Campaign in the Crossfire
NYC Mayor Woes, Cost of Migrants, Get Out The Vote
Election Day is Tuesday, November 7
Good morning from New York City where Mayor Eric Adams abruptly returned from D.C. last week amid breaking news that his 2021 campaign is under investigation for conspiring with the Turkish government to receive illegal campaign contributions. On Thursday, the FBI raided the home of Brianna Suggs, the main fundraiser for Adams 2021, as well as his 2025 reelection campaign. In addition to the illegal campaign contributions, federal prosecutors are reportedly investigating whether those contributions led to kickbacks for a construction company and a small university in Washington, D.C., both of which have strong ties to Turkey. Adams himself has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but shortly after the announcement, he skipped out on scheduled meetings in D.C. “to deal with a matter” according to a spokesperson. There will be much more to come on this story.
On my way to DC to join my fellow mayors to talk with our federal partners about the asylum seeker crisis. Follow along throughout the day.
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor)
Nov 2, 2023
Mayor Adams was in Washington with fellow Democratic Mayors, including Denver Mayor Michael Johnston and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, to make the case for more federal assistance to support cities coping with an influx of migrants. The group met with Members of Congress and senior Biden Administration Officials, however, President Biden was notably absent. The relationship between Adams and Biden has soured as of late with the NYC Mayor’s increasingly public attacks on the Biden Administration for their handling of migrants.
Speaking of migrants, that was the theme of a mid-year budget update from State Budget Director Blake Washington. In a letter to Executive Chamber senior staff before the report was released, Washington succinctly summarized the challenges New York is facing saying, “With the continued influx of migrants, no promises of financial support from the Federal government, and no clear pathway to a wholesale policy change at the Federal level to address the situation, New York State can only shoulder this financial commitment for a limited duration without putting other areas of the State budget at risk, such as aid to public schools, support for our health delivery infrastructure, and the readiness of our National Guard.” The report estimated New York will spend roughly $2 billion on the migrant crisis by April 2024.
“With the continued influx of migrants, no promises of financial support from the Federal government, and no clear pathway to a wholesale policy change at the Federal level to address the situation, New York State can only shoulder this financial commitment for a limited duration without putting other areas of the State budget at risk, such as aid to public schools, support for our health delivery infrastructure, and the readiness of our National Guard.”
Significantly, the report contained some very good news, showing decreased out-year budget gaps through 2027. Original estimates projected a $9 billion budget gap for FY2024-25, but the new report cut that number in half, bringing the new gap projection down to $4.3 billion. For FY2025-26, the gap decreased from $13 billion to $9.5 billion and from $13 billion to $7.7 billion in FY2026-27. Still, there is a general recognition of the need to reign in spending as shown by the DOB’s directive to state agencies to keep funding requests at or below the previous fiscal year levels.
Two major infrastructure projects in New York got underway last week, with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Governor Kathy Hochul, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand attending the groundbreaking ceremony for the Gateway Hudson Tunnel project.
Work is underway to complete the Hudson River Tunnel. Once complete, it will reduce commute times, enhance reliability along the Northeast Corridor, and support the regional and national economy.
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete)
Nov 4, 2023
The nearly $10 billion effort is set to be the nation’s largest public works project and will draw 70,000 union construction jobs. The other announcement, hosted by Hochul, Schumer, Buttigieg, and Representative Adriano Espaillat, marked an additional $3.4 billion in federal funding to advance the Second Avenue Subway project in Harlem.
In Washington, D.C, Speaker Mike Johnson scored his first big win with the House passing a bill to aid Israel. The bill would provide $14.3 billion in military assistance to Israel, but does not include any funding for Ukraine, a major sticking point for the White House and a bipartisan coalition of Senators. It would also slash IRS funding by $14.3 billion amount as a “pay for.” The Congressional Budget Office scored the bill and found it would actually add nearly $30 billion of missed tax revenue to the national debt over the next decade.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday blasted a House Republican proposal to provide $14.3 billion for Israel without any money for Ukraine, and to pay for it by cutting the IRS’s budget, as “woefully inadequate” and full of “poison pills.”
— News 4 Buffalo (@news4buffalo)
Oct 31, 2023
The victory for Johnson will likely be short-lived given Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a floor speech that the Senate will not even take up the measure and will instead pass their own bipartisan aid package that includes Ukraine and does not condition aid on cutting IRS funding. Schumer shredded the House plan offering, “It still mystifies me that when the world is in crisis and we need to help Israel respond to Hamas, the G.O.P. thought it was a good idea to tie Israel aid to a hard-right proposal that will raise the deficit and is totally, totally partisan.” The White House has called on Congress to pass an emergency aid bill to deal with the threats facing Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, and even funds for the southern border in the hopes of garnering bipartisan support. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is on board with that plan saying, “we view all of these problems as connected.”
The U.S. has global interests and global responsibilities. Our support for Ukraine’s fight is leading the free world to make historic commitments to defense. Allies’ investments are helping grow the U.S. industrial base to meet future threats. But America has to lead by example.
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell)
Nov 2, 2023
The Jewish community in the United States continues to see an increase in antisemitism, one glaring example was at Cornell University this week where a student was arrested for making terrorist threats. Patrick Dai, a 21-year-old junior from Pittsford, New York is accused of posting messages to a Cornell subsection of an online discussion board where he threatened to “shoot up” a Jewish dining hall and commit other acts of violence targeted at Jews. In a statement, Cornell said, “We remain shocked by and condemn these horrific, anti-semitic threats and believe they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We know that our campus community will continue to support one another in the days ahead.”
This morning, @GovKathyHochul and President Martha E. Pollack met with students at Cornell’s Center for Jewish Living to offer their support. “No one should be afraid to walk from their dorm or their dining hall to a classroom,” Gov. Hochul said. “That is a basic right.”
— Cornell University (@Cornell)
Oct 30, 2023
Governor Hochul visited the campus to stand in solidarity with Cornell’s Jewish community and to provide an update on the State’s efforts to combat antisemitism. The Governor offered, “We will not tolerate threats or hatred, or antisemitism, or any kind of hatred that makes people feel vulnerable and exposes people and makes them feel insecure in a place that they should be enjoying their campus life without fear that someone could cause them harm.”
“We will not tolerate threats or hatred, or antisemitism, or any kind of hatred that makes people feel vulnerable and exposes people and makes them feel insecure in a place that they should be enjoying their campus life without fear that someone could cause them harm.”
The wave of antisemitism and the lack of serious condemnation by some far-left Democrats has prompted a number of primary challenges. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) has two primary challengers, Air Force veteran Tim Peterson and attorney Sarah Gad, and has long been a target of the influential and well-funded PAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). St. Louis prosecutor Wesley Bell announced he was launching a primary campaign against Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), forgoing a Senate challenge to Senator Josh Hawley and citing Bush’s lack of support for Israel as the reason for the change of plans. Bell said, “I think we have to stand with our allies, and Israel has always been an ally.”
In New York, Westchester County Executive George Latimer has long been rumored to be considering a primary challenge to Rep. Jamaal Bowman and his stance on Israel might make Latimer’s decision easier. A group of rabbis from Bowman’s district recently wrote a letter urging Latimer to run saying, “Since being elected, Bowman has led the effort to erode support for Israel on Capitol Hill and within the Democratic Party.”
Bowman won his seat in a primary, defeating Eliot Engel in 2020. Engel was chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and one of the most pro-Israel Members of Congress. Latimer has said he plans to announce his decision in mid-November.
While those elections will not be until next year, there are a number of local elections this Tuesday! You can find your polling place here.
Former church at 822 Cleveland Avenue in Niagara Falls
Niagara University Wants Key Position in Niagara Falls Revitalization
Rev. James Maher, President of Niagara University wants to learn from the lessons of Buffalo’s renaissance journey and apply those to Niagara Falls.
“The biggest thing to change in Buffalo was people’s confidence,” said the Rev. James Maher. “There’s a narrative of the history of Niagara Falls that is incredibly distressing to people. We understand all that, but look at the opportunity that’s here. That’s really where we have to focus our energy.”
OD&A client, Niagara University owns a former church at 822 Cleveland Ave. in Niagara Falls, and it's the beginning of the city partnership, thanks to $3.8 million in state grants. NU@822, part of the Levesque Institute, will become an academic hub. Downstairs will be for training and certificate programs to build workforce development. [Read more.]
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