Planes Trains & Automobiles
In 2012, the Daily News hailed Ydanis Rodriguez for being one of only three City Council members who turned down the $10,000 stipends they were owed for chairing council committees. This month, Mr. Rodriguez again appeared in the editorial pages of the paper, though now he was slammed for accepting the stipend.
Mr. Rodriguez, an uptown Manhattan lawmaker, was the only councilman to take an 180-degree turn on the issue–but defended the change-of-heart, arguing the stipend system had already been reformed enough under new Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to allay his earlier fears.
To the Viverito Goes the Spoils
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, the new chair of the council’s transportation committee, is hoping to bring more Citi Bikes and ferries to the five boroughs. But first he wants to override a mayoral veto.
Of course, it’s not Mayor Bill de Blasio’s veto Mr. Rodriguez will attempt to overturn tomorrow, but rather Michael Bloomberg’s. At the end of last year, the outgoing mayor moved to block a bill that would force the NYPD to report information concerning vehicle collisions in which the driver left the scene.
Take Me Out To The Ball Game
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will preside over the first full meeting of her tenure tomorrow, doling out prized committee assignments to early backers while trying to appease those who fought her in the hours leading up to her election as speaker.
Bill to Bill
The baseball world may not be going to bat for the scandal-scarred Alex Rodriguez, but a few elected officials penciled themselves into the ex-superstar’s dwindling lineup of backers.
Even Bill Thompson’s supporters are now saying publicly that it’s time for him to end his campaign and rally behind Bill de Blasio as the Democratic Party’s nominee for mayor.
“In an election year with so many tough decisions on crucial issues, we must begin a new chapter today by uniting behind our Democratic nominee for New York City’s next mayor,” Assemblyman Walter Mosley, a former Thompson endorser, announced in a statement this afternoon. “I am proud to support Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.”
City officials and various candidates for office joined in the flood of outrage tonight following the not guilty verdict in the racially-charged trial of George Zimmerman for the killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
Former Comptroller Bill Thompson, the mayoral race’s only major black candidate, released and tweeted a terse, one-line statement slamming the decision, which was read tonight just before 10 p.m.
Adriano Espaillat could not go a single day without a text message, email or phone call from a mayoral campaign operative eager to tout his or her candidate’s momentum. His last name doesn’t carry the weight of a Clinton or Cuomo, but the Manhattan state senator was like Helen of Troy to the many political strategists and surrogates clashing in the most competitive Democratic mayoral primary in more than a decade.
“At the beginning, it felt special. Now it’s very taxing,” Mr. Espaillat told Politicker of the lobbying efforts in the days before making up his mind. “I get phone calls, text messages, emails. I get surrogates calling constantly, union leaders, activists and even friends I know, personal friends involved in the campaigns.”
“They call every day. Every single day,” he marveled.
Upper Manhattan’s Barack Obama Democratic Club voted last night on its endorsements, and the list might surprise you. The home club of City Councilman Robert Jackson and City Council candidate Mark Levine, a long-time ally of State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, gave its nods to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for mayor and City Councilwoman Letitia James for public advocate.
It also voted to endorse Mr. Jackson for Manhattan borough president and–unsurprisingly–Mr. Levine for the 7th District council seat, currently held by the term-limited Mr. Jackson.
In The Heights
The race for Manhattan Borough President this year continued to heat up today, with former community board chairwoman Julie Menin rolling up endorsements from State Senator Adriano Espaillat and two other officials in his political orbit, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa. The current borough president, Scott Stringer, is leaving his post to run citywide for comptroller, and a competitive field of contenders has formed to replace him.
Northern Manhattan, the highest point of the island, largely escaped the kind of devastation Hurricane Sandy caused elsewhere in the five boroughs, however residents and politicians from the area are pitching in with a storm relief telethon this afternoon that will be broadcast on La Mega radio station and at least three Spanish-language cable television outlets. The telethon includes planned appearances by the New York Yankees’ star second baseman Robinson Cano, several of the likely 2013 mayoral candidates and a slew of area politicos.
“Although Upper Manhattan has been spared by the storm, we recognize our responsibility to help fellow New Yorkers,” State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who organized the event, said in a statement. “The Uptown Cares Telethon will directly help raise funds for victims on Staten Island and around the City.”