Good afternoon and welcome to The Point! Did someone forward you our newsletter? Click here to subscribe.
For the fourth time in a century
The time for thinking big, real big, about major infrastructure is at hand.
The Regional Plan Association, a research and advocacy group, is getting ready for its moment in the spotlight — a moment that has come only three other times in the past 100 years.
The organization will unveil its fourth regional plan Thursday in an extensive program that will include a who’s who of regional leaders, from Tony Shorris, the top deputy to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
But before any of that pomp begins, representatives of the RPA have been quietly giving elected officials, experts, advocates and members of the media — including The Point — an advance look at the plan.
In its three previous plans, the RPA advocated for sweeping changes and significant makeovers. Among the recommendations from its first plan — released in 1929 — that were implemented? The construction of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and the location of the George Washington Bridge. More recently, the organization’s third plan in 1996 advocated for the development of the far West Side of Manhattan, now known as Hudson Yards, and the East Side Access effort to extend the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal.
Randi F. Marshall
Chatting about State Senate control
As the Business Council of Westchester hosted a nationally focused event Wednesday morning titled “Year One of Trump: A Review of the Administration’s First Year in Office,” the coffeepot chatter was about control of the State Senate.
Amid newly announced plans from the two Democratic caucuses to reunite next year, the 37th District seat that Democrat George Latimer is vacating is key to taking the majority in the Republican-controlled chamber. A win in the 37th District should be possible for the GOP, since it was specifically redrawn after the 2010 census to go red. But the best laid plans of the Republican gerrymanderers went awry, thanks to Latimer.
After Democrat Suzy Oppenheimer retired in 2012, redistricting gave the GOP a chance to create what it thought would be a safe seat for real estate magnate Bob Cohen, who had lost a close race to Oppenheimer in 2010 under the old lines.
The boundaries created in 2012, according to the local League of Women Voters, were “zigzagging lines through Yonkers, New Rochelle and White Plains, splitting these communities in such a manner as to carve minorities out of this district.”
But Latimer, a popular Democrat who had been in the Assembly for eight years and elective office for 20, beat Cohen anyway, then kept the seat despite hearty challenges in 2014 and 2016. Then Latimer beat incumbent Rob Astorino for Westchester County executive on Nov. 7, leaving his Senate seat open as of Jan. 1.
So who will run in the special Senate election most likely to be held in April?
It all got even more fascinating Wednesday when Yonkers Democratic Assemb. Shelley Mayer announced she would seek the seat, joining Democrat Kat Brezler, a former Bernie Sanders organizer. Cuomo is said to want Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano to go after the Democratic nod, but Spano hasn’t said yea or nay.
There’s no clear front-runner on the GOP side, either. Bedford lawyer Sarmad Khojasteh and former prosecutor and district attorney candidate Dan Schorr are saying they’ll run, but there is no heavyweight on the scene yet.
Just like the entire State Senate, right now the 37th is a jump ball.
Christmas list of middle class
Write-ins for mayor
Imagine this headline about a New York City mayoral race: Preet Beats Porzingis.
That’s what happened in the 2017 election in November — for write-in votes, anyway.
The mayoral results giving the election to incumbent Bill de Blasio were certified on Tuesday, which means political observers could play the parlor game of seeing what bizarre or buzzy candidates New Yorkers wrote in for Hizzonner’s job this year.
The big winners were former Mayor Michael Bloomberg (982), Hillary Clinton (240) and Christine Quinn (195), who lost to de Blasio in the 2013 Democratic primary. (Numbers include spelling variants.)
Those heavy hitters cakewalked past real mayoral hopefuls like Comptroller Scott Stringer (55) and Public Advocate Letitia James (27).
For those still pondering the eternal question of whether Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would have beaten President Donald Trump, here’s more evidence for Sanders (29) over the president (22). Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was below both (6). Former U.S. prosecutor Preet Bharara drew 38.
Anthony Weiner received 8 votes behind bars, and MTA head Joseph Lhota (de Blasio’s GOP opponent in 2013) got 21 to fix the damn subways.
Who else do New Yorkers think should save the city? Forty-five wanted the return of the 44th president, Barack Obama. The Yankees’ Aaron Judge (10) and Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis (11) might be encouraged to try a new field.
Bill Clinton is relatively back-of-mind these days, with a lowly 8 votes. Still, better than Jesus Christ (3).