The 21st St. Pat’s For All parade marched up Skillman Avenue, drawing thousands of participants and spectators on a sunny March Sunday. The St. Pat’s For All parade was founded by Brendan Fay in response to the long exclusion of LGBTQ groups from the large Manhattan parade. That exclusion ended in 2016 but the St. Pat’s For All parade continues as a vibrant Irish celebration drawing enthusiastic involvement from the LGBTQ community and the Jackson Heights and Woodside neighborhoods that host the parade.
Mayor Bill de Blasio enlisted rock star Billy Idol in the City’s effort at reducing motor vehicle idling, with Idol joining the mayor for a City Hall Plaza rally and press conference featuring the tag line “Billy Never Idles.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton drew a large contingent of elected officials to his annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at National Action Network’s House of Justice. Headliners included U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Reps. Jerry Nadler, Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clarke and Carolyn Maloney. NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Council Speaker and Acting Public Advocate Corey Johnson, NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and NYS Senate Temporary President and Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins also spoke.
Several of the public advocate candidates participated, including Assembly Members Latrice Walker, Michael Blake and Danny O’Donnell, Council Members Jumaane Williams and Rafael Espinal, former Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Dawn Smalls. Walker, Blake, O’Donnell and Smalls were given speaking slots. Former mayor David Dinkins and former congressman Charles Rangel appeared, sitting onstage in the front row for the full program.
State senate candidate Andrew Gounardes came to City Hall for a press conference Friday, drawing a substantial group of elected Democrats as he condemned Republican state Senator Marty Golden for paying his female staffers significantly less than his male staffers. Gounardes is running against Golden in the general election.
Elected officials joining Gounardes included Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon, Council Member Margaret Chin, Senator Liz Krueger, Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Council Member Carlina Rivera, Council Member Justin Brannan, fellow senate candidate Jessica Ramos and Council Member Mark Treyger. There was limited press attendance, possibly due to the discovery that morning of a mail bomb in a West Side post office and a mayoral press conference in Queens.
Proponents of a ban on horse drawn carriages rallied on the steps of City Hall Monday. As has been widely reported, Mayor de Blasio’s action on his campaign pledge to implement a ban “immediately” upon taking office has been slower than promised. Opponents of a ban have been increasingly visible, mounting a significant public relations efforts and raising some uncertainty about the prospects of an expected City Council bill.
Monday’s rally featured five speakers; Dan Mathews of PETA, Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez and Helen Rosenthal, Michelle Alvarez of the Catskill Animal Sanctuary and TV personality Jillian Michaels. Their speeches were brief, running about 10 minutes in total, and succinctly set out their arguments supporting a ban.
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, city council speaker contenders met in the Mt. Eden section of the Bronx for the second in a series of five public forums. Council members Jimmy Vacca, Annabel Palma, Mark Weprin, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Dan Garodnick and Inez Dickens appeared before an energized crowd, in a discussion moderated by BronxTalk radio host Gary Axelbank.
The series of public forums is unprecedented for selection of the city council speaker. The city council speaker is not elected by voters, but is selected by the 51 members of the city council without any direct role for the public. Several newly elected council members, including Ritchie Torres and Helen Rosenthal, conceived and organized the series in an effort to change, or at least expand, the way the speaker is selected. We spoke with Torres and Rosenthal about their purpose in doing so and whether the forums have, so far, met their goals. Continue reading Speaker Selection: The Bronx Edition (Updated)→
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