New York City maps go back to the drawing boardSeptember 23, 2022
Presented by Con Edison
Looks like we’re not going to get a drama-free redistricting process at any level of government this year.
The New York City Districting Commissionvoted to reject its own maps, sending the process back to the drawing board amid complaints from pols, immigrant communities and others.
The rejected were already the second drawn up, after the first set drew criticism for splitting up Latino populations in Red Hook and Sunset Park, and in the process pitting Council Members Justin Brannan and Alexa Avilés against each other. Those changes and a host of other contentious carve-ups around the city were made to meet a key demand of Republican City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli: keeping three districts entirely contained on Staten Island.
The latest version reversed those moves, instead carving up the district of Council Member Ari Kagan to make way for a new majority-Asian seat nearby. But it also infringed on Staten Island, adding parts of Brooklyn to a Staten Island-based district. Borelli’s appointees, along with some of Mayor Eric Adams’ picks, voted to reject the proposal Thursday. It went down by a vote of 8-7.
So what now? The commission will start over and come up with a new set of maps, which, if approved, would go to the City Council to pass or reject. New districts must be in place by Dec. 7. Brannan, whose district was on the carving block, floated one way to avoid all these fights: adding more seats to the 51-member Council. “Right now, we've got @DistrictingNYC trying to shove 20 pounds of democracy in a 10 pound bag,” he said.
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WHERE’S KATHY? In Albany, Warren and Erie Counties.
WHERE’S ERIC? Calling into “The Reset Show” on Caribbean Power Jam Radio, meeting with UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif and the Mexican government delegation and delivering remarks at the American Friends of Jamaica’s 2022 Hummingbird Gala.
City readies emergency tent shelters for migrant influx, by POLITICO’s Erin Durkin: The city will open emergency tent shelters for thousands of asylum seekers who have New York's homeless shelters bursting at the seams after being sent here by Republican border-state governors, Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday. The city is planning to open at least two Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers in the coming weeks, as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott continues to send buses of people arriving over the southern border to New York and other Democratic cities. The first center will open at Orchard Beach in a remote section of the Bronx. That center will serve about 1,000 adults who will be allowed to stay in five tents. A second, yet-to-be-chosen location will cater to families.
“3-K for All? Adams Retreats From Expanding N.Y.C. Preschool Program,” by The New York Times’ Emma Fitzsimmons: “New York City’s free universal prekindergarten program, widely regarded as Bill de Blasio’s signature policy achievement as mayor, proved so popular that he vowed to expand it quickly to include all 3-year-olds. But his successor, Mayor Eric Adams, is not nearly as committed to that goal. The Adams administration is now distancing itself from Mr. de Blasio’s target of expanding free preschool to 60,000 families with 3-year-old children by next school year, and the mayor is reassessing how the city’s so-called 3-K for All program fits into his broader early childhood education strategy.”
“‘Just Keeping the Lights On’: Low Morale, High Staff Vacancy Rate Hobble Department of Transportation,” by Streetsblog’s Jesse Coburn: “The upper ranks of the city Department of Transportation have been depleted by an exodus of high-skilled employees this year, reflecting mounting frustration among some staff members and making it harder for the agency to fulfill its mission, according to records and interviews. Among roughly 560 of the top positions at the agency, nearly one in five sat vacant in early September, according to the DOT organizational chart obtained by Streetsblog through a Freedom of Information request. That’s higher than the DOT-wide vacancy rate of 12 percent shown by City Council data from June, the latest figures available.”
“Disabled New Yorkers Face Off With MTA Over Dropped Mask Mandate,” by The City’s Candace Pedraza
“Brooklyn Dem Party elections postponed after venue cuts power on chaotic, massively delayed meeting,” by New York Daily News’ Chris Sommerfeldt: “The Brooklyn Democratic Party lived up to its reputation for dysfunction Wednesday night when what should’ve been a routine organizational meeting ran so late that the host venue cut the power before any business got done — resulting in the event being postponed until next month. The bi-annual meeting, where party members adopt internal rules and pick who’s going to take on leadership roles, was supposed to get underway at 7 p.m. at the Coney Island Amphitheater.”
Tish James fundraising appeal vows she will ‘never be bullied’ as attacks from Trump, Cuomo mount, by POLITICO’s Joseph Spector and Meridith McGraw: A 2021 report by New York Attorney General Tish James led Andrew Cuomo to resign from an office he’d held for more than a decade. As James runs for reelection, she’s angling to take down Donald Trump’s most prized possession — his company. And James, a Brooklyn Democrat who had short-lived run for governor last year is fundraising off her fights. “Guess who’s in the headlines again,” read one fundraising email to her supporters on Wednesday just hours after she filed a sweeping civil lawsuit against the former president, his children and the Trump Organization that alleges broad financial fraud. James’ campaign has sent out similar ones with the same message in recent months as she builds on her $2.6 million campaign war chest to win reelection in the deep blue state: “I will not bow. I will not break. I will not be bullied.”
”After calling for multiple debates, Zeldin rejects lone debate Hochul agreed to in governor’s race,” by Times Union’s Joshua Solomon: “After weeks of calling Gov. Kathy Hochul ‘scaredey kat’ for not committing to a debate with him, U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, the Republican nominee for governor, is rejecting the lone debate Hochul has agreed to do because he said it would take place too late in the election calendar, not be broadcast to a wider audience and doesn't offer enough time to discuss enough issues. ‘This offer from Kathy Hochul to do just one debate at the end of October is a nonstarter,’ Zeldin, a Long Island Republican, said during a virtual news conference Thursday. Zeldin has been nearly daily noting that Hochul had yet to formally accept an invitation to debate, a common political tactic across party lines for the candidate looking to gain more face time with voters.”
— HOCHUL’S CAMPAIGN is not backing down: “Governor Hochul looks forward to debating on October 25 and highlighting the clear contrast between her strong record of delivering results and Lee Zeldin’s extreme agenda,” spokesman Jerrel Harvey said in a response to Zeldin on Thursday.
“The fight for more federal prison workers in the Adirondacks gets political,” by North Country Public Radio’s Emily Russell: “If you’re not specifically looking for the federal prison in Ray Brook, chances are you won’t even notice it's there. It’s tucked back in the woods between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. The sign for the facility is small and faded. But now there’s a much bigger, newer sign right next to it. In all caps, it reads 'DANGEROUSLY UNDERSTAFFED FEDERAL PRISON AHEAD. ARE YOU SAFE?' Darrell Pilon helped install the sign on Sunday. Pilon has been a corrections officer at FCI Ray Brook, the only federal prison in the North Country, for 11 years.”
“Zeldin Has a Path to Becoming Governor. It Runs Through Brooklyn.,” by The New York Times’ Nicholas Fandos and Eliza Shapiro: “A curious thing happened last weekend when Representative Lee Zeldin brought his Republican campaign for governor of New York into Hasidic Brooklyn. Mr. Zeldin, a pronounced underdog, was greeted like a rock star. Crowds chanted in approval. Yiddish-language campaign posters littered the streets. ‘Mister Lee Zeldin, you got my vote,’ a paramedic yelled out of an ambulance inscribed in Hebrew lettering. Mr. Zeldin, one of only two Jewish Republicans in Congress, has long been a fierce supporter of Israel and a fixture at Republican Jewish Coalition events. But in recent weeks, he has maneuvered aggressively to position himself in lock step with Orthodox Jewish concerns over an increase in hate crimes and ongoing state attempts to regulate private religious schools, known as yeshivas.”
#UpstateAmerica: You can fish for free in any freshwater lake, river, or stream in New York this Saturday.
“Rudy Giuliani ‘attacker’ to file $2 million wrongful arrest lawsuit after charges dropped,” by New York Post’s Gabrielle Fonrouge and Priscilla DeGregory: The Staten Island man who was charged with assault for patting Rudy Giuliani on the back filed a $2 million notice of claim against the city for wrongful arrest Thursday — after prosecutors agreed to dismiss his criminal case provided he stays out of trouble. Former ShopRite worker Daniel Gill — who was initially charged with felony assault for the infamous June 26 incident inside the store — asserts he never should’ve been arrested, saying all he did was ‘pat’ or ‘tap’ Giuliani on the back and call him a ’scumbag.’”
“As Trump’s Legal Woes Mount, So Do Financial Pressures on Him,” by The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, Ben Protess, Matthew Goldstein and Eric Lipton: “The New York attorney general’s fraud lawsuit that was filed on Wednesday against former President Donald J. Trump seeks to recover $250 million from his company and essentially run him out of business in the state. Next month, Mr. Trump’s company will go on trial in Manhattan on criminal tax charges in a separate case that could cost millions of dollars in penalties and legal fees. And on the horizon are civil suits from people seeking to hold the former president responsible for injuries and trauma inflicted during the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol by his supporters, a possible wave of litigation that some of his advisers fear could prove extremely costly to him. Together, the numerous investigations and lawsuits swirling around Mr. Trump are creating new and significant financial pressures on him.”
“Max Rose calls out Malliotakis on abortion rights: ‘Her silence tells us everything we need to know,’” by Staten Island Advance’s Giavanni Alves: “Congressional candidate Max Rose is maintaining pressure on incumbent Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/South Brooklyn) to explicitly state where she stands on abortion rights. ... He held a press conference outside of his office in West Brighton on Wednesday, reiterating his message to the congresswoman calling her out for her not explicitly telling constituents her position on abortion and reproductive rights.”
— A New York womanalleges that she was denied medication for severe pain because of the hypothetical possibility it could harm her fetus if she were to become pregnant.
— Former New York City Transit head Andy Byford is leaving his job running the London transit agency and is returning to the U.S.
— The Manhattan and Bronx borough presidents are seeking upgrades to the Washington Bridge connecting the two boroughs.
— Amy Cooper, who accused a Black bird-watcher of threatening her in 2020 when he urged her to leash her dog in Central Park, lost a lawsuit against her former employer claiming she was illegally fired and portrayed as a racist.
— The state’s judicial conduct commission ruled that Whitehall Town Justice Robert J. Putorti should be removed from office for bragging about pulling a semi-automatic handgun on a Black defendant.
— An idea for infrastructure week: Times Union’s Chris Churchill notes Albany's bus station is “still a regional disgrace.”
— A rare (for New York) gray wolf was killed near Cooperstown.
— Household debt in New York hit a high of $53,830 last year, but it's not as bad as the national average of $55,810, according to a report from state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
— The Buffalo Board of Education is moving toward a first-in-state plan to pay parents who drive their kids to school.
— Drill rappers said they were removed from a Queens festival at the request of the NYPD.
— A City Council report found racial and gender pay disparities among city employees.
— Carmel's town supervisor found a way to collect unemployment after he was voted out.
— A Bronx state trooper is suing her department because she had no place to pump her breast milk.
— The city ferry systemwill not be expanding in the near future as it seeks to stabilize its finances.
— EMS worker staffing shortages are driving up 911 response times in New York.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Kristen Silverberg … Elise Jordan … Ana Marie Cox (5-0) … NBC’s Julia Ainsley and Grace Dubay … NYT’s Mike Schmidt … CNN’s Greg Wallace … Sean Spicer … Treasury’s Corey Tellez … PwC’s Todd Metcalf … Ben Chao of Rep. Mondaire Jones’ (D-N.Y.) office … Abby Glassberg … Chinua Green … Kyle Inan … James Howard Fitzgerald … Armaan Pai
MAKING MOVES — Paul Ochoa is now executive deputy commissioner at the city Department of Transportation. He was formerly chief strategy officer at the Department of Sanitation. … Sarah (Chaikin) Lyons has joined SKDK as a senior vice president of the public affairs practice. She previously worked with SKDK’s corporate clients in a consultant role and was vice president of corporate communications for AMC Networks.
SPOTTED on Thursday night at a book party for Peter Baker and Susan Glasser's new book "The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021" hosted by Doug and Heidi Rediker ($27.49): Jane Mayer and Bill Hamilton, Alan Cooperman, Nicole Rabner, Jon Finer, John Bolton, Sally Quinn, Susan Page, Elisabeth Bumiller and Steve Weisman, George Conway, Robert Costa, German Amb. Emily Haber, Anne Applebaum, Julia Ioffe, Elizabeth Drew, Marcus Brauchli, David and Danielle Frum, John Harris and Ann O’Hanlon, Mike Shear, Zolan Kanno-Young, Rafe Sagalyn, Juleanna Glover, Kris Puopolo, Rita Braver and Bob Barnett, Melanne and Phil Verveer, Ed Luce and Niamh King, Bay Fang, Ruth Marcus and Jon Leibowitz, Mark Leibovich, Dana Milbank and Anna Greenberg, Mandy Grunwald, Blake Hounshell, Julie Davis, Rick and Jane Atkinson, Olivia Troye, Mary Louise Kelly, Josh Dawsey and Margaret Talev.
“Malfunctioning Water Tank Now Under Scrutiny as Root of NYCHA Arsenic Crisis,” by The City’s Greg B. Smith: “Weeks before public housing residents endured a week of uncertainty and fear over an arsenic scare at the Jacob Riis Houses on the Lower East Side, trouble lurked within the basement of Building 11. A pump that was supposed to keep fresh water always flowing into a 20,000 gallon rooftop tank had stopped functioning properly in mid-July, greatly hampering the tenants’ regular supply of fresh water. And NYCHA staff didn’t have a clue. For two weeks before NYCHA realized what was going on and during the two additional weeks it took to fix it, the number of resident complaints to NYCHA’s command center about cloudy water in Building 11 grew from a trickle to a flood.”
“More People Snagged Units in NYC Housing Lotteries Last Year, But Wait Times Grew,” by City Limits’ Sanjida Akter, Jieni Zheng, Melisa Kayatekin, Tasmia Afrin, Marco Estrada and Jeanmarie Evelly: “Since 2014, the city’s affordable housing lotteries have received tens of millions of applications from New Yorkers in search of housing, but just more than 29,000 people actually moved into new or rehabbed affordable homes via the lottery system between then and the end of 2021, city data shows…The city’s affordable housing lotteries are notoriously competitive, but the city’s latest Mayor’s Manage Report shows some signs of progress: in the most recent fiscal year that ended in June, 6,173 applicants were approved for a unit through the lottery system, up nearly 24 percent from the year prior.”