NYC Mayoral Campaign Update 5/5/2021


By Gary Tilzer

 NY Times Obsessed with Yang

If the Times admits that the once NY C Savage Media has lost it clout to influence elections, does that give reason for the politicization of the news media?

The NY Times skipped the 2013 and 2017 NYC mayoral campaigns according to one of the candidates, Sal Albanese.  Now, with the damage done to NYC by de Blasio and the COVID virus it is clear even to the paper of record that they must cover the 2021 mayor’s race, to make sure the city does not get another mayor who does not know how to manage.   It is also clear that the old gray lady is very obsessed and troubled by Andrew Yang’s lead in the early polls.   In their story’s headline, the Times calls “Yang an outsider that brings provocative ideas and good vibes, but can an “empty vessel” really make it through New York’s shark-infested media waters?”  But in a picture caption of the Yang holding a hot dog in Coney Island, the Times says, “once savage media-political scene.” Smith also wrote “Bill de Blasio, too, has brushed off fierce and unrelenting opposition from The Post, which despite being still lively and well-funded, has lost some of its killing power.”  Perhaps, the Times should restore its Public Editor position? To ask Ben Smith does “New York’s shark-infested media waters” exist.  On May 3rd, the Times’ Smith writes: Help, We Can’t Stop Writing About Andrew Yang


Now without senior reporters who have a mastery of local politics like Mickey Carroll, Jonathan P. Hicks, and Frank Lynn the times lacks the institutional memory to understand what is going on in the NYC 2021 mayoral campaign.  The Times’ Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Smith wrote it is a mistake to treat Yang like a celebrity candidate. Comparing it to a mistake the media made in 2016 with Trump, whose name Smith mentioned five times in his article.  First, how is the Times treating Yang like a celebrity?  In their article on January 1st about his visit to a bodega  Rivals Mock Andrew Yang: 5 Takeaways From the Mayor’s Race  or April 15th Opinion | Andrew Yang Hasn’t Done the Math or on May 1st Andrew Yang Promised to Create 100,000 Jobs. He Ended Up With 150. May 3rd.


Was Speaker Quinn’s Defeat, the Canary in the Coal Mine?


The real mistakes the Times made in recent local elections was not covering NYCLASS PAC destruction of Council Speaker Quinn 2013 campaign, who both the Times and Daily News endorsed for mayor. One can conclude from Quinn’s loss that lobbyist now control NY’s major elections. 

Smith wrote that the campaign “oddly muffled, lacking the kind of crescendo of the media echo chamber that demolished more experienced candidates before him (Yang).”  In the 2013 Quinn take down it was the muffled press that allowed de Blasio’s funded PAC to destroy front runner Quinn’s mayoral campaign.  Few if any stories about what NYCLASS was doing appeared during the election.

Another mistake the Times made was their 2017 mayoral primary editorial endorsement of de Blasio, did not contain any information about the pay to play investigation by the FBI of the mayor.  The shut down of the de Blasio investigation was just five months before the primary and came with a warning by in investigators. The NY US Attorney concluded when he dropped his investigation, “not only that de Blasio solicited (pay to play) donations but that he then pressed city agencies on behalf of those donors.”   DA Cy Vance said that the de Blasio contributions for his PAC Campaign for One NY appeared “contrary to the intent and spirit of the laws that impose candidate contribution limits.”

With the de Blasio pay to play federal investigation and his shadow government of lobbyists, which the Times knew early on as it was forming, you would think the press would be asking about the candidate’s anti-corruption plans. The times knew about the campaign consultant lobbyist Berlin Rosen working inside city hall early on in 2014, For de Blasio, No Magic Lost in Budget Draft

With the added fact that most of this year’s campaigns are being run by consultant lobbyists, not only from NY but all over the county, should draw press attention.  The late reporter Wayne Barrett said, “Lobbyists work to elect kings, so they can eat the king’s meat.”


Lobbyists are the New Permanent Government

The Times’ Smith did write about Yang lobbyists, but no other lobbyists running campaigns, “Bradley Tusk, a former aide to Mayor Bloomberg and the disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. Mr. Tusk, who also advised Uber, has steered Mr. Yang toward a broad-strokes, pro-business centrism and kept him out of the other candidates’ competition for the left wing of the primary electorate.”


Dear NY Times: No Way Would These Guys Support A “Cheerleader”

The NY Times on May 1st wrote that Andrew Yang the current front-runner, has positioned himself as the city’s Ultimate Cheerleader in the Race and he has made accelerating the reopening of the city a central plank of his messaging.   

Yang is doing more than cheerleading in Brooklyn’s Jewish community.  Brooklyn state Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, City Councilman Kalman Yeger and a slew of prominent local rabbis according to the (NY Post May 1) will endorse him this week.


Koch: How Am I Doing?  NY Times Editorial Board

How did the Lindsay 1965 and Koch 1977 TV Commercials historically hostile gaggle of NYC reporters?  Above: Koch visiting the Times’ Editorial Board before the Internet severely weakened the newspaper business and its reporting.  

Smith claims that Michael Bloomberg’s billions showed that a candidate could sidestep the historically hostile gaggle of reporters and reach city voters through expensive television ads instead.  Does Smith also claim that Mayor Lindsay in 1969, Koch in 1977 and Giuliani in 1993 sidestep hostile gaggle of reports to get elected?  The TV Ad Phase of the NYC Mayoral Campaign May Determine Who Wins Jewish Voice April 30th.


Can we Now Expect the Times to Investigate Other Candidates?

As the mayor’s first general counsel, Wiley drafted a memo advising him on how he could legally solicit donations for a nonprofit he had formed called Campaign for One New York (CONY) PAC without violating conflict-of-interest rules.

It is interesting mayoral candidate Maya Wiley attacked Yang after NY Times piece debunking his jobs claims. The Yang’s campaign retort could be you were de Blasio’s lawyer & allowed & counseled him on how to get around a huge conflict of interest election laws with pay to play “agents of the City” donations from their developer and city contractors lobbyists clients.  There is the possibility Yang might not answer Wiley charges because he wants her strong to split the African American vote with Adams.  But then with Rank Choice Voters her votes still might be counted for Adams.  See What is Coming When the Votes are Counted on June 22nd. Nobody Knows.

DA Vance: “appear contrary to the intent and spirit of the laws”

Wiley fundraising ethics memo for Bill de Blasio Campaign for One NY PAC donations drew a conflict-of-interest investigation by the FBI, DOJ and Manhattan DA Cy Vance investigations for alleged illegal fund raising for his PAC.   

DA Vance when he dropped his de Blasio pay to play investigation said, “the Campaign for One NY PAC transaction to fund upstate senate campaigns (by the mayor) appear contrary to the intent and spirit of the laws that impose candidate contribution limits.” Maya Wiley’s involvement in de Blasio donor vetting more extensive than previously thought records Daily News April 18th


Adams is in the Best Position to Pull Out Votes, Increase Poll #s

The two candidates in a position to pull out voters are Stringer (before the abuse charges) and Adams.  Adams will do better than the polls which currently has him in second place indicate. 

Adams will pull heavily in Brooklyn where he is the current borough president, the Brooklyn Democratic Party is supporting him and most of the elected officials in Central Brooklyn.   Adams will also do very well in the Bronx and Queens with the support of the Bronx Borough President Ruben and the new Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.  Stringer before the sexual abuse allegations was expected to do very well in Manhattan where he was borough president for eight years.  Adams seems to be the early winner from the Stringer scandal: Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato and State Senator Joseph Addabbo


Stringer Really Bad Week

With NYC mayoral campaign in free fall, Scott Stringer visits Brooklyn churches NYDN May 3rd  High-profile endorsements for NYC mayoral candidate Scott Stringer evaporate amid sex abuse allegations  Daily News May 1st. Teamsters endorse embattled Scott Stringer for mayor, reject assault allegations.

Stringer still has some heavy weight progressives’ endorsements. “Progressive” pols have a real problem with allegations vs Stringer because they shred due process when it comes to pols of different ideological persuasion who are accused of same.  Everyone is watching these major power brokers to see what they will do:  Congressman Jerry Nadler. Brian Kavanagh, Assembly Members Robert Carroll, Richard Gottfried, Yuh-Line Niou, N. Nick Perry, Diana Richardson, Linda Rosenthal, New York City Council Members Diana Ayala, Mark Levine.  Unions: UFT, CWA District 1, IBEW, Teamsters Council 16, UAW Region 9A, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Political Clubs Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, Chelsea Reform Democratic Clubs: Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club, Food & Water Action, Grand Street Democrats, Hell’s Kitchen Democrats, Independent Neighborhood Democrats, Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn.

The left’s Last Shot at the Mayor’s Office: With Stringer wounded, progressives will have to rally around someone or likely watch the mayoralty go to Yang (or Adams). “Progressive” pols have a real problem with allegations vs Stringer because they shred due process when it comes to pols of different ideological persuasion who are accused of same,” Twitter. Embattled Scott Stringer believed Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser May 4.  . . . Then again is the media overplaying the strength of the city’s progressive vote.  Bad numbers for progressives in this Manhattan DA Democratic primary poll as well: Tali Farhadian Weinstein: 16 Lucy Lang: 12 Alvin Bragg: 6 Tahanie Aboushi/ Diana Florence: 5 Eliza Orlins: 4 Dan Quart 3 Liz Crotty 2.  ‘I believe her:’ NYC mayoral candidate Shaun Donovan slams Scott Stringer over sex-harassment claim” Twitter. . .


Yang Hoist With his Own Petard

Kathryn Garcia has finally found a way to get positive media.  She has made Andrew Yang intended compliment hire her to help run NYC if he wins the mayoral race. She has charged Yang’s offer is “totally sexist.” “To be quite clear Garcia said: I don’t need you guys, to run this government.” 

Count on the “me too” hungry press to go big time with this: “Kathryn Garcia slams Andrew Yang as ‘sexist’ for suggesting she be his deputy, “NY Post May 2ndIt is interesting that Garcia ability to manage the city after de Blasio 8 years of mismanagement got extraordinarily little coverage for her.   Yang told the Daily News editorial Board that he will choose Kathryn Garcia as he second pick for mayor under the Rank Choice Voting system.  NYC is overdue for first woman mayor: Andrew Yang  Daily New April 20th.


While Garcia Gets Her Me Too Media Coverage Opportunity, A Poll Shows NYC Voters Want A Good Manager to Reopen the Economy.  

A recent Spectrum News NY1/Ipsos poll found that 34 percent of likely Democratic primary voters surveyed viewed reopening businesses and the economy as the top priority for the next mayor, second only to stopping the spread of Covid-19 and closely followed by crime and public safety.


Adams Out-Front on Addressing the City’s Rising Crime

 Eric Adams is the only candidate who includes in his campaign platform that he wants to reinstate the NYPD’s plainclothes Anti-Crime teams.


Last Week’s Shootings: Up 214% Victims Shot: Up 200% Homicides: Up 267%

For years, they seized 1000s of illegal guns, but were at the center of numerous shootings, complaints + dishonesty findings. . .  Morales leading with Defund the Police puts her in a box that probably caps her ultimate growth, but it is a campaign with a real message. Wiley can “grow” but it is a muddled campaign exciting no one. “Shootings soar 205 percent after NYPD disbands anti-crime unit, NY Post July 4th, 2020. “Any more tourist attacks, and visitors won’t ever return to NYC,” NY Post April 11th. “De Blasio, Cuomo need to move aggressively to bring the tourists back,” NY Post May 2nd.  Why ask de Blasio who will be a lame duck in seven weeks? Ask a mayoral candidate.”  


Will PACs Run Secret Shadow Hit Campaigns Like NYCLASS?

Candidate supporters create PAC to Attack their opponents, legally launder cash and go around the city’s stick campaign matching funds laws spending limits, to Elect their Candidate.

In 2013 team de Blasio used a Political Action Committee (PAC) NYCLASS to destroy mayoral front running Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s campaign. 


John Wilhelm, labor leader and cousin of Mayor de Blasio, donated $175K to NYCLASS that was funded to another anti-Christine Quinn PAC.  Willehm and other de Blasio friendly developers’ money was funneled by NYCLASS to a PAC (New York City Is Not for Sale) that was used to fund a flood of TV ads attacking the candidacy of then-City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.  The FBI, DOJ, Manhattan DA all investigated the NYCLASS PAC but never brought charges.



2021 PACs So Far

“How a top New York mayoral candidate used a charity to boost his profile” politico April 20thEric Adams spent taxpayer and charity dollars promoting his image and making inroads to key constituencies. including $500,000 from a theater producer, Daryl Roth, whose husband, Steven Roth, is the head of Vornado Realty Trust.  NY Times Feb. 18th.

A group of progressives are starting a super PAC that aims to raise up to $5 million, in hopes of pushing the field of more than 30 mayoral candidates and hundreds of City Council candidates to the left on matters including housing and diverting funding from the police.  The super PAC, Our City, is being led by Gabe Tobias, a former senior adviser to Justice Democrats, which played a key role in helping Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez get elected to Congress.  Our City’s board includes Nelini Stamp, a senior official at the Working Families Party, and Ed Ott, the former executive director of the New York City Central Labor Council.

Lis Smith, a senior adviser to Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, is in talks with potential donors and staff about forming a PAC that would operate outside the city’s strict campaign finance limits to counter negative advertising against Andrew Yang, several people familiar with the calls told POLITICO.  A Super PAC for Shaun Donovan Got $1 Million From His Father NYTimes May 17th