News & Politics

Bail debates, lifted vax mandates and NY vs. Garden State

Rounding up the week’s political news.

Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving had been perhaps the most public face of the unvaxxed sports stars.

Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving had been perhaps the most public face of the unvaxxed sports stars. Mark Brown/Getty Images

A lot can happen in the course of a week. New York City Mayor Eric Adams hired and fired his fourth pastor with a history of making anti-gay statements. The NYPD’s counterterrorism chief denied the well-documented history of illegal surveillance of Muslim communities after 9/11. Masks for the youngest New Yorkers in schools have come off. And that’s just the start. Keep reading for the rest of this week’s news. 

Vax requirement lifted in NYC for athletes

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that he would lift the vaccine requirement for athletes in the city, permitting them back onto the court, into the rink or onto the field without getting the jab. Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving had been perhaps the most public face of the unvaxxed sports stars, with fans pressuring Adams to let him play. However, the mandate for the city’s municipal workforce remains in place, much to the chagrin of public sector unions. The city has fired thousands of people since mid-February for not getting vaccinated, and many feel snubbed that rich, famous athletes get a pass while they’re out of a job. In the face of the criticism, Adams defended his decision by saying that the city was at an unfair disadvantage as out-of-state athletes did not need to adhere to the same rule and that allowing entertainers to perform would boost the local economy.

Bail debate continues

The fallout from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s leaked criminal justice plan has continued. After legislative leaders and many lawmakers reacted negatively to the proposal to roll back bail reforms in some instances, the Hochul administration finally went on the defensive. The governor for the first time confirmed the veracity of the leaked document, though she still initially declined to comment on it. Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin also drew scrutiny for how he handled press questions about bail – dodging reporters after an event where he had no scheduled Q&A. He later took questions, defending the bail proposal and insisting the changes would be minor. Then, both Hochul and Benjamin came out with an op-ed in support of their position on bail – a sharp turn from the governor’s oft-repeated insistence that she doesn’t negotiate in the public or in the press. Meanwhile, Hochul got hit from both the left and the right from her primary opponents, with New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams saying bail changes would harm New Yorkers, while Rep. Tom Suozzi argued that the governor didn’t go far enough in her proposed rollbacks. 

Empire State vs. Garden State

New York got an early victory over New Jersey in the fight over the fate of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor. Originally created to fight mob activities at the city’s ports, New Jersey now wants to pull out of the dual-state commission, an action New York hopes to prevent. So they took the case to court in an attempt for a judicial ruling preventing the commission’s dissolution. And New York just won a preliminary injunction from the U.S. Supreme Court that stops New Jersey from its plan to unilaterally demolish the commission and instead have state law enforcement police the harbors on its side of the river. Though New Jersey could still emerge the final victors, New York claimed the first win of the court battle and ensured the commission’s continued existence past March 28, when our neighbors across the Hudson intended to put their plan into action.