Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Sandra Ung

Sandra Ung

  • City Council to Examine Low Voter Turnout, Moving Local Elections to Even Years

    Mayor Adams at the polls (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    In the last municipal election in 2021, only one out of every four registered voters cast ballots for mayor and other city offices, a major drop-off from the 2020 presidential election and little more than half the turnout seen in the 2022 state and congressional elections. The poor showing was the latest in a decades-long trend of dropping voter participation in local elections, in both the party primaries and general contests.

    On Wednesday, the New York City Council will hold an oversight hearing examining ways to

  • City Law Department Defends Approach to Lawsuits Over NYPD Misconduct

    Corporation Counsel Sylvia Hinds-Radix (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    With the NYPD costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars every year in lawsuit settlements over misconduct claims, City Council members on Wednesday questioned the city’s Law Department about its approach to defending the police department and whether the city could benefit from being less combative when taken to court for police misconduct.

    A Legal Aid Society ...

  • The Danger of Downplaying AAPI Bigotry

    City Council Member Sandra Ung, the author

    During a New York City Council hearing last month, a person affiliated with a local nonprofit group stated that Asians aren’t real New Yorkers, saying “it’s not their neighborhood, because they’re from China, they’re from Hong Kong. We’re from New York.”

    While this incident has largely disappeared from the public discourse, it brought to the surface a pernicious stereotype about Asian New Yorkers as we come off another year when hate crimes against the AAPI community continue to be a

  • Adams Consolidates City's Civic Engagement Efforts Under New Office

    Mayor Adams (photo: Benny Polatseck/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Mayor Eric Adams announced last month the creation of a new office consolidating the city’s various civic engagement bodies, as part of his ongoing effort to streamline the functions of city government and, he said, to more actively engage the public in civic life.

    The mayor’s new Office of Engagement, led by newly-appointed Chief Engagement Officer Betsy MacLean, now oversees various city entities that interact with New Yorkers to encourage their participation in government and politics: the mayor’s Community Affairs Unit

  • Campaign Finance Board Promises Faster Audits at City Council Hearing Examining 2021 Election Cycle

    CFB executive director Beth Rotman (photo: John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit)

    Though it's been more than 13 months since the last city election cycle ended, the New York City Campaign Finance Board has yet to conclude any audits examining the fundraising and expenditure of more than 300 campaigns. At an oversight hearing of the City Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations on Tuesday, the CFB, under new leadership, promised Council members that it is taking steps to expedite those audits as it continuously works to improve the city’s campaign finance

  • City Council Passes Bill Codifying Public Service Corps Program

    Council Member Ung, with Speaker Adams (photo: Emil Cohen/NYC Council Media Unit)

    The New York City Council on Wednesday passed a bill that would codify the city’s Public Service Corps program, which offers undergraduate and graduate students paid internships at city agencies to introduce them to careers in civil service. The bill, and accompanying legislation, are aimed at recruiting more diverse young people into the city’s workforce.


  • Empowering New York City’s Asian American Voters

    Getting out the vote (photo: @SandraForNY1)

    Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in the United States andin New York City. Yet for too long, Asian Americans have faced challenges participating in elections. We now make up over 17% of New York City’s total population, making us a significant part of the city’s racial diversity, cultural

  • Lost in Translation: We Need Meaningful Language Access in New York City

    Adult literacy programming (photo: John McCarten/City Council)

    People from across the world come to New York City to build a new life, bringing with them their customs, cultures, and traditions. Our newest neighbors also bring with them their own languages, contributing to the wonderful diversity of our city, but also presenting a unique set of challenges as families build their new lives.

    Take my district in Flushing, which has more than 70,000 “limited English proficiency” Asian New Yorkers, roughly 70% of the total

  • Civic Engagement Commission to Launch Citywide Participatory Budgeting After Pandemic Delay

    Dr. Sarah Sayeed (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    The first citywide participatory budgeting program is expected to launch later this year after a two-year delay largely due to the COVID-19 state of emergency, officials said at a City Council hearing last week.

    The program was approved by voters in 2018 as one of three City Charter-mandated functions of the new Civic Engagement Commission (CEC) created in the same ballot referendum. The two-year

  • Free-for-All in Flushing as Voters Choose Next City Council Member

    6 free voters choose

    Council Member Koo, center, among others (photo: John McCarten/City Council)

    In central Queens’ City Council District 20, which spans Flushing, Murray Hill, and Queensboro Hill there is a crowded and competitive Democratic primary race coming to a head this month, with early voting ongoing and primary day on June 22. The candidates face an onslaught of contentious issues such as anti-Asian hate crime, rezoning of the Flushing waterfront, a busway in downtown Flushing’s Main Street, and small business struggles.

    Hoping to replace outgoing