Cest Vrai Week In Review
The C'est Vrai : Week In Review is a newsletter of important political articles that are culled from the database that powers the C'est Vrai computer-assisted reporting Web app. Photo Illustration/Progress New York

C’est Vrai : Week In Review : 02 December 2018

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Daniel Dromm : New York City Council

  • The lobbying firm, Yoswein New York, Inc., which had been prominently promoting the troubled Brooklyn-Queens Connector, or BQX, a proposed streetcar service that would join the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts, has been lobbying the New York City Council on behalf of Amazon (dot) com Services, Inc., to secure for the giant online retailer a cloud computer services contract with the City of New York, according to online lobbying records published by the New York City Office of the City Clerk. Two principal targets of Amazon’s lobbying have been Councilmembers Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge), chair of the Council contracts committee, and Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), chair of the Council finance committee. It is not known if the lobbying has led to an agreement or if the procurement contract being sought by Amazon was supposed to be part of the inducement that inspired the selection of Long Island City, Queens to host a second headquarters for Amazon. Amazon was using lobbying firm from BQX to lobby City Government for cloud computing services [Progress New York]
  • Amazon.com Inc. wants New York City as one of its new homes. It also wants the city as a bigger customer for its Amazon Web Services cloud services. Amazon Spends on Lobbying New York City on Cloud Services - WSJ [The Wall Street Journal]
  • In a report that contained no public comment by Councilmember Daniel Dromm, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced that the Council Finance Committee would hold a hearing to examine the Amazon deal. City Council prepares to take action against deal that brings Amazon to Long Island City [TimesLedger]

Corey Johnson : New York City Council

  • Corey Johnson said a package of 18 bills is intended to close loopholes and address abusive practices identified in The New York Times’s recent series, “Unsheltered,” which showed how some large landlords exploit New York’s fragmented regulatory system to push apartments out of regulation. 18 Bills With One Goal: Bad-Landlord Crackdown [The New York Times]
  • Members of the New York City Council will host a trio of hearings to grill city officials and Amazon about the closed-door negotiations that led to the tech giant agreeing to build its second headquarters in Queens. New York City Council to Host Hearings on Amazon's Headquarters Deal [The Wall Street Journal]
  • Despite questions raised by Mark Peters over Mayor Bill de Blasio's motives in his firing as commissioner of the Department of Investigation, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson offered his support to Peters' replacement, Margaret Garnett, at a Monday hearing on her nomination. City Council Considers De Blasio Nominee for Department of Investigation [Gotham Gazette]

Eric Ulrich : New York City Council

Jimmy Van Bramer : New York City Council

  • State Sen. Michael Gianaris and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represent the neighborhood, are refusing the state’s invitation to join a community advisory committee which will play a role in planning for Amazon’s HQ2 campus around Anable Basin while having no veto power, because the "community advisory council is a thinly veiled attempt to present the Amazon development as a fait accompli." Van Bramer, Gianaris reject invite to join Amazon community advisory council [TimesLedger]
  • Amazon’s decision to bring half of its planned HQ2 to Long Island City has New York politicians at odds. While some politicians — Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, among them — have welcomed Amazon with open arms, critics have decried the massive tax breaks and other incentives that were offered to the billion-dollar company. Amazon HQ2: Where politicians stand on Long Island City hub [amNewYork]
  • Both Councilmembers Jimmy Van Bramer and Jumaane Williams signed a letter last year, asking Amazon to come to New York but have come out against the deal since it was announced earlier this month. They charged that Mayor Bill de Blasio and Govenor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to bring Amazon to the city was undemocratic. At rain-soaked rally in Long Island City, protesters vow to continue fight against Amazon HQ2 plan [qns.com]
  • ICYMI : City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said that the elected Council members of the body he leads will get “deference” but “no veto” on land use matters. "I try to get to a place of ‘yes.’" On Land Use, Johnson Promises 'Deference' to Members But 'No Veto' [Gotham Gazette]

Bill de Blasio : New York City Council

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez : Nancy Pelosi

  • Anya Parampil puts incoming Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in question, explaining how as a candidate for the democratic nomination, she billed herself as a “socialist” and “progressive” which represented the next generation of the party—only to sell out upon winning office. Anya documents how Ocasio-Cortez has been embraced by corporate democrats, like DNC Chair Tom Perez, offered glowing praise for war-mongering Senator John McCain, and more recently, endorsed Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House. Daniel Haiphong, author of the upcoming book “American Exceptionalism and American Innocence”, joins Anya to discuss his recent contribution to the Black Agenda Report which accuses Ocasio-Cortez running a PR stunt to help Pelosi. Ocasio-Cortez is a Progressive Fraud [RT America : YouTube]
  • ICYMI : Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is in Nancy Pelosi's corner. Ocasio-Cortez supports Nancy Pelosi in House speaker race [The New York Post]

Carolyn Maloney : US House of Representatives

  • After U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, likely chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, discouraged talk of an immediate push to impeach President Donald Trump, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney said she was pushing likely House Oversight Committee chair, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, to probe the administration's decision to add a question about citizenship to the U.S. Census. Senior House Democrats Tap Brakes on Investigating Trump [The New York Times]

Joseph Crowley : US House of Representatives

NYCHA : U.S. Attorney's Office

  • The package of taxpayer-funded incentives being offered to Amazon has reached ten figures ; this, as public housing residents face uninhabitable conditions. Ten Figures for Amazon’s HQ2 — and Lead Poisoning, Mold, and No Heat for NYCHA’s tenants [Progress New York]
  • Most WBAI listeners are quite aware of the disaster that is now NYC’s public housing system, known as NYCHA -- widespread toxic mold, lead paint poisoning, broken hot water heaters and elevators...it goes on and on. This isn’t something that happened over night -- it’s in part the logical outcome of 20 years of neglect by consecutive Republican mayors, as well as big federal funding cuts. But our ‘progressive’ mayor, Bill de Blasio -- well into his second term -- is increasingly looking remarkably like Michael Bloomberg, when it comes to real estate in general, and especially when it comes to NYCHA. With me is friend-to-the-show, Louis Flores, who has been stalwart in his coverage of NYCHA. Louis Flores on NYCHA and Amazon [WBAI : Archive.org]

gentrification : New York City Council

  • Michael McKee argues against repeal of the Urstadt Law. Enacted in 1971, this law prevents the New York City Council from enacting stronger rent laws. CityViews : It is Time for Real Rent-Regulation Reform Across New York State [citylimits.org]
  • The consequences of Amazon could not be graver for residents who live in rent-regulated housing in the surrounding communities of Queens. To understand just how real and lasting the threat of displacement is for these tenants, look no further than the Brooklyn neighborhoods we serve in our work—from Williamsburg/Greenpoint, to Bushwick, and East New York. In the wake of such rapid displacement, tenant harassment in North Brooklyn neighborhoods has reached unprecedented levels. CityViews : Amazon Will Deliver More Displacement to NYC’s Working Class [citylimits.org]

land use : New York City Council

  • To prevent possible delays or second-guessing of the undemoractic Amazon deal, Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed to bypass the City Council and the city’s public land use process. Instead of handing billions in public subsidies to Amazon and other mega-corporations, New York should invest in cooperative, bottom-up economic development led by and directly benefiting people and communities of color, immigrants, and women – who are disproportionately harmed by our current unfair, extractive economy.CityViews : NYC Needs Equitable Economic Development, Not the Amazon Deal [citylimits.org]
  • On Tuesday, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” to push back against the Amazon backlash. But the project’s opponents say that they are currently exploring every option they can to block, slow, or alter the government’s deal with Amazon. Do Amazon's Opponents Have Any Hope Of Stopping Queens Campus? [Gothamist]
  • Another former City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, has announced that she will not run, which opens up a lane for Melissa Mark-Viverito to go after the women’s vote. Mark-Viverito, Ex-Council Speaker Who Gentrified Spanish Harlem, to Run for Public Advocate [The New York Times]
  • New York’s real estate community is fighting a measure backed by the city’s hotel workers’ union that would make it more difficult to build new properties in certain areas. The measure would restrict new hotel development in areas that are currently zoned for light manufacturing. Hotel Developers Fight NYC Proposal That Would Reduce New Building [The Wall Street Journal]
  • The new dynamics of power in Albany, and the timing of key decision-making processes in the city itself, will make next year a pivotal one for affordability in New York. From Rent Regs to Rezonings, 2019 Will Feature Key Housing Policy Fights [citylimits.org]

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