It was an arresting start to the Trump presidency for three New York City elected officials. Council Members Jumaane Williams and Carlos Menchaca and NYS Senator Marisol Alcantara sat down in the middle of Fifth Avenue just as Donald Trump took office, staging a protest that promptly produced arrests by the NYPD. They were joined by several others, including Kirsten John Foy, Gillman Rose, Margalit Ewart and Council Member Williams’ mother.
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito went to Donald Trump’s home and office Monday, holding a press conference outside Trump Tower to condemn Trump’s claims that a federal judge hearing a lawsuit focused on “Trump University” could not be fair to Trump because, in Trump’s words, “[h]e’s a Mexican.” Mark-Viverito was joined by Council Member Carlos Menchaca, the first Mexican-American elected official in New York City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Chuck Schumer announced $3 billion in federal funding for Sandy-related repairs and resiliency improvements for the New York City Housing Authority. Speaking at an afternoon press conference in Red Hook, de Blasio and Schumer celebrated the massive block of federal funding intended for 33 separate NYCHA developments.
de Blasio and Schumer were joined by Reps. Gregory Meeks, Nydia Velazquez and Hakeem Jeffries, Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and NYCHA CEO Shola Olatoye.
We spoke this afternoon with Council Member/speaker contender Melissa Mark-Viverito concerning media coverage of her candidacy. A significant amount of media attention on Mark-Viverito has been less than flattering and some, such as yesterday’s New York Post story on a woman who claims that Mark-Viverito placed a hex on her, has been odd. We spoke at the ceremonial swearing in of Council Member Helen Rosenthal.
Update – Public Forums:
We spoke with Council Member Carlos Menchaca about the role of the seven public speaker candidate forums. Menchaca was one of the four newly-elected council members who conceived and organized the forums.
Update #2 – Predictions & Solidarity:
We spoke with Council Members Carlos Menchaca, Ydanis Rodriguez and Brad Lander, as well as Melissa Mark-Viverito, about the state of the council speaker race with three days to go.
Solidarity, In Song:
Finally, a brief excerpt from the performance of the New York City Labor Chorus at the inauguration ceremony of Council Member Helen Rosenthal.
Last night the City Council Speaker forum series moved to Brooklyn, picking up a seventh contender with Council Member Jumaane Williams joining in.
After the forum we spoke with Council Member Brad Lander. Lander is a leading member of the “progessive bloc”, a group of approximately 20 progressive council members who plan to unite behind a single, but as yet undetermined, candidate. We discussed the forums and their role in an election with only 51 voters, what the progressive bloc seeks, how the selection will unfold and whether the progressive bloc is likely to hold together behind a single candidate.
Update – Carlos Menchaca:
We also spoke with Council Member-elect Carlos Menchaca about the forums and the selection process. Menchaca is a newly elected member of the City Council who, along with fellow newly elected members Helen Rosenthal, Ritchie Torres and Antonio Reynoso, conceived and organized the public forums.
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