We were so happy to be able to speak with author Ian Rosenberg about his new book The Fight for Free Speech. Ian’s book connects ten essential Supreme Court cases about the First Amendment to contemporary questions and issues in the news right now. It’s a timely and relatable guide to learning what your free speech rights are and how to use them.
Grand Street Dems will be setting up tables on Grand Street for each of the first three weekends in March with petitions that candidates are required to file in order to qualify for the ballot in June.
(Yes, it’s crazy that candidates are still required to do this during a pandemic, but the Governor and State representatives somehow did not plan ahead to find a safer way to qualify for this year’s primary.)
If you feel comfortable, we need your help. Join us Saturdays and Sundays starting March 6 from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, or let us know when you are available to carry petitions and we’ll work out the details with you.
We were joined by members of the Chinatown Working Group to discuss their proposal for special zoning districts in Chinatown and the Lower East Side. We also had a chance to meet Erin Hussein, who is challenging Councilmember Carlina Rivera in District 2.
Not shown in the meeting video was our members-only discussion and vote to endorse candidates for Civil Court in Manhattan and Judicial District 2.
As the Sierra Club’s letter makes clear, redacted sections of the report include “critical information” such as the names of outside “technical team members”; pro/con comparison of eleven “significant proposals” and five “recommendations”; process for arriving at cost estimates (which is a huge part of the City’s justification for its preferred plan); and discussion of alternatives.
“The Sierra Club feels certain that you recognize that it remains the duty of the City Council with its subpoena powers to investigate what is going on as millions of dollars are being spent and bids are being placed on a quasi-secret $1.4 Billion plan. Most importantly, it remains the Council’s responsibility to safeguard the public health and uphold our City’s environment.”
There are two open seats this year for Manhattan Civil Court (county-wide) and two more open seats for Civil Court Judicial District 2 (where we live), with a number of candidates who were rated “most highly qualified” by the New York County Independent Judicial Screening Panel for Civil Court Judges on Feb. 8.
On Saturday we will have a chance to hear from all these candidates, and then will vote at our general meeting Tuesday whether to make any endorsements for these seats.
With upcoming primaries for New York City officials, from Mayor to City Council, this is a critical moment to express our policy priorities for the next city administration.
One important topic we have discussed but never acted on: the Chinatown Working Group’s detailed proposal for special zoning districts in the Lower East Side and Chinatown that would promote affordability, limit displacement, and still allow for development that fits within appropriate height limits.
New York City’s 2021 primaries may be the most consequential we’ve ever had. Mayor, Comptroller, Manhattan Borough President, Manhattan District Attorney are all open seats, with many qualified candidates running in all these races, and the post-pandemic fate of our city on the line.
Add to that the unpredictability of ranked-choice voting being offered to voters for the first time ever, and the burden on voters to educate themselves on the candidates and issues becomes even heavier. You can’t just decide who your favorite candidate is, you should be thinking of four other candidates you find acceptable as well.
That’s even more true for members of local political clubs like Grand Street Dems, who are often asked by their neighbors for advice about complicated local races.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is term-limited. There are too many candidates to review in full; many of them have done so little fundraising and campaigning that it’s fair to say they have no chance of getting elected. We are focusing on a still-large number of viable candidates.
Current Comptroller Scott Stringer is term-limited (and running now for Mayor). At least five candidates are now running for this open city-wide position, though the final list of candidates is still in flux (Zach Iscol, for example, just recently announced he would not run for Mayor and is running for Comptroller instead).
Current D.A. Cyrus Vance does not appear to be running for re-election (though has not yet officially made his intentions clear). There are eight candidates running to replace him.
Note that since this is technically a state position, there will not be ranked choice voting for this position in June; you will only be able to vote for one candidate, and whoever wins a plurality will be the Democratic nominee.