NYC Polls are open 6am-9pm on Tuesday November 6th.
FLIP YOUR BALLOT for three initiates that affect YOU!
As LW! has mentioned in the past, on November 6th, you will have the opportunity to vote on three key referendum questions regarding:
1) Campaign Finance
2) Civic Engagement
3) Community Boards
These questions are the result of Mayor deBlasio’s Charter Revision Commission.  While these topics seem uncontroversial, as one unpacks them, issues emerge.  LW! is not alone in its concern:  The New York Landmarks Conservancy as well as Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer have made it clear that the suggested referendum questions #2 and #3 will not broaden opportunities for public input (as promised), but rather cement the stranglehold of developers and lobbyists on land use decisions.
Read on for exact text.
LW! recommends that you vote:


Read why you should accept item 1, and reject items 2 and 3.

This proposal would amend the City Charter to lower the amount a candidate for City elected office may accept from a contributor. It would also increase the public funding used to match a portion of the contributions received by a candidate who participates in the City’s public financing program. 
In addition, the proposal would make public matching funds available earlier in the election year to participating candidates who can demonstrate need for the funds. It would also ease a requirement that candidates for Mayor, Comptroller, or Public Advocate must meet to qualify for matching funds. 
The amendments would apply to participating candidates who choose to have the amendments apply to their campaigns beginning with the 2021 primary election, and would then apply to all candidates beginning in 2022.
Shall this proposal be adopted?
LW! Says YES.
While not strong, it is a modest, if limited, improvement and could allow more candidate voices to be heard as matching funds are more easily available. A $2,000 contribution is still a substantial amount for many New Yorkers to gift to a candidate but, worth it if this measure limits undue influence.  LW! believes that if the Commission was truly committed to reform it would have offered a measure to ban lobbyist contributions, but we’ll take what we can get.
This proposal would amend the City Charter to:
Create a Civic Engagement Commission that would implement, no later than the City Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2020, a Citywide participatory budgeting program established by the Mayor to promote participation by City residents in making recommendations for projects in their communities;
Require the Commission to partner with community based organizations and civic leaders, as well as other City agencies, to support and encourage civic engagement efforts;
Require the Commission to establish a program to provide language interpreters at City poll sites, to be implemented for the general election in 2020;
Permit the Mayor to assign relevant powers and duties of certain other City agencies to the Commission;
Provide that the Civic Engagement Commission would have 15 members, with 8 members appointed by the Mayor, 2 members by the City Council Speaker and 1 member by each Borough President; and
Provide for one of the Mayor’s appointees to be Commission Chair and for the Chair to employ and direct Commission staff.
Shall this proposal be adopted?
LW! Says NO.
This proposal will undermine public participation and give more power to the mayor, who already has a history of being affected by lobbyists working for private interests. The City currently has a structure that provides for public involvement which unfortunately has been continuously eroded by this mayor and others.  We don’t need this Commission nor added expensive bureaucracy.  It would create more obstacles and further curtail the public’s already limited voice on land use and preservation issues.
This Civic Engagement Commission (CEC) could eliminate the public’s timely access to information.  If the spirit of this proposal were genuine in supporting public participation, the Commission could have required all agencies to roll back any rule that limits public hearings and the power of Community Boards instead of giving the Mayor more power over them, as is the clear intention of question 3…
This proposal would amend the City Charter to:
Impose term limits of a maximum of four consecutive full two-year terms for community board members with certain exceptions for the initial transition to the new term limits system;
Require Borough Presidents to seek out persons of diverse backgrounds in making appointments to community boards. The proposal would also add new application and reporting requirements related to these appointments; and
If Question 2, “Civic Engagement Commission,” is approved, require the proposed Civic Engagement Commission to provide resources, assistance, and training related to land use and other matters to community boards.
Shall this proposal be adopted?
LW! Says NO.
This proposal seems innocuous, but it would undermine all of the entirely volunteer-run Community Boards across the city, wiping out most institutional memory, and penalize dedicated neighbors who have been serving the community in favor of those with less experience.  If the City valued long-term planning, Community Boards, and yes, even public input (a value described in initiative #2, above), it would enhance Community Board power from being merely advisory in their resolutions and allow their decisions to bear weight, not redirect public participation to a Commission controlled by the mayor.


Read more on the initiatives HERE.
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