NYC voters pass five ballot proposals - Queens Chronicle: Queenswide

NYC voters pass five ballot proposals

by Ryan Brady, Editor | Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2019 10:30 am

New Yorkers voted on Tuesday by wide margins to pass five ballot proposals that will change the City Charter.

With 90 percent of precincts reporting, the Board of Elections website says each measure passed with at least 71 percent of the votes.

Although each passed easily, proposals one and two generated the most buzz.

With the first proposal passing, ranked-choice voting will now be used in mayoral, borough president, city comptroller, City Council and public advocate elections. Under the new system, voters will be able to rank up to five candidates for an office. A candidate with a majority of first-place votes wins. If none has a majority, then the last-place candidate is eliminated and the ballots with that candidate as their first-place vote are given to the second-choice candidate. The process can be repeated until one of them gets a majority.

The first proposal will also change the timeline for redrawing the lines of Council districts so the process ends before candidates can collect petition signatures to get on the ballot.

The measure will also change the law so special elections for elective city offices generally take place 80 days after a vacancy occurs rather than the present 60 days for mayor and 45 days for borough president, comptroller, Council and public advocate.

The second proposal will give the Civilian Complaint Review Board — which probes allegations of misconduct by NYPD officers against people — more teeth.

It will let the CCRB give its executive director the power to issue and enforce investigative subpoenas. Additionally, the measure will require the NYPD commissioner to explain why in writing whenever he or she does not follow a recommendation for disciplining a particular officer made by the board. The CCRB’s executive director will also be allowed to investigate the truth of any statement made by an officer in one of its investigations or resolutions of a complaint made against the officer in question and, if appropriate, recommend discipline.

The board’s size will be increased from 13 to 15 members, with one of the two new members — appointed jointly by the mayor and Council speaker — chairing the CCRB. The public advocate will pick the other new board member.

Significantly less attention has been paid to the third, fourth and fifth proposals.

Among other ethical reforms, the third proposal will ban elected and senior-level appointed officials from appearing before the agency they worked in for two years after they exit the city’s municipal workforce. It would apply to those who leave office after Jan. 1, 2022.

The fourth proposal changes the Charter to allow the city to use a “rainy day” fund to store money so it can be used in a future situation like a financial crisis. State law will also need to be changed for the fund to be utilized, though. Additionally, the proposal will set minimum budgets for the public advocate and borough president’s offices.

With the fifth proposal passing, the city will have to send a detailed summary of projects that need Uniform Land Use Review Procedure approval to the relevant borough president, borough board and community board at least 30 days before an application is certified for public review. The proposal will also extend the time community boards have to consider ULURP applications.

Also on Tuesday, Borough President Melinda Katz routed Republican nominee Joe Murray in their Queens district attorney race, earning 75 percent to his 24 percent [see separate story].

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, a Democrat, won 78 percent of the vote in his race to easily fend off Republican challenger City Councilman Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island), who got 20 percent of the vote.

Queens residents voted in three judicial elections, too.

Ten candidates ran to become a justice of the 11th Judicial District, a title that only six of them could claim. The six Democrats won: Donna-Marie Golia of Douglaston, Phillip Hom of Flushing, Maurice Muir of Jamaica, Stephen Knopf of Oakland Gardens, Wyatt Gibbons of Flushing and Lourdes Ventura of Richmond Hill.

Similarly, three of four candidates had successful candidacies for Queens County Civil Court judge. Again, the three winners — Lumarie Maldonado-Cruz of the Bronx, Claudia Lanzetta of Flushing and Assemblywoman Michele Titus (D-South Ozone Park) — were the Democratic candidates. Titus’ victory means a special election will likely be called after she vacates her Assembly seat.

Alan Schiff of Far Rockaway, who had both the Democratic and Republican lines, ran unopposed to win the election for Civil Court judge for the Fifth Municipal Court District, which covers the Rockaway Peninsula and Broad Channel.