This summer may be looking a little less bleak for New York City youth. The Summer Youth Employment Program is back – partially – after being abruptly cancelled in April, while a few other summer programs escaped outright cuts. Much of that progress can be credited to youth organizations and teen activists who pushed elected officials to make the programming a priority, especially in light of calls to redistribute police funding. Bill Chong, the commissioner of the Department of Youth and Community Development, should also be pleased to have avoided a cut that would've slashed close to a third of the agency's budget.
This week’s biggest Winners & Losers
This week’s biggest Winners & Losers
New York’s museums, theaters and galleries may be shuttered, but one need look no further than Gov. Andrew Cuomo for some of the most stunning artwork of the coronavirus era. But even as Cuomo celebrated the state’s ongoing descent down the coronavirus mountain, New York faced no shortage of other uphill battles this week – like the New York City budget deal or efforts to tally absentee ballots. Here’s who is peaking and who is still trudging back up in New York politics.
Tenants hit hard by the pandemics are going to at least have a roof over their head now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, which bans evictions based on unpaid rent accrued during the pandemic. The three state lawmakers who proposed the legislation in April had originally pushed for an extra six months’ grace period after the public health emergency officially ends, but the bill the governor signed into law did not include it. Still, at the rate that things are going nationwide, it'll be a long time before Empire State tennants get kicked to the curb.
Correction: This entry was updated to more accurately portray the tenant legislation.
Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright’s political career sunk to the bottom of the East River in May, thanks to her failure to submit the proper petitioning paperwork and an unsympathetic court that booted her off the ballot. But the Manhattan lawmaker is resuscitating her reelection campaign with an independent bid. There’s no guarantee she’ll sail to victory, but it seems that Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who issued an executive order allowing the gathering of new petitions this month, heard his fellow Democrat sending out an SOS.
Macy’s has had a rough several weeks. At the end of May, Jeff Gennette’s company furloughed most of its employees, and layoffs continued through June. Then the flagship store in Manhattan got looted in early June. Now, after weeks of an unusually high volume of fireworks disrupting the peace and people’s sleep, Macy’s decided it would be a fun idea to spread its Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular over three days with surprise shows across the five boroughs. The idea was widely panned, by everyone from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer to PETA. Better watch out, Macy’s, or the Thanksgiving Day Parade might get canceled.
It'll be hard for New York City's Board of Elections to muster up good news anytime soon. After failing to deliver absentee ballots to many voters on time, the BOE is blowing past the date it's legally required to start counting the overwhelming number of ballots that have actually come in. And though Executive Director Michael Ryan has understandably stressed the importance of accuracy over speed, it is still concerning that the agency has had to illegally push back the count by a week to handle the workload. Given how long the count is supposed to drag on for, it's likely the heat the Board of Elections is facing won't even ease up for a while.
Just a few months ago, it looked as if the NYPD commissioner was only going to have to weather a measly budget cut of less than 1%, despite the city’s deteriorating fiscal situation. Then, massive police reform protests were held throughout the city. And now, Dermot Shea’s nearly $6 billion budget is being cut by $1 billion. Well… not really. But anyway you slice it, the commish is still getting a big ol’ budget cut. And a whole lot more scrutiny of his force’s spending.