De Blasio’s Bad Week + 2017 Ballot Preview

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Local News

  • While testifying during the bribery trial of former correction union boss Norman Seabrook, real estate executive Jona Rechnitz outlined in detail how his campaign donations to de Blasio resulted in close access to the mayor’s inner circle.
  • An alliance of local progressive organizations demanded the firing of Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, a former Goldman Sachs executive who has helped steer Mayor de Blasio’s housing policy for the past four years.
  • Gov. Cuomo vetoed an effort to reform the City’s controversial “gravity knife” law, which has been liberally interpreted to punish people in possession of common pocket knives. The move was supported by Manhattan DA Cy Vance.
  • Bill De Blasio announced a plan to save 15,000 Mitchell-Lama units. The announcement, in Clinton Hill, was interrupted by protesters opposing the Mayor’s support for the Bedford Armory deal.
  • An investigation by the Housing Rights Initiative found that residential landlords have been evading rent regulation laws despite receiving J-51 tax benefits that limit how much they can charge for their apartments. A judge ruled in 2009 that the J-51 program required landlords to place market-rate units into rent stabilization in buildings that received the tax break; unsurprisingly, HRI found that many properties have failed to comply. Despite an initiative by Governor Cuomo to return 50,000 illegally deregulated apartments to rent regulation, landlords have been evading Gov. Cuomo’s mandate by setting their stabilized units at artificially high rents. HRI said its investigation into rent overcharges led to a recently filed class-action lawsuit.
  • The NYC Department of Education approved a plan to integrate schools in District 1 (LES, East Village), one of the City’s most segregated districts. The approved plan gives priority to high-needs students in pre-K and Kindergarten programs and includes the recent creation of a “family resource center” that provides in-person enrollment support for families in three languages. English language learners, along with poor and homeless students, will have preference for about two-thirds of the district’s pre-K and kindergarten slots, and students with disabilities will be offered seats at the district’s elementary schools.
  • The news sites DNAinfo and Gothamist voted 25 to 2 in favor of unionizing under the Writers Guild of America East. Joe Ricketts, owner of the two sites, refused to recognize the union, forcing the formal National Labor Relations Board vote on Thursday.


  • Jumaane Williams and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner refused to rule out running together on a progressive joint ticket in the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary.
  • Zellnor Myrie will be challenging State Senator Jesse Hamilton in the Democratic primary next year, focusing on affordable housing. Hamilton will be the third IDC-candidate to face a primary challenger in 2018.
  • Governor Cuomo has been meeting with State Green Party representatives for the first time since he took office, allegedly to discuss environmental issues but also possibly to shore up progressive support ahead of the 2018 race.
  • Council Member Jumaane Williams (District 45, Flatbush) sent a letter to his colleagues affirming abortion rights and marriage equality, two issues where he had previously received criticism for ambiguous views that may imperil his chances in January’s Council Speaker race.
  • Rev. Khader El-Yateem endorsed Justin Brannan for November’s District 43 (southwest Brooklyn) Council race.
  • Members of the NYC Congressional delegation — including infamous Joe Crowley — will likely exert significant influence in the race for City Council Speaker.
  • The NYC Board of Elections admitted it broke state and federal law when it purged voter rolls ahead of the 2016 presidential primary, including over 117,000 voters in Brooklyn. The Board has agreed to a series of remedial measures to take place at least through the next presidential election in 2020, which includes restoring the rights of improperly purged voters and establishing a comprehensive plan to prevent illegal voter purges in future elections.
  • 2017 is shaping up to be the cheapest NYC election cycle in twenty years.

In-Depth: 2017 Ballot Preview

Before this year’s general election on November 7, 2017, you can find your polling place and preview a sample ballot by visiting the Poll Locator at the NYC Board of Elections website.


Every voter in the City will have the opportunity to vote on three citywide positions: Mayor, Public Advocate, and Comptroller. In all three races, a heavily favored incumbent is running for reelection on both the Democratic and Working Families Party lines.

Mayor De Blasio’s challengers include two of his opponents in the Democratic primary — Sal Albanese (now running on the Reform line) and Michael Tolkin (now running on the Smart Cities line). He also faces Akeem Browder (Green Party), Aaron Commey (Libertarian), Bo Dietl (Dump the Mayor), and Nicole Malliotakis (Republican, Conservative, Stop de Blasio).

Public Advocate Letitia James faces four opponents: Juan Carlos Polanco (Republican, Reform, Stop de Blasio), James C. Lane (Green), Michael A. O’Reilly (Conservative), and Devin Balkind (Libertarian).

City Comptroller Scott Stringer faces three opponents: Michel J. Faulkner (Republican, Conservative, Reform, Stop de Blasio), Alex Merced (Libertarian), and Julia A. Willebrand (Green).


Every voter in the City will have the opportunity to vote on at least one borough-wide race: Borough President. Voters outside of Staten Island will also vote for borough-wide Justices of the Supreme Court (“Supreme Court” is what New York State calls its trial-level courts), and voters in Manhattan and Brooklyn will vote for borough-wide District Attorneys.

All five incumbent Borough Presidents are running for reelection. Few judicial elections in New York City are competitive. In Manhattan, DA Cy Vance is running unopposed, but Marc Fliedner has staged a last-minute write-in campaign after Vance was hit with a series of scandals. In Brooklyn, DA Eric Gonzalez’s only opponent is Vincent Gentile, who was defeated in the Democratic primary and is now running on the Reform Line.


Every voter in the City will have the opportunity to vote for a City Council Member and a Judge of the Civil Court. The latter, like Supreme Court races, are rarely competitive. And while most City Council districts are dominated by Democratic incumbents, there are a few competitive seats in 2017.


Every voter in New York will have the opportunity on three ballot proposals: 1) Con Con! 2) Whether public officers convicted of certain felonies ought to lose some or all of their pensions. 3)  Authorizing the Use of Forest Preserve Land for Specified Purposes. View the specific wording of the Ballot Proposals below:


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