The City Council’s Progressive Caucus has shrunk to 20 members from 35, according to numbers finalized after a meeting Friday.
At issue was a statement of principles updated by the left-leaning group that in part called for reducing the “size and scope of the NYPD and the Department of Correction.”
The pledge also covered housing, education and the environment.
A signature on it was a prerequisite for membership.
Other new rules included signing on to 75% of the caucus’ “priority legislation” and attending at least two-thirds of its meetings.
Critics of the caucus’ updated statement of principles, including Mayor Eric Adams, had denounced the pledge as one to “defund the police.”
In interviews with NY1 on Friday, caucus leaders said it was about increasing funding for social services that address the root causes of crime, hunger, homelessness and more.
The co-chairs, Brooklyn Councilmembers Shahana Hanif and Lincoln Restler, said the group is energized and focused going into budget negotiations with Adams’ office.
Adams is practicing “austerity politics” when resources like schools should be better funded, Hanif said.
Asked about “defunding the police,” Restler said, “We don’t believe it’s the role of police to respond to every issue under the sun. We don’t believe the cops belong in schools, we don’t believe that it’s the role of cops to be handling mental health crises or homeless sweeps.”
NYPD members should be freed up to handle violent crimes, he said.
The statement of principles reflects “what we want for working families and working New Yorkers in this city and how to deliver justice and care and dignity,” Hanif said.
Councilmembers who left the caucus told NY1 they still have values in common with the group and can work with it outside of being a formal part of it.
At its previous size of 35, the caucus had included a majority of the City Council’s 45 Democrats.
City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams is by default a member of every council caucus.
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