Alexandria Ocasio for NY-14

Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats are two organizations focused on getting more progressives elected to Congress. They aim to do this by supporting progressive challengers against Republicans in swing districts and also by reforming the Democratic Party. Accordingly, they are supporting primary challengers against establishment Democrats whose rhetoric are not always 100% aligned with their actions.

For NY’s 14th Congressional District, Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats have put their support behind Alexandria Ocasio to run against Congressman Joseph Crowley in the Democratic primary. Alexandria is a young woman of color from the Bronx with a strong progressive platform. Learn more about her here and here.

Jake invited Alexandria to speak at an upcoming NYCIA Council meeting. If you are interested in joining, please contact thenyciacouncil@gmail.com.

*The NYCIA Council is not endorsing any candidate at this time.

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Rise & Resist action against the IDC – June 15

Rise and Resist is organizing an action on Thursday, June 15th at 6pm outside of Governor Cuomo’s Manhattan office (633 Third Avenue): The IDC is Failing New York. This will be the culmination of a series of protests against the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), a rogue breakaway group that gives the Republicans a majority in the State Senate.

With the end of the legislative session looming, it’s time to shine a spotlight on all the progressive bills that they have blocked. To do so, we want to bring together activists representing a range of issues and constituencies. We’ve chosen to gather outside Cuomo’s office because of his complicity in Albany’s dysfunction – and because it’s a relatively central location for protesting all 8 IDC members at once! Please join if you can!

NY State Budget Passes

The NY State Legislature passed a $153 billion budget on Friday, April 7th, after a week of delays. The budget included three important progressive actions:

2 NY state senators indicted on felony election violations

Two NY state senators – one sitting and one retired – have been indicted by an Albany County grand jury on felony election law violations. Senator Robert G. Ortt, a North Tonawanda Republican, faces 3 felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing and is also accused of arranging a deal for his wife to be paid $20,000 for graphic design work that she did not do. He does not plan to resign and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Ortt succeeded George D. Maziarz, who retired in 2014 and has also pleaded not guilty to five felony counts of filing false campaign expenditure reports.

Full articles here:

Trump Tower is a Privately Owned Public Space (POPS)

From Metropolis Magazine, 3/10/17 (link to full article, excerpts below):

“Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS), are an amenity provided, constructed and maintained by a developer for public use, in exchange for additional floor area.”

“Donald Trump and Trump Commercial LLC, which operates Trump Tower, received an additional 105,436 square feet of development space in 1979, worth about $530 million in profit in today’s dollars, in exchange for creating the POPS there. They also received an additional bonus of 105,437 square feet for providing retail within the special Fifth Avenue Subdistrict. The privately owned public space at Trump Tower technically covers the main lobby, the lower level concourse, and the two landscape terraces on upper floors. The POPS amounts to 6,626 square feet in the interior of Trump Tower and 6,336 square feet across the landscape terraces.”

“One of the design requirements are that indoor POPS must be easily accessible from the street and provide a place to sit and rest.”

“The bottom line is that I don’t think most New Yorkers, and for sure most tourists, are even aware that the lobby and other spaces in Trump Tower are public space. And beyond aesthetics, Trump Tower’s privately owned public space is one of the more egregiously out of compliance in the city. We need to hold Trump Tower and Donald Trump accountable to the legal standards for public space in New York City, particularly due to the hundreds of millions of dollars of development bonuses he has received in exchange. Given Trump’s new role, Trump Tower holds a greater responsibility to follow longstanding laws that safeguard public space in this city.”

NYS Senate Democrats propose universal single-payer health care system

On March 8, the New York State Senate Democratic Conference released a plan to create a universal single-payer health care system for New York State to ensure every New Yorker has access to high quality health insurance.

Learn more about what a single-payer system in New York means at http://www.singlepayernewyork.org and call your senator to express your support!

Proposed $6 billion HUD budget cuts

From the Washington Post (link to full article). Excerpts below:

“The Trump administration has considered more than $6 billion in cuts at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to preliminary budget documents obtained by The Washington Post. The plan would squeeze public housing support and end most federally funded community development grants, which provide services such as meal assistance and cleaning up abandoned properties in low-income neighborhoods.”

“Budgets for public housing authorities — city and state agencies that provide subsidized housing and vouchers to local residents — would be among the hardest hit. Under the preliminary budget, those operational funds would be reduced by $600 million, or 13 percent. Funds for big-ticket repairs at public housing facilities would be cut by an additional $1.3 billion, about 32 percent. That could have a major quality-of-life effects on the low-income families who rely on public housing: Tens of billions of dollars in backlogged repairs already plague the country’s 1.2 million public housing units, according to a 2010 HUD report.”

“Under the proposal, direct rental assistance payments — including Section 8 Housing and housing vouchers for homeless veterans — would be cut by at least $300 million, to $19.3 billion. Additionally, housing for the elderly — known as the Section 202 program — would be cut by $42 million, nearly 10 percent. Section 811 housing for people with disabilities would be cut by $29 million, nearly 20 percent. Money available for Native American housing block grants would fall by $150 million, more than 20 percent.”