March 9 at 7 pm: GSD Book Club with Ian Rosenberg, author of “The Fight for Free Speech”

Author Ian Rosenberg is Assistant Chief Counsel at ABC, Inc., where he has provided pre-broadcast counsel for ABC News clients on libel, newsgathering, intellectual property, and FCC regulatory issues since 2003. He’s also a founding a member of Grand Street Dems.

Ian’s new book — The Fight for Free Speech — is timely, relatable, and wonderfully readable. He connects ten essential Supreme Court cases about our First Amendment to contemporary questions and issues in the news right now.

Ian will join us on Tuesday, March 9 for a conversation about his book and to answer your questions. Buy his book from Shakespeare & Co., McNally Jackson, or from Amazon, then join us on Tuesday, March 9 for our conversation with Ian.

Sign Up to Help Our Candidates Get on the Ballot

We are heading into the biggest primary season NYC has seen in a generation and we are ready to help our endorsed candidates get on the ballot!

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.

Update: If you want to get more involved with a particular campaign, you can volunteer specifically for petitioning shifts with them:

Christopher Marte: https://forms.gle/Q41ekPppSxR7x2WC8

Lindsey Boylan: https://forms.gle/TVgAempGJv5EYFcX6

2/23/21 Remote Meeting Recap — Chinatown Working Group and City Council candidate Erin Hussein

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.

Sierra Club calls for City Council oversight hearing on ESCR

Grand Street Dems last month called for the suspension of work on the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project until the City would allow a full and independent engineering review of the project.

Since then, the City finally released the document it had previously said did not exist — the report from the value engineering study in 2018 that led to the current plan — with heavy, unexplained redactions.

Now the Sierra Club is calling on the City Council to conduct oversight hearings to get to the bottom of the “secrecy, inadequacy, and sequence of events and information releases [that] have left many perplexed and disturbed.”

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.”

Feb. 20: Civil Court Candidate Forum

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.

Manhattan Civil Court Candidate Forum
Saturday, February 20, 2:00 – 3:30 pm
Zoom link: tinyurl.com/civilCourtForum

Thank you to Downtown Independent Democrats for putting this forum together for all of us.

Candidates for Civil Court Judge County-wide

Candidates for Civil Court Judicial District 2

Feb. 23 at 7:00 pm: Chinatown Working Group Presentation & Resolution

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.

Next week we will hear a presentation from CWG representatives and have the opportunity to signal our support for their plan (joining dozens of other local organizations).

GSD February Meeting
Tuesday, February 23, 7:00 pm
Register for Zoom: grandstreetdems.nyc/zoom-2021-02-23

We also have one last set of endorsements to make for 2021, for Civil Court Judges, and will be discussing what petitioning will look like in March to get all our endorsed candidates on the ballot.

Grand Street Dems announces 2021 endorsements

At last night’s marathon endorsement meeting, Grand Street Dems endorsed a full slate of candidates for New York City’s epic 2021 primary.

Grand Street Dems 2021 Endorsements
SCOTT STRINGER for Mayor
JUMAANE WILLIAMS for Public Advocate
BRAD LANDER for Comptroller
LINDSEY BOYLAN for Borough President
ALVIN BRAGG for District Attorney
CAROLINE LASKOW and LEE BERMAN for District Leaders

And a reminder that we had already voted to endorse CHRISTOPHER MARTE for City Council District 1.

Club members voted to make no endorsement for City Council District 2, where Carlina Rivera is running for re-election.

Preparation for 2021 Endorsements

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.

GSD will be voting on endorsements in all these races on Monday, February 8. Below is a compendium of information we have for each of the campaigns and candidates.

New York City Mayor

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.

Watch our candidate forum from February:

CandidateCurrent OccupationVID Questionnaire
Eric AdamsBrooklyn Borough PresidentLink
Shaun DonovanFormer Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentLink
Kathryn GarciaFormer Commissioner, NYC Department of SanitationLink
Ray McGuireFormer vice chair, Citigroupn/a
Carlos MenchacaCouncilmember (CD-38)n/a
Dianne MoralesExecutive Director/CEO, Phipps NeighborhoodsLink
Scott StringerNYC ComptrollerLink
Loree SuttonFormer Commissioner, NYC Department of Veterans’ Services; Retired Brigadier GeneralLink
Maya WileyProfessor, New School; Former Chair, CCRB; Former counsel, NYC Mayor’s officeLink
Andrew YangFounder, Venture for AmericaLink

New York City Public Advocate

Jumaane Williams won a special election for Public Advocate in 2019, and is now running for re-election against three challengers.

Our virtual forum with these candidates will be on Saturday, February 6 at 12:00 pm.

Register for Zoom: https://tinyurl.com/downtownPAforum

CandidateCurrent OccupationVID Questionnaire
Theo Chino2019 Public Advocate candidateLink
Gwen Goodwin2019 Public Advocate candidate; City Council candidate in 2013 and 2017n/a
Tony Herbert2019 Public Advocate candidate; 2014 NY Assembly candidate (AD-55)n/a
Jumaane WilliamsNYC Public Advocate (incumbent)n/a

New York City Comptroller

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).

Watch our candidate forum from January:

CandidateCurrent OccupationVID Questionnaire
Brian BenjaminState Senator (SD-30)Link
Zach IscolCEO/Founder, Grid North Groupn/a
Brad LanderCouncilmember (CD-39)Link
Kevin ParkerState Senator (SD-21)Link
David WeprinAssemblymember (AD-24)Link

Manhattan Borough President

Current B.P. Gale Brewer is term-limited (and now running for City Council). We have six candidates running for this open seat.

Watch our candidate forum from January:

CandidateCurrent OccupationVID Questionnaire
Lindsey BoylanFormer Deputy Secretary for Economic Development and Housing for the State of New YorkLink
Elizabeth CaputoU.S. Government Engagement, World Economic Forum; former Chair of Community Board 7Link
Brad HoylmanState Senator (SD-27)Link
Ben KallosCouncilmember (CD-05)Link
Mark LevineCouncilmember (CD-07)n/a
Kim WatkinsPresident, Community Education Council District 3Link

Manhattan District Attorney

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.

Watch our candidate forum from December:

CandidateCurrent OccupationVID Questionnaire
Tahanie AboushiCivil rights attorney; Partner, Aboushi Law Firmn/a
Alvin BraggFormer Chief Deputy Attorney General, NYS Attorney GeneralLink
Liz CrottyPartner, Crotty Saland PC; Former prosecutor, Manhattan DALink
Tali Farhardian WeinsteinFormer general counsel, Brooklyn DA; Former counsel, US Attorney GeneralLink
Diana FlorenceFormer Attorney-in-Charge, Construction Fraud Task Force, Manhattan DALink
Lucy LangFormer Executive Director, Institute for Innovation in Prosecution at John Jay College; Former special counsel, Manhattan DALink
Eliza OrlinsPublic defender; Staff Attorney, Legal Aid SocietyLink
Dan QuartAssemblymember (AD-73)Link

City Council District 2

Current Councilmember Carlina Rivera is finishing her first term and running for re-election. She is running unopposed for the Democratic primary.

Watch our candidate interview with Rivera:

CandidateCurrent OccupationVID Questionnaire
Carlina RiveraCouncilmember (CD-02)n/a

1/27/21 Remote Meeting recap — Councilmember Carlina Rivera, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and debate on ESCR Resolution

Grand Street Dems members met with District 2 Councilmember Carlina Rivera and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who are both running for re-election this year.

We also discussed, and passed, a resolution on the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, requesting that the City suspend the project until an independent engineering review can be completed.