de Blasio Begins Second Term & Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State

Local News

  • Vexing many of his supporters, Bernie Sanders swore in Bill de Blasio for his second term as Mayor on New Year’s Day. Starting with his public tirade against Cuomo in 2014, de Blasio has been distancing himself from the Cuomo-Clinton segment of the Democratic Party.
  • Governor Cuomo gave his eighth State of the State address on Wednesday, spending much of it attacking the Trump Administration, including a plan to sue the federal government over the recently-passed tax law. He also proposed a reduction in cash bail and other criminal justice reforms, but the speech’s focus was on the federal government – with no specifics about much needed transit reform or the state’s housing crisis – fueling suspicion of his Presidential ambitions.
  • Corey Johnson was officially elected Speaker of the New York City Council. Johnson’s record and early statements as Speaker suggest that he is positioning himself as more willing than former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to challenge the mayor on issues such as land use and congestion pricing.
  • The process behind Corey Johnson’s ascension to Speaker gives some windows into the behind the scenes dealings of New York City politics, including the continued ascendency of the Bronx and Queens council delegations in setting the balance of power between the five boroughs and the continued turmoil in the Brooklyn Democratic machine.
  • A recent City Limits article detailed the state of all of the de Blasio administration’s 15 neighborhood rezoning plans.
  • The George Motchan Detention Center will become the first jail at Rikers Island to close this summer. It currently holds about 600 men, out of a total inmate population that stood at 8,705 on New Years Day.
  • ProPublica published an investigative piece exposing the horrible work conditions of private trash collection companies in NYC. While attempts at regulation have so far fallen short, the industry exploits employees with dangerous job conditions and precarity, imperils the safety of pedestrians and cyclists by encouraging drivers to drive recklessly, and harms the environment by running extremely inefficient routes.
  • State Senate majority leader John Flanagan (District 2,Suffolk County) indicated that Senate Republicans would not be likely to support Governor Cuomo’s congestion pricing plan to help fund the beleaguered MTA.
  • The New York Times released an extensive report that detailed the pervasive corruption and ineptitude between the MTA, State government, and City construction industry that resulted in the Second Avenue Subway project costing more per mile than any other subway construction project in human history. Meanwhile, Cuomo proposed a new vehicle tunnel connecting Long Island and Westchester in his State of the State speech that could cost as much as $55 billion.

Elections

  • Two of the better positioned candidates to run for Governor this year as Republicans both declined to enter the race likely recognizing their poor chances, leaving the field bare and uncompetitive. No Democrats have yet formally announced a primary challenge to Cuomo this fall.
  • Challengers to the members of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference in the New York State Senate are beginning to officially enter the 2018 race including Alessandra Biaggi who will be challenging IDC leader Jeffrey Klein in the 34th District (Bronx/Westchester).
  • Former Bernie Sanders campaign staffer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is ramping up her campaign to challenge longstanding incumbent Joseph Crowley in the Democratic Primary for the 14th US Congressional District which covers significant portions of the Bronx and Queens.
  • Jumaane Williams, fresh off his failed bid for Council Speaker, has already written a rebuttal to Cuomo’s State of the State. Williams filed paperwork for a new campaign committee “Jumaane 4 New York” last month.

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