Topics Archive by Date 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/topics 2022-08-12T21:05:26+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Joomla! - Open Source Content Management New York Congressional Races to Watch in the August Primary 2022-08-12T04:00:00+00:00 2022-08-12T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11519-new-york-congressional-races-watch-august-primary Samar Khurshid samarkhurshid@gmail.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/5x4-12-10-edit.jpg" /></p> <p>(l-r) Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Suraj Patel, Yuh-Line Niou, Jo Anne Simon (top)<br />Dan Goldman, Carlina Rivera, Elizabeth Holtzman, Mondaire Jones</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Early voting for the August 23 party primary elections begins on Saturday, August 13, with competitive races in many of New York’s now-26 districts in the U.S. House of Representatives. After a chaotic redistricting process that significantly changed the state’s political map, these congressional races are unfolding ahead of the general election that will determine which major party controls the House and Senate. Democrats currently hold slim margin majorities in both, and New York House races will be a significant factor in the national picture.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But first, the primaries, several seats where the primary winner is all but certain to win the general election.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York lost a congressional seat after the 2020 Census, </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/26/nyregion/new-york-census-congress.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">falling</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> just 89 residents short of maintaining its numbers (27) in the House of Representatives, despite an overall increase in the state’s population. That was followed by the state’s problematic redistricting, which eventually resulted in a court-appointed special master drawing new district lines and a judge ordering two separate primaries, one in June for statewide and Assembly races and one in August for State Senate and Congress. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new lines caused particular disarray for Democrats in New York City, with incumbents having to face each other in certain districts, especially the new 12th district in Manhattan featuring Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, and created opportunities for Republicans to pick up seats elsewhere.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are also several ‘open’ races with no incumbent running where there is heated competition in the primary, particularly the new 10th district where a deep and diverse field of candidates is hoping to represent much of Lower Manhattan and a big stretch of Brooklyn.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democrats currently hold 18 seats in New York’s congressional delegation and Republicans hold seven, while there are two vacancies in Districts 19 and 23. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are New York congressional races to watch in the August primary: </span></p> <p><b>1st Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin, a Republican, is his party’s nominee for governor, challenging Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat running for her first full term.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With Zeldin out of the race for the 1st District, which covers two-thirds of Suffolk County, Long Island, three Republicans are seeking to replace him: Anthony Figliola; a lobbyist and a former deputy supervisor of Brookhaven; Nicholas LaLota; chief of staff to the Suffolk County Legislature and former Republican commissioner of the Suffolk County Board of Elections, who has been endorsed by the Suffolk County GOP; and Michelle Bond, CEO of the Association for Digital Asset Markets.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Democratic candidate, Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming, is running unopposed. </span></p> <p><b>2nd Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republican Rep. Andrew Garbarino faces two primary challengers in his new district, which covers the South Shore of Suffolk County from Amityville to Eastport on Long Island. The challengers include Robert Cornicelli, a U.S. Army and Navy veteran and former Sanitation Inspector Supervisor for the Town of Oyster Bay; and Mike Rakebrandt, an NYPD detective. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The winner will face Democrat Jackie Gordon, a former teacher and former Town of Babylon Council member, in the general election. </span></p> <p><b>3rd Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi did not run for reelection this year as he unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for governor, losing to Hochul in the primary. Five Democrats are running to replace him in the District covering the northern half of Nassau County on Long Island: former North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman; Robert Zimmerman, a longtime Democratic National Committee member; Nassau County legislator Joshua Lafazan; progressive activist Melanie D'Arrigo; and businesswoman Reema Rasool. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zimmerman has the most establishment support in the race, including endorsements from Reps. Gregory Meeks, Ritchie Torres, and Grace Meng. D'Arrigo, meanwhile, is the progressive favorite in the race, with the backing of the Working Families Party. Lafazan, however, is Suozzi’s chosen successor for the seat.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The primary victor will face Republican George Santos, an investment banker who unsuccessfully ran against Suozzi in 2020, in the general election. </span></p> <p><b>4th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice is not running for reelection, leaving an open race for her district, which covers the southern half of Nassau County on Long Island. Four Democratic candidates are running to succeed her: former Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen; Nassau County legislator Carrié Solages; election attorney and Malverne Mayor Keith Corbett; and Dr. Muzib Huq.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gillen is the establishment favorite in the race, and has been endorsed by Rice, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and House Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The winner will face Republican Anthony D’Esposito, a Town of Hempstead council member, in November.</span></p> <p><b>7th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Nydia Velázquez is running for reelection in a significantly changed district. Her current district includes Sunset Park, Red Hook, and the Lower East Side, all of which were cut out of the new district, which retained parts of northern Brooklyn including the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Greenpoint, and Bushwick and southwest Queens, while expanding into Greenpoint, Sunnyside, and Glendale.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She faces a nominal primary challenger in Paperboy Love Prince, a performance artist who has run for multiple offices before, including against Velázquez last election.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Velázquez is all but assured to win and face Republican Juan Pagán in the general election.</span></p> <p><b>8th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, chair of the House Democratic Caucus and possible successor to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is running for reelection in a district that stretches across southern and central Brooklyn.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Jeffries was among the most vocal critics of the Court of Appeals throwing out maps drawn by Democrat-run State Legislature and of the initial map offered by the special master, which divided historically Black communities such as Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, which was in his district. The final map, however, rectified that, uniting Bed-Stuy, but cutting out parts of the western parts of his district including Fort Greene and Clinton Hill and eastern neighborhoods including Howard Beach and parts of Ozone Park.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He is being challenged in the primary by nonprofit organizer Queen Johnson, but Jeffries is expected to easily prevail. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That will also be the case in the general election, where the Republican candidate is Yuri Dashevsky, a public relations consultant and interpreter.</span></p> <p><b>10th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Among the most competitive races in the primary is the contest for the new 10th congressional district, which covers Lower Manhattan south of 14th street and parts of western Brooklyn including Downtown, Gowanus, Park Slope, Sunset Park, Red Hook, and Borough Park.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A field of more than a dozen Democrats are on the ballot for the primary nomination though six leading candidates have emerged via various metrics, including public polling, endorsements, and fundraising: City Council Member Carlina Rivera; Assemblymembers Yuh-line Niou and Jo Anne Simon; Dan Goldman, a former prosecutor who led the first impeachment of then-President Donald Trump; former Representative Elizabeth Holtzman; and Representative Mondaire Jones, who represents the Hudson Valley’s 17th district but recently moved to Brooklyn to run in the new 10th.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republican Benine Hamdan will face the primary winner in the November general election.</span></p> <p><b>11th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis represents District 11, which covers the entirety of Staten Island and parts of South Brooklyn. She unseated Democrat Max Rose in 2020 after Rose had unseated Republican Dan Donovan in 2018. Rose is seeking the Democratic nomination again this year in hopes of regaining the seat, which is currently the only GOP-held congressional seat </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Malliotakis is being challenged in the primary by John Matland, a health care worker.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rose is running the Democratic primary against progressive activist Brittany Ramos DeBarros and Komi Agoda-Koussema, a public school teacher.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Malliotakis and Rose are expected to run in a rematch in the general election where Malliotakis will likely be favored to hold the seat but Democrats will eye the opportunity to flip a seat and help Democrats keep a House majority.</span></p> <p><b>12th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">The newly-drawn district lines put longtime Democratic Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney in direct conflict with each other by combining the East and West Sides of Manhattan, from roughly 13th Street to 110th Street, into the new 12th congressional district. The two are facing each other in the primary and a third candidate, Suraj Patel, who previously unsuccessfully challenged Maloney twice. Some polling has shown Patel within striking distance of the two representatives who were each first elected to Congress in 1992. A fourth candidate, Ashmi Sheth, is in the race but has run a limited campaign.  </span></p> <p><b>13th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Adriano Espaillat is running for reelection to the slightly modified 13th district, which covers Upper Manhattan from East Harlem to Inwood and parts of the Bronx including Kingsbridge, University Heights, and Bedford Park. He faces two challengers: Francisco Spies and “social democrat” Michael Hano, though neither seems to be running a viable campaign.</span></p> <p><b>14th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is running unopposed but there is a Republican primary in the district between business owner Tina Forte and Desi Cuellar, a once-homeless former bartender. Both Forte and Cuellar currently live outside the district, </span><a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/personality/2022/08/new-york-congressional-candidates-who-are-new-town/375552/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">according to City &amp; State</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ocasio-Cortez’s district saw some major changes in the redistricting. The neighborhoods cut from her district include Sunnyside, Woodside, and parts of Jackson Heights in Queens and Pelham Parkway and parts of Van Nest and Morris Park in the Bronx. Her district expanded into Hunts Point, Soundview, Clason Hill, and Castle Point in the South Bronx. </span></p> <p><b>16th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman’s district covers southern Westchester County and parts of the northeast Bronx. He is running for reelection and faces three primary challengers: Westchester County Legislators Vedat Gashi and Catherine Parker, and Mark Jaffe, president and CEO of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce. Gashi seems to be Bowman’s toughest challenger and has received some establishment support. He has also been endorsed by former longtime Rep. Eliot Engel, who was ousted by Bowman in 2020.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In redistricting, the 16th District lost parts of the North Bronx including Riverdale, Spuyten Duyvil, Woodlawn, Eastchester and Co-op City, while expanding further up north into Westchester into White Plains, Harrison, Elmsford, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington and Tarrytown.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republican John Ciampoli is running in the general election.</span></p> <p><b>17th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones, the incumbent in District 17, is running in the 10th District in New York City, which has left an open race for a district that spans Rockland County, northern Westchester County, Putnam County, and parts of Dutchess County. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who currently represents District 18 and chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, decided to run in the new 17th District, where he lives. He is facing off against New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, who had announced a run in the 3rd district before the initial maps were thrown out. Once the new maps were released, she shifted to run in the 17th, where she has since moved, to take on Maloney after he pushed Jones out of the race. Biaggi is offering herself as the progressive alternative to the more moderate Maloney.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is also a Republican primary in the district between five candidates: Assemblymember Michael Lawler, the clear favorite; Rockland County legislator Charles Falciglia; business executive Jack Schrepel; Shoshana David; and William Faulkner. </span></p> <p><b>18th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">With Sean Patrick Maloney running in the neighboring district, the new 18th District in the Mid-Hudson Valley has an open seat and three Democrats are seeking the primary nomination. They include Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan; Moses Mugulusi, a state financial examiner; and Aisha Mills, a Democratic strategist. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The primary victor will face off against Republican Assemblymember Colin Schmitt in the general election</span></p> <p><b>19th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is also an open race for the 19th District, which covers parts of the Southern Tier, Catskills, and Hudson Valley, and has been vacant since Democrat Antonio Delgado was appointed lieutenant governor. Two Democrats are running to replace him: attorney Josh Riley and small business owner Jamie Cheney.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The winner will face Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro in the general election.</span></p> <p><b>Special Election in the Current 19th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Because of Delgado’s resignation, there is also a special election to finish his term under the current district lines, with Democrat Pat Ryan and Republican Marc Molinaro facing off against each other in a vote set to take place at the same time as the primaries.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Most of the current 19th District will end up in the newly-drawn 19th, where Molinaro is running in the fall general election as well as this August special election, while parts of the current district have been drawn into the new 18th District, where Ryan is running in the Democratic primary at the same time as this August primary in the 19th. So Ryan is on two separate ballots this month for the special election in the 19th District and primary election in the 18th District. </span></p> <p><b>20th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">The capital region district is currently represented by Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko, who is facing a primary challenge from immigration attorney Rostislav Rar. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republican Elizabeth Joy, who previously lost to Tonko, is running in the general election. </span></p> <p><b>21st Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik is running for reelection to the 21st District, which covers most of the North Country and Adirondacks, and parts of the Capital region, and is unopposed in the primary.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is a Democratic primary in the district with two candidates running: Matthew Putorti, an attorney; and Matt Castelli, a former CIA officer and Director for Counterterrorism at the National Security Council under former President Barack Obama, who is the clear favorite. </span></p> <p><b>22nd Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 22nd District in Central New York is currently represented by Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney, who is running in the new 24th District after the redistricting process significantly changed the boundaries of her current district. Tenney’s decision led to an open race with primaries on the Democratic and Republican sides.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Four Democrats are competing for the primary nomination: Francis Conole, a Navy veteran and ​​former national security adviser; Sam Roberts, a former ​​Onondaga County Assemblymember and former state welfare commissioner; Air Force veteran Sarah Klee Hood; and Syracuse Common Councilor Chol Majok. Conole seems to be the favorite in the race, with the backing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and several local Democratic elected officials. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Republican primary is between two candidates: Brandon Williams, a Navy veteran and entrepreneur; and Steve Wells, a former criminal prosecutor and business owner. Wells is the party favorite with endorsements from Pam Thier, chair of the Oneida County Republican Party, and local Republican elected officials. </span></p> <p><b>23rd Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">After redistricting, the 23rd Congressional district covers parts of the Southern Tier and parts of Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Steuben, Chemung, and Schuyler counties. The seat has been vacant since Republican Rep. Tom Reed resigned in May to join a lobbying firm. He had already announced his intention to not seek reelection. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There’s an intense Republican primary to fill the seat between former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino and State GOP Chair Nick Langworthy. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But there is also a special election slated on the same day for the district, under the old district lines to determine who will finish out the current term. That race is between Republican Joe Sempolinski, who is the Steuben County Republican chair, and Democrat Max Della Pia, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. The winner of the special election will effectively serve a four-month term. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Max Della Pia will face the winner of the Republican primary race in the November general election. </span></p> <p><b>24th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 24th District, which includes parts of Western New York and the North Country, has an open race because incumbent Republican Rep. John Katko is retiring. Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney of the current 22nd district is running to replace him in the new district, against two primary opponents: business owner Mario Fratto; and perennial candidate George Phillips. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democrat Steven Holden will face the primary winner in the general election.  </span></p> <p><b>26th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the 26th District, which includes parts of Erie and Niagara counties, including Buffalo and Niagara Falls, Democratic Rep. Brian Higgins is facing a primary challenge from community activist Emin “Eddie” Egriu but he is heavily favored to again win the nomination.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The winner will face Republican Steven Sams, a veteran, in the general election.</span></p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/5x4-12-10-edit.jpg" /></p> <p>(l-r) Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Suraj Patel, Yuh-Line Niou, Jo Anne Simon (top)<br />Dan Goldman, Carlina Rivera, Elizabeth Holtzman, Mondaire Jones</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Early voting for the August 23 party primary elections begins on Saturday, August 13, with competitive races in many of New York’s now-26 districts in the U.S. House of Representatives. After a chaotic redistricting process that significantly changed the state’s political map, these congressional races are unfolding ahead of the general election that will determine which major party controls the House and Senate. Democrats currently hold slim margin majorities in both, and New York House races will be a significant factor in the national picture.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But first, the primaries, several seats where the primary winner is all but certain to win the general election.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York lost a congressional seat after the 2020 Census, </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/26/nyregion/new-york-census-congress.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">falling</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> just 89 residents short of maintaining its numbers (27) in the House of Representatives, despite an overall increase in the state’s population. That was followed by the state’s problematic redistricting, which eventually resulted in a court-appointed special master drawing new district lines and a judge ordering two separate primaries, one in June for statewide and Assembly races and one in August for State Senate and Congress. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new lines caused particular disarray for Democrats in New York City, with incumbents having to face each other in certain districts, especially the new 12th district in Manhattan featuring Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, and created opportunities for Republicans to pick up seats elsewhere.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are also several ‘open’ races with no incumbent running where there is heated competition in the primary, particularly the new 10th district where a deep and diverse field of candidates is hoping to represent much of Lower Manhattan and a big stretch of Brooklyn.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democrats currently hold 18 seats in New York’s congressional delegation and Republicans hold seven, while there are two vacancies in Districts 19 and 23. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are New York congressional races to watch in the August primary: </span></p> <p><b>1st Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin, a Republican, is his party’s nominee for governor, challenging Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat running for her first full term.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With Zeldin out of the race for the 1st District, which covers two-thirds of Suffolk County, Long Island, three Republicans are seeking to replace him: Anthony Figliola; a lobbyist and a former deputy supervisor of Brookhaven; Nicholas LaLota; chief of staff to the Suffolk County Legislature and former Republican commissioner of the Suffolk County Board of Elections, who has been endorsed by the Suffolk County GOP; and Michelle Bond, CEO of the Association for Digital Asset Markets.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Democratic candidate, Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming, is running unopposed. </span></p> <p><b>2nd Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republican Rep. Andrew Garbarino faces two primary challengers in his new district, which covers the South Shore of Suffolk County from Amityville to Eastport on Long Island. The challengers include Robert Cornicelli, a U.S. Army and Navy veteran and former Sanitation Inspector Supervisor for the Town of Oyster Bay; and Mike Rakebrandt, an NYPD detective. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The winner will face Democrat Jackie Gordon, a former teacher and former Town of Babylon Council member, in the general election. </span></p> <p><b>3rd Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi did not run for reelection this year as he unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for governor, losing to Hochul in the primary. Five Democrats are running to replace him in the District covering the northern half of Nassau County on Long Island: former North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman; Robert Zimmerman, a longtime Democratic National Committee member; Nassau County legislator Joshua Lafazan; progressive activist Melanie D'Arrigo; and businesswoman Reema Rasool. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zimmerman has the most establishment support in the race, including endorsements from Reps. Gregory Meeks, Ritchie Torres, and Grace Meng. D'Arrigo, meanwhile, is the progressive favorite in the race, with the backing of the Working Families Party. Lafazan, however, is Suozzi’s chosen successor for the seat.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The primary victor will face Republican George Santos, an investment banker who unsuccessfully ran against Suozzi in 2020, in the general election. </span></p> <p><b>4th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice is not running for reelection, leaving an open race for her district, which covers the southern half of Nassau County on Long Island. Four Democratic candidates are running to succeed her: former Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen; Nassau County legislator Carrié Solages; election attorney and Malverne Mayor Keith Corbett; and Dr. Muzib Huq.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gillen is the establishment favorite in the race, and has been endorsed by Rice, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and House Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The winner will face Republican Anthony D’Esposito, a Town of Hempstead council member, in November.</span></p> <p><b>7th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Nydia Velázquez is running for reelection in a significantly changed district. Her current district includes Sunset Park, Red Hook, and the Lower East Side, all of which were cut out of the new district, which retained parts of northern Brooklyn including the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Greenpoint, and Bushwick and southwest Queens, while expanding into Greenpoint, Sunnyside, and Glendale.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She faces a nominal primary challenger in Paperboy Love Prince, a performance artist who has run for multiple offices before, including against Velázquez last election.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Velázquez is all but assured to win and face Republican Juan Pagán in the general election.</span></p> <p><b>8th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, chair of the House Democratic Caucus and possible successor to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is running for reelection in a district that stretches across southern and central Brooklyn.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Jeffries was among the most vocal critics of the Court of Appeals throwing out maps drawn by Democrat-run State Legislature and of the initial map offered by the special master, which divided historically Black communities such as Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, which was in his district. The final map, however, rectified that, uniting Bed-Stuy, but cutting out parts of the western parts of his district including Fort Greene and Clinton Hill and eastern neighborhoods including Howard Beach and parts of Ozone Park.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He is being challenged in the primary by nonprofit organizer Queen Johnson, but Jeffries is expected to easily prevail. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That will also be the case in the general election, where the Republican candidate is Yuri Dashevsky, a public relations consultant and interpreter.</span></p> <p><b>10th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Among the most competitive races in the primary is the contest for the new 10th congressional district, which covers Lower Manhattan south of 14th street and parts of western Brooklyn including Downtown, Gowanus, Park Slope, Sunset Park, Red Hook, and Borough Park.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A field of more than a dozen Democrats are on the ballot for the primary nomination though six leading candidates have emerged via various metrics, including public polling, endorsements, and fundraising: City Council Member Carlina Rivera; Assemblymembers Yuh-line Niou and Jo Anne Simon; Dan Goldman, a former prosecutor who led the first impeachment of then-President Donald Trump; former Representative Elizabeth Holtzman; and Representative Mondaire Jones, who represents the Hudson Valley’s 17th district but recently moved to Brooklyn to run in the new 10th.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republican Benine Hamdan will face the primary winner in the November general election.</span></p> <p><b>11th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis represents District 11, which covers the entirety of Staten Island and parts of South Brooklyn. She unseated Democrat Max Rose in 2020 after Rose had unseated Republican Dan Donovan in 2018. Rose is seeking the Democratic nomination again this year in hopes of regaining the seat, which is currently the only GOP-held congressional seat </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Malliotakis is being challenged in the primary by John Matland, a health care worker.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rose is running the Democratic primary against progressive activist Brittany Ramos DeBarros and Komi Agoda-Koussema, a public school teacher.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Malliotakis and Rose are expected to run in a rematch in the general election where Malliotakis will likely be favored to hold the seat but Democrats will eye the opportunity to flip a seat and help Democrats keep a House majority.</span></p> <p><b>12th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">The newly-drawn district lines put longtime Democratic Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney in direct conflict with each other by combining the East and West Sides of Manhattan, from roughly 13th Street to 110th Street, into the new 12th congressional district. The two are facing each other in the primary and a third candidate, Suraj Patel, who previously unsuccessfully challenged Maloney twice. Some polling has shown Patel within striking distance of the two representatives who were each first elected to Congress in 1992. A fourth candidate, Ashmi Sheth, is in the race but has run a limited campaign.  </span></p> <p><b>13th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Adriano Espaillat is running for reelection to the slightly modified 13th district, which covers Upper Manhattan from East Harlem to Inwood and parts of the Bronx including Kingsbridge, University Heights, and Bedford Park. He faces two challengers: Francisco Spies and “social democrat” Michael Hano, though neither seems to be running a viable campaign.</span></p> <p><b>14th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is running unopposed but there is a Republican primary in the district between business owner Tina Forte and Desi Cuellar, a once-homeless former bartender. Both Forte and Cuellar currently live outside the district, </span><a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/personality/2022/08/new-york-congressional-candidates-who-are-new-town/375552/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">according to City &amp; State</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ocasio-Cortez’s district saw some major changes in the redistricting. The neighborhoods cut from her district include Sunnyside, Woodside, and parts of Jackson Heights in Queens and Pelham Parkway and parts of Van Nest and Morris Park in the Bronx. Her district expanded into Hunts Point, Soundview, Clason Hill, and Castle Point in the South Bronx. </span></p> <p><b>16th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman’s district covers southern Westchester County and parts of the northeast Bronx. He is running for reelection and faces three primary challengers: Westchester County Legislators Vedat Gashi and Catherine Parker, and Mark Jaffe, president and CEO of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce. Gashi seems to be Bowman’s toughest challenger and has received some establishment support. He has also been endorsed by former longtime Rep. Eliot Engel, who was ousted by Bowman in 2020.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In redistricting, the 16th District lost parts of the North Bronx including Riverdale, Spuyten Duyvil, Woodlawn, Eastchester and Co-op City, while expanding further up north into Westchester into White Plains, Harrison, Elmsford, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington and Tarrytown.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republican John Ciampoli is running in the general election.</span></p> <p><b>17th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones, the incumbent in District 17, is running in the 10th District in New York City, which has left an open race for a district that spans Rockland County, northern Westchester County, Putnam County, and parts of Dutchess County. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who currently represents District 18 and chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, decided to run in the new 17th District, where he lives. He is facing off against New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, who had announced a run in the 3rd district before the initial maps were thrown out. Once the new maps were released, she shifted to run in the 17th, where she has since moved, to take on Maloney after he pushed Jones out of the race. Biaggi is offering herself as the progressive alternative to the more moderate Maloney.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is also a Republican primary in the district between five candidates: Assemblymember Michael Lawler, the clear favorite; Rockland County legislator Charles Falciglia; business executive Jack Schrepel; Shoshana David; and William Faulkner. </span></p> <p><b>18th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">With Sean Patrick Maloney running in the neighboring district, the new 18th District in the Mid-Hudson Valley has an open seat and three Democrats are seeking the primary nomination. They include Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan; Moses Mugulusi, a state financial examiner; and Aisha Mills, a Democratic strategist. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The primary victor will face off against Republican Assemblymember Colin Schmitt in the general election</span></p> <p><b>19th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is also an open race for the 19th District, which covers parts of the Southern Tier, Catskills, and Hudson Valley, and has been vacant since Democrat Antonio Delgado was appointed lieutenant governor. Two Democrats are running to replace him: attorney Josh Riley and small business owner Jamie Cheney.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The winner will face Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro in the general election.</span></p> <p><b>Special Election in the Current 19th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Because of Delgado’s resignation, there is also a special election to finish his term under the current district lines, with Democrat Pat Ryan and Republican Marc Molinaro facing off against each other in a vote set to take place at the same time as the primaries.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Most of the current 19th District will end up in the newly-drawn 19th, where Molinaro is running in the fall general election as well as this August special election, while parts of the current district have been drawn into the new 18th District, where Ryan is running in the Democratic primary at the same time as this August primary in the 19th. So Ryan is on two separate ballots this month for the special election in the 19th District and primary election in the 18th District. </span></p> <p><b>20th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">The capital region district is currently represented by Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko, who is facing a primary challenge from immigration attorney Rostislav Rar. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republican Elizabeth Joy, who previously lost to Tonko, is running in the general election. </span></p> <p><b>21st Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik is running for reelection to the 21st District, which covers most of the North Country and Adirondacks, and parts of the Capital region, and is unopposed in the primary.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is a Democratic primary in the district with two candidates running: Matthew Putorti, an attorney; and Matt Castelli, a former CIA officer and Director for Counterterrorism at the National Security Council under former President Barack Obama, who is the clear favorite. </span></p> <p><b>22nd Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 22nd District in Central New York is currently represented by Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney, who is running in the new 24th District after the redistricting process significantly changed the boundaries of her current district. Tenney’s decision led to an open race with primaries on the Democratic and Republican sides.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Four Democrats are competing for the primary nomination: Francis Conole, a Navy veteran and ​​former national security adviser; Sam Roberts, a former ​​Onondaga County Assemblymember and former state welfare commissioner; Air Force veteran Sarah Klee Hood; and Syracuse Common Councilor Chol Majok. Conole seems to be the favorite in the race, with the backing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and several local Democratic elected officials. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Republican primary is between two candidates: Brandon Williams, a Navy veteran and entrepreneur; and Steve Wells, a former criminal prosecutor and business owner. Wells is the party favorite with endorsements from Pam Thier, chair of the Oneida County Republican Party, and local Republican elected officials. </span></p> <p><b>23rd Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">After redistricting, the 23rd Congressional district covers parts of the Southern Tier and parts of Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Steuben, Chemung, and Schuyler counties. The seat has been vacant since Republican Rep. Tom Reed resigned in May to join a lobbying firm. He had already announced his intention to not seek reelection. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There’s an intense Republican primary to fill the seat between former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino and State GOP Chair Nick Langworthy. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But there is also a special election slated on the same day for the district, under the old district lines to determine who will finish out the current term. That race is between Republican Joe Sempolinski, who is the Steuben County Republican chair, and Democrat Max Della Pia, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. The winner of the special election will effectively serve a four-month term. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Max Della Pia will face the winner of the Republican primary race in the November general election. </span></p> <p><b>24th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 24th District, which includes parts of Western New York and the North Country, has an open race because incumbent Republican Rep. John Katko is retiring. Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney of the current 22nd district is running to replace him in the new district, against two primary opponents: business owner Mario Fratto; and perennial candidate George Phillips. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democrat Steven Holden will face the primary winner in the general election.  </span></p> <p><b>26th Congressional District<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the 26th District, which includes parts of Erie and Niagara counties, including Buffalo and Niagara Falls, Democratic Rep. Brian Higgins is facing a primary challenge from community activist Emin “Eddie” Egriu but he is heavily favored to again win the nomination.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The winner will face Republican Steven Sams, a veteran, in the general election.</span></p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p>
New York State Senate Races to Watch in the August Primary 2022-08-11T04:00:00+00:00 2022-08-11T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11515-state-senate-races-to-watch-august-primary Samar Khurshid samarkhurshid@gmail.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/4x1-mashup-rivera-jackson-gounardes-parker.jpg" /></p> <p>(l-r) State Senators Gustavo Rivera, Robert Jackson, Andrew Gounardes, Kevin Parker</p> <hr /> <p>Early voting for the August 23 primary begins on Saturday, August 13, and there are several competitive races taking place for New York State Senate, with <a href="https://newyork.redistrictingandyou.org/?districtType=sd&amp;propA=current_2012&amp;propB=sen_specialmastercorrected_20220604&amp;opacity=2#%26map=9.15/40.8169/-73.8164">new district maps</a> in place following the decennial redistricting process.</p> <p>Democrats currently control the 63-member State Senate, with a 42-20 majority (there is one vacancy) and are in no danger of losing their majority in the November general election, though the margin could tighten. Right now, several incumbents are facing tough primary challenges while others have had to adjust to newly drawn district lines encompassing neighborhoods they did not previously represent. Some sitting senators even had to decide whether to shift their residence to continue running in familiar territory or face the unpredictability of their new districts.</p> <p>The redistricting essentially created two new Senate districts – the 17th in Brooklyn and the 59th, which covers parts of Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn – neither of which have incumbents running in them. While there is a crowded and competitive primary in the new 59th, there is no primary in the 17th, where Iwen Chu has the Democratic nomination locked up and is all but certain to head to the State Senate given the district's heavy Democratic tilt.</p> <p>Meanwhile, among the district lines that have shifted so much that incumbents must introduce themselves to all new neighborhoods, State Senator Andrew Gounardes of Brooklyn is running in territory mostly outside his current district. Gounardes is seeking to keep his seat in the Senate against former City Council Member David Yassky.</p> <p>Among the most heated State Senate primaries in the five boroughs are three races in which Democratic incumbents are being challenged:</p> <p>State Senator Gustavo Rivera is facing a deluge of opposition from the Bronx Democratic Party as it seeks to unseat the independent-minded senator by electing challenger Miguelina Camilo, while Rivera’s progressive allies are seeking to come to his aid and help him win another term.</p> <p>State Senator Robert Jackson of Manhattan is facing challenger Angel Vasquez, who is backed by a coalition of elected officials and others led by U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat.</p> <p>And State Senator Kevin Parker of Brooklyn is being challenged from the left by David Alexis, who has the backing of the Democratic Socialists of America New York City branch and many of its allies, including several sitting elected officials like Parker’s Brooklyn colleagues Senators Jabari Brisport and Julia Salazar.</p> <p>Almost all the contested primary races are taking place among Democrats, with just a few Republican races where there is competition.</p> <p>Here are the competitive State Senate races to watch in the August primary:</p> <p><strong>New York City</strong><br /><strong>District 15</strong> (parts of southwestern Queens)<br />State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., a Democrat, faces two challengers for the newly drawn District 15: Japneet Singh, an accountant and former taxi driver who is seeking to become the state’s first Sikh lawmaker; and Albert Baldeo, president of the Alliance of South Asian American Labor’s Richmond Hill chapter, who once <a href="https://queenseagle.com/all/2022/6/24/queens-man-jailed-for-corruption-is-running-for-both-state-assembly-and-senate">went to jail</a> for corruption.</p> <p><strong>District 21</strong> (parts of central and southern Brooklyn)<br />Democratic State Senator Kevin Parker faces two challengers in his new district: David Alexis, who is backed by various left-wing groups and officials including the Working Families Party and Democratic Socialists of America New York City branch; and Kaegan Mays-Williams, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan.</p> <p><strong>District 23</strong> (Staten Island’s north and east shores and parts of Brooklyn, including Coney Island)<br />State Senator Diane Savino, a Democrat, is retiring from office and there is an open race to replace her. Four candidates are running in the Democratic primary including Jessica Scarcella-Spanton, a former Savino staffer who has Savino’s support and is currently assistant director of government and community relations at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Bianca Rajpersaud, a lobbyist at Davidoff Hutcher &amp; Citron; Sarah Blas, who is backed by the Working Families Party; and Rajiv Gowda, a civil engineer.</p> <p>There is also a Republican primary featuring two candidates: Sergey Fedorov, who has been endorsed by the GOP; and Joseph Tirone Jr., a real estate broker.</p> <p><strong>District 25</strong> (parts of Brooklyn from the Brooklyn Navy Yard to Ocean Hill)<br />Democratic State Senator Jabari Brisport, a democratic socialist, has two challengers in the primary: Renee Holmes, a teacher; and Conrad Tillard, a minister.</p> <p><strong>District 26</strong> (parts of western Brooklyn from Dumbo to Fort Hamilton)<br />State Senator Andrew Gounardes, a Democrat, currently represents District 22, from Bay Ridge and Borough Park to Gerritsen Beach, and is now running in the newly drawn District 26, which is very different but includes his base of Bay Ridge. He is facing David Yassky, who has previously served in the New York City Council, as a policy advisor to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and as Taxi &amp; Limousine Commissioner under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.</p> <p><strong>District 27</strong> (Lower Manhattan)<br />Democratic State Senator Brian Kavanagh’s new district is entirely in Manhattan, with the Brooklyn parts of his current district excluded after the redistricting process. He faces two opponents in the primary, Danyela Souza Egorov, a charter school advocate and vice president of the District 2 Community Education Council; and Vittoria Fariello, a lawyer and Democratic district leader.</p> <p><strong>District 30</strong> (Upper Manhattan from Bloomingdale and Harlem up to Sugar Hill)<br />Democratic State Senator Cordell Cleare’s district lines did not change drastically and she is running for reelection against Shana Harmongoff, who previously served as district office director and director of community affairs for former State Senator Brian Benjamin. Harmongoff unsuccessfully sought to succeed Benjamin in a special election after he became lieutenant governor, losing to Cleare. </p> <p><strong>District 31</strong> (Upper Manhattan from Washington Heights to Inwood)<br />State Senator Robert Jackson, a Democrat, is running for reelection in a much more compact district. Previously, District 31 stretched along the west side waterfront from Inwood all the way to Midtown. Jackson faces three opponents: Angel Vasquez, a political consultant and former chief of staff to former State Senator Marisol Alcantara, who has garnered significant support from elected officials and groups; perennial candidate Ruben Dario Vargas; and Spanish-language interpreter Francesca Castellanos.</p> <p><strong>District 33</strong> (Parts of the Bronx from Riverdale to Van Nest)<br />State Senator Gustavo Rivera, a Democrat, saw major changes to his district lines, with his home falling outside of the newly created District 33, which will require him to move if he should win, though he did not have to in order to run. He is running against Miguelina Camilo, president of the Bronx Women’s Bar Association and first-time candidate who has the backing of the Bronx County Democratic Party and many Bronx elected officials including State Senator Jamaal Bailey, who chairs the Bronx county party.</p> <p><strong>District 34</strong> (East Bronx and parts of Westchester)<br />With sitting State Senator Alessandra Biaggi running for Congress, there is an open race for the new District 34 seat. Three candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination: Assemblymember Nathalia Fernandez, backed by the Bronx Democratic Party and many other elected officials; Christian Amato, a Democratic consultant and Community Board 11 member; and perennial candidate John Perez.</p> <p><strong>District 47</strong> (West Side of Manhattan from the Meatpacking District to the Upper West Side)<br />Democratic State Senator Brad Hoylman represents District 27, which was spread across Midtown and Downtown Manhattan, and has been redrawn into the new District 47. He is running in the primary against Maria Danzilo, an attorney and former City Council candidate.</p> <p><strong>District 59</strong> (parts of Midtown East in Manhattan, Greenpoint in Brooklyn, and Astoria and Long Island City in Queens)<br />There’s a competitive open primary underway for District 59, a completely new district that was created this year spanning parts of three boroughs. Five candidates are on the ballot including former City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley; Kristen Gonzalez, a product manager for American Express who is backed by the Democratic Socialists of America - New York City; Nomiki Konst, a former journalist and one-time candidate for public advocate; Michael Corbett, vice chair of the state Democratic Party; and small business owner Francoise Olivas.</p> <p><strong>Outside New York City</strong><br /><strong>District 4</strong> (southern parts of Suffolk County)<br />State Senator Phil Boyle, a Republican, is not running for reelection, leaving an open race for his seat. Republican candidate Wendy Rodriguez has the Republican party’s nomination to replace him.</p> <p>There is a Democratic primary in the race and its winner will face Rodriguez in the general. The two candidates are former State Senator Monica Martinez, who has the county party’s endorsement, and Assemblymember Phil Ramos.</p> <p><strong>District 7</strong> (parts of Long Island’s north shore)<br />State Senator Anna Kaplan, a Democrat, is being challenged by Jeremy Joseph, a Nassau County Democratic Socialists of America organizer. </p> <p><strong>District 51</strong> (Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, Part of Broome, Part of Chenango &amp; Part of Ulster counties)<br />Republican State Senator Peter Oberacker is facing a primary challenge from Terry Bernardo, who has previously served as chair of the Ulster County Legislature. On the Democratic side, Eric Ball is running uncontested. </p> <p><strong>District 52</strong> (Cortland, Tompkins and parts of Broome counties)<br />Incumbent State Senator Fred Akshar, a Republican, is running for Broome County Sheriff, leaving an open race for his seat. Republican candidate Richard David is running unopposed for his party’s nomination. </p> <p>Two Democrats are competing in the primary: former Binghamton City Council Member Lea Webb, who also has the Working Families Party Line, and lawyer Leslie Danks Burke, who previously unsuccessfully ran for State Senate twice.</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p> <p>Note - this article has been updated to note that Wendy Rodriguez, not Senator Alexis Weik, is the Republican nominee in the 4th Senate District. </p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/4x1-mashup-rivera-jackson-gounardes-parker.jpg" /></p> <p>(l-r) State Senators Gustavo Rivera, Robert Jackson, Andrew Gounardes, Kevin Parker</p> <hr /> <p>Early voting for the August 23 primary begins on Saturday, August 13, and there are several competitive races taking place for New York State Senate, with <a href="https://newyork.redistrictingandyou.org/?districtType=sd&amp;propA=current_2012&amp;propB=sen_specialmastercorrected_20220604&amp;opacity=2#%26map=9.15/40.8169/-73.8164">new district maps</a> in place following the decennial redistricting process.</p> <p>Democrats currently control the 63-member State Senate, with a 42-20 majority (there is one vacancy) and are in no danger of losing their majority in the November general election, though the margin could tighten. Right now, several incumbents are facing tough primary challenges while others have had to adjust to newly drawn district lines encompassing neighborhoods they did not previously represent. Some sitting senators even had to decide whether to shift their residence to continue running in familiar territory or face the unpredictability of their new districts.</p> <p>The redistricting essentially created two new Senate districts – the 17th in Brooklyn and the 59th, which covers parts of Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn – neither of which have incumbents running in them. While there is a crowded and competitive primary in the new 59th, there is no primary in the 17th, where Iwen Chu has the Democratic nomination locked up and is all but certain to head to the State Senate given the district's heavy Democratic tilt.</p> <p>Meanwhile, among the district lines that have shifted so much that incumbents must introduce themselves to all new neighborhoods, State Senator Andrew Gounardes of Brooklyn is running in territory mostly outside his current district. Gounardes is seeking to keep his seat in the Senate against former City Council Member David Yassky.</p> <p>Among the most heated State Senate primaries in the five boroughs are three races in which Democratic incumbents are being challenged:</p> <p>State Senator Gustavo Rivera is facing a deluge of opposition from the Bronx Democratic Party as it seeks to unseat the independent-minded senator by electing challenger Miguelina Camilo, while Rivera’s progressive allies are seeking to come to his aid and help him win another term.</p> <p>State Senator Robert Jackson of Manhattan is facing challenger Angel Vasquez, who is backed by a coalition of elected officials and others led by U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat.</p> <p>And State Senator Kevin Parker of Brooklyn is being challenged from the left by David Alexis, who has the backing of the Democratic Socialists of America New York City branch and many of its allies, including several sitting elected officials like Parker’s Brooklyn colleagues Senators Jabari Brisport and Julia Salazar.</p> <p>Almost all the contested primary races are taking place among Democrats, with just a few Republican races where there is competition.</p> <p>Here are the competitive State Senate races to watch in the August primary:</p> <p><strong>New York City</strong><br /><strong>District 15</strong> (parts of southwestern Queens)<br />State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., a Democrat, faces two challengers for the newly drawn District 15: Japneet Singh, an accountant and former taxi driver who is seeking to become the state’s first Sikh lawmaker; and Albert Baldeo, president of the Alliance of South Asian American Labor’s Richmond Hill chapter, who once <a href="https://queenseagle.com/all/2022/6/24/queens-man-jailed-for-corruption-is-running-for-both-state-assembly-and-senate">went to jail</a> for corruption.</p> <p><strong>District 21</strong> (parts of central and southern Brooklyn)<br />Democratic State Senator Kevin Parker faces two challengers in his new district: David Alexis, who is backed by various left-wing groups and officials including the Working Families Party and Democratic Socialists of America New York City branch; and Kaegan Mays-Williams, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan.</p> <p><strong>District 23</strong> (Staten Island’s north and east shores and parts of Brooklyn, including Coney Island)<br />State Senator Diane Savino, a Democrat, is retiring from office and there is an open race to replace her. Four candidates are running in the Democratic primary including Jessica Scarcella-Spanton, a former Savino staffer who has Savino’s support and is currently assistant director of government and community relations at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Bianca Rajpersaud, a lobbyist at Davidoff Hutcher &amp; Citron; Sarah Blas, who is backed by the Working Families Party; and Rajiv Gowda, a civil engineer.</p> <p>There is also a Republican primary featuring two candidates: Sergey Fedorov, who has been endorsed by the GOP; and Joseph Tirone Jr., a real estate broker.</p> <p><strong>District 25</strong> (parts of Brooklyn from the Brooklyn Navy Yard to Ocean Hill)<br />Democratic State Senator Jabari Brisport, a democratic socialist, has two challengers in the primary: Renee Holmes, a teacher; and Conrad Tillard, a minister.</p> <p><strong>District 26</strong> (parts of western Brooklyn from Dumbo to Fort Hamilton)<br />State Senator Andrew Gounardes, a Democrat, currently represents District 22, from Bay Ridge and Borough Park to Gerritsen Beach, and is now running in the newly drawn District 26, which is very different but includes his base of Bay Ridge. He is facing David Yassky, who has previously served in the New York City Council, as a policy advisor to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and as Taxi &amp; Limousine Commissioner under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.</p> <p><strong>District 27</strong> (Lower Manhattan)<br />Democratic State Senator Brian Kavanagh’s new district is entirely in Manhattan, with the Brooklyn parts of his current district excluded after the redistricting process. He faces two opponents in the primary, Danyela Souza Egorov, a charter school advocate and vice president of the District 2 Community Education Council; and Vittoria Fariello, a lawyer and Democratic district leader.</p> <p><strong>District 30</strong> (Upper Manhattan from Bloomingdale and Harlem up to Sugar Hill)<br />Democratic State Senator Cordell Cleare’s district lines did not change drastically and she is running for reelection against Shana Harmongoff, who previously served as district office director and director of community affairs for former State Senator Brian Benjamin. Harmongoff unsuccessfully sought to succeed Benjamin in a special election after he became lieutenant governor, losing to Cleare. </p> <p><strong>District 31</strong> (Upper Manhattan from Washington Heights to Inwood)<br />State Senator Robert Jackson, a Democrat, is running for reelection in a much more compact district. Previously, District 31 stretched along the west side waterfront from Inwood all the way to Midtown. Jackson faces three opponents: Angel Vasquez, a political consultant and former chief of staff to former State Senator Marisol Alcantara, who has garnered significant support from elected officials and groups; perennial candidate Ruben Dario Vargas; and Spanish-language interpreter Francesca Castellanos.</p> <p><strong>District 33</strong> (Parts of the Bronx from Riverdale to Van Nest)<br />State Senator Gustavo Rivera, a Democrat, saw major changes to his district lines, with his home falling outside of the newly created District 33, which will require him to move if he should win, though he did not have to in order to run. He is running against Miguelina Camilo, president of the Bronx Women’s Bar Association and first-time candidate who has the backing of the Bronx County Democratic Party and many Bronx elected officials including State Senator Jamaal Bailey, who chairs the Bronx county party.</p> <p><strong>District 34</strong> (East Bronx and parts of Westchester)<br />With sitting State Senator Alessandra Biaggi running for Congress, there is an open race for the new District 34 seat. Three candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination: Assemblymember Nathalia Fernandez, backed by the Bronx Democratic Party and many other elected officials; Christian Amato, a Democratic consultant and Community Board 11 member; and perennial candidate John Perez.</p> <p><strong>District 47</strong> (West Side of Manhattan from the Meatpacking District to the Upper West Side)<br />Democratic State Senator Brad Hoylman represents District 27, which was spread across Midtown and Downtown Manhattan, and has been redrawn into the new District 47. He is running in the primary against Maria Danzilo, an attorney and former City Council candidate.</p> <p><strong>District 59</strong> (parts of Midtown East in Manhattan, Greenpoint in Brooklyn, and Astoria and Long Island City in Queens)<br />There’s a competitive open primary underway for District 59, a completely new district that was created this year spanning parts of three boroughs. Five candidates are on the ballot including former City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley; Kristen Gonzalez, a product manager for American Express who is backed by the Democratic Socialists of America - New York City; Nomiki Konst, a former journalist and one-time candidate for public advocate; Michael Corbett, vice chair of the state Democratic Party; and small business owner Francoise Olivas.</p> <p><strong>Outside New York City</strong><br /><strong>District 4</strong> (southern parts of Suffolk County)<br />State Senator Phil Boyle, a Republican, is not running for reelection, leaving an open race for his seat. Republican candidate Wendy Rodriguez has the Republican party’s nomination to replace him.</p> <p>There is a Democratic primary in the race and its winner will face Rodriguez in the general. The two candidates are former State Senator Monica Martinez, who has the county party’s endorsement, and Assemblymember Phil Ramos.</p> <p><strong>District 7</strong> (parts of Long Island’s north shore)<br />State Senator Anna Kaplan, a Democrat, is being challenged by Jeremy Joseph, a Nassau County Democratic Socialists of America organizer. </p> <p><strong>District 51</strong> (Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, Part of Broome, Part of Chenango &amp; Part of Ulster counties)<br />Republican State Senator Peter Oberacker is facing a primary challenge from Terry Bernardo, who has previously served as chair of the Ulster County Legislature. On the Democratic side, Eric Ball is running uncontested. </p> <p><strong>District 52</strong> (Cortland, Tompkins and parts of Broome counties)<br />Incumbent State Senator Fred Akshar, a Republican, is running for Broome County Sheriff, leaving an open race for his seat. Republican candidate Richard David is running unopposed for his party’s nomination. </p> <p>Two Democrats are competing in the primary: former Binghamton City Council Member Lea Webb, who also has the Working Families Party Line, and lawyer Leslie Danks Burke, who previously unsuccessfully ran for State Senate twice.</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note - this article has been updated to note that Wendy Rodriguez, not Senator Alexis Weik, is the Republican nominee in the 4th Senate District. </p>
Max Politics Podcast: Rep. Carolyn Maloney on Her Campaign for Congress in the New NY-12 2022-08-08T14:00:00+00:00 2022-08-08T14:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11510-max-politics-carolyn-maloney-congress-nadler-ny-12 Gotham Gazette ggstaff@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/protecting-abortion-rep.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Rep. Carolyn Maloney joins other top elected officials to outline plans for protecting abortion rights (photo: Don Pollard/Governor’s Office)</p> <hr /> <p><strong>August 8, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Rep. Carolyn Maloney on Her Campaign for Congress in the New NY-12<br /></strong></p> <p>Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat representing the current 12th Congressional District of New York, joined the show to discuss her campaign in the August primary for the new 12th Congressional District, a race that also includes Rep. Jerry Nadler and attorney Suraj Patel.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax">@TweetBenMax</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts at Max Politics.</p> <p class="feed-readmore"><a target="_blank" href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11510-max-politics-carolyn-maloney-congress-nadler-ny-12">Read More ...</a></p> <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/protecting-abortion-rep.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Rep. Carolyn Maloney joins other top elected officials to outline plans for protecting abortion rights (photo: Don Pollard/Governor’s Office)</p> <hr /> <p><strong>August 8, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Rep. Carolyn Maloney on Her Campaign for Congress in the New NY-12<br /></strong></p> <p>Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat representing the current 12th Congressional District of New York, joined the show to discuss her campaign in the August primary for the new 12th Congressional District, a race that also includes Rep. Jerry Nadler and attorney Suraj Patel.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax">@TweetBenMax</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts at Max Politics.</p> <p class="feed-readmore"><a target="_blank" href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11510-max-politics-carolyn-maloney-congress-nadler-ny-12">Read More ...</a></p> After Push by Hochul and Adams, an Increase in Court-Ordered Mental Health Treatment 2022-08-06T04:00:00+00:00 2022-08-06T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11506-hochul-adams-kendras-law-mental-health-court-order Ethan Geringer-Sameth ethangs@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/maj-a-safe.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul and Mayor Adams make an announcement (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to state data, the number of people placed under court-ordered mental health treatment since April, when lawmakers expanded the court's power to make such determinations, has increased 60% from the same period a year before.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The data, provided by the state Office of Court Administration (OCA) to Gotham Gazette after an inquiry, shows that during the four-month period from April through July, 462 people in New York were ordered by a judge to undergo mental health treatment under Kendra's Law, a 1999 statute that applies to people deemed a danger to themselves or others.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">During the same period last year, 288 such orders were issued statewide, including 127 – fewer than half the total – in New York City. In April through July of this year, a much larger share, two-thirds of all cases, or 320 orders, took place in New York City.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But it appears the court's new powers, enacted through the state budget in April, do not actually account for the difference. According to the state Office of Mental Health (OMH), which oversees Kendra's Law, no orders have been issued under the new statutory language.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kendra's Law — named after Kendra Webdale, a young woman pushed in front of a train and killed in 1999 by a man with a long history of untreated schizophrenia — allows courts to require outpatient mental health treatment for people deemed dangerous; if a person fails to comply they can be evaluated and committed to a psychiatric hospital. To receive an Assisted Outpatient Treatment, or AOT, order, a person must have recently been in and out of hospitalizations and be demonstrating violent behavior.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Expanding the reach of Kendra's Law became a focus for Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul after a rash of high-profile attacks by people with reported mental illnesses, though Adams also spoke in support of greater use of AOTs during his 2021 campaign for mayor. Both Democratic executives helped lead a chorus framing it as a key tool in public safety and mental health strategies to make people with serious mental illnesses, in Adams’ words, "get the care that they deserve."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It was also woven into Adams' strategy to clear street encampments and, in partnership with Hochul, reach homeless people living on the subway. "We're not going to be disrespectful. We don't have the right to tell people they can't live on the street," Adams said at press conference on March 30, shortly before the state budget passed in early April. "Laws don't allow us to do that. That's why we're calling for a stronger Kendra's Law to give people help that need help. Albany must make that decision."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At Hochul's insistence, Kendra's Law was amended to allow judges to renew AOT orders within six months when they deem a person has a mental illness that "substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities" – even when they have not exhibited any new violent tendencies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hochul and the State Legislature also approved amendments to allow doctors to make court appearances by teleconference and require facilities to share patient records with county officials overseeing AOTs. The changes, which included renewing Kendra's Law for five years, also require the state to conduct a study on the efficacy of the law by 2026.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"This is part of the conversation to address the situation which is unfolding particularly in the City of New York," Hochul told reporters when she announced a budget agreement on April 7, saying the amendments were "not sacrificing the rights of injured individuals, but focusing on public safety and making sure people get the medical attention they need."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Asked to comment specifically on the increase in AOTs over the last four months compared to the same period last year or the fact that her desired changes had so far gone unutilized, Governor Hochul’s office referred Gotham Gazette to OMH. An OMH spokesperson noted it was early in implementation of the expanded statute and the agency was in the process of educating stakeholders.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Since the amendments have gone into effect, OMH has been working to make the infrastructure changes needed to implement the amendment," wrote the spokesperson, Mark Genovese, in an email.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He said that because AOT programs are run at the county level, 62 local governments "needed to adjust their practices, educate all local stakeholders including court personnel, county attorneys, Mental Hygiene Legal Services, entities who can function as petitioners of AOT, treatment providers, etc."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But the increased use of Kendra’s Law does indicate that petitioners are seeking AOTs more often after Kendra's Law made headlines throughout Adams' and Hochul's early tenure.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">OMH could not provide details about who has initiated AOT petitions due to "lag time with data entry." Asked how many AOTs had been initiated after contact with a government employee, Genovese, the OMH spokesperson, noted: "AOT does not occur as a result of a single engagement or by one employee but is usually a coordinated effort by a team of mental health professionals who review an individual’s ability to voluntarily engage in recommended treatment."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A host of civil rights activists and advocates for people with mental illnesses have criticized the law and its expansion as a violation of due process and a distraction from systemic failures to engage and aid people with mental health needs under less coercive circumstances.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"We don't believe we should have to haul people into court in order to get them better services," said Harvey Rosenthal, CEO of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, an organization of mental health service providers. "More orders is not a sign of a well-working system, it's a sign of a failed system that has to rely on coercion because it doesn't know how to engage various populations effectively."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rosenthal said expanding AOT criteria from dangerousness to mere self-neglect was the most "egregious" change, calling the threshold "so broad and so vague" and low enough to lead to chronic civil rights violations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As of August 4, there were 3,418 active AOT orders statewide, only slightly higher than the 3,376 reported on the same day in 2021. Black and Hispanic people make up 65% of AOT order recipients statewide and 76% in New York City, despite accounting for less than 40% of the state population and just over half of the New York City population. According to OMH, 1,174 people have had to undergo an evaluation for failing to comply with a court-ordered treatment, and 27% of those evaluations – roughly 317 people – resulted in a psychiatric commitment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"We already know that mental health systems fail people of color," Rosenthal said. "That's a perfect example, a terrible one, of system failure."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">State Assembly Member Aileen Gunther, a Sullivan County Democrat and chair of the Assembly mental health committee, did not defend the Kendra's Law amendment when presented the data on its lack of use.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Obviously the expansion of Kendra’s Law was a big priority for the Governor in this year’s budget. In my time as Chair of the Assembly Mental Health Committee, I’ve worked to impress upon people that individuals with mental illness are much more likely to be the victims of crime than the perpetrators," she wrote in a statement to Gotham Gazette.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"We need to do everything we can to reduce the stigma and break down barriers to treatment. I will continue to work with my colleagues to monitor the efficacy of Kendra’s Law and its recent changes,” she said. A spokesperson for Gunther said she believed the state's new 9-8-8 suicide prevention hotline and new "crisis stabilization centers" funded in the budget will make mental health care more accessible.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">State Senator Samra Brouk, a Rochester Democrat and the Senate's mental health chair, did not respond to requests for comment.</span></p> <p><b>Revisiting Kendra's Law<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">In public statements, Adams has embraced Kendra's Law and the expansions wholeheartedly. He supported expansions to Kendra's Law during heated state budget negotiations and lauded the changes that Hochul ultimately pushed through.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In July, Adams appointed Brian Stettin, who wrote the original Kendra's Law bill in 1999 as a New York State assistant attorney general under Eliot Spitzer, as "senior advisor for severe mental illness."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At the height of state budget negotiations, and three months before joining the Adams administration, Stettin wrote an </span><a href="https://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Commentary-Learn-what-Kendra-s-Law-does-17057358.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">op-ed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in the Albany Times Union calling Kendra's Law "our best tool in helping the most vulnerable mentally ill New Yorkers escape the endless shuttle between hospitals, incarceration and the streets."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After the budget was passed with the largest expansion of Kendra's Law to date, Stettin applauded the spirit behind the changes but told Gotham Gazette the final language had been watered down. "Unfortunately, the execution really turned out problematic," he said in an April interview, speaking as the policy director of the Treatment Advocacy Center, an organization that promotes the implementation of AOT laws throughout the country. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"There are technical problems with the improvements that I think waters them down and leaves them of questionable utility. I'm hopeful that we can do a clean up bill maybe in the summer to fix some of those issues, because in the end we really weren't left with much in terms of useful ways to expand the application of Kendra's Law," he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stettin said the new statutory language leaves uncertainty about whether a judge must make a separate finding that an individual meets the criteria for renewing an AOT, or simply rubber-stamp the determinations of county health officials. He also said the law contains grey areas for how doctors may use the virtual testimony option and for how medical records may be shared with county officials.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Yet like Rosenthal, Stettin also called the criteria around self-neglect overly vague.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A spokesperson for Mayor Adams commended the changes to Kendra's Law but would not comment directly on the increase in AOT orders or the fact that none had been issued under the new expanded language in the four months since it's been law.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"We're grateful to the governor and the state for working together on these changes and are looking forward to continuing this work next session to keep people safe and make sure they get the help they need, including AOT when appropriate," the spokesperson wrote in an email.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Asked whether the administration had been working with state lawmakers on a "clean-up bill," as Stettin had indicated he would like to pursue before joining the administration, the spokesperson referred to their previous statement indicating an interest in “continuing” the effort next session. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The mayor's office did not answer questions about how many engagements by NYPD officers or city outreach workers result in AOT orders.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the state Office of Mental Health (OMH), a so-called "designated petitioner," someone who can seek an AOT for another individual, can include "an adult roommate, parent, adult child, or sibling of the possible AOT recipient, a hospital director where the possible AOT recipient in receiving inpatient care, the director of a public or charitable organization, a treating psychiatrist, licensed psychologist or licensed social worker, a director of community services, and probation or parole officers…however state police, outreach workers and MTA employees are not designated petitioners, and therefore are not part of the [state] AOT data collection process.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The mayoral spokesperson said the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which contains the city's AOT office, as well as the Department of Social Services and New York City Health + Hospitals had been educated on the changes to Kendra's Law. But the spokesperson would not say whether Adams or other top officials had issued strategic directives around using Kendra's Law more or differently.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Asked about internal guidance, an NYPD spokesperson pointed to a section in the Police Patrol Guide on procedures for executing removal orders of people into psychiatric facilities that was last updated in October 2021, before Kendra's Law was amended.</span></p> <p>

***
by Ethan Geringer-Sameth, reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/maj-a-safe.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul and Mayor Adams make an announcement (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to state data, the number of people placed under court-ordered mental health treatment since April, when lawmakers expanded the court's power to make such determinations, has increased 60% from the same period a year before.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The data, provided by the state Office of Court Administration (OCA) to Gotham Gazette after an inquiry, shows that during the four-month period from April through July, 462 people in New York were ordered by a judge to undergo mental health treatment under Kendra's Law, a 1999 statute that applies to people deemed a danger to themselves or others.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">During the same period last year, 288 such orders were issued statewide, including 127 – fewer than half the total – in New York City. In April through July of this year, a much larger share, two-thirds of all cases, or 320 orders, took place in New York City.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But it appears the court's new powers, enacted through the state budget in April, do not actually account for the difference. According to the state Office of Mental Health (OMH), which oversees Kendra's Law, no orders have been issued under the new statutory language.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kendra's Law — named after Kendra Webdale, a young woman pushed in front of a train and killed in 1999 by a man with a long history of untreated schizophrenia — allows courts to require outpatient mental health treatment for people deemed dangerous; if a person fails to comply they can be evaluated and committed to a psychiatric hospital. To receive an Assisted Outpatient Treatment, or AOT, order, a person must have recently been in and out of hospitalizations and be demonstrating violent behavior.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Expanding the reach of Kendra's Law became a focus for Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul after a rash of high-profile attacks by people with reported mental illnesses, though Adams also spoke in support of greater use of AOTs during his 2021 campaign for mayor. Both Democratic executives helped lead a chorus framing it as a key tool in public safety and mental health strategies to make people with serious mental illnesses, in Adams’ words, "get the care that they deserve."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It was also woven into Adams' strategy to clear street encampments and, in partnership with Hochul, reach homeless people living on the subway. "We're not going to be disrespectful. We don't have the right to tell people they can't live on the street," Adams said at press conference on March 30, shortly before the state budget passed in early April. "Laws don't allow us to do that. That's why we're calling for a stronger Kendra's Law to give people help that need help. Albany must make that decision."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At Hochul's insistence, Kendra's Law was amended to allow judges to renew AOT orders within six months when they deem a person has a mental illness that "substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities" – even when they have not exhibited any new violent tendencies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hochul and the State Legislature also approved amendments to allow doctors to make court appearances by teleconference and require facilities to share patient records with county officials overseeing AOTs. The changes, which included renewing Kendra's Law for five years, also require the state to conduct a study on the efficacy of the law by 2026.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"This is part of the conversation to address the situation which is unfolding particularly in the City of New York," Hochul told reporters when she announced a budget agreement on April 7, saying the amendments were "not sacrificing the rights of injured individuals, but focusing on public safety and making sure people get the medical attention they need."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Asked to comment specifically on the increase in AOTs over the last four months compared to the same period last year or the fact that her desired changes had so far gone unutilized, Governor Hochul’s office referred Gotham Gazette to OMH. An OMH spokesperson noted it was early in implementation of the expanded statute and the agency was in the process of educating stakeholders.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Since the amendments have gone into effect, OMH has been working to make the infrastructure changes needed to implement the amendment," wrote the spokesperson, Mark Genovese, in an email.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He said that because AOT programs are run at the county level, 62 local governments "needed to adjust their practices, educate all local stakeholders including court personnel, county attorneys, Mental Hygiene Legal Services, entities who can function as petitioners of AOT, treatment providers, etc."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But the increased use of Kendra’s Law does indicate that petitioners are seeking AOTs more often after Kendra's Law made headlines throughout Adams' and Hochul's early tenure.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">OMH could not provide details about who has initiated AOT petitions due to "lag time with data entry." Asked how many AOTs had been initiated after contact with a government employee, Genovese, the OMH spokesperson, noted: "AOT does not occur as a result of a single engagement or by one employee but is usually a coordinated effort by a team of mental health professionals who review an individual’s ability to voluntarily engage in recommended treatment."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A host of civil rights activists and advocates for people with mental illnesses have criticized the law and its expansion as a violation of due process and a distraction from systemic failures to engage and aid people with mental health needs under less coercive circumstances.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"We don't believe we should have to haul people into court in order to get them better services," said Harvey Rosenthal, CEO of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, an organization of mental health service providers. "More orders is not a sign of a well-working system, it's a sign of a failed system that has to rely on coercion because it doesn't know how to engage various populations effectively."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rosenthal said expanding AOT criteria from dangerousness to mere self-neglect was the most "egregious" change, calling the threshold "so broad and so vague" and low enough to lead to chronic civil rights violations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As of August 4, there were 3,418 active AOT orders statewide, only slightly higher than the 3,376 reported on the same day in 2021. Black and Hispanic people make up 65% of AOT order recipients statewide and 76% in New York City, despite accounting for less than 40% of the state population and just over half of the New York City population. According to OMH, 1,174 people have had to undergo an evaluation for failing to comply with a court-ordered treatment, and 27% of those evaluations – roughly 317 people – resulted in a psychiatric commitment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"We already know that mental health systems fail people of color," Rosenthal said. "That's a perfect example, a terrible one, of system failure."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">State Assembly Member Aileen Gunther, a Sullivan County Democrat and chair of the Assembly mental health committee, did not defend the Kendra's Law amendment when presented the data on its lack of use.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Obviously the expansion of Kendra’s Law was a big priority for the Governor in this year’s budget. In my time as Chair of the Assembly Mental Health Committee, I’ve worked to impress upon people that individuals with mental illness are much more likely to be the victims of crime than the perpetrators," she wrote in a statement to Gotham Gazette.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"We need to do everything we can to reduce the stigma and break down barriers to treatment. I will continue to work with my colleagues to monitor the efficacy of Kendra’s Law and its recent changes,” she said. A spokesperson for Gunther said she believed the state's new 9-8-8 suicide prevention hotline and new "crisis stabilization centers" funded in the budget will make mental health care more accessible.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">State Senator Samra Brouk, a Rochester Democrat and the Senate's mental health chair, did not respond to requests for comment.</span></p> <p><b>Revisiting Kendra's Law<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">In public statements, Adams has embraced Kendra's Law and the expansions wholeheartedly. He supported expansions to Kendra's Law during heated state budget negotiations and lauded the changes that Hochul ultimately pushed through.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In July, Adams appointed Brian Stettin, who wrote the original Kendra's Law bill in 1999 as a New York State assistant attorney general under Eliot Spitzer, as "senior advisor for severe mental illness."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At the height of state budget negotiations, and three months before joining the Adams administration, Stettin wrote an </span><a href="https://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Commentary-Learn-what-Kendra-s-Law-does-17057358.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">op-ed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in the Albany Times Union calling Kendra's Law "our best tool in helping the most vulnerable mentally ill New Yorkers escape the endless shuttle between hospitals, incarceration and the streets."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After the budget was passed with the largest expansion of Kendra's Law to date, Stettin applauded the spirit behind the changes but told Gotham Gazette the final language had been watered down. "Unfortunately, the execution really turned out problematic," he said in an April interview, speaking as the policy director of the Treatment Advocacy Center, an organization that promotes the implementation of AOT laws throughout the country. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"There are technical problems with the improvements that I think waters them down and leaves them of questionable utility. I'm hopeful that we can do a clean up bill maybe in the summer to fix some of those issues, because in the end we really weren't left with much in terms of useful ways to expand the application of Kendra's Law," he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stettin said the new statutory language leaves uncertainty about whether a judge must make a separate finding that an individual meets the criteria for renewing an AOT, or simply rubber-stamp the determinations of county health officials. He also said the law contains grey areas for how doctors may use the virtual testimony option and for how medical records may be shared with county officials.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Yet like Rosenthal, Stettin also called the criteria around self-neglect overly vague.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A spokesperson for Mayor Adams commended the changes to Kendra's Law but would not comment directly on the increase in AOT orders or the fact that none had been issued under the new expanded language in the four months since it's been law.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"We're grateful to the governor and the state for working together on these changes and are looking forward to continuing this work next session to keep people safe and make sure they get the help they need, including AOT when appropriate," the spokesperson wrote in an email.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Asked whether the administration had been working with state lawmakers on a "clean-up bill," as Stettin had indicated he would like to pursue before joining the administration, the spokesperson referred to their previous statement indicating an interest in “continuing” the effort next session. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The mayor's office did not answer questions about how many engagements by NYPD officers or city outreach workers result in AOT orders.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the state Office of Mental Health (OMH), a so-called "designated petitioner," someone who can seek an AOT for another individual, can include "an adult roommate, parent, adult child, or sibling of the possible AOT recipient, a hospital director where the possible AOT recipient in receiving inpatient care, the director of a public or charitable organization, a treating psychiatrist, licensed psychologist or licensed social worker, a director of community services, and probation or parole officers…however state police, outreach workers and MTA employees are not designated petitioners, and therefore are not part of the [state] AOT data collection process.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The mayoral spokesperson said the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which contains the city's AOT office, as well as the Department of Social Services and New York City Health + Hospitals had been educated on the changes to Kendra's Law. But the spokesperson would not say whether Adams or other top officials had issued strategic directives around using Kendra's Law more or differently.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Asked about internal guidance, an NYPD spokesperson pointed to a section in the Police Patrol Guide on procedures for executing removal orders of people into psychiatric facilities that was last updated in October 2021, before Kendra's Law was amended.</span></p> <p>

***
by Ethan Geringer-Sameth, reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
Max Politics Podcast: Comptroller DiNapoli on State & MTA Finances, Penn Station Redevelopment, & More 2022-08-02T14:00:00+00:00 2022-08-02T14:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11500-max-politics-podcast-comptroller-dinapoli-state-mta-finances Gotham Gazette ggstaff@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/mp-comp-state600.jpg" /></p> <p>Comptroller Tom DiNapoli (photo: @NYSComptroller)</p> <hr /> <p><strong>August 2, 2022 - Comptroller DiNapoli on State &amp; MTA Finances, &amp; More<br /></strong></p> <p>New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli joined the show to discuss state and MTA finances, the New York economy, use of federal pandemic aid, the Penn Station area redevelopment plan, the New York City budget limbo over school funding cuts, and more.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax">@TweetBenMax</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts at Max Politics.</p> <p class="feed-readmore"><a target="_blank" href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11500-max-politics-podcast-comptroller-dinapoli-state-mta-finances">Read More ...</a></p> <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/mp-comp-state600.jpg" /></p> <p>Comptroller Tom DiNapoli (photo: @NYSComptroller)</p> <hr /> <p><strong>August 2, 2022 - Comptroller DiNapoli on State &amp; MTA Finances, &amp; More<br /></strong></p> <p>New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli joined the show to discuss state and MTA finances, the New York economy, use of federal pandemic aid, the Penn Station area redevelopment plan, the New York City budget limbo over school funding cuts, and more.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax">@TweetBenMax</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts at Max Politics.</p> <p class="feed-readmore"><a target="_blank" href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11500-max-politics-podcast-comptroller-dinapoli-state-mta-finances">Read More ...</a></p> What Does the Supreme Court EPA Ruling Mean for New York Climate Efforts? 2022-08-03T04:00:00+00:00 2022-08-03T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11502-supreme-court-epa-ruling-new-york-climate Lindsay Shachnow lshachnow@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/gov-cut-harris.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul cuts a solar farm ribbon (photo: Philip Kamrass/ New York Power Authority)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Elected and appointed officials, candidates for office, and environmental activists in New York  were reenergized to fight against climate change locally in the wake of a June Supreme Court ruling that limits the power of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.</span></p> <p><a href="https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/20-1530_n758.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The decision</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency released June 30 impacts the EPA’s power to regulate carbon emissions, holding that the EPA needs congressional approval to take such action. Many legal experts expect that the Court’s argument in the ruling could be extended to other federal agencies, hindering their regulatory authority to act without specific permission from Congress.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For the first time, the Court explicitly invoked the “</span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/30/us/scotus-major-questions-doctrine.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">major questions doctrine</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">,” a legal principle requiring Congress to give clear authorization before a regulation is imposed. The decision held that the EPA exceeded its jurisdiction when it </span><a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/three-climate-rules-threatened-by-the-supreme-courts-epa-decision/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">created a rule</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that shifted power plants to renewable energy under the Clean Air Act. In practice, this signals that the “major questions doctrine” could be applied by the conservative majority on the Supreme Court to other EPA regulations and other federal agencies, potentially undoing regulations of major significance where Congress has not explicitly legislated regulatory authority.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The EPA ruling, while not unexpected, sent additional shockwaves across the country after the conservative Supreme Court majority’s rulings overturning Roe v. Wade federal abortion rights and New York’s concealed carry gun regulations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In some ways, the EPA ruling flew under the radar given how much attention has been on Roe especially. But many in New York took notice and highlighted efforts underway or in the offing to take additional measures to fight or adapt to climate change.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“By limiting the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to protect our environment, the Court is taking away some of the best tools we have to address the climate crisis,” Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement. “New York is once again in the familiar, but unwelcome, position of stepping up after the Supreme Court strikes a blow to our basic protections. But as always, New York is ready. We will strengthen our nation-leading efforts to address the climate crisis, redouble efforts with sister states, build new clean energy projects in every corner of the state, and crack down on pollution harming the health of many New Yorkers. After this ruling, our work is more urgent than ever."</span></p> <p><b>Implications for New York<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos told Gotham Gazette that while the Supreme Court’s decision is “devastating,” </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">the “good news is that New York is ready.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The ruling reinforces the important role that the states have in addressing climate change, said Seggos, who oversees </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York State’s environmental protection and regulatory agency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, signed into law in July 2019 by then-Governor Andrew Cuomo, is commonly touted as the most aggressive and comprehensive climate legislation in the nation. Among other requirements, the law mandates that New York reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 85% by 2050 from 1990 levels and creates the Climate Action Council to create the full plan to make it happen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A group of 22 members, the Council is in the process of developing the Scoping Plan to reach the goals set in the CLCPA.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Ultimately, the Supreme Court decision doesn’t impact us from a regulatory perspective. We have our own state laws that are not subject to their decision-making,” said Seggos, who serves as Co-Chair of the </span><a href="https://climate.ny.gov/Our-Climate-Act/Climate-Action-Council" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">CLCPA’s Climate Action Council</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. “I think what we now see is a heightening degree of responsibility that the states will have to ensure that the country is addressing the climate crisis.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The decision also increases the importance of the state </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Department of Environmental Conservation</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> working in coordination with the EPA, Seggos said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Our relationship with the EPA has never been stronger,” he said, referencing outreach, communication, and accessible EPA leadership. “This ruling underscores just how important that relationship is and that we are going to continue to be a committed partner with the federal government to find creative ways to help them achieve their goals and, of course, seek help from them for reaching our goals.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Supreme Court EPA ruling increases New York’s obligation to respond to climate change, said City Council Member James Gennaro, a Queens Democrat who chairs the Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This ruling will inevitably place more pressure on New York City and other local governments.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City in particular, being very climate conscious, will be left to fill the gaps,” said Gennaro. “But while New York City has been a global leader in climate efforts, there is very little motivating other states to follow suit. And that is the biggest problem we face from this ruling.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With fewer federal standards, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">companies may look to move their operations out of New York and into states with weaker environmental regulations, according to Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates New York, a nonprofit advocacy group.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“If we have national standards that are level with New York, then everybody’s in the same playing field,” said Iwanowicz, who serves on the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">CLCPA’s </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Climate Action Council. “Leveling the playing field is a really important part of pollution reduction initiatives.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Still, Seggos assured that the EPA continues to have an “extraordinary amount of authority” with regard to its regulatory abilities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">In spite of the Supreme Court ruling, the EPA still has powerful tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” wrote Seggos and his Climate Action Council co-chair Doreen Harris, who is the CEO of the New York State Energy Research &amp; Development Authority (NYSERDA) </span><a href="https://www.lohud.com/news/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">in a recent lohud op-ed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. “Chief among them is its authority to require every coal- and gas-fired power plant to utilize the best advanced technologies available to meet stringent emission limits or cease operation. The EPA should follow the lead of California, New York, and other states and adopt aggressive vehicle emission standards that drive vehicle manufacturers to produce and sell the zero-emission cars, trucks, and buses using well-established electric and fuel cell technology.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Seggos told Gotham Gazette that the main issue he sees with the Supreme Court EPA ruling is that the “trend is worrying,” referring to setbacks on climate change, though the interview took place before </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11496-climate-action-federal-inflation-reduction-act-new-york-city" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news broke of a deal reached</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> between U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin on potentially massive climate action in a federal budget bill being further negotiated in Washington.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Still, Seggos’ concern remains, as he put it, that while the EPA still has authority and there is still a strong relationship between current federal and New York leadership, the Supreme Court ruling “setba</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">cks a critical initiative, which is the regulation of power plants from a national perspective and pushing ultimately the power sector into renewables."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Others expressed concern that the generalities in the ruling will impact the EPA’s jurisdiction further and have more far-reaching implications.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This is a major setback in our fight against climate change,” Gennaro said. “This ruling curtails the EPA’s authority and poses ‘major questions’ about the EPA’s authority to regulate emissions should this decision be applied more broadly.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, said he fears the potential for the Supreme Court to further implement regulatory restrictions in the future, especially because many New York state programs have been enacted in order to show compliance with federal regulatory and legal mandates.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The wording of the decision is so troubling,” Bautista said. “It’s not impossible to see a right-wing attempt to use that ruling to try to go after New York laws.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since the Supreme Court decision, Bautista said he has been careful in his approach to his advocacy, determined not to invite “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">similar attacks” in New York.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We can’t adopt a more cautious approach especially since the federal government’s hands have been tied,” he said. “But we also have to be mindful…If they’ve come after the federal government’s ability to protect human health and the environment, what will it look like when they come after us at the city and state level?”</span></p> <p><b>Legislation in Place<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">“New York State has the ability to always act more aggressively than federal environmental standards,” Iwanowicz said. “Nothing that the Supreme Court decided under West Virginia v. EPA will impact New York State’s efforts to zero out our greenhouse gas emissions.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While experts like Iwanowicz contend that New York’s ability to enforce the landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019 (CLCPA) is not currently threatened in light of the ruling, some like Bautista are worried about future suits targeting the CLCPA and many advocates and elected officials insist the state should be doing more.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The CLCPA is absolutely not enough,” said Pete Sikora, senior advisor for nonprofit advocacy group New York Communities for Change, where he leads climate organizing. “It is too weak and has no enforcement mechanism. The very limited positive steps the state has taken are wholly insufficient. They must do the big, hard stuff. Fast. They need to break the pattern of making big promises to act, but not following through.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sikora is referring to the lack of a full plan from the Climate Action Council to fund, implement, and enforce the CLCPA, as well as related budgetary, legislative, and regulatory steps. There have been other climate- and environment-related bills that have become law in recent years but also a number of major proposals that have not made their way through Albany. The former group includes bills recently signed by Governor Hochul such as </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Advanced Building Codes, Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards Act of 2022</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Utility Thermal Energy Network and Jobs Act</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">; while the latter group of unpassed climate bills includes the Build Public Renewables Act and a proposal to ban gas hook-ups in newly-constructed buildings. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Following the Supreme Court decision, Hochul moved swiftly to sign that legislative package of three climate-related bills, targeting energy efficiency and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation supports the goals set in the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">CLCPA.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Now more than ever, the importance of a cost-effective green transformation is clear, and strengthening building codes and appliance standards will reduce carbon emissions and save New Yorkers billions of dollars by increasing efficiency,” Hochul said in a statement. “This multi-pronged legislative package will not only replace dirty fossil fuel infrastructure, but it will also further cement New York as the national leader in climate action and green jobs."   </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The United States Climate Alliance, created in response to former President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, is a coalition of 24 states including New York pledging to uphold the goals set forth in the original agreement. The member states, representing 59% of the U.S. economy and 54% of the U.S. population, according to the Alliance, pledge to achieve overall net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“New York has an opportunity to demonstrate what it means to be a true global leader on addressing the climate emergency,” Iwanowicz said of implementing the CLCPA. “Knitting together the coalition of the willing states is going to be really important, but it’s always been important.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We really need to double down on our draft plan,” he said of the Climate Action Council’s scoping plan.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In alignment with the agreement to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius – a goal originally established in the Paris Agreement – New York City has pledged to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City Comptroller Brad Lander recently unveiled a </span><a href="https://comptroller.nyc.gov/services/for-the-public/nyc-climate-dashboard/overview/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Climate Dashboard</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to document the city’s progress in reducing emissions, as well as other climate goals.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This dashboard tangibly assesses the danger our inaction poses towards our city and keeps us accountable to moving the needle on both mitigation and adaptation,” Louise Yeung, Chief Climate Officer for the New York City Comptroller, said in a statement. “Meeting our emissions reduction and resiliency goals is not an option for New York City – the future of our neighborhoods depends on the collective actions we take now.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City’s </span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/site/sustainablebuildings/ll97/local-law-97.page" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Local Law 97</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, passed in 2019, is a nation-leading law that targets </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">greenhouse gas emissions from existing buildings. The law, which has some major implementation questions of its own, calls for reducing building-based emissions by 40% by 2030, and by 80% by 2050.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Advocates and some elected officials have </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/11150-push-mayor-adams-implement-nyc-green-new-deal-buildings" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">called on Mayor Eric Adams to ensure the full implementation of the law</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> via appropriate funding and the regulations that his agencies are currently crafting. Implementation is an area where some see a greater role for the City Council, but the mayoral administration will nonetheless have significant say in whether the law has the kind of teeth its supporters thought it would.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We’re forced to play defense to try and make sure he fully implements and enforces the law,” Sikora said of the new mayor. “He needs to move forward, not threaten forward progress.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the “most ambitious” laws in the country, Gennaro called Local Law 97, in addition to the “</span><a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=4966519&amp;amp;GUID=714F1B3D-876F-4C4F-A1BC-A2849D60D55A&amp;amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;amp;Search=combustion"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gas Ban Bill</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">,” which prohibits the use of fossil fuel infrastructure in most new buildings in New York City starting in 2023, sets “a historic precedent for the country.”</span></p> <p><b>Proposed Legislation and Advocacy Efforts<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some New York environmentalists are demanding stronger action by the state, calling on elected officials to ensure that New York reaches its goals set in the CLCPA, in part by passing the </span><a href="https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/A1466" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Build Public Renewables Act</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and the </span><a href="https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/S6843" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">All-Electric Buildings Act</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">These are vital actions that should have passed in the last state legislative session,” Sikora said. “Governor Hochul needs to get it done and Speaker Heastie should stop doing the bidding of the oil and gas lobby by blocking these vital bills.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The All-Electric Buildings Act is in essence the state version of New York City’s gan ban bill. It would amend the state energy construction code, prohibiting “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">infrastructure, building systems, or equipment used for the combustion of fossil fuels in new construction statewide no later than December 31, 2023 if the building is less than seven stories and July 1, 2027 if the building is seven stories or more.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Build Public Renewables Act, which passed the State Senate but not Assembly this past session, would require the New York Power Authority to phase out its fossil fuel power plants by 2030 and provide renewable energy to customers, enhancing the state authority’s mandate and ability to produce renewable energies instead of largely being a procuring entity to buy such power from private providers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The Build Public Renewables Act is instrumental to the Democratic Socialists of America’s vision of a national Green New Deal,” reads a statement from the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, which says it wrote the BPRA. “If passed, it would provide a model for other states to build renewable energy at the speed and scale that the country - and human civilization - needs to prevent catastrophic climate crises.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Assemblymember</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Robert Carroll, a Brooklyn Democrat and prime sponsor of the BPRA, continues to call for its passage, including at a hearing this past week on the bill. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Without the NYBPRA, New York is unlikely to meet the goals set forth by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019,” Caroll said in a press release earlier this year. “Governor Hochul has a unique opportunity to use NYPA's strong bond rating to create desperately needed renewable energy projects. Projects that will create good jobs and be revenue neutral. Relying solely on the private market is not only insufficient for our needs, it would also result in an environmental justice catastrophe, where renewable infrastructure will be built for affluent communities downstate, while poor and upstate communities will continue to be forced to rely on dirty energy from fossil fuels.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite the alarming Supreme Court ruling, Seggos said he has confidence in the determination of New Yorkers to respond to climate change.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“New Yorkers are never hopeless,” Seggos said. “We get upset, but I think we have a can-do spirit here in New York, that when you see setbacks like this, it just renews our sense of ability to create fixes for big problems.”</span></p> <p>

***
Lindsay Shachnow, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/gov-cut-harris.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul cuts a solar farm ribbon (photo: Philip Kamrass/ New York Power Authority)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Elected and appointed officials, candidates for office, and environmental activists in New York  were reenergized to fight against climate change locally in the wake of a June Supreme Court ruling that limits the power of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.</span></p> <p><a href="https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/20-1530_n758.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The decision</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency released June 30 impacts the EPA’s power to regulate carbon emissions, holding that the EPA needs congressional approval to take such action. Many legal experts expect that the Court’s argument in the ruling could be extended to other federal agencies, hindering their regulatory authority to act without specific permission from Congress.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For the first time, the Court explicitly invoked the “</span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/30/us/scotus-major-questions-doctrine.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">major questions doctrine</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">,” a legal principle requiring Congress to give clear authorization before a regulation is imposed. The decision held that the EPA exceeded its jurisdiction when it </span><a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/three-climate-rules-threatened-by-the-supreme-courts-epa-decision/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">created a rule</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that shifted power plants to renewable energy under the Clean Air Act. In practice, this signals that the “major questions doctrine” could be applied by the conservative majority on the Supreme Court to other EPA regulations and other federal agencies, potentially undoing regulations of major significance where Congress has not explicitly legislated regulatory authority.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The EPA ruling, while not unexpected, sent additional shockwaves across the country after the conservative Supreme Court majority’s rulings overturning Roe v. Wade federal abortion rights and New York’s concealed carry gun regulations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In some ways, the EPA ruling flew under the radar given how much attention has been on Roe especially. But many in New York took notice and highlighted efforts underway or in the offing to take additional measures to fight or adapt to climate change.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“By limiting the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to protect our environment, the Court is taking away some of the best tools we have to address the climate crisis,” Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement. “New York is once again in the familiar, but unwelcome, position of stepping up after the Supreme Court strikes a blow to our basic protections. But as always, New York is ready. We will strengthen our nation-leading efforts to address the climate crisis, redouble efforts with sister states, build new clean energy projects in every corner of the state, and crack down on pollution harming the health of many New Yorkers. After this ruling, our work is more urgent than ever."</span></p> <p><b>Implications for New York<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos told Gotham Gazette that while the Supreme Court’s decision is “devastating,” </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">the “good news is that New York is ready.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The ruling reinforces the important role that the states have in addressing climate change, said Seggos, who oversees </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York State’s environmental protection and regulatory agency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, signed into law in July 2019 by then-Governor Andrew Cuomo, is commonly touted as the most aggressive and comprehensive climate legislation in the nation. Among other requirements, the law mandates that New York reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 85% by 2050 from 1990 levels and creates the Climate Action Council to create the full plan to make it happen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A group of 22 members, the Council is in the process of developing the Scoping Plan to reach the goals set in the CLCPA.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Ultimately, the Supreme Court decision doesn’t impact us from a regulatory perspective. We have our own state laws that are not subject to their decision-making,” said Seggos, who serves as Co-Chair of the </span><a href="https://climate.ny.gov/Our-Climate-Act/Climate-Action-Council" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">CLCPA’s Climate Action Council</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. “I think what we now see is a heightening degree of responsibility that the states will have to ensure that the country is addressing the climate crisis.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The decision also increases the importance of the state </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Department of Environmental Conservation</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> working in coordination with the EPA, Seggos said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Our relationship with the EPA has never been stronger,” he said, referencing outreach, communication, and accessible EPA leadership. “This ruling underscores just how important that relationship is and that we are going to continue to be a committed partner with the federal government to find creative ways to help them achieve their goals and, of course, seek help from them for reaching our goals.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Supreme Court EPA ruling increases New York’s obligation to respond to climate change, said City Council Member James Gennaro, a Queens Democrat who chairs the Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This ruling will inevitably place more pressure on New York City and other local governments.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City in particular, being very climate conscious, will be left to fill the gaps,” said Gennaro. “But while New York City has been a global leader in climate efforts, there is very little motivating other states to follow suit. And that is the biggest problem we face from this ruling.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With fewer federal standards, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">companies may look to move their operations out of New York and into states with weaker environmental regulations, according to Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates New York, a nonprofit advocacy group.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“If we have national standards that are level with New York, then everybody’s in the same playing field,” said Iwanowicz, who serves on the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">CLCPA’s </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Climate Action Council. “Leveling the playing field is a really important part of pollution reduction initiatives.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Still, Seggos assured that the EPA continues to have an “extraordinary amount of authority” with regard to its regulatory abilities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">In spite of the Supreme Court ruling, the EPA still has powerful tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” wrote Seggos and his Climate Action Council co-chair Doreen Harris, who is the CEO of the New York State Energy Research &amp; Development Authority (NYSERDA) </span><a href="https://www.lohud.com/news/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">in a recent lohud op-ed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. “Chief among them is its authority to require every coal- and gas-fired power plant to utilize the best advanced technologies available to meet stringent emission limits or cease operation. The EPA should follow the lead of California, New York, and other states and adopt aggressive vehicle emission standards that drive vehicle manufacturers to produce and sell the zero-emission cars, trucks, and buses using well-established electric and fuel cell technology.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Seggos told Gotham Gazette that the main issue he sees with the Supreme Court EPA ruling is that the “trend is worrying,” referring to setbacks on climate change, though the interview took place before </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11496-climate-action-federal-inflation-reduction-act-new-york-city" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news broke of a deal reached</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> between U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin on potentially massive climate action in a federal budget bill being further negotiated in Washington.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Still, Seggos’ concern remains, as he put it, that while the EPA still has authority and there is still a strong relationship between current federal and New York leadership, the Supreme Court ruling “setba</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">cks a critical initiative, which is the regulation of power plants from a national perspective and pushing ultimately the power sector into renewables."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Others expressed concern that the generalities in the ruling will impact the EPA’s jurisdiction further and have more far-reaching implications.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This is a major setback in our fight against climate change,” Gennaro said. “This ruling curtails the EPA’s authority and poses ‘major questions’ about the EPA’s authority to regulate emissions should this decision be applied more broadly.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, said he fears the potential for the Supreme Court to further implement regulatory restrictions in the future, especially because many New York state programs have been enacted in order to show compliance with federal regulatory and legal mandates.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The wording of the decision is so troubling,” Bautista said. “It’s not impossible to see a right-wing attempt to use that ruling to try to go after New York laws.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since the Supreme Court decision, Bautista said he has been careful in his approach to his advocacy, determined not to invite “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">similar attacks” in New York.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We can’t adopt a more cautious approach especially since the federal government’s hands have been tied,” he said. “But we also have to be mindful…If they’ve come after the federal government’s ability to protect human health and the environment, what will it look like when they come after us at the city and state level?”</span></p> <p><b>Legislation in Place<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">“New York State has the ability to always act more aggressively than federal environmental standards,” Iwanowicz said. “Nothing that the Supreme Court decided under West Virginia v. EPA will impact New York State’s efforts to zero out our greenhouse gas emissions.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While experts like Iwanowicz contend that New York’s ability to enforce the landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019 (CLCPA) is not currently threatened in light of the ruling, some like Bautista are worried about future suits targeting the CLCPA and many advocates and elected officials insist the state should be doing more.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The CLCPA is absolutely not enough,” said Pete Sikora, senior advisor for nonprofit advocacy group New York Communities for Change, where he leads climate organizing. “It is too weak and has no enforcement mechanism. The very limited positive steps the state has taken are wholly insufficient. They must do the big, hard stuff. Fast. They need to break the pattern of making big promises to act, but not following through.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sikora is referring to the lack of a full plan from the Climate Action Council to fund, implement, and enforce the CLCPA, as well as related budgetary, legislative, and regulatory steps. There have been other climate- and environment-related bills that have become law in recent years but also a number of major proposals that have not made their way through Albany. The former group includes bills recently signed by Governor Hochul such as </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Advanced Building Codes, Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards Act of 2022</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Utility Thermal Energy Network and Jobs Act</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">; while the latter group of unpassed climate bills includes the Build Public Renewables Act and a proposal to ban gas hook-ups in newly-constructed buildings. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Following the Supreme Court decision, Hochul moved swiftly to sign that legislative package of three climate-related bills, targeting energy efficiency and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation supports the goals set in the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">CLCPA.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Now more than ever, the importance of a cost-effective green transformation is clear, and strengthening building codes and appliance standards will reduce carbon emissions and save New Yorkers billions of dollars by increasing efficiency,” Hochul said in a statement. “This multi-pronged legislative package will not only replace dirty fossil fuel infrastructure, but it will also further cement New York as the national leader in climate action and green jobs."   </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The United States Climate Alliance, created in response to former President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, is a coalition of 24 states including New York pledging to uphold the goals set forth in the original agreement. The member states, representing 59% of the U.S. economy and 54% of the U.S. population, according to the Alliance, pledge to achieve overall net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“New York has an opportunity to demonstrate what it means to be a true global leader on addressing the climate emergency,” Iwanowicz said of implementing the CLCPA. “Knitting together the coalition of the willing states is going to be really important, but it’s always been important.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We really need to double down on our draft plan,” he said of the Climate Action Council’s scoping plan.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In alignment with the agreement to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius – a goal originally established in the Paris Agreement – New York City has pledged to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City Comptroller Brad Lander recently unveiled a </span><a href="https://comptroller.nyc.gov/services/for-the-public/nyc-climate-dashboard/overview/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Climate Dashboard</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to document the city’s progress in reducing emissions, as well as other climate goals.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This dashboard tangibly assesses the danger our inaction poses towards our city and keeps us accountable to moving the needle on both mitigation and adaptation,” Louise Yeung, Chief Climate Officer for the New York City Comptroller, said in a statement. “Meeting our emissions reduction and resiliency goals is not an option for New York City – the future of our neighborhoods depends on the collective actions we take now.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City’s </span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/site/sustainablebuildings/ll97/local-law-97.page" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Local Law 97</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, passed in 2019, is a nation-leading law that targets </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">greenhouse gas emissions from existing buildings. The law, which has some major implementation questions of its own, calls for reducing building-based emissions by 40% by 2030, and by 80% by 2050.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Advocates and some elected officials have </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/11150-push-mayor-adams-implement-nyc-green-new-deal-buildings" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">called on Mayor Eric Adams to ensure the full implementation of the law</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> via appropriate funding and the regulations that his agencies are currently crafting. Implementation is an area where some see a greater role for the City Council, but the mayoral administration will nonetheless have significant say in whether the law has the kind of teeth its supporters thought it would.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We’re forced to play defense to try and make sure he fully implements and enforces the law,” Sikora said of the new mayor. “He needs to move forward, not threaten forward progress.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the “most ambitious” laws in the country, Gennaro called Local Law 97, in addition to the “</span><a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=4966519&amp;amp;GUID=714F1B3D-876F-4C4F-A1BC-A2849D60D55A&amp;amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;amp;Search=combustion"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gas Ban Bill</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">,” which prohibits the use of fossil fuel infrastructure in most new buildings in New York City starting in 2023, sets “a historic precedent for the country.”</span></p> <p><b>Proposed Legislation and Advocacy Efforts<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some New York environmentalists are demanding stronger action by the state, calling on elected officials to ensure that New York reaches its goals set in the CLCPA, in part by passing the </span><a href="https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/A1466" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Build Public Renewables Act</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and the </span><a href="https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/S6843" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">All-Electric Buildings Act</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">These are vital actions that should have passed in the last state legislative session,” Sikora said. “Governor Hochul needs to get it done and Speaker Heastie should stop doing the bidding of the oil and gas lobby by blocking these vital bills.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The All-Electric Buildings Act is in essence the state version of New York City’s gan ban bill. It would amend the state energy construction code, prohibiting “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">infrastructure, building systems, or equipment used for the combustion of fossil fuels in new construction statewide no later than December 31, 2023 if the building is less than seven stories and July 1, 2027 if the building is seven stories or more.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Build Public Renewables Act, which passed the State Senate but not Assembly this past session, would require the New York Power Authority to phase out its fossil fuel power plants by 2030 and provide renewable energy to customers, enhancing the state authority’s mandate and ability to produce renewable energies instead of largely being a procuring entity to buy such power from private providers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The Build Public Renewables Act is instrumental to the Democratic Socialists of America’s vision of a national Green New Deal,” reads a statement from the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, which says it wrote the BPRA. “If passed, it would provide a model for other states to build renewable energy at the speed and scale that the country - and human civilization - needs to prevent catastrophic climate crises.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Assemblymember</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Robert Carroll, a Brooklyn Democrat and prime sponsor of the BPRA, continues to call for its passage, including at a hearing this past week on the bill. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Without the NYBPRA, New York is unlikely to meet the goals set forth by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019,” Caroll said in a press release earlier this year. “Governor Hochul has a unique opportunity to use NYPA's strong bond rating to create desperately needed renewable energy projects. Projects that will create good jobs and be revenue neutral. Relying solely on the private market is not only insufficient for our needs, it would also result in an environmental justice catastrophe, where renewable infrastructure will be built for affluent communities downstate, while poor and upstate communities will continue to be forced to rely on dirty energy from fossil fuels.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite the alarming Supreme Court ruling, Seggos said he has confidence in the determination of New Yorkers to respond to climate change.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“New Yorkers are never hopeless,” Seggos said. “We get upset, but I think we have a can-do spirit here in New York, that when you see setbacks like this, it just renews our sense of ability to create fixes for big problems.”</span></p> <p>

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Lindsay Shachnow, Gotham Gazette

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</p>
Senate Deal Could Mean Big Boost to New York Climate Efforts 2022-08-02T04:00:00+00:00 2022-08-02T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11496-climate-action-federal-inflation-reduction-act-new-york-city Samar Khurshid samarkhurshid@gmail.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/6-climate-action-federal.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Senator Chuck Schumer (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><i>***Update: The Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act in a party-line vote on Sunday, August 7, though with some changes since the original deal was announced by Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Manchin. The final agreement included a narrower corporate minimum tax and dropped the closure of the carried interest loophole, at the urging of Senator Kyrsten Sinema, though Schumer added an excise tax on stock buybacks to the bill. Republicans, on the other hand, blocked a cap on the price of insulin under private insurance. Below is the original article published by Gotham Gazette soon after the Schumer/Manchin deal was announced looking especially at the climate aspects of the package and how they may boost New York's related ongoing efforts.***</i></p> <p>U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia on Thursday announced a surprise deal on a massive budget reconciliation bill that, if passed, is likely to have major implications for New York.</p> <p>The package would invest hundreds of billions of dollars across the country in energy, climate action, and health care; raise revenue through a minimum corporate tax rate and greater IRS enforcement; and create savings by lowering drug prices and other measures.</p> <p>The Inflation Reduction Act, as it is being called, would invest about $369 billion in energy infrastructure and combating climate change, and another $64 billion to extend Affordable Care Act subsidies to 2025, according to a <a href="https://www.democrats.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/inflation_reduction_act_one_page_summary.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">one-page summary</a> released by Senate Democrats.</p> <p>“The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will be the largest package to fight the climate crisis ever passed by Congress,” Schumer <a href="https://twitter.com/SenSchumer/status/1553876595147956224?s=20&amp;t=L-NyFkWWRMNHKSQ1xA7Trg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">tweeted</a> on Sunday.</p> <p>It would ultimately reduce the federal deficit by $300 billion, a major Manchin priority, by raising about $739 billion through several measures, including $313 billion from a 15% minimum corporate tax, $288 billion from prescription drug pricing reform, $124 billion through enhanced IRS enforcement, and $14 billion by closing the carried interest loophole. </p> <p>Though the package represents a pared down version of President Joe Biden’s $3 trillion “Build Back Better” proposal that passed the House of Representatives, it nonetheless has the crucial support of Manchin, a centrist Democrat who has been a key holdout in the Senate opposing Democratic spending proposals. The bill does make concessions to the fossil fuel industry – including provisions that allow oil and gas drilling on public lands and offshore waters – which Manchin is closely tied to.</p> <p>“After years of many in Washington promising, but failing to deliver, with the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, this Senate Democratic Majority will take action to finally take on Big Pharma and lower prescription drug prices, tackle the climate crisis with urgency and vigor, ensure the wealthiest corporations and individuals pay their fair share in taxes, and reduce the deficit,” Schumer said in <a href="https://www.democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/schumer-statement-on-agreement-with-senator-manchin-to-add-climate-provisions-to-the-fy2022-budget-reconciliation-legislation-and-vote-in-senate-next-week" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a statement</a> announcing the deal with Manchin. “By a wide margin, this legislation will be the greatest pro-climate legislation that has ever been passed by Congress. This legislation fights the climate crisis with the urgency the situation demands and puts the U.S. on a path to roughly 40% emissions reductions by 2030, all while creating new good-paying jobs in the near and long-term.”</p> <p>A version of the new agreement will have to garner the support of at least 50 senators, likely all Democrats (because it is part of a budget reconciliation, it will not be subject to the filibuster rules that in most other cases necessitate 60 senators in favor) and a majority in the House of Representatives. While neither is a sure thing, Democrats appear hopeful that they can notch a set of significant victories for the American people and do so ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.</p> <p>“Rather than risking more inflation with trillions in new spending, this bill will cut the inflation taxes Americans are paying, lower the cost of health insurance and prescription drugs, and ensure our country invests in the energy security and climate change solutions we need to remain a global superpower through innovation rather than elimination,” Manchin said in a statement on Thursday.</p> <p>In remarks at the White House, Biden said the bill will lower health care costs for millions of Americans and is “the most important investment that we’ve ever made in our energy security, and developing cost savings and job-creating clean energy solutions for the future. It’s a big deal.”</p> <p>The main component of the bill is the hundreds of billions dedicated to cutting energy costs that are a key driver of inflation, while encouraging a transition to renewable energy through tax credits, production grants and rebates.</p> <p>For instance, the bill includes $30 billion in production tax credits for solar panels and wind turbines, $10 billion in investment tax credits for clean technology manufacturing facilities, up to $20 billion in loans to build new clean vehicle manufacturing plants, and $30 billion in grants and loans for states and electric utilities to transition to clean energy.</p> <p>The bill also invests $60 billion in environmental justice efforts including $3 billion in block grants for community projects in disadvantaged communities, $3 billion for equitable and affordable transportation access, $3 billion to reduce pollution at ports, and $1 billion for clean heavy-duty vehicles such as school and transit buses and garbage trucks. Together, all those steps and more are meant to cut national greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030.</p> <p>Some experts Gotham Gazette contacted did say, however, that it’s too early to say how much funding might flow to New York City under the bill. But given the amount of funding and the ongoing climate efforts in New York, the state and city will likely get significant allocations from the IRA.</p> <p>“The proposed Inflation Reduction Act promises urgently needed investments to confront the climate crisis and curb rising costs for families, welcome news for New Yorkers,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, in a statement. “I’m grateful to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for moving negotiations forward on important investments in renewable energy and lower prescription drug prices. While the federal government can do more on housing affordability, child care, and expanded health care coverage, this hallmark legislation will make a big difference in the lives of New Yorkers and people across the country.”</p> <p>Neither Mayor Eric Adams’ office nor Governor Kathy Hochul’s office responded to requests for comment for this article, and neither has issued a public statement about the deal Schumer and Manchin announced last week.</p> <p>“We've been saying for over a year now, these kinds of investments would alleviate price pressures on households,” said Lauren Melodia, Deputy Director for Economic &amp; Fiscal Policies at The New School’s Center for NYC Affairs, in a phone interview.</p> <p>Melodia said the climate investments in the Inflation Reduction Act are “going to be awesome for everyone in New York City.”</p> <p>“I know that we've got a city that's committed to fighting climate change. So hopefully, we can get all of our city agencies and partner organizations helping people figure out how to take advantage of this,” she said. New York City is currently in the process of accessing and applying for more than $10 billion in infrastructure funds from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act enacted in November 2021. The act <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/11246-nyc-adams-admin-prep-federal-infrastructure-funding" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">will funnel</a> up to $27 billion to New York State alone.</p> <p>The environmental justice investments in the new federal package could be crucial for New York City, in particular. “There’s a lot of opportunity and eligibility here in New York City communities that have been dealing with environmental racism for decades,” said Melodia. “I think that we’ve got a lot of that here unfortunately.”</p> <p>But Melodia also noted that the bill won’t be an immediate salve to the country's woes. “Is this going to bring down inflation overnight? Absolutely not but it is the right kind of investment to make.”</p> <p>Environmental advocates also celebrated the deal’s investment in fighting climate change, though some had reservations about aspects of the package.</p> <p>“These investments will accelerate our transition to a green energy economy and are long overdue as inflation, high energy costs, and extreme weather continue to hurt New Yorkers,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, in a statement. “Now, we need the Senate to pass this bill to stand up for climate, clean energy, jobs, justice and help save families money at this crucial moment.”</p> <p>New York State is currently in the process of implementing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) of 2019, which sets the state on the path to cutting economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 85% by 2050, while also creating green jobs and investing in environmental justice communities.</p> <p>The state’s Climate Action Council, created by the CLCPA and tasked with planning its implementation, released a draft scoping plan to achieve those targets earlier this year and is required to publish its final plan by January 2023. But crucial questions have been raised about how the state will fund the transition towards a green economy, and federal funding could be essential.</p> <p>In a joint <a href="https://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/2022/07/26/ny-climate-change-threats-are-real-were-leading-the-fight/65382717007/">op-ed in LoHud/USA Today</a> last week, just before the deal on the IRA was announced, Basil Seggos, commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and Doreen Harris, president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research &amp; Development Authority, called on Congress to return to the negotiating table while pledging to continue taking action locally.</p> <p>“The President has proposed a national climate strategy that would reduce emissions, create millions of good-paying jobs, and help make the country more resilient in the face of severe weather. Inaction is simply not an option,” wrote the pair, who are appointees of the governor and the co-chairs of the Climate Action Council. <br /><br />“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that there is still time to act, but it must happen immediately,” they added. “The world needs robust American leadership on climate backed by strong federal laws and funding. New York stands ready to partner with Biden, Congress, and our sister states on the urgent agenda ahead. This may be our one shot.”</p> <p>At the same time, New York City is pursuing climate goals. The city is preparing to implement Local Law 97, which was part of the Climate Mobilization Act of 2019, dubbed a “Green New Deal” for the city. It is also facing implementation questions that the federal bill, if passed, could help with.</p> <p>Starting in 2024, Local Law 97 will set emissions caps for the city’s largest buildings, which are also its largest polluters, to cut their emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 80% by 2050. Regulations to meet those mandates are currently being written by the Adams administration.</p> <p>Comptroller Lander’s office has also outlined various measures that the city could take to expedite the transition to clean energy, including retiring gas power plants and transforming them into clean energy hubs, incentivizing electric vehicles and solar panels, and prioritizing electrification and decarbonization in low-income and environmental justice communities. All of those steps could be achieved with the funding proposed in the IRA.</p> <p>Dana Johnson, Senior Director of Strategy and Federal Policy, of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, noted in a statement that the bill would deliver “once-in-a-generation investments needed to make communities of color and areas of low income healthier, cleaner, and economically viable.” But Johnson expressed concerns about provisions of the bill for offshore oil drilling, carbon capture, nuclear energy, hydrogen, and logging on public lands.</p> <p>“These line items continue practices that are not aligned with centering overburdened communities in decision-making or transitioning away from fossil fuels,” Johnson said. “These credits can be more effectively invested in renewable energy generation and other programs that ensure an energy transition that protects people and addresses climate change.”</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p> <p>Note - this article has been updated.</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/6-climate-action-federal.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Senator Chuck Schumer (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><i>***Update: The Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act in a party-line vote on Sunday, August 7, though with some changes since the original deal was announced by Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Manchin. The final agreement included a narrower corporate minimum tax and dropped the closure of the carried interest loophole, at the urging of Senator Kyrsten Sinema, though Schumer added an excise tax on stock buybacks to the bill. Republicans, on the other hand, blocked a cap on the price of insulin under private insurance. Below is the original article published by Gotham Gazette soon after the Schumer/Manchin deal was announced looking especially at the climate aspects of the package and how they may boost New York's related ongoing efforts.***</i></p> <p>U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia on Thursday announced a surprise deal on a massive budget reconciliation bill that, if passed, is likely to have major implications for New York.</p> <p>The package would invest hundreds of billions of dollars across the country in energy, climate action, and health care; raise revenue through a minimum corporate tax rate and greater IRS enforcement; and create savings by lowering drug prices and other measures.</p> <p>The Inflation Reduction Act, as it is being called, would invest about $369 billion in energy infrastructure and combating climate change, and another $64 billion to extend Affordable Care Act subsidies to 2025, according to a <a href="https://www.democrats.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/inflation_reduction_act_one_page_summary.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">one-page summary</a> released by Senate Democrats.</p> <p>“The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will be the largest package to fight the climate crisis ever passed by Congress,” Schumer <a href="https://twitter.com/SenSchumer/status/1553876595147956224?s=20&amp;t=L-NyFkWWRMNHKSQ1xA7Trg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">tweeted</a> on Sunday.</p> <p>It would ultimately reduce the federal deficit by $300 billion, a major Manchin priority, by raising about $739 billion through several measures, including $313 billion from a 15% minimum corporate tax, $288 billion from prescription drug pricing reform, $124 billion through enhanced IRS enforcement, and $14 billion by closing the carried interest loophole. </p> <p>Though the package represents a pared down version of President Joe Biden’s $3 trillion “Build Back Better” proposal that passed the House of Representatives, it nonetheless has the crucial support of Manchin, a centrist Democrat who has been a key holdout in the Senate opposing Democratic spending proposals. The bill does make concessions to the fossil fuel industry – including provisions that allow oil and gas drilling on public lands and offshore waters – which Manchin is closely tied to.</p> <p>“After years of many in Washington promising, but failing to deliver, with the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, this Senate Democratic Majority will take action to finally take on Big Pharma and lower prescription drug prices, tackle the climate crisis with urgency and vigor, ensure the wealthiest corporations and individuals pay their fair share in taxes, and reduce the deficit,” Schumer said in <a href="https://www.democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/schumer-statement-on-agreement-with-senator-manchin-to-add-climate-provisions-to-the-fy2022-budget-reconciliation-legislation-and-vote-in-senate-next-week" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a statement</a> announcing the deal with Manchin. “By a wide margin, this legislation will be the greatest pro-climate legislation that has ever been passed by Congress. This legislation fights the climate crisis with the urgency the situation demands and puts the U.S. on a path to roughly 40% emissions reductions by 2030, all while creating new good-paying jobs in the near and long-term.”</p> <p>A version of the new agreement will have to garner the support of at least 50 senators, likely all Democrats (because it is part of a budget reconciliation, it will not be subject to the filibuster rules that in most other cases necessitate 60 senators in favor) and a majority in the House of Representatives. While neither is a sure thing, Democrats appear hopeful that they can notch a set of significant victories for the American people and do so ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.</p> <p>“Rather than risking more inflation with trillions in new spending, this bill will cut the inflation taxes Americans are paying, lower the cost of health insurance and prescription drugs, and ensure our country invests in the energy security and climate change solutions we need to remain a global superpower through innovation rather than elimination,” Manchin said in a statement on Thursday.</p> <p>In remarks at the White House, Biden said the bill will lower health care costs for millions of Americans and is “the most important investment that we’ve ever made in our energy security, and developing cost savings and job-creating clean energy solutions for the future. It’s a big deal.”</p> <p>The main component of the bill is the hundreds of billions dedicated to cutting energy costs that are a key driver of inflation, while encouraging a transition to renewable energy through tax credits, production grants and rebates.</p> <p>For instance, the bill includes $30 billion in production tax credits for solar panels and wind turbines, $10 billion in investment tax credits for clean technology manufacturing facilities, up to $20 billion in loans to build new clean vehicle manufacturing plants, and $30 billion in grants and loans for states and electric utilities to transition to clean energy.</p> <p>The bill also invests $60 billion in environmental justice efforts including $3 billion in block grants for community projects in disadvantaged communities, $3 billion for equitable and affordable transportation access, $3 billion to reduce pollution at ports, and $1 billion for clean heavy-duty vehicles such as school and transit buses and garbage trucks. Together, all those steps and more are meant to cut national greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030.</p> <p>Some experts Gotham Gazette contacted did say, however, that it’s too early to say how much funding might flow to New York City under the bill. But given the amount of funding and the ongoing climate efforts in New York, the state and city will likely get significant allocations from the IRA.</p> <p>“The proposed Inflation Reduction Act promises urgently needed investments to confront the climate crisis and curb rising costs for families, welcome news for New Yorkers,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, in a statement. “I’m grateful to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for moving negotiations forward on important investments in renewable energy and lower prescription drug prices. While the federal government can do more on housing affordability, child care, and expanded health care coverage, this hallmark legislation will make a big difference in the lives of New Yorkers and people across the country.”</p> <p>Neither Mayor Eric Adams’ office nor Governor Kathy Hochul’s office responded to requests for comment for this article, and neither has issued a public statement about the deal Schumer and Manchin announced last week.</p> <p>“We've been saying for over a year now, these kinds of investments would alleviate price pressures on households,” said Lauren Melodia, Deputy Director for Economic &amp; Fiscal Policies at The New School’s Center for NYC Affairs, in a phone interview.</p> <p>Melodia said the climate investments in the Inflation Reduction Act are “going to be awesome for everyone in New York City.”</p> <p>“I know that we've got a city that's committed to fighting climate change. So hopefully, we can get all of our city agencies and partner organizations helping people figure out how to take advantage of this,” she said. New York City is currently in the process of accessing and applying for more than $10 billion in infrastructure funds from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act enacted in November 2021. The act <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/11246-nyc-adams-admin-prep-federal-infrastructure-funding" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">will funnel</a> up to $27 billion to New York State alone.</p> <p>The environmental justice investments in the new federal package could be crucial for New York City, in particular. “There’s a lot of opportunity and eligibility here in New York City communities that have been dealing with environmental racism for decades,” said Melodia. “I think that we’ve got a lot of that here unfortunately.”</p> <p>But Melodia also noted that the bill won’t be an immediate salve to the country's woes. “Is this going to bring down inflation overnight? Absolutely not but it is the right kind of investment to make.”</p> <p>Environmental advocates also celebrated the deal’s investment in fighting climate change, though some had reservations about aspects of the package.</p> <p>“These investments will accelerate our transition to a green energy economy and are long overdue as inflation, high energy costs, and extreme weather continue to hurt New Yorkers,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, in a statement. “Now, we need the Senate to pass this bill to stand up for climate, clean energy, jobs, justice and help save families money at this crucial moment.”</p> <p>New York State is currently in the process of implementing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) of 2019, which sets the state on the path to cutting economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 85% by 2050, while also creating green jobs and investing in environmental justice communities.</p> <p>The state’s Climate Action Council, created by the CLCPA and tasked with planning its implementation, released a draft scoping plan to achieve those targets earlier this year and is required to publish its final plan by January 2023. But crucial questions have been raised about how the state will fund the transition towards a green economy, and federal funding could be essential.</p> <p>In a joint <a href="https://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/2022/07/26/ny-climate-change-threats-are-real-were-leading-the-fight/65382717007/">op-ed in LoHud/USA Today</a> last week, just before the deal on the IRA was announced, Basil Seggos, commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and Doreen Harris, president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research &amp; Development Authority, called on Congress to return to the negotiating table while pledging to continue taking action locally.</p> <p>“The President has proposed a national climate strategy that would reduce emissions, create millions of good-paying jobs, and help make the country more resilient in the face of severe weather. Inaction is simply not an option,” wrote the pair, who are appointees of the governor and the co-chairs of the Climate Action Council. <br /><br />“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that there is still time to act, but it must happen immediately,” they added. “The world needs robust American leadership on climate backed by strong federal laws and funding. New York stands ready to partner with Biden, Congress, and our sister states on the urgent agenda ahead. This may be our one shot.”</p> <p>At the same time, New York City is pursuing climate goals. The city is preparing to implement Local Law 97, which was part of the Climate Mobilization Act of 2019, dubbed a “Green New Deal” for the city. It is also facing implementation questions that the federal bill, if passed, could help with.</p> <p>Starting in 2024, Local Law 97 will set emissions caps for the city’s largest buildings, which are also its largest polluters, to cut their emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 80% by 2050. Regulations to meet those mandates are currently being written by the Adams administration.</p> <p>Comptroller Lander’s office has also outlined various measures that the city could take to expedite the transition to clean energy, including retiring gas power plants and transforming them into clean energy hubs, incentivizing electric vehicles and solar panels, and prioritizing electrification and decarbonization in low-income and environmental justice communities. All of those steps could be achieved with the funding proposed in the IRA.</p> <p>Dana Johnson, Senior Director of Strategy and Federal Policy, of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, noted in a statement that the bill would deliver “once-in-a-generation investments needed to make communities of color and areas of low income healthier, cleaner, and economically viable.” But Johnson expressed concerns about provisions of the bill for offshore oil drilling, carbon capture, nuclear energy, hydrogen, and logging on public lands.</p> <p>“These line items continue practices that are not aligned with centering overburdened communities in decision-making or transitioning away from fossil fuels,” Johnson said. “These credits can be more effectively invested in renewable energy generation and other programs that ensure an energy transition that protects people and addresses climate change.”</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note - this article has been updated.</p>
Max Politics Podcast: Suraj Patel on Running for Congress in the New NY-12 2022-07-27T15:00:00+00:00 2022-07-27T15:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11481-max-politics-podcast-suraj-patel-runs-congress-ny-12-manhattan Gotham Gazette ggstaff@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/suraj-patel-dfc600.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Suraj Patel (photo: Patel campaign)</p> <hr /> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #000000; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><strong>July 27, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Suraj Patel on Running for Congress in the New NY-12</strong></span></p> <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;"> <div><span style="color: #000000; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">Suraj Patel, a Democratic candidate in New York's new 12th Congressional District, joined the show to discuss his race against Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney and the arguments he's making for why Manhattan voters should choose him in the August primary.</span></div> </div> <div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #000000; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"> </span></div> <div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #000000; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter <a style="color: #000000;" href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax">@TweetBenMax</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts at Max Politics.</span><br /><br /></div> <p class="feed-readmore"><a target="_blank" href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11481-max-politics-podcast-suraj-patel-runs-congress-ny-12-manhattan">Read More ...</a></p> <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/suraj-patel-dfc600.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Suraj Patel (photo: Patel campaign)</p> <hr /> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #000000; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><strong>July 27, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Suraj Patel on Running for Congress in the New NY-12</strong></span></p> <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;"> <div><span style="color: #000000; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">Suraj Patel, a Democratic candidate in New York's new 12th Congressional District, joined the show to discuss his race against Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney and the arguments he's making for why Manhattan voters should choose him in the August primary.</span></div> </div> <div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #000000; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"> </span></div> <div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #000000; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter <a style="color: #000000;" href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax">@TweetBenMax</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts at Max Politics.</span><br /><br /></div> <p class="feed-readmore"><a target="_blank" href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11481-max-politics-podcast-suraj-patel-runs-congress-ny-12-manhattan">Read More ...</a></p> 'State Government is More Important Than It's Ever Been': Senator Gianaris on Upheaval at New York's Top Court, Redistricting, Bail Reform, & More 2022-07-26T04:00:00+00:00 2022-07-26T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11459-senator-michael-gianaris-bail-reform-redistricting-ny Lindsay Shachnow lshachnow@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/4-bail-reform-court.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (photo: NYS Senate Photography)</p> <hr /> <p>New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris has been a key figure in the Democratic takeover of the State Senate, and thus all of state government as of 2019, and in negotiating budget and legislative decisions on a wide variety of issues. That has included state action to counteract recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court on abortion rights and New York’s gun laws.</p> <p>Gianaris, a Queens Democrat who represents the 12th State Senate District, has also been taking on New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, and expressing contrition over his support for appointments to the court who formed a conservative majority that undid the legislative redistricting performed by the Legislature, among other controversial decisions.</p> <p>“It has become a court, thanks to the four members that have stuck together in this majority bloc that we've had of late, that has been ruling in favor of the most powerful against the interests of those who need government on their side,” said Gianaris, <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11444-max-politics-podcast-senator-michael-gianaris-court-appeals-bail-redistricting-ny" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">in a recent interview on Gotham Gazette’s Max Politics podcast</a>. “What we don’t want is to have our own version of the U.S. Supreme Court here in New York where you have this majority bloc driving legal interpretations in the wrong direction.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11444-max-politics-podcast-senator-michael-gianaris-court-appeals-bail-redistricting-ny">During the interview with host Ben Max</a>, Gianaris spoke about the New York Court of Appeals, the 2022 redistricting controversy, bail reform, gun control, and more. He also discussed legislation that he hopes to pass next session and that he passed recently and wants Governor Kathy Hochul to sign, as well as the upcoming State Senate elections, which will see primaries in August and the general election in the fall and wherein his party is hoping to keep its current super-majority but will have some challenging seats to hold.</p> <p>The New York Court of Appeals has come under scrutiny for its conservative-leaning majority, perceived by many New Yorkers as unrepresentative of the people in a heavily Democratic state. With the four-judge bloc mentioned by Gianaris, the Court has stood in opposition to the Democratic leadership of both houses of the Legislature, including the State Senate where its justices were confirmed.</p> <p>With the interview came on the heels of major Court of Appeals decisions and the announcement July 11 by Chief Judge <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/11/nyregion/janet-difiore-ny-judge.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Janet DiFiore that she will retire at the end of August</a>, Gianaris had much to say about the court’s past and future.</p> <p>Hochul will nominate a successor to DiFiore, who will be considered by Gianaris and his colleagues in the Senate. Some of the members of the current court were confirmed before the Democrats took the majority in the State Senate, but several since.</p> <p>Gianaris said he was not “particularly proud” of his decision to strongly support the nomination of Madeline Singas, who has been part of the “majority bloc” he spoke of, but sees DiFiore’s resignation as a chance for redemption and to reimagine the court, which ruled earlier this year to strike down the maps drawn by the Legislature and appoint a “special master” to draw new State Senate and U.S. House of Representatives districts, a decision Gianaris has been highly critical of.</p> <p>"I do regret supporting the nomination,” Gianaris said of Singas, who he had thrown his significant political weight behind despite a push from some progressives to oppose her when then-Governor Andrew Cuomo put the then-Nassau County District Attorney’s name forth. “I think it was a mistake."</p> <p>“The Court has drifted to a place that is not really representing the values of our state,” <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11444-max-politics-podcast-senator-michael-gianaris-court-appeals-bail-redistricting-ny" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">he said on the podcast</a>. “With the DiFiore resignation, now we have a great opportunity to learn from that experience and take things back in the direction they should go.”</p> <p>Gianaris said the timeline for the appointment of a new judge is uncertain, and could take up to several months given the process that will unfold. Whoever Hochul nominates to the Court of Appeals does not necessarily have to be the new chief judge, that role could be filled by a current justice on the court. Gianaris pledged that the Senate would do its due diligence and perhaps take a more assertive role than in the past.</p> <p>Perhaps most frustrating for Gianaris and many other Democrats was the Court of Appeals’ decision in the redistricting case earlier this year, where it ruled that the Legislature had not followed the constitutional process for redrawing state legislative and congressional districts after the Census.</p> <p>The state’s independent bipartisan redistricting commission, a body of five Democrats and five Republicans established by a 2014 state constitutional amendment approved by voters, was tasked with creating the new districts but gridlocked.</p> <p>The Democrat-dominated Legislature then drew the maps, as was its right under the law, but because the commission had never passed a set of maps it was supposed to pass, the eventual Republican challenge to the Legislature’s maps was upheld, and instead of the Court of Appeals sending the process back to the commission then the Legislature, it simply appointed a special master.</p> <p>“If the decision was simply the lines for Congress were drawn in an impermissibly partisan fashion, the remedy according to the constitution is send it back to the Legislature with direction to do it differently,” Gianaris told Max. “That didn’t get to happen because the Court just took it out of the Legislature’s hands entirely. It was a partisan attack by the Court of Appeals. It’s unfortunate, but we’re living with the consequences of it and move forward.”<br /><br />A self-described advocate for “a fair and true process,” Gianaris said the redistricting amendment should be revisited, and called for a new system designed to prevent deadlock. He said there is now time to reconsider the process and plan a path ahead before the next Census, in 2030, and redistricting thereafter.</p> <p>The new district lines have caused a significant amount of upheaval and change, including Gianaris’ own district, which has lost some of its more progressive western Queens territory.</p> <p>That area, including a chunk of Astoria, is part of a new tri-borough 59th State Senate District, spanning the Queens waterfront, areas of Brooklyn and some of Manhattan’s East Side. A competitive Democratic primary has emerged for the open seat and Gianaris has endorsed Kristen Gonzalez, a Queens native and democratic socialist.</p> <p>As for his own district, now at least somewhat more moderate than before, Gianaris said the new map will not affect his politics as he looks forward to getting to better know the residents of his district and their communities.</p> <p>“The job of an elected official in my view is to give the power to those people who don’t otherwise have it,” he said. “Those are the people that I try to stand up for and use the power that I have to advance their interests. That’s always been the case no matter what my district has looked like.”</p> <p>He added that he believes in taking what he believes are the right positions on policies and then letting his constituents judge whether he made the right decisions as their representative.</p> <p>As for other notable primaries happening this summer, Gianaris said the Senate Democratic campaign committee that he leads has a different policy from its Assembly counterpart and that it does not get involved in primaries, whereas the Assembly largely backs incumbents. When asked by Max about two races of interest, Gianaris said he is personally endorsing State Senator Gustavo Rivera of the Bronx, who is facing a tough primary challenge, and that he has not yet taken a close look at the race in Brooklyn where State Senator Kevin Parker is facing a left-wing challenger.</p> <p>As for the fall general election, while he didn’t cite any specific races, Gianaris said he is focused on districts in Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and upstate cities as those are typically the battle grounds for swing State Senate seats and the outcomes of those races will determine the size of the Democratic majority come next year (even Republicans acknowledge they have little change to flip enough seats this cycle to return to the majority).</p> <p>On the policy front, Gianaris was asked about legislation that has flown under the radar that he is either particularly happy about having passed or looking forward to pursuing passage of in the future. Gianaris cited three legislative initiatives – an antitrust bill, a ban on the retail sale of animals, and anti-corruption and oversight laws – that he has championed. Gianaris said the antitrust bill would change the way powerful corporations are held accountable and reigned in, and he will continue to seek its approval in the Legislature next session. He urged Governor Hochul to sign his bill that passed this session to outlaw the sale of dogs, cats, and several other animals in pet stores.</p> <p><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11444-max-politics-podcast-senator-michael-gianaris-court-appeals-bail-redistricting-ny" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Max also asked Gianaris</a> about the changes to the state’s bail laws that he and his colleagues made in the April budget deal that for the second time toughen some of the sweeping reforms made in 2019, a major compromise that Gianaris had helped negotiate as a longtime champion of bail reform.</p> <p>That 2019 law largely eliminated bail and pre-trial detention for misdemeanor and non-violent offenses. Amid a wave of criticism (but before the law had been fully implemented and evaluated), Cuomo and Democratic legislators agreed to make some tweaks in 2020, adding certain offenses to the bail-eligible list, and this year Hochul and legislators made more significant changes focused on repeat offenders.</p> <p>Gianaris said he has never dealt with an issue that has been so “misrepresented” as has been the case with bail reform, and argued that having the financial means to pay bail should not determine one’s freedom.</p> <p>“To try and remove the influence of money and means from the question of whether someone is free while they’re awaiting their day in court is one that we should all be able to agree on,” he said. “The overall issue of whether we should require people to pay for their freedom before they’re convicted of a crime is…pretty clear where justice lies.”</p> <p>"There's situations like the changes we just made, and we're always trying to learn and improve, where someone who is repeat offending over and over and over again while they're out, obviously should be treated differently and we have now taken steps to deal with that circumstance," Gianaris said of changes made in the April state budget, "but the overall issue of whether we should require people to pay for their freedom before they're convicted of a crime is, once you scratch the surface and actually learn about it, pretty clear where justice lies."</p> <p>Asked to sum up if he is comfortable with the recent set of changes, he said: "We always hope so, that as we make changes that we are making progress in the broader sense of the word. Yes, I think that we are in the place now where we are ensuring that you don't get some of the unfortunate outcomes that the New York Post in particular likes to point to. But at the same time, preserving this notion that if you're being charged with a low level offense you should not be held in jail just because you don't have $500 to pay your way out."</p> <p>“We are trying to come up with a system that is as fair as possible and provides for the safety of people but also does not deny people justice,” said Gianaris.</p> <p>In response to the recent Supreme Court decision striking down New York’s century-old concealed carry gun regulation, Governor Hochul called a special session for the Legislature to pass a new law that conforms with the ruling but restricts gun ownership and concealed carry permits. The law that was passed and signed by Hochul created a robust licensing process and a significant list of “sensitive places” where guns could not be carried by most individuals -- seizing on leeway granted in the SCOTUS decision. Firearms will be prohibited in many locations including schools, parks, houses of worship, subways, Times Square, and more.</p> <p>“We took great care to come up with a response that used elements that were specifically authorized in the Supreme Court’s decision,” Gianaris said when asked about whether the new law will stand up to the inevitable legal challenge.</p> <p>The legislation also strengthens background checks and expands the requirement that the applicant have “good moral character” to obtain a firearm. The law calls for training courses and storage safety requirements.</p> <p>“We did what was responsible to provide for the safety of New Yorkers within the confines that the Court set for us,” said Gianaris. “I think unfortunately we’re going to be in this ongoing tug of war between states and the Supreme Court, which is why state government is more important than it has ever been…We have a greater responsibility than ever to provide a response for New Yorkers.”</p> <p>[LISTEN to the full conversation: <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11444-max-politics-podcast-senator-michael-gianaris-court-appeals-bail-redistricting-ny" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Max Politics Podcast: State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris on the Court of Appeals, Redistricting, Bail Reform, &amp; More</a>]</p> <p>

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Lindsay Shachnow, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/4-bail-reform-court.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (photo: NYS Senate Photography)</p> <hr /> <p>New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris has been a key figure in the Democratic takeover of the State Senate, and thus all of state government as of 2019, and in negotiating budget and legislative decisions on a wide variety of issues. That has included state action to counteract recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court on abortion rights and New York’s gun laws.</p> <p>Gianaris, a Queens Democrat who represents the 12th State Senate District, has also been taking on New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, and expressing contrition over his support for appointments to the court who formed a conservative majority that undid the legislative redistricting performed by the Legislature, among other controversial decisions.</p> <p>“It has become a court, thanks to the four members that have stuck together in this majority bloc that we've had of late, that has been ruling in favor of the most powerful against the interests of those who need government on their side,” said Gianaris, <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11444-max-politics-podcast-senator-michael-gianaris-court-appeals-bail-redistricting-ny" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">in a recent interview on Gotham Gazette’s Max Politics podcast</a>. “What we don’t want is to have our own version of the U.S. Supreme Court here in New York where you have this majority bloc driving legal interpretations in the wrong direction.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11444-max-politics-podcast-senator-michael-gianaris-court-appeals-bail-redistricting-ny">During the interview with host Ben Max</a>, Gianaris spoke about the New York Court of Appeals, the 2022 redistricting controversy, bail reform, gun control, and more. He also discussed legislation that he hopes to pass next session and that he passed recently and wants Governor Kathy Hochul to sign, as well as the upcoming State Senate elections, which will see primaries in August and the general election in the fall and wherein his party is hoping to keep its current super-majority but will have some challenging seats to hold.</p> <p>The New York Court of Appeals has come under scrutiny for its conservative-leaning majority, perceived by many New Yorkers as unrepresentative of the people in a heavily Democratic state. With the four-judge bloc mentioned by Gianaris, the Court has stood in opposition to the Democratic leadership of both houses of the Legislature, including the State Senate where its justices were confirmed.</p> <p>With the interview came on the heels of major Court of Appeals decisions and the announcement July 11 by Chief Judge <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/11/nyregion/janet-difiore-ny-judge.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Janet DiFiore that she will retire at the end of August</a>, Gianaris had much to say about the court’s past and future.</p> <p>Hochul will nominate a successor to DiFiore, who will be considered by Gianaris and his colleagues in the Senate. Some of the members of the current court were confirmed before the Democrats took the majority in the State Senate, but several since.</p> <p>Gianaris said he was not “particularly proud” of his decision to strongly support the nomination of Madeline Singas, who has been part of the “majority bloc” he spoke of, but sees DiFiore’s resignation as a chance for redemption and to reimagine the court, which ruled earlier this year to strike down the maps drawn by the Legislature and appoint a “special master” to draw new State Senate and U.S. House of Representatives districts, a decision Gianaris has been highly critical of.</p> <p>"I do regret supporting the nomination,” Gianaris said of Singas, who he had thrown his significant political weight behind despite a push from some progressives to oppose her when then-Governor Andrew Cuomo put the then-Nassau County District Attorney’s name forth. “I think it was a mistake."</p> <p>“The Court has drifted to a place that is not really representing the values of our state,” <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11444-max-politics-podcast-senator-michael-gianaris-court-appeals-bail-redistricting-ny" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">he said on the podcast</a>. “With the DiFiore resignation, now we have a great opportunity to learn from that experience and take things back in the direction they should go.”</p> <p>Gianaris said the timeline for the appointment of a new judge is uncertain, and could take up to several months given the process that will unfold. Whoever Hochul nominates to the Court of Appeals does not necessarily have to be the new chief judge, that role could be filled by a current justice on the court. Gianaris pledged that the Senate would do its due diligence and perhaps take a more assertive role than in the past.</p> <p>Perhaps most frustrating for Gianaris and many other Democrats was the Court of Appeals’ decision in the redistricting case earlier this year, where it ruled that the Legislature had not followed the constitutional process for redrawing state legislative and congressional districts after the Census.</p> <p>The state’s independent bipartisan redistricting commission, a body of five Democrats and five Republicans established by a 2014 state constitutional amendment approved by voters, was tasked with creating the new districts but gridlocked.</p> <p>The Democrat-dominated Legislature then drew the maps, as was its right under the law, but because the commission had never passed a set of maps it was supposed to pass, the eventual Republican challenge to the Legislature’s maps was upheld, and instead of the Court of Appeals sending the process back to the commission then the Legislature, it simply appointed a special master.</p> <p>“If the decision was simply the lines for Congress were drawn in an impermissibly partisan fashion, the remedy according to the constitution is send it back to the Legislature with direction to do it differently,” Gianaris told Max. “That didn’t get to happen because the Court just took it out of the Legislature’s hands entirely. It was a partisan attack by the Court of Appeals. It’s unfortunate, but we’re living with the consequences of it and move forward.”<br /><br />A self-described advocate for “a fair and true process,” Gianaris said the redistricting amendment should be revisited, and called for a new system designed to prevent deadlock. He said there is now time to reconsider the process and plan a path ahead before the next Census, in 2030, and redistricting thereafter.</p> <p>The new district lines have caused a significant amount of upheaval and change, including Gianaris’ own district, which has lost some of its more progressive western Queens territory.</p> <p>That area, including a chunk of Astoria, is part of a new tri-borough 59th State Senate District, spanning the Queens waterfront, areas of Brooklyn and some of Manhattan’s East Side. A competitive Democratic primary has emerged for the open seat and Gianaris has endorsed Kristen Gonzalez, a Queens native and democratic socialist.</p> <p>As for his own district, now at least somewhat more moderate than before, Gianaris said the new map will not affect his politics as he looks forward to getting to better know the residents of his district and their communities.</p> <p>“The job of an elected official in my view is to give the power to those people who don’t otherwise have it,” he said. “Those are the people that I try to stand up for and use the power that I have to advance their interests. That’s always been the case no matter what my district has looked like.”</p> <p>He added that he believes in taking what he believes are the right positions on policies and then letting his constituents judge whether he made the right decisions as their representative.</p> <p>As for other notable primaries happening this summer, Gianaris said the Senate Democratic campaign committee that he leads has a different policy from its Assembly counterpart and that it does not get involved in primaries, whereas the Assembly largely backs incumbents. When asked by Max about two races of interest, Gianaris said he is personally endorsing State Senator Gustavo Rivera of the Bronx, who is facing a tough primary challenge, and that he has not yet taken a close look at the race in Brooklyn where State Senator Kevin Parker is facing a left-wing challenger.</p> <p>As for the fall general election, while he didn’t cite any specific races, Gianaris said he is focused on districts in Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and upstate cities as those are typically the battle grounds for swing State Senate seats and the outcomes of those races will determine the size of the Democratic majority come next year (even Republicans acknowledge they have little change to flip enough seats this cycle to return to the majority).</p> <p>On the policy front, Gianaris was asked about legislation that has flown under the radar that he is either particularly happy about having passed or looking forward to pursuing passage of in the future. Gianaris cited three legislative initiatives – an antitrust bill, a ban on the retail sale of animals, and anti-corruption and oversight laws – that he has championed. Gianaris said the antitrust bill would change the way powerful corporations are held accountable and reigned in, and he will continue to seek its approval in the Legislature next session. He urged Governor Hochul to sign his bill that passed this session to outlaw the sale of dogs, cats, and several other animals in pet stores.</p> <p><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11444-max-politics-podcast-senator-michael-gianaris-court-appeals-bail-redistricting-ny" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Max also asked Gianaris</a> about the changes to the state’s bail laws that he and his colleagues made in the April budget deal that for the second time toughen some of the sweeping reforms made in 2019, a major compromise that Gianaris had helped negotiate as a longtime champion of bail reform.</p> <p>That 2019 law largely eliminated bail and pre-trial detention for misdemeanor and non-violent offenses. Amid a wave of criticism (but before the law had been fully implemented and evaluated), Cuomo and Democratic legislators agreed to make some tweaks in 2020, adding certain offenses to the bail-eligible list, and this year Hochul and legislators made more significant changes focused on repeat offenders.</p> <p>Gianaris said he has never dealt with an issue that has been so “misrepresented” as has been the case with bail reform, and argued that having the financial means to pay bail should not determine one’s freedom.</p> <p>“To try and remove the influence of money and means from the question of whether someone is free while they’re awaiting their day in court is one that we should all be able to agree on,” he said. “The overall issue of whether we should require people to pay for their freedom before they’re convicted of a crime is…pretty clear where justice lies.”</p> <p>"There's situations like the changes we just made, and we're always trying to learn and improve, where someone who is repeat offending over and over and over again while they're out, obviously should be treated differently and we have now taken steps to deal with that circumstance," Gianaris said of changes made in the April state budget, "but the overall issue of whether we should require people to pay for their freedom before they're convicted of a crime is, once you scratch the surface and actually learn about it, pretty clear where justice lies."</p> <p>Asked to sum up if he is comfortable with the recent set of changes, he said: "We always hope so, that as we make changes that we are making progress in the broader sense of the word. Yes, I think that we are in the place now where we are ensuring that you don't get some of the unfortunate outcomes that the New York Post in particular likes to point to. But at the same time, preserving this notion that if you're being charged with a low level offense you should not be held in jail just because you don't have $500 to pay your way out."</p> <p>“We are trying to come up with a system that is as fair as possible and provides for the safety of people but also does not deny people justice,” said Gianaris.</p> <p>In response to the recent Supreme Court decision striking down New York’s century-old concealed carry gun regulation, Governor Hochul called a special session for the Legislature to pass a new law that conforms with the ruling but restricts gun ownership and concealed carry permits. The law that was passed and signed by Hochul created a robust licensing process and a significant list of “sensitive places” where guns could not be carried by most individuals -- seizing on leeway granted in the SCOTUS decision. Firearms will be prohibited in many locations including schools, parks, houses of worship, subways, Times Square, and more.</p> <p>“We took great care to come up with a response that used elements that were specifically authorized in the Supreme Court’s decision,” Gianaris said when asked about whether the new law will stand up to the inevitable legal challenge.</p> <p>The legislation also strengthens background checks and expands the requirement that the applicant have “good moral character” to obtain a firearm. The law calls for training courses and storage safety requirements.</p> <p>“We did what was responsible to provide for the safety of New Yorkers within the confines that the Court set for us,” said Gianaris. “I think unfortunately we’re going to be in this ongoing tug of war between states and the Supreme Court, which is why state government is more important than it has ever been…We have a greater responsibility than ever to provide a response for New Yorkers.”</p> <p>[LISTEN to the full conversation: <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11444-max-politics-podcast-senator-michael-gianaris-court-appeals-bail-redistricting-ny" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Max Politics Podcast: State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris on the Court of Appeals, Redistricting, Bail Reform, &amp; More</a>]</p> <p>

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Lindsay Shachnow, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p>
Hochul Launches Long-Awaited Covid Response Review, Releases Request for Proposals 2022-07-21T04:00:00+00:00 2022-07-21T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11474-hochul-launches-covid-response-review-rfp Ethan Geringer-Sameth ethangs@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/hochul-formal-plan.jpg" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul discussing COVID-19 (photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)</p> <hr /> <p>The state is soliciting bids for outside consultants to conduct a long-awaited review of New York's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday.</p> <p>The governor is seeking a consulting firm that was not involved in the state's response to do a comprehensive assessment of the steps New York took to curtail the virus and develop an action plan to correct response systems for future emergencies. The announcement came two weeks after <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11438-hochul-slow-review-new-york-covid-pandemic-response">Gotham Gazette reported the governor's office had not yet issued</a> a request for contract proposals for the study that she and spokespeople had previously indicated was already "underway." That revelation set off a new round of scrutiny of Hochul’s promise to conduct a thorough independent review and a firestorm of criticism from editorial boards, political opponents, and others.</p> <p>"It's not mandated by law but it is something I feel is important because New Yorkers deserve the best from their government," Hochul said at a press briefing Wednesday as she announced a request for proposals and key details of the review plan. "They need to identify what worked and what did not work and why."</p> <p>Hochul said the investigation, dubbed an "After-Action Review," would be the first of its kind in the country regarding COVID-19 and could serve as "a guide for future leaders in the state of New York, but also for other states."</p> <p>"This is going to be an important resource for us," she said, calling it a "blueprint" for future emergencies. "It's not going to be done overnight. It's going to take a fair amount of time but we're going to get it right."</p> <p>The review is expected to begin in November and last for roughly a year, and will be overseen by New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray. Previously involved in several aspects of New York City’s pandemic response under Mayor Bill de Blasio, Bray was appointed to her current position after Hochul took over as governor last year.</p> <p>Hochul has been facing intensified questions and criticism since Gotham Gazette reported on July 6 that her office only had a vague timeline of "later this summer" for launching the search for outside firms through an RFP. That came after a spokesperson in April told Gotham Gazette the review was already "underway" and Hochul herself told reporters in May, "actually, we have outside consultants who are going to be working with us."</p> <p>"We had thought it would start when the pandemic was completely in the rearview mirror but that's not going to happen any time soon so now is the right time to go forth with those preparations," Hochul said at the briefing Wednesday, which in part focused on the current covid surge.</p> <p>Hochul's timing has been called into question by critics who have accused her of dragging her feet on the review, which could place her in the crosshairs as a high-ranking member of the Cuomo administration as lieutenant governor and leader of the state through the Omicron and BA.5 waves as governor. While Hochul was not a part of Cuomo’s inner circle and clearly kept at arm’s length by the disgraced former governor (he did not mention her once in his much-criticized covid memoir), whose handling of the pandemic has been the subject of several scandals and investigations, she did have a role coordinating the state response in Western New York, where she is from.</p> <p>Under the timeline outlined by the governor's office, the after-action will not begin until around the general election this fall when Hochul is hoping to be elected to her first term as governor.</p> <p>"Instead of swift answers, she’s dragging her feet just long enough so that the initial findings don’t come out until after the November election," wrote her Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, in a statement Wednesday.</p> <p>Hochul made the announcement Wednesday as part of a presentation on the state's "Fall Action Plan" for fighting covid, which includes public health policies that will ostensibly unfold before the state review begins in November.</p> <p>The 85-page request for proposals (RFP), the document used to solicit government contractors, outlines some of the scope of the proposed study. In addition to investigating the response, the consulting firm or firms will be asked to produce a report with best practices and recommendations for handling similar catastrophes or future coronavirus waves.</p> <p>The review will examine how hospitals were managed and what medical procedures were suspended when facilities faced an onslaught of positive cases and the entire healthcare system was under strain. It will also look into policies around the transfer of individuals into congregate settings, "including homeless shelters, group homes, nursing homes, jails and prisons," language that touches on several areas of controversy, most prominently the Cuomo administration nursing home policy that became the source of an attempted cover-up by the former governor. (The list does not explicitly mention state psychiatric facilities, which <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/10415-covid-beds-pandemic-hospitals-institutionalized-psychiatric-patients-institutions">also received covid-positive patients from hospitals</a> at the height of the pandemic and whose per capita death rate dwarfed rates in all but nursing homes.)</p> <p>Government watchdogs and public health experts have been <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11182-new-york-covid-19-response-review-commission-cuomo-hochul">calling for a review of the state's response for months</a> as a basic civic duty following mass death and illness, socio-economic catastrophe, and two years of emergency actions that have upended life for millions of New Yorkers. Those calls have been complimented by a separate but aligned push for accountability from the families of nursing homes residents and a bipartisan group of state legislators.</p> <p>"After months of asking for an independent investigation into the State’s handling of the nursing home crisis, I’m encouraged to see the Governor taking the first step towards getting closer to the truth for our grieving families," wrote Assembly Member Ron Kim, a Queens Democrat and outspoken critic of the state's handling of nursing homes, in a statement to Gotham Gazette. Kim, who sponsors a bill with Republican Senator James Tedisco to create a nursing home review commission, said he hopes the state's after-action reveals the total impact of a March 2020 state Department of Health order to return covid-positive hospital patients to nursing homes. He hopes it will also answer questions about the intent of policies to limit the legal liability of home operators and cover-up the true number of nursing home deaths.</p> <p>According to Hochul and the RFP, the review is also to explore many of the pandemic's secondary, but no less devastating, effects: the shutdown of schools and its impact on students, the designation of essential businesses, and what protections existed for essential workers. It is intended to analyze the procurement of essential goods and services, something that has been going on with limited oversight due to over two years of successive emergency declarations signed by Cuomo and Hochul.</p> <p>The RFP instructs consultants to assess how data has been shared with local governments and the public and how the state should manage and implement emergency procedures in the future. It may also look at "The effectiveness of policies and programs in reducing disparities in health outcomes for communities of color," one of the pandemic's most visceral consequences.</p> <p>The governor's office is expected to pick a firm to conduct the review in mid-to-late September and for the contract to start early-to-mid November. The after-action team would deliver initial findings within six months and complete its study after a year, Hochul said.</p> <p>As of Wednesday, at least 69,000 people have died from COVID-19 statewide, including roughly 41,000 in New York City.</p> <p>

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by Ethan Geringer-Sameth, reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/hochul-formal-plan.jpg" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul discussing COVID-19 (photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)</p> <hr /> <p>The state is soliciting bids for outside consultants to conduct a long-awaited review of New York's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday.</p> <p>The governor is seeking a consulting firm that was not involved in the state's response to do a comprehensive assessment of the steps New York took to curtail the virus and develop an action plan to correct response systems for future emergencies. The announcement came two weeks after <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11438-hochul-slow-review-new-york-covid-pandemic-response">Gotham Gazette reported the governor's office had not yet issued</a> a request for contract proposals for the study that she and spokespeople had previously indicated was already "underway." That revelation set off a new round of scrutiny of Hochul’s promise to conduct a thorough independent review and a firestorm of criticism from editorial boards, political opponents, and others.</p> <p>"It's not mandated by law but it is something I feel is important because New Yorkers deserve the best from their government," Hochul said at a press briefing Wednesday as she announced a request for proposals and key details of the review plan. "They need to identify what worked and what did not work and why."</p> <p>Hochul said the investigation, dubbed an "After-Action Review," would be the first of its kind in the country regarding COVID-19 and could serve as "a guide for future leaders in the state of New York, but also for other states."</p> <p>"This is going to be an important resource for us," she said, calling it a "blueprint" for future emergencies. "It's not going to be done overnight. It's going to take a fair amount of time but we're going to get it right."</p> <p>The review is expected to begin in November and last for roughly a year, and will be overseen by New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray. Previously involved in several aspects of New York City’s pandemic response under Mayor Bill de Blasio, Bray was appointed to her current position after Hochul took over as governor last year.</p> <p>Hochul has been facing intensified questions and criticism since Gotham Gazette reported on July 6 that her office only had a vague timeline of "later this summer" for launching the search for outside firms through an RFP. That came after a spokesperson in April told Gotham Gazette the review was already "underway" and Hochul herself told reporters in May, "actually, we have outside consultants who are going to be working with us."</p> <p>"We had thought it would start when the pandemic was completely in the rearview mirror but that's not going to happen any time soon so now is the right time to go forth with those preparations," Hochul said at the briefing Wednesday, which in part focused on the current covid surge.</p> <p>Hochul's timing has been called into question by critics who have accused her of dragging her feet on the review, which could place her in the crosshairs as a high-ranking member of the Cuomo administration as lieutenant governor and leader of the state through the Omicron and BA.5 waves as governor. While Hochul was not a part of Cuomo’s inner circle and clearly kept at arm’s length by the disgraced former governor (he did not mention her once in his much-criticized covid memoir), whose handling of the pandemic has been the subject of several scandals and investigations, she did have a role coordinating the state response in Western New York, where she is from.</p> <p>Under the timeline outlined by the governor's office, the after-action will not begin until around the general election this fall when Hochul is hoping to be elected to her first term as governor.</p> <p>"Instead of swift answers, she’s dragging her feet just long enough so that the initial findings don’t come out until after the November election," wrote her Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, in a statement Wednesday.</p> <p>Hochul made the announcement Wednesday as part of a presentation on the state's "Fall Action Plan" for fighting covid, which includes public health policies that will ostensibly unfold before the state review begins in November.</p> <p>The 85-page request for proposals (RFP), the document used to solicit government contractors, outlines some of the scope of the proposed study. In addition to investigating the response, the consulting firm or firms will be asked to produce a report with best practices and recommendations for handling similar catastrophes or future coronavirus waves.</p> <p>The review will examine how hospitals were managed and what medical procedures were suspended when facilities faced an onslaught of positive cases and the entire healthcare system was under strain. It will also look into policies around the transfer of individuals into congregate settings, "including homeless shelters, group homes, nursing homes, jails and prisons," language that touches on several areas of controversy, most prominently the Cuomo administration nursing home policy that became the source of an attempted cover-up by the former governor. (The list does not explicitly mention state psychiatric facilities, which <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/10415-covid-beds-pandemic-hospitals-institutionalized-psychiatric-patients-institutions">also received covid-positive patients from hospitals</a> at the height of the pandemic and whose per capita death rate dwarfed rates in all but nursing homes.)</p> <p>Government watchdogs and public health experts have been <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11182-new-york-covid-19-response-review-commission-cuomo-hochul">calling for a review of the state's response for months</a> as a basic civic duty following mass death and illness, socio-economic catastrophe, and two years of emergency actions that have upended life for millions of New Yorkers. Those calls have been complimented by a separate but aligned push for accountability from the families of nursing homes residents and a bipartisan group of state legislators.</p> <p>"After months of asking for an independent investigation into the State’s handling of the nursing home crisis, I’m encouraged to see the Governor taking the first step towards getting closer to the truth for our grieving families," wrote Assembly Member Ron Kim, a Queens Democrat and outspoken critic of the state's handling of nursing homes, in a statement to Gotham Gazette. Kim, who sponsors a bill with Republican Senator James Tedisco to create a nursing home review commission, said he hopes the state's after-action reveals the total impact of a March 2020 state Department of Health order to return covid-positive hospital patients to nursing homes. He hopes it will also answer questions about the intent of policies to limit the legal liability of home operators and cover-up the true number of nursing home deaths.</p> <p>According to Hochul and the RFP, the review is also to explore many of the pandemic's secondary, but no less devastating, effects: the shutdown of schools and its impact on students, the designation of essential businesses, and what protections existed for essential workers. It is intended to analyze the procurement of essential goods and services, something that has been going on with limited oversight due to over two years of successive emergency declarations signed by Cuomo and Hochul.</p> <p>The RFP instructs consultants to assess how data has been shared with local governments and the public and how the state should manage and implement emergency procedures in the future. It may also look at "The effectiveness of policies and programs in reducing disparities in health outcomes for communities of color," one of the pandemic's most visceral consequences.</p> <p>The governor's office is expected to pick a firm to conduct the review in mid-to-late September and for the contract to start early-to-mid November. The after-action team would deliver initial findings within six months and complete its study after a year, Hochul said.</p> <p>As of Wednesday, at least 69,000 people have died from COVID-19 statewide, including roughly 41,000 in New York City.</p> <p>

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by Ethan Geringer-Sameth, reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>