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Letitia James makes history


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7:55 am Oct. 2, 2013

City Councilwoman Letitia James won a big victory in yesterday's run-off for public advocate, capturing about 60 percent of the vote in a bare-knuckle race against State Senator Daniel Squadron.

"Today you elected me the first, the first—" James said, struggling to compose herself during her victory speech, "the first woman of color to hold citywide office."

Race and gender were always an important backdrop for the campaign, especially after Democrats nominated two white men for the other citywide posts. James' support from organized labor was particularly important in yesterday's low-turnout run-off, and a key talking point for James during the campaign was that she would help move New York City "beyond Bloomberg," the billionaire, three-term mayor who proved particularly unpopular with Democratic primary voters. (Squadron, who was endorsed by Bloomberg in 2008, acknowledged that he didn't support the Democratic mayoral candidate against Bloomberg in 2009.)

James' victory could have implications for the race to succeed Christine Quinn as City Council Speaker, and Melissa Mark-Viverito, one of the possible candidates, stood next to James throughout her speech.

James has described the public advocate's role as being an ombudsman for city residents and, when needed, a "thorn," in the side of the mayor. But it could be a very different dynamic from her predecessors in the post, all of whom were Democrats needling Republican mayors. Bill de Blasio, who currently enjoys a big lead in the mayor's race, is an ally of James.

She'll encounter some of the same challenges that greeted de Blasio, the current public advocate, when he was elected to the post four years ago.

The office is notably smaller than what it was in the past. During a television interview on Fox recently, host Greg Kelly said the staff of his show was bigger than the public advocate's staff.

The next mayor and City Council could be in a position to change that. Before de Blasio was elected to the office in 2009, he and other public advocate candidates complained about the 40 percent cut that hit the office, courtesy of the mayor and City Council.

At the press conference about the cuts, Mayor Michael Bloomberg walked by, and almost appeared not to notice.


"If I'm tied to the Tea Party, so's Andrew Cuomo. Ask him about the $81,000 he received fromn David and Julia Koch. It's as simple as that." — Joe Lhota


An interactive map showing how each block voted in the Public Advocate's race. [WNYC]

Letitia James' victory speech. [NY1]

The head of the NYCLU argues against using privately-funded security cameras, slated to go up in Borough Park and Midwood. [Donna Lieberman]

"Mr. de Blasio and Ms. McCray are as much a package deal as Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton." [Michael Barbaro]

The Tom Suozzi-Ed Mangano rematch in Nassau County could be a bellwether for measuring the strength of the Tea Party, nationally. [Joesph Berger]

From Capital

Joe Lhota on Capital New York, and David Koch: "If I'm tied to the Tea Party, so's Andrew Cuomo." [Dana Rubinstein]

Rep. Peter King on his party's shutdown problem. [Reid Pillifant]

Why Rep. Chris Gibson voted to defund Obamacare, then changed his mind. [Jimmy Vielkind]

Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand oppose a shutdown tax concession, on principle. [Reid Pillifant]

City attorneys defended the New York Police Department's surveillance practices in federal court today. [Azi Paybarah]

The Daily Beast's John Avlon rallies the troops. [Joe Pompeo]

Veteran reporter Bob Hennelly, who went from WNYC to WBGO, is taking a job with District Council 37. [Joe Pompeo]

"The Daily News has out-posted the New York Post again." [Joe Pompeo]


8:30 a.m. Republican mayoral nominee Joe Lhota does an interview on Univision Radio. [WADO] @JoeLhota4Mayor

8:50 a.m. Lhota appears on 96.3 FM. [WXNY] @JoeLhota4Mayor

9 a.m Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at a celebration for BRIC Arts, at the Media House, 647 Fulton Street, in Brooklyn. @MikeBloomberg

10 a.m. On Brian Lehrer's show: former British prime minister Gordon Brown. [WNYC] @BrianLehrer

10 a.m. On Fred Dicker's show: to be determined. [Talk1300]

10 a.m. State Senators Kathy Marchione, Pat Gallivan, David Carlucci, David Valesky and Betty Little, members of the IDC/GOP coalition, will hold a forum on regulatory reform at Quad Graphics in Saratoga.

10:30 a.m. Citizens Union, Common Cause and other good-government advocates will call for instant runoff voting during a press conference on the steps of City Hall. @DickDadeyCU @CommonCauseNY #InstantRunOff

11 a.m. Schenectady County District Attorney Bob Carney and other advocates hold a press conference in the LOB Press Room (Albany) to raise the age at which teenagers are tried as adults.

1 p.m. Bloomberg has a bill-signing ceremony for legislation ranging from anti-discrimination rules at work, to studying "the effects of wind on certain buildings," and the collection of food waste, at City Hall.

3:30 p.m. Democratic mayoral nominee Bill de Blasio discusses his plans for expanding after-school programs before visiting an after-school program at the Red Hook Initiative, 767 Hicks Street, Brooklyn. @DeBlasioNYC

5 p.m. Independence Party mayoral nominee Adolfo Carrion does an interview on Univision Radio. [WADO] @AdolfoCarrion

7 p.m. On "The Road to City Hall": The political rundown with Curtis Sliwa and Gerson Borrero. [NY1] @RoadToCityHall @CurtisSliwa @GersonBorrero

7 p.m. Mayor Michael Bloomberg receives an award at the Fortune Society's annual fall benefit, at 2 Desbrosses Street, in Manhattan. @MikeBloomberg

7:45 p.m. Bloomberg speaks at the kick-off celebration of PaleyFest: Made in NY Festival, at the Paley Center for Media, 25 West 52nd Street, in Manhattan. @MikeBloomberg

8:45 p.m. Lhota participates in the Brooklyn Real Estate Board's candidates forum, at the Dyker Heights Golf Course Clubhouse, at 1030 86th Street, in Booklyn. @JoeLhota4Mayor

Mayor's Race

Joe Lhota on David Koch: "He, like I, believes in a women’s right to choose. He, like I, believes in marriage equality." [Beth DeFalco]

Where De Blasio and Lhota "differ most is their faith in the healing power of tax cuts." [New York Times]

A Post columnist warns the next mayor could undo "20 years of success establishing public order." [Bob McManus]

Dollars spent per vote: $419-John Catsimatidis; $190-Anthony Weiner; $119-Joe Lhota; $68-John Liu; $60-Christine Quinn; $36-Bill Thompson; $24-Bill de Blasio. [Sam Roberts]

Public Advocate's Race

“'Today you elected me the first . . . ' she trailed off, struggling for composure. 'The first woman of color to hold citywide office.'" [Matthew Perlman, Joe Scarborough, Simone Weichselbaum, and Celeste Katz]

"With Ms. James's victory, the Democrats have now added some diversity to the party's nominees for citywide office." [Michael Howard Saul]

James' victory is "good news for @DanGarodnick @MarkWeprin & other white male speaker hopefuls." [@SallyGold]

James' victory is also a boost for the Working Families Party. [Kate Taylor]

Headline: "$13M, few voters (Oh, James wins)" [Antonio Antenucci and Yoav Gonen]

Headline: "Letitia James wins Staten Island en route to historic victory in public advocate run-off" [Tom Wrobleski]


Only 9,000 of the 10 million people who visited New York's new health insurance exchange were able to actually shop for benefits. [Josh Dawsey]

Governor Andrew Cuomo will announce he's picking former governor George Pataki and former state comptroller Carl McCall to head a tax-cutting task force. [Ken Lovett]

"Clearly, there was an overload and a glitch," Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy said Tuesday afternoon at the Anthony L. Jordan Health Center in Rochester. "It just reinforces the need for health care and how hungry people are to make sure they get on and shop and pick the best plan for their family." [Patti Singer]

Pat Barrett, who sits on the Moreland Commission, is also pushing to legalize casino gambling. [Ken Lovett]

A Brooklyn lawyer is suing the state Board of Elections over the rosy verbiage in the casino gambling referendum. [Dave Lombardo]

The language for the casino referendum approved by the New York State Board of Elections is "absurdly biased." [Harry Siegel]

One editorial page also takes issue with Cuomo's gambling plan. [New York Post]

The wording of the referendum has rankled some government watchdog groups, and the New York State Catholic Conference. [Jesse McKinley]

In an op-ed, a former Assemblyman from Manhattan said most of the money lost on casino gambling around the country, up to 80 percent, comes from households earning less than $50,000 a year, citing a report in the Christian Science Monitor. "If that isn't a tax on the poor, what is it?" [Ed Sullivan]

Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy told the Post-Standard Editorial Board that although Central New York won't get a new casino, it would see $28 million in extra revenue if gambling is approved. [Glenn Coin]


How the shutdown hurt Republicans and opponents of Obamacare. [John Podhoretz]

Rep. Michael Grimm brushed aside criticism about his shutdown votes from likely Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia. [Dan Friedman]

Grimm said he supports a bill to block members of Congress from getting paid while other federal employees are getting furloughed. [Judy Randall]

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