NYCHA Chair Testifies on Heating Failures + April 24 Special Elections

Local News

  • The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) admitted at a City Council hearing that over 300,000 of their public housing residents (80 percent of their units) have been without heat this season. NYCHA blames the loss of over $3 billion of federal aid. NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye once again testified before the City Council about the heating failures, after misleading Council Members in December about inspections that had been performed. In a rare move, she was accompanied by City attorney Zachary Carter for this most recent testimony.
  • Mayor De Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill, have pushed back against Manhattan DA’s Cyrus Vance stated policy of not prosecuting people for jumping subway turnstiles. MTA Chairman Joe Lhota also opposed Vance’s move. Meanwhile, court watchers say that Vance’s office has not been adhering to the reformist policies he has publicly announced.
  • Politico reports that over the past six years, pervasive gender discrimination and sexual harassment in Albany has generated over one thousand complaints and $6.4M in legal settlements. Politico’s analysis follows news earlier in the week that a major NYC-area charter school lobbying group is shutting down after its CEO was fired for sexually harassing employees.
  • Evidence introduced at Joseph Percoco’s federal corruption trial shows that Governor Cuomo was often present while Percoco was improperly using his office. Percoco, who is accused of taking bribes from developers and a power company, was Cuomo’s campaign manager, so his presence in the Governor’s office violated campaign laws.
  • While being deposed for a lawsuit over the City’s affordable housing lottery policy, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen called Council Members “not that smart” and accused them of lacking basic understanding of housing issues. Glen, a former Goldman Sachs executive and frequent target of housing advocates, later apologized.
  • The Village Voice reports that, despite Governor Cuomo last month publicly blocking the a Department of Corrections policy that would prevent prisoners from receiving books, similar policies are already in place in at least nine state prisons.
  • Tenants who were evicted from 83-85 Bowery in Chinatown have gone on a hunger strike in front of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to protest their displace by the landlord.
  • A taxi driver committed suicide on the steps of City Hall in protest of Mayor Bloomberg, Mayor de Blasio, and Governor Cuomo’s failure to protect longtime taxi drivers from the destabilizing forces of Uber and Lyft. It was apparently the third driver suicide in as many months, as many drivers face inescapable financial turmoil.
  • Inwood in Upper Manhattan is the fifth neighborhood to enter the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) under the DeBlasio administration’s affordable housing plan. Residents of another neighborhood being considered for rezoning, Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, are concerned that housing created under the plan will actually be affordable.
  • DSA members are organizing with an East Harlem tenants union against a negligent and abusive slumlord.

Elections

  • The deadline to apply to be a community board member or to file for the April 24 special elections is February 15.
  • City & State released a summary of the eleven races in the State Legislature (two Senate and nine Assembly) to be decided in April 24’s special election.
  • Council Member Francisco Moya (District 21, Corona) threw his support behind Democratic District Leader Ari Espinal to replace him in his vacated District 39 Assembly seat. The seat is one of the nine Assembly seats to be filled in the April 24 special elections.
  • Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren shot down rumors that she would be running for Lieutenant Governor, and Cuomo stated that he hoped current Lt. Gov Kathy Hochul would run again for the position this fall.
  • In the 11th U.S. Congressional District (South Brooklyn, Staten Island) Republican Dan Donovan, who is facing a primary challenge from former U.S. Rep Michael Grimm, and Democrat Max Rose have taken large fundraising leads against their opponents. A significant amount of Donovan’s donations have come from union PACs.
  • Democratic candidate for NY State Senate in District 22 (Bay Ridge) Ross Barkan released a plan to tackle the opioid crisis plaguing the area, in which he reiterates his support for the New York Healthcare Act.
  • At a recent county committee meeting, Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Frank Seddio refused to criticize IDC State Senator Jesse Hamilton (District 20, Central Brooklyn) for aligning with Senate Republicans, but did take time to lament the competitive primary between Ross Barkan and Andy Gounardes in Republican Marty Golden’s southern Brooklyn 22nd District Senate seat.
  • Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (District 131, Western New York) abruptly dropped out of this fall’s Republican Gubernatorial Primary, making State Senator John DeFrancisco’s GOP nomination increasingly likely.

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