- Assembly Member Joe Lentol (D-Northern Brooklyn) proposed legislation to relax regulations around New Yorkers’ ability to list their apartments on short term rental sites like AirBNB. Lentol’s office is directly acknowledging the role of AirBNB’s lobbying staff in writing the bill, and a portion was found to have directly plagiarizeda 2016 company memo.
- De Blasio insists that a discount Metrocard program for low-income residents should exist but that it’s the MTA’s responsibility to fund it, not the City’s. He cites this as his reason for rejecting a Fair Fares pilot program proposed recently by City Council. Meanwhile, low-income families must choose between dinner or a Metrocard.
- Under Governor Cuomo, the MTA has refused to aggressively fix the subway’s deteriorated and obsolete signal system, instead opting to pursue more glamorous capital projects with a limited scope.
- A coalition of housing organizations are launching a public campaign against Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, focusing on her prior high-level position at Goldman Sachs and her close involvement with de Blasio’s controversial 10-year housing plan.
- Hundreds of B&H workers showed up to strike on May Day after the company’s decision to move their Brooklyn warehouse to an inaccessible South New Jersey location. Members of the DSA will continue to show up on Fridays and Sunday to picket.
- The City collected a record $993 million in fines last year by vigorously enforcing “quality-of-life violations.” A 2014 NYCLU study found that around 81 percent of the 7.3 million people receiving summons for minor infractions between 2001 and 2013 were black and Hispanic. This aggressive and racially biased policing has lead to more than 1.4 million outstanding arrest warrants. Many people have no idea that these warrants exist.
- Nearly 400 non-profits were on the Department of Finance’s list of properties included in its upcoming Tax Lien Sale, which could allow private banks to foreclose on their properties. Most of these nonprofits are churches that should be exempt from these debts, but have difficulty navigating the City’s process for applying for this exemption.
- At the citywide Convention on Saturday, NYC DSA voted to endorse Rev. Khader El-Yateem as a candidate in the Democratic primary for the 43rd City Council district (Bay Ridge).
- Ongoing R Train issues continue to be a popular topic among candidates vying for the District 43 City Council seat, with El-Yateem calling for increased shuttle service and more transparency from the MTA.
- CM Vincent Gentile, being term limited out of his District 43 seat this year, put in an application to run for Civil Court judge despite having already announced his candidacy for District Attorney.
- Democratic State Senator Tony Avella dropped his bid to challenge De Blasio in the Mayoral primary, citing the difficulties of beating an incumbent mayor. Mayor de Blasio may not be required to participate in a Democratic primary debate this fall given the limited name recognition and fundraising capabilities of Sal Albanese and Robert Gangi, who are now his most prominent primary challengers.
- New York State Senate Democrats are hopeful that they can reunite their fractured majority after a special election on May 23rd to fill the seat vacated by Bill Perkins, who left in February to join the New York City Council. However Governor Cuomo expressed indifference to the idea.
- MISSISSIPPI - Chokwe Antar Lumumba won the Democratic Mayoral primaryoutright and will likely be elected Mayor of Jackson in June. A member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Lumumba ran on a “People’s Platform” that endorses community control of local development.
The New York State Liberty Act
This week’s newsletter features an interview with Tereza Lee, a volunteer activist, former DREAMer and member of Uptown Progressive Action, a chapter of NYPAN. Tereza has been running around the city raising awareness for the New York State Liberty Act (S4075) a bill that would essentially make New York a sanctuary state by ensuring that the State provides a number of protections from federal agencies.
DSA Electoral News: What’s the status of NYSLA at the moment?
Tereza Lee: It has passed in the Assembly, and currently is awaiting a vote in the Senate. We’re very close to securing enough votes, but we need to reach out as much as possible to state senators who are still undecided, or who may be persuadable to join us in support. If passed, it would protect almost a million immigrants that are otherwise vulnerable under Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda.
DSAEN: What can we as individuals do to help?
TL: You can join the Liberty Act Coalition on the private working Facebook group to plug in and help us out with actions, such as calling and petitioning specific Senators. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the biggest problems is that people have never heard about the Liberty Act, even many politicians weren’t aware that there was such a bill in New York until we called them. So you can talk about the Liberty Act to your friends and social media, call the media and tell them to cover it.
DSAEN: What else are you doing outside of social media?
TL: We have been working with local churches, many of whom have already officially become designated as sanctuaries, and we’re looking for ways to help those who have been raided or had run-ins with ICE. The UPA Immigrant Rights Committee has been working on building a local texting/rapid response network to help anyone experiencing ICE raids and organizing Know Your Rights training events. We also have regular public meetings so that we can continue to get ideas on how to move forward.