New York Times Endorses Jumaane Williams for Public Advocate

The New York Times is endorsing Jumaane Williams for Public Advocate of New York City!

They write that Jumaane “is the right person to fight for the millions of New Yorkers frustrated with the city’s subways, struggling to find affordable housing in its neighborhoods, and waiting to have their voices heard. We enthusiastically endorse him as the city’s next public advocate.”

With only days left until the special election this Tuesday, February 26th, this is a huge momentum boost. But with 17 candidates running, we need to do all we can to put Jumaane over the top.

Read the endorsement below — then share it on social media or forward to your friends and family and remind them to vote on Tuesday, February 26th:


 

Jumaane Williams for Public Advocate

Jumaane Williams for Public Advocate
Vote on Tuesday, Feb. 26.
By The New York Times Editorial Board
Feb. 21, 2019

One of the best-kept secrets in New York City right now is a special election for public advocate on Tuesday. But voters have good reason to pay close attention.

Public advocate is a job that comes with little power, but the chance for significant influence over the direction of the city. It’s also been a steppingstone to higher office. The most recent public advocate, Letitia James, was elected state attorney general in November, creating the current opening. Before her, Mayor Bill de Blasio held the role.

This year, 17 candidates are in the race. The winner will lead an office that’s supposed to monitor and investigate city agencies, but has no subpoena authority and a budget of just $3.6 million.

The real prize is the office’s bully pulpit, a perch from which the occupant can push the concerns of New Yorkers that have gone unaddressed by City Hall.

At a time in which American politics can be acerbic, the large, diverse and civic-minded group of candidates running for this local office is a refreshing change.

The best candidate to hold Mr. de Blasio accountable and to press for reforms is Jumaane Williams, a veteran city councilman with a record of accomplishment and a steadfast willingness to stand up to powerful interests on behalf of New Yorkers.

Mr. Williams, a former tenant organizer from Brooklyn first elected in 2009, helped build the movement to end the overuse of police stops under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a major injustice from which the city is still recovering. Along with Councilman Brad Lander, Mr. Williams sponsored the Community Safety Act, which established an inspector general for the Police Department.

Mr. Williams has stood up to Mr. de Blasio as well, voting against the mayor’s housing plan, arguing that it could worsen the displacement of low-income residents, for example. He has also been increasingly outspoken about the mayor’s record on police reform, pressing Mr. de Blasio to exercise more oversight and accountability over the Police Department.

He has won passage of more than 50 bills, far more than many of his colleagues. He has also been arrested while protesting nearly a dozen times. Both facts are keys to understanding Mr. Williams, a hard worker passionate about making government work better for the people it serves. He sponsored hard-fought legislation to require more safety training for construction workers, after a series of high-profile deaths in the industry. He successfully pushed legislation to strengthen city enforcement against tenant harassment, and another bill to prevent landlords from discriminating against domestic violence survivors. While Mr. Williams has said he is personally opposed to abortion, he firmly supports abortion rights, and has voted consistently on the issue.

On gay rights, Mr. Williams has evolved. Though he once said he believed marriage was between a man and a woman, he has in recent years become a dependable supporter of L.G.B.T.Q. rights, including marriage equality.

Rarely has the value of the public advocate been clearer than in the 1990s, when Mark Green used the role to reveal draconian cuts to social services under Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Indeed, Mr. Green’s advocacy was so effective that in 1994, Mr. Giuliani slashed the budget of the public advocate’s office.

Mr. Williams is best able to carry on in the vigorous tradition of Mr. Green — who is backing Mr. Williams.

He is the right person to fight for the millions of New Yorkers frustrated with the city’s subways, struggling to find affordable housing in its neighborhoods, and waiting to have their voices heard. We enthusiastically endorse him as the city’s next public advocate.