Electoral Reform in Albany + The Queens DA Race

Local News:

  • With Democrats now in control of both the New York State Assembly and the State Senate, the Legislature is ready to pass a series of bills aimed at electoral reform. The bills would include early voting, mail in voting, closing the LLC loophole, pre-registration of 16 & 17 year olds, and a consolidated primary schedule. Not included in the package is any restoration of voting rights to people on parole, automatic voter registration, or more flexibility for voters to switch parties.
  • Although the number of marijuana arrests dropped significantly over the past year, the racial disparity in arrests remains high. Nearly 90% of people arrested for smoking marijuana in 2018 were black or hispanic.
  • Mayor De Blasio announced a flurry of new initiatives leading up to and during his State of the City speech on Thursday, including:
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Cuomo’s L Train Adventures + 2019 Elections

Local News:

  • After being sworn in for a third term on January 1st, Gov. Cuomo got busy doing Cuomo things. After vetoing funding for CUNY and a plan for paid bereavement leave, he used his inauguration speech to position himself as the progressive alternative to the Trump Administration, leading some to once again speculate about Cuomo’s presidential ambitions (although he praised Joe Biden in a later interview). He also issued pardons or commutations to 29 individuals facing deportation.

  • Cuomo’s most attention-grabbing move, though, was his impromptu halt of the long-planned L train shutdown. The shutdown, planned for years in order to repair damage from Hurricane Sandy, was going to be complete, and last 15 months, but the new plan will be limit the work to nights and weekends. Many questions remain, as Cuomo was vague in his

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Cuomo’s Progressive Plans + Alicia Glen Resigns

Local News:

  • Governor Cuomo gave a speech outlining his plans for the 2019 legislative session. The media focused on his call to legalize recreational marijuana (a position he adopted recently, after being challenged by Cynthia Nixon in the 2018 Democratic primary), as well as other progressive moves, like a pledge to make New York carbon neutral (although not until 2040), an end to vacancy decontrol, and electoral reform (although he called for that last year too). Although the Governor’s platform had a number of apparent progressive platforms, he refused to increase taxes on the wealthy, did not commit to supporting the New York Health Act, and also called to make his property tax cap permanent.
  • Following the Governor’s speech, Mayor de Blasio officially announced his support for legalizing recreational marijuana.
  • Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen announced that she is leaving the......
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The Fight Against Amazon Continues + Cash Bail Reform

Local News:

  • NYC-DSA’s No Amazon Community Forum took place in Astoria on Monday, with a packed house and lines wrapping around the block. The forum was put on by NYC-DSA, through members of the Queens branch, in coalition with CAAAV, Chhaya CDC, Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM), Queens Neighborhoods United (QNU), Socialist Alternative (SAlt), and Whole Worker. The group heard from speakers on issues of housing, labor, immigration, corporate welfare, and Amazon’s impact on Seattle which included DSA members as well as a Queensbridge Houses resident, tenant organizer, undocumented youth and restaurant worker, CUNY student, and Whole Foods workers among others. It was covered a bit in the New York Times.

  • The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) made public the city’s bid for Amazon. In the proposal, the state’s economic development agency, Empire State Development (ESD), offered to......

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A Tough Fight Against Amazon + NYC-DSA - A Political Force

Local News:

  • Despite significant opposition, including Queens DSA, a Quinnipiac poll suggests that a majority of New York City voters support the Queens Amazon Headquarters deal.
  • NYC’s most prominent unions are split on the Amazon HQ deal, with Cuomo-aligned unions like 32BJ and Building Trades Council supporting it and RWDSU, which has rallied against Amazon in the past, opposing. The Transport Worker’s Union, which has also been a close ally of Cuomo, is yet to make any statement on the plan but could have serious leverage to kill or alter the deal if they oppose it.
  • Astoria Council Member Costa Costanides introduced a bill to reduce energy use and emissions from NYC buildings. Unsurprisingly, landlords, the real estate lobby, and some trade unions object.
  • City Limits featured a list of the 18 pieces of tenant protection legislation currently......
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