The death of David Dinkins and there’s a new supermajority in Albany

Late Monday evening, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins died at 93.
Late Monday evening, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins died at 93.
BPI/Shutterstock
Late Monday evening, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins died at 93.

The death of David Dinkins and there’s a new supermajority in Albany

Rounding up the week’s political news.
November 26, 2020

As the number of coronavirus cases grows in New York City each day, so do the lines of individuals waiting to get tested for the infectious disease. Some wealthier and less patient New Yorkers have turned to paying people to wait in line for them, so they don’t have to put up with a possible six-hour wait. Regardless, these new trends are reminiscent of the long lines spotted at the onset of the pandemic and reveal the unsettling fact that the city is teetering on the edge of another major outbreak. Even more concerning than long lines, some hospitals in New York City still haven’t met the state deadline to collect 90 days’ worth of personal protective equipment, raising questions about how prepared they are to combat the second wave of the pandemic.

David Dinkins dies

Late Monday evening, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins died at 93, less than two months after his wife, Joyce Dinkins, died at 89. David Dinkins was the city’s first and only Black mayor, serving one term from 1990 through 1993. At the time that Dinkins was elected mayor, the city was experiencing extraordinarily high crime rates, enormous budget deficits and racial tensions, making his job particularly hard. While he managed to revitalize parts of the city during his time in office, many felt that his handling of the Crown Heights riots in 1991 was one of the biggest reasons why Dinkins lost his reelection to Rudy Giuliani. However, Dinkins himself felt that his being voted out of office was due to “racism.” The former mayor taught at Columbia University and hosted a radio show on WLIB as well as consulting other politicians following his time in office.

State Senate supermajority

State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said her conference will have a supermajority of 42 members in 2021. “It will be the biggest Senate majority conference in the history of New York state,” Stewart-Cousins said during a press conference in Albany. “We defended seats downstate and we made incredible gains. We have flipped seats upstate and in western New York, and you have to consider that’s extraordinary because of the gerrymandered way the districts are drawn.”

The Assembly Democrats have long had a supermajority, which means that both houses will have significantly more power and will no longer need the support of Republicans to override Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s vetoes. Should the Legislature’s Democratic supermajority hold in the coming year, Democrats will have the ability to create new district lines in 2022.

Polly Trottenberg resigns

New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced she would be leaving her post of seven years next month. Trottenberg is currently serving on President-elect Joe Biden’s transportation transition team, and it is already being speculated that she may be considered for the role of U.S. transportation secretary. Trottenberg was behind the creation of the city’s Vision Zero program, which aims to eliminate traffic deaths. She also helped install numerous speed cameras and created bus and bicycle lanes throughout the city.

Brooklyn congregation fined $15,000 

The Yetev Lev D’Satmar congregation in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has been fined $15,000 by New York City for hosting more than 1,000 maskless guests at an indoor wedding. The congregation also received a written warning from the city’s health department regarding any future indoor events. De Blasio called the event “amazingly irresponsible” and said that it was “deeply immoral as lives were put at risk in a blatant disregard of the law and public health.”

However, this wedding is just one in a series of several strictly prohibited indoor events that occurred recently. On Saturday, a swingers club in Astoria, Queens, was busted for hosting a party with 80 guests and for serving liquor without a license. It is also facing a $15,000 fine. Several city politicians have been criticized for gathering at an indoor birthday party for New York Building Congress President and CEO Carlo Scissura, where numerous people were photographed mingling without masks earlier this month.

Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
is a staff reporter at City & State.
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