Polls are open in NYC this Tuesday, November 6, from 6:00 AM to 9:00 P.M.
In NYC, you can find your poll site (and a sample ballot) at https://nyc.pollsitelocator.com/search.
Elsewhere, you can find it at https://www.vote.org/polling-place-locator.
As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Tuesday is Election Day, and perhaps the most important one in several generations. Democrats are on the verge of taking back at least one house of Congress and providing an important check on our extremely dangerous president. Locally, Democrats are poised to win the N.Y. State Senate – and give us an opportunity to protect tenants, workers, patients, students, and families as we have never done before. I encourage everyone to vote for Democratic candidates in every race on their ballot.
Less publicized, NYC residents will also vote on three amendments to our charter. I will be voting YES on Proposal 1 and NO on Proposals 2 and 3.
Before going into why, I want to remind you that you must physically turn your ballot over to vote on these important proposals. The Ballot Proposals are on the other side of the page from the candidates for office.
YES on Proposal 1: Campaign Finance Reform
NYC already has a pretty good campaign finance system. It is vastly better than the State and Federal systems. This proposal expands and improves it. Currently, small dollar contributions (up to $175) are matched at a rate of 6 to 1. These “matching funds” can be up to about 55% of the total amount a campaign can raise. This proposal would increase the ratio to 8 to 1 and allow up to 75% of campaign funds to come from matching. It would also lower the maximum individual contributions, making it significantly harder for landlords or other moneyed interests to buy influence. Proposal 1 deserves your support.
NO on Proposal 2: Civic Engagement Commission
Who doesn’t like civic engagement, right? The trouble is, this creates a mayoral appointed commission with little clarity on its mission. It appears to be a ploy to create additional patronage and strengthen our already powerful mayor at the expense of community boards, City Council Members and other community engagement mechanisms. This ill-conceived and fuzzy commission does not rise to the level of a Charter Amendment.
NO on Proposal 3: Community Board Term Limits
Proposal puts term limits on community board members. In general, I support term limits. But Community Boards have no actual power. The only real influence they do have is in their ability to slow down developers. The ones who know how to use that to get concessions for the community are often the long-timers, and I see no benefit in forcing them out. Institutional memory is also vital when developers or other businesses try to renege on promises made in the past. Generally, it is the longer-serving CB members who catch these tricks. Furthermore, CB members are all appointed by City Council Members and Borough Presidents. Those offices are already term limited, and each new office holder tries to bring their own vision by changing the make-up of the Community Board. If a long-term member is a problem, a Council Member or Borough President can always decline to reappoint them.
I hope you have found this helpful. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, and of course, don’t forget to vote!