Gotham Gazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, August 24

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

After a weekend that featured the Rev. Al Sharpton's "We Will Not Go Back" march to protest the death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner during an arrest by the New York Police Department, the focus this week looks to change to the Sept. 9 primary. Thousands marched peacefully on Staten Island on Friday despite the concerns of local politicians that tension over events in Ferguson, Mo., might spark violence here. There was a large NYPD presence for the march but generally allowed protesters leeway. Labor unions that participated in the march went to great lengths to make sure anti-NYPD signs were replaced with friendlier messages as they faced backlash from police unions and others.

No arrests were made, according to the NYPD. Perhaps at next month's Stated meeting, you can expect the City Council to introduce various bills dealing with chokeholds in general, as well as use of force by the NYPD. The City Council has no public committee or whole body meetings this week, though.

Sorry kids, but summer is coming to an end and that means it's time to head back to school. This could be good news for Mayor Bill de Blasio as we will see a massive pre-k rollout, though the logistics involved are formidable. De Blasio's signature initiative will surely be the source of much scrutiny in the coming weeks and months.

With the primary only days away, Gov. Andrew Cuomo may finally be forced to leave "the New York City area," which is where his official schedule has placed him on most days of late.

Expect pressure to continue to build on Cuomo to accept a debate with his Democratic opponent, Fordham Law School professor Zephyr Teachout. Cuomo has been absent from the campaign trail while his lawyers attempted to have Teachout kicked off the ballot.

Time Warner Cable and NY1 have invited Cuomo to debate Teachout on an hour-long program on Sept. 2. They would also host a debate between Cuomo's choice for lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, and Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu, who is running with Teachout. Cuomo told reporters who caught up with him at the New York State Fair that he would "leave that to the campaigns to work out, whatever they decide" -- as if Cuomo has no direct influence over whether the debate happens and Teachout's campaign would not relish the chance to debate.

A number of pundits, including Christina Greer from Fordham University, say Cuomo could have a difficult time debating Teachout because he would have to be careful how he comes off sparring with a strong woman opponent. "Powerful men generally have a hard time debating educated women," Greer told Gotham Gazette. "It's very easy for men to come across as dismissive or generally unpleasant in that situation."

The state chapter of the National Organization For Women (NOW) endorsed Teachout over the weekend. Cuomo reportedly pursued the endorsement and his failure to earn it would seem to weaken his Women's Equality Party ballot line.

Teachout's grassroots campaign has focused on personal appearances and word of mouth. Hochul has done most of the campaigning for Team Cuomo as she pushes the Women's Equality Party. Teachout's campaign has received a wealth of media attention in the last few days.

Teachout and Wu will hold a teleconference at 1 p.m. on Monday to announce the launch of their campaign to "expose Kathy Hochul's congressional record."

Elections approaching
Tuesday marks two weeks until primary day for the 2014 New York State elections. This week will feature several debates, including a showdown between Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein and his challenger, Oliver Koppell, on BronxTalk.

On Sunday evening, The Manhattan Neighborhood Network's "Represent NYC" began airing a series of debates hosted by our Ben Max and Marlene Peralta of El Diario. Debates include candidates from the 31st Senate District Primary and the 72nd and 76th Assembly District Primaries, among others. Watch them online here.

NY1 is also hosting a debate on Inside City Hall almost every night this week, including Klein-Koppell on Tuesday evening and incumbent state Sen. and IDC member Tony Avella versus challenger John Liu on Wednesday evening.

Here's a bit more to watch for day-by-day this week:

According to his public schedule, de Blasio will spend most of his day in Queens. He will address the Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation's professional training for SONYC program staff members at 12:15 p.m. in Queens. At 6:15 p.m., the mayor will speak at the Jewish Community Council's testimonial dinner, which is also in Queens, and he will cap it all off by speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2014 U.S. Open at 7:50 p.m.

From 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Council Member Daneek Miller will host extended office hours with pre-k enrollment experts. 172-12 Linden Blvd, St. Albans.

At 6 p.m., the New York County Democratic Committee will hold a cocktail reception fundraiser hosted by Assemblyman and County Leader Keith Wright at AFSCME DC 1707 at 420 West 45th Street.

At 7:30 p.m., Council Member Donovan Richards will hold an information session on participatory budgeting in his district at the Herbert G Birch Early Childhood Center in Springfield Gardens.

As we mentioned, Tuesday marks just two weeks until primary day! Get up to speed on the 2014 New York State elections through our Gotham Gazette Election Center.

At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Teachout will be among the candidates receiving the endorsement of the Bangladeshi American Advocacy Group (BAAG), at an event taking place at Diversity Plaza, Jackson Heights, Queens.

At 11 a.m. on Tuesday on the steps of City Hall, "Women activists and elected officials will "Take the Pledge" on Women's Equality Day, August 26, to register women voters." Leaders participating will include Manhattan BP Gale A. Brewer, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, State Sen. Liz Krueger, Assembly Members Deborah Glick, Linda Rosenthal, and Nily Rozic, and Amy Loprest, Executive Director, Campaign Finance Board, parent of the NYC Voter Assistance Advisory Committee.

Also at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Brooklyn BP Eric Adams "will announce the details of his parks capital budget for Fiscal Year 2015, a $5,200,000 investment that represents an increase of almost ten percent compared to the previous year's total. He will make this announcement at Heckscher Playground in Bushwick."

At 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Teachout will celebrate another endorsement, this from the National Organization of Women (NOW) of New York, who will be represented by Zenaida Mendez, NYS NOW Chapter President. The formal announcement will be held at the Eleanor Roosevelt Statue, 72nd St and Riverside Drive.

At 7 p.m., the Bay Terrace Community Alliance hosts a candidate forum with candidates for all statewide offices and the 11th Senate and 26th Assembly districts at the Bay Terrace Jewish Center at 1300 209th Street in Bay Terrace.

At 7 and 10 p.m. Inside City Hall will feature the aforementioned debate between Jeff Klein and Oliver Koppell.

City & State NY will hold its 4th annual energy conference at BNY Mellon-101 Barclay Street, West Assembly, 10th Floor. Registration starts at 8 a.m. with opening remarks at 8:45 a.m.

The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council will host a candidates forum for the 52d Assembly District and the 20th Senate District at 7:30 p.m.

Council Member Ritchie Torres will talk with DL21C about his legislative victory in expanding services for LGBT seniors throughout his district from 7 to 8 p.m.

At 7 and 10 p.m. NY1 will feature the aforementioned debate between Tony Avella and John Liu.

City & State NY hosts its 4th annual education conference. The event takes place from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at The CUNY Graduate Center's Proshanky Auditorium. New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will be the featured speaker. Panelists include United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew, state education commissioner John King and Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the NYS Board of Regents.

Thursday is also the RSVP deadline that NY1 gave to the Cuomo-Hochul and Teachout-Wu campaigns for the debates that the network has invited the candidates to participate in.

On Thursday evening itself, NY1 will feature a debate between candidates running in the 19th State Senate District.

Friday and the weekend
It's Labor Day weekend, enjoy it.

Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? Email Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

by Kristen Meriwether, Katrina Shakarian, and Ben Max in New York City and David King in Albany

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