Critics have long accused City Council Speaker and mayoral contender Christine Quinn of using the city budget to reward friends and punish those who’ve crossed her. But, perhaps in light of increased scrutiny and criticism from her rivals, this year’s allocations track closely with last year’s. Still, being a Quinn ally appears to have some definite perks.
An analysis of the 2014 budget numbers, crunched by the Citizens Union Foundation, finds that members who endorsed Ms. Quinn for mayor were especially likely to receive large allocations for their districts–receiving, in essence, the largest slices of the $594 million pie.
District Council 37, the city’s largest municipal workers’ union with 121,000 members and 50,000 retirees, has released its list of endorsements for the public advocate’s race, several borough presidency battles and a plethora of City Council contests across the city, providing a nice boost as their candidates race towards the September 10 Democratic primary.
As the campaign season rumbles towards the September 10 primary date, unions are placing their thumb on the scale in an attempt to elect candidates sympathetic to their interests. Accordingly, the Transport Workers Union Local 100, comprising 38,000 bus and subway employees, released a wide range of endorsements today for City Council races across the five boroughs.
“TWU Local 100 is proud to announce our support for candidates who are the strongest Public Transportation and Labor candidates in their respective races,” union president John Samuelsen said in a statement.
City Comptroller John Liu will announce the endorsement of a slew of Democratic officials from across Brooklyn Friday in another effort by his mayoral campaign to show he’s gaining steam, despite the recent guilty verdicts against his former campaign treasurer and a fund-raiser.
The supporters include Assemblywoman Inez Barron, City Council candidate Ari Kagan, and Democratic district leaders Melba Brown, Betty Ann Canizio, Jeanette Givant, Christopher Olechowski, Chris Owens, Corey Provost and Charles Ragusa.
Last night, the labor-backed Working Families Party announced their support in a host of races across the city, beginning with Tish James for public advocate and working their way down to open-seat council campaigns.
The endorsement for Ms. James, a Brooklyn councilwoman, is particularly notable because, with a less sizable campaign war chest than her top rivals, Ms. James’ strategy relies on unifying union forces. There are two other citywide races this year, but without a strong labor consensus for mayor and a virtually uncontested race for comptroller, the public advocate competition is relatively unique.
State Sen. Dan Squadron’s campaign for public advocate continued to hum along today as he announced six endorsements from Albany’s lower legislative chamber: Assemblymembers Deborah Glick, Brian Kavanagh, Micah Kellner, Dan Quart, Joan Millman and Nily Rozic.
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.”
Escape From New York
Over the weekend, the influential Working Families Party announced their support in a number of key races across the city, sending a signal of labor support as candidates vie for a seat in the City Council next year.
“New Yorkers have a huge opportunity to decide the direction of our city. It’s time to choose whether we’ll be a city that caters to the rich and powerful 1%, or whether New York City can work for all of us,” Bill Lipton, the party’s deputy director, said in a statement. “Every day New Yorkers can count on WFP-endorsed candidates to stand up for all of us.”
Outspoken Councilman Charles Barron is backing John Liu in the New York City mayoral election this year and he’s also getting involved in races out of state. On Tuesday, Mr. Barron served on the host committee of a Soho fundraiser for Chokwe Lumumba, who is running for mayor in Jackson Mississippi. Mr. Lumumba is an attorney and City Council member whom Mr. Barron said he has known for years through their work in activist circles.
“Chokwe Lumumba is a long-time friend and freedom fighter,” Mr. Barron told Politicker at a forum on stop-and-frisk last night in Brooklyn. “He got elected to the City Council in Jackson, Mississippi, which is, you know, a majority-black population town. There’s seven Council Members. So it’s good to see black, strong, conscious people getting involved in the electoral arena. And [when] he becomes mayor of Jackson Mississippi–that’s going to be a historic moment.”
About two hours after announcing he was ending his campaign for mayor, local media mogul Tom Allon had lunch with a man he would have faced off against in September’s Republican mayoral primary, former MTA chairman Joe Lhota. Both men insisted their meal at Michael’s in Midtown was already on the schedule and wasn’t a sign Mr. Allon will be endorsing Mr. Lhota following his departure from the race.
“We had an appointment to meet a couple weeks ago and it’s just by happenstance,” Mr. Lhota said when asked about the timing of the meal. “It’s the honest to god truth.”