Rent Regulation Battle Heating Up + Queens DA Brown Dies

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Local News

  • Over 100 New Yorkers lined up to testify about rent laws at an Assembly hearing in Manhattan. The fight to expand New York State’s rent regulation laws continues to heat up ahead of their June 15 expiration, including a major May 14 rally planned in both Albany and New York City.
  • Momentum may be slowing to pass the New York Health Act. Several state legislators who campaigned in support of the bill are walking back their formerly “full-throated” backing of the legislation, likely cowering to pressure from Cuomo and industry. Some unions, including the UFT, have been acting at the behest of industry coalitions to try and kill single payer in New York State.
  • Lyft and Juno’s attempt to block the City’s mandatory driver minimum wage rule failed in State court. App-based rideshare drivers are planning to strike and hold a rally at Uber’s Long Island City offices on Wednesday, May 8 ahead of the company’s multi-billion dollar IPO.
  • Mayor de Blasio released his $92.5 billion executive budget proposal. Agencies were forced to make $629 million in cuts - including ThriveNYC, a mental health program losing $9 million this year. There was only $22 million for the 2020 Census despite experts asking for $60 million.
  • Some State legislators want to amend New York’s constitution in order to weaken the overwhelming power that the Governor has over the budget process.
  • Three years after an NYPD raid swept up 120 people accused of participating in street gangs, a report put out by CUNY professor Babe Howell exposes the abuses behind the prosecutions of the “Bronx 120.”
  • The City, a new digital nonprofit, hopes to fill in some of the gaps left by the declining New York local media market.
  • The first pharma distributor is facing federal drug trafficking charges for its role in the opioid crisis. Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York Federal Court said that two former executives at Rochester Drug Cooperative knowingly shipped painkillers to pharmacies that were illegally distributing them.


  • Richard Brown, the longtime Queens DA who previously announced that he wouldn’t seek reelection this year, passed away at the age of 86. Chief ADA John M. Ryan will serve as interim DA through the end of the year.
  • VOCAL-NY is planning a major voter registration drive in the Queensbridge and Ravenswood NYCHA houses ahead of the June 25 Queens DA Democratic Primary. VOCAL’s political action committee has endorsed Tiffany Cában in that race, and she also recently scored an endorsement from Council Member Brad Lander (District 39, Park Slope).
  • Shaniyat Chowdhury, a 27-year-old bartender and former organizer for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, is seeking to challenge US Representative Gregory Meeks in Southeast Queens’ 5th District in 2020.
  • Mary Jobaida, a healthcare outreach specialist from Long Island City, has announced that she will challenge Assembly Member Catherine Nolan (District 37, Western Queens) in the 2020 Democratic primary. Nolan was one of the few local politicians to openly support the Amazon HQ2 proposal earlier this year.
  • Bill de Blasio is, hilariously, running for president.


The Thorn is hosting a trivia night fundraiser on the evening of Thursday, May 23 at Our Wicked Lady in Bushwick. We’re putting together five rounds of trivia covering the politics, history, and pop culture of NYC. Details to come in future issues.

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