About Democracy for NYC

Democracy for NYC (DFNYC) is committed to the ideals espoused by Democracy for America, the organization founded by Howard Dean, and the national network of local coalition groups dedicated to the same.

EndorsedLogo PlasticWe work both locally and nationally to ensure that fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates are elected at all levels of government. We develop innovative ways to advocate for the issues that matter to our members and support legislation which has a positive effect in our communities.  We promote transparency and ethical practices in government.  We engage people in the political process and give them the tools to organize, communicate, mobilize, and enact change on the local, state, and national level.

You can download our bylaws here.

About Democracy for New York City


Nigerian Petition & Elections Feb 14

In the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris earlier this month, there has been a concern about the relative lack of media attention on the attacks Nigeria from January 3-7 which destroyed entire towns and left approximately 2000 people dead or unaccounted for.  Many Democracy for NYC members have raised concerns about honoring the victims in Nigeria as we honor the victims in the Paris attacks, and we in DFNYC leadership agree.
We wished we had an action item on this when the attacks first happened - somewhere to direct the energy of our members. We asked in a DFNYC email newsletter, and one of our members wrote back. Amnesty International has a petition to the Nigerian government which is very informative. Read more at this link.   

Here are some other links and updates:

Nigerian Army Knew of the Baga Massacre Ahead of Time:

The BBC has an article on Amnesty International's report that the Nigerian army was aware of the plans for the massacre in Baga:http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31026557 


IRC helping Baga refugees:
The International Rescue Committee has a post highlighting what is often the most immediate need in crises like this - taking care of surviving refugees. The IRC is assisting some of the Baga refugees in nearby Niger:
Nigeria has an Election on February 14th:
The National Democratic Institute, which deploys non-partisan election monitors all over the world, has been monitoring the situation in Nigeria in advance of the upcoming elections, in which President Goodluck and several other candidates are on the ballot. NDI and a related group will deploy election observers to Nigeria.  

NDI's pre-election statement on Nigeria is at this link:  
The statement says that the research was funded by a grant from the U.S. State Department. Is that a positive thing, or does it bias the outcome of the report? We would love to hear from those of you who have experience with State Department grants, or anyone with opinions on this matter.  Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Sign Our Petition to Developers Against "Poor Doors"


We are teaming up with Democracy for America against "poor doors" in NYC residential buildings. Click here to go to the petition and voice your support! 


Sign On to Stop "Poor Doors" By Real Estate Developers
Extell, a firm that is one of the most active real estate developers building residential property in New York City, recently got approval from a New York City agency to build a "poor door" in one of their new buildings - a separate entrance for residents in affordable apartments.
City zoning laws, which are designed in part to ensure that there is enough housing for middle and working class New Yorkers, provide generous incentives to developers if they build a certain percentage of "affordable" apartments, units that will be available to people at or below the median income level. Extell, the developer of a new building at Riverside and 64th Street, decided that the new tower would have a main entrance for market-rate tenants on the Hudson River side of the building, and, a separate entrance for tenants in affordable units on the street side. Extell is not the only developer engaging in this practice, which critics call "poor doors."
One of the principles behind our city's zoning laws is promoting economic diversity and equal opportunity. When developers get the tax credits and other benefits of building affordable housing and then separate those tenants into two classes by installing different entrances, they have violated the principles of fair housing that we strive to protect in New York City.
The loophole that allows poor doors was part of a large zoning bill that many elected officials, including Bill de Blasio, supported in 2009, because there were many great provisions in the bill for middle class housing and it was likely unclear how the language with regard to separate entrances would play out. Recently, we were pleased to hear that several officials, including Mayor de Blasio, came out against poor doors and are looking into reforming this loophole.
Democracy for NYC, the local coalition group of Democracy for America, will be delivering this petition to Extell and other developers that seek to install poor doors, or lobby to insert loopholes into zoning language that allow poor doors.

Additional links:

And on the other side:

Contribute to Democracy for NYC

Democracy for New York City was founded in 2004 by local activists who had volunteered for Howard Dean's campaign for President.  After his campaign ended, we joined with many progressives around the country who wanted to continue pursuing Governor Dean's vision of a Democratic Party that is true to its tradition and values, and champions the rights of those who struggle every day to survive.    

For ten years we have fought for democracy every day in our city and beyond.  Your donations help us continue our work to fight for socially progressive, fiscally responsibly policies and candidates throughout New York City and beyond.  


To Contribute, please contact us at info -at- dfnyc.org, replace -at- w/@. We just need to make sure we comply with federal regulations for PACs. 

Great value for your progressive dollar:

We are an all-volunteer group! Our expenses are small but significant - examples include: website hosting, database management for grassroots organizing, and transportation and other costs for volunteers to campaign for great Democrats outside NYC who are fighting to take back Congress.

Note:  Though we work closely with Democracy for America, we are not funded by them. DFA and DFNYC are two completely separate organizations. We encourage you to give to both.

Fast Track - TransPacific Partnership aka TPP


Many in the progressive community are concerned about Congress' recent efforts to "fast track" trade deals, specifically the proposed TransPacific Partnership.  We will be updating this page with some links:


~Wikipedia page on Fast Track negotiating authority:


~Petition against Fast Track - Democracy for America


2014-2-11 HuffPo article on 2013 Trade Data and what that might mean for Fast Track:

2014-5-1 Article in The Hill about Republican Senator Hatch asking President Obama to get involved in promoting fast track trade authority. 

2014-5-1 Yahoo article on Senator Wyden's Concerns About Fast-Track

2015-1-26 Robert Reich Facebook post about fast-tracking the TPP 

2015-1-30 Joseph Stiglitz op-ed in the NY Times on drug companies potentially using fast-track to "protect" intellectual property and drive up drug prices.


DFNYC Transition Memo for Bill de Blasio - Help Us Write It

We endorsed Bill de Blasio back in April and DFNYC members volunteered early and often for his campaign. 

DFNYC members have a lot of great policy ideas and experience with New York City government. Now, we've decided to write up a "transition memo" to Bill de Blasio, to share ideas suggested and discussed by our members and others in the NYC political community.

We want your ideas - We had a great Day-After-The-Election Linkup on Wednesday, Nov. 6th where we hashed out ideas for our DFNYC Transition Memo for Bill de Blasio.  After that Linkup, we've got a second draft, and we still want your ideas & opinions. Keep them coming: info-at-dfnyc.org (Richard & Tracey)  

DFNYC Transition Memo for Bill de Blasio - Draft 3

Here are the ideas we have so far:
1. Police & Civil Liberties - Longer assignments in neighborhoods

From stop & frisk to unlawful arrests, there are a lot of problems with the way the N.Y.P.D. interacts with New Yorkers. Jerome Rice, who is part of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care and the NAACP, has suggested that there would be far fewer civil liberties violations by police officers if their initial assignment in a precinct was lengthened to a year or longer. Right now, it is possible for an officer to transfer out of a precinct in as little as 6 months, creating little incentive for the officer to get to know the neighborhood. If the initial assignment in a precinct is lengthened to a year or even 18 months, there is more incentive for that officer to get to know people in the neighborhood, go to community meetings, and listen to residents’ concerns. We believe the ideals of community policing are possible to achieve if officers feel more connected to a neighborhood.


Feasibility & Status:  We believe this would not require a change to existing law, but likely would require a change in the union contract with NYPD officers.  We are gathering and analyzing social science research on this idea.

2. Voting - Easier, Quicker, Better Organized
A. Two Bottlenecks Creating Lines at the Polls & Two Easy Solutions


i. Bottleneck 1 - Voters Finding their ED - Big Maps with Election Districts

When voters arrive at the polls, if they do not know their election district (“ED”), they must wait in a line while a poll worker looks up their address.  We propose that at each poll site, the BOE put up a detailed neighborhood map that voters can look at and determine their ED.  This will greatly reduce the first line at the polls.  Another possibility is volunteers with smart phones helping people in line, but we are concerned that there may not be enough volunteers.

ii. Bottleneck 2 - Get rid of voter cards
The second bottleneck is at the second line a voter must wait in – at the desk for their election district. After signing the book in this most recent election, voters had to wait while a poll worker filled out a card with their information. Voter cards are necessary with lever machines, a voter must show the operator of the lever machine that s/he has signed in. But with paper ballots going to the scanner, the fact that the voter has a paper ballot is the proof that s/he signed in.


Feasibility & Status:  We have confirmed with elections experts that that these two solutions to bottlenecks at the polls can be implemented without changing existing law; just BOE policy.  Most fair elections groups believe that voter cards do not reduce the risk of voter fraud with paper ballots.


B. Early Voting & Appointments to the NYC Board of Elections


We have two other proposed solutions to voting problems in NYC: One is early voting (opening up some poll sites for up to two weeks before the election, as other states do) and the other is changing the way we appoint leaders to the NYC BOE. Marc Landis has proposed that the current process, where leaders come out of the county parties, should be changed to a non-political process that focuses on a candidate’s qualifications first, similar to the Campaign Finance Board. However, we understand both of these measures will require legislation in Albany. If and when we advocate for these solutions in the 2014 elections, we would really like to have Mayor de Blasio’s support.

3. Jobs Portal for the Tech Sector – Helping the Unemployed & Small Business
NYC has seen a growth in the tech sector – internet and new media companies. Many of these businesses are creating jobs, including for people without a college education. However, for many of these startups, finding good talent is difficult and expensive. NYC government has a unique opportunity to create a tech-centered “jobs portal” that would make it easy for these companies to find and hire talented un-employed or under-employed New Yorkers, as well as connect those looking for education and training to companies offering internships and on the job training programs. 

Feasibility & Status:   This would not require a change in existing law, and could be accomplished with existing resources in city government, as the new administration sets up its organizational structure. DFNYC is working with our friends in the tech sector to more fully develop this idea. 
4. Surgery Checklist - Reducing death, complications & infections
The New York City Health Department could dramatically reduce complications and death from surgery in our city’s hospitals by ensuring that surgeons and their surgical teams are using the Safe Surgery Checklist, developed by the World Health Organization. Use of the checklist for surgeries was found to reduce major complications by 36%, reduce infection rates by nearly 50%, and reduce deaths by 47%. (New England Journal of Medicine, 1/29/09.)  Unfortunately, this checklist is often not used, or used inconsistently, due to medical culture and perhaps the basically difficulty of getting an often changing group of people (surgery teams) to complete a specific task.  Because the major stakeholders (other than the patient) often do not have a financial incentive to reduce surgery complications, this is an area where the city should step in.


Feasibility & Status:  We believe this would not require a change in existing law, and in fact, there may be financial incentives under “Obamacare.” We are looking into which hospitals are regulated by the city, and how. We are also reaching out to Dr. Atul Gawande, who developed the checklist as discussed in his 2010 book The Checklist Manifesto. 

5. City ID Card that is also a Debit Card – Help for Underbanked Communities

We are very happy that Mayor-elect de Blasio has voiced his support for city ID cards.  We propose that NYC follow the lead of Oakland, CA, which has unveiled a new city government ID card with a debit card feature.  “Designed to assist low-income, “underbanked” individuals, it offers ease-of-access to reputable banking… The underbanked are guided toward formal banking practices that encourage savings and help them avoid predatory financial practices.” (To learn more, visit this link and scroll down to Idea #11.)

6. Living Wage - Make the Bill Stronger & Get it Passed

Simply put, we feel if tax payer money is going to fund real estate projects, than the jobs created by those projects should pay a living wage, a key step to ending poverty and hunger in NYC.  In 2011, the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act was before the City Council.  It is *not* an across-the-board minimum wage increase (that can only happen at the state level, in Albany); it is simply a bill to require hourly wages of $11.50 (or $10 if benefits are provided) for workers in real estate development projects that receive $1 million or more in city money (subsidies, PILOTS, etc.) For example, if a developer builds with financial help from the city, then rents space to a drug store, the drug store must pay workers at least the living wage of $10 or $11.50/hour, not the current minimum wage of $7.25. Developers will argue that they will have trouble finding tenants, but they will essentially just have to charge cheaper rents, passing the tax subsidy on to the commercial tenant, so that the tenant can pass it on to its employees. Obamacare's subsidies and incentives will make it easier for these employees to get health insurance, making a strong living wage bill more likely to succeed.  There are exceptions for small businesses, but the bill has some loopholes (exempting large firms that build affordable housing or schools) that should be closed. 

Feasibility & Status: Because this is not an across-the-board minimum wage hike, NYC does not need Albany's approval. While it will have to pass the council, the previous bill had 30 of 51 co-sponsors, and after the 2013 elections, we will arguably have a much more progressive city council in January. 

Your Ideas:

Have some opinions about these ideas or an idea of your own? We’re at info-at-dfnyc.org, (Richard & Tracey)


About DFNYC:

We are a local progressive grassroots group that came out of Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign. We support social progressive fiscally responsible candidates and issues. We volunteer and fundraise for candidates at all levels of government, from Democratic District Leader to U.S. President.

Contact Information

Email: info -at- dfnyc.org


A local coalition group of Democracy for America since 2004

Democracy for NYC (DFNYC) is committed to the ideals espoused by Democracy for America, the organization founded by Howard Dean, and the national network of local coalition groups dedicated to the same.