-Michael Tobman, a Brooklyn-based political consultant and the publisher of a weekly magazine, New York Jewish Life, on Borough Park and its contentious Council race, to The New York Times
Pols Plan Listening Tour of the Subway
“The lawmakers and transit advocates who will hit the stations on Thursday and Friday — a tour organized by transit advocates, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who oversee the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as committee chairmen — said at a rally outside of City Hall Monday that the feedback they get from frustrated commuters will help form a plan to finally figure out how to fund mass transit for the long haul.” Our take: Dinowitz opposed congestion pricing and has not supported MoveNY, two plans to fund mass transit for the long haul.
Donor Breaks Impasse Over Funding Immigrant Legal Services
“De Blasio opposed using any of the $16.4 million in city funding to defend immigrants and legal residents convicted of any of the 170 crimes considered ‘deportable offenses,’ while Mark-Viverito supported using that money without conditions related to those convictions. With both sides refusing to budge, an anonymous donor has agreed to provide a $250,000 grant to cover legal costs for those individuals. The money will be given directly to the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, and the donor’s identity will not be disclosed.” Our take: Call us old-fashioned, but we thought checks and balances and separation of powers and all that good stuff—and not some faceless person’s wallet—were supposed to resolve disputes like this.
Borough Park Politics Roiled by Incumbent’s Decision Not to Run
New York Times
“In Borough Park, Brooklyn, where politics are played as a sport, the recent decision of David G. Greenfield to abruptly cut short a rising political career has set off intrigue and infighting in the city’s Orthodox Jewish political circles. Mr. Greenfield renounced his City Council seat in such a way as to hand off his party’s nomination to an ally, Kalman Yeger, who had been running in a neighboring district. The maneuver was effectively an end run around his longtime local nemesis, State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, whom the councilman once served as chief of staff, and who happens to have been angling for his own son to enter political office.” Our take: If you had a system where insiders couldn’t game the system to restrict ballot access, these factional fights wouldn’t matter that much.
De Blasio Sees Big Drop in Poll But Opponents Don’t Pick Up the Slack
“New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s job approval rating is wilting in the summer heat and now stands at 50 – 42 percent, down from 60 – 34 percent in a May 17 Quinnipiac University Poll. But Mayor de Blasio still tops his little-known Republican challenger, Assembly member Nicole Malliotakis, 57 – 22 percent, the independent Quinnipiac University Poll finds. This compares to a 64 – 21 percent Democratic lead May 17. With Bo Dietl running as an independent candidate, de Blasio gets 52 percent, with 15 percent for Malliotakis and 11 percent for Dietl. New York City voters are split 46 – 46 percent on whether de Blasio deserves reelection, a big swing from May 17 when voters said 57 – 35 percent that he did deserve reelection.” Our take: New poll, same story: De Blasio appears vulnerable until an actual person tries to exploit those vulnerabilities—and then, in poll after poll, month after month, the mayor is the clear favorite
Former DCAS Official Fires Back at de Blasio
“Ricardo Morales is pushing back after Mayor de Blasio said he was fired because of his performance. ‘That’s nonsense, that’s falsehood,’ Morales told me. ‘I followed the rules, and for that I got a political punishment.’ As a deputy commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), Morales led negotiations with Harendra Singh, a de Blasio campaign donor and owner of a now-closed restaurant in Long Island City, Water’s Edge. Morales said that Singh had access to the mayor’s team, and when the negotiations didn’t go his way: ‘They took the negotiations — very complex litigation, complex land-use transaction — out of the hands of the experts, corporation counsel, our own counsel at DCAS, the experts at DCAS, and put it in the hands of City Hall,’ Morales said.” Our take: If this sort of thing happened at the federal level, we’d have Congressional hearings to figure out who’s lying. If only the City Council had a Committee on Oversight and Investigations.