#RememberOrlando on June 26.

#RememberOrlando

For years, New York City’s Pride March has been a celebration of difference and community. At times, as after last year’s Supreme Court victory for Marriage Equality in Obergefell v.Hodges, it has been a joyful affirmation in a procession toward justice and universal rights.

This year, New Yorkers will march in solidarity with our 49 LGBTQ brothers and sisters, almost all Latino, who were slaughtered at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12th. While recognizing the outrage of yet another deadly homage to America’s romance with violence and its tolerance for shamelessly lax gun laws, we will walk and dance in a processional of love, not hate.

Members of Greater NYC for Change will be marching with some of our most dedicated public representatives and advocacy organizations. We encourage you to join in. We will also join our friends at New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, allied this year with LGBT4GVP, and the Gender and Family Project. Staging locations for the march, which kicks off at 12 noon, can be found atNYC Pride.

#LoveNotHate #ForOrlando #InSolidarity

#DemandDemocracy

Demand Democracy New York

Today, 89% of New Yorkers say that corruption in Albany is a serious problem. Only 31% of eligible voters vote. It’s time to stand up and #Demand DemocracyNOW.

New Yorkers, like all Americans, are raised to believe in the fundamental right to vote and to have their vote represented in political decision-making. It’s the cornerstone of participatory democracy and representative government. Yet widespread voting irregularities in recent elections and low registration and turnout have illuminated how hard it is for New Yorkers to vote and to have their votes count.

Then there’s money, which effectively determines that the rich and powerful—the new “billionaire class”—count more in our political system than average New Yorkers.

Faced with our two legislative leaders in Albany sentenced to prison for corruption and voting irregularities that denied the right to vote to numerous qualified New Yorkers, a coalition of community, labor, faith, and advocacy organizations has put forward a plan to resolve the crisis of democracy in New York State.

Under the name “Demand Democracy,” the groups have united behind a platform of bold changes to voting, ethics, and campaign finance laws. If enacted, these changes would limit the influence of the wealthy over our government and break down barriers to voter participation. The coalition is insisting that Governor Cuomo and the Legislature act on these changes NOW, before the end of this year’s legislative session.

Here’s the platform:

  • Publicly funded elections, with small-donor contributions matched with public dollars to elevate the voices of everyday New Yorkers
  • Comprehensive campaign finance reform that limits big money and its influence over elections. Measures include closing the LLC loophole, lowering contribution limits for candidates and committees, and limiting transfers, while supporting the federal call to overturn Citizens United.
  • Modernization of voting to strengthen democracy through automatic registration, online registration and updating, and flexible voting opportunities, including early voting, to reduce the hurdles that prevent people from getting to the polls
  • Expansion and protection of voting rights by restoring the right to vote to some 40,000 New Yorkers currently on parole, investigating purges of voter rolls, and instituting support, training, and oversight by non-political, non-partisan boards of election
  • Meaningful ethics reform that restores faith in democracy. This entails eliminating pension benefits for convicted officials and creating a full-time legislature with strong conflict-of-interest rules, full disclosure of outside income, and bans on personal use of campaign funds.

In short, we’re demanding that voting be easy, that all votes count, and that politicians work for #allofus, not just the few.

You can find out more about this effort (including the names of the huge and growing coalition) at DemandDemocracy.org. But here’s what you can do right away:

SIGN THE PETITION to #DemandDemocracy–then share!

ATTEND THE PRESS CONFERENCE in New York City this Thursday (TOMORROW):
WHAT:     NYC Kick-Off Press Event
WHEN:   Thursday, May 26, 11:00 AM
WHERE: Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers Street, NYC 10007

PARTICIPATE IN THE WEEK OF ACTION, June 6-13, with house parties, protests, rallies, forums, social media actions, and much more. Hit the streets! Watch the Demand Democracy website and Facebook for more information.

New York City has a housing emergency–and everyone knows it.

Record-high homelessness, vacancy decontrol, and scarce affordable housing units are only the most visible signs. According to the Citizen’s Budget Commission, one in five households in our city pays more than half its income in rent, with 94 percent of them low-income families. Over one million families struggle to grapple with stagnant wages and the rising cost of living.

Every June the affordability of over one million rent-regulated apartments is determined by nine individuals appointed to the New York City Rent Guidelines Board (RGB). The mandate of the RGB is to establish rent levels for one- and two-year leases that apply to all units subject to the city’s Rent Stabilization Law.

For years the RGB approved higher rent adjustments, despite evidence that increases in landlord income and decreases in operating costs didn’t warrant them. The data produced annually by the RGB staff pointed to 10 straight years in which landlord income outpaced expenses. It wasn’t until 2015, with a new board made up of members selected by Mayor de Blasio, that tenants saw a rent freeze and relief for working families.

This year the data is even more firmly on the side of tenants. The RGB staff has released its 2016 Price Index of Operating Costs (PIOC) report. Landlords spent 41.2 percent less on fuel, thanks to low fuel oil prices and a mild winter. (Natural gas and steam fell 31.6 and 31.2 percent respectively.) Tenant advocates argue that this drop should offset increases–all substantially below 10 percent–in taxes, labor costs, insurance, and other expenses carried by landlords.

Still, the Rent Stabilization Association–the landlord lobby–is already using media ad campaigns and other pressures to push for rent increases as high as 7 percent, despite the willingness to extend the freeze evident in the RGB’s preliminary vote.

Consider what’s at stake for New Yorkers if the landlord lobby succeeds.

What can you do? Come out and testify! Demand an outcome that won’t imperil millions of your fellow New Yorkers. The RGB is holding hearings in all five boroughs, and you can join tenant advocates and elected officials for an informational housing rights forum on the Upper East Side on Thursday, May 19th at 6pm. Click here to RSVP.

 

Let’s Make It Easier to Vote.

Last Tuesday, New Yorkers cast their votes in the Presidential primaries, as well as some special elections for Assembly and State Senate. And just as in years past, there were problems–so many that Comptroller Scott Stringer and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have opened investigations.

Problems at poll sites are nothing new, but New York is way behind many other states in enacting basic election reforms that could increase turnout and reduce errors. That’s why election reform advocates will be descending on Albany on May 3rd to implore legislators to pass a trio of laws:

  • Early Voting, so we have more than one day to cast ballots
  • The Voter Empowerment Act, to modernize our voter registration system so that everyone who wants to participate, can
  • The Voter Friendly Ballot Act, to create easier-to-read ballots

We New Yorkers like to think of our state as a progressive beacon, but the truth is we’re one of 27 states that do not have any form of early voting, and one of 20 states that require an excuse for absentee voting.

So what can we do?

  1. Sign the #VoteBetterNY petition.
  2. Follow NYCVotes on Facebook and Twitter for updates.
  3. Sign up to go to Albany on May 3rd and advocate for reform.

When only 30% of eligible voters show up to cast a ballot, that tells us there is something fundamentally wrong with our election system. We must do everything in our power to bring New York to the forefront of voter access and enfranchisement.

This is really important.

That’s why you’ll find volunteers from Greater NYC for Change and The New Latino Movement throughout the five boroughs this GOTV weekend, reminding you to vote on April 19. No matter whom you support, voting this election season is vital.

Mark your calendar now to vote in the Presidential Primary and Special Elections next Tuesday. If you’re not sure you’re registered or where to vote, go to the New York City Poll Site Locator​ or call 1.866.VOTE.NYC (1.866.868.3692) and find out today!

And don’t forget to sign up to call and door-knock to remind voters in NY-9 to vote for New York State Senate candidate Todd Kaminsky in the April 19 Special Election. Who better to replace the disgraced former Senate Majority Leader, Dean Skelos, than a former federal prosecutor known for fighting corruption, upholding the rule of law, and supporting his constituents effectively as a distinguished local Assembly Member? Join us for good government—and to help turn our state senate blue!

Kaminsky Canvasses on GOTV Weekend: 
Saturday, April 16: With Greater NYC for Change. First 20 round-trip train tickets are free! Click to RSVP. The candidate will be present!

With Citizen Action of NY/TenantsPAC. RSVP to Darius Gordon, dgordon@citizenactionny.org or Michael McKee, mmckee@tenantspac.org.

Sunday, April 17: With the WFP. RSVP to Kenny Schaeffer at 917.442.6820 or kenny.schaeffer@gmail.
With CWA District 1. Click to RSVP.

Tuesday, April 19: Election Day volunteers needed ALL DAY. RSVP to any of the names listed above or to the campaign at lukestrong2004@gmail.com.

Phone Banks:
Wednesday, April 13: TONIGHT! 5:00 to 8:30 pm, WFP Headquarters, 1 Metrotech Center North, 11th floor, Brooklyn. Contact: kenny.schaeffer@gmail.com

Thursday, April 14: 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Pro-Choice NY, 470 Park Avenue South, 7th Floor. Click to RSVP.

Monday, April 18: 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Pro-Choice NY, 470 Park Avenue South, 7th Floor. Click to RSVP.

Tuesday, April 19: 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Pro-Choice NY, 470 Park Avenue South, 7th Floor. Click to RSVP.

Fundraiser:
Friday April 15: 6:30 to 9:00 pm. Local 802 (American Federation of Musicians) at 322 West 48th St. Live jazz music and tickets starting at $25. The candidate will be present! RSVP here.

Help Turn the NYS Senate Blue.

Greater NYC for Change advocates on behalf of progressive causes and stands behind politicians and elected representatives who share our values. This year, the best chance to pass legislation that benefits the people of New York State is by flipping our state senate from “R” to “D.”

That’s why we’re urging you to canvass and make calls for Todd Kaminsky before the Special Election on April 19th.

April 19th is not only the date of the New York State Presidential Primary, but also of the Special Election to fill the seat formerly occupied by disgraced Republican Senator Dean Skelos in District 9, located in southern Nassau County on Long Island. Once the Majority Leader of the Republican-led Senate, Skelos was recently convicted of “conspiracy, extortion, and solicitation of bribes.” What better way to replace an unsavory pol than with a former federal prosecutor known for fighting corruption and upholding the rule of law?

Todd Kaminsky has a strong track record as a prosecutor and a current Assembly member representing Long Beach. He has prosecuted Democrats and Republicans alike, from Sen. Pedro Espada to Rep. Michael Grimm. Todd supports clean government and investment in public education, and he has stood with local residents recovering from Hurricane Sandy. He’s a great candidate—that’s why we’re supporting him with calls and canvasses to get the word out throughout his district. 

After this crucial election, we’ll be supporting candidates in key November Senate races so as to give Democrats a reliable majority. Currently the Assembly is overwhelmingly Democratic, while Republicans hold a thin Senate majority, thanks to the dissident IDC. Flip only a few seats—NY-9 among them—and a progressive Senate is within sight, opening a clear path to achieving the promise of our state

CANVASSES FOR KAMINSKY
All canvasses meet at and return to Penn Station. We’ll take the train to Long Beach, where we’ll coordinate with the campaign to door knock. A limited number of free train tickets are available, first come, first served!   

Saturday, April 9th, 9:30 AM: RSVP here

Saturday, April 16th, 10:30 AM: RSVP here

PHONE BANKS FOR KAMINSKY

Sponsored by CItizen Action and the Working Families Party. All are held at the WFP office at 1 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201. For more information or to RSVP, email Dgordon@citizenactionny.org or Eabbott@workingfamilies.org.

Wednesday, March 30th, 5 to 8 PM

Wednesday, April 6th, 5 to 8 PM

TENANTS PAC FUNDRAISER FOR KAMINSKY

Many South Shore residents live in rent-stabilized housing, and Tenants PAC is helping secure a pro-tenant Senate with a low-$$ fundraiser. Come meet the candidate and listen to jazz courtesy of Local 802! At Local 802 (American Federation of Musicians), 322 West 48th Street. Donations can be made online at www.tenantspac.org.

Friday, April 15th, 6:30 to 9 PM