Studying Racial Impact in Rezonings + Queens DA Race Donations

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

  • Public Advocate Jumaane Williams introduced a City Council bill that would require “racial impact” studies before a rezoning a neighborhood.
  • As the rent law fight enters its final weeks, the State Senate has yet to come out with a unified position on the package of bills known as Universal Rent Control; housing activists worry that a lack of unity across the Senate and Assembly will open up room for Cuomo to negotiate the final form of the bills, with likely detrimental effects.
  • The developer of Liberty View Industrial Plaza in Sunset Park is trying to back out of a deal he made with the city requiring that he dedicate the majority of the development to manufacturing tenants in exchange for tax breaks.
  • While the New York State Democratic Party voted unanimously to move the party registration deadline up to 60 days before the primary (instead of 190), the move may need to be approved by the State legislature, according to the State Board of Elections.
  • Two competing bills to abolish the so-called gay or trans panic defense in murder cases are languishing in committee despite the support of Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders.
  • Gov. Cuomo signed a bill repealing the “gravity knife” ban that criminalizes many standard work knives, and has been used to disproportionately arrest people of color. The Governor called the ban, which was struck down by a federal court earlier this year, “absurd” despite previously blocking attempts to repeal it.


  • A donor reporting deadline for the Queens DA race revealed that Tiffany Cabán overwhelmingly leads the pack in small donations, but that establishment favorite Melinda Katz is leading in dollar total. Katz and Rory Lancman have both received money from REBNY, and Gregory Lasak has received donations from police unions.
  • While Cabán was the only candidate not to take money from corporate donors, she did fundraise from some billionaires. Meanwhile, almost a third of Katz’s money has come from developers.
  • Council Member Brad Lander (District 39, Park Slope) endorsed Elizabeth Warren in a piece citing the male privilege that has elevated his own political career. Lander wrote an article in 2016 noting that he was a “Democratic Socialist for Hillary.”

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.