Carlina Rivera collects petition signatures to get on the ballot as she runs for City Council. (Photo via Twitter).

It’s time for petitioning!

It’s an exciting time of year: petitioning time!

Huh, what’s that?

As New Yorkers, we’re used to people approaching us on the street asking for something. But if you’ve been confronted recently by clipboard-carriers asking you to sign a petition to get someone on the ballot, that’s because it’s petition time, the semi-official beginning of campaign season in New York.

So what’s the deal with the petitions?

In order to run in a New York election, candidates need to collect signatures from people who can vote in that election. That means if someone is running as a Democrat for Mayor of New York City, they need to collect signatures from Democrats in New York City. If a candidate is running as an independent, they can collect signatures from anyone who is registered to vote in the general election.

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Recently, countdown clocks have shown more and more delays for subway riders.

MTA Leaving Subway Riders High and Dry

  • After weeks of increasingly severe subway delays, the MTA voted on a new spending plan that does not include additional money for repairs and could lead to higher fares.
  • Advocates and unions say more money is needed to actually fix the MTA.
  • Cuomo’s promises of attention so far haven’t translated into significant action.

Just a day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a contest to quickly improve the subways following mounting delays, the MTA board voted for a spending plan that showed where its priorities really are: not with riders.

What’s in the new spending plan?

The MTA voted for $3 billion in new spending between now and 2019. That money will go toward these main expenses:

  • $1.5 billion for a new Long Island Rail Road track
  • $700 million to begin construction on the second phase of the Second Avenue Subway
  • $400 million to replace tollbooths with electronic systems

Replacing the subway’s outdated, Great Depression-era technology did not get any additional funding and the MTA actually pushed back work on the 8th Ave A/C/E lines until 2020. They also cut over $1 billion in funding for new trains.

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IDC Leader Jeff Klein and Republican Leader John Flanagan could be in trouble because of the Senate lulu scandal.

Why the Senate Lulu Scandal Might Be Trouble for Everyone

Right now, the top news in the New York politics is the story of the State Senate’s lulu payments, the extra money that legislators in leadership positions earn. A New York Times investigation discovered that seven Senators (three Independent Democrats and four Republicans) earned lulus for positions they did not hold. While the legal fallout is unclear, the consequences will reverberate throughout New York politics.

Thanks to his coalition with the eight-member Independent Democratic Conference, Republican Leader John Flanagan (Long Island) leads the Senate even though there are 32 Democrats and only 31 Republicans. To maintain support, he arranged for seven Republican and Independent Democratic Conference members to earn larger lulus by paying committee vice-chairs as if they chaired the committees. This continued a practice of his predecessor, Dean Skelos (since convicted for corruption). Flanagan must have figured no one would notice.

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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?

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Democratic State Senator George Latimer is running for Westchester County Executive.

Battle Royale for Westchester County Executive

The most important election of 2017 for New York is likely going to be the race for Westchester County Executive. Democratic State Senator George Latimer announced last week that he’ll face off against the incumbent, Republican Rob Astorino, in November.

Campaign Issues

Latimer launched his campaign criticizing Astorino for borrowing to pay for pensions rather than raising property taxes. Since few people like paying taxes, that’s going to be an argument Astorino is likely eager to fight. It’ll be a tough race.

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