February 20, 2019
by Adam Roberts
Credit: Tim Evanson.
Credit: Tim Evanson.

Next Tuesday, February 26, New York City voters will be heading to the polls for a special election. Former NYC Public Advocate, Letitia James, was elected NYS Attorney General this past November, leaving her seat empty.

The role of the Public Advocate is to act as an independent voice of New Yorkers, often to support or challenge the Mayor. One of the major critiques of the position is that its formal responsibilities are unclear. Nevertheless, it has provided a platform for its holder to express their political views and agenda. This has enabled the position to serve as a stepping stone; former Public Advocates include Mark Green (2011 Democratic Mayoral nominee) and Bill de Blasio.

The upcoming special election has an unusual structure. There is no primary, so every candidate runs on the same ballot, with each needing to create an individual ballot line. Whoever wins this election will need to run for reelection immediately, with a primary scheduled for June 2019 and a general election in November 2019.

There are 17 candidates who will appear on the ballot next Tuesday. Some of the more notable candidates include former Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Assembly Member Michael Blake, Assembly Member Danny O’Donnell, Assembly Member Ron Kim, Council Member Rafael Espinal, Council Member Eric Ulrich, attorney Dawn Smalls, activist Nomiki Konst, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, and former Lt. Governor candidate Jumaane Williams.

AIA New York strongly encourages its members to vote in all elections. So please remember to vote next Tuesday, February 26.

Pulse Points:

  • Last week, the New York State Legislature hosted its first hearings on workplace harassment in decades. AIA New York’s Executive Director Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA, and 2019 President Hayes Slade, AIA, submitted testimony expressing their support for laws which would further protect victims.
  • Last Monday, February 11, AIA New York members joined forces with members from various other groups as part of the Fix the Subway Coalition to advocate for congestion pricing in Albany. The reception from lawmakers was resoundingly positive, with The New York Times writing that 2019 looks like the year congestion pricing may pass.
  • AIANY Building Codes Committee co-chair Steve Zirinsky was featured in a Bloomberg article regarding the rise of stick framing. Stick building has allowed for cheaper construction but has also created a serious fire hazard. “It’s a plague, and it happened when no one was watching,” says Zirinsky.


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