New York Primary Elections: Who’s Running for Queens D.A. – The New York Times

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It’s Tuesday, and the birthday of the Supreme Court justice and Bronx native Sonia Sotomayor.

Weather: Rain and thundershowers are expected this morning and then again this afternoon. Temperatures could reach into the low 80s.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until July 4.

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Today is primary Election Day!

If you’re a registered Democrat or Republican in New York City, you may have an election in your area. Check the city’s Board of Elections poll locator website.

Here are the candidates on each ballot.

Polling sites are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The biggest race is the Democratic primary for Queens district attorney

This is the first competitive election for that seat in decades. In January, the longtime district attorney, Richard A. Brown, announced that he would not seek re-election. (He died last month.)

The primary has largely become a referendum on how far the candidates will go toward making progressive criminal justice reform in the borough, long known for its law-and-order past, my colleague Jeffery C. Mays said.

Six candidates are vying for the position (seven candidates are on the ballot but one dropped out of the race).

The key to victory may lie in southeastern Queens, which represents about 40 percent of the electorate and has a large number of black voters, according to Politico.

The candidates are:

Melinda Katz: The Queens borough president has accepted donations from the real estate industry. She said she would target hate crimes and housing fraud. Governor Cuomo and the Queens Democratic machine have endorsed her.

Gregory Lasak: He is a former judge and senior prosecutor who has support from law enforcement unions. He oversaw numerous murder investigations; in the 1980s, he prosecuted officers in a police brutality case.

Betty Lugo: She is a former prosecutor in Nassau County and was the president of the Puerto Rican Bar Association in New York.

Rory Lancman: He dropped out and endorsed Ms. Katz.

Jose Nieves: He has prosecuted correctional officers, police officers and military service members. He has worked in the Brooklyn district attorney’s office, the Civil Rights Bureau of the state attorney general’s office, and the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

Tiffany Cabán: She is a public defender and has relied on small-donor donations from outside of New York. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have endorsed her. She wants to decriminalize sex work, end the prosecution of drug use and end the use of cash bail, even in cases involving violence.

Mina Quinto Malik: She led the Civilian Complaint Review Board and was a deputy attorney general for Washington, D.C.

As the election neared, Ms. Cabán and some of her supporters accused Ms. Katz’s supporters of running ads that used racial tropes to try to scare away voters. One of the ads focused on Ms. Cabán hitting a jumper during a game of pickup basketball.

(In addition to her pledge to end cash bail, Ms. Cabán is in favor of closing the Rikers Island Jail Complex, but is not in favor of building new jails in the boroughs.)

“Using racist tropes is an inexcusable tactic to gain votes,” Ms. Cabán said.

Representative Gregory Meeks, who has endorsed Ms. Katz and spoke at the request of her campaign, said he found nothing wrong with the advertisements.

“I see no race baiting or anything of that nature,” he said. “I see them addressing issues of concern.”

A Democratic primary for City Council

Eight candidates are on the ballot in the 45th District, which represents parts of Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood and Canarsie.

Read more about the race in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Kings County Politics and Bklyner.

Here come the judges

Some candidates are running to become civil court judges, who handle minor disputes. Once elected, they can be assigned to family court (divorces and custody battles) or criminal court (assault, burglary), and even serve as an acting Supreme Court judge.

Why do local races matter?

Hear about the guy who got elected to a school board in Brooklyn in 2001 and now is running for president? Early contests can give you a first look at a future leader.

And local offices affect everything from street signs to trash pickup schedules to school policies.

Jeffery C. Mays contributed reporting.

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CreditChristopher Lee for The New York Times

Opposition from Asian lawmakers and a billionaire’s lobbying push helped block Mayor de Blasio’s plan to desegregate specialized schools.

The city’s police chief will decide Officer Daniel Pantaleo’s fate in connection with Eric Garner’s death.

He’s in charge of housing for 11,000 Minnesotans. Can he handle 400,000 New Yorkers?

The bug that crashed New York’s wireless network.

Did a Princeton graduate know that killing his father was wrong?

[Want more news from New York and around the region? Check out our full coverage.]

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

A cyclist was struck and killed by a truck driver on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. [Streetsblog]

A man on Staten Island who fatally shot a teenager breaking into his home said, “I didn’t do anything wrong.” [Daily News]

“If I miss my plane, you folks are in trouble!” the chancellor of Rutgers University’s Newark campus said during an episode captured on video. The chancellor, Nancy Cantor, has since apologized. [ABC New York]

An Asian food hall opened in Elmhurst, Queens. [Eater]

Visit the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the National Archives, Poets House and other institutions during Night at the Museums. 4 p.m.-8 p.m. [Free]

Attend a locally sourced vegetarian dinner and hear a presentation on grasslands at the Greenbelt Nature Center on Staten Island. 5 p.m. [Free]

Ann Goldstein, a translator of Elena Ferrante’s “Neapolitan Quartet,” and Mary Norris, a New Yorker copy editor and writer, discuss the challenges and rewards of learning a foreign language at the Center for Fiction in Brooklyn. 7 p.m. [$10]

— Vivian Ewing

Events are subject to change, so double-check before heading out. For more events, see the going-out guides from The Times’s culture pages.

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CreditBrian Harkin for The New York Times

Last week, federal officials in Brooklyn charged a 39-year-old Connecticut man with smuggling dozens of birds (finches, to be exact) into New York from Guyana.

He was the fourth man arrested in New York on similar charges since April 2018. The smuggling is part of what officials say is a wider scheme.

(Customs and Border Protection have found 326 songbirds being smuggled through 16 major airports across the nation so far this year. Last year, agents confiscated 2,117 birds.)

They were most likely headed to a bird-singing competition

Bird-singing competitions have been held in Phil (Scooter) Rizzuto Park in Brooklyn and other places around the city.

Here is how they work:

“Two cages each containing a male finch, whose fierce calls are triggered by an instinctive desire to woo females and defend turf, are hung on a pole about an inch apart. The birds are judged on the number of songs they sing. The first to reach 50 wins.”

Some people wager as much as $200 at the competitions; a champion finch can sell for a few thousand dollars.

Why are people smuggling finches?

Federal law requires a 30-day quarantine for imported birds. That is inconvenient for some of those involved in the events.

It’s Tuesday — go vote!

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Dear Diary:

Ten years ago, I shared an apartment in Brooklyn with a man who worked as a clown. We weren’t friends, just randomly living together. We hardly saw each other.

He did catering events sometimes to pay the rent, but his heart was in everything related to the circus. He had moved to New York from the Midwest to fulfill his dream of becoming a star.

My visa had run out and I didn’t want to leave New York. After considering my possibilities, I finally settled on what I felt was my last chance.

One evening, I sat my roommate down and carefully asked whether he would consider marrying me since he was planning an unconventional life anyway and had no girlfriend at the moment.

I half-expected him to get mad at me for my audacity. He looked at me sadly instead.

“Oh, I see,” he said. “You know, I really would. But I am already married to my Russian friend’s sister.”

— Jean Linda Balke

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