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.

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About Democracy for New York City


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.