Electoral Politics Questions

Will my representatives hear my concerns if I call them?

In the world that we live in, taking the time to write your representative (at any level of government) is unfortunately only effective in a narrow set of situations and is often best used as a supplementary tactic supporting a broader strategy.

Clarence Stone’s notion of “systemic power” is helpful. For him, systemic power has to do with the predispositions of public officials, i.e. which interests these officials favor at the expense of others. Power is having public officials predisposed to favor your interests. Since society and economics shape these power relations, those better off are de facto preferred. For an electorate to compete, they need to figure out a way to reshape that public official’s priorities in order to be heard. How that happens depends on the public official you are trying to get recognition from.

Contacting your representative, like any public action, should be a thought through, necessary, piece of a larger plan. As a tactic it is fairly weak on its own, however, if it is a tactic you are considering, we suggest watching the highly informative YouTube video: “Contact Your Representative” by Folding Ideas (more on this topic also appears later in this document).

Who are potential primary challengers to de Blasio in 2017?

  • Official Running List of Democratic Candidates for Mayor in 2017 (as of 1/1/2017):

    • Bill de Blasio: Incumbent

    • Sal Albanese: Former city councilperson for Bay Ridge, this is his 4th time running for Mayor

    • Tony Avella: Currently State Senator for Bayside Queens, was city councilperson for Bayside, second time running for Mayor

    • Richard “Bo” Dietl: Former detective for NYPD and radio personality on Fox network (Stephen Baldwin played him in a movie)

    • Josh Thompson: Running as education activist (wife works for Achievement First)

  • Rumored candidates:

    • Scott Stringer: Current City Comptroller

    • Ruben Diaz Jr.: Current Bronx Borough President

    • Jumaane Williams: Current City Councilperson for Flatbush, Brooklyn

    • Tish James: Current Public Advocate

  • To find list of all registered candidates in all 2017 elections (City Council, Borough President, etc.) as of Jan. 1, 2017, look here: http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6676-candidates-for-2017-city-elections-mayor-city-council-comptroller

New York Constitutional Convention FAQ?

(Most of this information found through the NY State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse at www.newyorkconcon.info)

  • What is a constitutional convention?

    • A political meeting where elected representatives create or change a constitution

  • How often does NY have one?

    • Every 20 years

  • When is the next one?

    • The next convention will be in April of 2019 but there are several phases, the first of which will start in 2017

  • What are the different phases?

    • Nov. 2017 - Constitutional question (must get majority for the rest to happen)

    • Nov. 2018 - Voters elect convention delegates

    • April 2019 - Convention is held

    • Nov. 2019 - Popular vote on proposed changes

  • Who votes for the constitutional convention and when?

    • Everyone in NY State votes on Nov. 7th 2017 (election day)

    • Then in 2018 we all vote again (on election day) by state senate district to elect 3 delegates per district.

    • Then in 2019 we all vote again to approve referendums suggested by the convention earlier in April of that year.

  • How do people become delegates?

    • This is unclear, but we think they are nominated through county political clubs

  • What are the pros and cons of a constitutional convention?

    • This is a much debated question. We recommend you visit the NY State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse at www.newyorkconcon.info. Click “Pro & Con” on top banner.

    • Also, anyone interested the NYS Constitutional Convention should read the Gotham Gazette article “The Best Delegate Selection Process for a New York State Constitutional Convention” by J. H. Snider. It makes the current process clear and also lays out an alternative and some very ambitious but concrete steps to get there.

  • Where can I find more information?

    • We highly recommend visiting the NY State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse at www.newyorkconcon.info for more information. There are also many different resources you can find through that website.

    • Also good is the Ballotpedia entry: New York Constitutional Convention Question (2017)

    • “Constitutional Convention Absent from Cuomo’s 2017 Agenda” by Rachel Silberstein. Gotham Gazette, January 19, 2017.