Short on bombast and long on analysis, left-leaning academics and the co-chair of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus took to the stage at the CUNY Graduate Center last night to outline their alternative vision for a city in the twilight of the Bloomberg era.
“We’ve been in a kind of sitting in the laboratory, mixing the chemicals phase in the past nine months and we hope to go out and cause a few explosions in the coming months and after the elections,” said John Mollenkopf, a CUNY political science professor and co-organizer of the panel discussion, “Progressive Policies for the Future of New York City,” which the New York Times’ Michael Powell moderated.
Demonstrating that Mother Nature goes about her work without fear or favor, several prominent New York political figures were among the thousands who had their homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy this week.
In the middle of an interview with the Queens Times Ledger, for example, Far Rockaway Councilman James Sanders exclaimed, “A tree has fallen on my wife’s car.” Asked whether he wished he had left his flooded neighborhood, which was in the mandatory evacuation Zone A, Mr. Sanders expressed only one regret.
“I expected this and worse,” he said. “I regret not moving my wife’s car.”
One of the consequences of redistricting is that Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez picked up a larger swath of Brownstone Brooklyn and Park Slope, but Park Slope Councilman Brad Lander has her back. He’s raising money for her next Sunday and again the Wednesday the week after, according to invitations he’s sent out to his supporters.
“Nydia is in a tough reelection fight. We need Nydia in Washington fighting for us and she needs our support to win,” Mr. Lander wrote. “So I hope you can join me and other Brooklyn progressives for a brunch to support her reelection campaign.”
City Councilman Brad Lander is weighing his options and considering a run to replace Marty Markowitz as Brooklyn Borough President in 2013, according to multiple sources. Reached by phone this morning, Mr. Lander did not deny his interest but said it was “very flattering” to have his name be in the mix.
Currently, only State Senator Eric Adams has openly declared his intentions to run for the seat, although a few others, like Assemblyman Nick Perry and State Senator Kevin Parker, have let their names be dropped as potential contenders as well. However, as The Politicker contended last Friday, this leaves electoral oxygen for another candidate to leap into the race.
This afternoon, the Women’s Issues Committee of the City Council held a hearing on a resolution proposed by Council members Brad Lander and Melissa Mark-Viverito that would call for Village Voice Media to shut down the “adult” section of its classified ad site Backpage.com. Village Voice Media, which publishes 13 alt-weeklies around the country including its the flagship Village Voice in New York, has faced mounting pressure over Backpage, which opponents claim encourages human trafficking. At today’s hearing, the company’s general counsel, Liz McDougall, spoke on behalf of Backpage and emotions ran high with tears, laughter and shouting all on display.
Village Voice Media’s general counsel Liz McDougall sent a statement to The Politicker today calling the effort by City Council members Melissa Mark-Viverito and Brad Lander to shut the controversial “adult” section of their classified ad site Backpage.com “misguided.” Ms. Mark-Viverito and Mr. Lander announced a resolution yesterday calling for the site to be closed because it “serves as a platform to traffic minors for sex.” Ms. McDougall, acknowledged children are trafficked in ads on the site, but she argued policing the traffickers will be harder if the ads move elsewhere.
“The demand to shut down this section on Backpage.com will simply drive such content to other Internet portals who will move their advertising websites into offshore entities and out of reach of US law enforcement — and the ability to trace the traffickers and the children that they are trafficking for rescue and prosecution will be lost,” Ms. McDougall said.
Councilman Brad Lander and Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito introduced a resolution today asking Village Voice Media to shut down the controversial “adult” section of its classified ad site Backpage.com. The resolution criticizes Backpage as a “platform to traffic minors for sex.”
“Whereas, Backpage.com’s adult section is facilitating sex trafficking and should alter its current practice; now, therefore, be it resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls on Village Voice Media to shut down the adult section of its online classified site, Backpage.com, because it serves as a platform to traffic minors for sex.”
The City Council passed Resolution 1172 yesterday opposing the United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, which declared corporations have the same first amendment rights as individuals, a concept that has come to be known as corporate personhood. This decision, which was made just shy of a year ago, prohibited the government from placing limits on individual contributions and has become a favored target of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Protesters affiliated with Occupy Wall Street supported the passage of the Council’s anti-corporate personhood resolution and approximately twenty of them packed the observation balcony during the stated meeting yesterday where they applauded for the bill and booed dissenting members. In addition to expressing opposition for the Supreme Court decision, the resolution called for a Constitutional amendment “to provide that corporations are not entitled to the entirety of protections or ‘rights’ of natural persons, specifically so that the expenditure of corporate money to influence the electoral process is no longer a form of constitutionally protected speech.”
a share of the occupie
The City Council’s progressive wing and their labor allies threw their support behind the Occupy Wall Street protesters, backing “the day of action” the movement has planned for Thursday.
They may not be able to count up to 99, but the children who picketed outside Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Midtown office today were chanting “We are the 99 percent!” Approximately 300 protesters–-a good hundred of whom were between 5 and 10 years old–delivered the governor pro-”Millionaire’s Tax” petitions with several thousand signatures from New Yorkers attending Occupy Wall Street.