- Prominent NYC Democratic politicians who know better, including Public Advocate Tish James and Comptroller Scott Stringer, refuse to hold Governor Cuomo accountable for subway funding, but they displayed their attention to the issue by undertaking a 24-hour subway tour/press conference in advance of an MTA oversight hearing on August 8th.
- An anonymous donor provided a grant to the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, effectively settling the conflict between the Mayor and City Council over the use of City funds on legal defenses for undocumented immigrants convicted of any crime considered a “deportable offense.”
- Even though he is unable to raise taxes and will need the State Legislature’s approval, de Blasio has announced his support for a “millionaires tax” to fund subway repairs and a subsidized fare program for poor New Yorkers.
- After a leaked internal memo sparked a flurry of controversy earlier this year, City Hall and the EDC (Economic Development Corporation) seem to have gone silent on the proposed Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX), but the dedicated, developer-friendly “Friends of the BQX” are still defending and explaining the project’s financing model.
- The New York State State Board of Elections will be sharing some voter information with the President’s Election Integrity Commission. The information being shared is somewhat more limited than what had originally been requested and the Board of Elections stated that they had no legal right to refuse the updated request.
- In support of IBEW Local 1803’s continued strike against Charter Spectrum (Time Warner Cable), de Blasio has publicly threatened the telecommunications giant’s franchise agreement with the City.
- The City has announced the allocation of a small amount of money to support the creation of Community Land Trusts across the five boroughs. The Bedford Union Armory does not appear to be part of the plan.
- Mayor de Blasio requested matching funds from the city’s Campaign Finance Board, totaling $2.6 million, which required him claiming that his opponents amount to more than “minimal opposition.” Further signaling that he is concerned about the upcoming election, he announced that he is open to debating other Democratic candidates for mayor even if they don’t raise the minimum $175,000 that would require him to do so, and he made a rare appearance at a candidate forum early last week.
- The Intercept has a longform article about DSA-endorsee Jabari Brisport and the City Council race in District 35 (Crown Heights, Fort Greene).
- Hiram Monserrate, a former Democratic Councilmember and State Senator who was convicted of domestic abuse and fraud, and who also caucused with Senate Republicans in the late 00s, disgracefully appears to be competitive in the race to replace Julissa Ferreras-Copeland in the 21st Council District (Corona, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights). As of this week, Monseratte’s only challenger for the seat is current Queens 39th District State Assemblymember Francisco Moya, after Moya’s campaign contested the ballot petition signatures of every other contender which resulted in them being kicked out of the race.
- More potential challengers to Governor Cuomo in next year’s Democratic gubernatorial primary have emerged this week, including Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner and former Sex and the City star and education activist Cynthia Nixon.
- Yoni Hikind announced his candidacy for the District 44 (Borough Park) City Council spotbeing vacated by David Greenfield, under his own newly created “Our Neighborhood” party line. Hikind is the son of State Assemblymember Dov Hikind (District 48, Borough Park) with whom Greenfield has a bitter political rivalry.
- Five of the nine candidates running for the District 43 (southwest Brooklyn) Council seat, including DSA’s Rev. Khader El-Yateem, received the maximum amount of public matching funds in the most recent campaign finance filing period. The race looks to be one of the most competitive and wide open races for City Council across the five boroughs.
In-Depth: Bedford Union Armory Town Hall
Wednesday night, hundreds of Crown Heights residents attended a Community Town Hall about the Bedford-Union Armory at MS 61, organized by New York Communities for Change (NYCC), NYC-DSA, and the Crown Heights Tenant Union (CHTU) and advertised as an event that Mayor de Blasio was invited to. The event was organized in response to the Mayor’s public endorsement of the project in July, in which he suggested that Crown Heights residents are opposed to the project because they don’t understand it.
The current Councilmember for Crown Heights, Laurie Cumbo, has publicly stated that she opposes the project as it currently stands, which could have signaled that the opposition campaign has been a success. But activists familiar with the politics of the ULURP process know the fight is not over because the project could still be approved with minimal political repercussions for the Councilmember. Here are some ways that could happen:
- The developer BFC makes changes to the proposal, possibly slightly increasing the number of affordable units that will go into the housing portion of the project, prompting Cumbo and the rest of City Council to state that a reasonable compromise has been made and vote to support it.
- Cumbo symbolically votes No on the project, but the rest of City Council votes Yes.
- Since the City Council will vote after her election, Cumbo could also just vote Yes if she is still in office.
- City Council votes No on the project, but the Mayor overrides the vote and gives final approval.
The De Blasio-focused town hall is an example of the ways in which targets can shift throughout a community campaign, and how escalating a campaign to a higher-level target can serve as a political education moment, exposing the less-than-obvious connections between district-level decisions, citywide agendas, and developer interests. Wednesday’s town hall included mentions of Cumbo’s real estate donations, a similar struggle over the sale of a Brooklyn Heights library in 2015, and the current administration’s overall trend of selling public land and public assets to private developers.