There’s a lot shaking in New York politics this week.
We’re covering and explaining a leadership shakeup at the Port Authority and MTA, New York City’s quick pace on two wheels, and more.
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– Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein
Quote of the Week: “Vitriolic, acrimonious. Hold on, let me get my thesaurus.” – Councilman Rory Lancman describing the feud between Midwood/Borough Park Councilman David Greenfield and Assemblyman Dov Hikind. Greenfield tried to hand-pick a successor for his City Council seat but now Hikind’s son is running, too.
Pat Foye, until recently the Port Authority Executive Director, is now going to be President of the MTA.
Is he the right guy to fix the subways, LIRR, and MetroNorth? Or is this really about resolving a clash between Cuomo and Christie over the Port Authority leadership?
Bikers take more than 450,000 trips per day, more than double what the number was a decade ago. Just last week, Citi Bike recorded the highest single-day ridership of any system in the Western world except for Paris.
But it’s not all smooth sailing. The “bikelash” continues and Citi Bike is looking to make some big changes as it tries to expand to all five boros.
Stories We’re Following
• Syracuse must have something against CuomoWe reported last week on the raft of Democrats and Republicans threatening to run against Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Now, we can add two more potential candidates from Syracuse: Republican Senator John DeFrancisco and Democratic Mayor Stephanie Miner. Interestingly, Miner is termed-out of office this year, so she won’t have to give up her seat for a difficult race. There’s also talk that she could instead run against Republican Congressman John Katko, which might be less of a stretch for her.
Will they actually run? That’s anyone’s guess. Cuomo’s weakness is largely of his own making and he’s still very formidable with a $25 million war chest. But he’s starting to show vulnerabilities that the right candidate could exploit.
• More Money, More Problems?
Speaking of weak candidates, Bill de Blasio isn’t taking chances in his re-election campaign.
Despite a lackluster primary field, he asked the New York City Campaign Finance Board for an extra couple million to spend in the Democratic primary under the matching funds program. The program, meant to help candidates compete without raising money just from wealthy donors, matches donations under $175 from New York City voters six-to-one, so that a $10 contribution is matched with $60.
Normally, candidates don’t get matching funds if they don’t face serious opposition. However, de Blasio claims he needs the extra money because of a competitive race. Neither of the two leading opponents, Sal Albanese and Bob Gangi, have gotten much press and even outside groups aren’t doing much this year.
The Campaign Finance Board approved his request but this might just lead to more PR headaches for the Mayor’s campaign.
• Do we really need so many politicians?
That’s the core of a radical proposal by Richard Emery, former chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board. He’s supporting a New York Constitutional Convention (remember, we’re voting on whether to have one in November) and wants it to replace the Senate and Assembly with a single body.
In response, the opposition is circulating a letter from election lawyer Jerry Goldfeder: vote no because the delegate selection process is flawed. Keep in mind, though, Goldfeder’s legal clients are elected officials. Some of them would be out of a job if the Constitutional Convention did abolish the Senate or Assembly.
Number of the Week: 50% of NYPD officers live in New York City while just over 30% live on Long Island. By law, officers need to live in the five boroughs or the suburban SWORN-P counties (Suffolk, Westchester, Orange, Rockland, Nassau and Putnam).