The NYC General Election is Tuesday, November 7th + Billionaire Shuts Down DNAinfo and Gothamist

Local News

  • The closure of DNAinfo and Gothamist further highlight the collapse of local news journalism in NYC, leaving many political issues, especially those in the outer boroughs, entirely without coverage.
  • Two NYPD Detectives plead not guilty to the rape of an 18-year-old Brooklyn woman they had detained and handcuffed in the back of their police van. In response to the incident, Council Member Mark Treyger (District 47, Coney Island) has begun drafting legislation to make any situation in which a police officer has sex with a detainee automatically recognized as rape under New York State Law. Present NYPD policy makes such situations punishable as misconduct but there is currently no city or state law specifically making such behavior illegal.
  • The Police Reform Organizing Project released a report showing the NYPD is still arresting people for marijuana possession. Despite mayor Bill de Blasio’s claims to have ended the practice, there have been more than 13,500 arrests in 2017, averaging 50 arrests a day.
  • The New York City Comptroller’s Office released a report suggesting “deep dysfunction” in the City Board of Elections.
  • The executive director of the New York State Assembly’s Office of Ethics and Compliance’s departure is being viewed as evidence of the deeply entrenched corruption in state government.
  • NYC Health + Hospitals, serving primarily poor and working class patients, is in serious financial trouble after years of neglect and underfunding.
  • The ongoing MTA “state of emergency” has allowed Joe Lhota to authorize over $100 million in purchases since his return to the agency’s helm, without needing board approval.
  • Robert Mueller’s charges against Paul Manafort allege that Trump’s former campaign manager used multiple NYC properties to launder money.
  • WNYC released a four part series on the ins and outs of the Queens Democratic Party machine.

Elections

  • The 2017 General Election is this Tuesday, November 7th, here are some resources:
  • Find your polling place.
  • View an interactive voters guide.
  • City and State released a primer for key races to watch next week.
  • DSA-endorsed City Council candidate Jabari Brisport (District 35, Crown Heights) was arrested while protesting a City Planning Commission hearing in which the  Bedford Union Armory development was approved.
  • In advance of Tuesday’s Mayoral elections, the New York Times endorsed Bill De Blasio, the New York Post endorsed Nicole Malliotakis, and Citizens United endorsed no one.
  • Bernie Sanders appeared at a campaign rally for Bill de Blasio in New York, where he threw support behind the Mayor’s proposal to tax the wealthy to fund subway repairs. Sanders also insinuated that congestion pricing would be a regressive tax.
  • Lewis Kaminski, an activist from Riverdale, recently registered a campaign committee to run a 2018 primary challenge against Bronx State Senator and Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) leader Jeff Klein (District 34).
  • Assembly Member Dov Hikind (District 48, Borough Park) helped funnel government funds into a shady non-profit that employed his son Yoni, who is currently running for City Council (District 44, Borough Park).

In-Depth: DNAinfo and Gothamist

DNA-Gothamist Union Badge.jpg

New York City’s online local news sites DNAinfo and Gothamist were shut down Thursday, one week after their workers voted to unionize. Both sites were invaluable resources for all New Yorkers, also for us here at The Thorn. DNAinfo in particular has been indispensable us. We’ve linked to DNAinfo in nearly every issue of The Thorn, and we applaud the incredible work of the journalists at both outlets, which has greatly helped our efforts to shed light on local politics.

Joe Ricketts, the billionaire Trump-supporting CEO and owner, claims the shutdown was simply a matter of profitability. But the timing of his decision makes clear that it’s more about sending a strong anti-union message, to both the rest of the media and employees at his other businesses.

His actions crystalize our need for strong public media. Profit-driven journalism can be compromised in all sorts of ways, and is ultimately contingent on the whims of billionaires like Ricketts and Peter Thiel. Efforts to unionize draw the ire of corporate media, which is precisely why such efforts are important. It is particularly risky for media workers to unionize today, but unions are a crucial safeguard to ensure that the work of independent media outlets is not manipulated by their owners.

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, has said that he is thinking about buying DNAinfo and Gothamist.\ The Writers Guild of America East has organized a solidarity rally at City Hall Park at 1 PM.

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