October 1st is a runoff election in NYC. At stake is Public Advocate. This is a position that was created specifically to be a check and balance to the mayor, an Ombudsman and advocate for NYC voters. We have to date had three Public Advocates. The first, Mark Green, was very active and effective, using the position to its fullest. Since then we have had two do-nothing Public Advocates who each saw it as a stepping stone to mayor and didn't really take advantage of the position as a way of influencing political debate.
The Public Advocate was always a bit of a vague position. I have talked one of the people who wrote the legislation that created the position (Paul Wooten) and he saw it as a strong position that could balance out the power of mayor. I liked this because one thing that has always struck me about NYC is how powerful its mayor is, far more powerful than any other mayor of any other city I have lived in...and the City Council tends to just roll over. So a strong Public Advocate would be great.
Mike Bloomberg, wanting to further strengthen his dictatorial position as mayor, actually diluted the strength of the Public Advocate, but it still remains a potential position for a strong voice to use to direct political debate. Those who think the Public Advocate is powerless ignore the fact that the Public Advocate can propose legislation in the City Council...something that could really make a difference. Even if proposed legislation loses, it would force people to take sides on issues.
Mark Green has so far been the ONLY effective Public Advocate. Now three times I supported former NYCLU head Norm Siegel for Public Advocate and he would have been ideal. But instead we had people who either had no idea how to use the position effectively or chose not to.
Now we have a chance to elect an experienced firebrand, Tish James, who was first elected to Public office on the Working Families Party line (but is now a Democrat), and has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, National Organization of Women, Democracy for NYC, League of Conservation Voters as well as Amsterdam News (one of the largest black newspapers in NYC) and El Diario/La Prensa (one of the largest Spanish Language newspapers in NYC). She is supported by an amazing coalition of liberals and when push comes to shove she stands for liberals. She was one of only four NYC Council members to join in filing a lawsuit over the NY Police Department's treatment of Occupy Wall Street.
Needless to say, Wall Street is not a fan of Tish James and would love to defeat her. But Planned Parenthood, NOW, DFNYC, LCV and many labor unions and progressive organizations support Tish James for Public Advocate.
[NOTE: title mentions OWS not because they endorsed her (they don't endorse) but because she has supported them and she has ties to OWS]
More below including the recent endorsement of the third place candidate for Public Advocate, Reshma Saujani.
In the first round Democratic Primary, Tish got the most votes for Public Advocate, but she didn't break the necessary 40% to avoid a runoff. The runoff will be close despite Tish's advantage as the frontrunner from the first round.
But Tish received a boost today when the third place candidate in the first round, Reshma Saujani, endorsed Tish for the runoff:
Today, the Public Advocate campaign of Councilwoman Letitia “Tish” James announced the endorsement of Reshma Saujani, an activist for girls and women and a former candidate in the Public Advocate campaign. Saujani, founder of the national non-profit organization Girls Who Code and former Deputy Public Advocate to Democratic mayoral nominee Bill de Blasio, endorsed James, calling James a “fierce progressive champion.”If I may reiterate some of those voices who have endorsed Tish already...
“As the daughter of immigrants and an activist who’s fought to empower girls and women, I know how badly New York needs a fighter for women and families,” said Reshma Saujani. “That’s why I am proud to endorse Councilwoman Letitia James for Public Advocate. For years, Tish has taken on anti-choice extremists and fought for better schools and healthcare for all. She’ll be the fierce progressive champion we need as Public Advocate to fight for communities of color and everyone striving to make it into the middle class.”
Saujani also lauded James' background and commitment to progressive issues such passing paid-sick leave and supporting immigrants. "Like me, Tish knows what it's like to come from humble beginnings and to work twice as hard for the same opportunities," Saujani said. "We are both fighters, and after more than a year of watching her fight for every vote, I know Tish has the passion and commitment to be an effective advocate for our women and girls, our working families, our immigrants, our minority small business owners, and all of us who need a champion.”
“Reshma Saujani is an inspiring American success story and someone who cares deeply about the future of our city, particularly when it comes to uplifting working families through education,” said Councilwoman Letitia “Tish” James. “I’m truly honored to earn Reshma’s endorsement because we share a vision for a more progressive New York that works for all, not just the wealthy and the well-connected. As the next Public Advocate, I will continue to take on powerful interests on behalf of everyday New Yorkers and make sure working families have a champion in government.”
James won first place in the Democratic Primary for Public Advocate and a spot in the October 1st runoff. Saujani joins a growing coalition of Democrats backing James’ campaign...
About Tish James: A Brooklyn native, Tish James has been a long-time public servant. Prior to being elected City Councilwoman in 2003, James was a top-level aide to members of the State Assembly, where she played a crucial role in bringing resources to some of New York’s most vulnerable communities. She has also served as a public defender in the Legal Aid Society and an Assistant Attorney General for New York State (Brooklyn Region). In the City Council, James has been an outspoken advocate for economic and social justice.
Planned Parenthood has endorsed Tish James. Here is their endorsement quote:
The Planned Parenthood of New York City Political Committee today enthusiastically announced its endorsement of Letitia James for Public Advocate.Donate to help Tish James become the next Public Advocate of NYC!
“Tish has committed her years in public service to fighting for many of the critical issues that impact a woman’s life. From access to reproductive health care, to child care support, to equal access to housing, and to fair pay, Tish James has been a champion for women and their families in New York City. We believe that Tish James is best positioned to use the office of Public Advocate to strengthen access to reproductive health care and to help woman and their families gain greater access to health care in general,” said Joan Malin of the PPNYC Political Committee.
“As a Council Member, Tish has been a fierce advocate for reproductive health and justice. She helped pass legislation to crack down on deceptive, limited service “crisis pregnancy centers” that deny reproductive choices to women. And in 2011 she led a drive to remove a billboard erected in SoHo which targeted African American women and their reproductive health decisions.”
When Susan G. Komen for the Cure defunded Planned Parenthood’s vital breast health programs, Tish led the charge of New York City officials protesting that decision. At the time she said, “All of our lives have been touched by breast cancer. My mother had breast cancer, my grandmother has breast cancer. When I needed information I went to the website of Planned Parenthood. For me this is personal. For me we cannot involve politics and use politics to make any decisions.”
She has also been a leading voice in calling for action to combat the HIV/AIDS crisis among African American men, and in advocating for more social services for sexually exploited youth, and for stronger laws to protect them.
In 2012, Tish James called upon all medical professionals to treat and provide appropriate health care services to transgender persons because, as she said, “…it is imperative that we treat LGBTQ persons with dignity and respect in all areas of society…” In a similar vein, she has been an important ambassador for connecting communities of color to reproductive health care.
“I’m honored to earn the Planned Parenthood endorsement in our campaign for Public Advocate because access to women’s health is a critical issue for all New Yorkers,” said Letitia James. “One of my proudest accomplishments in public service is helping pass legislation to crack down on deceptive limited-care health clinics that denied women the right to choose. I’ve consistently stood up to anti-choice extremists whose action range from putting up hateful billboards – which we helped take down – to intimidating women outside abortion clinics. I’ll continue my fight for women and families as the next Public Advocate of our great city.”
“We believe that Tish James will bring the same passion and effectiveness to the Office of the Public Advocate and stand up for women and their families throughout New York City,” said Malin.
The National Organization of Women has endorsed Tish James. Here is their endorsement quote:
Councilwoman Tish James Endorsed by NOWThe League of Conservation Voters endorsement:
Today, the Public Advocate Campaign of Councilwoman Letitia “Tish” James announced the endorsement of the National Organization for Women (NOW) NYC.
In endorsing James, NOW-‐NYC praised her unique background and standing as the most qualified candidate for Public Advocate. "Councilmember Tish James will be a remarkable Public Advocate," said Sonia Ossorio, President of NOW-New York City. “Her exceptional track record as a lawyer and legislator mixed with her experience as a tenacious and spirited community activist make her the best person for this job hands down. NYC‐NOW is thrilled to support her because we know she will continue to be a strong champion for women and families across New York and will help move our city forward."
NOW‐NYC is the largest NOW chapter in the country and serves as a key voice in advancing women’s rights in New York and throughout the U.S.
James continues to build a powerful coalition of New Yorkers in her bid to become the next Public Advocate. She has been earned endorsements ranging from progressive grassroots groups to labor unions, elected officials, and
In addition to NOW‐NYC, James’ endorsements include: SEIU 32BJ, TWU Local 100, CWA 1180, UAW, DC 1707, Local 802 (musicians), Local 831 (sanitation workers), Working Families Party (WFP), Brooklyn County Democratic Party, Bronx County Democratic Party, Democratic Organization of Richmond County (DORC), Bay Ridge Democrats, Barack Obama Democratic Club of Upper Manhattan, Bronx County Democratic Committee, New York Communities for Change, Broadway Democrats, Three Parks Democrats, Vanguard Independent Democrats, Muslim Democratic Club of New York (MDCNY), Coalition for a District Alternative (CoDA), Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club, Democracy for New York City, Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez, Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Councilwoman Melissa Mark Viverito, Staten Island Assembly member Matt Titone and others.
A fighter for a greener, cleaner New York CityTenants PAC Endorses Councilwoman Letitia James for Public Advocate:
The New York League of Conservation Voters, which works to make environmental sustainability a top political and policy priority in New York State, has announced its endorsement of Letitia James for New York City Public Advocate.
James currently represents District 35 in the New York City Council, where she chairs the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management. During her tenure as committee chair, she has overseen major improvements to the city's solid waste and recycling efforts. She has also introduced and sponsored legislation supporting cleaner air and water. She earned a perfect 100 score on NYLCV's most recent New York City Council Environmental Scorecard.
Going forward, James has a robust plan to make New York a greener, healthier city. Her plan starts with advocating for incentives for neighborhood markets to carry affordable healthy foods. She sees public housing as an ideal place to advance green building and energy-efficient practices. And she is calling for a major study to reduce traffic fatalities and expand sustainable transportation options.
"Tish James has played a major role in New York City's sustainability efforts - and she is just getting started," said NYLCV President Marcia Bystryn. "As New York City's next public advocate, she will be a fighter for clean air, sustainable and fresh food, environmental justice and a smarter transportation system. We are proud to endorse Tish James for Public Advocate."
"We are proud to support Tish James because she has shown exceptional bravery in standing up to power on behalf of tenants and communities, and also because of her vision of how she would use the office of Public Advocate to advance progressive and community causes. She will truly be the people’s Public Advocate," said Michael McKee, treasurer of Tenants PAC...The Amsterdam News (probably the oldest black-targeted newspapers in the Country) endorsed Tish James for Public Advocate:
James has been endorsed by a growing coalition of grassroots organizations, Democratic clubs, and almost every major labor union in New York City.
“The job of public advocate is probably one of the most important post in the city, yet one of the least understood and funded. The office of the public advocate has a budget of less than $2 million a year, but it is charged with being the ombudsman for New York to the city, its services and agencies...El Diario La Prensa, New York’s oldest and most read Spanish language publication, has endorsed Tish James:
James is a scrappy Brooklyn fighter. She came up in the political arena almost by accident. She never expected to run for public office but was thrown into a race after the murder of Council Member James Davis. She ran on the Working Families Party and won. She has been a voice for the underdog and has fought the good fight in the City Council. One thing for sure is that James does not take “no” for and answer...
As for James, this job was made for her. Public Advocate is her calling. She has always fought the good fight, and with the position of public advocate, she will be able to do it not just for the constituents of her current district, but also for all those in the City of New York. She is a fighter and a good one at that. And that is why we endorse Tosh James for Public Advocate.”
A los neoyorquinos se les ha prometido un cambio en cada ciclo electoral. Los cambios han pasado, pero muchos no han sido favorables para las comunidades que más lo necesitan. Letitia James es una de esas líderes que demuestra su intensa lucha en contra de injusticias y ha logrado cambios que sí han favorecido a los neoyorquinos.Please join me in supporting Tish James for Public Advocate in the Oct. 1st NYC runoff. Donate if you can!
Su integridad, ética y moral son hoy día características por las cuales no se pueden describir a todos los políticos. Las combinaciones de sus posturas y su experiencia profesional la cualifican para ser la Defensora del Pueblo.
Una exlitigante, James ha defendido a las personas mas vulnerables, incluyendo las víctimas de violencia doméstica. Ella pasó a trabajar en la legislatura estatal y como asistente del fiscal general en Brooklyn.
Como miembro del Consejo Municipal, introdujo y logró que se pasara La Ley de Vivienda Segura, para mejorar las condiciones de vivienda de los inquilinos que viven en los peores edificios y condiciones de la ciudad.
Cuando la Ciudad no veía ningún problema con CityTime, un programa que enriqueció a unos pocos a cuesta del bolsillo de los contribuyentes mediante un fraude rampante, James encaró la movilización para pedirle cuentas a la administración de Bloomberg.
Durante el debate sobre el desarrollo del Atlantic Yards, fue una ardua oponente en contra de los intereses de la industria inmobiliaria. Desde su puesto presionó por obtener 30% de viviendas asequibles en varios proyectos en su distrito, un aumento de la estructura tradicional 80%-20%. Aseguró vías transitables para los peatones en el área y salvó la biblioteca de la comunidad.
James presentará un proyecto de ley para restaurar el presupuesto de la oficina del Defensor del Pueblo para servir mejor a la comunidad y tomar medidas legales si es necesario. También está en su agenda crear una oficina para asuntos del inmigrante.
Como Defensora del Pueblo, James trabajará en otros asuntos de importancia para la comunidad latina como vivienda asequible. Ella trabajará para cambiar la distribución 80%-20% para la construcción de viviendas asequibles.
En las primarias...vote por una verdadera defensora del pueblo — Letitia James.