Political Odds & Ends, Dec. 9, 2021


Adams Expected to name David Banks as Schools Chancellor

Mayor-Elect Eric Adams

Mayor-elect Eric Adams is reportedly to name David Banks as New York City Schools Chancellor this morning at a public school in Crown Heights.

Banks, a longtime New York City educator, founded the Eagle Academy for Young Men and is a close friend and key adviser to Adams. He is the first appointment in the Adams Administration. 

In other Adams news, his transition team yesterday announced it has raised more than $1 million in a little more than a month to help prepare his administration to deliver for New Yorkers as part of an unprecedented effort.

The Transition Inauguration Entity (TIE), which filed its financial disclosure report today, is responsible for funding staff and professionals tasked with helping the Mayor-elect staff the new administration, conducting City agency reviews, and developing policy priorities. The TIE also funds the inauguration of the new mayor. None of these responsibilities are funded by the City of New York and so must be raised from private donors.

“I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for our transition and enthusiasm for the new administration,” Mayor-elect Adams said. “These funds allow us to help coordinate the work of hundreds of transition team members from diverse backgrounds and experiences to prepare us to hit the ground running on January 1 and make New York a safer, healthier, more prosperous place for all.”

State Legislators and Advocates Unveil Justice Agenda for 2022

State Sen. Julia Salazar
Sen. Brad Hoylman
Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani

State Senators Julia Salazar, Brad Hoylman and Robert Jackson along with Assembly Members Desmond Meeks, Anna Kelles, Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, Karines Reyes, Emily Gallagher, Natalia Fernandez, Harvey Epstein and Zohran Mamdani today will meet on zoom today to unveil their Justice Roadmap 2022.

The Roadmap is a legislative agenda to decarcerate jails, prisons, and immigrant detention centers and addresses the harms of the criminal legal and immigration systems. It includes passage of a series of bills in 2022 that will build on recent criminal justice reforms victories, including the legalization of marijuana, the end of long-term solitary confinement, repeal of the Walking While Trans Ban, and decriminalization of the possession and sale of syringes. 

The Justice Roadmap 2022 includes bills that will enable New York to build community safety; to stop the criminalization of mental illness, people who use drugs, street vendors, and sex workers; to protect the dignity of incarcerated New Yorkers while expanding opportunities for human growth and higher education; to reform sentencing laws, promote fair and safe pathways for prison release and address systems of perpetual punishment; and to end wealth extraction and increase investment in historically underserved and under-resourced communities.

The complete Justice Roadmap 2022 will be unveiled at 12 noon today, Dec. 9. To attend, please click on this link.  

Espaillat, Nadler, Meng Urge Columbia University to Ensure Good Faith Bargaining 

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (Photo Credit: U.S. House Office of Photography)
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler

U.S. Reps. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan/Bronx), Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan/Brooklyn) and Grace Meng (D-Queens) sent a letter this week to Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger encouraging the university to strengthen its efforts in good faith bargaining with student workers. 

The letter also emphasizes the importance of the labor negotiations to student workers and the community.

“There are over 3,000 graduate student-workers at the institution that have been a driving force behind the teaching and research missions of Columbia,” wrote the lawmakers. “They have educated thousands of students annually and continue to perform cutting-edge research and development work that brings roughly $1 billion in federal grant funding to the University every year.

“We understand that the Union has filed unfair labor practices charges and that workers are exercising all of their rights to achieve a fair contract. While contract negotiations can be challenging, we fully support good faith bargaining from both principles to reach a fair agreement.”

This letter comes as nearly 3,000 Columbia graduate and undergraduate students have been exercising their right to achieve a fair contract and equitable workers’ rights with the university.

Also signing the letter were U.S. Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-Bronx/Westchester), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Manhattan/Brooklyn/Queens), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan/Brooklyn/Queens) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Queens/Bronx).

Meng Testifies to Establish First National Asian Pacific American Museum

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens), alongside journalist Lisa Ling and Stop AAPI Hate Co-Founder Dr. Russell Jeung testified before Congress this week in support of Meng’s legislation that seeks to create the first national museum dedicated to preserving the history, culture, and accomplishments of Asian Pacific Americans (APA).   

Ling and Jeung joined Meng, who serves as Vice-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, in appearing yesterday before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands where they backed Meng’s bill that would establish a commission to examine the feasibility of establishing the museum.

“Museums create space to memorialize the accomplishments of the past and inspire future generations of the greatness we can achieve. This hearing further underscores the need to build a national museum that tells the story of Asian Pacific Americans. As I’ve said, our story is the American story, and it’s time for more Americans to know and understand all that Asian Pacific Americans have contributed to our country,” Meng.

Meng’s Bill would create a panel of individuals with various expertise in museum planning or APA research and culture to look into the viability of establishing, maintaining, funding and operating such a facility in the nation’s capital, possibly as part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the world’s largest museum and research complex. 

Malliotakis Leads GOP Delegation to Defund Supervised Injection Centers

U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis. Photo from her Congressional website.

U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) led the New York State Republican delegation yesterday in introducing the ‘Defund de Blasio’s Injection Sites Act of 2021’ –  legislation that would withhold federal funding from city, state, tribal, or private entities that operate supervised injection centers in violation of the Controlled Substances Act.

The proposed legislation aims to defund the Washington Heights Corner Project (WHC) and New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE), who have partnered together to form “OnPoint NYC,” and are operating the two injection facilities in New York City. 

WHCP has received over $600,000 from the Small Business Administration (SBA), while NYHRE has received over $770,000 from the SBA. In 2019, NYHRE received over $1.1 million from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and lists HHS, the CDC, and HRSA, as their past and current federal funders. Malliotakis’ legislation would have prevented these funds from being dispersed.

Malliotakis also sent a letter to New York State Attorney General Letitia James calling on her office to enforce state law and immediately shut down the sites.

“In 2018, the Department of Justice committed to me that it would intervene if Mayor de Blasio proceeded with his illegal scheme to open heroin injection centers in New York City,” said Malliotakis. “Now that Mayor de Blasio has gone forward with these plans, I’ve called on the Biden Administration to take the same course of action. If they don’t, I’ve introduced this legislation to ensure any federal funds sent to entities that operate these unlawful facilities are stripped for good. We’ve already identified millions of federal dollars that have been sent to these facilities. Gifting money to heroin shooting galleries that only encourage drug use and deteriorate our quality of life is an egregious abuse of taxpayer dollars.”