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.
We 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.
Gov. Cuomo has set a date of May 5th for the special election for the seat vacated by disgraced Congressman Michael Grimm. Also on that date, a special election for the 43rd Assembly District in Brooklyn (Kareem Kamera).
Read the write up on these races by Mark Johns of DFNYC leadership - click here.
In the fall of 2013, after an AP article that reported that the N.Y.P.D. was designating entire mosques as terrorist organizations in order to conduct widespread surveillance, we started a joint petition with DFA against this violation of basic civil liberties.
At this page here at the DFNYC website, we will post updates on the Muslim surveillance issue, as a human right violation of this nature can often be a one-day news story that later loses attention. We endorsed Mayor de Blasio in 2013 in part because of his principled stance on improving police community relations, and we intend to work with other advocacy groups to help make this happen.
There is some good news! The N.Y.P.D. is disbanding that particular unit. Also, there are federal civil rights law suit in both New York and New Jersey.
NY Times article: NYPD Disbands Muslim-focused Surveillance Unit
Law 360 article re earlier 2012 surveillance issue: NJ Muslims Tell Third Circuit (Federal Appeals Court) that NYPD Spying Caused Real Harm
WNYC article about dismissal of suit by the federal district court in Newark: http://www.wnyc.org/story/fed-judge-throws-out-nypd-spying-lawsuit/
New York Lawsuits:
A federal judge in NYC dismissed a 2012 civil rights suits against N.Y.P.D. targeting of Muslims. But a suit filed in 2013, Raza v. City of New York is still active.
Gov. Cuomo and the Moreland Commission: Your Opinion
Last week's article in the NY Times about Governor Cuomo's involvement with the Moreland Commission is rapidly making its way around the progressive reform-minded community.
Gov. Cuomo set up the Moreland Commission, which had the noble objective of routing out corruption in state government. A few months into their work, Gov. Cuomo's office directed the Commission to pull back subpoenas it intended to issue, including against organizations that are allies of the Governor. However, Governor Cuomo's office argues that it was their right to direct the work of the Commission, as they set it up, and having the Commission investigate the governor would be a conflict of interest.
We would like to know what you think. Please email us at info-at-dfnyc.org (Richard & Tracey).
NY Times article on Gov. Cuomo & Moreland Commission:
Gov. Cuomo's response:
Why DFNYC Supports UPKNYC - Feedback from our members
In a newsletter we sent in January 2014, we asked our members if DFNYC should sign on to the UPKNYC campaign, the movement to fund full-day pre-K in NYC with a marginal tax increase on incomes over $500K per year. We knew many members of DFNYC supported this, but we wanted to formally ask for opinions in a newsletter.
We heard from many of you and the overwhelming majority of the messages were enthusiastically in favor, so we have joined the coalition. For those that disagree or raised concerns, we wanted to make a few points here.
Media's Cuomo vs. de Blasio Narrative:
Many news articles about universal Pre-K have framed the UPK debate as a battle between Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio. It may appear as if they are both offering the same thing, with the only difference being that the Mayor wants to raise taxes and the Governor does not. However, Gov. Cuomo's plan allocates an amount of money over 5 years that is a fraction of the cost of providing quality Pre-K in NYC, let alone the state. Also, if NYC's Pre-K funding comes from the state, it will be subjected to the yearly budget process in Albany, which makes it nearly impossible for providers and teachers to make plans and run their schools effectively. We have admired Gov. Cuomo's decisions and policies on several issues, but in the area of UPK for NYC, we think a dedicated funding stream from a specific tax makes more sense. (To be clear, the UPKNYC coalition is independent and not part of the mayor's office.)
The universal Pre-K debate naturally brings up the tax debate. The concern was raised that increasing taxes on people at the higher end of the income scale is unfairly punishing those who work hard. To be clear, we do not support progressive taxation to punish, but rather because it is the fairest and most sustainable way to pay for universal Pre-K, a valuable public service. It is an extremely small increase: ½ a percentage point on the amount of income over $500K.
Research Shows Quality Pre-K works:
The point was raised that Pre-K may not be the best way to tackle problems in the education system, particularly because of studies showing Head Start had limited success. However, the recent research shows that quality Pre-K programs do have positive long term effects. Click here for an explanation from the National Institute for Early Education Research (pdf).
Progressives want the facts and some real analysis on NSA spying. The mainstream wants to debate Edward Snowden's biography. Here at the DFNYC website, we're collecting some links to good articles and resources on NSA spying. Have a suggestion? Email us at info -at- dfnyc.org.
What James Clapper Doesn't Understand About Edward Snowden (Feb 24, 2014 article in The Atlantic.)
Many DFNYCers were elated on December 16th when Richard Leon, a federal district court judge in Washington D.C., declared the Spying tactics of the NSA unconstitutional, only to be dismayed eleven days later when William Pauley III, a federal district court judge here in the Southern District of N.Y., declared that NSA spying was indeed constitutional, parroting many of the government’s talking points.
Here are some links and resources we wanted to share with the DFNYC community:
Judge Leon’s opinion of 12/16 – Unconstitutional:
Judge Pauley’s opinion of 12/27 – Constitutional:
New Yorker article “State of Deception” by Ryan Lizza, which includes an in-depth look at the timeline of the spying activities and the Senate Intelligence Committee, including a comparison of Senators Diane Feinstein and Ron Wyden: