It’s Flag Day, a holiday that has always been hard to celebrate. Nationalism is a menacing force in the world, and reverence for an ugly flag is also hard to stomach on aesthetic grounds.
However, it’s easy to appreciate the public outpouring of love and support that followed a hostile, local response to rainbow-decorated pride cookies. People canceled cookie orders and sent hateful responses when a Texas bakery posted a picture of their rainbow cookies with this message:
More LOVE. Less hate. Happy Pride to all our LGBTQ friends! All lovers of cookies and happiness are welcome here.
Luckily, when people learned about the haters on social media, they purchased the cookies from canceled orders and sent messages of support.
I want cookies to bring us together AND if my favorite bakery produced Confederate flag cookies, I’d never visit again. We’re going to honor today with Lena’s discussion of rainbow-washing and insidious Israeli nationalism.
Read today’s Digestable, by my one and only springling. Yes, I invented that word, and I hope you will use it when referring to your adult children.
Only about 32,000 NYC voters went to the polls this weekend, which leaves time for more voter education. It’s time to talk about the city council. In addition to the council’s power to negotiate and approve the city’s enormous budget, the body has local legislative power:
Council members are responsible for proposing and voting on bills relating to all aspects of civic life, for example: policing, housing, street safety and environmental issues like the plastic bag ban.
Many issues are controlled by state law, such as the ability to install red-light cameras and to jettison the SHSAT for admissions to specialized high schools. Still, our council members matter.
I just learned that this year’s crop of candidates is being elected for a two-year term. Why? Good question. This is to accommodate redistricting that may occur as result of the census. The 2023 city council elections will also be for two-year terms. The upside of the shorter term is that there will be pressure to achieve something; the downside is the perpetual fundraising. Two two-year terms count as one for the purpose of term limits.
Anticipating the election of a more centrist mayor, I am hopeful that a progressive city council will hold the line on the budget for the police.
Here’s my round-up for District 40.
There are 10 candidates in my district. I quickly eliminated Maxi Eugene, brother of the current, term-limited, do-nothing representative from CD 40. I also eliminated Victor Jordan and Vivia Morgan, who did not attend the forum for our district.
I came away from the forum with the four names of people who impressed me: Rita Joseph, Blake Morris, Josue Pierre, and Edwin Raymond. Any of them would be a vast improvement over Mathieu Eugene. Kenya Handy-Hilliard, who is mysteriously missing from the voter guide, was the candidate who looked the part and has an interesting background; once she spoke, she wasn’t especially impressive.
Blake Morris has been active in local politics for a long time and is plainly knowledgable, though his website is not very informative. In 2018, he ran against Simcha Felder for state senate. He got trounced, but it was a mitzvah to try to take Felder down. I hope he tries again in 2022. He’s the only white man in this race and I don’t think he has a shot at the city council seat.
Rita Joseph and Josue Pierre got the #1 and “very strong #2” nod from StreetsPAC. In the absence of a Working Families Party endorsement, this is helpful. The standards for the endorsement include a commitment to revitalizing public transportation, building bus and bike infrastructure, and support for congestion pricing, traffic-calming, and street safety.
Check out the StreetsPAC endorsements for your council district.
I crossed paths with Josh Pierre at a protest outside a Post Office prior to the 2020 election, and I made a mental note to remember his name (which I forgot! luckily, I remembered his face).
I ran into Edwin Raymond when I was out for an evening walk. He’s a former police officer who opposes the presence of uniformed school safety officers. He has relatively progressive views on the NYPD and he got the Voters For Animal Rights endorsement; it’s not on his website, but a regular reader was part of VFAR’s process and was very impressed by him. I was disappointed when he told me a few months ago that he was leaning toward voting for Yang.
Joseph’s policing platform stands out, and she’s got a firm hold on my #1 ranking. I’m of two minds on ranking Pierre and Raymond. Pierre’s website is silent on the question of police budgeting, although he has spoken about the issue publicly. There would be value in having Raymond, “a current NYPD lieutenant and whistleblower,” in the council, speaking out against police abuse and for cuts to the budget. Only Joseph has named a figure; she has called to defund the NYPD by $3 billion.
My rankings for District 40 are #1 Rita Joseph, #2 Edwin Raymond, and #3 Josue Pierre.
If you are researching your city council candidates anyway and would like to be a guest contributor, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and include your district.
There are plenty of primers out there about how ranked choice voting works, but I like the one from the Times. In the spirit of RCV, my second choice explainer is the one from the NYC Board of Elections, which is less text-heavy.
Make sure you understand how RCV works before you vote.
If you live with or work with children or teens, please encourage them to participate in the Youth Mock Election with @InOurHandsNYC at 6pm tonight! Teens Take Charge is working to make sure their voices are heard even if young people are too young to vote.
Register here: https://bit.ly/youthmockelection2 #ListenToTheYouth