If it’s possible, we’d like to start talking about the future.
On January 1, 2022, New York City will have a new Mayor, new Comptroller, new Manhattan Borough President, and new City Council members in two-thirds of the city’s districts.
Looking that far ahead is not to escape the health and economic crisis we’re in, rather to focus our response to it by exploring what NYC will look like when we finally come out the other side.
And even though we still have extremely important primaries and elections coming up in 2020, these NYC campaigns are already well under way for primaries that will be held in just over a year.
On Wednesday at 7:15 pm, please join us for a conversation with two of those candidates — Councilmember Ben Kallos, who is running for Manhattan Borough President, and Christopher Marte, who is running to represent downtown Manhattan in the City Council.
Despite the many headlines you may have read today, New York’s primary on June 23 is not canceled. In fact we have two important contests in our neighborhood, and I don’t want anyone to be fooled into thinking these races have been decided.
The State Board of Elections did decide that the Democratic presidential primary, originally scheduled for today and postponed until June, will not be on the ballot, because only Joe Biden is still campaigning for that seat. But in 75% of New York State’s counties, where there are contested local primaries, polls will be open in June for federal, state, and local elections.
In order to increase turnout, last week the Governor announced that absentee ballot applications will be mailed automatically to all eligible voters. If you want to skip the step of mailing that application back in, you can apply for an absentee ballot online right now. Mark the “Temporary Illness” box if you are voting absentee to keep polling place foot traffic to a minimum during the health crisis.
Thank you to Councilmembers Carlina Rivera and Mark Levine and GSD members who joined our virtual meeting last night. We had a frank conversation about this health crisis and the challenges to come. If you missed it, and are bored with Netflix, you can watch below:
At the end of the meeting we were able to talk about local volunteer opportunities and resources:
Local food delivery
To help deliver food to local seniors who are part of the United Jewish Council Lunch Club, call UJC at 212.673.9328.
In particular, UJC needs help delivering Passover meals today and Monday in the co-ops.
If you can help deliver to Seward, sign up here and meet at the Apple Bank on Grand Street at 11:55 am Friday. If you don’t have your own gloves, mask, or hand sanitizer you may pick up a set at the Seward Coop Management Office on Clinton Street.
If you can help deliver in East River, Hillman, or Amalgamated, walk into UJC Friday or Monday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm to volunteer — 15 Willett Street, right next to Bialystoker Synagogue. Or you can email Lee Berman at email@example.com.
You’ll be delivering a few heavy-ish bags, so it it may help to have a rolling cart.
Phone calls to homebound neighbors
If you don’t want to leave your apartment, Councilmember Carlina Rivera’s office has been organizing phone calls to neighbors who are home alone to make sure they are ok. Contact her office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also help collect data about the spread of Covid-19 by participating in a daily survey from Mount Sinai even if you feel completely healthy:
Text COVID to 64722.
Complete a survey of your symptoms.
You’ll receive a daily text to check on your symptoms.
The goal of this survey is to identify infection and transmission patterns specific to our New York City population. Data will be used to alert health care providers about growing clusters of outbreaks in specific communities across the five boroughs, which will enable healthcare professionals to better allocate resources.
As chair of the City Council Health Committee, Councilmember Mark Levine’s Twitter feed has become essential reading for anyone keeping up with the demands that Covid-19 is placing on NYC’s health system.
Then he got sick himself, and followed his own very public advice to not get tested, and to not overwhelm hospitals if your symptoms are manageable.
Luckily, Councilmember Levine is on the mend at home. He’ll be joining us this Thursday for our first virtual meeting to talk about the challenges facing the City at this critical moment.
Grand Street Dems Virtual Meeting Thursday, April 2 7:15 pm
Why are we starting at 7:15? So that at 7:00 pm we can all clap & play — throw open your window, applaud NYC’s healthcare and other essential workers, then play New York, New York as loud as you can. (You don’t need to wait until Thursday — clap & play is every night at 7:00 pm!)
One member of Congress faces four primary opponents in possibly the biggest political challenge of her career, while our representative in the NY State Assembly is vying for only her third term against a well-funded challenger. And though Grand Street Dems was borne out of a challenge to the status quo, and has often stood with underdogs and local allies without any bias toward incumbency, this year club members are rewarding the hard work of public service by voting to endorse Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou for re-election.
On Sunday, GSD heard from all five candidates for US Congress NY-12 and voted solidly to back Maloney. (We were all set to practice ranked-choice voting, but Maloney won a majority on the first ballot.) Maloney’s accomplishments in securing funding for 9-11 first responders, her long-standing advocacy for the Equal Rights Amendment, and her recent elevation to chair of the House Oversight Committee gave her the edge over the admirable progressive spirit and energy of her challengers.
Assemblymember Niou is still running high from what was Albany’s most progressive legislative session in generations, and club members had no interest in punishing her for those accomplishments — bail reform, rent regulations, and the Child Victims Act, just to name a few.
GSD members will be carrying petitions for Maloney and Niou to get on the ballot starting on February 25, and then helping to support their campaigns leading up to the primary on June 23.
I am honored to have previously received the Grand Street Democrats’ endorsement, and I am ready to continue fighting for historic progressive victories and giving a voice to Lower Manhattan.
I am currently the only Asian-American woman representative in the New York State Legislature. With my 17 years of state-level government policy experience, I have been able to take on tough fights and special interests to deliver for working families:
1. Affordable Housing and Rent Regulations: As a Member of the Assembly Committee on Housing, we passed the strongest housing reforms in a generation, protecting millions of rent stabilized tenants in New York City. We made our rent regulations permanent, repealed vacancy deregulation and bonuses, invested in affordable housing, and overhauled tools used by bad landlords to raise prices and harass tenants.
2. Child Victim’s Act: I have been an outspoken champion for the Child Victims Act which brings justice to survivors of childhood sexual abuse. This law amends our statutes to increase the statute of limitations on cases of child sexual abuse and provides a one year look- back window which began on August 14th for adult survivors, who under previous law, were unable to seek civil action.
3. Transportation: We need to ensure that we have accessible, on-time transit systems while also creating a transportation system that meets the needs of people who bike, drive, or walk. I will continue to fight to ensure that the MTA will have the funding it needs to serve our growing population while ensuring future plans are fair to our community in Lower Manhattan, while promoting pedestrian safety and protected bike lanes.
4. Public Housing: Since coming into office, I’ve led historic efforts and secured hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for NYCHA. NYCHA is still in great need of permanent, extensive funding and I remain committed to fighting to fulfill that need.
5. Education: New York currently ranks 49th in the nation on equity in education spending, and we are owed billions more since the recession a decade ago. I have delivered over $1 billion in additional funding for New York City schools. We are still owed $44.3 million dollars in school aid funding, and I will continue fighting to ensure the state gets us our fair share—before we allocate funds to charter schools or private institutions.
6. Campaign Finance Reform: The only people legislators should be accountable to is our constituents. I led a fight for public financing of campaigns because it is a real, viable system that can fight back against corruption and send a message to our constituents that their voices matter. It empowers the communities that we should be representing in Albany. It encourages individuals to participate in elections through small-dollar donations, and it helps level the playing field, especially for people of color and women, who are taking on special interests.
7. Criminal Justice: I helped pass historic reforms that fix our broken criminal justice system, including the elimination of cash bail that disproportionately affected Black, Latinx, and
low-income families. It means that innocent people sit in jail which leads to a whole other host of problems — by eliminating it, people will not be forced to give up their job, become homeless, or be away from their children while awaiting trial. This is one important step in ensuring our criminal justice system is fair and that our community remains safe.
8. Climate Change and Resiliency: There is no doubt that there will be another severe weather event like Superstorm Sandy — the question is when it will happen. We need to ensure that the State and local government work together to protect and invest in our community, which is one of the most at-risk from extreme weather events. Just recently, I helped to pass the most comprehensive climate change legislation in the nation. This law sets New York on a course for a sustainable future by transitioning our state to clean renewable energy, creating new jobs for communities of color and low-income communities, and reducing greenhouse emissions by 85%.
There’s more to deliver for our shared values—on all these issues—and I’m ready for that fight. I’m running for reelection because our community needs someone that has genuine experience and knowledge in government, listens, knows the issues, and fights for all of us. I’ve stood with the members of the Grand Street Democrats against anti-Semitic attacks on our community, rallied with them in vigils and community events, and fought together to resolve local issues like the street conditions in Grand Street and Clinton Street, bus line service cuts in our community, and more. I’m ready to continue fighting for our priorities together and would be honored to have the endorsement of the Grand Street Democrats once again.
With four Democrats running against Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, and a challenger trying to unseat Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, we have a full slate of candidates to meet before voting on our 2020 endorsements.
To pack it all in, we are having a rare Sunday afternoon meeting on February 2 (yes, that’s Superbowl Sunday, but we will definitely be finished before kickoff).
Sunday, February 2, 2020 2:00 – 5:00 pm Seward Park Coop Community Room 266 East Broadway
Everyone is welcome to hear from the candidates and ask questions, but the endorsement vote is only for GSD members with voting privileges. Any voting member who cannot attend is allowed to have another member carry their proxy, but each member attending can carry only one proxy, so it’s best if you know someone and trust their judgement. (You can download a proxy here.)
It’s critical that we make an informed choice for these important campaigns for Congress and State Assembly. I hope to see many of you at this meeting and I’m looking forward to a lively debate!