One Month In
Bill de Blasio’s old campaign Twitter account has been busy these days.
For the past six weeks, @deBlasioNYC has done nothing but retweet a steady stream of posts from UPKNYC–the nonprofit campaign launched to push the new mayor’s plan to raise taxes on the wealthy to fund universal pre-K–blasting the campaign’s messages to the 49,800 followers the then-candidate acquired mostly during his winning race. (The @UPKNYC account has around 2,400 followers itself.)
He stood at a podium surrounded by a crush of City Council members and left-leaning advocates from protests groups like Make the Road New York and local unions.
“Si, se puede!” (“Yes, we can!”), they shouted, crammed shoulder to shoulder on a tiny stretch of sidewalk in Bushwick, Brooklyn, under the elevated subway tracks. As the trains rushed by every few minutes, the man of the hour—standing in front of a backdrop adorned with his campaign’s slogan, “One New York, Rising Together”—paused and raised his arms like an orchestra conductor, urging the overflow crowd penned behind police barricades across the street to burst into chants again.
This wasn’t a campaign rally or a protest of City Hall’s policies. It was Bill de Blasio’s first major policy rollout as mayor of New York City: a press conference to announce a deal with the City Council on legislation to expand mandatory paid sick leave.
it keeps going and going
These days, the liberal activists collecting signatures and knocking on doors aren’t rallying against the mayor; they’re working for him.
Newly-minted Mayor Bill de Blasio this morning began the next phase of his push to raise taxes to fund universal pre-K, unleashing a “grassroots and online campaign” dubbed “UPKNYC” to build momentum for and pressure lawmakers in Albany to pass his signature campaign proposal.
He’s out of office, no longer running for election, and supposed to be weighing jobs in the private sector, but that isn’t enough to stop ex-comptroller and unsuccessful mayoral candidate John Liu from ending his perennial politicking.
Indeed, Mr. Liu, who was known to log a dozen stops across the five boroughs during an ordinary day, seems to be having trouble giving up the trappings of elected office, continuing his break-neck schedule of events even after his term as comptroller ended on December 31.
Congressman Charlie Rangel officially kicked off his re-election bid in Harlem this afternoon, telling reporters that he “feels so good it scares the hell out of me” and even asking one female journalist to dance with him in celebration.
Election Day: 2013apalooza
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio today rolled out a new campaign tasked with turning his central promise–raising taxes on the wealthy to fund universal pre-K and afterschool programs–into reality.
“I believe than an absolute necessarily step forward for this city is to achieve the tax on the wealthiest New Yorkers so we can have full day pre-K for every child and after school for every middle school child. And we will proceed vigorously to get that done in Albany,” Mr. de Blasio told reporters at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn.
West Side Story
Last Saturday night, the Supersuckers, the self-proclaimed “Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in the World,” jammed at The Bell House, a Brooklyn concert hall, along with DJ Bubba Guitar and Hellbound Glory.
Tonight, at the same spot, it’ll be Bill de Blasio.
The various campaigns for mayor are getting ready to party down after the polls close at 9 p.m., and while Mr. de Blasio–the front-runner in the Democratic primary–seems likely to have the most to celebrate tonight, the other candidates are also planning events.
In a city where a prostitute-patronizing ex-governor and a pathological cybersexter can launch viable campaigns, Aaron Braunstein still manages to be one of the more singular candidates for public office this year.
Sipping a Red Bull and droning with a straight face about how he once won a Rolls Royce in a high-stakes Vegas card game, Mr. Braunstein is an unlikely City Council candidate for an even unlikelier district: the high-minded Upper West Side, where Mr. Braunstein, the father of Orange is the New Black actress Natasha Lyonne, lives alone in a cluttered apartment that once belonged to Mike Tyson.
“I talk to the biggest people in the world. I read Tolstoy, Hunter Thompson, I collect antiques … I mean, I’d vote for me,” Mr. Braunstein recently told Politicker, speaking in a Brooklyn rasp that conjured Godfather- era Marlon Brando. Mr. Braunstein was sporting a pencil moustache along with a three-piece suit, flowing scarf and silver tie peaking out from his vest. A gray ponytail flowed down his back, and on Mr. Braunstein’s plump ring finger was an ancient Roman coin the size of a silver dollar that he said had been fished out from the Mediterranean Sea.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s dad, sidelined for months by medical problems, returned to the campaign trail this morning just in time for his 87th birthday.
The charming Larry Quinn, often referred to as Ms. Quinn’s “not-so-secret weapon,” stopped by a senior center near Washington Square Park to stump for his daughter as the mayoral campaign enters its final, frenzied stretch.
“Well, you know, I’d like to be more mobile, but at least I’m on my feet and I don’t have an escort any longer–a paid escort!” joked Mr. Quinn as he left the center after a short visit, accompanied by Ms. Quinn’s father-in-law, Anthony Catullo. While Mr. Quinn walked a little slower than usual, with the assistance of a cane, his humor appeared perfectly in tact.
It’s usually hard enough at the bottom of the totem pole, working for free in the cut-throat world of politics during an election year. But this year’s crop of summer interns seem to be having an especially brutal time, enduring slap attacks, hospitalizations and vilification on the trail.
Earlier today, an intern for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s mayoral campaign was attacked at a press conference by a furious newsletter publisher angry about a local hospital closing.