Damning City Report on NYPD + Heastie Resists Rent Relief

A note to our readers: The Thorn has switched from Mailchimp to Substack so we can keep delivering you local New York politics news from a socialist perspective with fewer administrative costs. Starting in January 2022 our new issues can be at thethornnyc.substack.com along with how to subscribe. This website will serve as an archive of our past issues.

Local News

  • A report from the City’s Department of Investigation confirmed that the NYPD escalated violence at this summer’s protests over the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. The report blamed the Commissioner and the other higher ups in the Department for a failed strategy and enforcement policy. Mayor De Blasio, who had previously defended the police’s handling of the protests, has apologized.
  • Ahead of a possible emergency session of the State Legislature, New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is unwilling to commit to either an eviction moratorium or tax increases of $4 billion. The Senate reportedly supports both measures.
  • Governor Cuomo announced a revamped Covid rent relief program after strict eligibility requirements left $60 million of the federal money initially allocated unspent. Housing advocates question whether the changes are enough to address the rent arrears tenants face, and whether there is enough time to implement the program.
  • The City Council passed a bill that protects fast food workers from being fired without a valid reason and allows them to appeal terminations through arbitration.
  • The New York City Department of Education announced major changes to the admission process at hundreds of City schools in an effort to address segregation. The changes include barring middle schools from using test scores or other academic “screens” for admission, administering the Specialized High School Admissions Test at middle schools across the city rather than only at a few campuses, and eliminating district-based admission preferences.
  • The City Council voluntarily recognized the first members of the union of Council staffers, making it the first legislative staff union in the state. The staffers first requested recognition in January. Attorneys and social workers at Queens Defenders, the borough’s public defender agency, have voted to unionize.
  • The 2021 race for Manhattan District Attorney could determine the future of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, a unique office created in the 1970s to focus exclusively on charging drug crimes. Multiple candidates for the job have indicated a willingness to abolish or reform the office. 
  • The MTA Board approved a budget that excludes the most extreme potential cuts, such as a 40% decrease in subway service, because the agency is expecting $4 billion in federal aid.
  • Council Members Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Upper West Side) and Stephen Levin (District 33, Williamsburg and Downtown Brooklyn) have introduced a bill in the City Council that would bar the NYPD from conducting outreach to people experiencing homelessness.


  • NYC-DSA’s victorious 2020 slate of state legislators has endorsed its 2021 slate of city council candidates: Adolfo Abreu, Alexa Avilés, Tiffany Cabán, Michael Hollingsworth, Jaslin Kaur, and Brandon West.
  • A State judge denied a request to block the use of ranked-choice voting in a special City Council election next year. Voters approved ranked-choice voting in a 2019 ballot question.
  • The Campaign Finance Board, which oversees the City’s public campaign matching program, has dispersed $17.3 million in public funds to 61 candidates, including several DSA-endorsed candidates.
  • Janos Marton, considered to be one of the more progressive 2021 candidates for Manhattan DA, dropped out of the race due to fundraising difficulties.
  • Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo and current Manhattan Borough President candidate, accused Cuomo of sexually harassing her while she worked in his office.


A summary of the Flushing Rezoning approval process in last week’s issue incorrectly emphasized Wednesday’s 14-1 committee vote rather than the full vote of the Council on Thursday. (The measure passed 32-5, with Barron, Constantinides, Lander, Menchaca and Van Bramer v

Contribute to The Thorn

We welcome submissions of in-depth articles, comics and illustrations from anyone in DSA. Whether you want to write for us or just know of stories we should be covering, please get in touch.

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.