We’re back! With the Civic Fair and catching up on regular life, I took a little hiatus. But that's all over now.
We’re extremely happy to say that the Civic Fair and preceding Organization Round-Table were stunning successes! With over 60 groups sending representatives, and over 150 people showing up to engage in NYC’s civic ecosystem, we’re energized to continue with the work of organizing!
To everyone who attended, thank you so much for your support! Whether you made it or not, you can still support our work by becoming a monthly donor. The Civic Fair was accomplished without any real fundraising, and luckily we broke even. Your support helps us save for the next big(ger) thing!
Want to volunteer with You Matter Nation? We'd love your help on our upcoming projects! Just reply to this email or hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite the little break we took for the Civic Fair, major developments in our city, State and nation didn’t slow down. So, per the usual, here are the highlights followed by upcoming events around the city.
DNC Files Suit Against Trump Campaign For Conspiracy in NY Court
The Democratic National Committee has opened another prong in the mission of pinning illegal collusion with Russia on Trump’s 2016 campaign. On April 20, the DNC filed in Federal Court claiming it was the victim of conspiracy between the the Trump campaign, Russia and Wikileaks to damage Hillary Clinton’s Presidential run. While the suit could potentially conflict with the ongoing Mueller and Senate investigations, if it’s accepted it offers new opportunities to subpoena and force testimony under oath from Trump and his aides.
Hannity Named Third Client for Trump’s Personal Lawyer After Raid
After the FBI raided the personal office and resident of Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, a Federal judge denied his request to keep secret the identity of his third client. It turns out it was Fox News host Sean Hannity. Hannity has admitted he “sought legal advice from Michael.”
The raid, was referred by Robert Mueller to the NY Southern District Federal Prosecutor in relation to potential crimes pertaining to the President’s scandal involving adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Cohen is accused of potential campaign finance violations for paying hush money to Daniels in order to keep her affair with Trump. The $130,000 he’s alleged to have paid her far exceeds the allowed financial aid an individual may make to a campaign. Making the payment through a coordinated LLC would be even more illegal.
CIA Director Met with North Korean Leader
Reports suggested Trump sent CIA Director Mike Pompeo to North Korea to talk with its leader, Kim Jong-un. Trump later stated The White House is looking at five sites for a future meeting between the leaders. Reports also suggest Pompeo has been communicating with the North Koreans through their intelligence counterparts, the Reconnaissance General Bureau. Pompeo has also been in close touch with South Korea’s head of intelligence.
On Tuesday, Trump gave his blessings to officially end the North and South Korea war (technically the Korean war was never legally ended). Japanese leadership welcomed the treaty and on Tuesday, South Korean officials announced the easing of military “tensions and confrontations” with the North.
House Speaker Ryan Announces Retirement
House Speaker Paul Ryan announced he’ll retire at the end of his current term. Ryan, who was originally viewed as a compromise leader between traditional and Tea-party Republicans ends his three-year term as Speaker.
As soon as Ryan announced his retirement, the race to replace him as Speaker began. Two names that have been floated are Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise. Although McCarthy is the favorite, Trump will have much influence on the process. There are reports that Trump has a close relationship with McCarthy. Of course, if Republicans lose control of Congress in 2018 it’s a moot point.
The race to replace Ryan in Congress is also underway. The leading Republican candidate is self-avowed white supremacist Paul Nehlen.
Mark Zuckerberg Testifies Before Congress, Senators Reveal Ignorance of Internet
After much anticipation, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress. Facebook was accused of lax security with user data, which possibly aided in Russia’s attempt to infiltrate and influence the presidential elections. Zuckerberg’s testimony was considered an A+ performance by some, though that’s more a product of the not-so-tough questions Senators directed at him.
Zuckerberg testified before the joint Senate Judiciary and Senate Commerce, Science, and Technology Committee. Questioning Senators came off to a degree as older folks trying to learn the latest technology. Strikingly, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) asked “How do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?” Zuckerberg responded, perhaps as surprised as the public was with the question “Senator, we run ads.” Perhaps showing the average age of the current class of Senators, more questions surrounded basic knowledge of Facebook’s business model rather than pertinent questions related to privacy concerns.
The rather limited knowledge of the subject at hand was a recurring theme. Senator Lindsey Graham nearly stumbled into addressing the critical lack of competition on the Internet and pervasiveness of lock-in effects when he asked “If I buy a Ford and it doesn't work well and I don’t like it, I can buy a Chevy..if I’m upset with Facebook, what’s the equivalent product that I can go sign up for?” But, in large part, the hearing bumbled around the issues plaguing social media. Neither the Senators nor Zuckerberg seemed to offer much in the way of concrete reforms or regulations that would bring security or peace of mind to Facebook users.
NY State Budget Passed
Governor Cuomo passed the state budget after much negotiation and some controversial deals. The Governor claimed the budget “hit the priorities we had set out”. However, it excluded highly popular issues like reforming NY’s objectively terrible election law and criminal justice/cash bail reform. The budget did include a tighter set of requirements for dealing with workplace sexual harassment cases, but it only applies to government employees.
Cuomo made it clear that resisting Trump’s agenda took precedence over certain progressive policies that defending New York against the federal tax reform bill was priority number one. To that end, the budget revolved around tax relief to New Yorkers and providing ways to prevent double taxation now that the Federal exemption for State and Local Taxes has been repealed.
Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the things in the budget.
Preview: What’s Up With the Budget?
If you’re wondering why policy matters like sexual harassment or election law reform are jammed into the budget you’re not alone. Stay tuned for the next (Real) Politics NY. We’re whittling our hour long interview with former Assembly General Counsel James Yates into our most informative video yet.
We’ll be answering questions like “why is policy in the budget?”, “who has the most power in passing the budget and legislation?” and “if policy is in the budget, what’s the difference between it and legislation?”
The WFP, Cynthia Nixon and Andrew Cuomo
If you’ve been to a (Real) Politics 101, you know that the U.S. is biased towards a two Party system (haven’t been? There’s one coming up, see the events section). But you may also recall that in New York State we have a special system called Fusion Balloting which allows for smaller parties to survive.
One of those smaller parties is the Working Families Party (WFP). While almost all the smaller parties in New York lack any sustained influence, the WFP is different. It has been a significant player in local politics because it was founded by Unions to advance worker friendly causes (hence Working Families). As a result, it has received reliable funding and political clout from the Unions under its aegis. Not so much anymore.
In 2014, the WFP endorsed Andrew Cuomo over Zephyr Teachout in the Democratic Primary for Governor. It was a contentious vote in which Cuomo’s victory was pinned on his boosting by the progressive darling, Bill de Blasio. Cuomo’s betrayal of both the WFP and BdB was swift and storied, but suffice it to say, the WFP did not make the same mistake twice.
Last week, the WFP endorsed Cynthia Nixon for Governor after Cuomo withdrew his name, leading to a cascade political repercussions:
First, Andrew Cuomo threatened to withdraw his support of any Union which associated with a Nixon aligned organization saying “they can lose my number”. While some Unions jumped ship in 2014, this caused a further schism of labor. Here’s a list of who’s still in the WFP, and who’s jumped ship for Cuomo.
Second, this has also affected grassroots groups like Citizen Action and Make the Road. These groups receive support from Unions but are now under threat of losing resources due to their support of Nixon.
Thirdly, three unions, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), 32 BJ/SEIU and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers (RWDSU), floated the idea of starting a new labor backed party to support Cuomo.
Finally, people are in a tizzy about the General Election. While most people expect Cuomo to win the Democratic nomination, the WFP line will be bound to Nixon except in two special cases - they nominate Nixon for Judge or State Legislator instead of Governor. Because the WFP still commands the allegiance of many voters, and because they still need 5% of the gubernatorial vote to maintain its official Party status, there is concern that it could fracture the Democratic vote causing the Republican candidate to win.
92Y: Be the Change You Want to See in 2018
Friday, April 20
7:00pm – 8:00pm
Frederick E. Samuel Democratic Club: GOTV for Shelley Mayer for State Senate
Saturday, April 21
10:30am – 5:00pm
Emerge NY Politics 101 (Room 11C)
Sunday, April 22
2:00pm – 4:30pm
142 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019, USA
Special Election Day!
Tuesday, April 24
6:00am – 9:00pm
The Governor called special elecitons to fill vacancies in Assembly Districts 5, 10, 17, 39, 74, 80, 102, 107 and 142. As well as in Senate Districts 32 and 37. Polls are open 6am - 9pm. Find your districts and check if you should be voting!
Village Reform Democratic Club Fundraiser
Tuesday, April 24
6:00pm – 8:30pm
510 LaGuardia Pl, New York, NY 10012, USA
Executive Committee Meeting
Tuesday, April 24
6:30pm – 8:30pm
Shelley Mayer Election Day Canvass with Sens. Krueger & Hoylman
Tuesday, April 24
10:00am – 5:00pm
Rent Guideline Board Meeting
Thursday, April 26
7:00pm – 8:00pm
These meetings determine whether rent controlled and stabilized units get rent increases each year and by how much. http://www1.nyc.gov/site/rentguidelinesboard/meetings/2018-meetings.page
Sister District NY 12-13-14 Trivia Night
Sunday, April 29
5:00pm – 7:00pm
Description:For details, link here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sister-district-ny-12-13-14-trivia-night-tickets-45326678315
4 Women In a Room: A Conversation About Women In New York State Government
Tuesday, May 1
6:30pm – 7:30pm