Twelve of the city's most liberal Councilmembers have joined forces to push for progressive policies like the creation of more living-wage jobs, paid sick days, increased rent regulations, more affordable housing, greater police accountability, and the legalization of same-sex marriage. The politicians—all Democrats—intend to vote as a bloc, potentially forming a left-wing body that can more effectively promote progressive governance, the Times reports.
"The mayor has done some good things—on the environment, on gun control," said Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-East Harlem), who alongside Councilman Brad Lander (D-Park Slope), leads the movement. "But there are some other issues where he hasn't done a good job, and he's lost sight of the poor, working class and middle class. So yes, this is a response because we don't feel the city is going in the same direction as the majority wants."
The liberal caucus could turn out being influential in budget negotiations and other difficult debates, and it might offer voters in the Democratic primary a left-wing litmus test that will help determine whether other candidates have progressive values. Although the bloc came together in response to Mayor Bloomberg's move to extend term limits—a controversial decision that had the support of Council Speaker Christine Quinn—both the Mayor and Quinn said they don't consider the group to be a threat. A mayoral spokesman said that Bloomberg looks forward to working with the group on affordable housing and other issues, while Quinn called herself a progressive and stated: "I support any and all efforts or movements to help members become more effective, and get more done. That's not a challenge to me; that's exciting to me."
The other members of the liberal caucus include: Annabel Palma (D-Parkchester), Letitia "Tish" James (D-Fort Greene), Jumaane Williams (D-Flatbush), Margaret Chin (D-Lower Manhattan), Rosie Mendez (D-East Village), Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights), Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), Julissa Ferreras (D-Corona), Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Long Island City) and Deborah Rose (D-St. George).