Gotham Gazette

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Predictions! Experts Look Ahead to New York Politics in 2016

de Blasio new year's family festivities

Ringing in the new year (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

As we usually do about this time of year, Gotham Gazette asked New York politicos to look into their crystal balls for predictions for the year ahead. Below you'll find insights from elected officials, journalists, advocates, analysts, and others who are tuned in to New York politics.

Looking back at last year's predictions for this year, some of our forecasters did quite well (see Nicole Gelinas, Ruben Diaz Jr., Alexis Grenell); while others missed the mark (see Eric Adams, Sal Albanese, Bob Gangi). Gelinas predicted that the Central Park carriage horses would not be out of a job, and was right; Diaz Jr. predicted that new Bronx Metro North stations would get funded, and was right; and Grenell predicted that 9 out of 10 Women's Equality Act planks would get passed in a compromise, and was right. Meanwhile, Adams predicted Brooklyn winning the 2016 DNC and hosting a Pope Francis mass; Albanese predicted Bill Bratton would be out as NYPD commissioner; and Gangi predicted the mayor would end broken windows policing - none of which came true.

See a new round of political predictions, these for 2016, below.

***Have something to add to the conversation? Tweet us @GothamGazette. And, be sure to read the latest reporting from Gotham Gazette; including our look back at The Top Ten Stories of 2015 in New York Politics and much more.***


Kathryn Wylde, president & CEO, Partnership for New York City
The City Council will rise to the occasion and pass the Mayor's Mandatory Inclusionary and Quality Affordable Housing Zoning Amendments, but the 421a incentives needed to complete the city's production goals will get kicked back to the legislature, and no one can predict how that ends up.

Alyssa Katz, editorial board, New York Daily News

  • The 421-a real estate tax abatement expires as construction unions and developers are not able to resolve their differences by their mid-January deadline. Spooked by the Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos corruption scandals, the Legislature will not revive it in anything resembling past form.
  • Mayor de Blasio prevails on the City Council to pass his mandatory inclusionary zoning plan for affordable housing, secured at the price of unplanned-for increased city spending to subsidize low-income housing above and beyond the zoning requirements.
  • Either Police Commissioner Bill Bratton or Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will announce their retirement by the end of 2016.
  • The school testing opt-out movement persists despite Gov. Cuomo's Common Core revamp.
  • Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio reach a pained detente, driven by de Blasio's need to secure ongoing mayoral control of the schools.
  • The Brennan Center wins its lawsuit to close the LLC loophole, in an important victory to clean up New York's elections.
  • Hillary Clinton takes New York's Democratic primary, but Bernie Sanders comes within 20 points of her. Chris Christie and Marco Rubio make decent showings in the New York Republican primary but Donald Trump wins.

Adam Forman, Center for an Urban Future

  • Schools in Brooklyn Heights and the Upper West Side are rezoned. Realtors in Rye, Ridgewood, and Great Neck enjoy record breaking annual sales commissions.
  • Mayor de Blasio bans all unpaid internships in city government. Employers across the city soon follow suit.
  • East New York residents agree to a proposed rezoning on the condition that Cobble Hill and the West Village are subject to an equivalent upzoning. The entire plan is scuttled immediately.

Michael Powell, columnist, The New York Times

  • Mayor de Blasio announces a 51st State secession movement. Gov. Cuomo announces a state takeover of NYC.
  • Preet Bharara resigns, noting that he has contracted a quite severe case of tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome signing all the political indictments.

Nicole Gelinas, Manhattan Institute
The horse carriages and their customers will be ringing into 2017.

City Council Member Mark Levine
Mayor de Blasio will reverse his previous policy position and decide to see Star Wars Force Awakens. He will like it so much that he orders a pilot program exploring NYPD use of light sabers.

Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, via his end of year message
2016 will bring a new economic development campaign to entice businesses who are being priced out of other boroughs to think of Staten Island instead of New Jersey.

Carol Kellermann, president, Citizens Budget Commission

  • The confluence of global warming, increased traffic congestion and the compelling need for improvements and enhancements to the region's transportation infrastructure will cause political leaders to coalesce around and adopt a plan for east river bridge tolling and congestion pricing.
  • The mayor and City Council leadership will truly end the "budget dance" and focus the spring budget debate only on policy issues over which they differ.
  • The mayor will propose (and have approved) spending of several hundred million dollars from his current "surplus" on extending parental leave to all municipal workers and will argue that the NYC initiative should be a model for the governor to apply to state workers and for the presidential candidates to consider and debate.

Christina Greer, professor of political science, Fordham University, and author of Black Ethnics

  • In early 2016 the Cuomo-Diaz Jr. alliance strengthens, but Diaz finds himself in the cold once de Blasio and Cuomo come to an understanding.
  • Bratton will continue being broken-windows-policy Bratton, de Blasio will continue to support him, thus weakening de Blasio's relationship and credibility with communities of color.

Jeff Smith, New School urban policy professor and author of Mr. Smith Goes to Prison
Because of a split in the Latino community, Rangel's seat will continue to be represented by an African-American - likely Keith Wright.

Doug Muzzio, political scientist, Baruch College

  • Preet indicts senators, assemblymembers, county and state officials and former officials. But not Cuomo.
  • Mike Bloomberg declares another run for City Hall. If he wins and serves full term: longest serving NYC mayor.

Jeff Foreman, director of policy, Care for the Homeless
Governor Cuomo uses his State of the State address in January to agree to and promote the NY/NY4 Supportive Housing plan, agreeing to NYC's 15,000 units and matching Mayor de Blasio with 15,000 units for NYC and another 5,000 units elsewhere in the state, but sets it as a 10-year - not a 15-year - program.

Heath Brown, professor of public policy, City University of New York, John Jay College
Political contributions from New Yorkers to various presidential candidates will top $100 million in 2016, but NY will still trail California and Texas by a long shot in total contributions.

Assemblymember Luis R. Sepulveda, 87th AD

  • Raise the age will become a reality in New York.
  • The Mayor and the Governor will break bread and work to resolve the homelessness problem in New York.
  • And, much to my chagrin, the Mets will win the World Series.

Nick Powell, opinions editor and columnist, City & State NY
Continuing their destructive feud, Cuomo (and, by extension, the Legislature) will deny de Blasio mayoral control of schools. Part of a calculated play that will end with Cuomo getting behind a rival Democrat for the New York City mayoralty in 2017.

Evan Siegfried, Republican strategist and president of Somm Consulting
Cuomo will decide to personally primary de Blasio in 2017, but launch his campaign in 2016 because it would be too much fun not to.

Alexis Grenell, Democratic political strategist
A nasty blind quote about de Blasio is attributed to a mysterious, highly placed Democratic source in the Cuomo administration.

Michael Benjamin, columnist and former Assembly member
Neither Governor Andrew Cuomo nor Mayor Bill de Blasio will be the Democratic vice-presidential nominee.

Ted Hamm, chair of journalism and new media studies, St. Joseph's College, Brooklyn
The investigation of the Eric Garner case will continue throughout most of 2016. Commissioner Bratton will continue to maintain that he's waiting for the DOJ to finish its inquiry before the department can start its six-month long disciplinary hearing. In the meantime, Officer Daniel Pantaleo will continue to collect his paycheck.

Joe Bello, Navy veteran and veterans advocate
The de Blasio administration will struggle to make "functional zero" for homeless veterans and right before his State of the City, Governor Cuomo will come through with real estate developers that will help house the remaining veterans, stealing Mayor de Blasio's thunder once again.

James Parrott, deputy director and chief economist, Fiscal Policy Institute
With tax collections growing 5% a year and local government budgets outside of NYC stretched to the breaking point, election-year legislators will respond to their constituents' calls for needed public services and convince Governor Cuomo to stretch, lift, bend or create new exemptions to his 2% state spending cap.

Mike Okhravi, CEO of DocChat
Health care across the state will continue to become more unaffordable for New Yorkers, as New York's DSRIP will not positively impact providers or patients.

Alex S. Vitale, associate professor of sociology, Brooklyn College

  • Governor Cuomo will come through with substantial new funding for CUNY to avoid a strike in the spring.
  • Gun violence will fall significantly in communities with new gun violence prevention programs that were funded in Mayor de Blasio's first budget, but have only recently been fully staffed. This will in turn contribute to the continuation of overall crime declines. However, homelessness numbers will continue to increase. The combination of dropping crime and rising disorder will again put "broken windows" policing at the center of debates around police reform.

Andrew Berman, executive director, Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation
In 2016, Mayor de Blasio will stop blocking sensible community rezoning plans that incentivize or require affordable housing while maintaining a reasonable scale of development in areas like University Place and Chinatown. Instead of taking the current path with the deeply unpopular 'Zoning for Quality and Affordability' and 'Mandatory Inclusionary Housing,' the Mayor will come up with individually tailored and narrowly focused changes to the city's zoning...In general the Mayor will realize that he can't truly address affordability issues and the needs of average New Yorkers while continuing to try to please the real estate developers who have so generously supported his campaign. Or, I predict 2017 won't be a very good year for the Mayor.

HAPPY NEW YEAR from Gotham Gazette!

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