LID Proceeds to Runoff Between Stringer and Morales


Members of Lambda Independent Democrats (LID) voted to move ahead with a runoff between City Comptroller Scott Stringer and non-profit leader Dianne Morales to settle the club’s mayoral endorsement once and for all.

The club’s endorsement has been in limbo ever since Stringer and Morales each scored the most votes following a three-day, four-part virtual mayoral forum hosted by LID. A whopping 14 candidates appeared at the forum, which included discussions surrounding housing, policing, the coronavirus pandemic, LGBTQ issues, and other topics.

“I do really think it speaks to the nature of this race given the number of candidates and difference of opinions,” Arader told Gay City News after the first vote took place on February 26.

LGBTQ candidates who joined the forum, which took place from February 23 through February 25, were Carlos Menchaca, who is Brooklyn’s first out gay lawmaker, former Department of Veterans’ Services commissioner Loree Sutton, and non-binary rapper Paperboy Prince.

Housing was among the top issues discussed throughout the course of the forum. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan boiled down his housing approach to preserving both NYCHA and affordable housing, while also aiming to expand it, while Stringer stressed the importance of gathering more data to pinpoint issues and craft housing solutions for LGBTQ seniors. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Carlos Menchaca reiterated their joint calls to convert outer-borough hotels into affordable housing — an approach also backed by Sutton — and Garcia said she would commit to building 50,000 “deeply affordable” units and stabilize NYCHA.

While Adams also sought to remind club members that he allocated funds towards SAGE’s Stonewall House, an LGBTQ-friendly senior living environment in Fort Greene, he was asked by moderator Crystal Hudson — who hopes to succeed term-limited lawmaker Laurie Cumbo in that district — to clarify the controversial comments he made about that development in 2019.

When Stonewall House opened, 77 percent of residents were people of color and all residents had incomes below 50 percent of the area’s median household income. Adams, however, said at that building’s opening event that he was “concerned about the diversity” there, describing it as a “pretty building on NYCHA property.”

“At the opening of Stonewall House, you made remarks that were considered to be controversial and seemed to pit the LGBTQ community against the Black community at Ingersoll Houses,” Hudson said. “I wanted to give you a moment to clarify those comments.”

In response, Adams said, “You can’t pit against a community that is the same community. When you look at the number of African-Americans that identify as being LGBTQ, so when I raised my concerns about making sure that people living in NYCHA — where this great project is located — for people to say ‘Eric, you’re pitting the communities,’ that is not the historical reality.”

On the issue of police reform, candidates offered varying perspectives. Menchaca, Wiley, and Stringer were among those who voiced desire to get rid of the NYPD’s vice squad, which has been sharply criticized for an aggressive and targeted approach towards sex workers, while Stringer and Donovan explicitly mentioned the need to decriminalize sex work. Other candidates, including Menchaca and Morales, previously elaborated on their support for sex work decriminalization at a Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club mayoral forum.

Adams vowed to appoint the first woman as police commissioner and said he would aim to rebuild the culture of the police department, while Wiley said the city’s top cop must be someone who did not rise through the ranks of the NYPD. Sutton called for increased coordination between the future mayor’s administration and other city agencies, community advocates, unions, and police.