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AOC, Gianaris And Other NY Politicians Should Apologize To American Workers For Amazon Pullout

Criticism, from the likes of Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and State Senator Michael Gianaris, has centered around the $3B in tax deferments and subsidies that Amazon would receive over a decade, dependent on the creation of thousands of new high-paying jobs in New York City. Amazon cites a 70% favorability amongst New Yorkers that want Amazon to enter the city in their statement announcing the pullout. What impact will this decision have on the workforce in NYC? The estimated taxes from the direct hires alone are well over a billion dollars, and this is before accounting for additional consumption, housing spend and local community growth from the newly created jobs. Indirect Job Creation: The impact of the immediate infusion of thousands of high-paying jobs in cities cannot be understated in how it affects local communities. Studies indicated that the indirect consequences are as high as 80,000 additional jobs that would have been created.These jobs would have boosted local consumption, increased tax coffers, and provided further employment opportunity in a historically struggling community that has seen rents decline by double digit percentages and has one of the largest housing projects with mean wages below the poverty line. Thousands of new technology-focused hires would have eventually led to hundreds of startups, creating a perpetual cycle of wealth generation and job creation and reinforcing NYC as a technology hub for the future. We made sure to stand our ground.” The article goes on to quote Democratic New York State Senator Julia Salazar in describing the pullout as a “turning point for the ability of working people in New York to organize for their interests against the billionaire class.” These quotes are telling as they paint local politicians and activists as more focused on “beating the billionaire” than serving their community. “So now what are you going to do?” The harsh reality for Mr. Robinson and other New Yorkers is that there is no back up plan. The rise of the pandering populist politicians, who seem to service a narrative more than the workforce, is a failure in governance and representative democracy.

The Week Ahead in New York Politics, Jan. 21

Twitter What to watch for this week in New York politics: This week starts with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, which will include many commemorative events acoss the city and state. The week will feature a lot of action at the Democratically-controlled state Legislature in Albany, on Tuesday and Wednesday, as both houses continue to pass bills that have not moved in past sessions when Republicans controlled the state Senate, and at the New York City Council, where there will be a variety of committee hearings and one full-body Stated Meeting, at which new bills are first introduced and bills that have passed committee receive a floor vote. We're continuing to watch four other themes this week: next steps after Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State and budget presentation from last week; how the MTA Board is handling the change of L-train tunnel repair plans; what Mayor Bill de Blasio will do next in his rollout of his State of the City agenda and his pursuit of a national spotlight; and the race for New York City Public Advocate, with the Feb. 26 special election rapidly approaching. --The Committee on Land Use will meet at 11 a.m. --The Committees on Civil Service & Labor and Housing will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “Section 3 hiring requirements.” --The Committee on Cultural Affairs will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “arts, culture, and Stonewall 50.” At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the New York City Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform established by Mayor de Blasio and the City Council will hold its latest public meeting at 250 Broadway. Topics will include “social and public health issues affecting New Yorkers, including HIV/AIDS prevention and education, substance use, mental health, LGBT rights, and discrimination.” The forum will take place at the New School Auditorium in Greenwich Village. Thursday The City Council will hold a stated meeting at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Speaker Corey Johnson will hold the usual pre-stated press conference at 12:30 p.m. Also at the City Council on Thursday: the Committee on Finance will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss proposed laws relating to property taxes. At 9 a.m. Thursday, City & State will host the P3 Summit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, discussing public-private partnerships. At noon Thursday, the New York State Board of Elections will hold a commissioners’ meeting in Albany. E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time: bmax@gothamgazette.com (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

Big Wins by Down-Ballot Progressives Are Going to Transform New York Politics

As progressive reformers organized challenges to IDC-aligned senators in this years primaries, the group was disbanded. All eight state senators who had been associated with the IDC were challenged in Democratic primaries Thursday. The biggest victory for the challengers—and for the unions and grassroots activists with groups such as the Working Families Party and Citizen Action of New York that campaigned against the IDC-tied incumbents—was that of Alessandra Biaggi, who got a lot of street-level and social-media campaign help from Ocasio-Cortez for her challenge to a former IDC leader Jeffrey Klein. “There are five times as many Democrats as Republicans in District 34 and yet for seven years, my opponent led the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), a group of 8 New York state senators who ran and were elected as Democrats, but then went to Albany to caucus and vote only with Republicans, handing control of the State Senate to the GOP. The Climate Change and Community Protection Act. Biaggi, who ran with the support of The New York Times, as well as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, the Working Families Party, and Service Employees International Union local 32BJ, reminded voters that the election provided an opportunity to diversify the legislature and state politics. City & State New York noted that “Salazar ran on a platform of universal rent control and single-payer health care, but she made national headlines when media reports challenged the working class, immigrant, Jewish image Salazar presented on the campaign trail. Stories about Salazar’s past, which featured prominently in the city’s tabloid dailies, appeared to have little impact on the ground in New York’s Senate District 18, where she was pulling 58 percent of the vote after campaigning “as an advocate, a tenant, a feminist, a democratic socialist, a union member, and a proud daughter of an immigrant family.” Other progressive contenders—including Nixon and Williams, who came close to upsetting Cuomo’s running mate in the contest for lieutenant governor—ran with support from the New York City chapter of DSA. But Salazar campaigned as an active member of DSA’s largest local, which on Thursday night announced that “NYC-DSA has built a movement to send one of our own to Albany.” The change in Albany will be dramatic as a new generation of insurgents and reformers arrives. And the legislature will be populated by a state senators like Alessandra Biaggi, who claimed her victory as a signal that New Yorkers would no longer “tolerate Democrats who would be empowering Republicans.”

Techies in Politics: A New Wave Runs for Office

Can more techies in politics make for better policy? Dozens of scientists, computer scientists and tech entrepreneurs are running for office this year both on the federal and state level. “When someone is a software developer, or information architect, or scientist of some sort, my hope is that when they approach a problem, they’ll use the scientific method, and test their hypotheses, and try to approach government on a rational basis,” Ben Kallos, a software developer, lawyer and New York City Councilman told me over the phone. And there are dozens more scientists and techies running at the state level. He’s running to represent North Carolina’s House District 59 against Republican incumbent Jon Hardister. I’m not sure that I can.” The forces behind Trump’s election made Buccini question whether working at a Bay Area startup was really enabling him to contribute meaningfully to society. “I want to actually do the hard work and meet these people who are suffering, instead of being in the ivory tower of the Bay Area.” “I decided to come back home and run because the people who got me to where I was, the teachers who stayed after hours, and the teachers who wrote me the incredible recommendations, and sponsored my clubs that allowed me to go to Cal don’t have the resources they need to do their jobs,” he told me on the phone. More generally, during his five years in office, Kallos has worked with civic tech groups to make New York City government more accessible and open at a time when the open government movement started to flourish. Most of these technologists and scientists running for office appear to be Democrats. 314 Action, a political action group that started training scientists and technologists to run for office last year, is very much in line with Democrats, however.

Can New York’s Politics Finally Be As Progressive as Its Voters?

Ramos hopes to unseat IDC member Jose Peralta. Despite that partisan gerrymander, New York Democrats still managed to claw together a narrow Senate majority in 2012—but that victory was instantly thwarted by four nominally Democratic state Senators who, calling themselves “Independent Democrats,” joined in a power-sharing agreement with the minority to keep control of the State Senate in Republican hands. Led by women and the emergent progressive movement, 10 Democrats in the New York State Senate face primary challenges (eight IDC members, one Democrat who outright caucuses with Republicans, and one centrist mainline Democrat), of which at least half are likely to be successful. All of these passed the Democratic-controlled State Assembly with ease, but couldn’t get through the Senate because IDC members had ensured Republican control of the chamber. From the New York Health Act (a state single-payer insurance plan) to a green jobs bill, from universal rent control to a universal-basic-income pilot project, these candidates campaign for the things progressives across the country want to see on legislative dockets. In January, Jessica Ramos, a former de Blasio aide and Democratic district leader, announced she was taking on Senator Jose Peralta in the 13th, an ethnically diverse district in Queens. Biaggi is running to unseat Jeff Klein—the leader of the Independent Democratic Conference for seven years. With Liu on the ballot, every incumbent IDC member will have a well-organized challenger. Many in the New York City Council have endorsed anti-IDC challengers, as has much of the New York state’s Congressional delegation, including, most recently, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. They will control both halves of the legislature and the governor’s mansion, and that makes the next legislative session among the most important in the history of the state—and it maybe makes New York’s next legislative session one of the most consequential in the country.

Race for state’s second office could shake up New York politics

Kathy Hochul – a former congresswoman from western New York who had been Cuomo's running mate in 2014 – is facing a fierce challenge from Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn, who is serving his third term as a New York City councilman. If Williams is indeed elected as lieutenant governor, he has promised to provide a check-and-balance in the mold of the more adversarial role the New York City Public Advocate has played to the New York City mayor. It also took place the same day as the only debate between Cuomo and Nixon, almost ensuring it would get little coverage. Questioned repeatedly about the matter in a radio interview last week with WNYC host Brian Lehrer, Hochul would only say that an unspecified "scheduling conflict" had submarined the debate. Nixon supporters argue that Cuomo has only shifted to the left on many issues due to her primary challenge. Hochul said that is not necessary. Cuomo needs someone else to tell him to do what's right," Hochul said. That took place as recently as 2008, when then-Lt. Gov. Hochul noted in a recent interview that abortion rights may be under threat nationally as conservative U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is on a path to confirmation. Williams noted that in 2007, Hochul, as Erie County clerk, had vowed to have undocumented immigrants arrested if they applied for drivers' licenses.