Happy Year of the Ram! – How to celebrate in Chinatown NYC!

Posted by paulnewell on February 19, 2015
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Wishing you and your family
a joyous, healthy and prosperous
Year of the Ram 4713!

Chinese New Year
Below are a few events around Chinatown NYC where you can join the celebrations.

Today, February 19th, 11 AM – New Years Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival – Sara Delano Roosevelt Park, Grand Street between Chrystie and Forsyth Streets – This is the official firecracker ceremony celebrating the Year of the Ram. Organized by our friends at Better Chinatown USA and the Chinatown Partnership. After the ceremony is over, check out the cultural festival booths.

Today, February 19th, 12:30 PM – Lunar New Year Performances62 Mott Street, Basement – Cultural performances by young students and others at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association

Sunday, February 22nd, 1PM – Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival
Begins at Canal/Mott Street and ends at SDR Park (Grand Street) – The largest Lunar New Year parade in America, line up early along the parade route to get a good view of lion and dragon dancers, performers, floats. Afterward, check out festival booths at SDR Park, or just walk around the neighborhood for more dances and celebrations. Route and details at:

Parade Route:

parade route

Saturday, February 28th, 11AM-4PMMOCAFAMILY: Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street. Family fun with lion dances, participatory Lunar New Year crafts and more. Tickets and details at: http://www.mocanyc.org/visit/events/lunar_new_year_family_festival_0.

Sunday, March 1st, 12PM – United Fujianese American Association Lantern Festival –
88 East Broadway to Chatham Square. – A parade and street performances in the Fujianese tradition.

Sunday, March 1st, 12:30PM – Chinatown Tenants Union Lunar New Year Banquet – Foo Chow Restaurant (68 East Broadway) – Celebrate the new year with the Chinatown Tenants Union and CAAAV. Eat an amazing meal and support some of NYC’s most fearless and effective tenant and community advocates. For tickets or more info, contact Wai Yee at wpoon@caaav.org or call at 212-473-6485.

March 5-7th, 7PM – Lantern Festival Performances at the Chen Dance Center – 70 Mulberry Street, 2nd Floor. Tickets and details at: http://www.chendancecenter.org.

The Downtown Express has a good roundup of street closures at http://www.downtownexpress.com/2015/02/17/transit-sam-week-of-feb-19-2015-lunar-new-year/

As always, I encourage you to celebrate by eating at some of Chinatown’s amazing restaurants. Walk around and see what grabs your fancy, or email me for some of my personal recommendations.

Gong Hey Fat Choy!

Healthcare Deadline: February 15th

Posted by paulnewell on February 03, 2015
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PN MetroPlus

The deadline for most of us to apply for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (also known as “ObamaCare”) is Sunday, February 15th. If you already have insurance through the ACA, Feb. 15th is also the deadline to switch plans this year.

This is not the last day anyone can sign-up for ObamaCare. It’s the last day for “open enrollment” this year.  If you have a qualifying “life event” that requires you to change you coverage you will be able to sign up later.

But for most of us, now is the time to act. If you’re uninsured or want to change your plan in New York, sign up today at https://NYStateOfHealth.ny.gov/ If you’re not in NY, start your search at HealthCare.gov. You’ll be surprised at how affordable many of the plans are. The vast majority of New Yorkers who applied were eligible for state-funded Medicaid plans or significant federal subsidies. On the flip-side, many people will be subject to tax-penalties if they remain uninsured.

Health insurance is a complicated thing. If the application process seems daunting, I recommend you contact a certified Health Care Navigator (it won’t cost you a penny). In Lower Manhattan, you can find one at the Henry Street Settlement, the Chinese-American Planning Council, the LGBT Community Center, or find one through the NY State of Health site. You can also call NY State of Health at 855-355-5777 (but expect a long wait time there).

A few years on, the Affordable Care Act is a smashing success – one that I am proud to have played a small role in bringing about. Well over a million New Yorkers have gotten health insurance through the law. More than 25,000 of them are here in Lower Manhattan – including me. Nationwide the percent of Americans without insurance has been slashed, healthcare related financial-stress is down, and the costs have come in well below predictions.

But too many of us are still uninsured. If you can help spread the word about ObamaCare to uninsured neighbors, please join me, Downtown East for Change, Get Covered, and others on Tuesday, February 10th from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM. RSVP and info at: https://my.barackobama.com/page/event/detail/gs8bm5.

Living uninsured puts you, your family, and our communities at risk.  Please take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity before the deadline. Thank you.

To your health…


Severe Blizzard hits NYC Monday & Tuesday – What you should know.

Posted by paulnewell on January 25, 2015
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blizzard map

Here we go again.

The National Weather Service has issued a severe blizzard warning for tomorrow (Monday Jan. 26) and Tuesday Jan. 27 for the entire NYC metro area and throughout the Northeast. Predictions are from 20 to 36 inches of snow in a 24-hour period, with wind gusts up to 65 M.P.H. – making this potentially the biggest snow storm in New York City’s history.

I know New Yorkers think we’re tougher than any storm, but please take this one seriously. The snow is expected to begin around noon on Monday. It should start slowly and increase through the afternoon and evening. The heaviest snowfall is expected later on Monday night through early Tuesday. This means that while Monday morning’s commute will likely be uneventful, Monday evening’s commute will be severely impacted. The storm may also cause power outages in some areas.

The National Weather Service is warning of “extremely dangerous travel due to heavy snowfall and strong winds, with whiteout conditions. Secondary and tertiary roads may become impassable. Strong winds may down power lines and tree limbs.”

As of this message NYC public schools are planned to be open on Monday, but all after-school and PSAL programs have been canceled. Public schools will most likely closed Tuesday. Call your school, 311, or check https://twitter.com/NYCSchools for updates. Parents at other schools are encouraged to call the school this evening and again in the morning to confirm the status.

Alternate side parking rules are canceled for Monday and Tuesday (but you still have to feed the meters, I’m afraid). Monday night’s HOPE 2015 annual count of NYC’s homeless population has been canceled.

Below are a few safety recommendations:

  • Stay Inside as much as is possible. If you can work from home, please do so.

  • Stay off the roads. If you have to travel, PLEASE do so by public transit. If you must drive, please have snow chains, flares and other safety equipment with you.

  • If your work hours are flexible, try to start and finish work earlier than usual tomorrow (Monday) so you will not be out in the worst of the storm.

  • If you are an employer, please contact your employees as soon as possible to encourage earlier out-times for Monday.

  • Be sure to charge all your phones and electronic devices.

If we do lose power, extra precautions may be necessary, especially for those of us living in high-rise apartment buildings. Check that your home is stocked with:

  • A working flashlight and batteries.

  • Enough food for two days

  • Drinking water (1 gallon per person per day is the rule of thumb).

  • Buckets of water for toilet flushing, etc.

  • Medicines you rely on.

  • A basic first aid kit.

As always, we’re gonna pull through this by working together. Please check in on elderly and home-bound neighbors and relatives to be sure they are prepared. NYC Meals-on-Wheels will be delivering extra meals tomorrow morning starting at 9:30 A.M. to tide people over.
If you are able to volunteer to help with those extra deliveries, please e-mail vivienne@citymeals.org and sheila@citymeals.org for details and to RSVP.

Please reserve 911 calls for actual emergencies (but don’t hesitate to call them if you have one). For other questions on city services, please call 311.

Stay informed by watching and listening to local media. The city is updating http://www.nyc.gov/severeweather regularly. If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to enroll in the NYC Alerts system at https://a858-nycnotify.nyc.gov/notifynyc/. I’ll also be tweeting and retweeting updates at https://twitter.com/NewellNYC throughout the storm.

Please stay warm and safe.

Thank you.



Posted by paulnewell on January 22, 2015
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January 22, 2015

Contact: Paul Newell

347-351-7285 or Paul@NewellNYC.org


New York, N.Y. – Democratic District Leader Paul Newell issued the following statement today:

“If the report in the New York Times is true, this is a sad day for Lower Manhattan and a sad day for New York.
I can’t speak to the specific charges against the Speaker, but I can say that outside income for legislators is a certain recipe for corruption. Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Skelos should have banned it long ago. The 65th Assembly District, and all New Yorkers, deserve better.”

Paul Newell is a community organizer, activist and longtime resident of the Lower East Side. In 2009, he was elected Democratic District Leader for the 65th Assembly District.  He was reelected in 2011 and 2013.  The district is represented in the NYS Assembly by Sheldon Silver. In 2008, Newell ran a spirited challenger’s campaign for the Assembly seat, winning the endorsements of The New York Times, The Daily News, the New York Post and many others.


Season’s Greetings from Lower Manhattan!

Posted by paulnewell on December 23, 2014
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Wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays and a joyous, healthy, fulfilling and prosperous new year.
I look forward to working with you to strengthen our neighborhoods and our city in 2015 and beyond.

Peace and Justice on Earth,


Doyers Street, Winter by Vivienne Gucwa



Photo by Lower East Side photographer, Vivienne Gucwa.  Check out her beautiful new book at nythroughthelens.com/book

VOTE Today for a Democratic Senate and No on Prop 1

Posted by paulnewell on November 03, 2014
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Polls are open from 6AM-9PM today, Tuesday, November 4th.
Find your poll site at https://www.votinginfoproject.org/projects/vip-voting-information-tool/.
And don’t forget –
the proposals are on the back side of the ballot.

New Yorkers have a lot at stake in tomorrow’s elections. On almost every issue that matters to working and middle class people, it is imperative that we vote to build a real Democratic majority in the New York State Senate. While no caucus in New York is perfect, on issues like banning hydro-fracking, fully funding mass transit, supporting NY public schools, reforming our failed, racist marijuana laws, rampant income inequality, increasing the minimum wage, reproductive rights, Women’s Equality, and many more, electing a Democratic State Senate is our best chance for a real progress.

Please join me in voting for Democratic candidates for NY State Senate today. Together, we can build a better New York for all of us.

Some New York voters will also have the opportunity to chips away at the massively destructive Tea Party control of the US Congress. Please vote Domenic Recchia for Congress in Staten Island/Southwest Brooklyn and Sean Patrick Maloney for Congress in the Hudson Valley.

I’m also encouraging New Yorkers to Vote No on Prop 1. This phony redistricting reform proposal is intentionally misleading. It sounds like an anti-gerrymandering law. In fact, it enshrines partisan gerrymandering into the NYS Constitution – and will empower the party bosses in Albany even further than they already are. I strongly support real redistricting reform. Prop 1 is not it.

I’ve posted a fuller explanation of why to Vote No on Prop 1, as well as info on the other two proposals (Yes on Prop 2, No on Prop 3) here http://newellnyc.org/no-on-prop-1-2014/. Please note that you must physically turn over your ballot to see the proposals on the back side of the page.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions on these or other matters. Whether you take my advice or not, PLEASE VOTE TODAY. It is important that all our voices are heard.

Thank you,

New York – VOTE NO ON PROP 1 this Tuesday

Posted by paulnewell on October 30, 2014
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no on prop 1

Ballot proposals can be confusing to even the most informed voter. Often this is intentional – political insiders prefer it that way. Many NY voters cast their ballot without ever seeing the Proposals, because you have to physically turn over your ballot to see the proposals on the back side of the page. Below is my take on the NY State ballot proposals this Tuesday, November 4th. I hope you find them helpful.

VOTE NO ON PROPOSAL ONE (Phony Redistricting “Reform”) – This is Exhibit A of an intentionally misleading proposal. It sounds like an anti-gerrymandering law. In fact, it enshrines partisan gerrymandering into the NYS Constitution, I strongly support real redistricting reform, this is not it.

Rather than an independent panel, Prop 1 sets up a commission of partisan appointees – and will undoubtedly result in grossly undemocratic districts for years to come. In fact, a court barred advocates from including the word “independent” in the proposal.

Gerrymandering is a serious threat to American democracy – right after the corrupting influence of big money. For New York, it’s long been a bipartisan scam. In a 50-year backroom deal, Republicans draw the State Senate to keep their majority and Democrats draw the Assembly to prevent primary challenges from progressive reformers. The Senate map is particularly egregious.  Statewide and locally, communities were spliced – weakening their representation.  Bizarre almost non-contiguous districts snake along highways, bridges and rivers to protect or weaken certain politicians and communities.  Districts that are drawn to be uncompetitive guarantee legislators who are unresponsive to anyone but big money and party machines.

This process desperately needs reform. Unfortunately, Prop 1 is not it. Virtually every newspaper in NYS opposes Prop 1, including the New York Times, the Albany Times-Union, Newsday and others. So do most “Good Government” groups like Common Cause and the NYCLU.

The good news is, we’ve got 7 or 8 years to get this right next time. And I believe it can be done. But not if we entrench this sham into our constitution. On Tuesday, please VOTE NO ON PROP 1.

In addition to Prop 1, you’ll find two other proposals when you turn over your ballot to vote. They are less existential, but matter nonetheless. Here’s my take:

Vote Yes on Proposal Two (Electronic Distribution of Legislative Bills) – This would allow the legislature to distribute proposed legislation as a PDF instead of on paper. Not a huge deal, but will save some time, trees and money.

Vote NO on Proposal Three (“Smart” Schools Bond Act) – This would borrow $2 Billion for technology in schools. While I support technology in schools, this proposal does not specify if the money is for public, private or parochial schools. Furthermore, it is a 30-year taxpayer debt obligation for equipment that will be obsolete in a few years. For two of those years, it will bring the state dangerously close to our debt limit. The legislature should properly fund NY public schools, and not to privatize them or rely on long-term debt for short-term operating costs.

Polls are open from 6AM-9PM this Tuesday, November 4th. You can find your poll site at https://www.votinginfoproject.org/projects/vip-voting-information-tool/. And don’t forget – the proposals are on the back side of the ballot.

The People’s Climate March is not about the planet

Posted by paulnewell on September 18, 2014
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PCM Liberty

This is not about the planet.  The planet is going to be fine.  This is about us.

This Sunday, at the People’s Climate March, we’ll be marching for our cities and our neighborhoods and our families and our future.  I hope you will join us.

Climate change will soon impact every human being on the planet.  Indeed, it already has.  Here in New York, this message could not be clearer two years after hurricane Sandy.  The time to change its course is now.  Fortunately, we already have many of the solutions – clean energy, public transportation, efficient cities.  What is lacking is the will to change.

This Sunday, September 21st, we will build that will.  Millions of people around the world will take to the streets in the People’s Climate March– the largest climate action in history.  In NYC, I’ll be marching with the Downtown Independent Democrats, Zephyr Teachout and the “Fractivist” coalition of Anti-Hydrofracking activists.  Please join me or any of the hundreds of other groups that will be taking part.  Below are details of where I’ll be assembling.   More information on the People’s Climate March and the Global Day of Action can be found at: http://peoplesclimate.org/march/.

People’s Climate March

This Sunday, September 21st

Meet at 10:30 AM at

Central Park West between W. 80th & 81st Streets

See the full march lineup map at http://peoplesclimate.org/lineup/


Climate change is perhaps as urgent and vital a challenge as our society has ever faced. We know how to win, but we need all of us on board.  This Sunday, I hope to see you there.

September 11th, 2014

Posted by paulnewell on September 10, 2014
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September 11th is a difficult day for Lower Manhattan, our city and our country.  You do not need me to tell you this.  Below is some information on a few commemorative events, as well as the details on the traffic and transit changes to expect.  Special thanks to the BPC Broadsheet for assembling some of this information.

Peace on earth,

The commemoration for family members of the victims of the 2001 and 1993 attacks will take place at the 9/11 Memorial on Thursday from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Following a citywide moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the names of the victims will be read with music as a backdrop. There will be five additional moments of silence throughout the program.

Tribute in Light at the 9/11 Memorial Plaza – From 6pm to midnight, the 9/11 Memorial Plaza will be open to the public for a special viewing. Enter the Memorial from Either the Liberty Street or West Street sides.

Lower Manhattan Community Remembers 9/11: Living Together in a Global CommunityAt 7PM, the Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center will reflect on the community’s experiences and resilience. The program includes performances from The Tribeca Chamber Players, Pianist Nate Andersen, and refreshments from David Bouley. Afterwards, the group will walk together to the World Trade Center Memorial Plaza for a viewing of the Tribute in Light.

September 11th is also now known as a National Day of Service.  You can find many worthwhile projects to get involved with at: http://www.serve.gov/?q=site-page/september-11th-national-day-service-and-remembrance.

As always, these observances involve some disruption of traffic and transit in our community. Below is a summary.

 The M9, M15, M20 and Downtown Connection buses will be running as scheduled, but expect traffic to crawl.

Pedestrian Access

  • The Liberty Street sidewalk adjacent to the Memorial plaza (between Greenwich and West Streets) will be closed to pedestrians until 6 p.m.
  • The Liberty Street pedestrian bridge will remain open.
  • The sidewalk on the east side of West Street (between Vesey and Cedar Streets) adjacent to the Memorial plaza will be closed to pedestrians until 6 p.m.

Traffic Restrictions

  • Liberty Street (between Trinity Place and Greenwich Street) and Greenwich Street (between Liberty and Albany) will be closed to vehicular traffic from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. Businesses and residents should avoid
  • scheduling deliveries to those blocks during that time period.
  • West Street will remain open to vehicular traffic. However, trucks will not be permitted northbound on West Street from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to Vesey Street. Trucks will be diverted from the tunnel to Trinity
  • Place/Church Street to travel north.
  • Church Street/Trinity Place and Broadway will remain open.

Parking Restrictions

The following streets will not have access to parking:

  • Liberty Street between Broadway and Greenwich Street
  • Greenwich Street between Liberty and Rector Streets
  • Trinity Place between Liberty and Morris Streets Little West Street between 2nd and 3rd Place


VOTE Tomorrow – Paul’s Primary Voter Guide 2014

Posted by paulnewell on September 08, 2014
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Tomorrow, Tuesday September 9th, is Primary Election Day in New York State. This election has the potential to change the direction of New York State, and dramatically change the Democratic Party nationwide. Perhaps the most progressive state in the union, New York has been saddled with a right-of-center Governor, a GOP-controlled Senate and an Assembly riddled with corruption. Big money and back-room deals dominate our state government and block progress for New Yorkers. Tomorrow, we can change that.

PLEASE VOTE. Polls are open from 6 AM – 9PM. In NYC, you can find your district and poll site at http://nyc.pollsitelocator.com (many have changed, so take a look). In the rest of NY state, go to https://voterlookup.elections.state.ny.us.

Below are my endorsements in a few key races.

Zephyr Teachout for Governor – Incumbent Andrew Cuomo’s has used his office to serve the wealthiest and hurt working and middle class New Yorkers, earning him the nickname “Governor 1%”. He’s also done everything he can to keep a Republican controlled State Senate, and blocked anti-corruption efforts. New York deserves much better.

Fortunately, we have in Zephyr Teachout a great alternative.  The New York Times recently called her “a national expert on political corruption and an advocate of precisely the kind of transparency and political reform that Albany needs.” Teachout believes in “a New York where wages are rising, small businesses are thriving and our public schools are the best in the nation.”  She has pledged to ban fracking, invest in public schools and get big money out of politics.

In a broader view, a Teachout victory over Cuomo’s millions from the Koch Brothers, big real estate and the oil and gas industry, would shake up our party nationwide. It is vital that progressives show the Democratic Party that we will stand up to the big-money Democrats who sell out working Americans. Please join us in this effort by voting for Zephyr Teachout tomorrow.

View my full endorsement of Zephyr Teachout at http://newellnyc.org/teachout-wu/.

Tim Wu for Lieutenant GovernorTimothy Wu, Ms. Teachout’s running mate, has led a national fight for net neutrality and equality of access to information for over a decade.  Born in Taiwan, Wu would be a champion for NY’s immigrant communities and is our first statewide Asian-American candidate.  In contrast, Cuomo’s choice, Kathy Hochul, is perhaps the only Democrat in NY more conservative than himself.  Hochul has voted to repeal Obamacare, led a prominent anti-immigrant effort in NYS, has been endorsed by the Conservative Party every time she’s run for office, and has a 100% lifetime rating from the NRA. Hochul is the wrong choice for New York State Democrats.  Tim Wu is the right one.

See the New York Times endorsement of Tim Wu at – http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/28/opinion/timothy-wu-for-lieutenant-governor.html.

For a Better New York State Senate

The New York State Senate is a disaster. Despite a Democratic majority, Cuomo and the “IDC” -five opportunist “Democratic” State Senators – have conspired with the Republicans to return the minority GOP to control. This, along with rampant corruption in both parties, has thwarted progress on issues from affordable housing, women’s health, campaign finance reform, ethics reform, transportation, environmental issues like fracking and more. Tomorrow, we have a chance to change that. Below are my endorsements in some key races. You’ll notice that most of these are of the “throw the bums out” school. Few places have a higher concentration of bums in need of throwing than the NY State Senate.

  1. John C. Liu for State Senate District 11 (Northeast Queens) – Liu has been a pioneering, progressive leader in New York. The first Asian-American councilmember, he went on to be a superb NYC Comptroller. His opponent, incumbent Tony Avella, lost any claim to progressive or Democratic support when he joined the GOP allied “IDC”. John Liu will restore Democratic representation to NE Queens, and to the State Senate. Vote for Liu.
  2. Oliver Koppell for State Senate District 34 (Parts of the Bronx and Westchester). – Koppell is one of the most experienced progressive Democrats in NY State. His opponent, Jeff Klein, is the leader of the breakaway IDC/GOP alliance. He has been particularly spiteful and nasty in defending this power-grab – and has blocked vital reforms for NY tenants and workers. This one Senate race could have huge statewide impact. If you live in this district, please vote for Oliver Koppell.
  3. Dell Smitherman for State Senate District 19 (Canarsie, East New York, Most of Southeast Brooklyn) – Smitherman is a longtime labor and community activist who knows his district well. The incumbent, John Sampson, has embodied the culture of corruption that dominates the Senate. Sampson has been indicted on embezzlement and fraud charges, and allegedly tried to intervene in the investigation. He is unfit for elected office. Vote Smitherman.
  1. Leroy Comrie, Jr for State Senate District 14 (Jamaica, St. Albans, Hollis in Southeast Queens), Comrie has served Southeast Queens for years in the City Council and the Borough President’s office. Incumbent Malcolm Smith has a long history of corruption and selling out his constituents to the highest bidder. Ostensibly a Democrat, he was briefly a member of the GOP/IDC caucus, until he was arrested for trying to bribe his way on to last year’s mayoral ballot as a Republican (only in New York). Queens deserves much better. Vote Comrie.
  2. Gustavo Rivera for State Senate District 33 (Northwest Bronx). – A Good Incumbent! They do exist, and Rivera is one of the best. He’s been a leader on ethics reform, expanding access to healthcare, and campaign finance reform. Naturally, this has earned him a challenge from the GOP/IDC alliance. His challenger opposes a woman’s right to choose and supports viciously homophobic policies here in NY and around the world. This one’s a no-brainer. Vote for Rivera.
  3. Debbie Medina for State Senate District 18 (Bushwick, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Bed-Stuy) – Medina is a tenant organizer and political reformer committed to open government and progressive values. Incumbent Martin Dilan is a vestige of Brooklyn’s broken, corrupt political machine. Vote for Medina and a breath of fresh air in northwest Brooklyn.

Finally, I’m encouraging Brooklyn Democrats to vote for Nick Rizzo for State Committee in AD 50 (Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Ft. Greene). The Brooklyn Democratic Party has come a long way in a few short years from the bad-old-days of Vito Lopez and company. But there’s still a long way to go. Nick Rizzo, the candidate of the New Kings Democrats, is the right kind of fresh, reform voice to do the job.

So there you have my picks for this important election.  Whomever you support, please be sure to vote.  Our state needs your voice.

Thank you,

P.S. Please join Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu at 6:30-9 PM tonight for a Pre-Election Rally in Union Square. Hope to see you there.