Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Room 8 and The Albany Project 5/30/2007

Front page blog post at Room 8 and The Albany Project:

Sept 18 is the New Primary Day - Dates to Know
by: SteveWFP

(Good stuff here. - promoted by lipris)

Now that the Governor has signed legislation moving New York's Primary Election to September 18, here are some new key dates:

  • June 12: First day to sign petitions
  • July 16 - 19: Days when petitions can be filed
  • July 23: Last day to file "Wilson Pakulas"
  • September 18: Primary Election
  • September 20 - 28: Judicial District Conventions

The Board of Elections has an election calendar (pdf) with more of the dates candidates will need to know.

Here's a quick explanation:

Candidates need to petition their way on to the ballot. Those petitions need to be collected within a specified time period that starts June 12th and ends July 19th. If a candidate wants to be cross endorsed by a party that they're not a member of, the appropriate committee of that party needs to issue a "Wilson Pakula" to that candidate (this is what allows fusion candidates). Then the primary election happens on September 18.

Supreme Court Judges, interestingly enough, aren't nominated directly. Instead, delegates are elected on primary day, and those delegates nominate the party's candidate for Supreme Court Judge at the party's Judicial District Convention, which now takes place between September 20 and September 28. This process for nominating Supreme Court Judges has been challenged in court, so there may be more changes next year.

Working Families Party Chapters are interviewing candidates now. More information on the WFP nomination process here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Albany Project 5/29/2007

Front page blog post at The Albany Project:

Family Leave Roundtable on Long Island
by: SteveWFP

(Very cool. - promoted by lipris)

"We don't live in the 1950s anymore. With both parents working, we need policies in place that support couples when they decide to start a family or need to take time off to care for an ailing parent. That's what the Working Families Time to Care Act would do."

That's Suffolk County Legislator Kate Browning (D-WFP), speaking at last Friday's Family Leave Roundtable in Mastic on Long Island. The roundtable was put together by the Working Families Party to give working parents who have wrestled with the decision of how soon to return to their jobs after having a child the chance to talk about the need for better state family leave policies to care for new kids and ailing relatives.

Here's retired probation officer Regina Corby-Graham of Mastic speaking at the roundtable:

Ann Seifried of South Huntington, an economic development officer for manufacturing jobs, added,

"I shouldn't have to choose between my responsility to my job and my responsbility to my daughter. I have to do right by both, and our policies should reflect that."

Here's more from Ann:

The Working Families Party supports the Working Families Time to Care Act, which would allow working families to take care of each other in times of need without risking financial hardship.

Suffolk County Legislator Kate Browning (D-WFP) spoke about her own experiences and about the Working Families Time to Care Act:

Show your support by signing our card with a message. This is your chance to tell your state legislators it's time to give paid time off to parents of newborns (or newly adopted children) and adults who need time to care for ailing relatives.

Sign the card today!

Monday, May 28, 2007

NYC IndyMedia 5/28/2007

From NYC IndyMedia:

Report Back: 5/23 New York Is Our Home Rally and March

An estimated 7,000 people from dozens of community oganizations rallied and marched from Stuy-Town to Union Village on Wednesday.

By Matt S

On Wednesday, May 23rd, and estimated 7,000 people, representing over 90 community and tenant organizations tenant rallied outside of Stuyvesant Town for the launch of the New York is Our Home Affordable Housing Campaign.

On Wednesday, May 23rd, and estimated 7,000 people, representing over 90 community and tenant organizations tenant rallied outside of Stuyvesant Town for the launch of the New York is Our Home Affordable Housing Campaign.

The rally started at 5pm with groups taking positions in the streets surrounding Stuyvesant Town and Peter Copper Village (14th Street to 23rd Street, between 1st Avenue and Avenue C). The goal of the “Hands Around Stuy Town” rally was to gather enough people to form a human chain around the housing complex. I stood with a group on 18th Street and Avenue C, where there was a shortage of demonstrators until 5:30 or so. At approximately 5:45, the demonstrators joined hands, achieving the human chain.

Demonstrators then marched across 14th Street to Union Square Park. Signs reading "Save Our Homes" were plentiful as well as chants of "Affordable Housing Now!" and "Si Se Puede" (Yes We Can!). The range of groups represented at the event became much more clear during the march, as the participating groups intermingled. Groups representing each borough and dozens of neighborhoods were present: the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, GOLES, ACORN, the Working Families Party, and many, many more.>

The scene was relatively calm as marchers filed down 14th Street, with two lanes of the north side closed to car traffic. The police were, as far as I saw, well behaved and only interfered with demonstrators who seemed to wander toward the south side of the street. I reached the end of the march, at 17th Street and Union Square East, at 6:30pm.

The New York is Our Home Campaign website ( includes a summary of the event and details some of the Campaign's upcoming actions including a project to map rent hikes across the city and a trip to Albany on June 5th to lobby for statewide housing reform legislation.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Housing Works AIDS Update 5/25/2007

From Housing Works AIDS Update:


Activists surround Stuy Town to save affordable housing (but where's the media on the HIV rent-cap demand?); HASA for All campaign keeps on going

What a shame! What a pity! We can't live in New York City!

So cheered some 5,000 to 7,000 New Yorkers at the "Hands Across Stuyvesant Town" rally that launched the New York Is Our Home affordable housing campaign on Wednesday, May 23. It's not clear whether the rally's gimmick—forming a human chain around the massive middle-income Stuyvesant Town complex—really happened — but the event attracted a diverse crowd of passionate tenant's rights, housing, and homeless advocates, including HIV/AIDS organizations like Housing Works and the New York City AIDS Housing Network. A handful of pols turned out, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, City Comptroller William Thompson, HIV-positive State Senator Tom Duane and State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried.

The march called attention to the problem of the shrinking supply of affordable housing in New York and demanded a handful of reforms, including ending rent destabilization and protecting and expanding Section 8 and Mitchell-Lama housing. Unfortunately, mainstream press failed to mention one of the campaign's other demands: a statewide cap of 30 percent on the amount of money low-income HIV-positive people must put toward their rent. (Then again, the New York Times didn't even cover the demo.) New York is Our Home hits Albany on June 5 to push for Mitchell-Lama reform and is creating a map of rent increases (help 'em out with it).

[post edited for length; read the rest here]

Thursday, May 24, 2007

From the Frontline 5/24/2007

From the From the Frontline:

Affordable Rent March and Rally A Success

Staff from Strycker's Bay attended yesterday's March and Rally organized by a coalition of housing groups, the NYC Central Labor Council, & the Working Families Party -- New York Is Our Home -- Affordable Rent Campaign is working to

- Repeal vacancy decontrol

- Preserve Mitchell-Lama and Section 8 housing

- Stop unfair rent increases and harassment

- Ensure adequate State and City funding for public housing

- Limit rental payments for all people living with AIDS to 30% of income

For more information about New York Is Our Home go to:

Politicker 5/24/2007

From the Politicker:

Ed Ott Gets Going on Affordable Housing

Practically every major Democrat in the city was at the corner of 14th Street and First Avenue yesterday afternoon to announce the formation of a what they say is the largest housing coalition in the city’s history.

The group, New York Is Our Home, includes labor and tenant groups, the Working Families Party and others.

The most heated rhetoric (video here) came from the Central Labor Council's Ed Ott, who said, "The price of housing in this city is effectively theft" and that affordable housing units, like the ones in Stuyvesant Town behind him, "are being stolen by the greed of developers and the market."

Which drew applause and energetic head nods from the crowd of elected officials behind him.

In attendance at the rally were Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson, Betsy Gotbaum, Tom Duane, John Sabini, Ruben Diaz, Jr., Keith Wright, Jonathan Bing, Linda Rosenthal, Dan Garodnick, Eric Gioia and Charles Barron, among others. Most of them spoke but none matched Ott’s directness.

After the speeches, the group formed a human chain around Stuy Town, which is several blocks long, and marched down to Union Square.

UPDATE: Adolfo Carrion, Brian Kavanagh and Adam Clayton Powell IV also attended.

Daily Intelligencer 5/24/2007

From the Daily Intelligencer:

Hands Across the East Village

Proving that everything eighties is hot again, an estimated 7,000 New York City tenants and tenant activists formed a human chain around the massive, recently sold, increasingly rent-destabilized Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village apartment complex last night — it's Hands Across the East Village! — to protest rising rents and demand state laws to protect affordable housing. But did they really, really ring that big old thing, which stretches from 14th to 23rd Streets and First Avenue to Avenue C?

"It wasn't exactly even, but we did pretty much get a full encirclement, or circle, or whatever," reported Chloe Tribich of New York Is Our Home, a new campaign that kicked off with the rally. "I ran around it." Another organizer, Jennifer Flynn of New York City AIDS Housing Network, credited a few last-minute busloads of folks from Brooklyn ACORN with filling in the major gaps near 23rd and C. And the activist-y Rude Mechanical Orchestra provided marching-band accompaniment.

Everyone then marched toward Union Square, led by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and a gaggle of council members. (Other boldfacers on hand included Comptroller Bill Thompson, teachers' union chief Randi Weingarten, Central Labor Council titan Ed Ott, and state legislators Tom Duane and Richard Gottfried.) Organizers say the shindig came off without incident — apparently so, because, when contacted, the NYPD media desk said it hadn’t even heard about it. New York Is Our Home's next effort will come on June 5, when the gang is scheduled to descend on Albany to get the Senate to vote for a law protecting Mitchell-Lama affordable housing, according to organizer Julie Miles. (Another goal: stripping landlords of the ability to de-control units once they’re vacated.) "We're at a boiling-point moment," Miles said. "I think people are ready to make this issue a litmus test for officials."

John Marsh certainly is. One of the 2,000-odd complex residents at yesterday’s ring-in, the data-security consultant has lived there all his life and suspects that Tishman-Speyer, the new owner, wants to separate him from his $1,250-a-month, rent-stabilized apartment. Now that even market-rate tenants are seeing 33 percent rent hikes, the whole complex is uniting against fear of a co-op conversion, he said. "It's completely out of control," he added, noting that, in a fantasy, he inhabits an 1800s converted townhouse in the West Village. Don't we all?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Daily Politics 5/23/2007

From the Daily Politics:
Odds and Ends

A new affordable housing coalition has formed.

Empire Zone 5/23/2007

From the Empire Zone:

Hands Across the Complex

It has been 21 years since Hands Across America, when on May 25, 1986, some five million people joined hands in a line to Long Beach, Calif., from New York to raise money to fight hunger and homelessness.

A similarly minded endeavor is planned for this evening in Manhattan. At least 7,000 people are expected to join hands and form a ring around Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town, from East 14th to 23rd Streets on First Avenue, at 5:15 p.m. today to protest rising housing costs. Nearly 100 housing, labor and political groups, including the New York City Central Labor Council, the Working Families Party and Acorn (the Association of Community Organizations Reform Now), joined the New York Is Our Home! Affordable Rent Campaign, said Evan Thies, a spokesman for the coalition.

Fifty state legislators have endorsed the campaign and at least 2,000 residents of Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town are expected to attend the rally. After holding hands for up to 30 minutes, the group is scheduled to march toward Union Square.

In October, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company agreed to sell the two giant complexes Tishman Speyer Properties and the real estate arm of BlackRock for $5.4 billion. Although most of the 25,000 residents are protected by rent stabilization laws, city officials have expressed concern that the new owners, by investing heavily in improving the properties, could speed up the process of removing units from the protection of those laws.

Curbed 5/23/2007

From Curbed:

Heading to Stuy Town Today? Bring Purell

Today will certainly be an interesting one in the recent history of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, because today is the day when the people take the power back! Or something. Yep, at 5pm "Hands Across Stuy Town" will kick off, and 7,000 people are expected to take part in the gigantoid affordable housing rally. For new Stuy Town/PCV owners Tishman-Speyer, it looks like you can only have so many broker parties, rebrandings, rent hikes and private detectives before tenants start getting suspicious. Ever since the great Lower East Side cocktease of 2005, we've been waiting for a good human chain, so don't let us down, Stuy T.

· Save the Date []

· Affordable housing rally to hit Stuy Town [The Real Deal]

Dias y Flores Community Garden 5/23/2007

From Dias y Flores Community Garden:

New York is Our Home: Rally for Affordable Housing

Via the New York is Our Home! blog:

You’re invited - RSVP today! Meet May 23rd between 14th and 23rd Street on 1st Avenue in Manhattan at 5pm sharp. RSVP online or contact Chloe Tribich for more information. Here’s the rally flier in English (pdf) and en Espanol (pdf) - download it and pass it out in your building!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007
May 23rd Affordable Housing Rally - RSVP Today!

What: “Hands Around Stuy Town” Affordable Housing March and Rally.

Why: Because rent is out of control, and New York Is Our Home!

When: Wednesday, May 23rd, at 5pm sharp

Where: Stuyvesant Town between 14th and 23rd Street on 1st Avenue in Manhattan

Who: You and 6,0007,000 other New Yorkers who care about affordable housing and are willing to stand up and be counted.

How: RSVP today!

Always complaining about the cost of housing in New York? Do something about it. An unprecedented coalition including the Working Families Party, labor unions, and nearly every housing organization in New York City and led by Housing Here and Now has united to form New York is Our Home.

We’re launching a massive, grassroots campaign to break the logjam in Albany and protect our homes. And we’re kicking things off with a rally and march at Stuy Town on May 23rd.

We’re holding the rally at Stuy Town, but it’s a rally for all New Yorkers. It’s a rally about the threat to Starrett City. It’s about the nearly 1.5 million existing affordable units we’re at risk of losing. It’s about what’s happening to housing prices all over New York City and the rising price of housing that we’re all struggling with.

Will New York City be taken over by luxury condos? New York Is Our Home believes in a New York City in which working families have just as much right to live as hedge fund managers. This is your chance to stand up and be counted.

Politicker 5/23/2007

From the Politicker:

Elsewhere: Clinton, Quinn, Mondello

And pictured above is Christine Quinn at a housing rally at Stuyvesant Town this afternoon where a new housing coalition was unveiled.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Real Estate 5/22/2007

From The Real Estate:

10,000 Expected at Affordable Housing Rally

The Working Families Party, labor unions and housing groups are holding a rally tomorrow afternoon in which they plan to form a human chain, 10,000 links long, surrounding Stuyvesant Town.

Someone, please, hire a helicopter and take this aerial shot. For a more substantive discussion of the issues, see the Web site New York is Our Home.

Funky Brown Chick 5/22/2007

From Funky Brown Chick:

Living Just Enough for the City

This blog is about my life and my dates in New York City. And, I'd feel like an evil soulless bitch from hell if I didn't take this opportunity to draw your attention to an issue that affects the lives of the vast majority of New Yorkers (self included): affordable housing. If you don't live in New York, the term "affordable housing" might be synonymous with "poor" or "section 8" or something like that. If you live in New York, you know all too well that affordable housing is a pressing issue for most middle-class, professional people.

I don't think that the question of affordable housing is more "important" because it now affects people like me and my friends. The issue was *already* important. It's just finally getting the attention that it deserves because the people that it now affects actually vote. It's one thing to screw over poor, disenfranchised non-voters. It's another thing to screw over and piss of your voting constituency. So, if you live in New York and you pay waaay too much for rent, come to the affordable housing rally tomorrow:

WHAT: Affordable housing rally
WHEN: Wednesday, May 23rd
WHERE: Between 14th and 23rd Streets on 1st Avenue
TIME: 5:00pm sharp (lasts until 8ish, so meet at Union Square later if you can't make it at 5)

Daily Politics 5/22/2007

From the Daily Politics:

News Of The Day

The DN's Bill Hammond is a supporter of paid family leave, which is working its way toward becoming law in New York.

Daily News 5/22/2007

From the Daily News:

He's a family man

The 14 best days of my life were the ones I spent with my wife and newborn son and, two years later, with our baby daughter. For a week after each arrival, I stayed home from work, changed dirty diapers, got no sleep and cherished every minute.

No father should be denied the chance to get spitup on his shirt, and bond with his kids. Yet all too many workers miss critical family moments because they just can't afford to skip paychecks.

Federal law gives most workers a right to 12 weeks of unpaid leave when a baby arrives or when a close family member gets seriously ill. But that law doesn't help pay the rent or put food on the table.

This is why the Working Families Time to Care Act is an idea whose time has come. Under the labor-backed proposal - as improved by Gov. Spitzer - people staying home to cope with family emergencies could collect disability benefits equal to half their pay, or up to $170 a week, for as many as 12 weeks.

This is no free lunch. Workers would have an estimated 45 cents a week deducted from their paychecks to cover the cost. But it's a small price to pay for a lot of peace of mind.

"At the lower end of the financial ladder, people really do have to choose between their family's physical well-being and their financial well-being," Terri Gerstein, Spitzer's deputy labor commissioner, told me. "If we can ameliorate that even a little bit, that's good."

If the proposal becomes law - as seems likely - New York would move to the cutting edge of family-friendly states. California adopted a paid family leave law in 2002 and Washington followed suit this year.

Internationally, however, the United States is way behind the curve. Researchers at Harvard and McGill universities reported this year that the U.S. was one of only five nations, out of 173 studied, that did not provide some guarantee of paid maternity leave. That puts the wealthiest nation on the face of the Earth in the same bracket as Lesotho and Liberia.

To business leaders nervous about opening the door to a new mandate, the California experience should be reassuring. Both the number of workers claiming benefits and the overall cost have been less than originally expected, state officials report.

Business leaders also should thank Spitzer for shielding them from the cost of the program. As originally proposed by the Working Families Party and the AFL-CIO, the bill called for employers to eat the higher premiums. Spitzer rejected that approach and went with a social insurance model.

That was the right thing for the governor to do. Businesses don't need another reason to avoid New York. And lawmakers who think the benefits are too skimpy won't be so tempted to give away the store if they know they're hitting every single working man and woman in the pocketbook.

Instead, Spitzer is essentially asking folks around the office to chip in for the woman who's about to have a baby, or the guy whose father just had a stroke.

People like Carol Hart-Alexander of Jamaica, Queens, who wanted to spend as much time as possible with her terminally ill mother in the mid-1990s. She and her siblings used their vacation time to keep vigil. But if her mother had lasted much longer, Hart-Alexander says, she would have had to go back to her job at the phone company. A leave was not an option.

"I was a single parent," she said. "No way I could have taken time without pay."

That's a situation no New Yorker should have to face.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Daily Politics 5/21/2007

From the Daily Politics:

WFP Turns Up The Heat On Affordable Housing

Working Family Party members will start canvassing this week in the districts of two Queens Republicans - Frank Padavan and Serph Maltese - dropping flyers that accuse the senators of "putting special interests ahead of working families" when it comes to affordable housing.

At issue is legislation that would extend rent regulations to all buildings that leave subsidy programs like Section 8 and Mitchell-Lama - a particularly big deal at the moment given the ongoing threat of the Starrett City sale.

Padavan himself is sponsoring one of the bills in question, but it hasn't moved out of committee.

Wednesday, the WFP will join with affordable housing and tenants-rights groups, labor unions and elected officials for a rally at Manhattan's Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village to call for rent reforms that would preserve the city's ever-dwindling affordable housing stock.

Organizers hope to draw up to 10,000 people and form a "human chain" around the buildings, which were sold for $5.4 billion last fall in one of the biggest residential real estate deals in history.

The number of groups smelling blood in the water and targeting marginal members of the Senate GOP conference just keeps growing.

Aside from this effort by the WFP, which was among the first to back Gov. Eliot Spitzer's gubernatorial bid and was instrumental in Sen. Craig Johnson's special election win in February, there's also NARAL Pro-Choice NY, another Spitzer ally, which is planning to push marginal Republicans on abortion rights.

Gotham Gazette 5/21/2007

From the Gotham Gazette:

What They're Saying

And – surprise – the Post goes after Governor Eliot Spitzer, this time for wanting businesses to have insurance to cover paid family leave for workers. Not only is this another tax on the beleaguered private sector in the Post's view, but it serves as an indication that Spitzer wants New York to resemble France. Non, non, non, cher Eliot!

Daily Politics 5/21/2007

From the Daily Politics:

News Of The Day

The Post slams Spitzer on his support of paid family leave.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Daily Gotham 5/20/2007

From the Daily Gotham:

Affordable Housing Rally; Wednesday, May 23, 5-7PM

The punch line of this post is that you should attend the rally and demonstration on Wednesday May 23, 2007 which begins in front of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village (1th Ave. & 14th St.) at 5PM and is scheduled to last till 7PM (but as you know, the events sometimes run longer.) If you can stand reading post-jump part of the post, I ask you to send Governor Spitzer a letter. If you can't weave your way through the twists, flip to the end and send the letter without reading it.

The demonstration, called to kick off a campaign to protect and extend rent regulation in NYC has been called by a broad coalition of labor unions, community organizations, churches and political groups including the Working Families Party and many Democratic clubs including the one to which I belong. The full, huge, list of coalition members is at the New York Is Our Home website.

The demonstration focuses on six demands on state government:
End Vacancy Decontrol
Home rule for NYC rent regulation
Preserve Mitchell Lama & Section 8 Housing
End unfair rent increase & harassment
State funding for NYC public housing
Limit rental payments for indigent people with HIV/AIDS to 30% of income.
The issues around affordable housing are so complex, it makes me wilt to try to write about them. At the same time, they are extremely simple. Affordable housing is disappearing in NYC. Burning hot real estate values prompt owners seeking windfall profits to deregulate rental units.

[post edited for length; read the rest here]

Friday, May 18, 2007

PR Dream 5/18/2007

From Puerto Rico and the American Dream:

Get on the Bus! "New York Is Our Home" Rally Around Stuyvesant Town - May 23rd

Hope Community has joined an unprecedented coalition, "New York is Our Home Affordable Rent Campaign," that is working to cover more housing under rent stabilization rules and to strengthen rent regulations. Among the issues to be addressed at the May 23rd rally are:

- Preserve Mitchell-Lama and Section 8 Housing
- Preserve Rent-Regulated Units
- Preserve State-Built Public Housing
- Limit Rental Payments for New Yorkers Living With AIDS

If you would like to join the East Harlem contingent to the May 23rd rally, please contact David Dodge from Community Voices Heard at (212) 860-6001.

View the flyer (PDF).

New York Sun 5/18/2007

From the New York Sun:

Spitzer Floats Plan To Woo Labor

The paid leave bill was a top legislative priority for the labor-backed Working Families Party, a rising third party that was one of the first groups to have endorsed Mr. Spitzer's candidacy for governor.

The party also helped run the field operation of Craig Johnson's state Senate campaign on Long Island. The victory of Mr. Johnson, a Democrat, helped further the governor's quest to oust Republicans from power in the Senate.

[post edited for length; read the rest here]

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Our Albany Observer 5/17/2007

From Our Albany Observer:

Morahan shepherds family leave bill

The Daily News' Bill Hammond reports that state Sen. Tom Morahan, R-New City, is carrying the Working Families Party's much-desired family leave legislation through the Senate.

The Real Deal 5/17/2007

From The Real Deal:

Affordable housing rally to hit Stuy Town

Approximately 7,000 people are expected to encircle Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village during a rally this Wednesday afternoon. The rally's organizers are looking to draw attention to what they say is a citywide decline in affordable rents. The groups behind the gathering--which include the New York is Our Home campaign, the Working Families Party and the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association--plan to unveil a series of policy proposals. more

Daily Politics 5/17/2007

From the Daily Politics:

WFP coup No. 2

Having just allowed day-care workers to unionize, which was the Working Families Party's top priority last year, Gov. Spitzer is now sponsoring paid family leave legislation, which is the WFP's top priority this year.

Under Spitzer's bill -- quietly introduced last week by GOP Sen. Thomas Morahan of Rockland County -- workers who need time off to take care for a child or sick relative (including domestic partners) would be entitled to as many as 12 weeks at half pay, up to a maximum of $170 a week. The bill sets the premium at 45 cents a week and authorizes employers to deduct it from paychecks.

These provisions appear to be identical to the WFP's "Working Families Time to Care Act."

UPDATE: There is at least one key difference: While the WFP bill expects employers to pick up the cost, the governor's bill gives them the option of shifting the cost to workers.

The Assembly has not yet introduced Spitzer's proposal, but it has passed a very similar bill several times before. One significant difference: The Assembly's bill extends to government employers, while Spitzer's does not.

In the U.S., this is pretty cutting-edge stuff. The only other state to adopt such a law is California, in 2002. According to the WFP, however, we're one of only five countries in the world that do not provide paid time off to care for newborn children, the others being Swaziland, Lesotho, Liberia and Papua New Guinea.

As far as I can remember, Spitzer has never once mentioned paid family leave as being on his to-do list, either on the campaign trail or since taking office. From what I hear, though, he's making a "heavy-duty, behind-the-scenes push" to get this done.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lucid Culture 5/16/2007

From Lucid Culture:

Rally for Affordable Housing May 23rd

On Wednesday, May 23rd, New Yorkers will rally in support of New York is Our Home, a broad coalition of advocacy groups and labor unions campaigning for the preservation and creation of affordable housing opportunities in New York City.

Meet up with a team representing Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn for the rally and march on May 23rd at 5 p.m., at the corner of First Avenue and 15th Street in Manhattan (in front of the Chase Bank on the west side of First Avenue). Wear your Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn t-shirt if you have one and join with thousands of other demonstrators in forming a human chain around Stuyvesant Town.

For more information on the event, please visit

Monday, May 14, 2007

Danger Democrat 5/14/2007

From Danger Democrat:

Too much democracy?

Last weekend the Working Families Party started interviewing candidates that they might endorse for their ballot line. It occured to DD that this is one of the most politically healthy operational details that any current political party does. They interview and then the dues paying membership gets a chance to vote on which candidates will be awarded the line. That's way too much democracy for any of the other parties including my own. Good for the WFP.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Jason Gooljar 5/13/2007

From Jason Gooljar's blog:
WFP Chapter candidate screenings

Yesterday, was the first day that the Westchester-Putnam chapter of the Working Families Party began screening candidates for the 2007 endorsement. As a dues paying member of the chapter (sustainer) you are allowed to participate in these screenings and you even have a vote which carries influence with the executive committee of the state party later on. This is one of the most open and inviting processes that any party in this state has. I took part in this for the first time last year and it was really a great opportunity to grill the candidates on the issues that are important to the party. I highly recommend people joining the party and participating in their local chapters. And if there isn’t a chapter in your area yet. I’d say find out how to start one!

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Albany Project 5/11/2007

Front page blog post at The Albany Project:
Happy Mother's Day!
by: SteveWFP

(Awesome. - promoted by lipris)
As the breadwinner in my family (my husband lost his job last year) and the mother of a 1-1/2 year old with another on its way I am not in a position to forfeit 1, 2 or 3 months worth of pay. And going back to work sooner than 12 weeks is cruel and unhealthy to both the mother and the child. It is simply wrong that the U.S. does not provide the same benefits other developed countries do. And shocking.
- Lauren in New York City
As the mother of a 2 year old who was premature, I cannot stress how helpful paid time off would have been in our situation. It's time that NY demonstrates how it values families by paying leave!
- Jeanette in Blasdell
I had to purchase expensive disability insurance to cover post-birth income. And that only lasts 6 weeks and amounted to a small portion of my salary. We need to do a better job as a nation in supporting new families; infancy is a critical time in a child's development.
- Christine in New York City
What's more important than our children. Show you're really pro-family and sign on.
- Melissa in Penfield

There's been an outpouring of support for our Mother's Day card to state legislators calling for paid time off to parents of newborns (or newly adopted children) and adults who need time to care for ailing relatives. Over 700 people have already signed the card, with more signing every day. And the four stories above are just four of the many that people are sharing (you can read all the stories starting at the bottom of this page).

Let me explain. The Working Families Party and the Paid Family Leave Coalition are asking everyone to sign a Mother's Day card with a message: It's time to give paid time off to parents of newborns (or newly adopted children) and adults who need time to care for ailing relatives.

No family should have to choose between spending time with a newborn child or putting food on the table, should have to risk their economic security to take care of an ailing parent.

But working families in New York face these choices every day. That's because the U.S. is one of only five countries in the world without a national policy allowing working families to take paid time off to care for newborn children and seriously ill relatives.

That's wrong, and we're going to do something about it.

We're working to expand an existing social insurance program - temporary disability insurance - to include family leave insurance. Family leave insurance would let parents of newborns (or newly adopted children) and adults who need time to care for ailing relatives take 12 weeks of paid time off. Working New Yorkers would be able to receive a portion of their wages to maintain their family's economic security and care for their family. Here's more on the policy.

We're asking everyone to sign the Mother's Day card. We'll deliver it - and any message you want to send along with it - as we lobby in Albany.

Sign our Mother's Day card and send the message that you support family leave insurance.

And have a Happy Mother's Day!

Daily Politics 5/11/2007

From the Daily Politics:
Spitzer Bolsters His Labor Ties

In recognition of Labor History Month, Gov. Eliot Spitzer today signed an executive order granting 50,000 day care providers the right to unionize and negotiate with the state to receive bigger public subsidies.

This has long been expected by the labor community, and is a big win for them. It is especially big for the labor-backed Working Families Party, which was among Spitzer's earliest backers but has often been at odds with him on policy - particularly when it comes to healthcare.

UPDATE: I'm told the bulk of the organizing work on this one was done by NY ACORN, whose executive director, Bertha Lewis, is a WFP co-chair, and the United Federation of Teachers.

This unusual move by Spitzer takes the place of legislation that passed the Legislature last year but was vetoed by former Gov. George Pataki.

The Senate overrode the veto on the last night of the 2006 legislative session in June - largely in hopes that the WFP would back then-Republican Sen. Nick Spano in a key race in Yonkers; the party remained neutral and Democrat Andrea Stewart-Cousins defeated Spano, further narrowing the GOP majority's already-slim margin in the chamber. The Assembly did not follow suit with the override.

The expectation is that day care workers will join one of the two state unions - PEF or CSEA. Critics say this sets a dangerous precedent, creating an employer-employee relationship where none should exist.

UPDATE: UFT spokesman Stu Marques says the expectation is that day-care workers within NYC will join UFT while those outside the city will join CSEA.