Sunday, January 13 11:00 am Gouverneur Health Auditorium Clinton Street entrance, between Madison and Henry
This weekend, as the current government shutdown officially becomes the longest in U.S. history, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) will join with affected workers, labor leaders, and other advocates to discuss how New Yorkers are being personally affected by the Trump Shutdown.
In addition to hearing from furloughed workers and those reporting to work without pay, the event will showcase how nutrition, housing, and other programs are being impacted by the Trump Shutdown.
Two important neighborhood initiatives have moved steadily through the process of community input over the past few years only to have plans upended recently by our elected executives. For the upcoming L Train repairs and East River Park rebuild, what we are left with right now are a lot of questions.
East River Park
After Superstorm Sandy in 2012, federal funds were allocated to build flood protection for lower Manhattan. Because of the vulnerability of Con Ed at East 14th St, and flood-prone neighborhoods of the East Village, the waterfront from East 23rd St. to Montgomery was prioritized and plans were developed over years with plenty of community involvement.
But at the end of last year, the Mayor’s office announced some significant engineering changes to the plan and, for the first time, proposed a real timetable for the project, which included the entire park being closed for the duration of new construction, estimated to be three years.
The immensity of this project is finally hitting home, and community members are demanding more answers. Council member Carlina Rivera has pushed for a hearing a City Council hearing on the project on January 23, starting at 1:00 pm at City Hall.
L Train shutdown
Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared there will be no L Train shutdown, instead proposing repairs take place on nights and weekends. New York City Transit president Andy Byford told CB3’s Transportation Committee this week that Cuomo’s plan needs to be vetted through independent engineers and a full safety review before getting approved. So the fate of the shutdown is still unknown.
If Cuomo’s plan does go through, a lot of local questions will have to be answered again. Will the Williamsburg Bridge still be limited to HOV and bus traffic? Will the Clinton Street approach to the bridge still be closed?
With Letitia James becoming New York State Attorney General on January 1, there’s an opening for her old job, NYC Public Advocate.
A special election will be held on Tuesday, February 26 for this city-wide position. The list of candidates may be long and turnout will be low, so your interest and involvement in this race carries a higher degree of consequence than usual.
Grand Street Democrats will be hosting a candidate forum at Manny Cantor Center on Tuesday, January 29 (after which our voting members will decide whether or not to endorse any candidate for the special election).
If you would like a preview of the race this week, you can attend another candidate forum hosted by Village Independent Democrats on Sunday, January 6 at 2:00 pm. You can RSVP for that event here.
Thanks to everyone who came out Tuesday night to Eastwood — you made our first holiday party a big success!
We were so proud to be able to honor Linda Jones and Michael Marino, two local heroes who have donated countless hours on the Community Board and in the neighborhood. We particularly wanted to acknowledge their contributions to Seward Park and Corlears Hook Park, which have never looked better and are in store for more improvements thanks to their hard work.
Thanks also to our Hosts for the evening, who contributed more than absolutely necessary to help us close out our first year:
Councilmember Margaret Chin
District Leader Caroline Laskow
District Leader Paul Newell
We were honored to be joined by elected officials from our neighborhood — Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer — plus a few not from our neighborhood, along with many of the judges and candidates for civil court and supreme court we were able to meet during the year.
Andrew Cuomo will appear as the nominee of four different parties on Tuesday’s ballot. But only by voting for him on the Democratic line can you help increase the number of delegates our neighborhood gets to Democratic Party conventions, increasing your influence on important local elections.
For example, when there is a vacancy to fill in the NY Assembly or State Senate (as has happened for us twice in the last three years), delegates to the convention to select a successor have a weighted vote based on how many votes were cast for Governor on the Democratic line in their election district. Something similar is true for delegates to the judicial convention for NYS Supreme Court.
So more votes for Governor on the Democratic line give our neighborhood a stronger voice at these decisive party conventions.
The New York City Charter serves as our local constitution, creating a structure for City government.
Amendments to the Charter can be proposed by a Commission established by the Mayor or City Council, then must be approved by referendum.
There will be three Charter revision proposals on Tuesday’s ballot, proposed by a Mayoral Charter Revision Commission. Grand Street Democrats members voted to make the following recommendations:
YES on Proposal 1
This proposal would amend the City Charter to lower the amount a candidate for City elected office may accept from a contributor. It would also increase the public funding used to match a portion of the contributions received by a candidate who participates in the City’s public financing program.
NO on Proposal 2
Civic Engagement Commission
This proposal would amend the City Charter in several ways to create a new, vaguely defined, Civic Engagement Commission under the Mayor’s authority. The Commission would have a few appealing responsibilities that are already managed by other offices and would be an unnecessary addition to the City’s bureaucracy.
NO on Proposal 3
This proposal would impose term limits for community board members and would, in conjunction with Proposal 2, supplant local land use advisors on each community board with advisors from a central pool. Term limits for volunteer members would weaken community boards by eliminating years of local experience. Centralized land use advisors would be more likely to advocate for Mayoral political priorities without consideration for the the local community.
Elected members of the Manhattan Democratic County Committee gathered last night at City College to consider several changes to the Committee’s governing rules. All rules changes proposed by the Rules Committee — presented and voted on as one package — were approved.
The one potential amendment not recommended by the Rules Committee and therefore not considered last night was the most contentious one, to prohibit the County Leader from being a registered lobbyist or working for a company whose business is lobbying. But with the rules changes that did pass, proposing new rules changes for subsequent meetings becomes much easier, and it’s likely that the County Committee will be asked to vote on this prohibition next year, before County Leader Keith Wright is up for re-election.
These rules changes have no impact on the national political drama most of us are consumed with. But they do directly address the flawed process by which we selected a new State Senator after Dan Squadron resigned in 2017 — elected County Committee members in Manhattan now have even more say in the selection of Democratic nominees for vacated State Assembly and State Senate seats.
The rules changes also help make the Manhattan Democratic Party more open, accessible, and available to change. For many of us, it’s important that our own party institutions reflect our small-d democratic values. In New York City, the Manhattan Democratic Party is leading the way on internal progressive reform.