Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Melinda Katz

Melinda Katz

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    Council Member Donovan Richards (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    With his victory in the June Democratic primary, City Council Member Donovan Richards is poised to become Queens’s next Borough President, replacing former Borough President Melinda Katz who vacated the office in January after being elected the borough’s District Attorney.

    Richards, a Democrat who currently represents Council District 31 and chairs the Council’s public safety committee, will face Republican nominee Joann Ariola, the chair of the Queens County Republican Party, in the November

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    Queens BP special election is March 24 (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    In low-turnout and low-information elections, like the typical special election in New York City, the prominence of a candidate’s name on the ballot can go a long way -- and that depends largely on the order in which the candidates are listed. Traditionally the subject of gaming by campaigns, for the March special election to name a new Queens Borough President, the order was determined by an unprecedented method: random draw.

    “Three candidates filed simultaneously so the order of

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    (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    As 2019 comes to a close, we’re looking back at some of our “best” and most-read articles of the year. We have a lot of reporting that we’re proud of -- some of which was really well-read, some of which may not have received the attention it deserved. Gotham Gazette readership increased for the sixth straight year in 2019, and was up about 30% from 2018. Thank you to all those who have been reading, we appreciate it and enjoy doing what we do to bring you important local news with our

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    Melinda Katz (photo: Queens Borough President Melinda Katz)


    Queens will get a new district attorney for the first time in nearly three decades as Democrat Melinda Katz won the seat on Tuesday with an overwhelming 75% of votes over Republican Joseph Murray, who received 24% of the vote (about 1% of the more than 184,000 votes were write-ins). Katz will be the first newly-elected Queens DA after former District Attorney Richard Brown died in May. Brown had been in office nearly 30 years.

    After squeaking out a primary win in a recount

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    (photo: Gotham Gazette)


    After about 60,000 New York City voters took advantage of the first early voting period in city history, albeit during an especially quiet electoral year, more than 650,000 others went to the polls on Election Day 2019, providing mostly expected results and approving multiple controversial ballot proposals to change city elections and governance. This year provided a helpful initial test run for early voting and all that goes with it, such as electronic poll books and a lot of poll-worker training, before what is expected

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    Melinda Katz (photo: Queens Borough President office)


    Queens Borough President Melinda Katz is well-positioned to be elected the next district attorney for Queens, filling a vacancy created earlier this year by longtime DA Richard Brown, who had not planned to run for another term even before his death in May. Katz emerged victorious in a hard-won Democratic primary that was decided after a recount and court battle by a razor thin margin, and she is now facing Joseph Murray, an attorney, former NYPD officer, and barely known Republican challenger in a borough where

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    (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photo Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio and other top city officials have remained mostly quiet about their positions on a set of proposed changes to city government and elections, which are set to go before voters when early voting begins on Saturday. The five “yes” or “no” ballot questions include 19 distinct proposals from the 2019 Charter Revision Commission, whose members were appointed by the mayor, comptroller, public advocate, City Council speaker, and five borough

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    l-r: Tiffany Cabán (photo: @CabanForQueens); Melinda Katz (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    July 10, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: the Queens District Attorney Primary Heads to Recount

    juan manuel benitezThe Queens District Attorney Democratic primary is heading into a recount, and Juan Manuel Benitez of NY1 & NY1 Noticias, who has been covering the process closely, joined the show it all down, from the

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    l-r: Tiffany Cabán (photo: @CabanForQueens); Melinda Katz (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    June 26, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Analyzing the Queens District Attorney Primary Results

    public def tiff caban victory2The hosts discussed the apparent outcome of the Queens District Attorney primary, where public defender Tiffany Cabán appears to have beaten the rest of the

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    Tiffany Caban (photo: @CabanForQueens)


    Public defender Tiffany Cabán declared victory in the crowded, competitive Democratic primary for Queens District Attorney on Tuesday night, though Borough President Melinda Katz did not concede, instead promising to see every vote counted, despite the fact that the numbers appear to make Cabán nearly impossible to overcome.

    A primary win would set Cabán up to win in November in the overwhelmingly Democratic borough and become the first newly-elected Queens District Attorney in almost 30 years.

    With 98.58 of election

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    (photo: @CabanForQueens)


    Tiffany Cabán, a 31-year-old public defender, made national headlines and shocked the New York political world on Tuesday evening, taking a commanding lead and declaring victory in the crowded Democratic primary for Queens District Attorney. Her closest rival, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, did not concede, however, and said she wants to see every vote counted, and perhaps recounted.

    A primary win would set Cabán up toward victory in November -- something she indicated in her remarks she believes is a given -- in the overwhelmingly

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    Melinda Katz (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    “If it’s good for families, it’s good for Queens,” Melinda Katz likes to say. It’s a line she used in her first State of the Borough speech as borough president, a position she has held for six years and she now hopes will propel her to the office of Queens District Attorney.

    Katz is one of six Democratic candidates running to be the top prosecutor in Queens, home to more than 2 million people, 48% of whom are foreign-born. About 190 nationalities are represented across the borough’s population, with more

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    (l-r)Tiffany Cabán, Melinda Katz, Rory Lancman, Greg Lasak, Betty Lugo, Mina Malik, & Jose Nieves


    June 19, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Breaking Down the Queens District Attorney Race

    Journalists Emma Whitford, who has written for Gotham Gazette and other outlets, and David Brand of the Queens Daily Eagle joined the show to discuss the Queens District Attorney race, just days before the June 25 Democratic primary vote.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter ...

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    Four sitting New York City District Attorneys (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Does the top prosecutor for one of New York City’s most populous boroughs need to have prosecutorial experience? Should the top prosecutor have spent significant time -- years, maybe decades -- arguing in court proceedings? Do they need to know how to put people in prison? Do they need to know to keep them there?

    That’s part of the “qualifications” debate ignited in recent weeks in the Democratic primary for Queens District Attorney, an election to replace the

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    (l-r)Tiffany Cabán, Melinda Katz, Rory Lancman, Greg Lasak, Betty Lugo, Mina Malik, & Jose Nieves


    Candidates running for the Democratic nomination for Queens District Attorney have filed their first pre-election campaign finance disclosures since January, showing their fundraising and expenditure from the last four months with just under a month to go until the all-important primary.

    There are seven Democrats competing in the June 25 primary to replace the late Queens DA Richard Brown, who passed away earlier this month. Brown had already announced

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    (l-r)Tiffany Cabán, Melinda Katz, Rory Lancman, Greg Lasak, Betty Lugo, Mina Malik, & Jose Nieves


    There is just over a month till the June 25 Democratic primary election for Queens District Attorney, which will effectively decide who wins the November general election in the overwhelmingly Democratic borough.

    Seven Democratic candidates are vying for the open seat -- long-time Queens District Attorney Richard Brown recently passed away at the age of 86, just short of his planned retirement date.

    The seven candidates have been appearing at many local forums and

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    3/12 Queens DA debate (photo: @alyssaguilera)


    The candidates for Queens District Attorney are becoming increasingly clear about where they stand on key criminal justice issues and how they would run the office if elected later this year. Queens is home to its first competitive district attorney election in decades, with long-time District Attorney Richard Brown set to retire and a crowded Democratic primary set for June 25. The general election will be in November.

    There are seven candidates currently running, all in the Democratic primary, and six of them met last week for

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    3/12 Queens DA debate (photo: @alyssaguilera)


    Six of the seven candidates for Queens District Attorney gathered for a debate on Tuesday, March 12 at CUNY Law School in Long Island City, sponsored by a broad range of reform groups that have formed the "Queens for DA Accountability Coalition" and moderated by Gotham Gazette's Ben Max and Fordham Law Professor Zephyr Teachout. This year, Queens will elect its first new District Attorney since 1991. The Democratic primary is June 25. The six participating candidates at Tuesday's forum were Tiffany Cabán,

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    Queens Borough President Katz swears-in community board members (photo: @QueensBPKatz)


    Uncontested for seven terms spanning more than a quarter-century, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown has hung back while his counterparts in Brooklyn and Manhattan join a growing national conversation about criminal justice reform and the power of prosecutors to decarcerate jails. While the retiring Brown is a “dear friend,” former New York Appeals

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    Melinda Katz, the author, center (photo: @queensbpkatz)


    New York City and our nation as a whole are at an important moment in history. As Republicans in Washington threaten rights and pass bigoted legislation, local leaders need to take a stand and fight back on a broad range of issues, because the reforms and legal protections we need will not come for those who wait, they will come from those who demand them.

    As I run to be the next Queens District Attorney, I am releasing the first of a series of policy papers discussing pressing issues facing our borough.

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    Rory Lancman (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    Off-year elections in New York City, like the one next year, tend to hold little significance and command minimal attention, with few positions on the ballot and no headlining executive race like mayor or governor. But in Queens, next year will offer a momentous opportunity for

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  • Mayor de Blasio

    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio is seeking to make a lasting impact on city governance through a charter revision commission that would transform the city’s campaign finance system, promote greater civic involvement in city affairs, and inject new blood into local community boards. But prominent elected officials, most of whom are Democrats like de Blasio, don’t agree with the proposals the mayor’s commission has put on the November 6 ballot and are urging New Yorkers to reject them.

    The mayor’s commission put ...

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    De Blasio at a Staten Island town hall (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio will be on Staten Island this week in the first of five “City Hall in Your Borough” sojourns wherein the mayor, who is up for reelection this fall, is bringing city government local. De Blasio, many of his commissioners, top aides, and City Hall staff will work out of borough hall, hold constituent office hours and a variety of events on the island, and attempt to immerse themselves in borough issues for the week.

    The mayor chose

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    The five BPs at Crain's forum (photo: @BPEricAdams)


    Communicate better. Build more affordable housing, and faster. Streamline small business regulations. Improve transit offerings in the outer boroughs. Bust the bureaucracy to get city agencies moving more quickly.

    These tips and pleas were among the guidance that the five New York City borough presidents offered Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday morning. At a forum convened by Crain’s New York Business, moderator Erik Engquist, a Crain’s editor,

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    New York City Hall


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

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