13 professed candidates for public advocate appeared at a forum hosted by the Upper West Side’s Community Free Democrats Thursday night. Ify Ike, Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez, Jumaane Williams and Rafael Espinal, David Eisenbach, Assembly Members Michael Blake, Danny O’Donnell and Latrice Walker, Theo Chino, Nomiki Konst, Ben Yee, Dawn Smalls and former Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito had several minutes to address the audience and then field audience questions. Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal moderated the forum.
The Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club brought the rapidly building race for public advocate to the American mainland Wednesday, drawing 12 advocate aspirants to Riverdale for a candidate forum. Candidates participating were Assembly Members Michael Blake, Latrice Walker and Danny O’Donnell, Dawn Smalls, Theo Chino, Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez Jumaane Williams and Rafael Espinal, Nomiki Konst, former Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Ify Ike and Tony Herbert.
It’s a challenge to keep track of the multiple candidates running or considering running for public advocate. To help you do that we’ve set up a photo gallery, a book of faces perhaps, of the 21 candidates known to us. Our full photo gallery is available here.
Current public advocate Letitia James is expected to resign on or before December 31st so that she can take office as the New York State Attorney General on January 1st. The City Charter provides that when James resigns the mayor is to, within three days, set the date for a special election. These prospective candidates will then have a short period to legally become candidates for the vacancy by petitioning their way on to the special election ballot.
Mayor Bill de Blasio moved to increase public awareness of the coming L train shutdown and of the City’s current plans for ameliorating the significant transit disruptions expected from the shutdown. With the shutdown scheduled to begin in April and last 15 months as major repairs are made to the East River tunnel for the L, the Mayor headed to Brooklyn Tuesday to move forward in preparing for it.
Mayor de Blasio began his outing by riding the L train from Union Square to the site of his press conference, at the corner of Grand Street and Bushwick Avenue in Williamsburg. He then held a press conference with Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and Council Members Rafael Espinal, Antonio Reynoso, Stephen Levin and Ydanis Rodriguez.
Mayoral candidates fighting and occasionally smiling, a governor working his fellow electeds and the cameras, a hometown president passing through. Those are among the images in our 2017 photo retrospective.
Shot entirely in the five boroughs, our photo retrospective reflects our 2017 focus on the mayoral election and particularly on challengers looking to defeat Mayor de Blasio. There’s more, however, with a mix of light moments, conflict and loss.
It was a Sixth Avenue sauna for the annual Dominican Day Parade today, as marchers made their way up a hot and humid Sixth Avenue. The crowd was smaller than past years, perhaps due to the uncomfortable weather.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was the political headliner, joining numerous members of Congress, state legislators and city council members (including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito) and fellow City-wide electeds Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Tish James. Among the legislators were State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assembly Member Guillermo Linares and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, each born in the Dominican Republic. de Blasio did not hold a Q&A or take press questions, and reporters and photographers were kept well away from the Mayor as he marched. Governor Andrew Cuomo, the honoree at the 2015 Dominican Day Parade breakfast, did not attend.
State Senator Adriano Espaillat led a group of supporters up Broadway Saturday afternoon, looking for attention and votes ahead of Tuesday’s 13th Congressional District primary. The Espaillat caravan included about 50-75 walkers and 20-25 cars, all led by the flag-bedecked Espaillat campaign bus. The caravan began with a public endorsement of Espaillat by State Senator Bill Perkins who, together with Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez and Mark Levine, joined Espaillat for the walk uptown.
The race to succeed Charles Rangel has become increasingly racially driven in the past several days, with numerous allegations of impropriety. In a brief pre-walk Q&A with reporters Perkins dismissed allegations by Assembly Member Keith Wright that Espaillat and his supporters are trying to suppress African American voter participation in the Tuesday election. Espaillat stood by silently as Perkins spoke, only offering that he’s asked the Department of Justice to monitor the election in order to “make sure that everybody has access to vote unimpeded.”
Espaillat’s reception was good, but not overwhelming, as he walked up Broadway from 135th. The very modest reaction in the first 10-15 blocks increased as he passed through the northern stretch of Harlem and into the heavily Dominican Washington Heights. Cheers and shouts rang out further uptown, with some downtown drivers rolling down their windows to shake hands with the uptown traveling candidate. There were no signs or displays of support for any of the many other candidates in this election. The only contrary expression (at least as far as a non-Spanish speaking reporter could discern) was a small group of men near 175th Street chanting “Trump, Trump, Trump.”
A long contemplated New York City ban on carriage horses returned to center stage Tuesday, following news of a proposed city council bill. A proposed bill is expected next week, with committee hearings and a vote expected over the next several months. Mayor de Blasio has been a strong advocate of such a ban, calling for an immediate ban as a mayoral candidate, although he’s not acted to implement such a ban during his 11 months in office.
Mayor de Blasio Comments:
Mayor de Blasio was asked about the expected bill three times during an unrelated press conference on Tuesday. Questions included what he plans to do to get the bill passed, a ban’s likely effect on tourism in the City and whether he intends to engage in any political “horse trading” to win passage of the bill.
Congressman Charles B. Rangel held court this afternoon, hosting a press conference in Washington Heights. Perhaps coincidentally, State Senator Adriano Espaillat held a press conference 3 blocks away shortly before Rangel arrived.
Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, an enthusiastic supporter of Espaillat, held his own mini press conference just a few feet away from Rangel. Here’s what happened when Rangel spotted Rodriguez:
(Update #3) I asked Rodriguez about his confrontation with Rangel, at a campaign stop Monday evening at 116th Street/Lexington Avenue:
Update – The Prequel:
Shortly before Espaillat supporter Ydanis Rodriguez appeared, Espaillat’s campaign manager and a Rodriguez staffer listened to the press conference. Here’s what happened when the campaign manager’s presence was pointed out to Rangel:
Update #2 – Charlie 360:
Rangel gave quite a performance to the press. Surrounded by a large circle of his supporters and press, he spoke first to his supporters and then pivoted to face the press. Cracking himself up repeatedly, Rangel dismissed questions about his opponent but introduced himself to Espaillat’s campaign manager, who was listening to the press conference. Here’s the full press Q&A:
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.
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