate in the general election.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The other candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Governor -- Lee Zeldin, Andrew Giuliani, and Rob Astorino – all continue to follow Donald Trump's lead and spread misinformation about the validity of the 2020 presidential election. That alone should be disqualifying. There's right, and there's wrong. And at this fragile time in our democracy, they are simply wrong. Harry Wilson speaks the truth, and that is why he is Citizens Union's preference in the Republican primary.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the primaries are decided in the coming days, we urge all eligible New York voters to do their civic duty, exercise their right to vote, and give themselves great options for the general election to lead our state.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Randy Mastro is the Chair of Citizens Union's board and a partner in the law firm of Gibson, Dunn &amp; Crutcher.</span></p> <p> Note: Gotham Gazette is an independent publication of Citizens Union Foundation, sister organization of Citizens Union. </p> <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/opportunity-great-choices.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Voting is underway (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York is at a crossroad. Our state faces many challenges, including a resurgent virus, rising gun violence, and political turmoil. We need a Governor who is up to those challenges, who can build consensus in addressing them, who can restore ethics and integrity and honesty to our state government, and who can make us proud again.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fortunately, there are such candidates running on both sides of the aisle. That is why Citizens Union, where I am Chair of the Board, prefers Kathy Hochul in the Democratic primary and Harry Wilson in the Republican primary for Governor.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For 125 years, Citizens Union, New York's preeminent, non-partisan "good government" group, has been endorsing state and local candidates who share its mission of promoting honesty, integrity, ethics, accessibility, transparency, and accountability in government. In 2020, because our democracy was literally at stake, we even chose for the first time in our history to endorse in a U.S. presidential race, recommending Joe Biden over Donald Trump.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And once again, this year, the stakes are high for New York, raising the importance of voters’ choices.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Governor Kathy Hochul stands out in a strong Democratic field. She assumed the office under daunting circumstances, with covid raging and the state engulfed in a political scandal that forced yet another New York governor to resign in shame.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since then, Hochul has proven to be an effective consensus-builder. One of her first promises was to “change the culture of Albany,” and she indeed brought a new style of governing that was sorely needed. Her collaborative approach allowed her to build strong working relationships with the State Legislature and New York City's Mayor, a rarity in New York. And she has assembled a professional team of dedicated public servants to help her achieve her agenda.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hochul has also taken steps to advance government ethics reforms that had no chance of moving forward in the previous administration, like restructuring the state’s ethics watchdogs. She has signed legislation and committed to pursuing policies to strengthen New York’s democracy, including modernizing the state’s antiquated election administration system and supporting a public campaign finance program.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But there are challenges ahead, like reducing crime, fixing the problems with bail reform, preventing future gerrymandering, and protecting a woman’s right to choose. And there is more to be done to be transparent and maintain the public trust. (Hochul admits, for example, she could have done a better job disclosing the plan to fund the Buffalo Bills stadium project.) She is learning on the job and proving to be a quick study. She understands the issues and seems poised to tackle them.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hochul's Democratic challengers bring vastly different experiences to the race. Tom Suozzi, who has distinguished himself as a Congressman and Nassau County Executive, received support from some Citizens Union board members for his proven record of success as a government executive, his pragmatic approach, and his focus on public safety. Jumaane Williams, New York City's Public Advocate, has been a tireless advocate for progressive causes. But it is Hochul who has built a broad coalition and risen above the field.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Harry Wilson is by far the class of the Republican primary field. An outsider who wants to clean up Albany, he has a proven track record of success in business as a turnaround specialist, something that our state surely needs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He was one of the leaders of President Obama’s auto industry rescue task force during the Financial Crisis and later mounted a very credible race for State Comptroller, which he almost won.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson brings a refreshing perspective to running state government and tackling its dysfunctions. Ethics reform is a top priority for him – he launched his campaign platform with a government reform and accountability plan – and he has proven to be a person of the highest integrity and an independent voice who speaks the truth to power within his own party.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although he differs from Citizens Union on some major issues, such as public campaign financing, Wilson has demonstrated a willingness to cross the aisle and work collaboratively. For example, he would maintain New York law protecting a woman's right to choose. In short, he would be a formidable candidate in the general election.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The other candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Governor -- Lee Zeldin, Andrew Giuliani, and Rob Astorino – all continue to follow Donald Trump's lead and spread misinformation about the validity of the 2020 presidential election. That alone should be disqualifying. There's right, and there's wrong. And at this fragile time in our democracy, they are simply wrong. Harry Wilson speaks the truth, and that is why he is Citizens Union's preference in the Republican primary.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the primaries are decided in the coming days, we urge all eligible New York voters to do their civic duty, exercise their right to vote, and give themselves great options for the general election to lead our state.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Randy Mastro is the Chair of Citizens Union's board and a partner in the law firm of Gibson, Dunn &amp; Crutcher.</span></p> <p> Note: Gotham Gazette is an independent publication of Citizens Union Foundation, sister organization of Citizens Union. </p> Road to the Lieutenant Governor's Office Runs Through the Barrios of New York 2022-06-22T04:00:00+00:00 2022-06-22T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11396-lieutenant-governor-primary-latinos-barrios-new-york Eli Valentin evalentin@gg.com <p> <img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/3x1-arch-del-rey3a.jpg" /></p> <p>(l-r) Ana Maria Archila, Antonio Delgado, Diana Reyna</p> <hr /> <p>Until results are officially released, who will win an election is uncertain. But right now, with less than a week until election night in this year’s statewide primaries, one thing is quite certain: the next Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor will have a Latino name. And yes, that even includes Antonio Delgado, whose racial and ethnic identity has been <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/opinion/11308-is-antonio-delgado-latino-stand-up-ommunity-lt-gov" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the subject of much debate</a>.</p> <p>The fact that Delgado, Ana Maria Archila, and Diana Reyna are the three Democratic candidates on the ballot for Lieutenant Governor speaks to the growing importance of Latinos in state politics. Indeed, with Latinos now forming almost 20% of all registered Democratic voters statewide, the Latino vote is not one to take for granted.</p> <p>Governor Hochul evidently knows this, as she and the State Democratic Party recently launched the Nueva York Initiative. Jumaane Williams’ campaign and the New York Working Families Party as a key organizational engine were instrumental in launching Archila’s candidacy. And Tom Suozzi asked Reyna to be his running-mate.</p> <p>Having two Latinas as Lieutenant Governor candidates can be a boon for Latino voting participation. Several studies have shown that having a Latino at the top of the ballot does improve voting participation among the group. This was certainly the case in New York City when Fernando Ferrer became the first Latino to win the mayoral nomination of a major political party here. Latino voting participation increased by almost 40% in many of the Latino-majority election districts in his 2005 bid for Gracie Mansion. While the Lieutenant Governor race is not at the top of the ballot, it is right below the top, and can still garner enough attention to make some voters pay attention.</p> <p>Can the candidacies of Archila, Delgado, and Reyna help increase Latino voter turnout across the city and state?</p> <p>It depends. Boosting Latino turnout encompasses a number of things, like investing precious candidate time and financial resources in Latino neighborhoods, speaking to voters on the ground and through the airwaves.</p> <p>It means meeting Latinos where they are. Paying lip-service will no longer work. In recent elections, we have seen numerous Latinos abandon their loyalty to the Democratic Party. Latino voters pay attention. And many more are going to the polls.</p> <p>It also means investing money in Spanish-language TV and radio stations, and local papers. To be sure, voters of  all ethnicities expect and respond positively to personal interactions with candidates. That is especially the case with Latinos, who expect candidates to be uno de ellos/ellas (“one of us”). Latinos enjoy the interaction and the excitement that campaigns generate and want the issues they care about dealt with, from small businesses to education to public safety to affordable housing and more.</p> <p>So far, the potential for excitement is largely missing in Latino communities across the city and state. With just under a week to go before primary election day, the three lieutenant governor candidates have a lot of work to do to generate more buzz among Latinos.</p> <p>It appears that so far only Delgado has bought advertisements on the major Spanish-language TV stations. Naturally, paying for pricey commercials entails having a large campaign kitty. Delgado was able to transfer millions of dollars from his congressional campaign account and, as the governor’s running-mate and current lieutenant governor, will have the most money of the three candidates and thus more resources than others to do so.</p> <p>Of the three, <a href="https://www.anamariaforny.com/endorsements" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Archila has the most endorsements</a> from Latino elected officials, with 14. <a href="https://www.delgadoforny.com/endorsements/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Delgado </a>and <a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/politics/2022/06/endorsements-2022-democratic-primary-lieutenant-governor/365733/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reyna</a> each have four. Voters are not entirely swayed by endorsements, but endorsements can matter and can mean access to fundraising sources and personnel to launch on-the-ground operations to speak directly to voters.</p> <p>Such endorsements will be pivotal, especially for Archila. Up to now, Archila seems to be running a somewhat similar campaign to Dianne Morales’ in last year’s mayoral primary, in that she appears focused on establishing and fortifying her progressive base as opposed to focusing on appealing to Latinos. While this progressive base has made possible the creation of a much-needed multi-racial coalition, the coalition is mostly driven by a political philosophy not embraced by a good chunk of the Latino Democratic primary electorate, which is more moderate. Moreover, the majority of likely Latino primary voters are 55 years of age and over, and many of these voters tend to be less progressive than younger ones.</p> <p>Nevertheless, Archila’s story is one that can certainly appeal to a broad spectrum of Latino voters. Like many Latinos across the Empire State, Archila immigrated to the United States in her youth — she came from Colombia when she was 17 years old. Undeterred by the challenges immigrants face on a daily basis, she dedicated her life to advocacy, co-founding Make the Road New York, a pivotal group doing important immigrants rights work across the state, and launching efforts to combat economic and racial injustice. Archila became nationally known for directly confronting U.S. Senator Jeff Flake during the Supreme Court nomination process of Brett Kavanaugh. </p> <p>Diana Reyna also has a narrative that can appeal to many Latinos. The daughter of Dominican immigrants, Reyna became the first Dominican woman to be elected to a government position in the state of New York when she ascended to the New York City Council. She then became a deputy borough president under then-Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Yet, Reyna’s lack of financial resources and her inability to identify and energize a natural base for her candidacy will likely lead her to defeat.</p> <p>In the end, the Lieutenant Governor primary race will probably come down to Archila and Delgado. Delgado is formidable, not because he has a Latino surname, but because of his campaign war chest, his access to the state Democratic Party apparatus and many allies in organized labor, and by virtue of currently holding the position, albeit one he has not held for much time, which comes with additional support from Governor Hochul.</p> <p>Delgado’s success or defeat may be determined by Hochul’s coattails, or lack thereof. And when it comes to the Latino vote in New York, he will have a lot of work to do, particularly since 75% of the Latino vote will come from New York City. Delgado is from upstate and is largely an unknown entity, especially among Latinos, in New York City.</p> <p>Does the road to Albany cross through the Latino barrios of New York? Perhaps. One thing is certain—the next Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor will have a name that is familiar in those same barrios.</p> <p>

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Eli Valentin is a political analyst and author of the forthcoming book, Reinhold Niebuhr: A Political Life. On Twitter @EliValentinNY.

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Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p> <img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/3x1-arch-del-rey3a.jpg" /></p> <p>(l-r) Ana Maria Archila, Antonio Delgado, Diana Reyna</p> <hr /> <p>Until results are officially released, who will win an election is uncertain. But right now, with less than a week until election night in this year’s statewide primaries, one thing is quite certain: the next Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor will have a Latino name. And yes, that even includes Antonio Delgado, whose racial and ethnic identity has been <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/opinion/11308-is-antonio-delgado-latino-stand-up-ommunity-lt-gov" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the subject of much debate</a>.</p> <p>The fact that Delgado, Ana Maria Archila, and Diana Reyna are the three Democratic candidates on the ballot for Lieutenant Governor speaks to the growing importance of Latinos in state politics. Indeed, with Latinos now forming almost 20% of all registered Democratic voters statewide, the Latino vote is not one to take for granted.</p> <p>Governor Hochul evidently knows this, as she and the State Democratic Party recently launched the Nueva York Initiative. Jumaane Williams’ campaign and the New York Working Families Party as a key organizational engine were instrumental in launching Archila’s candidacy. And Tom Suozzi asked Reyna to be his running-mate.</p> <p>Having two Latinas as Lieutenant Governor candidates can be a boon for Latino voting participation. Several studies have shown that having a Latino at the top of the ballot does improve voting participation among the group. This was certainly the case in New York City when Fernando Ferrer became the first Latino to win the mayoral nomination of a major political party here. Latino voting participation increased by almost 40% in many of the Latino-majority election districts in his 2005 bid for Gracie Mansion. While the Lieutenant Governor race is not at the top of the ballot, it is right below the top, and can still garner enough attention to make some voters pay attention.</p> <p>Can the candidacies of Archila, Delgado, and Reyna help increase Latino voter turnout across the city and state?</p> <p>It depends. Boosting Latino turnout encompasses a number of things, like investing precious candidate time and financial resources in Latino neighborhoods, speaking to voters on the ground and through the airwaves.</p> <p>It means meeting Latinos where they are. Paying lip-service will no longer work. In recent elections, we have seen numerous Latinos abandon their loyalty to the Democratic Party. Latino voters pay attention. And many more are going to the polls.</p> <p>It also means investing money in Spanish-language TV and radio stations, and local papers. To be sure, voters of  all ethnicities expect and respond positively to personal interactions with candidates. That is especially the case with Latinos, who expect candidates to be uno de ellos/ellas (“one of us”). Latinos enjoy the interaction and the excitement that campaigns generate and want the issues they care about dealt with, from small businesses to education to public safety to affordable housing and more.</p> <p>So far, the potential for excitement is largely missing in Latino communities across the city and state. With just under a week to go before primary election day, the three lieutenant governor candidates have a lot of work to do to generate more buzz among Latinos.</p> <p>It appears that so far only Delgado has bought advertisements on the major Spanish-language TV stations. Naturally, paying for pricey commercials entails having a large campaign kitty. Delgado was able to transfer millions of dollars from his congressional campaign account and, as the governor’s running-mate and current lieutenant governor, will have the most money of the three candidates and thus more resources than others to do so.</p> <p>Of the three, <a href="https://www.anamariaforny.com/endorsements" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Archila has the most endorsements</a> from Latino elected officials, with 14. <a href="https://www.delgadoforny.com/endorsements/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Delgado </a>and <a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/politics/2022/06/endorsements-2022-democratic-primary-lieutenant-governor/365733/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reyna</a> each have four. Voters are not entirely swayed by endorsements, but endorsements can matter and can mean access to fundraising sources and personnel to launch on-the-ground operations to speak directly to voters.</p> <p>Such endorsements will be pivotal, especially for Archila. Up to now, Archila seems to be running a somewhat similar campaign to Dianne Morales’ in last year’s mayoral primary, in that she appears focused on establishing and fortifying her progressive base as opposed to focusing on appealing to Latinos. While this progressive base has made possible the creation of a much-needed multi-racial coalition, the coalition is mostly driven by a political philosophy not embraced by a good chunk of the Latino Democratic primary electorate, which is more moderate. Moreover, the majority of likely Latino primary voters are 55 years of age and over, and many of these voters tend to be less progressive than younger ones.</p> <p>Nevertheless, Archila’s story is one that can certainly appeal to a broad spectrum of Latino voters. Like many Latinos across the Empire State, Archila immigrated to the United States in her youth — she came from Colombia when she was 17 years old. Undeterred by the challenges immigrants face on a daily basis, she dedicated her life to advocacy, co-founding Make the Road New York, a pivotal group doing important immigrants rights work across the state, and launching efforts to combat economic and racial injustice. Archila became nationally known for directly confronting U.S. Senator Jeff Flake during the Supreme Court nomination process of Brett Kavanaugh. </p> <p>Diana Reyna also has a narrative that can appeal to many Latinos. The daughter of Dominican immigrants, Reyna became the first Dominican woman to be elected to a government position in the state of New York when she ascended to the New York City Council. She then became a deputy borough president under then-Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Yet, Reyna’s lack of financial resources and her inability to identify and energize a natural base for her candidacy will likely lead her to defeat.</p> <p>In the end, the Lieutenant Governor primary race will probably come down to Archila and Delgado. Delgado is formidable, not because he has a Latino surname, but because of his campaign war chest, his access to the state Democratic Party apparatus and many allies in organized labor, and by virtue of currently holding the position, albeit one he has not held for much time, which comes with additional support from Governor Hochul.</p> <p>Delgado’s success or defeat may be determined by Hochul’s coattails, or lack thereof. And when it comes to the Latino vote in New York, he will have a lot of work to do, particularly since 75% of the Latino vote will come from New York City. Delgado is from upstate and is largely an unknown entity, especially among Latinos, in New York City.</p> <p>Does the road to Albany cross through the Latino barrios of New York? Perhaps. One thing is certain—the next Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor will have a name that is familiar in those same barrios.</p> <p>

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Eli Valentin is a political analyst and author of the forthcoming book, Reinhold Niebuhr: A Political Life. On Twitter @EliValentinNY.

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
The Annual Rent Guidelines Board Charade: Why Rent-Stabilized Tenants are About to be Cheated Again 2022-06-20T04:00:00+00:00 2022-06-20T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11394-rent-guidelines-board-charade-stabilized-tenants-cheated Michael McKee mmckee@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/4-annual-board-charade.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Michael McKee, the author (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>The New York City Rent Guidelines Board is getting ready to hit tenants in rent-stabilized apartments with a big rent increase this Tuesday, the largest in nearly a decade. </p> <p>In its preliminary vote on May 5, the board voted 5-4 for a “range” of increases: between 2 and 4% for one-year lease renewals and 4 to 6% for two-year renewals. While the board is not locked into this, experience tells us that the final vote will be somewhere in these ranges, which will be harmful to the vast majority of tenants forced to pay the increased rent.</p> <p>This obscure board and its workings are largely unknown to the public, including the 2.5 million New Yorkers living in rent-stabilized apartments. But for more than five decades, its decisions have had a direct impact on the pocketbooks of tenants and the profits of landlords.</p> <p>The mayor appoints all nine members of the Rent Guidelines Board. Two represent tenants, two represent landlords, and five are so-called public members. The five public members constitute a majority and in most years the vote goes like this: the two tenant members vote against the rent hikes because they’re too high, the two landlord members vote no because they’re too low, and the five public members come in somewhere in the middle with a “reasonable compromise.” It’s an annual charade; the May 5 preliminary vote broke down this way, as no doubt will the June 21 final vote.</p> <p>Under Mayors Koch, Giuliani, and Bloomberg, most public members were pro-business, and under Bloomberg they were overtly hostile to rent stabilization. Under these mayors the board adopted large rent increases, in some years wildly more than what the board’s data justified.</p> <p>Mayors Dinkins and de Blasio chose more fair-minded individuals with the result that tenants paid less. De Blasio’s rent board adopted a partial rent freeze in four of the eight years he occupied City Hall. This provided welcome relief to tenants who had been slammed by the Bloomberg board. The excessive Bloomberg rent hikes are baked into stabilized rents permanently, meaning tenants are already paying more than they should.</p> <p>Mayor Eric Adams will have the chance to replace all the public members as their terms expire, and his actions so far do not inspire confidence. He has made frequent statements about the need to help small landlords, even though the average landlord owns 21 properties. Recently, Adams appointed a new public member, Arpit Gupta, who has made public comments against rent regulation and looks as if he might as well be a landlord member.</p> <p>Adams is using inflation as an excuse to justify larger rent hikes. But inflation affects tenants as much as, if not more than, landlords. Even a 2 or 3% increase in rent will be harmful to families struggling to pay the ever-rising grocery bill. The median rent in 2021 for rent-stabilized apartments was $1,400 per month. A 2% rent increase at that rent level would be $28 per month, and a 6% hike $84. With median household income for rent-stabilized tenants being $47,000 as of 2020, these monthly increases would create real hardship.</p> <p>The NYC Rent Stabilization Law of 1969 was written by the real estate industry, in collaboration with Mayor Lindsay, and was designed as the weakest form of rent regulation. While many of the bad features of this law have been corrected by the State Legislature over the years, the Rent Guidelines Board process remains the same. It is high time for reform.</p> <p>One concrete example: For four decades legislation has languished in Albany that would require City Council confirmation of Rent Guidelines Board members. Checks and balances are the cornerstone of a functioning government and this bill should have been enacted years ago. </p> <p>Another: Instead of serving a fixed term like the other members, the Rent Guidelines Board chair serves at the pleasure of the mayor, allowing for unwarranted interference in the board’s workings. The current chair, David Reiss, happily went along with de Blasio’s call for a rent freeze, and now seems to be auditioning for a new mayor who has declared that he intends to raise rents.</p> <p>Except for Dinkins, all mayors have tried to influence the board, whether overtly or behind the scenes. Koch and Giuliani were especially controlling; in some years Giuliani even stated publicly what he thought the numbers should be. Establishing a fixed term would give the chair more independence to act outside of political influence.</p> <p>Until this process is restructured, this annual charade will play out over the next four years under a landlord-leaning chief executive, to the detriment of tenants.</p> <p>***<br />Michael McKee is treasurer of the Tenants Political Action Committee. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/McKeeTenantsPAC" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@McKeeTenantsPAC</a>.</p> <p>

***
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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/4-annual-board-charade.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Michael McKee, the author (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>The New York City Rent Guidelines Board is getting ready to hit tenants in rent-stabilized apartments with a big rent increase this Tuesday, the largest in nearly a decade. </p> <p>In its preliminary vote on May 5, the board voted 5-4 for a “range” of increases: between 2 and 4% for one-year lease renewals and 4 to 6% for two-year renewals. While the board is not locked into this, experience tells us that the final vote will be somewhere in these ranges, which will be harmful to the vast majority of tenants forced to pay the increased rent.</p> <p>This obscure board and its workings are largely unknown to the public, including the 2.5 million New Yorkers living in rent-stabilized apartments. But for more than five decades, its decisions have had a direct impact on the pocketbooks of tenants and the profits of landlords.</p> <p>The mayor appoints all nine members of the Rent Guidelines Board. Two represent tenants, two represent landlords, and five are so-called public members. The five public members constitute a majority and in most years the vote goes like this: the two tenant members vote against the rent hikes because they’re too high, the two landlord members vote no because they’re too low, and the five public members come in somewhere in the middle with a “reasonable compromise.” It’s an annual charade; the May 5 preliminary vote broke down this way, as no doubt will the June 21 final vote.</p> <p>Under Mayors Koch, Giuliani, and Bloomberg, most public members were pro-business, and under Bloomberg they were overtly hostile to rent stabilization. Under these mayors the board adopted large rent increases, in some years wildly more than what the board’s data justified.</p> <p>Mayors Dinkins and de Blasio chose more fair-minded individuals with the result that tenants paid less. De Blasio’s rent board adopted a partial rent freeze in four of the eight years he occupied City Hall. This provided welcome relief to tenants who had been slammed by the Bloomberg board. The excessive Bloomberg rent hikes are baked into stabilized rents permanently, meaning tenants are already paying more than they should.</p> <p>Mayor Eric Adams will have the chance to replace all the public members as their terms expire, and his actions so far do not inspire confidence. He has made frequent statements about the need to help small landlords, even though the average landlord owns 21 properties. Recently, Adams appointed a new public member, Arpit Gupta, who has made public comments against rent regulation and looks as if he might as well be a landlord member.</p> <p>Adams is using inflation as an excuse to justify larger rent hikes. But inflation affects tenants as much as, if not more than, landlords. Even a 2 or 3% increase in rent will be harmful to families struggling to pay the ever-rising grocery bill. The median rent in 2021 for rent-stabilized apartments was $1,400 per month. A 2% rent increase at that rent level would be $28 per month, and a 6% hike $84. With median household income for rent-stabilized tenants being $47,000 as of 2020, these monthly increases would create real hardship.</p> <p>The NYC Rent Stabilization Law of 1969 was written by the real estate industry, in collaboration with Mayor Lindsay, and was designed as the weakest form of rent regulation. While many of the bad features of this law have been corrected by the State Legislature over the years, the Rent Guidelines Board process remains the same. It is high time for reform.</p> <p>One concrete example: For four decades legislation has languished in Albany that would require City Council confirmation of Rent Guidelines Board members. Checks and balances are the cornerstone of a functioning government and this bill should have been enacted years ago. </p> <p>Another: Instead of serving a fixed term like the other members, the Rent Guidelines Board chair serves at the pleasure of the mayor, allowing for unwarranted interference in the board’s workings. The current chair, David Reiss, happily went along with de Blasio’s call for a rent freeze, and now seems to be auditioning for a new mayor who has declared that he intends to raise rents.</p> <p>Except for Dinkins, all mayors have tried to influence the board, whether overtly or behind the scenes. Koch and Giuliani were especially controlling; in some years Giuliani even stated publicly what he thought the numbers should be. Establishing a fixed term would give the chair more independence to act outside of political influence.</p> <p>Until this process is restructured, this annual charade will play out over the next four years under a landlord-leaning chief executive, to the detriment of tenants.</p> <p>***<br />Michael McKee is treasurer of the Tenants Political Action Committee. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/McKeeTenantsPAC" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@McKeeTenantsPAC</a>.</p> <p>

***
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My Son’s Pretrial Incarceration Shows Everything Wrong with the System 2022-06-17T04:00:00+00:00 2022-06-17T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11392-pretrial-incarceration-bail-reform-rikers P. Mass pmass@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/pretrial-incar-ever.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>"Rikers is a death sentence" (photo: Gerardo Romo/NYC Council Media Unit)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you listen to </span><a href="https://justicenotfear.org/debunk/nypd-sewell/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">the NYPD Commissioner</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, you would think that after bail reform was passed in 2019, everyone was released from jail and judges lost all power to send people there. I know from painful personal experience that is false.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Thousands of people are still incarcerated while awaiting trial in New York State, stripped of their liberty </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">before </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">they’ve had their day in court. One of them is my son. For over a year, he’s been on Rikers Island, where an unaffordable bail can turn into a death sentence – like it did just </span><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/ny-rikers-island-inmate-jail-overdose-death-20220518-75sxf2clezab5fkefsxjeitahm-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">a couple weeks ago for Mary Yehudah</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. We don’t need to roll back bail reforms to send more people to jail on unaffordable bail, and despite all the fearmongering, New Yorkers know there are better solutions. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My son has struggled with mental health challenges since he was a child. Two years in horrible juvenile detention centers upstate only made his problems worse. He’s a young man now, and he’s spent so many of his formative years – </span><a href="http://wtgrantfoundation.org/catching-up-with-science-rethinking-how-our-criminal-justice-system-responds-to-young-adults" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">before his brain is fully developed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> – in one kind of jail or another, exposed to so much violence and so little help. Last year, he had been sleeping on the streets, and was approached by police. The encounter escalated into a confrontation.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At arraignment, his bail was set at $75,000 cash. There is just no way I could pay that amount. I’m a single mother making minimum wage in my human services job. I knew that New York  had passed some reforms to the cash bail system, but I couldn’t see any evidence of that in my son’s case. I learned the law now requires judges to consider the person’s ability to pay. How could the judge have considered my son’s financial situation, or mine, and still set bail at $75,000? That’s not a bail, it’s a ransom. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Judges must also offer multiple options for posting bail. One of those options should have allowed me to pay about 10% of the bail and bring my son home, with an agreement to pay the rest if he didn’t return to court. But that option was set at $250,000, over three times the cash bail amount. It was clear the judge was not trying to make sure my son returned to court, he was determined to send him to jail. And he did.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My son arrived at Rikers in May 2021, just days before the Correction Commissioner resigned and a federal monitor issued a report saying that “Staff and Supervisors on the unit are simply unwilling or unable to accept and execute their core responsibilities.” The same month, the City Council held a budget hearing and discovered that an average of 1,300 officers were calling out sick on weekdays, and up to 2,000 on weekends. The crisis continues to endanger the lives of everyone incarcerated at Rikers. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What this has meant for my son is that instead of making sure he returns to court – the supposed justification for pre-trial detention – being in jail is keeping him from getting to court. He’s missed about ten court appearances during his time at Rikers. These delays have only unnecessarily lengthened his time in jail. Last month, the Department of Correction told me he refused to go. But when I heard from him, he said they never told him he had a court date.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My son is far from the only one </span><a href="https://www.thecity.nyc/2021/9/14/22674823/nyc-rikers-jail-staff-shortage-keeps-detainees-from-court" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">missing court because of the crisis at Rikers.</span> </a><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is in the same jail system where there were </span><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/ny-rikers-island-medical-clinic-lawsuit-legal-aid-20220201-bs5hz7iomzdsbaiu4cs5e4r4aq-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">7,070 missed medical appointments</span> </a><span style="font-weight: 400;">in December, and DOC tried to claim 5,268 of them were missed because incarcerated people refused to go. That’s hard to believe. I know my son’s mental state has deteriorated since he’s been at Rikers. But whether he’s in mental distress and refusing to leave his cell or the guards aren’t showing up to take him, the reality is that </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">being incarcerated is the reason he isn’t showing up in court</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now my son is considering taking a plea. It’s really tempting – he wants to be home, and he especially wants to get out of Rikers. But it’s not fair. My son, like so many others, was harassed by the police for being homeless, held for ransom by a judge, and denied due process by guards who don’t care about doing their jobs. Where’s the justice in that? </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the </span><a href="https://patch.com/new-york/new-york-city/nycs-safety-priority-should-be-affordable-housing-not-cops-survey" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">NYC Speaks survey</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> conducted this year, New Yorkers named affordable housing and mental health treatment as the two most important investments for a safer city. If the Mayor and other elected leaders are serious about safety, they should shift their focus from attacking bail reform to investing in these resources that could help my son and many others live more stable and productive lives. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span>P. Mass lives in the Bronx, is an advocate and member of Freedom Agenda.</p> <p>

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</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/pretrial-incar-ever.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>"Rikers is a death sentence" (photo: Gerardo Romo/NYC Council Media Unit)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you listen to </span><a href="https://justicenotfear.org/debunk/nypd-sewell/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">the NYPD Commissioner</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, you would think that after bail reform was passed in 2019, everyone was released from jail and judges lost all power to send people there. I know from painful personal experience that is false.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Thousands of people are still incarcerated while awaiting trial in New York State, stripped of their liberty </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">before </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">they’ve had their day in court. One of them is my son. For over a year, he’s been on Rikers Island, where an unaffordable bail can turn into a death sentence – like it did just </span><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/ny-rikers-island-inmate-jail-overdose-death-20220518-75sxf2clezab5fkefsxjeitahm-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">a couple weeks ago for Mary Yehudah</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. We don’t need to roll back bail reforms to send more people to jail on unaffordable bail, and despite all the fearmongering, New Yorkers know there are better solutions. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My son has struggled with mental health challenges since he was a child. Two years in horrible juvenile detention centers upstate only made his problems worse. He’s a young man now, and he’s spent so many of his formative years – </span><a href="http://wtgrantfoundation.org/catching-up-with-science-rethinking-how-our-criminal-justice-system-responds-to-young-adults" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">before his brain is fully developed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> – in one kind of jail or another, exposed to so much violence and so little help. Last year, he had been sleeping on the streets, and was approached by police. The encounter escalated into a confrontation.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At arraignment, his bail was set at $75,000 cash. There is just no way I could pay that amount. I’m a single mother making minimum wage in my human services job. I knew that New York  had passed some reforms to the cash bail system, but I couldn’t see any evidence of that in my son’s case. I learned the law now requires judges to consider the person’s ability to pay. How could the judge have considered my son’s financial situation, or mine, and still set bail at $75,000? That’s not a bail, it’s a ransom. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Judges must also offer multiple options for posting bail. One of those options should have allowed me to pay about 10% of the bail and bring my son home, with an agreement to pay the rest if he didn’t return to court. But that option was set at $250,000, over three times the cash bail amount. It was clear the judge was not trying to make sure my son returned to court, he was determined to send him to jail. And he did.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My son arrived at Rikers in May 2021, just days before the Correction Commissioner resigned and a federal monitor issued a report saying that “Staff and Supervisors on the unit are simply unwilling or unable to accept and execute their core responsibilities.” The same month, the City Council held a budget hearing and discovered that an average of 1,300 officers were calling out sick on weekdays, and up to 2,000 on weekends. The crisis continues to endanger the lives of everyone incarcerated at Rikers. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What this has meant for my son is that instead of making sure he returns to court – the supposed justification for pre-trial detention – being in jail is keeping him from getting to court. He’s missed about ten court appearances during his time at Rikers. These delays have only unnecessarily lengthened his time in jail. Last month, the Department of Correction told me he refused to go. But when I heard from him, he said they never told him he had a court date.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My son is far from the only one </span><a href="https://www.thecity.nyc/2021/9/14/22674823/nyc-rikers-jail-staff-shortage-keeps-detainees-from-court" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">missing court because of the crisis at Rikers.</span> </a><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is in the same jail system where there were </span><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/ny-rikers-island-medical-clinic-lawsuit-legal-aid-20220201-bs5hz7iomzdsbaiu4cs5e4r4aq-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">7,070 missed medical appointments</span> </a><span style="font-weight: 400;">in December, and DOC tried to claim 5,268 of them were missed because incarcerated people refused to go. That’s hard to believe. I know my son’s mental state has deteriorated since he’s been at Rikers. But whether he’s in mental distress and refusing to leave his cell or the guards aren’t showing up to take him, the reality is that </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">being incarcerated is the reason he isn’t showing up in court</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now my son is considering taking a plea. It’s really tempting – he wants to be home, and he especially wants to get out of Rikers. But it’s not fair. My son, like so many others, was harassed by the police for being homeless, held for ransom by a judge, and denied due process by guards who don’t care about doing their jobs. Where’s the justice in that? </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the </span><a href="https://patch.com/new-york/new-york-city/nycs-safety-priority-should-be-affordable-housing-not-cops-survey" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">NYC Speaks survey</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> conducted this year, New Yorkers named affordable housing and mental health treatment as the two most important investments for a safer city. If the Mayor and other elected leaders are serious about safety, they should shift their focus from attacking bail reform to investing in these resources that could help my son and many others live more stable and productive lives. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span>P. Mass lives in the Bronx, is an advocate and member of Freedom Agenda.</p> <p>

***
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</p>