When Marc Landis, a leading candidate to represent the Upper West Side in the City Council next year, talks about himself, he often boasts of his long record of fighting for affordable housing in New York City. The attorney and Democratic district leader, praised by his many endorsers for his tenant advocacy, also works closely with Tahl Propp Equities, a large real estate developer that has been sued by Manhattan tenants and accused of “predatory” financial practices in rapidly gentrifying Harlem.
“Tahl Propp was one of the early companies that we and other organizers spotted coming in and buying up large amounts of affordable housing and they weren’t a known actor in the affordable housing or real estate world,” said Emily Goldstein, coordinator of preservation and policy at Tenants and Neighbors, a statewide tenant advocacy group. “In more recent years, I know that they’ve said they care about affordable housing. They’ve said they care about the Harlem community. And yet their actual practices in many of these buildings have been detrimental to low and moderate income tenants, to the physical housing stock and arguably to the community.”
As this year’s elections begin to heat up ahead of the September primaries, the United Food and Commercial Workers has continued to weigh in. Today, the union announced their endorsements in about two dozen City Council and borough presidency races across the city.
“New York City needs strong, aggressive, and dedicated leaders in the City Council that will champion progressive legislation and fight hard for our members,” Bruce Both, the union’s president, said in a statement. “They have earned our support and loyalty and we will work hard to see that they are re-elected.”
Entering the Fray
Former State Senator David Storobin officially filed for term-limited Councilman Mike Nelson’s district today, setting the stage for what will likely be one of the few competitive general election race in heavily-Democratic New York City.
Politicker actually bumped into Mr. Storobin last night at a fund-raiser for socially conservative Democratic mayoral candidate Erick Salgado–although Mr. Storobin, a Republican, said his presence wasn’t an endorsement. The buzz among several attendees was that the former state lawmaker would indeed run for the seat, so we asked him where he was at in his decision-making process. He claimed to be undecided.
Rants & Raves
Thomas Lopez-Pierre’s email to developer Brian Benjamin began innocently enough. The New York City Council candidate even wished him a happy New Year.
But a few paragraphs later, Mr. Lopez-Pierre called the recipient an “uncle Tom Nigger bitch.” He berated Mr. Benjamin for being a black man fund-raising for one of Mr. Lopez-Pierre’s political rivals, Democratic district leader Mark Levine, in what has emerged as the most racially charged City Council race in the city.
“What good does it do our community (by this I mean Black and Hispanic people) to have uncle Tom Nigger bitches like you graduate from Ivy League schools if all you do is suck the cock of guys like Mark Levine?”
Earlier today, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Health Commissioner Tom Farley unveiled new legislation to raise the city’s minimum age threshold for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21 years. The move was applauded by smoking advocates, including Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Lung Association of the Northeast and more, but not everyone was happy with the bill.
Notably, Jim Calvin, the president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores, argued that the vast majority of underage smokers obtain their cigarettes from older relatives and friends–not by over-the-counter purchases–rendering the legislation ineffective.
His mouth buried in a bullhorn, Lincoln Restler howled at the tinted windows in front of him.
“I see you didn’t bring your daughters to dinner!” the Democratic activist shouted at a slew of dark-suited men slipping soundlessly into the sumptuous Williamsburg restaurant.
“Ooh,” mumbled a grinning police officer. “That was harsh.”
A crowded field of candidates are vying to replace Councilwoman Tish James, each hoping to leverage every electoral advantage for her Fort Greene-based seat. Accordingly, one contender, Laurie Cumbo, the former head of the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, rolled out the support of the small-but-powerful Hotel Trades Council earlier today.
“We are thrilled to announce our support for Laurie Cumbo today,” Josh Gold, the union’s political director, said in a statement.
A name familiar to millions of New Yorkers could enter a volatile Queens City Council race.
Rudy S. Giuliani, chief of staff to Republican Councilman Eric Ulrich and second cousin to the former mayor of the same name, is mulling a run for indicted GOP Councilman Dan Halloran’s seat, multiple sources told Politicker.
“If there’s a special election, it’d be hard to pass up,” one Queens Republican insider said. “That’s how he’s framed it to me.”
The New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, a relatively small union known for punching above its weight when it comes to electoral politics, has picked their candidate in the race to replace Council Speaker Chris Quinn: West Side community board chairman Corey Johnson. Josh Gold, HTC’s political director, told Politicker that the race of particular importance to the union due to the growth of hotels there in neighborhoods like Midtown South and the Meatpacking District.
“Corey Johnson has been a community leader on the West Side for over a decade,” Mr. Gold added in a statement. “He has fought for quality jobs, permanent affordable housing, community-minded development and raising the quality of life for residents in the neighborhoods he seeks to represent.”
Councilman Dan Halloran, charged last week in a wide-reaching bribery scheme, often says his office has been consistently ranked number one citywide in constituent services, but it’s not completely clear where his number comes from.
Indeed, after Mr. Halloran’s chief of staff resigned yesterday, his spokesman repeated the assertion that their office was “the most responsive to constituents in the Council, closing over 8,000 cases.” At his re-election kick-off in February, Mr. Halloran himself touted their “No. 1 ranking in constituent services in the Council.” The claim was again presented by his spokesman last October and their office produced a press release celebrating the achievement in January.