Political Odds & Ends, Jan. 4, 2022


CM Adams Hosts Former Speakers for Discussion on Leading New York City

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams

Expected City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (D-Queens) met yesterday in a Zoom discussion with former City Council Speakers Gifford Miller and Christine Quinn to offer advice and insight into leading New York’s legislative body. 

The rare gathering comes ahead of the January 5 Charter Meeting, when an overwhelming majority of members have declared they will support Adams for Speaker. 

During the Zoom discussion, Miller and Quinn offered advice on the uniqueness of the position, working with the Mayor’s Office, and important takeaways from their time in office. While former City Council Speakers Peter Vallone, Sr., Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Corey Johnson were unavailable to attend the virtual event, they have offered their support to Adams. 

“Leadership begins with listening, which is why I am thankful to hear the experiences and advice of our former Speakers,” said expected Speaker Adams. “Each led the Council through a challenge for New York City. Their perspective is invaluable as the new class of the City Council prepares to confront the many trials before us. I want to thank them for this time and hope this will be an ongoing conversation.”

Zelden GOP Support For Governor Grows

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Long Island) saw his base of support for governor grow after the Putnam County Republican Committee recently endorsed him.

“Albany’s continued attacks on our freedoms, our wallets, our kids’ education and so much more have left so many New Yorkers with no choice but to flee the state they call home. Our communities cannot survive much longer under the one-party rule that has destroyed our economy, way of life, and sense of safety and security. Their reign must come to an end, and Lee Zeldin is the man for the job. As a tried and true leader, he has the experience, guts and fight to restore our state to glory, which is why I’m proud to endorse him for Governor,” said Putnam County Republican Committee Chairman Anthony Scannapieco.

With Putnam County support, Zeldin now has 58 of 62 County GOP Committees/Chairs, Representing Over 91% of New York GOP Weighted Vote. Over 50% is needed to become the endorsed Republican Party candidate for Governor.

Zeldin has been declared the presumptive nominee for Governor of New York by both the Republican and Conservative Parties.

Malliotakis Issues First Year Report Card on Constituent Services

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

U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/Southern Brooklyn) yesterday released her report card recapping her first year in office representing constituents in New York’s 11th Congressional District.

“My office prides itself on providing outstanding constituent services for the residents of Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn. By resolving over 4,100 constituent cases, helping thousands of people cut through bureaucratic red tape, and returning over $29 million in federal funding back to our community, this year has been nothing short of productive,” said Malliotkis.

Among Malliotakis’ many success stories for the year include her office helping safely evacuate a Brooklyn family from Afghanistan, helping a school serving special needs children recover $158,000 owed to them from the Department of Education, securing disability assistance for a Purple Heart recipient, expediting a passport so a family didn’t miss their Christmas vacations overseas and assisting dozens of immigrants with completing the citizenship process.

“To put this into perspective, my office closed nearly four times as many cases, returned over 10 times more money to the pockets of constituents, and responded to twice the number of constituents than my predecessor. I’m extremely proud of everything we’ve accomplished in the first year and look forward to continuing to serve the residents of Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn for years to come,” said Malliotakis,

Julie Won Takes Office as City Council Member

City Council Member Julie Won

City Council Member Julie Won (D-Queens) yesterday was sworn into office and presented her agenda for the next 2 years while opening her door to the community virtually.

Won, the first Korean-American woman elected to the City Council has committed to a new vision for her community with a deep focus on creating and preserving affordable housing, increasing access to city resources for all New Yorkers, ensuring that access to quality and affordable internet is guaranteed, and many other issues that are top of mind for her constituents. 

Won will maintain a temporary district office at 47-01 Queens Boulevard, Suite 205 where community members can voice their concerns and seek assistance with issues relating to city government. She will move to a permanent location later this year. 

Due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant the district office will remain remote until such time that it is safe for staff and constituents to meet in person. Until that time constituents can reach out to the office via phone at 718-383-9566; email at [email protected]; Facebook @CouncilMemberJulieWon; Twitter @CM_JulieWon and Instagram @cm_juliewon

“I am honored to begin serving my neighbors on the City Council,” said Won. “Above all else I will be the voice for my constituents, especially those who have been neglected and underserved. On their behalf I will introduce and support legislation that will secure affordable housing, internet for all, and healthcare access for all. I will work  to build a better city government that serves everyone by ensuring that city agencies are accessible and accountable to us and by fighting for funding and vital services for my district.”

AG James and Governor Hochul Continue Efforts to Defend SALT Deduction

Attorney General Letitia James
Governor Kathy Hochul

New York Attorney General Letitia James and Gov. Kathy Hochul yesterday announced that New York, Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey filed a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court to continue their lawsuit against the federal government for its unlawful and unprecedented cap on the deduction for state and local taxes, known as SALT. 

The petition asks the Supreme Court to review an October 2021 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that upheld the district court’s rejection of the states’ suit, which argues that the SALT cap was a politically motivated bid by the former federal administration to interfere with the policy choices of predominantly Democratic states.

“This unfair cap has already placed a significant financial burden on countless hardworking, middle-class families in New York, and in the years to come, it is expected to cost New York taxpayers more than $100 billion,” said James. “We filed this lawsuit to protect millions of New Yorkers from this harmful, misguided, and blatantly political attack. New York will not be bullied into paying more than its fair share, and we will continue to fight back.”

“The SALT deduction cap is nothing less than double taxation on New Yorkers,” said Hochul. “Repealing the SALT cap would not only put more money into the pockets of New York families, it would deliver a much-needed boost to New York’s economy. I am proud we are taking this issue to the Supreme Court to continue to fight on behalf of New York taxpayers.”

The lawsuit — which was originally filed in July 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York — argued that the new SALT deduction cap was enacted to target New York and similarly situated states, that it interferes with states’ rights to make their own fiscal decisions, and that it will disproportionately harm taxpayers in these states. The top states with the highest average deduction for state and local taxes — a majority of which are Democratic — include New York, Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey.

Cymbrowitz Announces Homeowner Assistance Fund now Accepting Applications

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), chair of the Assembly Housing  Committee, said yesterday the application period is now open for the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF), a federally funded program that will provide up to $539 million to help eligible homeowners who were affected by the pandemic to avert mortgage delinquency, default,  foreclosure, and displacement. 

Since the start of the pandemic, many of our small homeowners have been struggling under the weight of financial loss and, through no fault of their own, have found themselves unable to meet their mortgages and other monthly expenses. The HAF program was created to help restore financial security to many of our low- and moderate-income homeowners who’ve been hurt by the pandemic,” said Cymbrowitz. 

Eligible applicants may receive financial assistance to catch up on missed housing payments, to reduce mortgage debt to make monthly mortgage payments more affordable,  and for homeowners who are unemployed, assistance with up to six months of future housing payments. 

Eligible applicants must have household incomes at or below 100 percent of the  Area Median Income and must be at least 30 days delinquent on monthly housing payments for their primary residence. Awards will be capped at $50,000 per household.  Assistance will be structured as a five-year, non-interest, non-amortizing forgivable loan. If the homeowner remains in the home for a period of five years, the loan will be fully forgiven. 

For more information and to apply, go to nyhomeownerfund.org. An information call  center at 1-844-77-NYHAF is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday.  Applications will be accepted through Friday, February 4th.