There’s still plenty that can go wrong in the upcoming New York City primary elections – like wet weather and long ballots – but at least city Board of Election Executive Director Mike Ryan isn’t starting in the negative column. After months of uncertainty about whether some unlucky BOE schlubs would have to count hundreds of thousands of ballots by hand in June, the state Board of Elections finally approved software to tabulate ranked-choice results automatically. And that means Ryan will even be able to enjoy his July 4 weekend, the results will only take a week to determine, rather than a month or more of tedious hand counts.
This week's biggest Winners & Losers
This week's biggest Winners & Losers
Getting arrested almost always lands a politician on the losers list. But getting arrested on purpose, like New York City Mayoral candidate Shaun Donovan did by blocking traffic at a racial justice protest on Tuesday? That could be considered a win. But getting online mockery for a pre-planned stunt that felt like he was trying to copy Bill de Blasio in 2013? That may be a loss. But de Blasio did win so… we’ll leave this one to the voters. Until the election, here are some clearer winners and losers.
There are plenty of barriers to ending New York City's homelessness crisis. But thanks to a new bill passed by the City Council, one barrier could be coming down. The legislation sponsored by City Council Member Stephen Levin would boost the value of rental assistance vouchers so that they can, well, cover the actual cost of an apartment in one of the most expensive cities in the country. This means the number of available apartments for voucher-holders will jump from several hundred to tens of thousands. The victory can be credited in large part to former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who heads a homeless shelter provider and has been pushing for the increase. Still, more challenges remain with lots of landlords still discriminating against New Yorkers with vouchers.
Remember that hot second last year when broker fees were illegal in New York City? James Whelan sure does, because REBNY immediately filed a lawsuit and got the ruling blocked. Well, real estate agents can finally sleep at night—REBNY won the lawsuit, and the state had to clarify that it’s totally legal to charge someone a few extra thousand dollars for an apartment you may or may not have shown them.
Three staff members on Morales’s campaign have left the chat. Allegations of “a toxic work environment” erupted after the departures of campaign manager Whitney Hu, and senior staffers Ramses Duke and Amanda Van Kessel broke news on Wednesday. It is alleged that Hu resigned from her position due to how Black and brown staff members were treated by certain members on the team. Morales has since released a statement on Twitter addressing the internal campaign strife. “Our campaign works to intentionally center the voices of those who are excluded from politics and we acknowledge that mistakes have been made in our attempts to do this,” she said.
As of Thursday afternoon, state Sen. Diane Savino hadn’t even introduced legislation on her much discussed solution to offer gig workers the right to unionize, yet the controversial would-be deal appears to be crumbling. The Transport Workers Union, which had initially lauded the proposal, has now pulled its support after a draft version of the legislation circulated and groups representing ride-hail drivers and food delivery workers – the people who the proposal would apply to – ripped it as a step backwards for gig workers. Anything can happen in the final days of session in Albany, but Savino would face an uphill battle in rallying support for her proposal.
Cities nationwide are facing a surge in gun violence, but things are getting particularly bad in Capital City. There have been three homicides in just the last week, including the death of a teenager near the Executive Mansion. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is sending state troopers to help the city deal with the violence. Good luck Madam Mayor convincing voters that they should overlook that past promise to only serve two terms as her efforts continue to secure a third term.