News & Updates

Sun Sentinel – Broward voters approve sales tax hike to combat traffic congestion

roward voters cast a decisive ballot for better roads, less congestion and more public transit options Tuesday, agreeing to increase the sales tax they pay to bankroll $15.6 billion in transportation improvements over the next 30 years.

The successful sales tax referendum comes after voters defeated previous attempts in 2016, 2006 and 1990.

The vote means the county’s sales tax will increase Jan. 1 from 6 cents to 7 cents for every dollar of taxable goods purchased. About a third of the money will be paid by tourists and other visitors to the county. The money will be used to build wider roads, improve traffic signal synchronization, add buses and bus routes, install light rail and undertake hundreds of other road projects.

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WAMC – Democrat Antonio Delgado Wins In NY-19

For months, Democrats targeted New York’s 19th Congressional district as they campaigned to take control of the House. Late last night, they claimed victory as Democrat Antonio Delgado defeated freshman Republican John Faso. It was a hotly contested race in an 11-county swing district that had the nation’s attention.

Delgado delivered his victory speech at the Senate Garage in Kingston after Faso called to concede.

“This is a new day for New York 19,” said Delgado.

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HuffPost – GOP Rep. Claudia Tenney Loses Re-election To Democrat Anthony Brindisi

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.), one of President Donald Trump’s top allies in the House, lost her re-election bid on Tuesday to Democrat Anthony Brindisi.

Tenney, a first-term congresswoman, made a name for herself by enthusiastically embracing the president and his controversial rhetoric about the media. Earlier this year, following the deadly Parkland, Florida, school shooting, she also claimed that people who commit mass shootings are often Democrats.

“It’s interesting that so many of these people that commit the mass murders end up being Democrats. But the media doesn’t talk about that either,” Tenney said during a radio interview.

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USA Today – NJ elections: Democrat Tom Malinowski unseats Republican Leonard Lance in NJ’s 7th Congressional District

Despite rainy conditions Tuesday, Democrat Tom Malinowski, who prevailed in New Jersey’s 7th District House election, was confident his voters wouldn’t be deterred, citing their enthusiasm he feels carried him to victory.

“I think our supporters are incredibly and intensely enthusiastic,” Malinowski said Tuesday afternoon after casting his vote at Rocky Hill Borough Hall, a short walk from his residence.

Later, Malinowski unseated five-term incumbent Republican Leonard Lance in what was referred to as a “nail-biter” by many at Malinowski’s results party at the Embassy Suites in Berkeley Heights.

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Politico – James to become first black woman to serve as New York’s attorney general

“Tish has the ability to leverage that office’s considerable tools and be a major league player from day one,” said Democratic operative Neal Kwatra. “The early choices she and her team make about what issues to focus on will matter a lot. Owning a few issues and really leaning into them has been the playbook for most of the recent successful occupants of that office.”

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Albany Times Union — Union rolls out new radio ads against Faso and Tenney

New radio advertisements attacking congressional Republican incumbents John Faso and Claudia Tenney will start airing on Tuesday. The advertisements from the New York Hotel Trades Council are part of its $2 million investment in independent expenditures aimed at flipping narrowly divided House seats in New York and New Jersey. The group is already running television spots against both freshman legislators, and is starting to unroll similar advertisements in the Syracuse area against Republican incumbent John Katko.

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Auburn Citizen — Hotel workers union targets Katko as part of $2M radio, TV ad campaign

A union representing 40,000 hospitality workers in New Jersey and New York blasts Republican U.S. Rep. John Katko’s tax vote in a new television ad that will begin airing Tuesday. The New York Hotel Trades Council’s ads — the group is already airing a radio ad targeting Katko, R-Camillus, in the Syracuse area — are part of a $2 million independent expenditure targeting five congressional races in New York and New Jersey.

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POLITICO — IDC defeat boosts Democratic hopes, but Senate control still far off

“A decade in the political wilderness will mean that the newly empowered majority will want to have a strong voice in setting the state’s priorities,” said Neal Kwatra, a prominent Democratic operative. “While there is no shortage of issues to tackle, a focus on a robust voting reform agenda to empower the millions of citizens in New York who don’t vote every election cycle would be a powerful opening salvo. Automatic voter registration, no-fault absentee, vote-by-mail and early vote are arguably as core to the party’s priorities as ‘Medicare for All.'”

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New York Daily News – Cuomo vulnerability was more hope than reality

“Progressives can have success in state legislative and congressional primaries—but winning statewide still requires a different kind of coalition,” said veteran Democratic operative Neal Kwatra. “They’re winning in districts that are manageable. You can change the electorate in state legislative and congressional districts in a way you can’t statewide as easily.”

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POLITICO — Mueller probe plunders New York tabloid swamp

“They’re kinda exactly the trio you would expect at the New York politics version of the Star Wars bar,” said Neal Kwatra, a Democratic political consultant, referring to the Mos Eisley Cantina on the fictional planet of Tatooine. “Weird, wild and par for our current course.”

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Crain’s — Council votes unanimously to deflate Airbnb

Airbnb seemed to be sucking wind after its political foes delivered it a gut punch Wednesday. The City Council voted 45-0 in favor of a bill backed by the hotel industry and its union allies, a measure that will require the company to disclose to law enforcement the names and addresses attached to every one of its listings in the five boroughs.

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TechCrunch — New law forces Airbnb to open its books to New York authorities

The New York City Council has voted in favor of a new law requiring Airbnb and similar home-share companies to share data on their users. The company has fought the law tooth and nail, but city authorities say it’s basically common sense for the local government to be informed of the number and nature of residents using the service.

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New York Daily News —What, me worry? Cuomo says comparisons to his primary and Ocasio-Cortez’s upset over Crowley are ‘apples and oranges’

Democratic operative Neal Kwatra, who helped run Cuomo’s 2014 primary election, said there is a “danger in extrapolating too much from this win for Nixon.”
In order to pull off a similar upset, Kwatra said, Nixon would have to double the New York City performance of Teachout, Cuomo’s 2014 primary challenger, in majority minority districts and make huge inroads in the suburbs and western New York.

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Crain’s – Airbnb loses ally in clash with City Council

“What cannot be allowed, what I do not support, and what we have increasingly seen, are commercial operators who make an end-run around our laws, displacing actual tenants for their own profit by illegally warehousing dozens of housing units that could be available for long-term rental.”

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NY-19: NYS Nurses Association Endorses Rhodes

The endorsement is another labor nod for Rhodes, who has previously been given the backing of the Communication Workers of America as well as the Teamsters Local 445 and 456. Rhodes over the weekend was endorsed by the editorial board of The New York Times.

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City and State – The 2018 Albany Power 100

Neal Kwatra’s Metropolitan Public Strategies firm is a go-to consultancy for influential Democrats. Most recently, he guided Corey Johnson into the New York City Council speaker’s office. Kwatra has key allies in Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de...

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New York Daily News – Cuomo to unleash ad attack against 7 NRA-backed N.Y. pols while touting state’s tough gun laws

Nearly a month after the Parkland, Fla., school mass shooting, Gov. Cuomo is set to kick off a gun-control campaign touting his work on the issue and targeting seven New York congressional Republicans. The six-figure campaign, which kicks off this week, will include a mix of television and digital ads and an online petition effort organizers say is meant to galvanize grassroots support.

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City & State – New York City’s 100 most powerful people

Neal Kwatra, CEO, Metropolitan Public Strategies … Most New Yorkers haven’t heard of Neal Kwatra, but he has cultivated relationships with New York’s biggest power players. The Metropolitan Public Strategies founder has strong ties to the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, and helped the union in backing Corey Johnson’s successful bid for speaker. Also among his allies are Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, making his communications and strategic consulting firm a force to be reckoned with….

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ShareBetter Raps Airbnb Over Taxes

The ShareBetter coalition that has pushed back against online rental company Airbnb released a web video Tuesday that ties the firm to the tax overhaul legislation in Congress.

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ShareBetter Releases New Ads In Airbnb Fight

“While touting transparency and spending millions to promote its website – which attracts many unscrupulous commercial operators – Airbnb steadfastly refuses to cooperate with city agencies to stop illegal activity on its site allowing thousands of transient tourists to gain access to residential buildings, creating a danger to our communities.”

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Airbnb’s growth is slowing amid safety concerns

Airbnb’s business is hitting a wall as travelers grow more skittish over whether the home-sharing service is safe, according to a new study. A spate of high-profile incidents, in which Airbnb hosts or guests were the victims of crimes, as well as growing concerns about privacy, have recently gotten in the way of growth, according to Morgan Stanley’s third annual study of the hotel and leisure industry.

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Marijuana’s role in easing PTSD must be acknowledged

Imagine: you’ve experienced a trauma so severe that days, months, and years pass by before you feel like yourself. You have repeated flashbacks and nightmares so vivid they disrupt your day-to-day life and ability to get a good night’s sleep; you’ve lost interest in things you used to enjoy, find yourself avoiding family and friends, are easily startled, have random outbursts of anger, and constantly feel on edge.

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Politicians use Paul Manafort indictment to pressure Airbnb into removing illegal listings

More than two dozen city and state lawmakers are using the recent indictment of President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort to pressure Airbnb into scrubbing illegal listings from its site. In a letter to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, the group, which includes city Controller Scott Stringer, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) and state Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), also called on the home-sharing company to share address data with New York regulators.

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The Manaforts Are Exactly Why People Are So Critical of Airbnb

“The emerging details are another example of how commercial operators like Manafort use Airbnb to remove homes from the market in order to profit from illegal short-term rentals,” said Austin Shafran, a spokesman for Share Better, a trade group backed by hotel unions, city officials and corporate opponents of the home-rental company.

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Hotel Money Is Funding Anti-Airbnb Sting Operations

The group’s leaders say shrinking the company’s footprint in New York, its largest U.S. market, could serve as a guide for battles elsewhere and damage Airbnb’s image among public investors it may need to court someday. “We’re fighting a bit of a guerrilla ­campaign,”...

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Politico: The Strategist – MPS Staffs Up

Neal Kwatra's firm Metropolitan Public Strategies is staffing up as it prepares for the "NY Fights Back" campaign, the New York State Democratic Party backed effort to help Democrats retake the Majority in the House of Representatives in 2018. The firm has hired James...

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NY1: Consultants Corner

VIDEO: Errol Louis analyzed Mayor de Blasio’s fight to hold onto control of the school system with the Monday Consultants Corner: Democrats Neal Kwatra and Lis Smith and Republicans Tom Doherty and John Burnett.

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Gov. Cuomo launching bid to unseat N.Y. House Republicans

...The “Fight Back” effort will be run out of the state Democratic Party, which Cuomo controls. The governor — who recently has ripped congressional Republicans as right-wing zealots — turned to veteran operative Neal Kwatra to oversee the effort....

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Cuomo’s liberal budget moves hint at presidential bid

Organized labor, which traditionally leans left and can pump tons of cash and volunteers into campaigns, applauded the union-dues tax deduction. “Hard to overstate what a big deal this is symbolically and practically for labor. While [Republicans] are moving...

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MPS Wins a Pollie Award!

For our strategic development, creation and production of the TV ad “My Story” the American Association of Political Consultants recognized the outstanding achievement of Metropolitan Public Strategies with a 2017 Pollie Gold Award for best National Public Affairs...

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City & State Power 100

Neal Kwatra has friends in high places, but operates behind the scenes. Before launching Metropolitan Public Strategies, Kwatra worked for the New York Hotel Trades Council and for state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Since opening his communications and...

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