Monday’s Headlines: Crazy Weekend Endorsements Edition

What a weekend for readers of political tea-leaves! It all started on Friday when StreetsPAC — the most trusted name in livable streets politics — surprisingly endorsed Corey Johnson instead of Brad Lander for comptroller.

Within minutes, our phones were jumping off the hook (i.e. our Twitter blew up) with condemnations of the endorsement, which, objectively speaking was odd (given how many street safety and transportation equity leaders had previously, and publicly, signed onto the Lander campaign).

StreetsPAC said it was exceptionally difficult to choose between the two “exceptional public servants” — and in the end, gave Johnson “a slight edge” over Lander.

Lander then recovered on Saturday, when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reminded everyone that she was still endorsing him, despite Johnson’s entry into the race. And the Lander campaign put out a slick add featuring her kind words, plus support from Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Jerry Nadler and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. The Daily News covered, but here’s the ad so you can see it for yourself:

Also on Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Maya Wiley for mayor (NY Times) and a host of candidates for Council (Gothamist, amNY), with some picks raising eyebrows (Streetsblog). AOC’s choice of Wiley came with an explicit endorsement of her position on reining in the NYPD, which led to the predictable back-and-forth between Wiley and Eric Adams over cops (NY Post)

Speaking of cops, they’re still over-aggressively enforcing the bizarre 10 p.m. curfew in Washington Square Park with escalation tactics that many say are typical of the NYPD’s Strategic Response Group. (NY Post)

In other news:

  • The MTA picked the wrong weekend for track work on the train that takes New Yorkers to the beach (NYDN). But at least the agency put out a list of upcoming summer track work (amNY).Screen Shot 2021-06-06 at 9.18.21 PM
  • Yet another resident of Jackson Heights has written an op-ed supporting the open street on 34th Avenue that a fake “compromise” group wants to reduce or eliminate (NYDN). At this point, there have been so many op-eds in favor of the linear park on 34th Avenue that we find it hard to believe that supporters are seen as the “divisive” ones in this slam-dunk debate. And over the weekend Larisa Ortiz, a Jackson Heights resident who is also on the City Planning Commission (!), let her anti-open streets neighbors have it (screen shot from Facebook, right). While we’re on the topic of the visionary planning concept behind the linear park petition versus efforts to destroy the city’s only truly perfect open street, we’d be remiss if we didn’t remind DOT officials who are deciding what to do that Streetsblog’s reporting this year has revealed a) that the open street reduces crashes on 34th Avenue by 80 percent, b) that car drivers dominate more than two-thirds of all the public roadway space in the park-starved neighborhood c) that car owners tend to be richer than their non-car-owning neighbors and d) that thousands of people are using and enjoying the roadway when it is cleared of dangerous cars. If anyone is being divisive, it is the group of wealthier car owners who are trying to take away what the city calls its “gold standard” open street from their less-affluent neighbors.
  • Speaking of Daily News op-eds, Amy Cohen and Shaun Francois penned a clarion call for the state legislature to pass Sammy’s Law, which would allow the city to set speed limits without requiring state approval. We’ve been following the bill and others in the so-called Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act (and the news ain’t good).
  • Anti-cycling Brooklyn State Senator Simcha Felder is at it again, proposing a raft of things that won’t keep bike riders safe. He said he was motivated because he almost killed a cyclist while driving the other day … and the incident left him so shocked that he decided to immediately do nothing of any value for vulnerable road users. (NY Post)
  • The New York Post is shocked — shocked — that Scott Stringer’s latest ad used a rented bus to look like a genuine MTA bus.
  • Uber and Lyft prices may be on the rise, which the Post sees as a bad thing, quoting a woman who’d rather take a cab than walk 14 blocks … until Uber wanted to charge her $39!
  • Cops were busting delivery cyclists on the Fifth Avenue open street over the weekend, Doug Gordon saw and tweeted. It’s unclear who called in the narcs, as Gordon said he did not see any dangerous cycling. We’re sure an enterprising young reporter will be looking into this today. (Via Twitter)
  • A well-know movie and stage actress was critical injured in a hit-and-run crash with a motorcycle or moped, but cops offered few details. (NY Post)
  • Let’s build real infrastructure … i.e. biking paths. (Bloomberg)