“ACCORDING to the New York City Campaign Finance Board, 15 candidates have filed so far to run for term-limited City Council member Jimmy Van Bramer’s (D-Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, Astoria, Dutch Kills) seat in 2021.”QueensCountyPolitics.com – Clarissa Sosin
Wow that’s some field, the only thing missing is a celebrity. What has spurred this civic call to action for a relatively minor position, the chance to make an impact? The seat does enjoy some considerable local oversight as well as fund dispersal, but with 51 city council members not much sway outside of one’s district. There’s a bit of prestige, more so here in District 26 than other locations, particularly Manhattan. A touch of hobnobbing, shoulder-rubbing, political clout, and a possible jumping off point for higher office. Oh, and the salary was upped to $148k from $112k a year back in 2016, that’s probably an added incentive for some of the candidates. It also comes with government benefits and a discretionary office budget. All-in-all not a bad gig.
From my sky-high perch it’s awfully tough to distinguish the mass of candidates. While it’s a rainbow of ages, careers, and ethnicities, most of them share similar policy positions centered around a progressive tone. So the primary will be less about ideology and more of a popularity contest combined with tactical organizing.
The latter will be especially crucial as the election rules require a number of signatures and a set amount of fundraising by certain dates to be on the ballot next September. So expect a lot of banners, literature and possibly facebook ads, but no handshakes in the upcoming months as the jockeying begins.
Also of interest in this primary, is that it will utilize Ranked Choice Voting, whereby voters write in their top five choices as opposed to casting a single vote. Given the number of candidates, no one is likely to have a majority of #1’s on the first ballot. This throws an interesting angle into the contest, and an opening for a local C-lister to backdoor their way into politics. Shades of 2016?
//ACTUALLY there is one major item in which our next City Council member will most likely play an integral part. In fact it could be the most important issue for Long Island City over the next few years, and one point of distinction among the many candidates: the rezoning of Anable Basin. There is a good encapsulation linked to below on where the project and each developer stands now after the City cut ties (and legs out) last month. So aspiring City Council Members, are you a Naysayer, Apologist, or better yet someone willing to craft a compromise that works for most?
Julie Won Joins Pack In District 26 – aka #15
Back At Square One: Who Will Determine The Post-Amazon Future For Long Island City – good read for those interested
Half Of District 30 Students Now Fully Remote – for the first time this year a majority of students in Western Queens are not attending the actual school
Coronavirus Gives Big Boost To ‘Little Libraries‘ – “When a public-library branch in Long Island City, Queens, lost its lease and closed last winter, Frank Wu took action. The 35-year-old software company salesman and father installed a “little library” in nearby Court Square Park”
Here’s Who Won Big At The Great American Beer Festival In 2020 – Big Alice Brewing wins “Small Brewing Company of the Year!”