Rosenthal and Levine Coast to Second Terms, as Con-Con Fails


Levine and Rosenthal with Yankees manager Joe Girardi (at left) in 2015.

Democrats Helen Rosenthal and Mark Levine easily won second terms in the City Council on Tuesday night, and Mayor Bill de Blasio had already been declared the victor as of 9:30 p.m. Two other Upper West Siders won second terms too — Scott Stringer will return as Comptroller and Gale Brewer won her Borough President race.

See full results at WNYC.

In a statement after her victory, Rosenthal thanked supporters and touted her accomplishments: “We’ve been able to protect tenants who are being harassed out of their homes; help keep pedestrians and bikers safe; provide an excellent education for all of our kids; ensure our seniors are receiving the care and respect they deserve; and root out wasteful spending.”


On Monday, Rosenthal celebrated the centennial of women winning the right to vote in New York. Photo by John McCarten.

Her opponent Bill Raudenbush said that while he’s encouraged by “neighborhood’s thoughtfulness when it comes to  the individual issues that shape our lives,” he’s dismayed by “how few people are civically engaged, the future and fate of progressive values within the party system, and the ongoing and seemingly impossible task of overcoming the monied interests that dominate civic life.”

Levine is expected to be a front-runner to become the next City Council Speaker, which could make him a big player in determining what legislation makes it to the mayor’s desk.

The ballot question about whether to hold a New York state Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) failed by a vote of 83% to 17%.

NEWS | 42 comments | permalink
    1. Adam Cherson says:

      Great, more business as usual….

    2. Bruce Bernstein says:

      Upper West Side results, Mayor:

      67th AD (60s, 70s, 80s west of Amsterdam: Linda Rosenthal): Deblasio 68.2%

      69th AD (80s East of Amsterdam; 93rd north to 125 including Morningside Heights, Manhattan Valley: Danny O’Donnell): Deblasio 78.7%

      total: 73.5%

      you would think, from the comments on the West Side Rag, that almost the entire UWS hates the Mayor. it turns out not to be true. almost 3 out of 4 voted for him.

      I often wonder why so many WSR comments are so at odds with the opinions of the majority in the neighborhood.

      • EricaC says:

        I assume it is because, when you feel outnumbered and out of sync with your community, you are more comfortable commenting in an anonymous context, and once you find fellow sufferers, you keep coming back for more support. (It would be interesting to know from those who are among those commenters to say whether this is at all true or not.)

        But please remember – those are percentages of voters, not percentages of residents.

        All that said, I can’t help but hope that this pattern holds true more broadly.

      • Cato says:

        Bruce wonders “why so many WSR comments are so at odds with the opinions of the majority in the neighborhood.”

        We don’t know the “opinions of the majority in the neighborhood”. All that we know from yesterday’s election are the opinions of the majority *who voted* in the neighborhood. Let’s not naively equate the two, especially when we know that only a pitifully small proportion of the registered voters bothered to express their opinions at all.

        Or are you prepared to agree with the President that he was elected by a majority of the American people?

        • EricaC says:

          Cato – I don’t think that your final point actually holds. The President was not elected by even the majority of the people who voted.

          That said, I agree that we have to remember that the percentages in the election reflect only the positions of those who voted, not of the entire community. (In fact, I said that, above, though perhaps not before your post.)

        • shame! says:

          It’s the “pitifully small” part that bothers me more than anything. Let’s complain about everything but not bother to do the single most powerful thing you can do to at least attempt to make a change. Shame on every one of you who did not vote!

        • Independent says:

          only a pitifully small proportion of the registered voters bothered to express their opinions at all.

          Quite correct. Rather incredible how B. Bernstein completely elided that most salient fact from his comment.

          Or are you prepared to agree with the President that he was elected by a majority of the American people?

          Note that voter turnout was much higher in last November’s Presidential election than it was in yesterday’s election– both locally as well as in at least many other districts and parts of the country.

      • PBJTime says:

        Linda Rosenthal is our state assembly person and was not on the ballot yesterday

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        the turnout on the West Side was not so pitifully low. well over 50,000 people voted in the two ADs.

        there is no evidence that non-voters would be more “anti De Blasio” than voters. in fact, you would think that the passionate anti-De Blasio people would be motivated to vote.

        Cato said:

        “Or are you prepared to agree with the President that he was elected by a majority of the American people?”

        no, Hillary Clinton was selected by a 3 million vote plurality of the American voting public, in a fairly high turnout election. it is a totally different issue.

        but to make everyone comfortable, let me out it this way:

        3 out of 4 Upper West Siders who cared to express an opinion by voting selected the Mayor.

        this is a landslide by any measure. and in fact, UWSers were MORE in favor of DE Blasio than were residents citywide — where he got 66%.

        Erica said:

        “I assume it is because, when you feel outnumbered and out of sync with your community, you are more comfortable commenting in an anonymous context, and once you find fellow sufferers, you keep coming back for more support.”

        As she often does, Erica offers an intelligent hypothesis.

      • Carlos says:

        DeBlasio is a disaster. His opponent was even more of a disaster. Given the two options, I chose DeBlasio, as he was less bad. I wish there were better options – I don’t know why no legitimate Democrats chose to oppose him in the primary. I think this is the feeling of numerous New Yorkers. Not sure why this is so hard for you to figure out.

        Also, to the point of another poster, those who are unhappy tend to comment more than those who are happy. That is basic human nature.

        • Juan says:

          I agree – really simple. For many, a vote for deBlasio wasn’t really a vote for him but a vote against the other candidate. It’s like choosing between stepping in gum and dog poop – which is the least bad option. Hopefully deBlasio doesn’t see this as a ringing endorsement.

          • David says:

            Stepping in gum or dog poop reminded me of the last Presidential election. They’re both bad choices. I am still trying to figure out which candidate is gum and which is dog poop.

            It reminds me of South Park’s take on the election. It was a choice between a turd sandwich or a giant douche.

      • Glen says:

        I hate the mayor and I voted R, notwithstanding the fear I had that someone would mistake the vote for Nicole as support for her party leaders. That said, I felt even more justified in my vote when I heard DeBlahz speak favorably about raising taxes in his victory speech. If anything he (and Cuomo) should be preparing to cut taxes, because if the current plan sails though Congress with its elimination of the state and local deduction, his income base is going to shrink.

    3. Kristi Thoma Boyce says:

      Candidates like Raudenbush are hard to come by. I appreciated his thoughtfulness and core progressive values. I have nothing in particular against Rosenthal, but Raudenbush’s nuanced perspective on the AMNH expansion plan got my vote.

      I don’t view Rosenthal’s overwhelming victory as indicative of overwhelming support. Rather, it points to the problems we have with civic engagement, where don’t we see politicians as people with values, but mere D’s or R’s or incumbents. Grateful for the West Side Rag and the work it does to promote the former.

      • Cass says:

        I too was impressed with Raudenbush’s approach on a variety of issues. He is articulate and deeply knowledgeable about Issues on the UWS and in Manhattan in general. He was unfortunately not widely known, due in part to Rosenthal’s deep-pocketed donors, including RE developers, and her refusal to debate him on multiple occasions. Of course she had everything to lose so why would she. At least she was smart enough to realize that.

    4. Cyrus says:

      That would be “former” Yankees Manager, Joe Girardi 🙂

      • Cato says:

        Actually, no — in 2015, as the photo is attributed, Girardi *was* the Yankees manager.

        To be more precise, the label might have better read “then-Yankees manager”, but in 2015 he was *not* the “former” manager.

    5. B.B. says:

      It is very rare for any incumbent NYC/NYS elected official of either party to be booted from office. Absent scandal (and maybe not even then), crime committed (ditto), and few others it just does not happen.

      Much of this has to do with the pathetic voting levels of this city and state. Apathy is too weak a word to describe how in a city of over eight million, only one bothered to vote yesterday.

      Term limits for NYC ads another fly to the ointment. Serious challengers simply prefer to refrain from going after an incumbent knowing in another four years the seat is open due to “forced retirement”, as it were.

      Everyone moaned, wailed and otherwise decried Bloomberg changing term limits; but the man and nearly every single city council member who voted for same won reelection.

    6. B.B. says:

      In a city where voter apathy is endemic, what did anyone expect?

      No serious challengers go after incumbents unless they suspect weakness. Even then when you are talking about a handful of persons who actually vote in each district you’ve got to have a pretty compelling campaign, and or the incumbent is that much despised to pull it off.

      Term limits means no one of substance bothered running against most incumbents. Why should they waste their time and fire power when the seat will be fully open in four years?

      Bottom line is everyone wails, moans, complains and otherwise runs their mouths about how “bad” this or that elected NYC elected official is; however come election day they have better things to do.

      Out of a total population of over eight million, only one bothered to vote yesterday. BdeB won reelection with less (IIRC) of a vote than he did four years ago, and that is saying something.

    7. Anon says:

      Also nobody exciting ran in the Mayoral contest. No other interesting or proven options lead of course to remain as is.

      • B.B. says:

        You also have to consider that overall New York City’s economy is doing *very* well.

        Unemployment rate is at an all time low, tourism is booming, construction all over the place…. The city is raking in so much money it doesn’t know how to spend it all. In short there wasn’t any short fall of funds for BdeB and the progressive/liberal city council to dole out to their base. With such good times it would be very difficult to unseat any incumbent.

        OTOH remember what did in John Lindsay?

        • Carlos says:

          I think you are exaggerating a bit. First of all, much of the strength of the NY economy isn’t specific to NY but is a national trend. Second, much of it is attributable to Bloomberg.

          Also, the city’s finances aren’t as great as you think. Have you checked your property tax bill lately? There have been huge increases the past few years to try to balance the city’s budget. Property tax bills have been up 25-30% over the past 4 years.

          • B.B. says:

            New York City is leading both the state and nearly every other major urban area of this country in job growth.

            https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-07-27/some-consequences-of-new-york-city-s-amazing-jobs-boom

            We can debate the types of jobs being created and or who is responsible, but that does not change facts. That Bloomberg’s administration may or may not be responsible is neither here nor there; that man isn’t in office, and the current mayor, right or wrong, receives the credit. Just as DT and his supporters are crowing over the economy and so forth that is clearly a result of policies that came from the Obama administration.

            Am well aware of property tax bills going up, have mentioned it several times in this forum. However if you examine thing closely the increases aren’t due to rates, but assessed values going up. Quite simply (and this is something have said before), properties are worth more so they are being taxed at higher rates.

            People who bought UWS brownstones/row houses back in the bad old days for very little money are now getting hammered by property taxes. Again while rates have increased over the years a large driving force is that assessed values are going up. When homes on your block sell for five, ten or more million it affects you regardless.

            Land prices in NYC in particular Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn are going through the roof. All this new construction has made property (land) highly desirable. As such those who own are looking to get big money. When that happens, yes again it affects comparable properties in same area.

            https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/22/nyregion/mayor-bill-de-blasio-budget-plan-new-york-city.html

            http://nypost.com/2017/08/27/de-blasio-is-spending-ny-into-trouble/

          • B.B. says:

            Case in point, remember this from WSR a few weeks ago: http://nypost.com/2017/09/20/noted-broadway-showman-selling-massive-uws-mansion/

            Property taxes on that brownstone/townhouse are around $70k per year. They have risen steeply the past several years not just because of rate increases, but assessed value.

            Keep in mind thanks to the byzantine and archaic property tax laws in New York tax rate increases are phased in over several years, and cannot rise more than a certain percentage. Assessed values are another matter.

        • Sherman says:

          NYC is doing well today not because of DeBlasio but despite him.

          Bloomberg left him a city in pretty good shape and on the upswing. DeBlasio did not inherit a mess like Giuliani did in 1993.

          Furthermore, there is a national trend (actually a global trend) for the best and brightest to move to urban areas.

          NYC has benefitted from all these talented people.

          • B.B. says:

            There’s another thing; many of the so called policies Rudy G. gets credit for were planned and or begun under Mayor David Dinkins. Times Square redevelopment, Compstat and other LE initiatives. But since RG was so successful at demonizing DD the latter rarely receives the credit deserved.

            Quote:
            A 2009 report in The New York Times looking back at the Dinkins administration summarized its achievements, noting:
            Significant accomplishments in lowering New York City’s crime rate and increasing the size of the New York Police Department, and the hiring of Raymond W. Kelly as police commissioner;
            The cleanup and revitalization of Times Square, including persuading the Walt Disney Corporation to rehabilitate an old 42nd Street theater;
            Major commitment to rehabilitation of dilapidated housing in northern Harlem, the South Bronx and Brooklyn despite significant budget constraints—more housing rehabilitated in a single term than Mr. Giuliani did in two terms;
            The USTA lease, which in its final form New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called “the only good athletic sports stadium deal, not just in New York but in the country”;
            Mental-health facility initiatives; and
            Policies and actions that decreased the size of the city’s homeless shelter population to its lowest point in 20 years.[21]
            /quote

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Dinkins

            Just as with certain persons wanting to believe that Obama “ruined” the American economy and so forth, and that somehow DT is a savoir often have the same agenda. The truth however is very different.

    8. drg says:

      2017 NYC record low turnout, beating 2013.
      Registered voters: 4,596,813
      actually voted: 1,097,846

      voted for BdB: 726,361

      thus the mayor was reelected by receiving…
      15.8% of the votes of registered new yorkers

      appalling in so many ways, but ultimately reflecting the quality of the candidates, and mirroring the quality of the populace. As the saying goes “you get the government you deserve” True for Washington, Albany and NYC

      • B.B. says:

        Those numbers are even more depressing when you realize there are *far* more eligible voters than those who register.

        Leaving aside the “transplants” who recently arrive, you have no small number of people born and or raised here of legal age, but never bother to register.

        These in part are the same people who also keep their drivers licenses from out of state (illegal), and or even their cars registered (ditto).

        You ask people why don’t they register much less vote and there are various responses. Many seem work under the idea by not registering and or voting they won’t be called for jury duty. More so if they don’t have a NYS drivers license.

    9. F L Toomey says:

      The suggestion that the 75% of this ED or NYC who didn’t vote would have magically chosen someone other than deBlasio by about the same 2 to 1 margin is ludicrous.

      It defies all logic, yet allegedly smart people keep trying to make this point.

      I could buy a 5-8% difference, but 35% ?

      Come on people.

      The whole deBlasio election coverage and the online commentary that accompanied it makes the NY tabloid press and the commentariat look far, far worse than the mayor.

    10. OriginalMark says:

      It’s hard to find time to vote. It would require looking away from one’s phone for more than 3 minutes.

      • B.B. says:

        Which is why NYC/NYS should look to things being done elsewhere to increase voter turnout; such as early voting and so forth. That was one of the reasons behind the failed effort of a constitutional convention.

        Both political parties (and their associated machines) in New York state and city along with certain other interests (various unions, real estate lobby, etc…), have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, so don’t expect to see any changes to make things *easier*.

        Personally would love to see non-partisan elections; but that simply is *NEVER* going to happen in NYS.

        • OriginalMark says:

          Most people aren’t really too busy to vote on Election Day.
          The polls open at 6am and close at 8pm. One can get an absentee ballot if one will be away.
          My point is that people have tons of time to vapidly and obsessively stare at their phones but can’t be bothered to perform a simple civic duty.
          Anyone who tells you they are “too busy” to vote is full of you know what.

      • EricaC says:

        Not true – I think my total non-phone time totaled less than a minute (while I filled in the bubbles).

    11. OkHelenNowWhat says:

      Just met a teacher at the new PS191. She said the school is horrendous. Kids in Kindergarten pummeling each other, teachers yelling, and she would never send her kid there. She said there are nothing but harsh words to kids by teachers. She said no parents can fix that place period.

      Helen Rosenthal: have you been back to the school since the grand opening? now that the election is over, what are you doing to actually make sure school environments are safe and educational results are improving?

      WSR: please continue to cover/investigate this topic.

    12. Independent says:

      1.) Carlos wrote,
      “DeBlasio is a disaster. His opponent was even more of a disaster.”

      This sentiment was echoed by at least one other poster and it was not challenged by anyone.

      To all those who feel this way: why? What do you find so objectionable about or lacking in Nicole Malliotakis that made her, in your view, a worse choice than DeBlasio?

      2.)Nicole Malliotakis is obviously a woman. The daughter of immigrants, she is also half-Latina/Hispanic.

      Will we be hearing Ms. Malliotakis’ loss in Tuesday’s election blamed on “sexism” and “misogyny”, as we did H. Rodham-Clinton’s in November? Or on “racism”, as Bill Clinton charged was the reason that the voters of our City rejected David Dinkins’ bid for a second term as Mayor back in 1993? Or “xenophobia”?

      3.) B. Bernstein wrote, “Hillary Clinton was selected by a 3 million vote plurality of the American voting public, in a fairly high turnout election.”

      Imagine if the situation were reversed, with HRC winning the election with a decisive majority of electoral college votes, despite losing the popular vote. In such a hypothetical alternate outcome, how would supporters of President HRC respond to Trump supporters, were they to point-to his having won the popular vote in the same way?

      (Incidentally, the “3 million” vote figure you cite does not account for voter fraud, does it? Were such fraud to be fully uncovered and accounted for, it is rather apparent that HRC’s tally would decrease considerably.)

      • B.B. says:

        Nicole Malliotakis was not a very strong candidate. It would already be a hard task for any GOP to oust a democratic incumbent mayor in this current climate, and Ms. Malliotakis just didn’t have what it took.

        That and yes, there probably was some sexism to an extent. New York City has not had a female mayor, and when you look at past possible or potential contenders even then Ms. Malliotakis came up short. Ruth Messinger, Christine Quinn or even Melissa Mark-Viverito she wasn’t.

        However in four years there will likely be one or two women running for mayor with better chances. Melissa Mark-Viverito and Letitia “Tish” James are almost certain to run. Rumors have it that Christine Quinn may do so as well.

      • EricaC says:

        The reason people raise the 3 million margin is because Trump advocates keep saying he won the popular vote. I never mention it otherwise, because it isn’t really relevant to the legal status of his election. But many Trump advocates seem to feel the need to find some sort of legitimacy by claiming he won the majority of votes. He didn’t.

        As to the voter fraud thing, I know he (and many of his backers) like to think that there was fraud only in favor of Clinton, but they haven’t been able to make any showing that begins to suggest that. Manipulation of public opinion in his favor has at least been suggested in view of the reports of widespread Russian propaganda efforts – but against him? I would like to see one thing (not from faux or Breitbart) supporting that.