Tenant Advocates Make Final Push + Early Voting Begins
No. 275 | Monday, June 20
The NYC Thorn is a weekly roundup of local political news compiled by members of NYC-DSA.
Tenant groups and advocates pushed the Rent Guidelines Board to keep rents flat for rent-stabilized apartments ahead of the vote Tuesday, June 21. This effort comes after unstabilized rental units have recently seen increases in the hundreds of dollars.
Mayor Eric Adams euphemized over $200 million in cuts to schools in this year's budget by claiming that they were not actually cuts but that he had rather "reallocated the money based on student population."
City & State misreported that the six New York City Council members who voted against the City’s budget for Fiscal Year 2023 saw programs in their communities defunded in retribution, causing a firestorm of further criticism against Mayor Adams and Speaker Adrienne Adams's (District 28, Jamaica) budget. The six council members who voted "no" ultimately lost recognition for their projects, which are still funded in the budget.
The City Parks Department canceled several of its summer swim safety programs, citing a national lifeguard shortage. City Hall has denied qualified first responders from working as lifeguards amid the shortage, citing financial belt-tightening and a rule from 1987 that restricts dual employment of city employees.
The City is exploring switching to lower-cost health plans that may cut services or raise premiums for hundreds of thousands of city employees, retirees, and their dependents.
Climate activists have criticized the Adams administration’s implementation of Local Law 97, a landmark climate law passed in 2019. The City has just six months to issue new rules and regulations to building owners, a task that activists say requires much more funding than what was provided in the latest budget.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and lobbyists for a voting-machine manufacturer teamed up to kill a bill aimed at election security. The bill easily passed the New York State Senate and seemed to have majority support in the State Assembly, but the chair of the Election Law Committee, Assembly Member Latrice Walker (District 55, Brownsville) did not bring it to a vote.
New Jersey Transit shut down train service on June 18 in response to a sickout by the train engineer’s union. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen is expected to release a statement on June 20.
The chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, is taking the power to hire poll workers away from district leaders who oppose her, and giving it instead to loyalists running in primaries. Such jobs, which have traditionally been filled by district leaders, have become more lucrative as New York State has expanded early voting (and has two Democratic primaries this year).
Early Voting has begun in the June Democratic primary, which has statewide and assembly races on the ballot.
Governor Kathy Hochul, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and Congressmember Tom Suozzi (NY-3, Long Island) met for the last gubernatorial debate ahead of the Democratic primary this month.
Jonathan Soto, a progressive State Assembly candidate with the backing of the Working Families Party and Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14, Jackson Heights), returned a $4,7000 donation from a Wall Street executive, even as an independent expenditure committee supported by the executive continues to support Soto. Soto's opponent, incumbent Democratic Assembly Member Michael Benedetto (District 82, Throgg’s Neck), released a string of videos objecting to Soto's characterization of him as a "Trump Democrat."
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