McKinsey Covers Up Rikers Violence + More NYC-DSA Endorsements

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 along with how to subscribe. This website will serve as an archive of our past issues.

Local News

  • A ProPublica investigation has revealed that the consulting firm McKinsey, which was hired by the New York City Department of Corrections to study and stem violence in Rikers Island, lied in reports to show a decrease in violence in the prison. Instead, violence increased significantly after McKinsey was hired.
  • Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie may be the real estate industry’s strongest ally in Albany to kill tenant friendly legislation in the next session.
  • A new report prepared by criminal justice reform activists documents the abuses of “Operation Crew Cut,” the NYPD initiative meant to target gangs that began under Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and continued under William Bratton and James O’Neill, both appointed by Mayor De Blasio. The report suggests the operation’s tactics are an extension of Stop and Frisk. Despite protests, De Blasio insists that the gang databases will continue.
  • Other NYPD officers have testified that Deputy Inspector Constantin Tsachas, currently the second-in-command of Brooklyn’s transit policing bureau, frequently instructed officers to target black and Latino men for farebeating and other low-level arrests.
  • Con Edison, the privately owned utility company that provides gas and electricity to much of New York City, has reportedly resolved to raise rates beginning in 2020; ConEd wants to raise electric prices 13% and gas prices 25% over the next 3 years.
  • After negotiations in federal court, New York City is suspending the Special One-Time Assistance program, which paid a year’s worth of rent for homeless residents, often in other states. Investigations of the program found that  many shelter residents were pressured by officials to rent subpar housing in areas outside the five boroughs.
  • Current and former homeless outreach workers slammed the Mayor’s “Outreach NYC” plan for addressing homelessness in the City, calling it “a massive misdirection of effort and resources” and saying that any plan that doesn’t include permanent housing for the homeless is inadequate.
  • A City Limits investigation looks at how New York City treats the families with children that comprise roughly 70% of City homeless shelter residents. On Dec. 1st, over 21,000 children slept in City shelters.
  • With the end of the year approaching, Gov. Cuomo signed or vetoed much of the legislation that was passed earlier that had not yet been sent to his desk. He signed bills regulating hemp extract, providing Epi-Pens to first responders, and simplifying the absentee voting process in New York. Bills vetoed by Cuomo include one to restrict a toxic pesticide, one to expand charitable bail organizations, and one to collect more complete data on Asian-American communities (currently most state agencies group all Asian-Americans together, which masks inequalities between ethnic groups).


  • NYC-DSA formally endorsed Samelys Lopez for the 15th Congressional District (Bronx) and Zohran Mamdani for the 36th Assembly District (Astoria). Lopez and Mamdani join a 2020 slate of four endorsed candidates in Brooklyn: Phara Souffrant Forrest (Assembly District 57), Jabari Brisport (State Senate District 25), Marcela Mitaynes (Assembly District 51), and Boris Santos (Assembly District 54).
  • Joe Robach (District 56, Rochester) has announced his retirement heading into next year’s election, the seventh Senate Republican to retire amidst a crisis for the state GOP. If Democrats net two more seats in the State Senate they will gain a veto-proof supermajority in both houses ahead of congressional and state legislative redistricting in 2022.
  • Chaim Deutsch, current Council Member (CD 48) and noted homophobe, is rumored to be challenging Yvette Clarke in the 9th New York Congressional District.
  • Already facing scrutiny into his fundraising practices, Mark Gjonaj was recently revealed to have taken campaign contributions from Gambino crime family affiliates.
  • Attorney General Tish James is drawing criticism from the Working Families Party and other New York progressives for asking a court to dismiss the party’s lawsuit challenging new rules designed to limit the number of minor parties in New York.

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.