In the Rezone
The leading candidates for City Council Speaker faced off for the first time tonight at a public forum, laying out their cases and weighing in on a host of issues, including a package of major rules reforms that would dramatically scale back the speaker’s power.
Mayor Bloomberg and the City Planning Commission have presided over 123 rezonings, covering some 11,500 blocks since 2002. But despite his best efforts, ardent appeals and the real estate industry’s incredibly enthusiastic support, Mr. Bloomberg will not get his 124th.
The City Council has rejected the mayor’s late-breaking, potentially legacy-burnishing and incredibly ambitious plan to rezone the 73 blocks around Grand Central, which would allow for the construction of modern, soaring skyscrapers in the heart of the city’s central business district.
With his overwhelming victory in the mayor’s race, Bill de Blasio is set to shake up the traditional way the city’s second most powerful position, City Council speaker, is crowned.
The speaker’s race is traditionally dominated by the county Democratic organizations, the leaders of which could easily impact the inside-baseball contest to cobble together the necessary 26 of 51 council members.
Election Day: 2013apalooza
It was a rough night for redemption-seekers.
Four scandal-scarred candidates–Eliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner, Vito Lopez and Micah Kellner–all failed to win their bids last night, despite, in some of their cases, vaster war chests and soaring name recognition.
All four candidates succumbed to an onslaught of toxic press and apparent voter fatigue over the circus-like atmosphere of the election after Mr. Weiner and Mr. Spitzer jumped into the fray.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn made her final pitch to voters this afternoon as the former front-runner faces the once unfathomable prospect of not even making it into the runoff election.
Traveling through the Bronx and across the Upper West Side, Mr. Quinn urged supporters to get to the polls, oddwews “yay!”s and hugs to Read More
Barron for Barron
Well, that’s certainly creative.
A new negative mailer attacking City Council candidate Ritchie Torres features several typical quotes from news reports, as well as a rather curious entry under the The New York Observer‘s logo that actually comes from our comments sections.
Councilman Charles Barron can be described in many ways, but demure and dispassionate typically aren’t on the list.
The bombastic councilman, for instance, launched his unsuccessful bid for Congress last year by declaring, “I don’t care what they say, I’m still not saluting the flag!” In the halls of Washington, Mr. Barron vowed he’d continue to “stand up for Robert Mugabe, who’s an African hero–taking land back from white people who stole the land from us in the first place!”
Now, after 12 years as a constant presence at press conferences and rallies, the term-limited eastern Brooklyn councilman will be forced out of office. But he hopes his wife, Inez Barron, an assemblywoman with identical ideological stripes, can cement the Barron legacy.
Veni vidi vito
Mayor Michael Bloomberg blasted guns-rights advocates in Washington and stop-and-frisk opponents in the city after the shooting death of a 1-year-old boy yesterday.
“A misguided ruling from a federal judge and two bills passed by the City Council will make it harder for the NYPD to continue to reduce shootings and violent crimes, which primarily occur in minority communities, as we saw once again last night,” Mr. Bloomberg, standing with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, said today at a press conference today near Brooklyn’s West Indian Day Parade.
“So the ideologues on the far right will continue to tell us our gun laws don’t need to be fixed,” he added. “And the ideologues on the left will continue to tell us we need to handcuff the police officers who have been unfathomably successful in reducing violent crime.”
West Side Story
After being forced to resigned after a lurid sexual harassment scandal that tarnished powerful Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, now-City Council candidate Vito Lopez has become the leper of the Democratic establishment, shunned by formerly loyal supporters and castigated in the harshest terms.
But ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who is locked in an increasingly negative race for comptroller, stands out as the rare candidate willing to offer a few kind words.
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.