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UFT Endorsement Mess

June 26, 2021 pm30 3:01 pm

The UFT has had bad political evenings before – but June 22, 2021 may go down as their worst ever.

(Now that the school year has ended, it is time to breathe. Part of that, for me: I will try to return to semi-regular writing. I’m going for a variety of topics: education, math, teaching math, fun math problems, science and the pandemic, other science, politics, New York State politics, New York City politics, the United Federation of Teachers and its politics, the New York City Department of Education., and other stuff that surprises or amuses me).

Mayor

UFT endorsed: Stringer

Winner: not Stringer (probably Adams, outside chance for Garcia or Wiley)

The UFT leadership tried a new process, and chose Stringer. They ran a “final” round with Adams, Stranger, Wiley, and Yang – but failed to anticipate Kathryn Garcia and her pro-charter campaign would take off. They poured four million dollars into Stringer’s campaign, and once that tanked, that sat pat.

Their strategy for ranked choice voting was Yes on Stringer, No on Adams and Yang, and to acknowledge that RCV exists. At two Delegate Assemblies in a row Mulgrew quickly mumbled about the ranked choice being hard to figure out, and we’ll have to wait and see what happens. They must have tested the line and realized that it sucked, but had nothing else to say. Only choosing one IS a real strategy. If, for example, it was clear a progressive would win, ranking one and leaving the others off might be an effective strategy. But not here.

With Stringer non-viable, and no recommendations on the rest of the ballot, any UFT impact was lost. UFT votes were likely widely divided. The lack of any word on Garcia probably led to many UFT Stringer/Garcia or Garcia/Wiley ballots.

And the last word, for now, on how ineffective Mulgrew was?  Weingarten ranked Stringer first, Adams second.

“You had a lot of billionaire money — $16, $17, $18 million. That money coming from the labor movement was very eclipsed from money coming from the billionaires,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who said she ranked Adams second, after city Comptroller Stringer

Comptroller

UFT endorsed: Corey Johnson

Probable winner: Brad Lander

The UFT’s Unity caucus fought hard for the Johnson endorsement, losing the first vote because of Mulgrew’s smug antics at the DAs, and winning the second despite being challenged. But no one discussed Lander, a popular City Council member, clear progressive voice, and strong advocate for public education.

Bronx Borough President

UFT endorsed: Vanessa Gibson

In the lead: Vanessa Gibson

She has a five point lead on homophobic scumbag and Bronx non-resident Fernando Cabrera. A lot will depend on how ranked choice plays out. Did voters just choose their number one, and stop? That would help Gibson. Did they choose their number one, and put familiar names on the ranked list? That would hurt her. Did some voters vote their self-identification/race/ethnicity?  The other three candidates have Hispanic surnames. That would definitely hurt her. Or did voters research policies? In that case, from left to right, Fernandez, Sepulveda, Ravelo… that’s also the order of their vote totals (14, 10 and 2%), would seem to favor Gibson.

Brooklyn Borough President

UFT endorsed: Joanne Simon

Probable winner: Antonio Reynoso

Again, Unity endorsed against the progressive, and lost. Simon is in third place.

Manhattan Borough President

UFT endorsed: Brad Hoylman

In the lead: Mark Levine

With just a 3% gap, (28.7% to 25.7%) this could change with later choices being added. I don’t know a thing about the candidates.

Queens Borough President

UFT endorsed: Donovan Richards

In the lead: Donovan Richards

This one is even closer, 41.5% to 40.2% over Elizabeth Crowley, but as they are closer to the magic 50% mark, any lead is meaningful

Manhattan District Attorney

UFT endorsed: Alvin Bragg

In the lead: Alvin Bragg

Another 3% gap. Bragg has 33.9% and Tala Farhadian Weinstein has 30.5%

Next time I’ll talk a little about City Council. They picked more winners in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, and did really badly in Brooklyn and Staten Island.

And someone needs to talk about Unity and political action. Even for them, this was horrible.  They consistently endorsed centrists over progressives, without strong results. They either completely failed to grasp ranked choice (isn’t that what paid political staff is paid to do, figure things out?), or strategized that going with one candidate per race would produce better results (isn’t paid political staff supposed to have better ideas than that?)

And there was paid staff. They brought in an outsider, Cassie Prugh, to run political action. We always had teachers as directors of political action. If going professional means losing more, maybe they’ll go back to the amateurs.

Mayor, failure. Public Advocate, sat out. Comptroller, embarrassing mess. Brooklyn Beep – embarrassing. Other three Beeps, lead in two, trail in the last, but all too close to call. And most of the calls made not on principal, but on who cuts deals without rocking the boat. Bad job guys. Really bad job.

 

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