Pol Position: Progressive Caucus Fallout?

Last week, The New York City Progressive caucus lost 15  members of its caucus after debating over language surrounding police reform.

“We will do everything we can to reduce the size and scope of the NYPD and the Department of Correction, and prioritize and fund alternative safety infrastructure that truly invests in our communities,” the passage that caused the tension read, according to the Daily News.

While the loss of members generated a few days of bad headlines, the new membership roster might actually make the progressive caucus a more functioning one.

In previous BQE Media reporting, co-chair of the caucus Lincoln Restler told this newspaper that he was operating a “big-tent progressive caucus”. To more seasoned observers of the New York City Council, this didn’t make a lot of sense. Operating under a “big-tent” philosophy is fine for a party which naturally has different ideological wings, but for a caucus, which is supposed to represent certain interests – it seemed odd and possibly counter productive.

Beyond the new membership roster, the progressive caucus is instituting new bylaws reform, stating that members must co-sponsor at least 75 percent of the legislation debuted in the Progressive Caucus agenda, attend ⅔ of caucus meetings and support broad statement of principles, per a release sent out last Friday.

While the police funding language lost the caucus 15 members, they may be able to gain one with Harlem Councilwoman Kristin Richardson Jordan.

“I was hesitant to engage with what felt like a vague agenda in the beginning but am excited to see where the Progressive Caucus is at now. While it is disappointing that some members have left over this pledge, I believe a smaller and more disciplined caucus could wind up making more meaningful change for all,” a screenshot of an email, which Councilwoman  Richardson Jordan posted to instagram,  addressed to Progressive Caucus co-chairs Lincoln Restler and Shahana Hanif reads.

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