Category Archives: Eric Ulrich

Ulrich Condemns Build It Back (Updated)

Council Member Eric Ulrich harshly condemned the City’s Build It Back program Monday, calling for the resignation of Amy Peterson, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations who oversees Build It Back.  Speaking at a press conference on Beach 117th Street in Rockaway, Ulrich described Build It Back as hopelessly failing with little visible prospect of success.

The owner of the home Ulrich spoke in front of has been displaced since February, having moved out in anticipation of substantial work through Build It Back. Shortly after the owner relocated Build It Back erected a fence, effectively locking out the homeowner and preparing the property for that work.  According to Ulrich and the daughter of the homeowner that work has not yet begun, however.  Ulrich further described this homeowner’s experience as common, saying that many of his constituents are in similar circumstances.

Ulrich Rockaway 7-18-16

Continue reading Ulrich Condemns Build It Back (Updated)

Ulrich On Trump: Part 2 (Updated)

Eric Ulrich remains opposed to Donald Trump.  The Republican mayoral candidate and New York City Council Member is one of the few Republican elected officials in New York City, but he’s not supporting the about-to-be Republican presidential nominee.  Ulrich supported John Kasich in the New York Republican primary.  Like Kasich, he has not moved toward Trump in the months since Kasich ended his campaign.

Speaking after a press conference in which Ulrich harshly criticized Mayor de Blasio’s management of the City’s Sandy recovery Build It Back program, Ulrich continued his prior criticism of Trump, adding that “I don’t know who I’m voting for in November.”  An aversion to Trump is one area of agreement between potential 2017 rivals de Blasio and Ulrich.

Ulrich On Mayoral Control

He may despise de Blasio but Republican City Council Member, and 2017 mayoral candidate, Eric Ulrich is an unabashed supporter of a long term extension of mayoral control of the school system.  Saying that mayoral control has produced “real results”, Ulrich urged Albany Republicans to provide a long term reauthorization and to not “play politics” in a way that hurts New York City children.

Describing the old Board of Education as “corrupt” and having “failed our children” Ulrich cast it as “where it belongs, on the ash heap of history.”

Here’s Ulrich responding to my question on both the broad issue of mayoral control and the proposal from the Republican leader of the state senate providing a one year extension while adding a gubernatorial oversight role.  (We spoke after Ulrich’s appearance Tuesday night at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Republican Club.)

Ulrich On Trump

“I’m not ready to say if I’m going to give him my vote.”  That’s how Eric Ulrich, one of the few Republican elected officials in New York City, concluded our conversation on Donald Trump Tuesday night.

City Council Member Ulrich, in the early stages of building a 2017 mayoral bid, strongly supported John Kasich in the New York presidential primary and has not yet supported the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Although he began with a somewhat cavalier comment that “Donald Trump has to hire a better speechwriter”, Ulrich expressed strong reservations about Trump and his record of offensive comments.  He also expressed dismay at what he sees as Trump’s lack of interest in the votes of “Republicans like me” who didn’t support him during the primaries.  Ulrich nonetheless said that he hopes Trump will “come around before election day.”  Ulrich may not vote for Trump should he not “come around,” however.

Here’s what Ulrich had to say:

de Blasio Visits Rockaway, Brings Money, Gets Applause

IMG_2285Mayor Bill de Blasio visited Rockaway Friday afternoon, joining the annual beach opening celebration and holding a press conference.  During his visit de Blasio announced that any surplus federal funding from the ongoing boardwalk rebuilding will be applied to other Rockaway projects.  de Blasio was well-received, with elected officials offering praise and attendees providing applause.  Elected officials joining de Blasio included Senators Joe Addabbo and James Sanders, Assembly Members Phil Goldfeder and Michele Titus, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Council Members Donovan Richards and Eric Ulrich.  Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and EDC President Kyle Kimball also joined de Blasio.  Our photo gallery is here.

de Blasio has had a bumpy relationship with many in Rockaway, particularly in the western areas of Belle Harbor and Breezy Point.  Those hard feelings were set aside Friday, however, with the combination of the festive summer beach opening and notable progress on boardwalk rebuilding.  The audience of several hundred people applauded de Blasio’s boardwalk rebuilding and funding comments, although they sat silently as de Blasio praised FEMA.  They responded to Queens Borough President Melinda Katz’s request for “a round of applause for Mayor de Blasio”, prompting a smiling mayor to reply “that just shows the generosity of Queens.”IMG_2289

Continue reading de Blasio Visits Rockaway, Brings Money, Gets Applause

Rockaway Ferry Supporters Rally At City Hall (Updated)

Rockaway ferry service supporters came to City Hall Thursday evening to urge Mayor de Blasio to continue operating the service past it’s scheduled October cessation.  Initiated in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy while the A train was out of service for months, the ferry is subsidized by the City at an annual cost of approximately $6 million.  The City calculates that the subsidy is at least $25 per passenger/trip.  The de Blasio administration had continued the Bloomberg administration’s short term ferry funding, but has announced that the subsidy will end in October.

The rally featured two citywide elected officials, Scott Stringer and Tish James, as well as Assembly Member Phil Goldfeder, State Senator Joe Addabbo, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Council Members Eric Ulrich and Vincent Gentile.

The Rockaway peninsula’s physical separation from the rest of the City is matched by a sense of political separation.  It’s particularly so in the neighborhoods which most use the ferry, with many residents believing that City Hall is not looking out for them.  Those western neighborhoods, such as Belle Harbor and Breezy Point, overwhelmingly voted for Joe Lhota in 2013 and have little in the way of a political relationship with Bill de Blasio.

de Blasio Departs:

Mayor de Blasio left City Hall during the rally, passing just behind the rally as he headed toward his car.  Rallygoers took note, loudly chanting and calling out to him, but his only acknowledgment or engagement with them was a small wave as he moved past.  The mayor continued talking with an aide, ignoring the chants of “no ferry, no votes.”  Unfortunately for the ferry supporters, he did okay in his last election without their votes.

Update – Elected Officials Speak:

Here are the remarks of the elected officials:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Building It Back Edition

Today Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference promoting his administration’s advances in the Build It Back program.  Created to assist homeowners in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Build It Back was immediately mired in bureaucratic quicksand, producing virtually no assistance to any homeowners by the close of the Bloomberg administration.  Although the program continued to drift in the early months of the de Blasio administration, it has markedly accelerated its efforts since the late March hiring of Amy Peterson as Director of the Office of Housing Recovery.

The mayor has set a Build It Back goal of 500 construction starts and issuing 500 reimbursement checks by Labor Day.  While modest compared to the estimated 20,000 or more homeowners who could be helped under the program, that’s a dramatic improvement from the program’s first year in which virtually no homeowners received such assistance.  In today’s press conference, the mayor announced that Build It Back has had 132 construction starts and issued 397 reimbursement checks.

Preparation for the Next Storm:

I asked Mayor de Blasio whether he has examined, and made any significant changes in,  the City’s emergency management system in anticipation of future storms:

Eric Ulrich:

Council Member Eric Ulrich, one of only three Republicans in the City Council and whose Sandy-impacted district includes part of Rockaway, Broad Channel and Howard Beach, spoke briefly:

Press Q&A:

On topic questions included funding for items in the City’s SIRR report and whether there is an alternative source for such items, whether the mayor is satisfied with the pace of City spending of federal money for Sandy relief, whether the mayor is confident of reaching his 500 construction starts and 500 reimbursement checks by Labor Day, Comptroller Scott Stringer’s report on a lack of oversight on spending by the Department of Homeless Services, whether the City has the “right formula” for Build It Back, the total number of homes damaged by Sandy and when all will reached through Build It Back, how many of the 132 construction starts to date are repairs and how many are rebuilds and whether the mayor has closely examined the City’s emergency management system in the context of preparing for a future coastal storm.

Off topic questions the Long Island Railroad and possible strike, the City’s contingency plans and role in the event of a strike, whether the petitions supporting continued operation of horse carriages, with 40,000 signatures recently delivered to City Hall affect his thinking on the topic, what the 66 donors to Campaign for One New York expect from the mayor, whether he plans to take any additional vacations this year, what initiatives Campaign for One New York will next focus on, the status of the review of the 911 system upgrade and, concerning his trip to Italy, whether he is packed, whether he’s packing his own bags and what food he is most looking forward to.

Republican Council Members Discuss Speaker Selection

On Wednesday evening Melissa Mark-Viverito released a statement listing 30 council members supporting her bid to be city council speaker.  Only one Republican appears in the group of 30, Eric Ulrich of Queens.

Ulrich’s declaration of support is notable for two reasons.  First, in November he reacted harshly to the prospect of Mark-Viverito becoming speaker.  Ulrich was reacting to news reports of Mark-Viverito’s “reluctance to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance.”  His criticism was broader, however, saying “I don’t believe that she can be an effective counterweight to the mayor” and characterizing a Mark-Viverito speakership as a “disaster.”  Second, in November Ulrich also said that he expected to vote as a bloc, albeit a small one, with the two other Republicans in the new council.  He now appears to be the only Republican supporting Mark-Viverito, however.

Eric Ulrich

Here’s full video of Ulrich’s discussion with reporters this evening, following the final city council meeting of the current session.

Steve Matteo

We also spoke with Steve Matteo, Council Member-elect from Staten Island, who said that he was “disappointed” by Ulrich’s decision to split from his fellow Republicans and support Mark-Viverito.  Matteo also suggested that Mark-Viverito’s selection is far from settled, characterizing the selection process as “in the third quarter of a football game.”

(In November, we spoke with Matteo and Council Member Vincent Ignizio, also from Staten Island and the third Republican in the new council, about the speaker’s race.  Those interviews are here.)

JoLho v. JCats: 17 Days to Go (Updated x 2)

We spoke with Joe Lhota this morning at a campaign appearance in Howard Beach.  We discussed John Catsimatidis’ negative attack ad, the past rivalry of Lhota’s and Catsimatidis’s best known supporters, Rudy Giuliani and George Pataki, and more.

Update – Precise Polling:

What happens when a pollster calls into a campaign event headlined by a mayoral candidate?  Watch.

Update #2 – Lhota’s Pitch:

Here is Joe Lhota’s speech to the group.