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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

"Status Cuo-mo," Tish James's rise to AG nominee, and other election takeaways

In a race that pushed incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo to his left and highlighted challenger Cynthia Nixon's criticism of Cuomo's stewardship of the subway system, Cuomo, riding a huge war chest, soundly defeated Nixon in yesterday's Democratic primary election, likely a path to victory in the November general election.

In other words, "Status Cuo-Mo," as the Daily News cover "wood" put it. And that would be the status quo for New York State's stewardship of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, via the state-controlled Empire State Development, which likely will remain deferential to the developer's desires. Not that ESD oversight became a campaign issue.

Not status quo was the defeat of most Democratic Senators who were in the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, including Brooklyn's Jesse Hamilton, who represents a broad district that includes part of Prospect Heights.

The AG race

From the New York Times
In a surprise to some, especially those reading the clearly flawed recent polls, Public Advocate Letitia James soundly defeated three rivals to become the Democratic nominee for Attorney General.

That's a testament to James's record in New York, her name recognition and years of showing up, and, yes, the party apparatus and ground game. She got nearly one-quarter of all her votes in Brooklyn, as per the New York Times statistics, and only won downstate counties--a sign of how those vote-rich areas were key.

It's also a testament to the limited power of newspaper endorsements--the Times and Daily News, for example, endorsed law professor and fierce Trump critic Zephyr Teachout, who won 31% of the vote to James's 40.6%.

And it's a recognition of the huge spending by third-placing candidate Sean Patrick Maloney, a sitting Congressman who dubiously transferred his own campaign funds and who got major real estate and corporate donations. He was seen as a wedge to take votes from Teachout and deliver the race to James, who may not be corporate-friendly (a longtime Atlantic Yards opponent, she's waffled a bit recently) but is not the firebrand that Teachout promised to be. While she has declared her independence, some see her more as tied to the Democratic Party. Or, maybe, she can work the system she knows.

(Leecia Eve, the Verizon lobbyist and candidate I profiled, lacked a base and lagged far behind, but did gain some positive notice--an endorsement by the Albany Times-Union, a second-place nod from the Times--which could position her for a future run.)

James, assuming she wins the general election, will have a lot on her plate as Attorney General, including taking on--as she and others promised--President Donald Trump. That doesn't mean she ignores real estate issues (and she hasn't as Public Advocate), but I don't think a project like Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park will necessarily come to the fore.

The Public Advocate race

Assuming James becomes Attorney General, there will be--per Michael Howard Saul--"a nonpartisan citywide special election for NYC public advocate early next year, followed by a primary in September 2019 and general election in November 2019."

That opens up the space on a brief interim basis to Council Speaker Corey Johnson, but the election could feature, as per Gotham Gazette, former Council Speakers Christine Quinn and Melissa Mark-Viverito, several Council Members, and others. I wouldn't rule out Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz or Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, both of whom could use the Public Advocate's position as a platform to run for mayor in 2021.

Jumaane Williams, the Brooklyn Council Member who ran a surprisingly strong race for Lieutenant Governor, emerges with a higher profile as well, perhaps to run for Public Advocate or Brooklyn Borough President.

A James irony

The Times article contained a quote:
“She brings a lot of hope to black and brown people,” said James E. Caldwell, 67, a community leader in Crown Heights.
That may be so, but I remember when Caldwell headed Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (BUILD), a signatory of the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement, which was sued in 2011 (along with developer Forest City Ratner) for not delivering promised construction careers by trainees in a coveted training program. And those trainees were organized with James's significant help. The suit was settled.