Schumer makes the rounds
The memorable sight of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pausing a bike ride in Bed Stuy this weekend to grab a plate at a Memorial Day party — helmet firmly on his head — was sort of just the icing on the cake.
There have been sightings of New York’s senior senator all around his Brooklyn neighborhood in recent weeks as the weather gets better and COVID-19 recedes — he’s been spotted in Prospect Park, singing with a band, glad-handing around Grand Army Plaza, and biking.
"I love riding my bike all over Brooklyn," Schumer said in a statement to The Point, "but I’m not a spandex guy going at 40 mph. I ride slowly, stop and talk to people and learn things."
Whether Schumer’s out more these days or his constituents have just emerged and are noticing him, the retail politicking has certainly been the Brooklyn Democrat’s vibe for a long time. He apparently doesn’t want to give up his all-politics-is-local philosophy even after ascending to the heights of power in D.C. with the 2020 election. He succeeded in his ritual visit of all 62 counties in 2020 despite the pandemic. He’s popped in and out of Long Island, including Hicksville for a drug treatment event and the Merrick Long Island Rail Road station to talk transit funds in May. He has been thanked on theater marquees for his help for the industry during the pandemic, and though live graduation event appearances aren’t in the immediate pipeline due to school policies, says spokesman Angelo Roefaro, Schumer’s beaming in to some remotely.
Par for the course for the consummate campaigner.
Schumer isn’t up for reelection until next year, but one motto of New York politics in the Ocasio-Cortez era might be: You can never be too careful.
— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
When the survey results don’t matter
It might seem strange that just weeks away from the biggest test so far of ranked choice voting — New York City’s mayoral primary — the New York City Campaign Finance Board is surveying voters who already have tried it.
Queens residents who voted in a special City Council election in February received an email Tuesday seeking their opinions on ranked choice voting. The survey, conducted by Baruch College Survey Research, asked voters how and when they learned about ranked choice voting, how easy or difficult they found completing the ballot, and how many candidates they ranked.
But it turns out the results of that survey won’t matter much. It’s the survey itself that’s being tested, said Campaign Finance Board spokesman Matt Sollars.
"We are building a better survey," Sollars told The Point. "That’s the point of this right now. Post-primary, we’ll do a real survey."
So, the board is using the survey to evaluate the questions themselves and how people answer them, to determine what the "real" survey that goes out sometime after June 22 should look like.
Of course, the Queens residents who were the first testers of ranked choice voting in February might not realize that they’re guinea pigs again. Indeed, the email Tuesday attempted to put them into a special category.
"The CFB has a number of questions about the new voting system that only you can answer," the email to voters said.
Beyond the basics, the survey went a bit deeper, asking whether voters found themselves more or less likely to vote for their "most preferred candidate" in the special election, as opposed to the one more likely to win, whether voters thought their votes counted more, and whether they preferred ranked choice voting.
The survey, in looking at whether voters were prepared for the new voting process and what they thought about it, seemed geared at telling the Campaign Finance Board what worked and what didn’t in ranked choice voting and how informed voters were before and when they went to the polls.
Interestingly, ranked choice voting didn’t end up having an impact on that City Council special election, because the top candidate — now Councilman James Gennaro — secured 60% of the first-choice votes, allowing him to be declared the winner without even looking at voters’ other picks.
But the new voting process likely will matter far more in the mayoral race. And so, too, will the survey results.
— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall
For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons
On guinea pigs and birthrates
- A group of 117 staffers at Houston Methodist Hospital filed a lawsuit asking to not be subject to the hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, saying they don’t want to be "guinea pigs." With nearly 2 billion doses given and more than 430 million people fully vaccinated, do you really think you are guinea pigs?
- Five years after China changed its one-child policy to allow couples to have two children in an attempt to reverse the country’s slowing birthrate, it has changed once more to a three-child policy after the birthrate declined four straight years. If the two-child policy didn’t induce families to have more kids, what makes Chinese officials think a three-child policy will work?
- Some of those charged in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol are blaming former President Donald Trump’s election misinformation and conspiracy theories. Given the number of people who were debunking those claims in real time, let’s call this the willful gullibility defense.
- Gun violence is rising in the U.S. So are gun sales, to record amounts. In other words, this problem isn’t going anywhere.
- An attempt by Texas Republicans to pass a bill significantly restricting one’s ability to vote was blocked by Democrats when they walked out on the legislature’s final day of session, denying Republicans a quorum. In other words, an attempted restriction on voting was undone by a different kind of voting restriction.
- Pope Francis has signed off on clearer penalties for priests who sexually abuse minors or other vulnerable people, writing, "It is necessary that these norms be closely related to social changes and the new needs of the People of God." That’s all well and good, as long as we’re clear that there are no "new needs" for those who are sexually abused, only what they’ve needed for years.
— Michael Dobie @mwdobie