Julissa Ferreras-Copeland with her then-newborn son and husband.

Pol Bows Out to Spend Time with Family… and Means It

Normally when a politician says they are retiring to spend more time with their family, we’re skeptical. But Queens Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland seems to really mean it, describing the anguish of not being able to spend enough time with her husband and son. Though she was widely-seen as a rising star, Ferreras-Copeland says she’s putting her happiness first.

Why it matters:

  • This shakes up the race to be the next Council Speaker, perhaps the second most powerful role in City politics after the Mayor. Ferreras-Copeland was seen as a serious contender for the position which is voted on by the City Council. While insiders pointed to her as de Blasio’s preferred candidate, her strained ties with Queens Democratic Leader Rep. Joe Crowley might have been a stumbling block.
     
    Without Ferreras-Copeland in the race for Speaker, there are no other serious candidates from Queens, leaving Crowley free to wheel and deal. Look for him to throw his support (and the votes of the dozen-or-so Councilmembers loyal to him) to whichever candidate will deliver the most for him.
     
  • Ferreras-Copeland’s retirement highlights the plight faced by women in government. We mentioned this issue last week whenthe New York Times reported on how many women left working for Mayor de Blasio amid complaints about mismanagement and a hostile workplace. There were suggestions that Ferreras-Copeland couldn’t be Speaker because of her young family, an accusation that virtually never comes up for fathers. 
  • With Ferreras-Copeland leaving, only 8 out of 51 City Councilmembers are likely to be women next year. The successor to current Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, a Puerto Rican woman, is also very likely to be a white man (probably Upper Manhattan’s Mark Levine or Corey Johnson from Chelsea). While both are progressives, many activists are dismayed at the lack of diversity in the New York City Council.

Who’s going to succeed Ferreras-Copeland?

Jackson Heights Assemblyman Francisco Moya is running to succeed Ferreras-Copeland. He has the support of the Queens Democratic Party and is widely-known thanks to his current position, making him the instant frontrunner for the Council seat.

Read more

Bill de Blasio and Melissa Mark-Viverito shake on the New York City budget deal.

What’s in New York City’s New Budget for 2017-2018?

Late Friday night, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito shook on a deal setting out New York City’s budget. They accomplished this difficult negotiation weeks before the deadline (it’s the earliest budget since 1992), likely in part because the Mayor and Council Members need to go out and campaign for re-election.

The plan has New York City spending $85.2 billion, slightly more than de Blasio’s earlier budget proposal. This is the final budget of Mayor de Blasio’s four-year term, during which time the budget has increased nearly 20% from $72 billion.

Read more

Mayor Bill de Blasio

Bill de Blasio Just Can’t Get Out of His Own Way

Memorial Day weekend brought a drumbeat of bad headlines for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio:

Break these down for me

The first two stories, both from the Post are fairly inconsequential but telling about Bill de Blasio’s troubles.

Supporters upset about his tardiness and disorganization:

The de Blasio administration attempted to keep de Blasio’s emails with five outside advisors under wraps. The administration argued that the five were “agents of the city”, even though there were no agreements of any sort to that effect, and so the Freedom of Information Law did not apply. NY1 sued for access to the emails under FOIL and won.

Read more

New York's Constitutional Convention won't look quite like this.

Will New York have a Constitutional Convention?

In November, New Yorkers will vote on whether to hold a constitutional convention (or Con Con, as its been called). For many parts of the state, it’ll be the most consequential and contentious election of the year. But what’s it all about?

A Constitutional Convention? What’s that?

Remember your old high school history textbook with Washington, Hamilton, Franklin, and Madison coming together in Philadelphia to write the Constitution? Well so New York’s Constitutional Convention will be a little like that, but for New York and without the Founding Fathers.

Read more

Trump's signature healthcare plan will have vast impacts for New York.

Trumping the AHCA? How New York will respond to Trumpcare

Since the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act and its impact on New York has become more clear, the reaction has been angry towards the Republican Party which pushed it through. After several false starts with Paul Ryan repeatedly delaying a vote on Donald Trump’s signature proposal, the measure squeaked by on a 217 to 213 vote. A series of polls in early May found a paltry 31% approval rating for the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, while nearly 50% of the country disapproved.

Read more

It's from the Simpsons but this seemingly describes the attitude of Republicans. Unfortunately for them, the consequences of Trumpcare threaten New York Republicans.

Repeal & Replace Republicans: How Trumpcare Threatens New York Republicans

In a prescient moment from an episode of The Simpsons years ago, there’s a scene of celebration taking place at the Republican National Convention. Above the meeting’s jubilant attendees are two signs – one that reads, “We Want What’s Worst For Everyone” and another that says, “We’re Just Plain Evil.”

These banners capture the spirit of today’s GOP with surprising accuracy.

How else can one explain the heartless mendacity of the House’s Trumpcare bill, the American Healthcare Act, which strips away health security for millions of people in exchange for billions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthiest few?

Read more

Mayor Bill de Blasio cheers the passage of his affordable housing program. Critics like Real Affordability for All say it's not enough.

Affordable for Whom? The Tragically Misguided Arguments about Affordable Housing in NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio promised 200,000 affordable housing apartments, including 50,000 units for New Yorkers earning less than $40,000. Critics have long said that’s not enough. Now, the Real Affordability for All coalition, led by New York Communities for Change and Bertha Lewis’ The Black Institute, is attacking de Blasio and his Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen for “a Goldman Sachs model of development” that promotes gentrification.

Why is housing so expensive?

There simply aren’t enough apartments in New York City. While new buildings are going up, they don’t make up for all the people who want to live in New York. In addition, the new housing that is built is frequently luxury condos purchased by foreign investors while actually affordable apartments slowly disappear.

Read more

More problems at Penn Station

Penn Station Problems? It’s About to Get Worse

Commuters regularly suffer problems at Penn Station. There aren’t enough tracks at Penn Station, resulting in train delays. Train delays lead to the station becoming way too crowded and the problems just spiral downwards. And it’s likely to only get worse.

What’s Happening?

Amtrak, the train service that owns and runs Penn Station, has had three train delays in recent weeks, mostly due to trains derailing. Two weeks ago, Amtrak police triggered a stampede out of the station when they used a stun gun. Now, Amtrak is saying that, to fix the problems, they’ll need to shut down some of the tunnels under the Hudson River for weeks or months, promising untold future delays.

Read more

Bo Dietl needs the Republican Party to give him a Wilson-Pakula certificate to run in the Republican Primary for Mayor. Will they let him run?

Will Bo Dietl Run as a Republican? Can He?

Despite the negative reviews (including here on ShakingNews), Bo Dietl’s campaign for Mayor continues. And maybe he has some better advisors now than when he announced his independent run for Mayor because he’s now seeking the Republican nomination.

Wait, what?

Even though he’s an independent, Bo Dietl is seeking the Republican nomination for mayor. He’s already picked up the support of a Republican City Councilman from Queens.

Can he do that?

New York is one of the few states in the country where someone can win the nomination of a party without being a member.

Read more

Mayor Bill de Blasio's 3-K preschool program for three-year-olds will have a big impact.

Mayor de Blasio Announces 3-K Preschool for Three-Year Olds

Today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio doubled-down on his widely-praised Pre-K for all, announcing the launch of a new 3-K Preschool program for three-year-olds.

What happened with Pre-K for All?

When Mayor de Blasio ran for mayor in 2013, one of his most ambitious plans was the creation of free, universal pre-kindergarten for all four-year-olds in New York City.

Read more