De Blasio Donations

Compared to three-term, self-funding, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration have a far more transactional relationship with backers. Many donors are seeking and expecting business benefits if they help promote the current mayor’s policy agenda, according to a story in Politico New York.

The mayor has so far raised $3,870,000 from unions and developers, among others, who donate to a nonprofit de Blasio set up in December 2013 to promote his agenda, called The Campaign for One New York. (The group is not subject to the rules of the Campaign Finance Board, either, and contributors often donate anonymously.)



Linda Sarsour — the Brooklyn-born Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York — has her sights set on a future City Council bid, borough presidency, and eventual Mayorship of an independent Brooklyn, according to a mostly gushing profile in this weekend’s New York Times.

Sarsour has been involved with the city’s politics since joining the Arab American Association in 2001. In the years since, she’s fought the Police Department’s systematic spying on members of New York’s Muslim population, and worked on improving immigration policy, boosting voter registration, fighting Islamophobia and, most recently, advocating and organizing for the Black Lives Matter movement.

In addition to enumerating Sarsour’s many accomplishments, the article reads like a love-letter to her Brooklyn bonafides. Below are Sarsour’s top seven Brooklyn credentials as featured by Times political writer Alan Feuer, in reverse order.


participatory budgeting map

The votes have been tallied in all the City Council districts taking part in the City’s participatory budgeting process — where citizens get to develop and then vote on projects in their neighborhoods that will be paid for by the city. And now the results can be seen on an interactive map. City Council districts are clearly marked, and by clicking on each project, you can find out how much is being spent to do what.

When we last checked in on the process, votes had been tallied only in districts 33, 39 and 45. Now results are in for the rest of the borough’s participating districts: 34, 44, 47 and 38 (not all council members participated in the process).

In District 34, which includes Bushwick and Williamsburg, $700,000 will be spent to upgrade the playgrounds at the Williamsburg Houses and at Brooklyn Arbor School and pedestrian safety will be improved on Meeker Avenue, among other projects.



The Democratic National Convention will be in Philly. DNC organizers said they decided against Brooklyn for logistical reasons, including travel between midtown hotels and Barclays and securing the residential area around the arena, numerous outlets reported.

As soon as the decision was announced yesterday, some small business owners near the Barclays area said they were disappointed. Just a few weeks earlier a group of the same had organized to oppose the convention, saying it would mean a loss in business for them.

Are you relieved or disappointed?

Security Headaches Doomed Brooklyn Bid for Democratic Convention [NY Times]
Businesses Near Barclays Center “Disappointed” DNC Skipped Brooklyn [DNA]

affordable housing crisis

State Senator Velmanette Montgomery is organizing a conference Thursday evening to discuss how tenants could be affected by changes in the rent regulation laws, which are due to expire this summer. The New York State Senate will decide whether to renew them on June 15. Several local politicians, including Mayor de Blasio, are pushing for the repeal of the 1971 Urstadt Law, which gives the state control over rent regulation instead of the city. Many of those politicians will appear at tomorrow’s conference, including state senators Montgomery and Hamilton, as well as City Council members Laurie Cumbo, Stephen Levin, Carlos Menchaca and Robert Cornegy Jr. State Assembly members Joe Lentol, Walter Mosley and Felix Ortiz will also attend.

The Affordable Housing Crisis will take place January 15 from 6 pm to 8:30 pm at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church at 85 South Oxford Street. RSVP by emailing or calling Senator Montgomery’s office at 718-643-6140 or


Hundreds staged die-ins in front of Barclays and Target last night as Prince William and Kate took in a Nets game to protest the grand jury decision in the Eric Garner case. Target closed early, cops blocked the Atlantic Center Mall, and the subway stop there was shut down just as the game let out, according to Tweets and news reports.

Nets and Cleveland Cavelier players wore “I Can’t Breathe” tshirts. Russell Simmons chatted with protesters outside Barclays during the game, then tweeted “I am deeply inspired by all of the young people who are marching for justice. You are leading this country to a much better place.”

Was anyone there?

LeBron Wears an “I Can’t Breathe” Shirt at Barclays Center [NY Post]
Protesters Converge on Barclays Center [WSJ]
Eric Garner Protesters Set for Barclays Brouhaha [Eagle]
Eric Garner Protests Held Outside Barclays Center [7 Online]
Demonstrators Protest Eric Garner Decision Outside Barclays Center [DNA]
Photo via Ustream


Brooklyn could be the location for the next Democratic National Convention, in 2016. Mayor Bill de Blasio has submitted an official bid to hold it at Barclays Center, the Times reported.

New York was one of 15 cities asked to submit bids to host the convention, including Phoenix, Miami, Pittsburgh and Cleveland. A shift from Madison Square Garden, where Bill Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination in 1992, to Barclays “would be freighted with symbolism,” said the Times.


A new commercial building at 214 Starr Street in Bushwick will soon be home to a bar, cafe, and community and social justice coworking space named Mayday. It’s set to open in the fall, although the second floor event space will be available July 1, according to the group’s online description.

Event and office space will be available to rent on a sliding scale, and longtime Bushwick community organization Make the Road will hold adult education classes and other events there. The bar, a fair-trade cafe and more event space will be located on the first floor in a 1,000-square-foot room with a “top-notch sound system.” The bar and rentals will help subsidize public programming and social justice initiatives, said the group. 

We’re not sure who is behind the venue or the building, but permits give the owner’s address as performance space Bushwick Starr, just down the street. GMAP

Robert Van Wyck, Ice Trust Scandal, Puck Magazine 1900 1On January 1st, 1898, Brooklyn officially became a part of Greater New York City. The consolidation of the five boroughs into one city, what many in Brooklyn called “The Great Mistake,” was now a reality. Brooklyn was no longer an independent city. There were a lot of good reasons to consolidate, as well as equally good reasons not to. One of the main reasons many Brooklynites did not want to be associated with Manhattan was political. Manhattan, throughout most of the 19th century, was run by Tammany Hall, the powerful and increasingly corrupt Democratic Party patronage machine.

To be sure, Brooklyn had its political corruption on both sides of the aisle, as well as its Tammany Hall bosses, but the Republicans managed to control the city from the end of the Civil War until the waning years of the 19th century, keeping Tammany Hall at bay. Everyone knew they ran Manhattan politics, and many prominent Brooklynites didn’t want to have anything to do with them. But it was not to be.

Consolidation had passed the legislature well before 1898, and the winner of the 1897 mayoral election always knew he’d be mayor of Greater New York City. Reformers eager to get rid of Tammany Hall put up wealthy Brooklyn businessman Seth Low as their candidate for mayor. He was the son of one of Brooklyn’s oldest and wealthiest merchant families, and was well respected as a man of integrity. Opposing him would be Robert Anderson Van Wyck, also a son of old New York stock. His Dutch ancestors had helped settle Brooklyn and Queens back in the 1600s.

Van Wyck, like Seth Low, was a Columbia College graduate, and a lawyer. He was a social animal, a member of many of the city’s best clubs, and was a prominent Freemason. He had gone into politics as a Democrat, and was elected Judge of the City Court of NY, and later Chief Justice of that same court. He resigned from the bench when Richard Croker, the Tammany Boss of NYC, picked him as the Democratic candidate for mayor.

Van Wyck might have liked to think that he was asked to be the Democratic candidate because he was the most qualified for the job, but the truth was that Tammany Hall picked him because they knew he wouldn’t give them any problems while Croker and cronies went about really running the city. He was a colorless and rather boring man with a big ego. With Tammany’s backing, he easily won the election, and became the first mayor of the metropolis of New York City. (more…)

Harlem was long considered the epicenter of black political power in this city, but now Brooklyn, with three newly elected black candidates, has become the new home for much of the city’s black politics, according to the Daily News.

Public advocate elect Letitia James, the first black woman elected to citywide office (above); Ken Thompson, soon to become Brooklyn’s first black district attorney; and Eric Adams, who will become the borough’s first black president, are all natives of central Brooklyn. (more…)

election day

There were few surprises in yesterday’s election, but a lot of Brooklyn:

Park Sloper Bill de Blasio won the mayor race by a landslide, although turnout at the polls was light. Fort Greene Councilwoman Letitia James will take his place as public advocate. “After demolishing a packed field of third-party contenders, [she will become] the first African-American woman to hold a citywide position,” said The Brooklyn Paper.

State Senator Eric Adams easily won Brooklyn Borough President over conservative Elias Weir. He will be the first black politician to occupy the office.

In his acceptance speech, de Blasio “reiterated his pledges to combat economic inequality by taxing rich people, providing universal prekindergarten, ending racial profiling by police, and fighting to keep hospitals from being closed to make way for luxury condos, as activists and judges have said the state wants to do with Brooklyn’s Long Island College Hospital,” said Brooklyn Paper.

“‘The feeling of a few doing well while the rest slip further behind is the defining challenge of our times,’ DeBlasio said to cheers. Fighting to keep the Cobble Hill hospital and Interfaith Medical Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant open in the face of state closure plans in his role as public advocate has been a signature effort of his campaign — he has gone so far as to get arrested protesting the shuttering — and a group of hospital staffers came out on Tuesday night to show their appreciation.”

On the controversial topic of stop-and-frisk, The New York Times quoted him as saying:

“Public safety is a prerequisite for the thriving neighborhoods that create opportunity in this city. And so is respect for civil liberties. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, we must have both. We must work to promote a real partnership between the best police force in the world and the communities they protect from danger, be it local or global. New Yorkers on both sides of the badge understand this.”

Do you think he will make a good mayor? Did you vote?

Photo by Charles16e


We already touched on this topic yesterday in our reblog of primary news, but late yesterday the Times had a sweeping story about how this year’s primaries show the power of the new Brooklyn.

In New York City, few stories have gotten more attention in recent years than the ascendancy of Brooklyn. What was once a national punch line became a catch phrase for urban cool — and very costly urban cool, at that. But on Tuesday night, with Bill de Blasio emerging as the top vote-getter in the Democratic primary and Joseph J. Lhota winning the Republican nomination, Brooklyn moved to center stage politically in a way not seen in decades. Both candidates hail from the borough, and both were propelled by constituencies that populate it. It was like a variation on an often repeated line: Brooklyn is the new Manhattan. Now, Brooklyn is not only the new kingmaker, but also the borough of kings — or at least of the next mayor and the next public advocate, too.

New York City last elected a mayor from Brooklyn in 1973, when the borough was a very different place. “That Brooklyn would be almost unrecognizable today — grittier, poorer, more dangerous. Brownstone Brooklyn has evolved into a gentrified destination for growing numbers of upper-middle-class singles and young couples seeking intimate neighborhoods, artisanal shops and restaurants, and liberal politics,” said the story. The borough — which now, of course, has its own major-league sports team, arena, and tons of Brooklyn based businesses and brands — is seeing a major growth spurt in both jobs and population. The number of people living in Brooklyn is up more than 60,000 since 2010. We are nearing our population peak of 2.7 million, which occurred in 1950.

Another interesting demographic shift the story noted: Black people increasingly live in Brooklyn, not Manhattan. “The city’s black political center of gravity has shifted from Harlem to Brooklyn, which now accounts for more than 4 in 10 black voting-age New Yorkers (compared with a little more than 1 in 10 in Manhattan),” said the Times.

Lastly, the election perhaps signaled an exasperation with the Manhattan-centric Bloomberg mayorality. Do you agree?

In Primaries, Brooklyn Emerged as Big Winner [NY Times]
Photo by Anne Holmes