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Adams talks protest busting

1 month ago 40

With help from Shawn Ness

New from New York

Happening now:

  • Mayor Eric Adams talked about the reasons why it was time to break up the protests on college campuses.
  • New York has a new secretary of state that will need state Senate approval.
  • New York City's budget is getting bigger and bigger.
  • Why Attorney General Tish James and her colleagues are suing the NCAA.
Mayor Eric Adams this morning showed reporters a chain that was used to barricade a door during college protests in New York City.

DEMS DEFEND CAMPUS CRACKDOWN: The police were not just arresting pro-Palestinian protesters at Manhattan colleges Tuesday night, but protecting “children” from “outside agitators,” Mayor Eric Adams said, defending the NYPD in a round of media appearances this morning.

“This is a global problem, that young people are being influenced by those who are professionals at radicalizing our children,” Adams said at a press conference with police Wednesday morning. “And I’m not going to let that happen as the mayor of the city of New York.”

Adams declined to elaborate on who the agitators were. And while it’s not in question that some of the people protesting at campuses were not students, the NYPD’s main evidence today — that protesters who seized a building used thick bike locks favored by students — was roundly mocked online.

The police actions were the largest mobilizations yet of New York City police in response to recent pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses. Adams emphasized that Columbia University and City College both formally requested the NYPD’s help responding. Protesters at Columbia had seized and barricaded an academic building on campus, and City College, they set up tents and occupied a main lawn on campus.

The NYPD said 173 people were arrested at City College, and 109 were arrested at Columbia on Tuesday night.

Leading Democrats, including Gov. Kathy Hochul and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, backed up the high profile police responses.

"As far as I can tell, the efforts by the NYPD were thorough, professional, and they exercised the degree of calm in a very tense situation that should be commended,” Jeffries said at a press conference today, POLITICO’s Nicholas Wu reported.

“The rest of the campus, they should not be living in fear because you're claiming an exercise of your rights,” Hochul said at a separate media availability. “But that's what was starting to happen on our campuses over the last couple of weeks.”

But New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman said reports of police closing blocks of the city, pepper spraying protesters and throwing them to the ground showed the response was “counterproductive and downright dangerous.”

“While other campuses across the country have engaged demonstrators in productive dialogue, at Columbia and City College last night the NYPD responded instead with intimidation and violence. — Jeff Coltin

Former Assemblymember Walter Mosley was picked by Gov. Kathy Hochul to be the next secretary of state. He now awaits Senate confirmation.

SENDING OUT AN SOS: Former Assemblymember Walter Mosley is Hochul’s choice to become the next secretary of state for New York, her office announced today.

“The Department of State plays a critical role implementing a broad array of government services, from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative to the Office for New Americans,” Hochul said in a statement.

“Walter Mosley’s public service in the New York State Assembly and his years of leadership in his community have given him the skills and experience necessary to lead this Department into the future.”

The Democratic assemblymember represented Brooklyn in the Assembly from 2013 to 2021 and lost a primary to Phara Souffrant Forrest.

If confirmed by the state Senate, Mosley would replace Robert Rodriguez in the post. Rodriguez was nominated last month to become the president and CEO of the state Dormitory Authority.

I am deeply honored to be chosen by Governor Hochul to serve as Secretary of State,” Mosley said. “My career has been focused on finding ways to make government work for the people, and I am thrilled to take on this pivotal role in state government.” Nick Reisman

The Citizens Budget Commission released a new report showing how much New York City's spending has increased since 2020.

BUDGET WATCHERS: The Citizens Budget Commission wants to remind New York City residents just how much the Adams administration has been spending.

The budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is on track to increase city spending by more than 6 percent compared to the current year, according to a report from the business-backed fiscal watchdog.

The increase would be even more pronounced if around $2.2 billion for programs the city is likely to spend money on — but have not been included in the plan — is factored into the equation.

The growth is part of a broader trend. Between 2020 and this summer, the city’s spending is projected to balloon 26 percent, outpacing inflation by more than 43 percent.

And even if migrant spending were excluded, spending growth would still be up 21 percent over the same time period, roughly $15 billion, the report found. — Shawn Ness

A new report found that only 12 percent of registered voters in New York City voted in the last primary and general elections.

ELECTION TURNOUT TROUBLES: Less than 13 percent of registered voters in New York City participated in the elections, according to a new report from the New York City Campaign Finance Board.

To increase turnout, the report recommends two policies: one that would host local elections in even numbered years, and another that would create a civic engagement fellowship program to expand voter outreach programs.

New York has a law on the books that will move most local elections to even numbers years to correlate with state and federal races, but it doesn't apply to New York City and is facing legal challenges.

The goal, Democrats say, is to increase voter turnout, but Republicans contend it's a way for Democrats in party to further hurt the GOP in a state with twice as many Democrats than Republicans.

“New York City’s democracy is only as strong as the share of the city that participates. Even with 82 percent of eligible New Yorkers registered to vote, we have a long way to go until voting and full civic participation are accessible to every single New Yorker,” Paul Ryan, the executive director of the board, said in a statement.

In the two most recent elections in the city, only seven percent of voters participated in the primary and 12.8 percent in the general election, despite 81 percent of eligible voters being registered, the group said. — Shawn Ness 

JAMES SUES NCAA: The state Attorney General's Office is joining efforts with a multistate coalition to sue the NCAA for policies that prevent student athletes from earning money and benefits from their “name, image and likeliness.”

Attorney General Tish James said the policy prevents student athletes from looking at compensation offers before enrolling at a school, which keeps them from fully understanding their options before deciding where to go for college. Other states listed on the lawsuit include Tennessee, Florida, District of Columbia and Virginia.

“New York student athletes are some of the best in the country, and they should be able to make decisions about their athletic career without restrictions,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

“The NCAA’s NIL rule limits college athletes’ potential and restricts competition among universities — that’s not fair game. Student athletes should be able to call the shots on their career fairly and evenly.” — Katelyn Cordero 

On the campaign trail

Micah Lasher is running for Assembly in the 69th district.

HOCHUL FUNDRAISING FOR LASHER: Hochul will attend a swanky fundraiser for Upper West Side Assembly candidate Micah Lasher tonight. The affair is being hosted by Dan Doctoroff, a former deputy mayor under Michael Bloomberg and former CEO of Bloomberg L.P.

Lasher was previously Hochul’s top policy adviser and worked for Bloomberg earlier in his career. He faces a four-way primary, with public defender Eli Northrup, a Working Families Party candidate, likely to be his most formidable challenger.

The 69th District seat, which includes the embattled Columbia University, is currently held by Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell. He is retiring after representing the area for 20 years. While other big names like Rep. Jerry Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and former NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer have endorsed Lasher, O’Donnell still hasn’t announced support for a candidate in the race.

While O’Donnell has shied away from commenting on Columbia’s protests, Lasher commented on the unrest in a statement to Playbook.

“The situation has been heart-breaking in so many ways,” he said. “At this point I only hope that the Columbia community can find a way forward.”

Earlier today, Northrup called the deploying of the NYPD Tuesday evening a “wholly disproportionate response.”

The tickets to attend the 6:30 pm fundraiser range from $1,000 to $3,000.

“I couldn’t be more honored to have two of my former bosses, Dan Doctoroff and Governor Hochul, along with Alisa Doctoroff, teaming up to give our campaign a boost as we enter the home stretch,” Lasher said in a separate statement.

Northrup blasted Lasher for the fundraiser.

“My opponent is clearly ideologically aligned with our governor and will continue to be influenced by big money and special interests, rather than being accountable to our community,” Northrup said. “We need elected officials that work with and for the people — not career politicians who are disconnected from the issues we're facing." Jason Beeferman

— Protesters gathered outside NYPD headquarters after they arrested nearly 300 protesters at Columbia University and CUNY College Tuesday evening. (State of Politics)

The Department of Investigations probe of an Adams adviser is now expanding to include his role with NYPD personnel and promotional matters. (Daily News)

— Students at SUNY Stony Brook’s encampment were warned they might have to move to another location. (Newsday)

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