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 being considered by New York’s City Council.
  • NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission voted to enact a pay floor for app-based drivers. Up to 70,000 drivers will see an annual raise of about $9,600 when the the legislation is enacted in January, though the proposal was originally met with skepticism.
  • The New York State compensation committee voted to recommend a significant pay increase for state level legislators paired with reforms including limiting outside income for electeds to 15% of their total salary and the elimination of most committee stipends.
  • Over 300 people attended a Community Education Council meeting to see the Mayor’s plan to gradually eliminate the SHSAT. The crowd was overwhelmingly opposed to the plan. The plan is part of the Mayor’s attempt to change the skewed racial demographics of the City’s specialized high schools, which currently base admission entirely off of one test.
  • The De Blasio administration appears to have botched a plan to replace Emergency Management Commissioner Joe Esposito. Esposito’s status was left in limbo for three days, as Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin reportedly fired the Commissioner after a Friday meeting while the Mayor was at a conference hosted by Bernie Sanders in Vermont and could not be reached. After meeting in Gracie Mansion on Monday, De Blasio announced a leadership change was in progress and that Esposito would stay on until a replacement is identified. The incident prompted a New York Times examination into the Mayor’s diminishing time spent with his Commissioners.
  • NYC Transit Authority President attacked the Manhattan DA’s office’s new policy of not prosecuting turnstile jumpers, claiming that the policy cost the MTA over $200 million.
  • The City is changing its plans for one of the detention centers it intends to build as part of the Mayor’s plan to close Rikers. After pushback from the community in lower Manhattan, the Administration is now offering opportunities for input from local groups.
  • Four and a half-years after the murder of Eric Garner at the hands of New York City police an internal disciplinary hearing has been scheduled for one of the officers involved to decide whether or not he will retain his job.
  • In definitely-not-dystopian news: The NYPD announced it will deploy 14 drones.

Elections:

  • With a headline referring to Democratic Socialists as a “Political Force”, the New York Post published coverage of the attempts by a number of candidates for Public Advocate to gain the endorsement of NYC-DSA.
  • New Public Advocate candidate Melissa Mark-Viverito joined a group of City politicians to endorse a plan called “Weed for Rails,” that would legalize marijuana in New York and use the revenue to fund the MTA. However, two of Mark-Viverito’s opponents in the Public Advocate race, Jumaane Williams and Rafael Espinal, released statements suggesting that any funds raised from the still theoretical legalization of marijuana should be used to improve conditions in minority communities that have been victimized by disproportionate targeting from the NYPD.
  • No IDC NY, a progressive group that was central to the defeat of six former IDC State Senators in September’s Democratic primaries, have called upon incoming Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to punish Senators Diane Savino (District 23, Staten Island), David Carlucci (District 38, Rockland County), and Simcha Felder (District 17, Brooklyn), who will be the three remaining Democrats with a history of defection in January.

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