Borough President

A borough president is an advocate for their borough in a number of ways.

First, they have a sizable chunk of change at their disposal to fund local initiatives, groups and projects like buying technology for public schools, renovating local parks or spearheading community health outreach. Borough presidents share about 5% of the city budget to fund things in their borough — about $4 billion among them, according to the city’s Campaign Finance Board.

Borough presidents can also introduce bills in the City Council, though they do not get a vote.

They weigh in on land use proposals — in other words, development projects that need public approval — with an advisory vote and written decision. Their input is not binding, but it can be quite influential if they are staunchly for or against a project and lobby Council members or the mayor.

Working with local City Council members, Borough presidents also appoint all members of community boards, the local bodies that weigh in on everything from new bike lanes to liquor licenses for restaurants. With that power, the borough presidents can exert significant sway over neighborhood-level politics and projects.

In addition to their formal powers, the borough presidents play an important role as a champion and booster for their borough, calling news conferences to shed light on issues they believe need attention and making appearances at ribbon cuttings, groundbreakings and cultural events.

Here’s who’s running:

The Garden of Eden Found!

(in New York)

The top three tips for ranked choice voting are…

  1. Vote for your genuine favorites, in your order of preference. Don’t try to game the system and guess who has the best chance. Just vote for whom you like in the order that you like them. There’s no risk of losing your vote, because if your favorite is knocked out, your vote will go to your second favorite, and so on.
  2. Don’t rank someone you don’t like. The last spots on your ballot should be for candidates that you are OK with or could live with. If there are candidates you disagree with or really do not want to win, do not put them on your ballot.
  3. You don’t have to fill all five slots, if there are only three or four candidates that you like, you can just rank them. 

Scott Joplin

Walking the other day on West 131st Street I noticed a brownstone with a historic plaque:

The plaque refers to Scott Joplin that Wikipedia notes:

Scott Joplin (c. 1868 – April 1, 1917) was an American composer and pianist. Joplin achieved fame for his ragtime compositions and was dubbed the “King of Ragtime”.[1] During his brief career, he wrote over 100 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. One of his first and most popular pieces, the “Maple Leaf Rag“, became ragtime’s first and most influential hit, and has been recognized as the archetypal rag.[2]

To listen to his piece “The Entertainer”, see below:

Seen on ACP

Emergency Rent Assistance – What You Need to Know

GHC Meeting Tonight

Join the Greater Harlem Coalition’s look at the intersection of Harlem and East Harlem’s quality of life issues and the 2021 NYC elections. Click here to learn more tonight.

City Comptroller

The person who oversees City Hall’s wallet is called the comptroller, a position currently filled by Scott Stringer.

Four contenders are vying to replace the term-limited Stringer (who is running for mayor). And while the ultra-crowded mayor’s race will undoubtedly steal most of the attention this election cycle, choosing our next comptroller is critical for city voters.

The primary vote is set for June 22 of this year. Given New York’s firmly Democratic lean, whichever comptroller candidate nabs a win then will have a strong advantage heading into November’s general election. A Republican has not been elected comptroller since 1938.

New York City’s comptroller is our municipal auditor and fiduciary.

The Office of the Comptroller does several things, but its chief responsibilities are to prepare audits and oversee how city agencies are spending their money, manage the city’s public pension funds — the largest in the world at $224.8 billion as of October, Stringer’s office says — and issue bonds to help pay for large projects. The comptroller also reviews city contracts.

To do all this and more, the comptroller employs a staff of about 800. The comptroller has another important role: serving as second in line of succession to the mayor, after the Public Advocate.Here’s a comprehensive list of duties from the comptroller’s office.

Brian Benjamin

Benjamin, our Harlem neighbor and State Senator represents Harlem, East Harlem and the Upper West Side. The former investment banker and affordable housing developer pledged to return some donations in early January after THE CITY found donors named in campaign records who said they’d never given money to his campaign.

Brad Lander

Lander currently serves as the City Council member representing Carroll Gardens, Park Slope and Kensington. Previous to government work, he directed a community planning center at Pratt Institute.

Kevin Parker

Parker, a Brooklyn native, is the current State Senator representing Flatbush and surrounding neighborhoods from Ditmas Park to Park Slope. Before taking elected office, Parker worked for local officials, including the then-state Comptroller H. Carl McCall and then-Flatbush Council member Una Clarke.

David Weprin

Weprin, a native of Queens, currently serves as the State Assembly member representing northeast Queens. He previously represented the area in the City Council, worked in the financial services industry and, in the 1980s, served on the state’s Banking Board.

As Seen on 2nd Avenue in East Harlem

Unfortunately, no, the 2nd Avenue Subway isn’t yet in East Harlem. This remnant of an earlier attempt to build the 2nd Avenue Subway is at 117th Street, and was part of the “cut and cover” trenching done in the 1970s

The new 2nd Avenue Subway will incorporate some of this earlier tunneling into the project.

In-Person, Open Mic, Candidates Forums

NYC CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 9 CANDIDATES DEBATE

When:    Saturday, June 12, 2021

Time:      2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Where:   NYC Madison Square Boys & Girls Club 

                 (155 St. & Bradhurst Ave.)

                 250 Bradhurst Avenue

                 NY, NY 10039

Trains:     D to 155 St. Station stop 

Bus:         M10, M3 to 155 St. stop

What Does My City Council Member Do?

Council members are responsible for proposing and voting on bills relating to all aspects of civic life, for example: policinghousingstreet safety and environmental issues like the plastic bag ban.

Bills passed by the Council go to the mayor for to be signed into law. The Council can override a veto from the mayor with a vote of at least two-thirds of the members.

The Council also negotiates with the mayor to pass the city budget every year. Each Council member has his or her own discretionary budget to fund local projects and groups. The Council holds oversight hearings through its many committees. And, critically, the body votes to approve or reject development projects that need public approval.

You can think of the Council as like Congress for the City of New York, as this guide from the Council puts it. The city’s Campaign Finance Board created the below video outlining some of the duties and responsibilities of the City Council:

Sumptuous Gifts from a Black Women-Owned Harlem Business

If you want a gift from Harlem to take to a friend’s (now that you’re both fully vaccinated), the Harlem Chocolate Factory on ACP at 139, is a great place to consider.

Greater Harlem Coalition Meeting on Wednesday

Join the Greater Harlem Coalition for an Election 2021 conversation about what candidates have said they would do about the quality of life issues that impact you, your family, your guests, and your neighbors, on Wednesday at 7:00 PM. Register by clicking on this link:

https://fordham.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_yW9VWS-8QtivypY6O6olWA

The ‘Final’ List of City Council Candidates

The New York Board of Elections has finally produced a list of candidates for Harlem:

PRIMARY CONTEST LIST
Primary Election 2021 06/22/2021, New York Democratic Party
TENTATIVE – SUBJECT TO CHANGE

Member of the City Council 8th Council District

Tamika Mapp 342 East 119 Street 5B New York, NY 10035
Manuel Onativia
122 East 103 Street 19 New York, NY 10029
Antoinette D. Glover 2415 2 Avenue New York, NY 10035
Diana I. Ayala 430 East 118 Street 6H New York, NY 10035

Member of the City Council 9th Council District

Pierre A. Gooding 2050 Frederick Douglas Boulevard New York, NY 10026
Athena Moore 216 West 136 Street New York, NY 10030
William A. Allen 1925 Seventh Avenue 6H New York, NY 10026
Kristin Richardson Jordan 45 West 132 Street 2D New York, NY 10037
Bernadette McNear 159 48 Harlem River Drive New York, NY 10039
Ruth L. McDaniels 110 West 137 Street 3A New York, NY 10030
Mario Rosser 300 West 135 Street 4K New York, NY 10030
Keith Taylor 32 Edgecombe Avenue New York, NY 10030
Cordell Cleare 1851 Adam C. Powell Jr. Boulevard New York, NY 10026
Bill Perkins 1295 5 Avenue 15D New York, NY 10029
Billy Council 2130 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard 5J New York, NY 10027
Sheba T. Simpson Amsterdam 30 West 141 Street 8N New York, NY 10037
Joshua Albert Clennon 7 West 122 Street 1 New York, NY 10027

HNBA June Meeting

On Tuesday next week, the Harlem Neighborhood Block Association will host our final pre-election meeting at 7:00 PM. (we will be taking a break during July and August, returning in September with a – planned – hybrid meeting on Tuesday, September 14th)

We hope you’ll be able to join us on Tuesday at 7:00 PM to hear more from (and ask questions of) a number of candidates for office: 

  • Joshua Clennon (City Council 9)
  • Mario Rosser (City Council 9)
  • Athena Moore (City Council 9)
  • Tali Farhadian (Manhattan DA)

If you’d like to join, please contact us on our Contact Us page: https://hnba.nyc/contact-us/ and we’ll get you the Zoom link

City Council District 9 Candidates’ Forum, Tonight at 7:00 PM

What does a City Council Member do, anyway?

And yes, some of the candidates seem to be fuzzy on this as well…

Earlier in March, The City had a great breakdown of what City Council members do, and why you should care about their election. Here is part of The City’s email on the issue:


City Council is kind of like Congress, but for the city. It may seem like a small office, but since New York has 8.4 million people living here, a local office like the City Council has more influence than you may think.

Klein pointed out that some leaders — Mayor Bill de Blasio and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, to name two — have used the City Council as a stepping stone to higher office.

“City Council is an entry point into politics — and a way to build a bench for more diverse representation in higher offices years down the line,” she said. “One reason many people are disappointed in the mayoral field is because 15 years ago, the city wasn’t building an exciting and diverse bench of new political talent.”

City Council members represent a district that usually includes two to four neighborhoods, and they have four main responsibilities.


They pass laws

Just like Congress or the state Legislature, the City Council proposes and votes on legislation that makes the rules for all sorts of things ranging from public health, education, housing and transportation. You can see all the different City Council committees here.

After a bill is proposed, the Council holds a public hearing to get feedback from the community and potentially make changes. Then, members vote on the bill.

Bills passed by a majority of the Council go to the mayor to be signed into law. The Council can override a veto from the mayor with a vote of at least two-thirds of the members.

Example: The Council has passed laws authorizing things such as police reforms (just last month members proposed another set of reform bills), bike lane protections, the plastic bag banprotecting tenants from harassment and the tax lien sale.


They *help* decide the budget

The Council negotiates with the mayor to pass the city budget every year. That means members help decide how your taxes and other revenue will be spent to fund different city agencies and programs — ranging from the public schools to policing to a bunch of social services. The most recent budget was more than $88 billion.

Your Council member can advocate for certain programs or projects to be funded in your neighborhood. And each Council member has their own discretionary budget to fund local projects and groups

Example: The Council has a huge say in how the city funds its police force, and it cut funding for affordable housing programs in the last budget.


They keep an eye on city agencies

The Council makes sure agencies like the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Preservation, NYCHA and the NYPD are doing their jobs well.

Example: The Council can monitor what the DOE is doing about school segregation and provide a check on how NYCHA manages and maintains its buildings.

Here’s a list of all the city agencies.


They have a say in how the city uses public land 

And Council members vote to approve or reject development projects that need public approval.

How land is used can affect if housing is affordable, what kind of greenspace is available and how much pollution is likely to affect a neighborhood, among other things.

Klein said: “City Council candidates are extremely accessible in a way that candidates for higher offices aren’t. If you want to get involved in local government, meet with your council candidates, get to know them and ask them questions.”

That means where to build, what to preserve and what to close (like Rikers Island). The Council has a major say in real estate deals for city-owned land and votes on all zoning changes or rezoning.

Example: The Council approved the Flushing rezoning plan.


They can advocate for you

Lastly, Council members can advocate on behalf of their constituents to advance certain causes, like joining the Hunts Point Produce Market workers strike.

Most candidates are hosting campaign events on Zoom or offering ways to be in touch directly with constituents.

https://www.thecity.nyc/2021/3/4/22314486/bill-perkins-harlem-nyc-council-race-health-concerns

Here is a great Explainer Video, Admittedly with a Brooklyn Bias, but hey, BRIC created it…

Register to Vote!

The City has a great newsletter (below) that details everything you ever needed to know about registering to vote, and how to help register others: your colleagues, friends, neighbors, family, etc.

Print allIn new windowCan you vote in New York’s June 22 primary election?

We’re officially six weeks out from Election Day on June 22

But there’s another date you need to mark on your calendar: May 28. That’s the last day you can register to vote in the June 22 primary. 

To help make sure that as many New Yorkers as possible participate in choosing our next leaders, we’re going to break down who has the right to vote in New York, how to register and how to help someone register to vote. 

If you’re already registered to vote, feel free to share this with others. As we’ve said what seems like a million times, these elections will be momentous in shaping the future of the city.

Who has the right to vote in New York?

To be able to cast a ballot in New York, you need to be a U.S. citizen who has lived in the city/state for at least 30 days, not currently incarcerated for a felony conviction and at least 18 years old. 

If you turn 18 on or before June 22, you’ll be able to vote, so make sure you register now. And remember, all 16 and 17 year olds can pre-register to vote, which means you automatically become a registered voter the day you turn 18.

Can I vote if I am an immigrant?

If you have become a naturalized U.S. citizen since moving here, you can vote

Otherwise, you can’t vote in New York… yet. A coalition of nonprofit organizations has been pushing to expand city voting to nearly 900,000 immigrants across the five boroughs, including green card holders, DACA recipients and people with certain work permits. 

Paul Westrick, senior manager of democracy policy at the New York Immigration Coalition, said: “It’s a huge population of New Yorkers who may not have the piece of paper that they’re a citizen, but they’re New Yorkers. We have folks who are woven into the fabric of New York City and who are being taxed but not represented.”

The expansion has broad support in the City Council, among a few borough presidents, numerous local state and federal elected officials and even from some mayoral candidates, but it will not pass before the 2021 elections. If the measure passes later, it would mean non-citizen immigrants with certain statuses could vote in New York City municipal elections, but not in statewide or national contests. Keep your eyes out for 2023. 

What if I’ve been convicted of a felony?

Big news: Just last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law that gives people back their right to register to vote as soon as they’re released from prison. That includes everyone still on parole or probation, even those convicted of a felony. 

“Anyone who has been formerly incarcerated and is now out in the community has the right to vote. There’s no sort of question or anything like that,” said Nick Encalada-Malinowski, Civic Rights Campaign Director for VOCAL-NY.

In 2018, Cuomo issued an executive order that granted the right to vote to most but not all people on parole through a pardon process. It was a little confusing, so the new law clears it up and makes the right permanent for anyone who has been formerly incarcerated.

Once again, because there is a lot of confusion and misinformation about this: State law now says if you were incarcerated and now you’re out, you have the right to register to vote. 

When someone is released from prison, they do need to *re-register* to vote, even if they were a registered voter before they were incarcerated. 

What if I’ve moved? Do I need to re-register?

If you’ve moved from out of state, you need to re-register, but if you’ve moved from somewhere else in New York, you just need to file a change of address request with the BOE/Post Office/DMV so you can vote in your current district. You can do that here.

How do I register to vote?

You have a few options…

If you have a New York driver’s license or state ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles, you can register online using a tool from NYC Votes and TurboVote, here

If you don’t have a New York driver’s license or state ID, the law requires that you sign an actual form and mail it to the Board of Elections office.

You can use this site to have the forms mailed to you, or you can download and print the forms yourself to fill out and mail in. If you request to have them sent to you, they come with a pre-addressed envelope to send them back.

You will be asked to plug in your name as it appears on your state ID. If you don’t have one, that’s ok. Just put how your name appears on official documents.

If you need language access or you want to help someone register to vote in another language, you can download the registration forms and FAQs in a bunch of languages here

You can also request voter registration forms in various languages by calling 1-866-VOTENYC.

Lastly, you can pick up voter registration forms at any library branch, any post office or any city agency office. 

After you fill them out, mail them to the BOE’s main office:

Board of Elections 
32 Broadway, 7 Fl 
New York, NY 10004-1609

And make sure it’s postmarked by May 28

Other materials needed: If you don’t have a state ID, you will need to provide the last four digits of your social security number. 

 To vote in the June 22 election, you have to register with a party.

If you want to vote in the primary election next month, you need to register with a party. This is because New York has what’s called a closed primary.

For example, to choose from the 13 Democratic candidates for mayor, you need to be registered as a Democrat. If you’re not affiliated with a party or you’re registered as an independent, you can’t vote in the primaries.

According to city Campaign Finance Board officials, there are nearly 5 million registered voters in New York City as of March. Of those, about 3.3 million are registered Democrats and eligible to vote in the Democratic primaries. There are just under 500,000 registered Republicans in the city who may vote in Republican primaries. About a million voters are either registered with a third party or have no party affiliation, so they can’t vote in the primary. So if you’re planning on voting June 22, check your party.

The deadline to switch parties was Feb. 14, so it’s too late to change your party before the primary.

Don’t miss the deadline!

Once again, you have to register by May 28. New York does not have same-day registration. If you aren’t already registered and you don’t apply either online or send your forms in postmarked by May 28, you will not be able to vote in the June 22 primary. Remember: Early voting starts June 12.


What are *your* election questions?

If you have any questions about the election process, the candidates or any other information when it comes to voting in New York, let us know by replying to this email or sending a note to [email protected].

To subscribe to The City’s awesome newsletter, go to:

https://nyc.us20.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=73d98c6dfc90032198ec7bdee&id=aa6c8f62b7

Rat Academy!

You can join the virtual Rat Academy, put on by the Department of Health on May 24th and sponsored by the amazing MMPCIA. Learn about preventing rats, and dealing with rats if they arrive. It’s a great and very informative program. Highly recommended for the rat-curious and it certainly falls into the news-you-can-use category of time spent.

Click this link to join:

https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/5639842/Rat-Academy-Registration?eventid=a1Q4V000021f9TaUAI&%20Programname=Pest%20Control%20Services

Register To Vote!

The deadline to register to vote is Friday, May 28 and early voting begins on Saturday, June 12. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is June 15.

Free Concerts in Marcus Garvey Park this Weekend

National Black Theatre is partnering with the New York Philharmonic to bring NY Phil Bandwagon 2 to Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem!

NY Phil Bandwagon 2 is a series of four weekend-long festivals across New York City, May 7–30, 2021. Performances will feature Philharmonic musicians and more than 100 New York artists, which span artistic disciplines from reggae, jazz, and opera, to dance, poetry, theatre, film, and visual art.  All performances will take place on a customized, mobile, 20-foot shipping container featuring a foldout stage and LED video wall.

Comptroller Candidates

The final list of NYC Comptroller Candidates is in:

You can see the NY Board of Elections full list of all races and candidates, here: https://vote.nyc/sites/default/files/pdf/candidates/2021/ContestList_6.22.2021_PDF_PrimaryElection_4.27.2021_.pdf

Subway Station Density

Many New Yorkers rely on the subway as their primary mode of transportation. Neighborhoods with greater subway access tend to have more foot traffic, making surrounding real estate highly desirable for residents and business. Subway use encourages active transportation (walking, biking), which improves the health of residents.

 About the Measure

Subway Station Density – Number per km2

How Calculated: 

Subway station density measure takes into account multiple route-transfer opportunities at one subway station and each stop is counted only once regardless of how many route-transfer opportunities are available at any given subway station. Density is calculated by dividing the count of MTA subways stations as of 2012 by the total land area in km2 of the UHF neighborhood (excluding inland water bodies).

For more information, visit http://beh.columbia.edu/.

Source: The Built Environment & Health Project (BEH), Columbia University

Manhattan District Attorney

The NY Board of Elections has a ‘final’ list of Manhattan DA Candidates:

You can see other races and their candidates, here: https://vote.nyc/sites/default/files/pdf/candidates/2021/ContestList_6.22.2021_PDF_PrimaryElection_4.27.2021_.pdf

Mayoral Forum, Focused on MWBE Issues: Tomorrow Afternoon