More Than Mueller: All The Big Things That Are ALSO Happening Right Now
It was a big week as Presidential candidates strive to differentiate themselves and Trump’s administration continues the low-level dismantling of government obscured by the Mueller news. Locally things might be even hotter, though, with the Mayor under investigation for ethics violations and major developments in the city’s plans for NYCHA.
If all that makes you feel like you need a break, we’ve got you covered!
Please join us on Tuesday, May 21 for an amazing event to celebrate and wrap-up the 2019 Public Advocate’s race. We’ll have a tasting of hand selected New York wines and paired delicacies. The event will finish up the post-election fundraising before matching funds ends in June. Hope to see you there:
There Will Be Wine: Celebrating and wrap[ing-up the 2019 Public Advocate's Race
Tuesday, May 21⋅7:00pm – 10:00pm
Professor Thom's Upstairs Lounge, 219 2nd Ave
New York City Passes Its Own Green New Deal
With Earth Day approaching on Monday, the City Council recently passed a package of legislations proposing to curb the city’s carbon footprint. The legislation, spearheaded by Queens Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Environmental Committee, takes aim at reducing the amount of carbon produced from city buildings.
The Climate Mobilization Act calls for buildings that measure 25,000 square feet or larger to meet new requirements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Rent-stabilized buildings are exempt.
DOI Investigating Mayor de Blasio For Repeated Conflict of Interest Violations
A recent investigation by the Department of Investigation, found Mayor de Blasio violated conflict of interest rules after repeatedly being warned against it. The report found de Blasio sought donations for his Campaign For One New York, a 501(c)4 Political Committee, from supporters seeking tax breaks, deed transfers, and other favors from the administration. The now closed account was intended to push for the Mayor’s political goals such as Pre-K for All.
Questions arose regarding the competence of de Blasio’s vetting process, concluding that there was not a particular individual responsible for overseeing vetting. De Blasio told investigators his then general counsel Maya Riley was mostly responsible for the vetting process; however, in her own interview with DOI, Riley recounted she did not have any major role in the vetting process.
It was later learned dozens of consultants, donors, and lobbyists including SKDKnickerbocker, AKDP Messaging & Media, Berlin Rosen, and Hilltop Public Solutions were among those interviewed by the DOI. The investigation formally closed October 22, 2018, and four weeks later DOI Commissioner Mark Peters was fired by de Blasio.
De Blasio Group Faces State Ethics Probe
Mayor de Blasio, who is seriously considering a run for The White House, is facing an investigation by the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE). The Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit formed by de Blasio and his wife shortly after taking office, is now defunct, but one aspect of the two-part investigation is ongoing. A settlement recently reached with lobbyist James Capalino revealed that the Mayor had requested his financial support and raised $100,000 from Capalino and his clients.
All Five City DA’s Offices Maintaining Secret List of NYPD Cops with Questionable Records
District Attorneys in all five boroughs are reportedly keeping a secret list of NYPD police officers who have credibility issues as witnesses at trial. The internal databases are already used in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx, and the Staten Island DA’s office is in the process of developing one. These lists are used to alert city prosecutors of potential issues with key witnesses. Manhattan Assemblyman Dan Quart has since called on the DAs to make their databases public, saying the lists would help defense attorneys better represent their clients.
City Releases Plans to Tear Down NYCHA And Rebuild From Scratch
The City has released plans to tear down the Fulton Houses in Chelsea and erect a single, larger building in their place. 70% of the new building would be market rate with the remaining 30% housing the existing NYCHA population. Given the value of the land under Fulton Houses, the City believes a public-private partnership will enable new construction at limited cost to the city. Current NYCHA tenants would be moved to temporary housing built on a nearby parking lot.
The entire plan would fall into the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD) which replaces public housing subsidies with Section 8 vouchers and moves management of public housing facilities to private management companies.
Borough President Sues City To Prevent Sale of NYCHA Land to Developers
Borough President Gale Brewer has sued to stop the Mayor’s plan to sell a playground next to Holmes Towers in Yorkville. The sale would eliminate the greenspace for roughly 1,000 NYCHA tenants, but generate a projected $25M for NYCHA repairs. An estimated $35M are required immediately with another $100M needed over the next 20 years. Fetner Properties was chosen for the project two years ago but it remains unclear when things will move forward.
Brewer has sued to stop the construction of the proposed 50-story building based on the plan’s circumvention of community review and existing zoning regulations.
NYPD Arrests Biker Race Coordinator And Confiscates Bikes Without Bells
While alternative fuels and modes of transportation may be all the rage, the NYPD is making it clear they don’t think bikes are part of the future. In anticipation of a bike relay race, they arrested the lead organizer, fined participants without bells and confiscated the bikes of some attendees.
This, as Borough President Eric Adams kicked off the fifth annual Bike to Work Day in Brownsville as part of an effort to promote greener lifestyles.
While it’s short notice, I’m happy to say that the Auturo Schomberg Democratic club is sponsoring a civic workshop on Thursday! We’re getting back into the swing of things but this is the first one open to the public since the Public Advocate election. If you haven’t been to one, stop by!
Politics 101 at Auturo Schomberg Democratic Club
Thursday, April 25⋅18:30 – 19:30
After Release of the Mueller Report, Warren Calls for Impeachment Proceedings
2020 Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for impeachment proceedings to begin in the House shortly after the release of the Mueller Report. Democratic House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and number two House Democrat Steny Hoyer have recently declared that beginning impeachment proceedings would not be fruitful unless the House followed investigative protocol.
Warren released a statement via Twitter saying, “To ignore a President’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways.” Freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib has already introduced a resolution calling for impeachment, which recently gained support from her colleagues in the House, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Warren is the first candidate to call for impeachment. Kamala Harris has recently voiced her support as well.
Republicans Block $250 Million To Beef Up Election Security
Senate Republicans followed in their House counterparts’ footsteps by blocking an election security amendment introduced by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy. The bill was to provide $250 million for the Federal Election Assistance Commission to replace outdated voting equipment and increase cybersecurity efforts.
It is by now accepted that in 2016 Russian hackers engaged in a far-reaching scheme to breach state election systems and undermine the U.S. election, resulting in 12 Russian military intelligence officers being indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller. But efforts to protect the integrity of our elections and combat further Russian, or other foreign, influence failed in a 50-49 vote. Though three Republicans broke rank, the measure failed get the majority needed to pass, or the 10 more votes needed to prevent a filibuster.
Warren Continues Release of Massive Policy Proposals With Student Debt Elimination
In a continued effort to prioritize policy over rhetoric, Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a student debt cancellation plan that would eliminate $640 billion worth of student debt.
In a bid to reach out to younger constituents, Sen. Warren released the proposal via a Medium post, calling for eliminating up to $50,000 in student loan debt for each person falling under a median family income of $100,000 a year or less. The $50,000 plan would eventually diminish for families with incomes between $100,000 and $250,000. Families with $250,000 or greater would not qualify for the plan. The proposal places the Massachusetts senator to the left of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, going beyond Sander’s 2017 College for All Act, which called for student loan refinancing.
Treasury Secretary in Lawsuit Against Major Retailer
Sears is suing Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, accusing him of taking part in a scheme to strip the company of $2 billion in assets. Mnuchin is named in the lawsuit along with the company’s former CEO Edward Lampert. During the period in which the scheme took place, 2011-2015, Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments, had a majority stake in the company, holding between 47.8% to as much as 62% in stocks.
Mnuchin, along with Lampert, was accused of “aiding and abetting” the scheme by approving regulations that would allow it to take place. Lampert reportedly rejected a $1.6 billion offer for Sears’s offshoot company Land’s End, which was offered by Tommy Hilfiger Investments and Leonard Green & Partners, instead taking a deal that left Lampert’s stake in Sears untouched while the scheme continued.
FBI arrests leader of armed civilian patrol who detained migrants at the border
The FBI arrested a New Mexico man on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and he is being held without bond. The man identified himself as the leader of a volunteer militant group who took it upon themselves to “help Customs and Border Patrol agents” by detaining migrants at the border. Videos on social media showed what New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas Balderas called “vigilantes” ordering migrant family groups to sit on the dirt with their children and wait for CBP agents.
CBP said it "does not endorse or condone private groups or organizations that take enforcement matters into their own hands,” and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she was actively working with state and local police to address the armed groups.
Trump fires office unit created to track right-wing domestic terrorists
Every extremist murder in America in 2018 was linked to right-wing terrorist groups, which killed more people last year than they have in any year since 1995 (the year of the Oklahoma City bombing). Despite this growing trend, the Trump administration disbanded the government unit tasked with monitoring and investigating right-wing domestic threats.
Law enforcement is troubled that the Department of Homeland Security is no longer interested in collecting intelligence on right-wing groups, and Trump’s actions seem to indicate he sees more value in these groups as political allies than as a continued threat to American lives and security.
Downtown Independent Democrats General Meeting
Wednesday, April 24⋅18:30 – 19:30
41 White St, New York, NY 10013, USA
Politics 101 at Auturo Schomberg Democratic Club
Thursday, April 25⋅18:30 – 19:30
The Forbidden Conversation - Play and Discussion
Saturday, April 27⋅13:30 – 15:30
Description: CBST and the Middle East and Me team invite you to The Forbidden Conversation, a one-man performance exploring the difficulty of conversations about Israel in the American Jewish community.
Organizing 2.0 Conference
April 26, 2019, 09:00 – April 27, 2019, 17:00
Organizing 2.0 is an annual training conference held in New York City. We offerer training in online organizing, digital strategy, use of online tools and creative organizing strategy.
Tickets available above via eventbrite.
Downtown Independent Democrats Annual Brunch Gala
Sunday, April 28⋅11:00 – 13:00
125 Greene St, New York, NY 10012, USA
Councilman Mark Levine's 50th Birthday Fundraiser!
Sunday, April 28⋅18:30 – 19:30
250 W 86th St, New York, NY 10024, USA
Description: RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org
Queens Drinking Liberally with Special Guest Tiffany Caban!
Sunday, April 28⋅12:00 – 16:00
APA Voice Queens DA Forum
April 30, 2019, 18:45 – May 1, 2019, 09:45
Rent Guidelines Board Preliminary Vote
Wednesday, May 1⋅18:00 – 21:00
Public Meeting for the Rent Guidelines Board Preliminary Vote!
VID 62nd Annual Awards Reception
Thursday, May 2⋅18:00 – 21:00
Please join us as we celebrate NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson, True Blue NY and No IDC, and Frieda Bradlow. Plus, there will be a special performance by Sing Out, Louise!
Meet & Greet Fundraiser in Support of Tiffany Cabán
Friday, May 3⋅19:00 – 21:00
Join us for a Meet and Greet Fundraiser in support of Tiffany Cabán for Queens District Attorney.
Register/Donate online: https://act.myngp.com/Forms/-1079536524159153152
Find out more about Tiffany Cabán and her plan to bring transformative justice to Queens: www.CabanForQueens.com
CRDC Annual Brunch and Awards
Saturday, May 4⋅11:00 – 14:00
Please join the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club for our annual brunch. The brunch is one of the political season’s most popular events, offering a welcome opportunity to relax and exchange ideas with other progressives and Democratic officeholders in New York City. It also provides an occasion to honor those who have worked alongside CRDC to advance community, progressive causes, and responsive government.
We are honored to be joined by several honorees, including U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who represents the 10th Congressional District and is the Chair of U.S. House Judiciary Committee.
There Will Be Wine - An event to celebrate and wrap-up the 2019 Public Advocate's Race
Tuesday, May 21⋅19:00 – 22:00
Description: Please join us for an event to celebrate and wrap-up The 2019 Public Advocate’s race.