Gowanus and NY Blood Center Rezonings Approved

Local News

  • The New York City Council voted to approve the Gowanus rezoning by a vote of 47 to 1. The plan claims to mandate a deeper level of affordability than previous of Mayor Bill De Blasio’s administration’s rezonings, but concerns remain about environmental hazards and luxury developments that will result from the rezoning.
  • The City Council also voted to approve rezoning the site of the Upper East Side’s New York Blood Center, which notably breached the longstanding tradition of member deference for the first time in a decade. Prior to this vote, the Council traditionally voted on rezonings in line with the wishes of the local council member.
  • The Gowanus and Blood Center approvals come shortly before the last major rezoning fight of De Blasio’s administration, in Soho, which, despite its relatively modest scope compared to other neighborhood-wide rezonings, is the most significant......
Read more

State Stops Accepting Rent Relief Requests

Local News

  • New York State stopped accepting requests for tenant rent relief because significant demand has left the program nearly out of funds, leaving nearly 100,000 applications pending. In light of this, Governor Kathy Hochul has asked the federal government for almost $1 billion in additional funding for rent relief.
  • Due to an infusion of funding from the federal infrastructure bill, there will be no MTA fare hikes or service cuts in the immediate future.
  • New York State officials announced that they intend to divest their holdings from Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, over the company’s decision to restrict ice cream sales in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
  • New York State Assemblymember Phara Souffrant Forrest (AD 57, Fort Greene and Crown Heights) advocates in AM New York that we need to build on the parole reforms established by her recent Less Is More legislation......
Read more

Teachout Announces AG Run + State Prison Closure Plans

Local News:

  • New York officials announced plans to close six state prisons in March 2022, all of which are well under capacity as the state’s prison population has declined to 31,469. The closures are expected to save taxpayers $142 million, and officials say it will not result in layoffs as the workers will be transferred to other facilities or agencies.
  • Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell introduced a bill to create a “correctional ombudsman” to provide oversight of Rikers Island.
  • The City Council passed legislation to regulate and track data on the city’s so-called “body shops,” where labor brokers often connect recently released prisoners with limited employment options to low-wage, non-union construction jobs. The legislation will require these brokers to register with the city and provide written notice to workers about their rights and details about each job they are assigned to, including pay and how many......
Read more

Taxi Drivers Win Debt Relief + Voting Rights Ballot Initiatives Fail

Local News

  • After two weeks on hunger strike, the New York Taxi Workers alliance won significant debt relief for drivers in a deal brokered with Mayor de Blasio and the asset management company that is the largest holder of taxi medallion loans in the city. Under the new agreement, current loans will be reduced to $170,000 and restructured to a 20-year, city-backed repayment plan with monthly payments capped at $1,122.
  • Unionized undergraduate and graduate teaching and research assistants at Columbia University are currently leading the second-largest strike in the country, joining student workers at Harvard and the University of California  system in demanding better pay, dental care, more secure contracts, and arbitration with an entity that is not a school representative in cases of harassment. Columbia’s endowment is one of the largest in the United States, most recently reported at $14.4 billion.
  • Albany’s district attorney agreed......
Read more

Cuomo Charged + James & Jumaane Announce Runs for Governor

Local News

  • The City government is expecting potentially thousands of City workers, especially firefighters and sanitation workers, to go on unpaid leave beginning Monday, when the City’s requirement that all City workers be vaccinated goes into effect.
  • Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been charged by the Albany County Sherrif’s Office with forcible touching, a misdemeanor sex crime. Although some confusion emerged about whether the prosecutor’s office and accuser had been notified beforehand. Cuomo is accused of groping a woman inside the Executive Mansion on Dec. 7, 2020.
  • The New York Rising Community Reconstruction program, launched by then Governor Cuomo in response to the destruction caused by storms like Sandy, was created to provide $750 million in federal funds to finance repair projects and install infrastructure to improve resiliency against future disasters. However, nine years later unnavigable bureaucracies, opaque decision-making and broken promises have......
Read more

Subscribe to The Thorn

The Thorn is a weekly update on what's happening in local New York politics from a socialist perspective. Please sign up with us to receive an email every Monday morning.