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 (many have changed, so take a look). In the rest of NY state, go to

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

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 –

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.

Zephyr Teachout for Governor

Posted by paulnewell on August 28, 2014
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teachout wu

This September 9th, I’ll be voting for Zephyr Teachout for Governor and Timothy Wu for Lieutenant Governor of New York State.  I ask you to join me.

Incumbent Andrew Cuomo’s consistent use of the office to serve the wealthiest has hurt working and middle class New Yorkers, earning him the nickname “Governor 1%”.  Equally disappointing, he has become the chief enabler of the pay-to-play culture of corruption that dominates Albany.  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.”  She not only understands the problem, but effectively articulates how corruption – both legal and illegal – hurts working and middle class New Yorkers every day.  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.

And she’s on a roll.  Teachout has recently been endorsed by the NYS Sierra Club, the National Organization for Women (NOW-NYS), the Nation, the Public Employees Federation, The Downtown Independent Democrats, and many more.  Zephyr Teachout is the right choice for New York State in 2014.

Cuomo does have some important accomplishments – most notably on marriage equality and gun control.  But these are overshadowed by his conservative economic policies that make New York’s rich richer and the rest of us poorer.  Below a few more examples of how Andrew Cuomo has failed New Yorkers.

Another contrast between Teachout and Cuomo can be seen in their choice of Lt. Governor candidates.  Timothy 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.

On September 9th, New York Democrats have a chance to make history.  We have long been one of the most progressive states in the country – and we have an opportunity to reclaim that mantle of leadership.  The American middle class is shrinking, wages are declining and home prices are increasingly out of reach.  In this context, Cuomo’s approach of progress on social issues while selling the state to the 1% is unacceptable.  As a New Yorker and as a Democrat, I’ll be giving my all to elect Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu on September 9th.  I hope you’ll join me.

Thank you,

Contribute to Teachout/Wu’s people powered campaign at

Volunteer to get the word out at

Polls are open on Tuesday, Sept. 9th from 6 AM – 9 PM.  You can find your poll site at

The Walk of Life

Posted by paulnewell on May 05, 2014
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Some of the young women Ubuntu Education Fund works with.

On Sunday, May 18th, I will walk in AIDS Walk New York to support  Ubuntu Education Fund and GMHC.  In many ways, this is a defining struggle of my life.

I grew up in the Village in the 1980s.  It was a wonderful, enriching place to grow up.  I had great public schools, access to world-class healthcare and a loving family.  It was also a community beset by a plague.  Watching our neighborhood respond – the birth of GMHC, ACT-UP and AIDS activism – taught me why we organize communities – and how we can win.  It continues to inspire and instruct me today.

Please help me fight AIDS in NYC by clicking:
As an adult, I traveled to Port Elizabeth, South Africa to help build Ubuntu Education Fund.  I worked with Ubuntu for six years, in NYC and South Africa.  In a community where 1 in 4 adults is HIV positive, Ubuntu is committed to long term, intensive interventions.  We recently celebrated Ubuntu’s 15th anniversary, and I’m proud to say the Ubuntu model is working. Many of the most vulnerable children I worked with in South Africa are graduating university and moving on to careers.

In 2011, Ubuntu opened a world-class health clinic right in the heart of the townships – the only one of its kind in the region. The clinic provides a continuum of free health services, including ARV therapy and support, prenatal and postnatal care, a range of women-focused medical services, HIV, TB, and pregnancy testing, immunizations, dental and vision screenings, and a lot more.

I have seen Ubuntu Education Fund turn around lives.   I have seen mothers brought back to life and children re-enrolled in school.  And I have learned that determined, community-based solutions can have dramatic and inspiring results.

Please help me support Ubuntu Education Fund by clicking:

I have lost more friends to HIV and AIDS than I care to count.  Thirty years on, this struggle continues.  Millions still lack access to life-saving drugs, new infections are on the rise here in NYC, and a cure remains elusive.  On Sunday, May 18th, I will walk with Team Ubuntu in AIDS Walk New York. I have pledged to raise $5,000 to support the work of Ubuntu Education Fund.
I ask for your help.  Even the smallest contribution makes a huge difference.

Thank you,

P.S. Please join me on Team Ubuntu. It’s a great time, a beautiful walk, you get a cool T-Shirt and it makes a difference. Sign up here:


AWNY with Banks

I got covered! Join me before Monday’s health care deadline!

Posted by paulnewell on March 27, 2014
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PN MetroPlus


I’m proud to report that after several years without health insurance, I recently got covered under the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.  It’s a weight off my shoulders, and is surprisingly affordable.  Given that District Leader is an unpaid position, that was a relief.

And I’m not alone.  Despite the mixed headlines, ObamaCare has been a resounding success.  In the first few months, over five six million Americans have gotten covered under the law – about 750,000 of them here in New York.  You can join us.

BUT THE OPEN ENROLLMENT DEADLINE IS JUST A FEW DAYS AWAY!  This Monday, March 31, at midnight is the deadline for most of us to sign up this year.  I know this can be a daunting process.  But as long at you start the process by Monday night, you’ll be able to finish it in time.  In New York, the place to start is at  If you’re not in NY, start your search at

To be clear, 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 “life event” that requires you to change you coverage – moving to a new state, changing/losing a job, marriage, divorce or having a child – you will be able to sign up then.  But for most of us, this Monday’s deadline is an important one.

Lack of insurance is the number one cause of bankruptcy (by far) in America.  It’s also a leading cause of severe illness and death.  Living uninsured puts you, your family, and our communities at risk.  Please take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity before the deadline.

To your health!


Happy Holidays from Lower Manhattan!

Posted by paulnewell on December 24, 2013
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Wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays and a joyous, healthy and prosperous new year.  As our city enters an exciting new era, I look forward to working with you to build our neighborhoods in 2014 and beyond. 

Peace on Earth,

Sombrero xmas 2013 web

Photo by Lower East Side photographer, Vivienne Gucwa.  Check out her work at

VOTE Tomorrow: NYC Voter Guide 2013!

Posted by paulnewell on November 04, 2013
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vote grafitti

Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 5th, is Election Day in New York.  This year, we’ll be choosing a new direction for New York City after 12 years of the Bloomberg era.  Polls will be open from 6:00AM – 9:00 PM.   You can find your poll site at

We’ll be electing all NYC offices, and voting on 6 ballot proposals.  Below are my endorsements in some key races.

Bill de Blasio for  Mayor – For the first time in a generation, NYC can elect a mayoral candidate who will prioritize making New York City a thriving, affordable city for working and middle class New Yorkers.  That candidate is Bill de Blasio.  De Blasio will bring the issues of affordable housing, universal quality public education, and livable streets to the center of our city’s agenda.  After 20 years of Republicans in City Hall, Bill de Blasio’s pragmatic, progressive, Democratic vision is the right direction for NYC.

In addition to Bill de Blasio for mayor, I encourage you to join me in voting for Democrats Letitia James for Public Advocate, Scott Stringer for Comptroller, and Gale Brewer for Manhattan Borough President.

On the Lower East Side, we have a chance to reelect our champion Rosie Mendez to the City Council.  I’ll also be voting for two of our neighborhood’s heroes running for Civil Court Judge – Kathryn Freed and Adam Silvera.

In the rest of the city, there are a couple of competitive races worth highlighting.

Ken Thompson for Brooklyn District Attorney – Few public offices impact so many families so directly as D.A.  Ken  Thompson promises to make law enforcement in Brooklyn about safeguarding both our neighborhoods and our civil rights.  He has good ideas on reforming our insane drug war and more.  In addition, scandals around the 23-year incumbent, Charles Hynes, – including letting politically-connected accused child-molesters off the hook – disqualify him.  Vote for Thompson.

Ben Kallos for City Council, District 5 (Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island) – Ben Kallos has dedicated his career to fighting against corruption and for a more open and honest government in New York.  He’s exactly the kind of committed good-government progressive New York needs more of. Vote for Kallos.

Please note: These Proposals will be on the BACK side of your ballot.  So you’ll have to turn over the ballot paper to vote on them.

In addition to candidates, there are 6 ballot proposals we’ll be asked to weigh in on.  These are all technically amendments to the NY State Constitution.  Most of them shouldn’t be done through this broken process, but nonetheless here they are.

NO on Proposal 1 (Authorizing Casino Gambling) – Casinos in urban areas bring blight, invite massive corruption, and destroy families.  While they already exist in Atlantic City and Connecticut, this bill would permit casinos in the heart of New York City.  This would undoubtedly be a net negative for our economy.  Casinos in cities do not bring surrounding development. They are inclusive one-stop shops with restaurants, entertainment, dedicated on-site transit, and impossible-to-locate exits. They shut down surrounding businesses by drowning them out and replacing them with illegal businesses.  While I can imagine a role for casinos in certain upstate locations, this proposal does not specify that.  The proposal is also dishonestly worded, alone a reason to oppose it.  Vote NO on Prop. 1.

YES on Proposal 2 (Civil Service Credit for Veterans with Disabilities) – This has no business being a ballot measure, but it’s a laudable policy goal.  Vote YES on Prop. 2.

YES on Proposal 3 (Exclusion of Indebtedness for Sewage Facilities) – This will enable smaller NY State communities to issue debt to build needed sewage facilities if they so choose.  Vote YES on Prop. 3.

YES on Proposal 4 (Settling Disputed Title in the Forest Preserve) – Another one that shouldn’t be on a statewide ballot.  It will help a few families in remote upstate New York get title to the land they’ve lived on for generations.  Probably won’t impact a single reader of this post, but it’s the right thing to do.  Vote YES on Prop. 4.

NO on Proposal 5 (Land Exchange in State Forest Preserve with NYCO Minerals, Inc.) – This would allow a multi-national mining company (NYCO Minerals) to expand a mine into 200 acres of the “Forever Wild” Adirondack Forest Preserve in exchange for a larger tract added to the preserve.  It is a complicated and not-all-bad exchange.  But the precedent of allowing strip-mining in one of the country’s oldest wild preserves (and a true gem of NY State) is too dangerous.  Also, the idea of writing the name of a mining company permanently into the NY State Constitution is thoroughly distasteful.  Vote NO on Prop. 5.

YES on Proposal 6 (Increasing Age Until Judges can Serve) – This overturns an ageist mandatory retirement age for certain judges written in 1869 (when 70 seemed older than it does today).  That costs us experienced judges and generally makes no sense.  This is a good (if incomplete) fix.  Vote YES on Prop. 6.

To recap: Vote NO on Proposals 1 and 5.  Vote YES on Proposals 2, 3, 4, and 6.

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

Thank you

VOTE Tomorrow – Oct. 1st – Daniel Squadron for Public Advocate

Posted by paulnewell on September 30, 2013
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UPDATE: Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 1st , is the runoff election for NYC Public Advocate. Please join me in voting for Daniel Squadron again in this second round.

The turnout is expected to be extremely low – likely less than 5%.  So there will be no lines, and your vote really makes a difference.  Polls will be open tomorrow from 6AM – 9PM.  You can find your poll site at

Below is my original endorsement of Squadron from the Primary election.  Since then, he has been endorsed by the New York Times, the Daily News, and many others.

squadron runoff small
Public Advocate is a weird job.  The office’s direct mandate is unclear, other than in appointing members of various boards and succeeding the mayor in the event of a mid-term vacancy.  That said, it can do a great deal of good for New Yorkers.  The Public Advocate’s impact depends to large degree on the individual’s vision for the office, and their ability to achieve results with little actual power.

By these measures, State Senator Daniel Squadron is the clear choice.

Daniel Squadron is one of the most intelligent, effective, and tireless public servants I have ever seen.  He has been my State Senator for five years.  In that time he has accomplished a remarkable amount.  With little seniority, and most of the time in the minority, Squadron has passed important legislation, helped to improve the seemingly hopeless culture of failure in Albany, and been on the ground for our neighborhoods every time he was needed.  His office staff is effective, responsive, and everywhere in the district.

  • Squadron wrote legislation that banned military-style assault weapons and helped ban high capacity gun magazines and require background checks for gun and ammunition purchases.
  • Squadron has fought for and won major improvement to NYCHA housing.  His work secured one-time federal funding of about $400 million and an annual $75 million in federal funds in perpetuity.
  • Squadron is the Senate sponsor of GENDA (the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act) – a key piece of civil rights legislation for New York.
  • Squadron mediated between advocates and the administration to end the outrageous policy of charging rent to homeless families in City shelters.
  • Squadron has led the charge to end the worst practices of Stop-and-Frisk. He sponsors the bill to undo the racist disparity in New York’s marijuana laws.
  • Squadron organized community pressure to get the MTA to conduct “Full Line Reviews” for the first time in the NYC Subway’s history.  This has resulted in dramatic service improvements to the F, L, and G trains.
  • Squadron is the leader in the NYS legislature on traffic safety, passing “Haley and Diego’s Law” to crack down on reckless driving.


All of that (and more) is what he did in Albany.  Here in the city Squadron was just as tireless.  This was most clear during and after Superstorm Sandy.  When we were without power for days on end, Squadron and his office were organized, effective, and accessible from the start.  When we needed information or resources, Squadron’s office was the best place to call every time.  He organized a huge relief effort in the Lower East Side, and helped tens of thousands of homebound residents in a time of need.

Daniel also has the most compelling vision for the Public Advocate’s office – as a voice for the most vulnerable New Yorkers.  His priorities include child welfare, the juvenile justice system and protecting the rights and safety of detainees in city jails.  It is all well within the limited confines of the Public Advocate’s office, and all very important to New Yorkers.  You can read his full plan for the office here:
Daniel Squadron is a leader.  Not of the sort who gives speeches (not his strong suit) or holds press conferences.  Daniel Squadron is a leader who identifies problems, works collaboratively to find solutions, and then makes them happen.

The New York Times recently endorsed Squadron, writing “He promises to fight for the city’s ‘overlooked orphans in our political system’ — just what a public advocate should do.”

I will be proudly voting for Daniel Squadron for Public Advocate on Tuesday, October 1st.  I ask you to join me. 
Thank you.


September 11th, 2013

Posted by paulnewell on September 09, 2013
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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 so.  Below is some information on commemorative events, as well as the details on the traffic and transit changes to expect.  Special thanks to Community Board 1 and the Broadsheet for assembling some of this information.

Peace on earth,

The 9/11 commemoration for families of those killed in the attacks will be held at the World Trade Centre site Memorial on Wednesday from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM.  There will be a citywide moment of silence at 8:46 AM.  The names of the victims will be read, accompanied by music, with additional moments of silence throughout the program.

Parallel Stories: The World Trade Center and Battery Park City – The Museum of Jewish Heritage, will commemorate the 12th anniversary with free admission and a community-focused program at 7pm.  The free presentation features panelists Clifford Chanin from the National September 11 Memorial Museum, Carol Willis from The Skyscraper Museum, and Matthew Fenton, editor-in-chief of the Broadsheet.

Lower Manhattan Community Remembers 9/11 – 7PM at Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center (120 Warren Street).  You are invited to share your memories and experiences of September 11, 2001, including the event’s impact on our community and the rebuilding effort that followed. Reserve a free ticket at:

ResoNations 2013: A 9/11 Concert of Remembrance, Healing & Creating Peace – 7PM at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Art Center (199 Chambers Street).  It features renowned Jazz and international musicians in premieres works composed and performed in the name of peace. Tickets are $10.

9/11 is now also known as a national day of service.  You can find many worthwhile projects to get involved with at:

As always, there will be significant parking changes and street closures.  Details are in the PDF below.

Rosie Mendez for City Council (District 2)

Posted by paulnewell on September 08, 2013
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Paul and Rosie 1
On September 10th I plan to vote for Rosie Mendez in the Democratic Primary.  I ask you to join me. 

For more than 30 years, Rosie Mendez has been an advocate for the low and moderate income residents of New York.  Since being elected to the City Council to represent District 2 (the east side of Manhattan below 35th Street) in 2005 Rosie has accomplished a great deal for our community and for New York City.

  • Rosie has limited over-development of the district by passing major rezoning plans that curb highrise buildings, encourage affordable housing and cap dormitories;
  • Rosie has preserved our community’s character by establishing landmark districts and buildings to prohibit the destruction of our history;
  • Rosie is a leader on tenants’ rights – fighting to strengthen rent regulations and to preserve public housing;
  • Rosie has fought for and delivered better, less crowded schools with quality libraries, play areas, and science labs for all students – fairly distributed to regular, special education and charter schools;
  • Rosie has championed civil rights, working hard to pass marriage equality, to reform stop & frisk, and end bullying and anti-gay violence
  • Rosie passed the Bicycle Crash Data bill, creating safer streets by requiring that police report accidents involving bicycles;
  • Rosie allocated over $10 million to renovate public parks and community gardens, including East River, Tompkins Square, Stuyvesant, and Union Square Parks;
  • Rosie has fought to improve the quality of life of her constituents, cutting down noise from bars and working to reduce after-hours construction.

Our neighborhoods cannot afford to lose Rosie’s tireless advocacy.  On Tuesday, I’ll be voting for Rosie Mendez for City Council.  I ask you to join me.

P.S. – Do you have time tomorrow or Tuesday to help Rosie win?  Supporters will pass out lit at polls, make phone calls, and get out supporters to the polls! Email or 212-260-7353 to volunteer

Polls will be open Tuesday from 6:00AM – 9:00 PM.   You can find your poll site (many of them have changed) at

Yetta Kurland for City Council (District 3)

Posted by paulnewell on September 08, 2013
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Photo by Jon Reznick,

Tuesday, September 10th, is election day in New York City.  In the 3rd City Council District, covering the West Village, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Clinton, Flatiron, and West SoHo, Democrats have the chance to vote for one of NYC’s most outstanding progressive leaders.  I’m writing to ask you to take that opportunity, and vote for Yetta Kurland for City Council.

I have worked with Yetta Kurland, most notably in working to restore hospital service to the West Side after the closure of St. Vincent’s.  In that fight, and in countless others, Yetta proved to be a principled, organized, effective and fearless advocate.  I have been consistently impressed by Yetta’s ability to work with diverse people with differing views and bring them together for community results.  The West Side is lucky to have her.

As a Civil Rights Attorney and neighborhood organizer for over 25 years, Yetta has lifted her strong voice on behalf of ordinary New Yorkers many times, working effectively with neighborhood groups to organize against overdevelopment on the West Side, end the abuses in the stop & frisk policy, and to restore hospital service to our community.  Yetta’s accomplishments over two decades of work for our neighborhoods are too many to list, but here are a few more recent examples.


  • Yetta founded the Coalition for a New Village Hospital, leading the fight to restore this vital part of our healthcare infrastructure, and winning important victories.
  • Yetta is a founding board member of Marriage Equality USA, and helped to win that important right.
  • Yetta organized our communities in response to senseless gun violence.
  • Yetta has fought for more park space in one of the city’s densest areas.
  • Yetta has won important legal battles for LGBT rights, free speech, for New York women facing workplace discrimination, for tenants fighting eviction, and more.
  • Yetta organized hundreds of volunteers to deliver assistance to vulnerable seniors during and after Superstorm Sandy.

Yetta Kurland has been unafraid to ruffle feathers to stand up for us.  In the City Council, I know that she will be an effective legislator, but one who will never forget her principles or who she is there to represent.  Yetta is both a principled progressive and a great coalition builder.  And that is a rare thing.  It’s why she’s been endorsed by Citizen Action of New York, Emily’s List, the National Organization for Women, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for New York City, numerous labor organizations, Democratic Clubs, and many others.

I have learned more from Yetta Kurland than I have from any other organizer or activist I have ever worked with.  She inspires me, and gives me hope that a better city is possible.  I hope you will join me in supporting Yetta Kurland for City Council this Tuesday.  Thank you.

P.S. – Do you have time tomorrow or Tuesday to help Yetta win?  Sign up here:, or call Lenni at (646) 801-8190!

Polls will be open Tuesday from 6:00AM – 9:00 PM.   You can find your poll site (many of them have changed) at

Photo by Jon Reznick Photography, 2012.