One of the world’s most famous restaurants is cutting meat and fish from its menu

Eleven Madison Park
The meal follows recipes by chef Daniel Humm.

  • Eleven Madison Park will no longer serve its famous lavender-and-honey glazed duck or butter-poached lobster.
  • The restaurant will be entirely vegan except for the option to have milk with tea and honey.
  • It will be the first three-Michelin-star restaurant to do away with meat and seafood.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Daniel Humm, a world-renowned chef and the owner of one of the world’s most famous restaurants, Eleven Madison Park (EMP), released a letter on Monday announcing that the restaurant would reopen on June 10, but with a twist.

Humm told his patrons that the New York restaurant would no longer serve meat and seafood, becoming only the second three-Michelin-star restaurant to turn toward almost entirely plant-based food.

While EMP is working to eliminate all animal byproducts from its menu, it will not count as entirely vegan because the restaurant will still provide milk and honey for coffee and tea.

Humm said he did not take the decision to remove meat from his menu lightly. For EMP, it will be the ultimate test whether people will be willing to pay top dollar for vegan food options in a restaurant tier that has been dominated by meat and seafood.

“I’m not going to lie, at times I’m up in the middle of the night, thinking about the risk we’re taking abandoning dishes that once defined us,” Humm said. “It’s a tremendous challenge to create something as satisfying as the lavender honey glazed duck, or the butter poached lobster, recipes that we perfected.”

EMP has long been known for its luxurious meat and seafood dishes. A tasting menu at the restaurant costs about $335 per person, not including drinks, and the affair often stretches into a four-hour meal.

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Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park

Humm said EMP is working to change the mentality around eating meat by showing plant-based meals can be just as satisfying.

“We have always operated with sensitivity to the impact we have on our surroundings, but it was becoming ever clearer that the current food system is simply not sustainable, in so many ways,” Humm said.

By the time it reopens, Humm’s restaurant will have been closed for over 16 months. Since the onset of the pandemic, Humm told The Wall Street Journal that it was uncertain whether the restaurant would ever open its doors.

In 2020, restaurants were among the industries that were hit the hardest. A survey from December by the National Restaurant Association found 54% would close by June if they did not receive government assistance.

EMP was forced to lay off most of its staff in March, but Humm said the remaining chefs took those months to not only perfect vegan menu options but also give back to the community. EMP prepared meals for first responders at Elmhurst Hospital Center, in Queens, New York and then later for hungry people throughout the city. Humm plans to continue providing meals to the hungry. When the restaurant reopens, each tasting menu will cover the cost of five meals which will be delivered to food-insecure New Yorkers in collaboration with Rethink Food.

“Everyone who touches EMP – the staff, the guests, the purveyors – will help feed the city,” Humm told The Journal.

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Kamala Harris will be the first vice president with a wax figure at Madame Tussauds

Harris with Studio Artist
Kamala Harris’ bust at the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in New York City.

  • Madame Tussauds is set to unveil a life-size wax figure statue of Vice President Kamala Harris.
  • With the debut, Harris will become the first vice president to be immortalized in the famous New York City museum.
  • President Joe Biden will also have a statue dedicated to his likeness.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Vice President Kamala Harris will be immortalized in Madame Tussauds wax museum in New York City.

She will become the first vice president to have a wax figure dedicated to her likeness at the museum.

Both she and President Joe Biden will have wax figures unveiled later this year, and each will be displayed in the museum’s “Oval Office experience,” according to the museum.

The clay heads took weeks for a team of London artists to sculpt, the museum said on Facebook. The museum estimates the bodies will take about four to six months to complete.

“I feel like the most important features of Kamala Harris to get right are not only her lovely, warm and welcoming smile but also her eyes because I feel like she’s so engaging when she smiles, she actually smiles with her eyes as well,” sculptor Vicky Grant said in a video posted on Twitter.

Biden & Harris with Studio Artists
The busts of both Biden and Harris, alongside their sculptors for Madame Tussauds.

The wax figures of both Biden and Harris will wear the same outfits each wore on Inauguration Day this year, NBC News reported.

Christopher John Rogers, the designer who put together Harris’ outfit for her swearing-in ceremony will design Harris’ wax figure’s outfit, according to NBC News.

“We’re honored to create a figure for Vice President Harris and reflect this significant moment in US history for guests inside Madame Tussauds New York,” Brittany Williams, spokesperson for Madame Tussauds, told the outlet.

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Tech jobs, sun, and no income tax: experts explain why Florida is poised to keep growing even after the pandemic

Florida
Florida’s population grew by 2.7 million over the last decade.

  • Florida’s population grew by 14.6% in the last decade – and the pandemic has accelerated this.
  • The state famously has no personal-income tax, and its banking and finance industries are booming.
  • But the rise in remote working, its lack of lockdown, and attractive house prices are also drawing people in.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

More and more workers are moving to Florida during the pandemic – and the sunny climate isn’t the only reason why.

Top companies are opening new offices in the state, and the rise in remote working is giving staff more freedom to choose where they want to live.

Florida’s population grew by 2.7 million – or 14.6% – between 2010 and 2020, according to US Census data. This is double the rate of overall US population growth.

Read more: Is Florida the new Wall Street?

“It’s not just retirees – it’s tech workers leaving San Francisco,” John Boyd, the CEO of Boyd Consultancy, said.

Businesses are flocking to Florida

“Florida certainly has a winning formula for business attraction,” Boyd told Insider.

In particular, Florida is becoming a hotspot for banking and financial services, while Miami is as emerging as “one of the hottest new tech hubs in North America today,” he said.

Hedge fund Elliott Management is moving its headquarters to West Palm Beach, private-equity firm Blackstone plans to open an office in Miami, and Goldman Sachs is considering the state for its asset management division. Even Subway is shifting some business units to Miami.

Software company Civix and Sonesta International Hotels are opening new offices in Orlando, too.

Deloitte has invested $63 million in Orlando since 2014, while KMPG chose Orlando for its $450 million global training center, which Barnes said is the largest capital investment in KMPG history, according to Casey Barnes, vice president of business development at the Orlando Economic Partnership.

Colliers previously told Insider that interest from out-of-state firms in South Florida real estate is “torrential” – and they’re looking for much bigger officers than before, too.

Average salaries are climbing

As these businesses open offices in Florida, the job-market in the state is booming, too.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of job search engine Adzuna, told Insider Florida’s job vacancies are back at pre-pandemic levels and the number of unemployed is reaching record lows while average city salaries are climbing.

The number of financial-services employees in Florida has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels with nearly 600,000 people working in the sector. New York, on the other hand, is rebounding much slower, and still has around 30,000 fewer employees in the sector than it did in early 2020, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Casey Barnes, vice president of business development at the Orlando Economic Partnership, told Insider that Deloitte has created more than 2,200 new jobs in the city since 2014, while KMPG chose Orlando for its $450 million global training center, which Barnes said is the largest capital investment in KMPG history.

Adzuna said that tech company Oracle is the top company hiring in Florida on its site. Boyd said that financial services and tech workers are leaving cities like Boston, Chicago, and New York to move to Florida, but some are coming from overseas in India and Brazil, too.

And billionaires including Charles Schwab, Carl Icahn, Tom Brady, and Peter Thiel have all bought homes in the state.

carl icahn billionaire miami
Activist investor Carl Icahn moved his eponymous company to Miami earlier this year.

And it’s not just finance and tech workers who are benefitting from Florida’s growing economy. The state is also hiking up its minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2026, too.

Working remotely gives people more freedom

The rise of remote working has also made it easier for workers to relocate independently of their employers.

Boyd said that the pandemic has created “a time of historic mobility for both companies and people.” Companies are increasingly letting staff work from home on a permanent basis, which allows them to save on real estate costs, he said.

There is growing momentum for companies to let employees work from home permanently. Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce, and Ford have said their employees can remotely post-pandemic, and some companies are canceling office leases.

“Orlando was an ideal place to live, work, and play prior to COVID-19, and the region’s offerings will only be more valuable to professionals in the pandemic’s wake,” Barnes told Insider.

This was something Alexandra Scherbich, global head of B2B marketing at Tenth Revolution Group, found when she relocated to Tampa from London in April 2019. She told Insider that managing her colleagues in the UK could be challenging from abroad because of the time zone differences, but that she is able to now dedicate her afternoons to meetings with clients on the West Coast, which would have been much harder in the UK because of the eight-hour time difference.

Florida has a pro-business environment

Florida famously doesn’t have a personal income tax, and this is one of the major motivators for migration, Boyd told Insider. He added that many people moving to the state come from high-tax states that don’t have such a pro-business environment, like Connecticut and New Jersey, as well as New York, which recently announced plans to bump up its income-tax rates for its wealthiest residents.

“And the other part of all this is, you know, economic development really comes down to leadership at the end of the day,” Boyd said.

“Governor DeSantis is a good salesman-in-chief of the state of Florida,” he said. He added that Miami’s Mayor Francis Suarez was positioning the city as a major tech market.

ron desantis florida vaccine 60 minutes
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Florida has sun, sea, and no lockdown

Florida has also remained largely open during the pandemic compared to other states. This led to people choosing to make Florida their primary residence for the pandemic, Kelly Smallridge, CEO of the Business Development Board (BDB) of Palm Beach County, told Insider.

When people relocated to Florida, they started enrolling their children at nearby schools, and soon found themselves settled down in the state, Smallridge said.

Barnes said that many companies are choosing to expand in or relocate to Florida because “they see it as a destination that will attract workers and their families.”

miami florida
Florida’s lifestyle also attracts people to the state.

“Most executives will go take a swim in the beach before they even go to work,” BDB’s Smallridge said. “And, you know, they never have to shovel snow and they don’t have to ride with the subway.”

Scherbich said that, alongside work opportunities, the climate was part of her reason for migrating. She added that she’s settled into the city well and that it has a large UK expatriate community.

Housing and living costs are lower than New York

House prices have gone up around 10% over the past year as more people move to the state, but Florida still has a “very attractive” real-estate market compared to some other major markets in the US, Boyd said, adding that there are affordable housing options “in virtually all parts of Florida.”

The average price for a house in Florida is $277,429, rising to $323,094 in Palm Beach County and $407,245 in Miami, according to data from Zillow. In New York, in comparison, average house prices are $323,094 for the city and $649,490 for the state.

And it isn’t just houses that cost less in the Sunshine Site. Overall living costs in Orlando are 6% lower than the US average, Barnes said.

Florida’s transport networks are growing

There are a lot of transport developments in the pipeline for Florida, too, Boyd said. This includes Brightline, a rail system with investments from Richard Branson’s Virgin, which connects Miami to West Palm Beach, with expansion plans Orlando and Tampa.

Boring company los angeles
The Boring Company is also building a tunnel in Las Vegas.

And North Miami Beach official told Insider’s Grace Kay the city is in early talks with Elon Musk’s The Boring Company over a possible plan to build a one- to two-mile tunnel to tackle congestion.

The state has more than 100 public airports, and Tampa’s direct flights to London were part of Scherbich’s decision to relocate to the city.

Orlanda in particular bills itself as the “tomorrowland of transportation,” Barnes said. This includes serving as a hub for one of the world’s first jet-powered flying taxis, which will depart from more than 10 locations across Florida. The aircrafts by German startup Lilium will be based at Orlando’s Lake Nona, which Barnes said it “a growing testbed” for smart city technology.

“The signal is really ahead of the curve,” Boyd said.

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Sen. Ted Cruz feuds with Trevor Noah on Twitter: ‘I remember when the Daily Show was funny’

Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, asks a question during the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

  • Ted Cruz and Trevor Noah feuded on Twitter on Wednesday, sparked by the new Census figures.
  • Noah lamented that New York was slated to lose a district and took a swipe at Cruz.
  • Cruz responded to Noah by praising the population growth in “low-tax states.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A Twitter feud between GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah erupted on Wednesday, sparked by the comedian’s commentary about New York losing a congressional district following the 2020 census.

On Tuesday, Noah lamented that New York was 89 individuals shy of retaining all of its 27 House seats, while the census results revealed that Texas would gain two House seats.

“This is unbelievable,” Noah said in a video. “You’re telling me that if just 89 more New Yorkers had filled out their census, the state wouldn’t have lost a House seat?”

He added: “Aside from New York getting screwed, the big news out of the census is that America’s population grew at the slowest rate since the 1930s.”

In the video, Noah quickly pivoted to mocking Cruz.

“Basically, immigration is down and the birth rate is falling, primarily due to this photo,” he said, revealing an image of Cruz wearing a baseball hat.

Read more: This millennial GOP congressman voted to impeach Trump. Now he’s trying to save his party from going off a cliff.

He added: “I don’t know exactly what that says, but I do know that the 1930s sucked for America,” where he spoke of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and black-and-white photos.

Cruz responded on Wednesday, criticizing Democratic states and praising “low-tax” states.

“Trevor Noah whines that people are fleeing high-tax blue states & moving in droves to low-tax states like Texas, where the jobs are,” he wrote. “Doesn’t understand why people like freedom. Also predicts the Biden years will be the Great Depression.”

Noah replied to Cruz, referencing the senator’s February trip to Mexico during a severe winter storm that led to a major power crisis in Texas.

“Not sure I’d be using the words ‘fleeing’ and ‘Texas’ in the same sentence, Senator Cancun,” he wrote.

Cruz hit back at Noah, delivering a knock at the comedian’s show.

“I wear your scorn with pride,” he wrote. “I remember when the Daily Show was funny.”

Noah had previously mocked Cruz for his trip to Mexico, poking at the Texas senator for saying he went on the excursion “to be a good dad.”

“Ted Cruz blaming his daughters for this is just gross,” Noah wrote at the time. “Being a good father means putting them on a bus, not throwing them under one.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

New York will end its curfew for bars and restaurants in May

New York outdoor dining
People dine at an outdoor Soho restaurant on March 21, 2021 in New York City.

  • New York will lift its midnight curfew on bars and restaurants next month.
  • The curfew will first be lifted on May 17 for outdoor eating and drinking.
  • It will be lifted for indoor restaurants and bars on May 31, Cuomo said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the mandatory midnight closing time for bars and restaurants in the state will be lifted next month.

Cuomo, who ordered the curfews last year to curb the spread of COVID-19, said Wednesday the curfew for outdoor restaurants and bars will end on May 17. The curfew will end for indoor bars and restaurants on May 31. The curfew on catered events will also be lifted at the end of May.

Seating in bars in New York City will resume on May 3, the governor’s office announced.

Cuomo’s announcement came as the New York State legislature is slated to roll back Cuomo’s requirement that patrons of bars and restaurants order a food item if they are ordering an alcoholic beverage. That rule has been in place since July last year, The New York Times noted.

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Trump may have to testify in court over allegations his bodyguards beat up protesters outside Trump Tower in 2015

trump tower debt buildings
A composite image of Trump Tower in New York City and former President Donald Trump.

  • Trump’s personal bodyguards clashed with protesters outside Trump Tower in 2015.
  • The protesters sued Trump and his guards, claiming one of them was hit with a closed fist.
  • Trump’s lawyers had appealed a 2019 summons for him to testify. A judge denied their request Tuesday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump may have to testify in court to address claims that his personal bodyguards assaulted protesters outside Trump Tower in 2015, following a Tuesday court ruling cited by The Daily Beast and the New York Post.

On September 3, 2015, a group of demonstrators heckled Trump outside Trump Tower in New York City, saying the then-president candidate was peddling racist narratives about Mexican immigrants.

Trump’s security detail approached the group and were filmed manhandling several members, and wresting placards from them.

On September 9, 2015, five of the protesters sued Trump, the Trump Organization, the Trump 2016 campaign, and several members of Trump’s security detail.

According to the complaint, Keith Schiller, a member of Trump’s security detail, hit protester Efrain Galicia “with a closed fist on the head” so hard that it caused him “to stumble backwards,” The Daily Beast reported.

The complaint also alleged that another guard “placed his hands around Galicia’s neck in an effort to choke him,” The Daily Beast reported.

In September 2019, Judge Doris M. Gonzalez summoned Trump to testify as part of proceedings, saying Trump’s testimony was “indispensable,” The Washington Post reported at the time.

The president’s lawyers subsequently asked Gonzalez to excuse Trump, but the judge denied their request. Trump’s lawyers then appealed in 2019, arguing that he was a sitting president.

But a court in New York’s Appellate Division denied that request Tuesday, saying he is no longer in office.

“This appeal concerning the proper standard for determining whether a sitting President may be compelled to give videotaped trial testimony about unofficial acts in a civil action against him or her is moot given that the rights of parties will not be directly affected by our determination,” the Appellate court said, according to The Daily Beast.

This means Trump would have to testify in person if called upon.

Benjamin N. Dictor, an attorney for the protesters, said: “We are pleased with the Appellate Division’s decision and look forward to presenting Mr. Trump’s testimony at trial, as would be expected from any adverse party in litigation,” according to The Daily Beast.

“We look forward to Mr. Trump appearing at trial to defend against the assault and battery claims being made by the our clients,” said Nathaniel Charny, another plaintiff lawyer, told the New York Post.

trump phone
Trump.

Insider contacted Trump’s private office for comment.

The protesters gathered outside Trump Tower were trying to draw attention to a series of derogatory comments made by the presidential candidate, such as that Trump had called Mexicans “rapists” who were “bringing drugs” and “bringing crime” to America in June 2015.

The protesters held signs reading “Trump: Make America Racist Again!” and dressed in Klu Klux Klan outfits.

Galicia told the New York Post at the time: “They pushed me around. We brought all our banners. We know the law. We know we can protest along the sidewalk.”

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New York could have kept a House seat if just 89 more people had been counted in the 2020 census

US Census briefing
The US Census Bureau unveiled which states will gain and lose House seats after the 2020 census

  • New York lost a US House seat by just 89 people, Census Bureau officials revealed Monday.
  • Had 89 more people filled out the Census, the state would have been spared from losing the seat.
  • Minnesota was able to get the 435th House seat and keep all 8 of its districts because of New York.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New York could’ve retained one House seat if just 89 more people in the state had filled out the 2020 census, officials revealed Monday.

On Monday, the US Census Bureau unveiled its long-awaited population counts and apportionment figures from the census that determine how many House seats states gained and lost.

Federal law requires the House to have 435 seats that each represent the exact same number of people – just over 760,000 – to satisfy the principle of one person, one vote. This means that states are subject to lose or gain House seats based on changes to their population – and as New York’s experience shows, every completed census form makes a difference.

“What we have is that if New York had had 89 more people, they would have received one more seat instead of the last state that received their last seat,” Kristin Koslap, a senior technical expert for the 2020 Census Apportionment Division, said at a Monday news conference.

“There are 435 seats, so the last seat went to Minnesota, and New York was next in line. And if you do the algebra equation that determines how many they would have needed, it’s 89 people. But that’s if you hold the population of all other states, constant,” she added.

Read more: The great migration of 2020: People from New York and California moved in droves this year – here are the states that benefited from the mass exodus, from Idaho to Texas

Texas came out of the 2020 census as the biggest winner in reapportionment, gaining two House seats. Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Montana, and Oregon will all each gain one seat.

Meanwhile, California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia all lost one House seat each.

Alabama, Minnesota, and Rhode Island, which were all projected to lose a seat, didn’t lose any – and Minnesota is able to keep its eight House seats thanks to New York falling short.

Koslap explained, however, that because of the system the Census Bureau uses to determine which state gets the 435th seat, it’s not unheard if for just a few hundred or dozen people to make or break a state’s fortunes.

“It’s part of the standard of the method of equal proportions is that it all depends on the overall proportion of all the states within the nation. And so … it’s not unusual for there to be a small margin like that,” she said.

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Andrew Cuomo faces an ‘ongoing investigation’ over the use of state resources for his COVID-19 book, New York AG confirms

andrew cuomo book investigation
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at an April 19 press briefing.

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing another investigation, this time on his COVID-19 response book.
  • NY Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli referred a case to NY Attorney General Tish James on Monday.
  • James confirmed an “ongoing investigation” into Cuomo’s use of state resources on the book.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing yet another investigation as his third term in office remains beset by multiple ongoing scandals.

Upon a recent referral from New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, New York Attorney General Tish James – who is already investigating the governor over accusations of workplace sexual harassment and an alleged groping incident – confirmed on Monday that there is an “ongoing investigation” into Cuomo’s use of state resources for his 2020 book, according to The New York Times.

Cuomo reportedly sought an advance of around $4 million for his book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic.”

Earlier on Monday before news of the investigation broke, a reporter asked Cuomo how much money he received for his book and how staffers contributed to it. The governor deflected on the advance, saying his compensation for the manuscript will show up in his forthcoming tax returns.

“Some people volunteered to review the book,” Cuomo said before ending the press conference shortly thereafter.

Reports from The Times and other outlets in late March and early April raised concerns among ethics watchdogs over whether Cuomo improperly deployed his staff and used other state resources in the completion of his book, despite an explicit guidance from a state ethics board to avoid doing so.

Several of the governor’s aides reportedly convened at the executive mansion in Albany on two separate weekends to go over edits, including some who used paid time off to dedicate hours on a Friday to the endeavor, according to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.

Cuomo’s press office has consistently said that anyone on his staff who was consulted for fact checking the book and reviewing passages involving their work did so on their own time.

“We have officially jumped the shark – the idea there was criminality involved here is patently absurd on its face and is just the furthering of a political pile-on,” Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi told The Times on Monday.

“This is Albany politics at its worst,” Azzopardi continued. “Both the comptroller and the attorney general have spoken to people about running for governor, and it is unethical to wield criminal referral authority to further political self-interest‎.”

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The timing of Andrew Cuomo’s decision to legalize weed seems like a distraction

andrew cuomo leak
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation that legalizes adult-use marijuana.
  • The decision comes amid multiple investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct and his handling of the pandemic.
  • For years, Cuomo has been opposed to the legalization of weed, making the timing of this law seem a bit fishy.
  • Jana Cholakovska is an NYC-based freelance reporter and editor covering politics, climate change, and labor.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Two weeks ago, amid a deluge of calls for his resignation and multiple investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo finally signed legislation to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana in the state. For a man who has spent the majority of his career reluctant to greenlight any weed-related laws the decision is at best opportune and at worst a ploy designed to distract New Yorkers from the firestorm of the past few months.

Cuomo’s powerful grip on New York has been steadily slipping over the last few months. In December, Lindsey Boylan – a former aide and current Democratic candidate for Manhattan Borough President – publicly accused the governor of sexual harassment describing an environment where sexual harassment and bullying were not only “condoned but expected.” Boylan’s accusation opened the floodgates: eight other women have since come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct, including one anonymous aide who says that Cuomo “aggressively groped” her in the Executive Mansion last year.

That is not all that has come to light. There is also the Cuomo administration’s disastrous handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes, preferential treatment of the governor’s family in getting coronavirus tests early in the pandemic, possible political pressure on vaccine distribution, and a controversial $4 million book deal.

Now, almost a month after Cuomo denied wrongdoing in every case, derided calls for his resignation as “cancel culture,” and said that he will simply continue doing his job, it seems that the governor is attempting to salvage his tarnished reputation ahead of the 2022 gubernatorial election when he is likely to run for his fourth term as governor. He has retreated into a state of political survival, providing legislators with leverage to pass one of the most progressive weed laws in the country.

Cuomo has never been the staunchest supporter of cannabis

In 2010, a week before winning his first election as governor, Cuomo came out against medical marijuana saying that its dangers “outweigh the benefits.” It took him four years to reverse his position and agree to sign a bill that made marijuana available, but only at a limited number of dispensaries to patients with conditions like cancer and glaucoma. Any smokable forms of marijuana were still banned though. It seems that his opinion of pot, however, hadn’t really changed. In 2017, he even called marijuana a “gateway drug,” warning those who partake.

“If you choose to use marijuana recreationally, you know the law,” he said.

Then the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary came along and Cynthia Nixon burst onto the political stage, running a campaign that made legalizing recreational marijuana one of its policy pillars, framing it as a necessary step towards addressing racial inequalities in the criminal justice system. Within a few weeks both the New York Democratic Party and the State Department of Health voiced their support of recreational marijuana. The tide was turning and Cuomo was struggling to find the current.

Nixon was by no means the first one to advocate for this kind of policy. For years, lawmakers and activists like Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Drug Policy Alliance’s Executive Director Kassandra Frederique have pursued marijuana legalization as a way to even out the playing field for Black, Latino, Indigenous, and immigrant communities which have been unfairly targeted by law enforcement and disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs. But, it wasn’t until Nixon directly threatened Cuomo’s plans for a third term in office that his messaging took a sharp turn. In August of 2018, he launched a workgroup tasked to draft legislation for regulated recreational marijuana. And only after he was reelected as governor in December he came out in full support of legalization.

“Let’s legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all,” he said.

Much like in 2018, the current political moment has acted as a catalyst, pushing cannabis higher on Cuomo’s policy priority. After the two failed deals to legalize weed in 2019 and 2020, lawmakers were finally able to negotiate a deal similar to the previous bills without much meddling from the governor – the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act. Under the current deal, 40% of most tax revenues would be invested in communities most harmed by the drug war, another 40% would go into public education, and the remaining 20% would be invested in drug treatment and prevention.

One cannot help but wonder if the governor would have signed such a progressive deal if it were not for the revelations of the last few months. While his attempt to reframe the narrative of his tenure, only time will tell if Cuomo’s efforts were enough to convince New Yorkers for four more years under his leadership.

Jana Cholakovska is an NYC-based freelance reporter and editor covering politics, climate change, and labor. You can find her on Twitter @JCholakovska or send her tips via email at jcholakovska@gmail.com.

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More than 650 tech workers at The New York Times have formed a union to fight for more diversity, pay equity, and job security

The New York Times building is seen on June 30, 2020 in New York City.
The New York Times building.

  • More than 650 tech workers at The New York Times have formed a union called the Tech Times Guild.
  • The union said workers are facing “unexplained termination and opaque promotion processes.”
  • It’s organizing the formation with the NewsGuild union and awaiting recognition from the Times.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tech workers at The New York Times on Tuesday announced they have formed a union and asked for recognition from the publication.

The union, called the Tech Times Guild, represents more than 650 employees who work for the digital side of the company in roles such as software engineers, data analysts and product managers.

The Tech Times Guild said in a statement on Twitter that it’s organizing its formation with the NewsGuild of New York – an editorial union of more than 3,000 media workers at the Times, The Daily Beast, The Nation, and other media outlets.

Tech workers weren’t included in the NewsGuild because they weren’t allowed to join. The Tech Times Guild is looking to become a separate bargaining unit from the NewsGuild. It would communicate with the Times management independently.

“As of now, we face a number of challenges, including sudden or unexplained termination, opaque promotion processes, unpaid overtime, and underinvestment in diverse representation,” the Tech Times Guild tweeted.

“Without a union, we lack the data or bargaining rights to address these issues,” it said, adding that the tech workers will be able to build digital products and platforms in a company, which is more “equitable, healthy and just.”

“At The New York Times, we have a long history of positive and productive relationships with unions, and we respect the right of all employees to decide whether or not joining a union is right for them,” The New York Times said in a statement to Insider.

“We will take time to review this request and discuss it soon with representatives of the NewsGuild,” it said, adding that the company wants to “make sure all voices are heard.”

The forming of the Tech Times Guild comes three months after more than 200 Google employees formed a union to promote inclusivity, transparency, and ensure the company acts ethically. At Amazon, there was a historic push to form the company’s first union in the US last month but workers voted against it on April 9th.

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