Saturday, January 19, 2013

Battle for the Gavel: Streetsblog Edition

New York City's political landscape is in the process of being upended by the legally mandated end of the Bloomberg era. The City will have a new Mayor, a new Public Advocate, a new Comptroller, a slew of new Council Members, and with Chris Quinn forced to seek higher office by term limits a new Council Speaker to go with it. The two members considered the favorites for the position are a pair of Harlem members, Melissa Mark-Vevirito and Inez Dickens. Mark-Vevirito is regarded as the progressive outsider, a rabble rouser that will work the outside game and likely to maintain a great deal of independence from the new Mayor, regardless of who that might be. Dickens is much more of an establishment player, and would keep conflicts inside the family so to speak. Historically the path to the gavel runs through courting the the bosses of the county parties, especially the powerful bosses in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. That's how Quinn defeated DeBlasio back in 2005 for the gavel.

Activists though still like to make their mark on the process, even if their influence on what is ultimately an insiders game is minimal. Well the transit activists over at Streetsblog have fired a salvo in what is shaping up to be another hotly contested race for the speaker's chair by declaring Mark-Vevirito as elected official of the year, and Dickens as the worst elected official of the year. Its not going to have a huge impact on the speakers race, but what little impact it has will happen via proxy endorsements  I expect Transportation Alternatives, the advocacy group behind Streetsblog, will ask council candidates who they anticipate supporting for speaker, and I doubt they will be endorsing anybody that would put Dickens in the chair. Its the only influence Transportation Alternatives, or advocates of any variety, will have on the speaker's race.

The Mayor's race is (rightfully) going to get the lion's share of public attention, but pay attention to the lower tier races. These little goings on will subtly affect the direction the City will take in the post-Bloomberg era.

No comments:

Post a Comment