Tuesday, March 31, 2015

In 1733 Zenger Wins the Right to Inform New Yorker's What Their Govt Was Up To, In the 2000's Press Gives Up That Right

Albany $$$ For Luxury Planes Luxury Boats But No Trains
Tuesday PM Update  Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said his members may have trouble accepting education reform measures in the budget, which unions have opposed, but he expects it to pass his chamber anyway, State of Politics reports  JCOPE Albany’s ethics reform plan includes $1.2 million to help the JCOPE enforce new disclosure regulations for lawmakers, but new information about lawmakers’ outside clients won’t be made public until 2017, Capital NewYork reports: Yachts and Plains Liberal groups such as Citizen Action and the Fiscal Policy Institute planned to gather at a Manhattan marina and protest tax breaks for the purchase of yachts and planes included in the state budget, Gannet Albany reports: 

Lawmakers Get 3 Hours to Read the Bill Before They Vote
The head of the state Marine Trades Association, however, said the incentive is aimed at helping boat dealers, since the industry loses customers to Florida and other states that cap the tax on yacht sales, Gannett Albany reports:  * Infrastructure shortchanged in $5.4b NY budget windfallallocation. (Empire Center) * What an absolute joke: Client Disclosure, But Only MovingForward (YNN) * New info re lawmakers’ outside clients won’t be made publictil 2017 via @capitalnewyork  Many will've retire by then..@DanielSquadron introducing hostile amendment that would close LLC loophole that allows unlimited donations from corps and individuals.

Dolan Offers $1 for the Daily News
Cablevision to Make $1 Offer for New York Daily News (JP Updates) U.S. cable T.V. operator Cablevision Systems Corp is planning to make an offer for the New York Daily News as early as this week, valuing the troubled tabloid at just $1, according to a person familiar with the matter. Cablevision’s $1 bid takes into account the New York Daily News’ reported $30 million annual loss and $150 million investment in a printing press, and declining circulation that relies heavily on newsstand sales rather than on subscriptions, the source said. 



Gov Ducked At the End On Many of His No Budget Demands 

Gov Blink 
No game-changers (NYP Ed ) Gov. Cuomo got a lot less out of this year’s state budget than he started out asking for — that much is clear even before we get to see the fine print. There are no immediate game-changers here. The governor’s other big reform push was in education. Most of his goals — the Education Tax Credit, the DREAM Act, raising the cap on charter schools — got pushed out of the budget. Add to that, Cuomo’s people say, streamlined teacher-removal rules that will terminate proven incompetents within 90 days. But, at best, Cuomo’s new system will start getting bad teachers fired two years from now. That’s a win, but not a game-changer. The Education Tax Credit is the only issue still on the table that promises anything like that instant success. We hope the governor can deliver it.* The tentative budget deal agreed to by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers did not include policy changes he tried to tie to include, reflecting a changed dynamic in Albany, The New YorkTimes writes: 



On-time budgets are like NYS version of balanced budgets at federal level: valued for cosmetic reasons, not the implicit policy tradeoffs
Many school districts will have to quickly revise their evaluation agreements with teachers unions in order to get increased school aid as part of the state budget deal, The Wall Street Journal reports: * New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is disappointed in some of the items left out of the state budget deal, such funding to fight homelessness that does not appear to have made the final plan, the Journalreports: * The Times writes that Cuomo made too many concessions, with the minimum wage, campaign finance reform, mayoral control and the DREAM Act left out of the budget deal agreed to over the weekend: * The Post writes that Cuomo has some real wins, such asdisclosure of outside income, but overall he got a lot less out of this year’s state budget than he started out asking for, with no “game-changers” included in the deal: * Newsday writes that ethics reforms included in the state budget deal are a big step forward for Albany, but that it’s unclear how they will play out and how big of a raise lawmakers will get in return: 

8 hours before budget deadline and neither he Assembly or Senate have passed any bills yet 
The Buffalo News writes that state leaders had a chance to enact serious ethical reforms in the budget agreement, but again fell woefully short:*  Tom Kaplan: “For all his aspirations, as the budget deadline neared, the governor blinked.” He abandoned most of the policy initiatives included in his initial spending proposal, and ended up with the fifth on-time budget in a row as a result – a move central to preserving the “core of his political brand.”* Legislation designed to expand transparency in government remained under wraps a day before it was scheduled to be passed as part of an on-time state budget. A Cuomo administration official recruited to provide the press with background information on the ethics fixes yesterday afternoon wouldn’t even confirm which of the still-gestating budget bills the reforms would be tucked into. The new ethics measures, which the governor has hailed as transformational, got a tepid response from lawmakers and government watchdogs. * The budget deal budget does include Cuomo’s proposal to send $1.3 billion to the Thruway Authority, with about $900 million expected to go toward the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project. 

That $1.3 billion will come from the $5.4 billion “windfall” cash realized from various settlements with financial institutions. Lawmakers and the governor also reached an agreement on how to spend the rest of the money, which will fund broadband access, an upstate economic development competition, and capital health care projects – among other things. * The final plan for a new statewide teacher evaluation system will require observations by an “independent” evaluator, according to a Cuomo administration official who briefed reporters in the absence of an introduced education budget bill.* The Cuomo administration said the increases in state aid funding of about $1.4 billion to districts will be linked to adoption of the new teacher evaluation program. Hours earlier, the head of the state’s big teachers union, NYSUT, called on parents to have their children opt out of taking the state’s Common Core-based standardized tests. * NYSUT President Karen Magee was making her opt-out call, the governor’s office was preparing school “runs,” or charts showing how much state aid the various school districts will receive under the final budget plan. To get that money, lawmakers would have to approve the new testing program. 

There’s no minimum wage hike or property tax relief in the final budget, but New York lawmakers did insert a tax cut for luxury yachts, which angered progressive advocates. * However, Jeff Strong, the president of Strong’s Marine on Long Island, said the creditwould create jobs and tax revenue in New York, with money that is currently flowing out of state. “It is a big deal because we have so many people with expensive boats that use them in New York and Florida,” he explained. * Meeting with Cuomo spurred boat / yacht show switch (CrainsNY) * NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio described the tentative deal on the state budget as “reasonably good” for the Big Apple, but his aides said there was disappointment on homelessness funding and concern that action on many of City Hall’s priorities in Albany had been postponed. * De Blasio said he was relieved that the Albany budget deal lessened the threat of state takeover of struggling schools, though it does not remove it altogether. Under the agreement, localities will first have a chance to try their own turnaround plan. * The NY Post: “Cuomo got a lot less out of this year’s state budget than he started out asking for — that much is clear even before we get to see the fine print. There are no immediate game-changers here.”* How To Spend $5.4 Billion (YNN) * State teacher’s union chief calls for Common Core boycott * Lawmakers, Watchdogs Shrug at Ethics Package in Albany (WSJ)* TEACHER EVALUATIONS RE-LINKED—Capital School funding and teacher evaluations are linked after all, a top official with the state education department said late Monday. Cuomo and lawmakers are considering making an increase of at least $1.4 billion in school aid contingent on state approval of locally negotiated evaluation plans for teachers and principals by a mid-November deadline. Also, the final plan will require observations by an “independent” evaluator, a Cuomo administration official said, speaking on background, during a late Monday briefing with reporters.* NY state budget is done on time, but it's still done insecret (Editorial) * More budget sleight of hand (NYDN)




NYT Says More Cops Don't Matter, NYP Comes Up With A Plan to Reduce Crime In Areas Where Shootings and Murders Have Increased 
NYT Less Police Equal Less Crime?
Broken Windows 2.0: Time for an NYPD re-do (NYP Ed) But the NYPD could look for new strategies to maintain public order that do not necessarily involve strict enforcement of low-level crimes. There are various possibilities. One idea, for example, involves community-intelligence-driven operations. Instead of sending uniformed officers into a high-disorder area and letting them figure out a way to deal with the situation, a relatively small number of officers, especially detectives, could work with local residents to develop an in-depth analysis of the precinct’s problems. If the area is one with a high concentration of crime, then a vigorous campaign of arresting serious criminals might convince local folks to be more law-abiding. These strategies would dovetail with the CompStat program, which identifies high-crime hot spots. Another tactic would be to encourage outdoor activities to put more eyes on the street. This, in effect, would pit residents — acting as watchdogs — against serious criminals. Long ago, the urbanologist Jane Jacobs described how vigorous street life helps to keep a neighborhood safe. 

de Blasio Work Out Breaks the Law and Not to Healthy for the Rest of Us
"Mayor’s cars running while he jogs at Slope Y …leaving a car idling is also against the law.” (Brooklyn Paper)Finally, it’s important to note that New York’s police force has 6,000 fewer officers than it did when Michael Bloomberg became mayor. So far, de Blasio has shown no sign of wanting to bring the number back up by hiring additional cops. To implement his new strategies, however, he may need to bring on at least 1,000 new officers right away and probably 1,000 more at the beginning of 2016. De Blasio’s predicament offers a chance to reevaluate NYPD operating strategies in 2015. We need to take a new look at neighborhood policing and get out from under the shadow of Broken Windows. NYPD IG Right Back  New York City’s Office of Inspector General, created to monitor the NYPD, referred more than half the complaints it received to the NYPD’s internal investigation body, according to its first annual report, The Wall Street Journal reports: 

Crime Voter Quota Board Game
Disgruntled cops claim precinct ran arrest-quota ‘board game’ (NYP) Crimefighting in at least one police precinct has been reduced to a petty board game that rewards or punishes officers based on the number of arrests they make each month, according to a group of disgruntled cops. espite the NYPD’s denials of a quota system, commanders at a Staten Island’s 122nd Precinct created a “game” that adds and subtracts points from cops who achieved or fell short of arrest and summons goals, said the cops, who are suing the department for discrimination. “This is just one command,” said Anthony Miranda, chairman of the National Latino Officers Association. “They are assigning points as if they’re playing a game and arresting people in our community.”



More Cops Matter to People Who Live In Areas of the City Where Shooting and Murders are Up 
Nobody on the NYT Editorial Board Lives In Public Housing Or Areas of the City Where Crime Is Up
For the Police, Quality Over Quantity (NYT Ed)  Should the New York Police Department staff up even though crime is at historic lows? Maybe the answer is: It doesn’t matter that much.


Real Question Why Didn't the Manhattan DA GoAfter Those Who Tap Gas Lines 7 Months? 


More than seven months before an explosion and fire destroyed three buildings in the East Village on Thursday, utility workers discovered that the gas line to a restaurant in one of them had been tapped in a dangerous way, Consolidated Edison and the restaurant’s owner said.* CRIMINAL MATTER: City probing whether East Village building owner illegally tapped into gas main as distraught family mourns Nicholas Figueroa (NYDN) * The Manhattan District Attorney’s office is investigating the fatal explosion in New York City’s East Village last week, signaling the possibility of criminal charges in connection with the blast, the Journal reports * Manhattan District Attorney Investigating Fatal East Village Gas Explosion: Officials(WSJ)*  Asked about the D.A.’s involvement, the mayor wouldonly say: “I think it speaks for itself.” Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials said they were operating under the “strong assumption” the explosion was caused by natural gas, and the mayor said it was possible a gas line had been “inappropriately accessed internally by people in the building.”  * City launches criminal probe of fatal E. Village gasexplosion, finds bags of shredded documents at landlord's home (NYDN)* City serves stop work order on Icon Realty-owned building for installing gas pipe without permit across from deadly 2nd Avenue blast zone (EV Grieve)

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Campaign Manager Mayor Ignores Court Separation of Church and State Decision . . . All About the Votes
De Blasio says school worship use will continue, despite ruling (Capital) The mayor’s office said the use will continue despite the U.S. Supreme Court upholding a lower court backing of a ban. Wiley Norvell said the administration “remains committed to ensuring that religious organizations are able to use space in City schools on the same terms provided to other groups.” “Now that litigation has concluded, the City will develop ‘rules of the road’ that respect the rights of both religious groups and non-participants,” Norvell said. The United State Supreme Court declined on Monday to review a Second Circuit decision that upheld a standing ban by the city Board of Education on the use of public schools for religious services, even as the practice has been allowed in the face of previous legal pressure since 2002.* Supreme Court Leaves Intact New York’s Ban on Religious Services in Schools (NYT) The court declined to review a case involving the Education Department’s longstanding policy barring religious organizations from using public school facilities.* The U.S. Supreme Court opted not to take up a case challenging New York City’s ban on religious groups using public schools for services, but Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would like to accommodate such groups, The New York Timesreports: 

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The Inner Circle Has Become the Symbol of Defining Journalism Down, Corrupt Govt and A City Run By Developers
The media limited their coverage of the Inner Circle to the mayor and the press taking out their frustrations by roasting each other. What the papers failed to notice how the what started out in 1920’s as drunken bar room brawl, has turned into to scripted reporters want-to-be actors love taps, played out in front of the real city’s welfare cheats. What the papers did not cover was most of the tickets were brought by the city’s permanent government and their lobbyists,  The people who make money off of the tax payers, while the press keeps the public clueless on their rip-off. It was wall to wall developers according to one elected officials in attendance.  There we no homeless, people who live in public housing or member of the middle class being forced out of the city at attendance at the dinner which charges up to $2000 for a ticket dinner, 25,000 for a table.  The Inner Circle has become the symbol for a press that no longer follows what John Peter Zenger in 1733 gave them the right to do. Zenger after being jailed by the king for publishing in his paper what was really going on in the city, won in court the right to do so.

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When Journalist Protected New Yorkers From Their Government  
1920's Drunk Men, 2013 Acting Press and Scripted Mayor   
In the 1920's when the first Inner Circle was held newspaper reporters who could not sing or act went on stage drunk and flubbing their lines, more importantly making personal attacks against the elected officials.  Men reporters (women were not added until 1973) in drunken stupors were much more cutting then their scripted line. One old time district leader who has been attending the show for half a century said mayor's would not talk to reporters for weeks after the show.  He said reporters dress in drag on-stage, pushed dirty jokes which made the shows even more cutting edge, not to mention sexist. The uncontrolled off color jokes were the fun of the show in the old day according to the old pol. Who want to see a bunch of jerks singing and dancing? Most people go today to the Inner Circle because they because they want to rub elbows with city’s the movers and shakers.  

As Flacks Have Taken Over Govt, Politics and the Media Mayors Have Become Actors
Today TV trained actors who read the news have transformed the reporters Inner-Circle. The lobbyists and reports who mostly reprint press releases make up most of the other actors in the show.  Showing off singing and acting skills has replaced the cutting-edge zingers of the early years. It look like many of them have taken singing and acting lesions.  Many of the actors in the show are retired reporters who are now working as lobbyist who offer lame sophomore at elected officials who pay they rent, jokes that don't offend and bore most.   It is not only the reporters and lobbyists who have made the Inner Circle an acting ego trip.  For the first few decades of the Inner Circle, the incumbent New York Mayor would deliver a rebuttal to the show in the form of a humorous speech. This changed in 1966, when Mayor John Lindsay instead performed a song-and-dance routine with actress Florence Henderson, setting a precedent which continues into the present day. Ed Koch emerged from the mouth of a man-eating plant from the Broadway show Little Shop of Horrors. In 1984, then-Mayor Koch appeared in drag, in a gold lamé bodysuit with a mechanical pigeon on his head.* Mayor David Dinkins put on a comedic newscast with Mary Tyler Moore and Gregory Hines.

In 1997, Rudy Giuliani's appeared in a pink gown, blond wig, high heels and makeup, calling himself "Rudia", and proceeded to sing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" in falsetto.[15] Later, in 2000, he was dressed on stage in male disco garb, spoofing John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, but also appeared as Rudia in taped video clips, in which he flirted with real estate mogul Donald Trump, then later had an exchange with Joan Rivers about Hillary Rodham Clinton. * Mayor Michael Bloomberg has appeared with the casts of the Broadway shows ChicagoSpamalot,Mary PoppinsMamma Mia!. He has also been accompanied by Caroline Kennedy[ and quarterback Eli Manning, and once made his exit astride a donkey which he dubbed "The Burro of Manhattan". In 2010, the Mayor, in full hippie regalia, performed in "Mair", a sendoff of Hair. * April 2, 2012 NY Post Josh Margolin Reported City Tried toSquelch 911 Disaster Report Fast Forward Mark Peters Joins Dirty DA Cy VanceRose Gill Hearn 911 Cover-up (Troy Artist)

Campaign Manager Mayor Understands the Importance of the Act
De Blasio gets roasted at Inner Circle bash (NYP) The occasion was Saturday night’s Inner Circle bash at the New York Hilton, where each year the City Hall press corps and the mayor take out their frustrations by roasting each other. The mayor, a former hippie, relived his past as a picture of a young “Bill de BLAZEio’’ — photoshopped smoking a spliff — was flashed on a screen. Alexander Hamilton soon appears on a video complaining that de Blasio was running two hours late for a duel.  “I think I’m going to call my homies at the New York Post, which I founded,” the founding father muses.  In one of the reporters scene, a bodega owner named John Catsimatidis catches a young Bill de Blasio stealing a Snickers Bar and a copy of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. He calls cops — and when they arrive, Catsimatidis shouts at his young shoplifter:’ “Assume the position!’’ The cops, mistaking that Catsimatidis meant them, turn their backs on de Blasio. Another highlight was the mayor confronted by a virtual zoo — including the ghost of the groundhog he dropped, the ferrets he refused to legalize and a carriage horse who wants to keep his job.

The Gays Proved the Best Place for the Homeless, Affordable Housing and Transit Activists to Win Support for Their Issues Is to Protest at the 2016 Inner Circle Dinner
Among those attending the event at the New York Hilton were Gov. Cuomo and Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bahara, who is investigating the governor’s very controversial dissolution of the Moreland Commission which was investigating corruption in Albany. Maybe the attack the permanent government and lobbyists corruption in NYC today is to follow the example of the the Gay Alliance at the 1972 Inner Circle dinner. The Gay leaders used the annual show to hand out leaflets to raise awareness about gay rights issues at the time. The leaflets accused the news media and New York City government of discriminating against gay people. While coming up the escalator to hand out fliers to the crowd, one of the activists grabbed Mickey Maye, the leader of the firefighter's union at the time, by the groin. Maye, a former Golden Gloves boxer, knocked the activist down the escalator. * The Inner Circle NYC is a circle jerk of conflicts of interests (Progressive) 

How Inner Circle Journalism Enabled Real Estate to Changed NYC  
Why I got out of New York City (NYDN) The super-rich are driving rents up, and character out.

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Albany Budget Agreement Details Secret 
In a joint statement, @NYGovCuomo and legislative leaders announce deal on #nybudget. Includes $23.5 B for school aid.

Cuomo Gets Timely New York Budget but Pays Price (NYT) The budget agreement between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and top lawmakers included changes to ethics rules and teacher tenure, but his goals regarding income inequality and criminal justice were nowhere to be found. * Capital Tonight’s Liz Benjamin writes in Capital New York that Cuomo has exhibited a “tendency to cry wolf” by moving from absolutism to compromise, as shown in the state budget negotiations:  * The Joint Commission on Public Ethics is slated to gain responsibilities, including oversight of new disclosure requirements for lawmakers, but some say it is already struggling to meet its mandate, the TimesUnion reports: *Eric Schneiderman rips Cuomo’s ethics reforms (NYP) *Evaluation Criteria Would Put Testing Onus On Teachers Unions (YNN) * NYSUT Memo Outlines Education Budget Concerns (YNN)

The framework budget deal reached last night by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislators clears a path for the governor to enact a spending plan before the April 1 start of the fiscal year for the fifth time in a row, though he will have to issue messages of necessity to circumvent the three-day bill aging requirement.

Cuomo announces tentative agreement on state budget (NYP) * How to decode the state budget even with the lack of details  * Deal Is Reached on New York State Budget; Ethics Measures Are Included (NYT) The agreement, reached by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders, includes several new ethics measures that the governor had proposed in response to corruption scandals in AlbanyThe state budget deal, which paves the way for the state’s fifth consecutive on-time budget, jettisoned a number of proposals but did include the doling out of the state’s $5.4 billion windfallCuomo, NYS legislative leaders make tentative state budgetdeal (NYDN) 


NYS budget transparency irony - ethics "disclosure" bill needs message of necessity to pass w/o 3 day req. No bill out to see what is in it
 NYCHA gets $100M as Cuomo, legislative leaders announce tentative state budget with ethics, education reforms (NYDN)  * State legislators will be required to use a swipe card to prove that they are in Albany to collect their $172-a-day per diem under the budget deal between the Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Gannett Albany writes: * Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said the state should extend the expiring law giving de Blasio control over the city schools and not let politics influence the decision, the Daily News * The Buffalo News writes that it is imperative that state legislators and the governor reconcile their differences on the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program and settle on a long-term extension:  * The Buffalo News writes that the state’s highly politicaljudicial selection process, in which political donations seem to be as important as the ability of the nominee, needs to be reformed: * N.Y. pols reached a budget deal, agreeing to increase schoolaid by $1.6 billion (Newsday) * TU edit board: Movement to opt-out of Common Core testing isa bad answer:  * The agreement will make teachers wait an extra year (four, not three) to become eligible for tenure, establishes a state-imposed model for turning around struggling schools, and increases education spending (though by how much, it remains unclear, somewhere between $1.4 billion and $1.6 billion).


Democrats made a stink as they debated the first budget bill, decrying its lack of details and complaining that Stewart-Cousins wasexcluded from negotiations. Even as lawmakers haggled, negotiations over spending $5.4 billion from a one-time windfall as well as school aid stretched on. Republicans revealed more details about new requirements to disclose law and business clients, but as of midnight, three budget bills had yet to be introduced, and four were left to be voted on by Tuesday’s midnight deadline.  Ethics Agreement Full of Holes The ethics deal is not anywhere near what watchdog groups say is needed to bolster Albany’s tattered image. It allows either of two state agencies to provide exemptions for a host of reasons, including keeping client information secret if disclosing the name of a client would amount to an “invasion of personal privacy” or if “undue harm” would be done to lawyer-client confidentiality.* For example, under the new ethics rules, legislators will be able to apply to the state’s Office of Court Administration for exceptions to disclosure of their law clients. Blanket exemptions are offered for clients on matrimonial cases, non-public criminal investigations, family court cases as well as wills and trusts. * Also new: A requirement that lawmakers swipe in to prove that they are in Albany to collect their $172 a day per diem. * This is the third ethics overhaul in the four years since Cuomo took office in January 2011. * One of the last sticking points resolved late Sunday was language forcing lawyer-legislators to disclose their clients. People briefed on the agreement said lawmakers (and executive branch “policymakers”) would be able to apply for an exemption for particular clients if their disclosure might cause “embarrassment.” The exemptions would be reviewed by the state’s Office of Court Administration, which would weigh whether the client in question had state contracts or was lobbying the government. * "legislators will have limited time to read thevoluminous budget bills before voting"  (WSJ) * UFT Declares Victory In Budget Battle (YNN) * NY budget leaves lawmakers with a long to-do list - Times Union * After @AndreaSCousins & minority leaders "began todemand entry to the meetings, Mr. Cuomo stopped holding them." (WSJ)* The Joint Commission on Public Ethics is slated to gain responsibilities, including oversight of new disclosure requirements for lawmakers, but some say it is already struggling to meet its mandate, the Times Union reports: * Capital Tonight’s Liz Benjamin writes in Capital New York that Cuomo has exhibited a “tendency to cry wolf” by moving from absolutism to compromise, as shown in the state budget negotiations:  * Shopping for Yacht? New York Budget Offers a Tax Break (NYT)  Of the thousands of items packed into Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s $150 billion budget for New York State, one in particular seemed to float to the top: a tax credit for buyers of luxury boats.* New York’s budget would exempt boats that cost $230,000 from sales tax under a so-called yacht credit that appeared over the weekend in a revenue bill, Capital New Yorkreports: * Skelos said the measure to exempt expensive boats from sales tax and a similar break for private airplane purchases will create jobsand compared them to tax breaks for the film industry, State of Politics reports:* Schneiderman said the ethics reform deal in Albany won’t “get to the root of corruption” and described it as “more tinkering around the edges,” the Daily News reports: * The statewide teachers union is unhappy with several education policies tied to the state budget and union president Karen Magee said they are encouraging parents to opt children out of tests, Gannett Albany reports * State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos described his chamber’s negotiations on disclosure requirements for lawmakers who also work as attorneys as “member-driven,” Stateof Politicsreports:  * The state budget deal includes a reprieve until 2017 for NYDoctorProfile.com – a publicly-funded website that allows the public to look up licensed doctors and learn about their education and any legal actions taken against them.





Disgraced Former Brooklyn DA Hynes Put Political Bosses, Elected Officials and Judges in Jail 
DA Vance Says He Lacks the Tools?
Manhattan DA wants to crack down on political corruption (NYP)  New York state should take a page from federal authorities and get tougher on crooked pols, Manhattan’s top prosecutor said Sunday.  District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said federal laws on political corruption are far ahead of state codes, allowing US Attorney Preet Bharara to clean up messes the state could just as easily be handling. Vance added that local prosecutors struggle to press bribery cases based on the current state laws. Specifically, he said, bad-acting pols get a near-free pass by simply rolling over and spilling their guts to a grand jury. Bharara has taken aim at a host of New York state politicians over the past several years — none bigger than former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Hynes Flashback  Norman Convicted - Resigns as Brooklyn Boss | Village Voice * Ex-Assemblywoman Gordon Sentenced - NY Daily News * Former Judge Is Convicted of Bribery in Divorce Court (NYT)

The brash New York prosecutor who’s indicting left and right  (Washington Post) Preet Bharara, an Obama appointee, has accused 17 big-name politicians of corruption, 10 of them Democrats.FBI Director James Comey on Preet Bharara: Imagine “if Jon Stewart was a prosecutor" “Preet Bharara’s office is not anyplace a guilty person wants to be, so you search your conscience and wipe your sweaty forehead before entering. The most powerful prosecutor in the country…occupies a four-square chamber flooded with relentless governmental ceiling light, which makes his charcoal suit all the darker and his white shirt, so stiff it could pour itself a glass of water, all the whiter.” * Assemblyman William Scarborough is asking a federal judge to dismiss evidence the FBI gleaned from his cellphone records in a criminal case alleging he wasn't in Albany while claiming reimbursements, the Times Union reports:  * Assemblyman William Scarborough is asking a federal judge to throw out evidence the FBI gleaned from his cellphone records that were used to build a criminal case alleging the Queens Democrat wasn’t in Albany on dozens of occasions when he was reimbursed for mileage and hotel expenses.
Who Watches the Watchmen DAs Conflict of Interests With Elected Officials and Lobbyists
More on the U.S. Attorney Bharara
More on the Moreland Commission
More on DA Hynes





Is the Manhattan DA Not Investigating Advance Because of A Conflict of Interests With Red Horse?
Manhattan DA Vance Consultant Red Horse Broke the Law Along With Advance Working for the UFT PACs United for the Future that did mailings for the same  Council Clients that both firms represented  

Political consultant Red Horse worked for Brooklyn DA Thompson campaign along with Berlin Rosen.  Both Red Horse and Advance Group worked for the UFT's PAC United for the Future (the UFT attempted to covering up Advance involvement by paying them through a fake company) Red Horse worked for Manhattan DA. Red Horse worked for Brooklyn BP Adams, Bronx BP Diaz and PA James. Red Horse worked for Manhattan DA Cy Vance. Red Horse worked for Pitta Bishop for Brooklyn BP Adams. Red Horse worked with George Arzt in the Queens BP campaign.



The Reporter Who Broke the Advance Groups Phony Logo Corruption Story Laid Off By CrainsNY

Crain’s New Yorklays off 40 percent of editorial staff, Including Chris Bragg. CrainsNY reporter Chris Bragg has done a great investigative job exposing how lobbyist/consultant the Advance Group was on both sides of many campaigns by using IE PACS and fake to run the UFT PAC. The Advance Group is also the lobbyist for the NYC Hotel and Motel Trades Council. 

Several payments that a UFT super PAC sent to a fictitious political consulting firm “Strategic Consultants” have the Advance Group logo on their invoices
Advance Group puts logo on phony firm's invoice( CrainsNY) Last week, The Insider broke the news that the United Federation of Teachers' super PAC had paid more than $370,000 to a fictitious political consulting firm "Strategic Consultants Inc.," which was actually the well-known Manhattan  consulting firm the Advance Group. An open records request that came back on Tuesday from the City Campaign Finance Board (and is embedded below) offers fresh and somewhat amusing evidence of the connection between the two: Many of the invoices the agency received from Strategic Consultants have the Advance Group logo on them.







Wayne Barrett Waves to All Those Goodbyes to Jail Bound Rapfogel


The “Prince of the Jews” Is Saluted By The Mighty On His Way To Jail A reverse Robin Hood for poor Jews, the 59-year-old Rapfogel, who pocketed $3 million and was caught with $420,000 in cash, appeared unlikely to prompt much support when he pled guilty last year.  Exploiting a mine lode of public subsidies funneled mostly through Silver, Rapfogel admitted to financing what court papers called “a lavish lifestyle” by taking up to $30,000-a-month from an insurance company his organization deliberately overpaid. Every dollar consumed by this scam was a dollar less for services to the poor. Nonetheless, 70 Rapfogel backers, including 19 rabbis, several politicians, and some of the city and country’s most prominent leaders of Jewish organizations, petitioned Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to go easy on Rapfogel, who theNew York Times said was frequently called the “prince of the Jews.” The letters—sent shortly before his April guilty plea—were obtained by City & Stateunder the Freedom of Information Act. They are a triumph of congeniality over conscience, with the call of the club taking precedence over the betrayal of the mission. The Jewish poor are invisible in this correspondence.    Asked if the letters had any effect on the AG or the court’s handling of the case, a Schneiderman spokeswoman, Elizabeth DeBold, emailed C&S that they “had no impact” partly because “it was clear from the substance of the letters” that Rapfogel had “concealed the full extent of his misconduct from the letter writers.” In fact, the letters were written six months after Rapfogel’s arrest, a period clogged with one juicy news story after another detailing his misconduct. It’s hard to imagine the letter-writers didn’t see them.SOFT ON MET COUNCIL? By allowing William Rapfogel’s friends to raise funds to pay restitution in his criminal sentencing, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman may have opened the door to insider horse-trading, Wayne Barrett writes for City & State 
Update Schneiderman's Answer THE AG’S REPLY: State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman responded to City & State’s questions about his handling of cases involving the Met Council board vs. the Puerto Rican Day Parade board, saying they were “completely different”:
More on Rapfogel Corruption Story




Campaign Consultant Lobbyists Marathon Strategies Worked for Schneiderman and Now Works forAirbnb Who the AG is Investigating Airbnb
The Airbnb war: Big money, no victor (CrainsNY)  Airbnb has also hired Marathon Strategies, Hilltop Public Solutions and Risa Heller Communications. Media trackers estimate it spent $15 million on TV ads in the last half of 2014 and millions more on billboards and subway ads. Airbnb can afford it: Its latest fundraising round put its valuation above $20 billion.






As the Media Stenographers Type Mayor's Spin to Blame Cuomo for the Increasing Homeless
The Media Covers-Up the Toll Taken On Affordable Housing by Gentrification, Airbnb and the 421-A Program
Herald Square subway corridor turning into homeless camp (NYP) A Herald Square subway corridor has become a homeless encampment. Flattened pieces of cardboard, dirty blankets and luggage line the crowded, 20-foot-wide, block-long passage. “It’s like the bad old days,” an NYPD cop lamented as he walked through the tunnel last week. HOMELESS PETITION: State Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal are launching a petition to urge Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders to provide an additional funding for homeless youth funding in the state budget, City & State reports: * The Times writes that New York City should immediately fix dangerous code violations in homeless shelters exposed by a recent report and sign contracts with outside providers to it can force them to make repairs: 

Slumlords, Hellholes and a System’s Failures (NYT) What is appalling about a recent report on New York City’s homeless shelters is the systemic collapse it reveals. * The future is unclear for a New York City program that combines rent-subsidized homes with social services to help homeless people with mental illnesses and other disabilities, the Times reports:   * Housing Homeless Youth Poses Challenge for Mayor de Blasio (NYT)As New York City wrestles with an overall homeless population of more than 60,000, young people pose a challenge not just in terms of providing shelter for them but also in providing the right kind of shelter.* Sen. Brad Hoylman credited singer Miley Cyrus for the $4.5 million in funding for homeless youth shelters included in this year’s state budget – the first significant increase in seven years.* The Airbnb war: Big money, no victor (CrainsNY) Last September, the city's powerful hotel union joined affordable-housing advocates to push back against Airbnb. Their group—Share Better—and the popular home-sharing service have since spent millions of dollars to influence political and public opinion. Both sides point to victories, but the broader outcome has been a stalemate—and not much harm to Airbnb's bottom line. Airbnb has paid New York lobbying firm Bolton-St. Johns $431,300 and sunk tens of millions of dollars into public relations and advertising. Yet lawmakers haven't budged, and regulators are starting to crack down on illegal rentals.  Airbnb, however, continues to do brisk business in New York City, listing more than 27,000 rooms and apartments on its site. Revenue to Airbnb and its hosts from private, short-term rentals in New York City grew tenfold between 2010 and 2014, and was expected to exceed $282 million in 2014, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Enforcement by the city has chipped away at the industry, but only a handful of users have faced eviction. Meanwhile, New Yorkers who support Airbnb outnumber those who want it banned, 56% vs. 36%, a September Quinnipiac poll found. Airbnb has also hired Marathon Strategies, Hilltop Public Solutions and Risa Heller Communications. Media trackers estimate it spent $15 million on TV ads in the last half of 2014 and millions more on billboards and subway ads. Airbnb can afford it: Its latest fundraising round put its valuation above $20 billion. * 5 Challenges to de Blasio's Promise of Inclusive Planning (City and State)* FEDERAL AID: FEMA to give $3 billion to NYCHA for Hurricane Sandy repairs, upgrades in 33 housing developments (NYDN)




Mayor Tries to Hide the Growing Homeless Children With the Rats  

Mayor's Desperate Search For Apartments for the Homeless

LOWDOWN DIRTY RATS: City sending homeless families to shelters infested with vermin and plagued by health, safety code violations, report finds(NYDN) Daily News Says DOI Protecting Rat Landlords  The Daily News writes that New York City Department ofInvestigation Commissioner Mark Peters failed to name those who operate abysmal homeless shelters or explain why such facilities were deemed fit for habitation: * A54-page report on the New York Cityhomeless shelter system found family shelters that were unsafe and unhealthyfor children and families, the Times * run, taxpayer-funded shelters are filthy, unhealthy and dangerous, according to a new report from the City Departrment of Investigation  Calling Landlords for Apts Desperate to reduce the city’s skyrocketing homeless problem, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is making robocalls to Big Apple landlords asking them to take in families from the shelter system. Why Does Miley Blames Just Cuomo?  Miley Cyrus writes heartfelt letter to New York governor seeking funds for homelessyouth  * There is a record number of children in NYC's homelessshelters (AMNY)

A Mayor Who Excels At Managing Campaigns Struggles to Govern

new city outreach program has convinced 261, or about 30 percent of the estimated chronically homeless population in the subway system, to accept housing and services, the Daily Newsreports:  * A report from New York City’s Independent Budget Office finds that whilerental assistance for the homeless has increased, the impact on the city shelter system is uncertain:

The Mayor's Homeless Spin and Campaign Style Robo-Call
Despite the Democratic duo’s claims to the contrary, 41 percent of voters think there is a feud between de Blasio and Cuomo and that it’s time for the beef to come to an end, a new Q poll found.* In a robo-call, de Blasio offered landlords a $1,000 bonus for providing homeless families with a place to stay, which is part of a new initiative aimed at moving families out of shelters, the Daily News reports:  Blasio offers cash for landlords who take in homeless(NYDN)  * The New York City Department of Homeless Services commissioner said the agency has fixed the worst of 621 code violations described in a city Department of Investigation probe last week, the Daily Newsreports * A record-high 42,000 children slept in New York City homeless shelters last year, including one in 17 of the city’s black children, according to a report from the Coalition for the Homeless, the Daily News reports: * Singer Miley Cyrus backed a push by state Sen. Brad Hoylman and the Coalition for Homeless Youth and Empire State Pride Agenda to include $4.75 million for homeless youth in the state budget, the Daily Newsreports:  * Senate Democrats Nudge Cuomo On Homeless Youth Funding (YNN)  * Mayor's Robocall Seeks to House City's Homeless (NY1)


de Blasio Quietly Selling Off NYCHA Parking Lots, Green Spaces an Playgrounds 
NYCHA quietly selling off parking lots, green space, playgrounds to help ease budget woes (NYDN) The housing authority is quietly selling off parking lots, green space and playgrounds to developers — a spree that will create more affordable housing and help ease NYCHA’s budget woes. NYCHA has sold small parcels here and there over the years, but in 2011 began to ratchet up its sales effort, a Daily News review found. Since 2013, they’ve sold off 54 plots with 441,000 square feet of public land to private developers, records show. Most of these parcels are related to 12 projects where NYCHA has sold vacant or what it deems “underutilized” land to developers to build affordable or senior housing. On some parcels, the housing is now up; on others it’s in the works.  Recently, tenants say, NYCHA officials have visited their developments in search of more potential land to sell, with plans for more “For Sale” signs later this year.  A quick look at the math makes clear why this is happening: NYCHA faces a $98 million budget gap this year that could expand to $400 million by 2025, and it’s got a waiting list of 250,000 people desperate for affordable housing. n a statement to The News Friday, Olatoye made clear any land sale effort would be designed to remedy NYCHA’s fiscal ailments.   Given this reality, we are exploring all options available to bring in additional revenue that will help us better serve residents. Our soon-to-be released NextGeneration NYCHA plan, which we developed with residents, community advocates, elected officials, and partners in government, will outline thoughtful strategies for preserving public housing and improving communities.” Photo: At the Van Dyke Houses in Brownsville, Brooklyn, NYCHA last year sold off one parking lot to a developer for apartments for homeless families. Now they’re talking about selling off another huge lot that’s used for football, basketball and family days.


Flashback During the Mayor Campaign de Blasio Said He is Against Selling Off NYCHA Land
Bill de Blasio slamsNYCHA leadership, Bloomberg, vows big changes (2013, NYDN Ed) New York mayoral front-runner Bill de Blasio ripped the “fundamental problem of management” at New York City Housing Authority on Wednesday and vowed to clean house if he’s elected. In a sitdown with the Daily News Editorial Board, de Blasio blasted Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who he said has ignored scandalous conditions NYCHA’s 600,000 tenants have endured for most of the mayor’s 12 years in office. “At minimum, as a way forward, there should be a mayoral-control mindset vis-à-vis public housing,” he said. “We’re going to have to rework the operational approach at NYCHA.” De Blasio repeated his opposition to NYCHA’s plan to lease public land at eight Manhattan projects for private apartment buildings that would rent mostly at market rates.
Bill de Blasio(Public Advocate) (2013 Real Deal) I fundamentally believe that the relationship between the city and its developer community needs a reset. Towering, glitzy buildings marketed to the global elite is not the type of development New Yorkers are looking for. I look forward to working with the real estate community to spur the development, in all five boroughs, of real affordable housing, mixed-­income neighborhoods, sustainable and vibrant density, and new spaces for small and new businesses to grow and thrive. This February, NYCHA announced it wanted to build market-rate apartments on parking lots, playgrounds, and unused land designated for eight different public-housing projects in Manhattan. The profits would go toward NYCHA’S $60 million budget shortfall. Not surprisingly, NYCHA tenants and affordable housing advocates vocally opposed the plan. In August, the city announced that NYCHA would look to developers for ideas on how to implement its plan. Then in November, NYCHA tenants filed suit against the city. Time will tell what incoming Mayor Bill DeBlasio will do with this one. * NY Daily News: NYCHA Neglecting Repairs, OverstatingProgress * The Bloomberg Administration is trying to sell off publichousing parking lots to luxury developers; NYCHA residents, "Oh, no youdon't." (WBAI)


We Like to Know What Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, Councilmembers, Chin, Mendez and Levin All Who Opposed Bloomberg's Plan to Sell Off 8 NYCHA Parking Lots, Think About the Current NYCHA Sell Off
Elected officials and mayoral candidates also spoke out against the proposal, saying that NYCHA would have more money for much-needed repairs if the city stopped charging the agency extra money for basic services such as sanitation and policing. These are services NYCHA residents say they already pay for in their taxes, like every other city resident. "If NYCHA can recapture over $100 million annually — double the amount projected to be generated by the infill under the most optimistic of scenarios — this money can be reinvested in frontline repairs and critical upgrade," Councilwomen Margaret Chin, Rosie Mendez and Melissa Mark-Viverito wrote in a joint statement at the public hearing. A banner day to protest NYCHA infill plan (Villager)  New York City Housing Authority residents and community advocates this week continued their protests of NYCHA’s infill plan by dropping banners at the proposed infill developments, including the Lower East Side’s Baruch Houses, at right. Under the authority’s plan, some sites on public housing grounds would be leased to private developers to build “80/20” projects, with 80 percent market-rate housing and 20 percent affordable housing. A percentage of the millions of dollars in revenue would go back to the cash-strapped agency to help fund building repairs and defray other costs. As the infill plan moves forward amid a state judge’s recent dismissal of a City Council lawsuit against the plan, residents called on Mayor Bloomberg — now in his final two weeks in office — to give up on the proposal and “Let de Blasio decide” how to raise the money needed to fill NYCHA’s budget gaps.

NYP Says the Council Might Be Right on Something
Council bites dog (NYP Ed) Man bites dog? The City Council — usually consumed with blocking cops from doing their jobs, imposing new burdens on local business or harassing school reformers — may this week actually do part of its real job. The council plans a hearing Wednesday to hold the de Blasio administration accountable — challenging its lack of transparency on a multibillion-dollar issue. In question are the supposed billions in health-care savings the city claims will help pay for the mayor’s generous contracts with city unions. Last spring’s deal with the teachers union, for example, granted 18 percent raises and retroactive pay — made officially affordable by a complex gimmick that supposedly would mean $1.3 billion in health-care savings. Now that nearly all the municipal unions have inked similar deals, the administration says such savings will total $3.4 billion. * Presto, chango in City Hall: The City Council must get tothe truth behind sketchy health-care savings (NYDN Ed)





Albany Ethics Looks Like A Job for Superman
Stop Begging Daily News Go to Your Newsroom and Tell Clark Kent to Pass A Real Ethics Bill In Albany We Need Superman

Sunday Update 
 Andrew Cuomo's education, ethics pushes remain sticking points during state budget negotiations (NYDN)


The chief enemies of reform in Albany are Dean Skelos and fellow Republicansenators, who have the most to hide (NYDN) There’s no mystery as to why Republican state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is the last holdout against an ethics cleanup in Albany: He and fellow Republican senators have the most to hide. They collect hundreds of thousands of dollars from second jobs — doing who-knows-what for who-knows-whom — and hope to go on hiding as much as possible about their paymasters. Gov. Cuomo has said that, if Skelos & Co. continue to stonewall past Tuesday, he will put ethics reform in a budget extension, leaving them the choice of voting yes or shutting the government. Skelos reports collecting between $150,000 and $250,000 a year from Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, a Long Island law firm with a lobbying arm whose clients have secured millions in state grants, tax breaks and contracts. He refuses to name his clients or explain what services he provides. As did Silver. Rochester-area Republican Sen. Michael Nozzolio is paid up to $250,000 by the law firm Harris Beach while keeping his clients and the nature of his work secret. Gannett News reported that the firm’s clientele includes a mall developer who was awarded a state license to build a casino. Also in the six-figure club are Sens. Michael Ranzenhoffer of Erie County and Philip Boyle and John Flanagan of Long Island. Skelos on Friday promised to produce an ethics bill. Likely, his staff was hard at work on loopholes aimed at making a farce out of Cuomo’s plan — Enemies of Reform to a bitter dead end. * Time Running Out for On-Time StateBudget (NY1)


Gadfly George Spitz RIP
George Spitz, Civic Gadfly Who Helped Transform Marathon, Dies at 92 (NYT) Mr. Spitz, who was a perennial, if not quixotic, candidate for public office, is credited with recasting the New York City Marathon from a Central Park race into a citywide event. George N. Spitz, a relentless gadfly who is credited with recasting theNew York City Marathon from a four-lap run around Central Park with 339 finishers to a celebratory five-borough race that has become the largest of its kind in the world, died on Friday in Manhattan. He was 92. * Farewell to George Spitz, a New Yorker extraordinaire(NYDN) He was a perennial, if not quixotic, candidate for public office. And while he never won any of his campaigns, they gave him a platform from which to promote municipal improvements — including thwarting thieves by instituting the direct deposit of public assistance checks and informing the electorate with voter guides — which he eventually prodded the government to adopt. George has authored articles in New York Newsday, Daily News, USA Today, Our Town and Social Policy on various public policy issues, including Opposition to War, Social Security, Healthcare, Classic Movies, Pensions, Government Reform and Sports.When he sought the Democratic mayoral nomination in 2001, Mr. Spitz, then 78, declared unabashedly, “I’m the only vegetarian, only road runner, only veteran of World War II, only senior citizen, only union person, only Orthodox Jew and only high school dropout in the race.” He came closest to winning office in 1968, as the Democratic and Liberal Party nominee for the Assembly in the 66th district, on Manhattan’s East Side. His platform included a vow not to paste posters on lampposts, stuff fliers in mailboxes or overwhelm voters with loudspeakers. He also proposed that his fellow candidates share the cost of printed directories that would inform constituents of their positions.  “It may seem far-fetched, and I may sound like a nut,” he explained later, “but something must be done to reduce the cost of a campaign, or else the time will soon come when only a rich man can afford to run for even the lowliest of elective offices.” He was endorsed by The Time

Cultural Change: NYC Used to Be Full of Gadflys
He never stopped advocating. Representative Carolyn Maloney, a Manhattan Democrat, recalled that when she visited him in the hospital recently, he gathered a group of hospital interns and doctors and asked them to detail how much they owed in student debt as he lobbied her for relief. “He was very effective at pushing people who were in a position to get things done,” she said. A vegetarian and quasi-pacifist, George Spitz is a member of Congregation Orach Chaim. A graduate of Columbia College, B.A. with majors in economics and accounting, George is active with Class of 1949. A marathoner, Spitz played a key role in transforming the race from a little-noticed four-loops around Central Park to the five-borough extravaganza now taken for granted. Among his other brainstorms: direct deposit of welfare checks. Spitz kept running (for office and on foot) until he broke a hip a few years ago.
Fittingly, he was on his way to testify to the Charter Revision Commission. He was a man who dedicated his life to his fellow New Yorkers, an epitaph of high honor. While he pursued an infinite agenda — abandoning the Second Avenue subway project in favor of building a trolley line was a perpetual theme — he was not without wit. In 1978, at 55, he was the oldest contestant in the annual Empire State Building Run-Up. He explained that he had made it to the top of the skyscraper, moaning and groaning, thanks to the mother of five he was trailing. “She has beautiful legs,” Mr. Spitz said, “so I just followed them up the last 44 flights.”* George Spitz 1922-2015 (NYP)


















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Last Month True News' Political Cartoon Why Not A Women In the 3 Men Room

Friday's NYT Asks the 
Same Question
New York’s All-Male Oligarchy (NYT) The state’s budget decisions are made by four men in a back room. A woman deserves a seat at their table.* The Times’ Eleanor Randolph writes that Cuomo and the Legislature’s leadership should break up the “all-boy’s club” and allow state Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins into negotiation sessions* Eleanor Randolph on the budget negotiation process: “The real mockery, of course, is that the insiders’ club can exclude even insiders. The four men in that back room should make room for two more, one of them a woman. Six people is not a crowd by anybody’s count.”Not to Much Men in the Room On The Same Page (YNN) For starters, there has not been the much-derided three-men-in-a-room meetings that have dominated the budget discussions and the incremental coverage of the negotiations. Instead, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has been shuttling back and forth between the governor’s office. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has taken the unusual step of pitching his disclosure measures to the Senate Republican conference in person and on their turf on the third floor. Cuomo has apparently been conducting some discussions over the phones as well and has spoken with individual lawmakers in person as well in breakfast sessions. * “There’s nothing good to come of a late budget,” said state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, though his office is prepared, should that scenario occur.* The post-budget fight over extending NYC mayoral control could get ugly. Saturday PM Albany Update .@NYGovCuomo left AlbanySaturday afternoon after legislative leaders failed to reach a deal on thestate budget.(NY1)

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Gianaris: Albany Water Down Ethics Deal?
Democratic Sen. Mike Gianaris says the potential ethics deal appears to be severely watered down. * State Senate Finance Committee Chairman John DeFrancisco said the GOP is close to an agreement with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on new income disclosure requirements in the state budget, State of Politics reports: * State lawmakers said they oppose delaying the approval of increased school aid until later in the legislative session, even though Cuomo still insists on tying education aid to some reforms, State of Politics reports: * Assembly members accused Senate Republicans of reneging on an apparent understanding between the two chambers that education funding would not be contingent on reforms, Capital New York reports: * EXCLUSIVE: Lou Gehrig bobblehead dolls deemed gift violation (NYDN) * Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders appear close to an agreement on ethics policies that would increase what legislators have to disclose about the money they make on top of their government salaries. Cuomo said the effort made good on his pledge to bring more sunlight to Albany, but critics say what they’ve seen so far falls short of full disclosure.


Cuomo’s office is pushing back against Senate Republicans’ push to remove $5.4 billion in bank settlement funds from the $142 billion budget in order to deal with it after the budget deal is reached, GannettAlbany reports: * Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein said there is momentum behind a paid family leave plan in the Senate one-house budget resolution, but that it may be taken up post-budget, State of Politics reports * State budgets are divided into thirds: hard dollars and cents, policy wrangling and political theater—and they’re wrapped up when all sides can emerge with important wins, Newsday  * And we are back to where we were yesterday: Ethics and education remain key sticking points in the budget. * In Brooklyn, Mayor Bill de Blasio again pushes his alternative to Gov. Cuomo’s school receivership program. * Andrew Cuomo: Two education bills that demand votes (NYDN)  Under fire for letting the Education Investment Tax Credit and the DREAM Act fall off the budget table, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on the Legislature in a Daily News OpEd to move forward with stand-alone votes on both bills.

I bet Cuomo wisheshe had: “I presume all of my colleagues are wearing wires all time,” O’Donnellsaid (NYDN) * Friday Update * Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campus sexual assault proposal now faces an uncertain future, with lawmakers from both parties saying it shouldn’t be included in the state budget, The Wall Street Journal reports:   * State leaders agreed on a package in the state budget to address homelessness crisis, including $440 million for anti-homeless services over the next four years, the Daily News writes: * The collapse earlier this week of a two-pronged plan to include in the state budget an education tax credit and the Dream Act, which extends tuition assistance programs to undocumented immigrants, has led to finger-pointing and a last-minute scramble for some kind of alternative plan before budget bills are signed on Saturday.* With legislators holding closed-door meetings on the new state budget, teachers ralliedagainst Cuomo at the state Capitol yesterday, stopping short of declaring victory in the fight with him over tenure and union rights. *  A plan to task the Board of Regents with developing a new teacher-evaluation system was a step in the right direction as Cuomo and lawmakers negotiate a series of education reforms, NYSUT President Karen Magee said.


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Skelos Says Ethics Bill Almost Ready

Weak Ethics Bill  Cuomo and the Legislature appear to be close to an ethics agreement that would increase disclosure of lawmakers’ outside income, but critics say the proposed changes fall short, The New York Times writes
Cuomo and lawmakers are in talks to finalize the terms of what he has named as his top priority: a package of ethics overhauls designed to, among other things, shed more light on legislators’ outside income. Much of the rest of the governor’s agenda, as laid out in his executive budget and 30-day amendments, will now be addressed after the budget deal is reached. * Cuomo has highlighted of his inclusion in this year’s budget of a ban on the personal use of campaign funds, as he promotes his commitment to ethics reform. But it is difficult to identify a single currently legal expense made by a legislator in the past decade that would not still be allowed if governor’s proposal is approved. * Our view: State budget secrecy bad for New York: via @the_citizen  * CUOMO’S ETHICS ASTERISK—Capital  While the governor has insisted on including in this year’s budget a ban on the personal use of campaign funds, it is difficult to identify a single currently legal expense made by a legislator in the past decade that would not still be allowed should the governor’s proposal be approved. The proposal, which the Assembly has agreed to, does little beyond rephrasing existing law, codifying interpretations that have gone unchallanged for decades or bans campaign expenses that no legislator has ever been identified as paying: * Cuomo’s Second Term Blues (YNN) * Assembly, Senate Combine For Almost $1M In Legal Bills (YNN)

What is the Point of This Mass Coverage of the Mayor at the Lower East Side Fire?
STATE BUDGET UPDATE: Wednesday was another day of closed-door negotiations, with the biggest news coming from Republican Senator John DeFrancisco. He’s been leading a group of lawyer-legislators from that chamber in negotiations with the Cuomo administration about the Democratic governor’s desire for lawmakers to publicly name their clients. Language was being drafted,DeFrancisco said. He and others were careful not to state any details, but DeFrancisco suggested that only clients with state interests would need to be disclosed. He drew a rebuke from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top spokeswoman, who said that was “not disclosure, it is current law.”* Skelos: ‘Tremendous Progress’ Toward Ethics Deal (YNN)

KNUCKLEHEAD AND BOBBLEHEADS: State lawmakers must give back Lou Gehrig dolls as they are deemed a gift violation (NYDN) In the latest sign of Albany ethics madness, lawmakers were forced to turn over Lou Gehrig bobblehead dolls given to them by the ALS Association this week because they’re deemed a violation of the Legislature’s gift ban.

Tax Credit Cardinal Dolan ‘discouraged’ tax credit may not make budget (NYDN) * Cuomo: Education And Ethics Remain The Top Priorities (YNN) * Skelos: ‘Tremendous Progress’ Toward Ethics Deal (YNN) * Heastie: Minimum Wage Hike Still Under Discussion (YNN)  * Cardinal Timothy Dolan says he’s looking to the Assembly for “leadership” on the Education Investment Tax Credit, though: “if this doesn’t work out, there’s a lot of blame to go around.” * Outside Income Disclosure the Final Barrier in State Budget Negotiations(NY1) * Campaign Finance Reform Turns to Reward and Punishment (NYT)

Black Caucus Asks Cuomo to Apologize for Saying Silver Not Heastie Runs the Assembly
The state Legislature’s Black, Puerto Rican and Hispanic caucus called on the governor to apologize for “disturbing” comments that former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver still runs the chamber, the Daily Newsreports:  The state Legislature’s Black, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Caucus called on Cuomo to publicly apologize for reportedly saying that the indicted former Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, is still running the chamber behind the scenes, saying the governor’s alleged comments show a “disturbing” lack of respect for the first black speaker, Carl Heastie.


Senate Twisting de Blasio On Lifting Charter Cap
Senator: Mayoral school control requires raising charter cap (NYP) A key state senator says that if Mayor de Blasio wants Albany to ­extend mayoral control over the city’s public schools, he’s going to have to allow a lot more charter schools in the Big Apple. In fact, said state Sen. Simcha Felder, it might be time to lift the cap on charters entirely. At present, the maximum allowed statewide is 460, and the city’s remaining available allotment under the cap is 25. “Part of the discussion is that there should be no cap on children getting a better education. There should be no cap on children,” said Felder (D-Brooklyn), who chairs the Senate’s subcommittee on NYC schools. “Mayoral control works We have over a decade of evidence. It’s very very simple. There’s no debate here. . . . Albany should just act on it now.” But Felder said there’s no rush and suggested the issue be dealt with ­after the budget is adopted, along with charter expansion. As part of the process, he and Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan (R-Suffolk) are planning public hearings to grill the mayor and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña about their plans to turn around failing public schools.*If de Blasio wants to see mayoral control renewed in the state Senate, he’s going to have to accept letting the charter cap rise, according to Sen. Simcha Felder.


CARL HEASTIE, DEAN SKELOS AND NEW YORK'S KIDS: Children trapped in failing schools stand no chance unless the Assembly shakes free of teachers unions’ grip (NYDN Ed) * The state budget is unlikely to delve into the charter school cap, mayoral control of schools and a measure barring minors from being tried as adults, but it may tackle the minimum wage, The Wall Street Journalreports: * Cuomo writes in the Daily News that he is “disappointed, but not surprised” that lawmakers cannot agree in budget negotiations on the Dream Act and a tax credit for those who donate to education * The Post writes that de Blasio is “getting off cheap” ifhe only has to commit to raising the cap on charter schools in exchange for retainingcontrol over the city’s public school system: * The Daily News writes that Assembly Speaker Carl Heastieand state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos “must wake up” and realize more education funding alone will not improve New York City’s failing schools:Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the chamber’s majority Democrats take “major issue” with Cuomo’s plan to withhold a boost in school funding until lawmakers agree to reforms to the state’s education system. Senate Republicans aren’t thrilled with the idea, either. * NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio urged Cuomo and the Legislature to reauthorize mayoral control of New York City’s public schools, ratcheting up public pressure as his aides scrambled behind closed doors on several budget-related education issues.*Republicans Assembly members launched an online petition drive, urging New York parents to reject Common Core tests.



Eva Moskowitz criticizes Fariña’s charter claims (NYP) Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz fired off a stinging letter Wednesday accusing Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña of playing “fast and loose with the facts” to undercut charter schools. Moskowitz chided Fariña for saying charters have an easier job educating kids than regular public schools during Fariña’s visit to Harlem’s PS 123 this week. “Rather than celebrate the hard work of dedicated teachers and principals who have achieved remarkable results in a disadvantaged neighborhood, you instead disparaged their efforts — and the efforts of our hardworking children and parents — with accusations that have again and again been proven false,” Moskowitz wrote. On Tuesday at PS 123, Fariña said parents “have to go the extra mile” to apply for charters through a lottery system while public schools “take every child who lives in the neighborhood” no matter their abilities.*Students cry foul over distribution of school sports funds (NYDN)* Hundreds of public school teachers organized by NYSUT are expected to protest Cuomo’s education reform proposals at the Capitol today as closed-door budget negotiations continue.* The NYT hosted an online debate over whether spending more on education is the best way to improve schools.*Mayor Says His Plan to Fix Struggling Schools is Working as Governor Pushes Alternative (NY1)

 De Blasio praises school despite woeful test scores (NYP) A Brooklyn high school where only 16 percent of the students passed the latest Regents exams was still hailed Wednesday by Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña as a shining example of improvement. “We are implementing real change at Automotive and every renewal school across the city — and we’re seeing real results,” Fariña said at Automotive HS. During their visit to the struggling Williamsburg school, neither Fariña nor the mayor mentioned the latest Regents exams in January, which only 16 percent of the students passed, according to a school source.*'IT'S TIME FOR ALBANY TO RENEW MAYORAL CONTROL': Bill de Blasio wants Andrew Cuomo, state legislators to stay out of New York City's education system (NYDN)

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New de Blasio Flack Dating Columnists
Before Writing for Mayor de Blasio, He Wrote About Love (NYT) Ryan Dodge’s past experience as a dating columnist was a worthy education for a budding speechwriter for New York’s mayor.* New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray’s role in the administration has evolved from the involvement in day-to-day operations people once anticipated to focusing on issues she personally relates to, the Timesreports: *Ryan Dodge, a speechwriter for de Blasio, once worked as a dating columnist for Glamour’s website. He’s married now, and dabbles in fiction on the side.
More About Heastie

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How the NYT Rose Colored NYCHA New General Manager
GOP Congress Will Cut More Funds From Public Housing
Idiots Sold Off Supplies Need for Cleaning
NYCHA quietly sold off supplies needed for repairs and cleanup (NYDN) As frustrated NYCHA employees were told cleanup and repair supplies weren’t available, the agency was quietly selling off boxes and boxes of unused supplies, a Daily News investigation has found. In one case last fall, it appears NYCHA actually gave away cartons of brand new plumbing and heating supplies worth tens of thousands of dollars in a botched auction.* NYCHA officials say the agency faces a $98 million budget gap this year that will grow to $400 million by 2025 if the federal and state government don’t help out, the Daily News reports: * 1/4 of NYCHA buildings need serious repair, and there's a$16B capital backlog - (City Limits)

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NYCHA Sold Off Supplies Needed for Cleaning Their Buildings
The New York City Housing Authority has been quietly selling off boxes and boxes of unused supplies while frustrated NYCHA employees do not have the tools to do their jobs
Familiar Face Is Hired to Steer New York City’s Housing Agency (NYT) Michael P. Kelly, an architect who has been called on to rescue troubled housing authorities in the past, returns as general manager of the nation’s largest public housing agency.De Blasio calls new NYCHA hire’s affair ‘a mistake’ (NYP)Mayor de Blasio on Wednesday named a new general manager for the New York City Housing Authority — and had to explain how the guy made one “mistake” by having... New NYCHA exec quit Philly job over admitted affair (NYDN) * NYCHA Funding War (YNN) In yet another chapter in the ongoing saga of OneUpsManship between Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, funding for the New York City Housing Authority is now the source of an intense behind the scenes fight. Sources say the figure that has been agreed upon is $100 million in the state budget for NYCHA. But it is how that money is administered which is the source of the dispute. * CouncilwomanRaises Concerns About ‘Blocs’ of Asians Moving into NYCHA (NYO) *Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo makes bizarre claim that 'large Asian population' has moved into Fort Greene, Crown Heights (NYDN) * @NYCHA Not Claiming$75 Million in Federal Funds. Projected 2015 Deficit? $98 Million  via @Observer * De Blasio, Cuomo at odds over NYCHA budget money  * De Blasio Public Housing Head: No ExtraApartments for Homeless (NYO)* As state budget talks continue in Albany, there is a new fight brewing overfunding for the city's housing authority. (NY1)
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Councilwomen Cumbo Asian Problem
Editorial: Laurie Cumbo the divider (NYDN Ed) The them-and-us racial overtones in remarks uttered in City Hall Thursday by Brooklyn Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo were appallingly divisive. Cumbo, who is African-American, represents neighborhoods that have been predominantly black for decades. More recently, some whites and Asians have arrived. Cumbo worried that Asians had moved in large numbers into certain New York City Housing Authority projects. Channeling the perspectives of residents of the Walt Whitman and Ingersoll Houses, who apparently are predominantly black, Cumbo questioned NYCHA chairwoman Shola Olatoye. Though she wrapped her words in everyone-loves-everyone rhetoric, the point was clear: We are watching them encroach upon ou r community. Follow the poisonous pronouns as Cumbo began: “We have a very large Asian population in our district, which we love, and they add something very valuable to our community and our district, and they are welcomed in our district.” How nice.
More On the End of Public Housing



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Top Ten NYS Lobbyists 
Who were NYC’s top 10 lobbyists in 2014? Find out here.

As Lobbyists Shadow Government Getting Bigger Media Still Ignores Their Work  
Lobbyists brought in a record $71.9 million—up roughly 15 percent from last year—targeting the New York City government in 2014, with James Capalino & Associates taking the top spotRecord $71.9M spent on lobbying city officials in 2014 (NYDN) The biggest spenders were real estate developers Albee Development, which paid $1.27 million to two lobbying firms, and Hallets A Development Company, which spent $740,474 at three firms. The lobbyist bringing in the biggest bucks was James F. Capalino & Associates, which earned $8.2 million. It took over the top spot from Kasirer Consulting, which dropped to No. 2.* Lobbyists brought in $71.9 million to target NYC government in 2014, a record high, according to the report by the city clerk’s office covering the first year since de Blasio and the new City Council took office.

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de Blasio Fund Raising Chair Lobbyist Capaino Works for Developers That Closed LICH Hospital and St Vincent's  
Capalino, Advance and Bertha Lewis All Are Working to Stop the East 91st Marine Transfer Station
Lobbyist shoots to #1 in NYC after backing de Blasio for mayor (NYP) A veteran lobbyist who was a major supporter of Bill de Blasio’s run for mayor in 2013 saw his business nearly double in 2014 after his pal was elected, records show. Jim Capalino reported hauling in $8.2 million from 237 clients last year — up from the $4.6 million earned by his downtown Manhattan firm during the last year of the Bloomberg administration in 2013. The firm also signed 69 new clients, according to records released Monday by the City Clerk. Capalino’s surge was enough to dethrone the city’s perennial No. 1 lobbyist — Suri Kasirer, of Kasirer Consulting, whose billings also rose, from $6.6 million to $7.7 million.Among the new clients that swarmed to Capalino + Co. were a number trying to change the mayor’s position on public projects, including Asphalt Green. The group has been engaged in a protracted fight over the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station that is under construction near Gracie Mansion. It reported hiring Capalino’s firm to limit the impact of construction and long-term operations of the future trash site, which the mayor has supported. Uber, which wants to avoid further city-imposed regulations as it competes with the yellow-cab industry, also hired Capalino.

“Picking the mayor has helped his business explode, but he’s always been very competent,” fellow lobbyist Hank Sheinkopf said of Capalino. Capalino hosted two fund-raisers for de Blasio’s successful campaign — including a Roosevelt Hotel bash featuring former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in October 2013 — where he was listed as a co-chair expected to bring in at least $25,000. Kasirer was also a $25,000 co-chair at the event, which pulled in over $1 million for de Blasio.He has since donated to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, a nonprofit arm of City Hall chaired by de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray. Among other top lobbying firms, Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin — which consulted on Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s campaign for the top council spot — also boosted its billings after backing a winner. The firm climbed from seventh place in 2013 — with $2.1 million in business — to fourth place in 2014, with $3.3 million in billings. * Lobbying Report 

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Broken Field Runner Bratton Tells Civil-Liverties Advocates to Get A Life Over Gun Mic 
The Next Day He Spins 1 Million Less Stop and Frisk/Public NYPD Contracts

Kinder Bratton A KINDER NYPD! Bratton predicts cops will have 1 million fewer law enforcement contacts with public in 2015
Meaner Bratton Bratton: Opponents of NYPD gun-tracking tech should ‘get a life’ (NYP) NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton says civil-liberties advocates who feel the department’s ShotSpotter technology will be used to eavesdrop on conversations should “get a life.”Bratton drew heavy criticism when he announced an expanded pilot program using the cutting-edge system, which records and pinpoints the sound of gunfire and sends alerts to police. Critics complain that in addition to gunshots, the system could also pick up conversations, which they say is an invasion of ­privacy. * Family of killed NYPD cop furious over Brancato’s film gig (NYP) NYPD Online Tips New York Police to Use Social Media to Connect With Residents (NYT) Beginning next month in the 109th Precinct in Queens, the department will use a program called IdeaScale to allow officers to solicit tips and concerns online. * NYPDdisciplinary process for bad-behaving cops revamping, shifting power toprecinct commanders (NYDN) Police Commissioner Bill Bratton wants the department's Internal Affairs Bureau to mainly tackle major corruption cases. Currently, all charges against cops are investigated by the bureau. * Harry Siegel: Bill Bratton finds the policing sweet spot (NYDN) * Want to know how many cops are on modified duty? File a FOILand wait a year after initial rejection (NYDN) * Report: NYPD Planning to Have Less Interaction with Public(NY1)
More About Bratton


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A Council Member Breaks MTA Safety Rules and Blames Stop and Frisk 
Councilmember Johnson Who is White Has Attacked the NYPD for Targeting Blacks . . .  Now He Filed A Complaint 
Update 


New York City Councilman Tried to Call Top NYPD Official During Ticketing: Police Commissioner (WSJ)  New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said Friday a city councilman tried to call him or another senior police official as officers ticketed him for passing between subway cars.

NYC councilman ticketed for moving between subway carsfiles complaint against NYPD officers (NYDN) The city councilman who complained about “broken windows” policing when he was ticketed for walking between subway cars has filed a complaint accusing the officers involved of “inappropriate behavior,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Thursday. Councilman Corey Johnson complained that the officers involved took his cell phone as he was trying to make a call after he was stopped Wednesday evening for walking between subway cars at the 23rd Street station along the A/C/E line, a police source said. “The officers admitted to taking the phone just to calm down the situation,’’ the source said. Johnson’s spokesman said he has paid the $75 summons. 


NYC councilmanblasts 'broken windows' policing after being busted moving between subway cars:police sources  (NYDN) A New York City councilman blasted “broken windows” policing when he broke the law Wednesday, police sources said. Councilman Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) was stopped as he moved between cars on an A train near the W. 23rd St. station around 6 p.m., cop sources said. “He was making a big deal out of it,” a source said. 
A Few Days Ago Man dies while urinating between subway cars (NYP)


***“He was saying this is what’s wrong with broken windows. He identified himself. He pulled out his cell and started making calls.” A spokesman for Johnson, who got a summons, said in a statement the councilman was “fully cooperative” and has the “utmost respect for the men and women of the NYPD.” “Broken windows” targets low-level infractions to prevent major crimes.* An increase in bad behavior is holding up subways, with the number of train delays attributed to unruly straphangers this January increasing 80 percent from last year, the Post reports:  Johnson complained about flaws with broken window policing when he was issued a summons for moving between subway cars Wednesday* Bratton:Councilman tried calling police while being ticketed (Capital)



MTA Affordable Housing Can Wait
MTA Finds A New Way to Push the Poor and Middle Class Out of the City
The MTA approved a deal that will allow for the construction of Queens’ tallest building, and after debate the agency said it would create a policy for mandates on affordable units in future deals, the Post reports: * Many areas targeted for affordable housing by the de Blasio administration don’t have robust enough markets to charge rents high enough to cover construction, according to a Furman Center report, the Journal reports:


Nobody Cares About the MTA Budget Gap 
MTA Shields Pols From Train Wreck Blame Bad Services Higher Fares  . . .  Bad Behavior Delays
Passenger Wilding Delays 
Police presence increased in subways to tackle rowdy passengers(NYP) Tracking the idiots (NYP Ed) Make no mistake: The rise in underground unruliness is a problem for the MTA, adding to the woes that increase train delays. But turning the trend around is a job for the NYPD. As The Post’s Rebecca Harshbarger reported Thursday, passenger misbehavior is up, and every straphanger is paying for it. Harshbarger found some 2,300 train delays attributed to unruly customers in January — an 80 percent jump over last January. Year over year, the numbers rose 43 percent in December; 53 percent in November.

Take A Hike
Despite woeful service, MTA fare hikes take effect to cover raises (NYP) * UNFARE! MTA fare hike begins Sunday as commuters bemoan the hit to their pocketbooks (NYDN) * Will NYC’s urban atrocity of a subway system ever get better? (NYP) Today, for the fifth time in eight years, the MTA has hiked subway and bus fares: A monthly pass is now $116.50, up from $112, and single rides are up a quarter to $2.75. Meanwhile, the subways are worse than ever. Over the past month especially, not a day goes by without serious delays, cancellations and overcrowded subway cars and platforms. It has become impossible to predict the length and route of one’s commute. This Monday and Tuesday, the L train — already stretched to the max by its never-ending population explosion — stopped running during the morning rush.* UNFARE! MTA fare hikes set for Sunday (NYDN) * Editorial: MTA hikes fares, even as service sinks (NYDN Ed) * No specific plan to close the $15 billion MTA budget gap (NYDN)* As Cuomo and legislators delve into budget negotiations, nobody seems to be discussing specific plans to close the $15 billion gap in the MTA’s capital program, the Daily News’ Pete Donohue reports: The Daily News writes that Cuomo and the Legislature must come through with long-term budgetary assistance for the MTA to save riders from an “endless, costly hell”:* The Staten Island Advance opines: “Even if it has all worked out well so far, the toll discount Staten Islanders depend upon shouldn’t be built on repeated one-shot allocations from Albany.”The Post’s Steve Cuozzo writes that extending the No. 7 train will add “the city’s most important new mile of tracks in 100 years” and that de Blasio and Cuomo should find the money to prevent project delays: * The 11% solution on MTA MetroCard fares (NYDN) * * The Citizens Budget Commission calculates that there is a $19 billion hole in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s capital plan, far more than the $15 billion figure maintained by the MTA, Capital New Yorkreports:


New 7 Train Station 
The No. 7 train extension, originally slated for completion in December 2013, may encounter further construction setbacks, MTA officials said, Capital New York writes:  * New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined other U.S. mayors in Boston to demand an increase in federal transportation funding for bridges, road and mass transit, The Wall StreetJournal reports: Over the last 12 months, only 74 percent of subway trains arrived at their terminals at the end of the line on time. That’s down from nearly 81 percent for the prior 12-month period,according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority data. Total delays, meanwhile, soared 36 percent to nearly 43,000 per month. * Subway riders who have been waiting for a new No. 7 line station on the Far West Side of Manhattan for years will have to wait at least a little longer. The opening of the station, once planned for the end of 2013, is now likely to be pushed back until July.* Mayor de Cheapio: Stiffing poor of transit funds (NYP) With the opening of the No. 7 line extension just months away, Mayor de Blasio’s refusal to spend an extra dime of city funds to bolster the MTA’s capital budget...
NYT Does Not Cover the Fare Increase
More Delays for No. 7 Subway Line Extension (NYT) A new station on the Far West Side of Manhattan is now not expected to open until July, transportation officials said. * New 7 line subway won’t be ready until at least summer (NYP)

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Fares Go Up This Weekend MTA Fare Hike Breaks the Poor Pushes the Middle Class Out   

Commuters brace themselves for MetroCard fare hikes (NYP)  A monthly MetroCard price will go up from $112 to $116.50, a single trip will rise from $2.50 to $2.75, and the weekly card goes up a buck to $31.Cash tolls on the Verrazano will go from $15 to $16. Staten Island residents who use E-ZPass for 3 more trips a month will see a 24-cent increase to $6.24 a trip. For crossings like the Throgs Neck Bridge and Queens Midtown Tunnel, cash tolls will go from $7.50 to $8. The MTA’s financial woes include a $15 billion deficit in its capital plan, which funds big projects like the Second Avenue Subway and bringing the LIRR to Grand Central. * The MTA, which faces a $15 billion deficit in its capital plan, will implement fare hikes for the subway, bus, railway and tolls this Sunday, which will bring in an additional $210 million this year, the Postreports * NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said on CapTon last night that she is “open” to the Move NY congestion pricing plan, but did not take a declarative position. * While in Boston for a US Conference of Mayors meeting on federal transportation funding, de Blasio, an unabashed liberal, shied away from discussing The Boston Globe’s editorial calling on Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run for president in 2016.

Election is Over Here Comes the Fare and Toll Hikes Pushing Middle Class Out of the City
Report: NYC's Middle Class Shrinking Like Kids In A Rick Moranis ... * Poll: 47 Percent Of New Yorkers Are Worse Off Financially Than They Were 4 Years Ago(WCBS) * The new jobs New York City is expecting to gain are mostly low-paying and in the service industry.  *Escape from New York A new poll last week showed that more than one of every four New Yorkers is headed for the exits. Detroit lost a quarter of its population between 2000 and 2011; absolutely, it could happen here. (NYP) *  Wall Street Wielding the Ax The trading slump on Wall Street has battered profits and is about to cost some people their jobs.(WSJ) *  NY lost 1.6 million people to other states from 2000 – 2010 (Gannett Albany) *  Study Finds More New Yorkers Leaving State(NYT) * Census Shows New York Exodus(WSJ) * New York's Economic Melt Down, No Clown Affair * Welfare Rolls in New York City Begin to Rise, Belatedly - NYTimes.com * City nixes 3,000 Section 8 vouchers City faces middle-class exodus - Crain's New YorkBusiness  *City ZIPs zapped by taxes * NY ranks 49 in business tax climate * In 2008 20% of the city's taxes come from the financial community. Today it is down to 15% according to the comptroller.* Escape from NY II Pensioners fleeing city -  31 percent of NY's pensions, went to addresses outside New York state. (NYP) *New York's high taxes are driving residents to other states(NYP) *State and local taxes highest in New York, lowest in Alaska - Yahoo * Joe Lhota, wartime M.T.A. chairman(Capital)* Port Authority Bridge, Tunnel Tolls Increase Drivers Grumble Over Increased Tolls For Port Authority Bridges, Tunnels (NY1) *Queens unemployment rate rose in October 8.2%, NYC 9.3% New York added 17,000 jobs in low-wage industries in 2014 after the state’s minimum wage rose to $8 an hour, according to an analysis by the Fiscal Policy Institute.
How NYC is Losing the Middle Class                                                                          NYC Economic Problems      





Albany Delaying Ethics Agreement . . .  A View to A Kill? 
The Daily News writes there are “worrying signs” that Cuomo may not pass ethics and education reforms in his budget proposal, as he vowed, but he must “hold firm and deliver” on these pledges: *  WHEN PUSH COMES TO GOV: The state Constitution gives the governor enormous power over the Legislature in shaping a budget. Cuomo must use it. (NYDN) * Cuomo is quacking up (NYP) Close readers of Andrew Cuomo’s habits were not surprised by Monday’s retreat on education. A clear sign that collapse was near came in a Post report over the weekend. A poll had found that New Yorkers don’t like his proposals, with two-thirds opposing key elements and giving him his lowest approval rating yet. A Cuomo ally told The Post the governor was disappointed but wasn’t budging. “He’s serious as a heart attack about education reform,” the ally said.Ha, those are the magic words that signal doom. Cuomo once uttered the same phrase to me, vowing he was “as serious as a heart attack” about letting the Moreland Commission clean up corruption — not long before he pulled the plug on it. * Tom Precious: “Criminal justice, education, infrastructure, immigration and tax issues all started falling off the budget table as (Cuomo) and lawmakers erased their previous lines in the sand. It was a sure sign of a desperate push for an on-time state budget by next Wednesday.” 

Cuomo is doing more back pedaling on his budget demands than Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk Wednesday Update Cuomo may cut the Dream Act from the state budget  (NYT)  Dream Act, which would let undocumented students apply for college aid, and an education tax credit for donating to schools would be nixed from budget negotiations * Members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Latino and Asian Legislative Caucus and other lawmakers urged legislative leaders to increase funding for HIV and AIDS programs, the Times Union reports: Mayoral Control Despite recently calling mayoral control of public schools an “experiment” worthy of a three-year extension, Cuomo called it the ultimate form of accountability in 2010, the Post reports:  * The Times writes that one of state legislators’ most successful contributions to New York City education was granting mayoral control of schools in 2002, and that it needs to be renewed now while budget pressure is on: * Dolan to Cuomo: save schools tax credit (NYDN) Killing Tax Credits  Praise for Heastie for squashing Education investment TaxCredit. Gonzalez: Carl Heastie halts tax giveaway to rich  * Cuomo Drops Dream Act and Education Tax Credit From Budget  @nytimes * The New York Times calls mayoral control “among the most successful contributions the Legislature has made to education in New York City in recent history,” and says it needs to be extended – or “ideally” made permanent – now, “while the budget pressure is on, and not put off for another day.” Other issues of importance: ethics reform, the DREAM Act, EITC, raise the age, minimum wage and public campaign financing. * Nervous times for many in state gov't. including @NYGovCuomo. As #PreetBharara said; "stay tuned." (Buffalo)

The War to Win the Hearts and Minds On Lack of Transit Funding Both Right
Mayor de Cheapio: Stiffing poor of transit funds (NYP) With the opening of the No. 7 line extension just months away, Mayor de Blasio’s refusal to spend an extra dime of city funds to bolster the MTA’s capital budget...The Jewish community is ramping up pressure on Cuomo not to abandon the EITC, though he said yesterday that both the tax credit and the DREAM Act, which he had linked in his budget proposal, have been dropped from budget talks. * Michael Goodwin: “The continuing Moreland fiasco and the education collapse are also linked in another way — they show his nightmare is coming true. Nobody in Albany is afraid of Andrew Cuomo anymore.”* Subway rider advocates rip MetroCard as the ‘Cuomo Card’ (NYP)* Transit advocate Gene Russianoff showed up at a MTA meeting carrying what appeared to be an oversized MetroCard. But instead, it read “Cuomo Card.” If the MTA is going to get the money it needs to improve the system, Cuomo must stand up for riders, Russianoff said

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has kept a lower profile in Albany this year, making few public trips to the state Capitol and working with his staff behind the scenes to advance his agenda. Cuomo Giving Ground Cuomo and legislative leaders are talking about creating a commission to craft a teacher evaluation system – a signal the governor is giving ground on another of his top budget priorities. The teachers unions are reserving judgment until they see the details. * Cuomo & Skelos tire of real democracy, proposeunworkable, bullshit education "reform" panel. (Albany Project) * NY state budget talks center on teacher evaluation panel (WSJ) * "By being so obsessed with getting a budget passed byApril First, Cuomo is effectively negotiating against himself” (NY1) * Heastie shrugs at Cuomo's hug (YNN)





Is the Failed 911 System Causing the Slower Ambulance Time?
Is Vision Zero Making the Streets Harder (more traffic jams) for the Ambulances to Get Around . . . Are Closed Hospitals Making Ambulances Trips Longer, Tying Up the Availability?  
New York City plans to add more ambulance tours as the FDNY commissioner said the average ambulance response time increased by nearly two minutes from last year’s average 'BEYOND APPALLING': FDNY ambulances took 2 minutes longer to respond to emergencies in February compared to last year, fire chief says (NYDN) FDNY ambulances took more than 11 minutes to get to life-threatening medical emergencies last month — almost two minutes longer than the average response time last year — setting off an alarm for city pols, it was revealed Tuesday. The average response time for serious emergencies spiked to 11 minutes and 7 seconds in February, Commissioner Daniel Nigro testified at a City Council hearing. Nigro called the February number an “aberration” that he blamed on snowy weather, even as he acknowledged response times are too high overall — averaging 9 minutes, 30 seconds for the 2014 fiscal year. Last February, there was a similar spike, with response times exceeding 11 minutes, according to data on the FDNY’s website. Last August, it was 10 minutes. Update FDNY raps councilwoman for citing inaccurate response times (NYP) Crowley blasted the department and Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro Tuesday for what she described as an “unacceptable” spike in emergency response times last month — citing an “appalling” response of 11 minutes and 7 seconds. But that figure was wrong, according to FDNY figures, which clocked the responses at 9:38.

Media Does Not Analysis Reason for Increased Ambulance Response Time Only Gives the Mayor Spin
FDNY’s Nigro called the February number an “aberration” that he blamed on snowy weather.  Mayor de Blasio’s budget for next year provides $11.3 million for the FDNY to add 45 more ambulance tours and $6.7 million to hire 149 new emergency dispatch staffers. They also plan to add 24 more EMS lieutenants. Nigro said that should shave 20 seconds off last year’s response times. “We’d like to have the fastest response possible, within the resources that we can ask for responsibly,” he said. “I think that the department is answering these calls properly now and we know we can do a little bit better, and we will.”

The transparencymayor adopts a Bloomberg position re refusing to comply with wage reporting law. (Capital)



PS MidYear Transfers Charters "Its All About the Numbers"
Charter-school head says city’s transfer kids can’t keep up (NYP) The head of the city’s largest charter-school network says she doesn’t accept midyear transfers from regular middle and high schools because their students don’t keep up with their charter counterparts....* State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating Cooper Union’s financial decisions, including its handling of land beneath the Chrysler Building, that led the nonprofit school to begin charging tuition, the Journal reports:


Cuomo Down in the Polls Blinks On Education Reforms
Key education reforms may be yanked from budget proposal (NYP) Cuomo’s key education reforms may be yanked from his state budget proposal and taken up in the Legislature’s regular session after doubts arose over whether they could pass, sources told The Post.“The Dream Act, charter schools, mayoral control [of New York City schools] and the Education Tax Credit are all out of the budget,” a state official familiar with the process said Monday. Cuomo blinked when it started to appear as if passage of the reforms might not survive negotiations with both political parties rushing to pass the $142 billion spending plan by the April 1 deadline, sources said.* DREAM Act unlikely to be adopted in state budget: lawmakers (NYDN) * The state Senate and the Cuomo administration said extending New York City mayoral control of schools may be taken up post-budget following a joint plea from de Blasio and Rudy Giuliani to extend it, The New York Times reports

State Senate Finance Committee Chairman John DeFrancisco said the GOP is close to an agreement with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on new income disclosure requirements in the state budget, State of Politics reports:

Albany Lawmakers Worried Everyone Is Wearing Wires  (NY Mag) New Legislator Has Peers on Guard (WSJ)  Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, who was a federal prosecutor before being elected in November, has been viewed by his legislative peers with equal parts reverence and skepticism. * Legislators on Lookout as Scrutiny Intensifies (WSJ) * Cuomo said he had a “good conversation” with Senate Republicans in their third floor offices as the conference remains skeptical over a proposal to disclose private legal clients of state lawmakers, State of Politics reports: * Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said his conference is "just about there" with Cuomo on education reform, but the Democratic-led Assembly remains another matter, State of Politics reports:   Silver the Member * Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver last week he introduced a bill that would provide a maximum $500 credit to parents who pay tuition for parochial or private schools, State of Politics reports

Cuomo indicates a number of controversial measures could bedone outside of the budget (YNN) * In a late-afternoon statement, Cuomo Communications Director Melissa DeRosa dropped hints that the governor would sign a budget that lacked key education initiative pieces like the DREAM Act and the Education Investment Tax Credit – proposals that continue to divide the two majority legislative conferences. She doubled down, however, on Cuomo’s pledge to reject any budget deal without ethics reform.* “The key education reforms are dealing with the epidemic of failing schools, improvement to the teacher evaluation system, tenure reform, teacher performance bonuses and scholarships to attract new teachers. If those reforms are passed, the governor will support a significant funding increase,” DeRosa said.  * Tom Precious: “The administration statement, offering threats and olive branches of sorts, served one purpose: It signaled areas of the budget likely still open, from a proposed increase in the minimum wage to the $1.5 billion upstate fund.” * Assemblyman Francisco Moya, a Democrat from Queens who sponsored the DREAM Act, released a statement accusing Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos of being motivated by “xenophobia” and “lack of foresight.” Moya called on Cuomo to “show true leadership” and bring Skelos back to the table to negotiate this measure. * Alternate methods of teacher evaluations are under discussion at the state Capitol, including a “matrix” or “grid,” which include a variety of “boxes” or categories for measuring educators’ performance.* Stewart-Cousins Questions Budget Linkage (YNN)* He coulda been a contender: The rise and fall of AndrewCuomo(Politico) 

Giuliani Joins de Blasio to Save Mayoral Control of Schools 

De Blasio teams with Giuliani in push to grant mayor full control over NYC system, pushing Gov. Cuomo aside(NYDN)New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and former mayor Rudy Giuliani sent a letter urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislators to extend the city executive’s control over public schools. In an unlikely alliance, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is teaming up with one of his predecessors, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, to push for an extension of the law granting the mayor full control over the city school system. The frequent foes have written a joint letter to Cuomo and state legislators urging them to extend the expiring law without changes.* Investigators are probing accusations of a massive grade-fixing scheme by educators at John Dewey High School in Brooklyn said to be desperate to boost the graduation rate, the Post reports:   Update Hours after a joint letter calling for the extension of mayoral control in NYC was issued by the unlikely alliance of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, state Republican leaders and Cuomo’s office signaled that the issue would be put off until after the state budget was finalized, opening the door to months of protracted negotiations.* Sheri Lederman, the Great Neck, Long Island fourth grade teacher who is challenging the state’s teacher evaluation system was in court yesterday, where her husband/lawyer Bruce Lederman and state lawyer Colleen Galligan argued about whether the case should be dismissed. * The Fiscal Policy Institute released a comparison of the three education proposals in Albany that outlines in broad strokes how each one differs, the Times Union reports: * The Independent Budget Office finds that the de Blasio administration has relied on increased state education aid to expand after-school programs, and in 2016 the city will count on even more aid to fund a further expansion:* A group of city high school students disrupted a NYC Council hearing where Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña was about to speak, chanting “civil rights matter” to protest a lack of sports programs at their schools.

Mini Me Nanny Mayor
In a pint-sized version of ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempt to ban super-sized sugary drinks, the NYC Board of Health announced dramatically stricter rules for all licensed city day cares, including a limit on how much juice kids can drink. *LESS JUICE FOR TYKES: NYC Board of Health's new, stricter rules for day cares limit how much juice kids can drink (NYDN) *New York City’s Board of Health announced stricter anti-obesity rules for all licensed day cares, including limiting juice intake to four ounces a day and only allowing it for those 2 or older Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg declined to sign onto a joint letter from de Blasio and ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani asking Cuomo and state legislators to make mayoral control permanent in the five boroughs, so that it would not have to be routinely renewed The city Board of Health has issued new rules on the amountof juice kids can drink at licensed (NY1)
Monday PM Giuliani and de Blasio Form Unlikely Alliance on New York City Schools (NYT)  Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Republican, both signed an appeal to state legislators to reauthorize mayoral control of the city’s schools.* Success Academy charter schools applications soar (NYP)* Success Academy charter schools applications soar(NYP) With 10 days until the deadline, 19,000 applications have already been filed for 2,688 seats this fall — or about seven requests for every opening, the charter network reported. Last year, there were 14,400 students trying to snare 2,870 slots. The number of applicants has soared 57 percent over two years ago as top-performing Success Academy expands its foothold. Tuesday  The de Blasio administration said it is unlikely that the Lunar New Year will be a school holiday next year, as the mayor promised during his campaign, because the academic calendar has been printed, the Post reports:


Comp-Stat At DOE All About Controlling Info = Press  
Principals Still Held Accountable for Failed Schools

de Blasio Shakes Up Press Office
De Blasio wants CompStat-like grilling for school principals (NYP) Mayor de Blasio is borrowing a page from the NYPD’s accountability playbook by launching CompStat-like meetings where top education officials will grill school leaders over their results. Hizzoner announced the “War Room” initiative Thursday at Richmond Hill HS in Queens, one of 94 struggling schools splitting $150 million in extra resources and support to shape up within three years — or else face overhauls that could include closure. “We’re going to hold ­every one of the principals to the same kind of standards that our precinct commanders are held to via CompStat,” de Blasio said.* Mayor de Blasio Defends Efforts to Help Struggling Schools (NYT) At a school in Queens, Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke about “SWAT teams” for schools with poor leadership, newly aggressive language that comes as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo pushes state involvement.* Mayor Bill de Blasio defended his efforts to fix troubled city schools, including sending “SWAT teams” to schools with poor leadership, as “the educational equivalent of house-to-house combat,” the Times reports * Heastie slams Cuomo's education reforms (NYDN) * NYPD data tactics will be used to fix NYC schools: de Blasio (NYDN) * NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio defended his administration’s efforts to fix New York City’s troubled schools, describing those efforts as a cross between a war and a policing operation — “the educational equivalent of house-to-house combat.” * De Blasio ratcheted up his criticism of Cuomo’s school takeover plan, saying: “I think the notion of a group of bureaucrats 150 miles away trying to determine the fate of our children sounds like a formula for disaster.” *On school reform, "Cuomo, de Blasio, Fariña, Moskowitzand the union leaders suffer from tunnel vision."(NYDN) Albany * Mayor Bill de Blasio’s alternative proposal to help turn around struggling public schools is receiving a boost from state lawmakers in both parties, who are leery of Cuomo’s plan to install a receivership modelState of Politics reports: * The Association for a Better New York and the Partnership for New York City are backingNYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call for a permanent extension of the expiring mayoral control law.* The choice to make de Blasio less visible was a deliberateone” (AP)
de Blasio Shakes Up Press Office
Bill De Blasio Shakes Up City Hall Press Office(NYO)


de Blasio Bullies Cuomo in Education War
More shots at Cuomo from de blasio: (Capital) Amid ethics battle, @NYGovCuomo invokes Al Smith (Capital) * Ads to air in support of education investment tax credit (NYDN) In the ad, Yohan Garcia, executive director of the League Of United Latin American Citizens Queens Council, says students need "not just math and science, but art and music" and labels the proposed tax credit for those who donate to schools the "mostly widely supported idea in a generation." While strongly backed by Timothy Cardinal Dolan and the state’s Catholic bishops, private and parochial schools, and state Senate Republicans, it is vehemently opposed by many legislative Democrats, who say it would take away needed funding from public schools. But some Democrats, including Senate Democratic Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Marcos Crespo, the chairman of the Assembly Hispanic Task Force, support the measure. Supporters of an education investment tax credit for those who donate to schools will air TV ads trumpeting the proposal in English and Spanish ahead of the state budget deadline


Cuomo Poll Sienapoll: NYers skeptical of Cuomo's email policy and upstate economic competition  Cuomo job approval underwater in new Siena poll: Positive (excellent/good) 43%; negative (fair/poor,) 56%. * Most New Yorkers polled said Cuomo’s proposed ethics reforms and education policy changes should be addressed apart from the budget, unlike the strategy he has taken, a Siena Collegepoll found: * Siena Poll: Keep Emails Longer Than 90 Days (YNN) * Nearly 70 school districts in Westchester and Long Island did not have a single teacher rated developing or ineffective, figures Cuomo cites in pushing his controversial plan to change the system, the Times reports *  New York voters overwhelmingly disagree with Cuomo’s policy of automatically deleting state workers’ emails after 90 days, according to a Siena poll, The New York Times writes: * New York voters may disagree with Cuomo’s budget tactics of tying so much policy to spending and the 90-day email deletion policy, but his favorability rating since December is largely unchanged, State of Politicsreports: 
*Cuomo writes in the Post that the Legislature should pass the DREAM Act and the Education Tax Credit, which he argues will result in more private donations to public and private schools and more options for students. Around the state, administrators, teachers and parents have been protesting the governor’s proposals, which would both increase the weight of test scores, to 50 percent of a teacher’s rating, and decrease the role of their principals’ observations. * A bipartisan group of Long Island Assembly members and more than 50 parents, teachers and union leaders called Sunday for Cuomo to increase school funding and strip out education policy proposals from budget negotiations.* A poll found 80% of New York voters disagree with Cuomo’s policy on purgingstate emails  * In Spanish And English, Supporters Push Education Tax Credit (YNN) Monday PM Update  Cuomo’s push to raise the cap on charter schools will now likely be taken up later in the session, and he is also backing away from insisting that “failing” schools go into receivership, State of Politics reports: * Speaker Carl Heastie said the Democratic majority is still discussing the education investment tax credit and the DREAM Act, but that talks “are not very favorable right now,” the Times Union reports: * A Quinnipiac poll found that Cuomo and former Gov. George Pataki don’t excite New York voters as potential presidential candidates, while Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker garner more support, Gannett Albany reports: * A group of clergy and lay people from around New York is writing to government leaders in Albany asking them to reject Cuomo’s education proposals and to urge them to approve a sizeable increase in state spending on public education. *The Cuomo administration is spending nearly $1 million for expert witnesses and another $700,000 for contracted private attorneys in a case the state is fighting to avoid spending more money on schools.


A Tale of Two Donovan's: Today Attacked for Garner . . . September Protector of NYC's $$$ for the Poor and Minorities    
Donovan Will Soon Take On the Al D'amato Role During the Reagan Years of Protecting Federal Funding for NYC
GOP budget plan would gut New York City’s federal aid,pol says (NYDN)  House Republicans’ budget proposal would decimate federal funding for New York City, Rep. Nydia Velázquez says in a report to be released Monday. The GOP budget would cut more than $13.4 billion in federal funding to New York City and its residents over 10 years, the report estimates. That’s a big chunk for a city that last year received about $9 billion from Washington. Under the proposed plan, the city would lose $487 million in Head Start funding, $2.3 billion in research grants from the National Institutes of Health, $148 million from a Health Center Program and $59 million from substance abuse programs. New York would lose $1 billion in money for transit and $1.3 billion in college aid, the report estimates. A Former Congressman Tries to Save the GOP in Queens (NYO) * Warning the US will fall behind without more federal transportation funding, mayors from across the country will push Congress for additional dollars, lobbying in the nation’s capital during the week of May 11.




Donovan Attacked By NAACP 

An associate of former Rep. Michael Grimm received a surprisingly harsh sentence – three months in prison, despite an agreement for just probation between prosecutors and defense lawyers – for violating campaign finance law. It’s a signal that Grimm himself may face tough consequences when he is sentenced later this year for tax fraud.* Michael Grimm’s ex-girlfriend gets 3 months for illegal fundraising * Federal prosecutors are giving a pass on jail time for former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm’s ex-girlfriend, who pleaded guilty to making an illegal contribution to his campaign, the Daily News writes:  * Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, a Republican running for Congress, defended parts of the Affordable Care Act, saying that House Republicans shouldn’t repeal it entirely, the Observerreports: * Staten Island DA and NY-11 GOP candidate Dan Donovan defended Obamacare and said House Republicans shouldn’t keep trying to entirely repeal it. * Donovan also called for major reform of FEMA.* Guy Molinari, a former Staten Island borough president and congressman, said that Michael Grimm, a former Republican congressman who resigned in January following a guilty plea to a federal tax evasion charge, should receive a lighter sentence because he served as a marine in the Gulf War. * A fundraising email from Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan’s congressional campaign says the Rev. Al Sharpton is “coming after” him and alleges he is trying to hurt Donovan, the Observer reports; * A new missive from Staten Island DA Daniel Donovan’s congressional campaign warns that Rev. Al Sharpton is “coming after” him–and rails against the “radical Left” – including de Blasio – for trying to derail his run.* Donovan's Campaign Invokes Image of Sharpton to Raise Campaign Cash(NY1)* Holding grand opening events for his campaign offices on Staten Island and in Brooklyn on Sunday, Republican DA Dan Donovan asked crowds of supporters in both boroughs to help him get out the vote for the May 5 special election in NY-11 against Democratic Councilman Vincent Gentile. * Donovan downplayed an email his campaign sent out citing attacks from “the radical left” at the opening of his Staten Island campaign headquarters, saying his disagreed with allegations made by Gentile that his campaign is engaged in race-baiting. * Donovan Denies ‘Race-Baiting’ With Sharpton Fund-RaisingEmail (NYO)* Brooklyn Councilman Vincent Gentile bashed his congressional rival, Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, for taking off early from a candidate forum to attend a fund-raiser instead of staying for a full-length debate, the Observer reports: 






$$$ Non-Profit Tries to Change the NYPD . . .  What Ever Happen to Voters and Elected Officials? 
De Blasio’s pals will ask his top donors to fund NYPD cop-reform push (NYDN) Mayor de Blasio has a new police problem on his hands — only this time from his friends on the left. The North Star Fund, a liberal activist foundation with ties to de Blasio, has launched a campaign to push for changes in the NYPD — and will hit up many of the mayor’s top donors for its efforts. The “Let Us Breathe” push — a nod to Eric Garner’s chokehold death in an altercation with the NYPD last summer — is calling on the mayor to support a special prosecutor to investigate cases of police killings.Although many progressives have demanded the installation of a special prosecutor to investigate those deaths, de Blasio has been mum on the issue.


When Crime Increased in the 90's It Was Blame Mayor Dinkins. . . Defining Accountability Down  
Today the Media All But Ignores the Increase in Shootings and Never Blames the Mayor
Crime-fighting strategy analyzes data of shooters and those shot (NYP) The NYPD is taking aim at 300 pistol-loving thugs responsible for most of New York’s gun violence, using shooting data to tie them to murders and weapon crimes. In a...*  Abandoning the poor (NYP Ed)  Many of those pushing this are in the anti-cop camp, and simply looking for political cover. But Commissioner Bill Bratton plainly wants the reinforcements so he can keep crime down. We’re not unsympathetic to Mayor de Blasio for being reluctant here. The move commits the city to spending millions of dollars in future years — dollars that can’t go to feed the hungry, house the homeless or just fix the roads. Yet the NYPD plainly needs some kind of help — because not a week passes without cops being hamstrung in some new way. Terrorism NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton will continue a controversial and costly counterterrorism program that posts detectives in 11 cities around the globe to collect data, the Post reports: * NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton has agreed to continue a controversial — and costly — program that places detectives in cities around the globe to collect counterterrorism data, sources said.* Philadelphiacops shoot and kill people at six times the rate of the NYPD (Mother Jones)

Next Weekend de Blasio Will Make Fun of Pot Smoking in Front of the Media at the Inner Circle and They Will All Laugh Together
The latest lunacy landed this month, and will harm the city’s poor and minorities the most. The brass have had to gut the quarter-century-old “Clean Halls” program designed to increase security in public-housing buildings. It encouraged cops to clear out or detain loiterers who qualified as trespassers. But de Blasio settled another case where stop-and-frisk Judge Shira Scheind­lin opted for injustice. Now cops must have a demonstrable “reasonable suspicion” that loiterers are in a building illegally before approaching them. This, when the most significant uptick in violent crime over the last year has come in public-housing projects. Just last weekend, a man was fatally shot outside the Gowanus Houses in BrooklynFlashback  During the Dinkins administration a front-page headline in the New York Post had screamed: “Dave do something!”— a direct call to then mayor David Dinkins to get crime down fast. What Dinkins' did with the help of Albany was dramatically increase the size of the NYPD. As the number of NYPD increased during during the next 20 years crime when down to record levels.  With budget cuts this year the number of NYPD will be down to the level before the Dinkins and Giuliani increases.  We have a press and political system that allows mayor and future mayors to chose the issues that are covered in the media.
DEB's City Hall weighed down with press people. I would use that $ to hire more people to fix potholes


In the Past most of the Albany Lobbyists Looked Like Ronda

Tuesday PM Update 
A bill in the state Senate that would legalize mixed-martial arts in New York has advanced to its third reading on the Senate calendar, State of Politics reports:
ASSEMBLY OCTAGON: UFC star Ronda Rousey to battle state lawmakers in push to get MMA legalized in New York (NYDN) Breakout mixed martial arts star Ronda Rousey is traveling to Albany today to face her greatest foe — the state Assembly. The Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight champion will press state leaders to join the 49 other states in legalizing the controversial sport. Update Rousey: Cuomo Supports Legalizing MMA(YNN) * The Post writes that because of new leadership in Albany, New Yorkers can look forward to a day when the now-illegal mixed martial arts competitions bring bouts from Madison Square Garden to Buffalo  Albany Updates  A commission to determine pay raises for state lawmakers and cabinet-level commissioners that was opposed by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was taken out of the final budget framework, State of Politics reports * E. J. McMahon of the Empire Centerwrites in the Post that the state budget is poised to make three mistakes, including using state funds to compensate for high property taxes rather than permanently fixing the issue  Ain't No Sunshine Albany Sunshine Week Looked Like an Eclipse to Advocates (Gotham) * Ronda Rousey, the UFC’s world bantamweight champion, met separately yesterday with Cuomo and top lawmakers, making the pitch for the state to lift its ban on professional mixed-martial arts bouts. Also a model and an actress, Rousey squeezed in a trip to the state Capitol – her third overall, but first since 2013 – between appearances on “The View” and Tuesday on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”.* NY "lobbying spending has nearly doubled over the pastdecade: from $120 million in 2003 to $210 million in 2013"



Cuomo's Hug On the hug-heard-’round-the-world: “The governor inappropriately lifted the speaker off his feet in a show of dominance,” said Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, a Manhattan Democrat. * On the hug-heard-’round-the-world: “The governor inappropriately lifted the speaker off his feet in a show of dominance,” said Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, a Manhattan Democrat.

Ratings Abuse: No Teacher Left Behind
Cuomo Fights Rating System in Which Few Teachers Are Bad (NYT) Less than 1 percent of teachers in New York State were rated ineffective over all, and principals’ evaluations are often responsible for the high scores.

Dumbing Down Test Produce Higher State Scores 
State scrubs exam questions — too many students didn’t answer (NYP) The axed essay question, called a “constructive response,” aimed to gauge a prime goal of the Common Core standards — whether students think critically and write cohesively, citing evidence from a text to support their ideas. “They produced a defective product, and don’t want you to know about it,” said Fred Smith, a former city test analyst who discovered the missing items. In touting an uptick in scores last August, the state didn’t mention the erased results. The number of city kids rated “proficient” increased 2.9 percent from 2013 on the third-grade ELA test and 3.9 percent on the seventh-grade test. The state dropped the scoring of multiple-choice questions No. 29 and No. 30, about an article on maple syrup, at the end of the third-grade test’s first day. It also dropped an essay on a story about a farm girl’s bread recipe at the end of the third day. Those scores were killed because 5 to 6 percent of all students “did not respond,” officials told The Post, meaning they left the answers blank.That high “omit rate” is unprecedented in New York, Smith said.





Daily News Says de Blasio Kills Campaign Finance With One NY PAC
Daily News: What About Data and Fields in 2009, NYCLASS and the UFT;s United for A Future PACs in 2013?  What About the Real Estate's 71/2 Million Jobs for NY PAC?  What About the Millions in Assembly, State Senate and Gov PACs that Go Around the Campaign Finance Laws?
Progressive Bill deBlasio kills NYC's campaign finance program (NYDN Ed) Let Mayor de Blasio admit this fact: His bear hug of the Fund for One New York, the not-at-all-independent nonprofit advocacy group he created, is hastening the demise of the city’s public campaign finance system. For a quarter century, that system — which limits contributions to candidates, matches small gifts with public dollars and caps spending — has been lauded by progressives, de Blasio included, as leveling the democratic playing field and amplifying the voices of ordinary citizens. “We are the gold standard,” he said last year. Those words take on an ironic double meaning as de Blasio hits up donors for millions, including large contributions that would be banned if made directly to candidates — and the fund works in lockstep to advance his agenda. The Campaign for One New York buys television advertisements; coordinates grassroots organizing campaigns; and employs and coordinates with allies of the mayor, including former staffers. In short, it works as a campaign apparatus in years when there’s no election. The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling blew the doors off all previous attempts to limit outside money in government — and made hefty political spending by outside groups inevitable. But it’s no small irony that the man putting the nail in the coffin of the city’s campaign finance caps is Big Bill, progressive friend of the little man.* The state Board of Elections could close the so-called LLC loophole in the campaign finance system, but Democrats say that is unlikely because GOP commissioners do not support it, The Buffalo News reports



Books Attacks Cuomo  

WELL, AISLE BE DOOMED: Andrew Cuomo's controlling ways, hatred for the Kennedy family led to his failed marriage to Kerry — which hit rocks far earlier than previously known, book reveals (NYDN)  Book on Cuomo “The Contender,” an unauthorized book on Cuomo slated for release at the end of the month, was written without the governor’s involvement—and despite Cuomo’s efforts to stymie him, the Journal reports Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried to charm the author of his forthcoming unauthorized biography, Michael Shnayerson, out of writing the book, suggesting over a francs lunch that they collaborate on a different tome instead.* The new Cuomo biography by Michael Shnayerson paints the governor as a lonely, obsessive executive with a skill for manipulation and an appetite for vengeance, Capital New York’s Laura Nahmias writes: * The new, unauthorized biography of Gov. Andrew Cuomo paints the governor as a lonely, obsessive executive with a skill for manipulation and an endless appetite for vengeance.

When that didn’t work, the governor signed a book deal of his own, but the resulting memoir was a flop.Cuomo * Fred Dicker, the longtime New York Post Capitol columnist, said Cuomo was never involved with finding an editor for his never-published biography of the governor, and that his initial draft was not “glowing.” * Cuomo’s editor at HarperCollins says the governor never warned the publishing company that he didn’t plan to promote his memoir if it came out before the 2014 election.* Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried--unsuccessfully--to charm an authorinto backing off an unauthorized biography of him  * Cuomo biography to explain animosity toward Schneiderman (Page 6)* Cuomo Is Called Controlling but a ‘Contender’ in an Unauthorized Biography (NYT) In “The Contender,” Michael Shnayerson describes Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s youth in Queens, his father’s campaigns, his high-profile marriage and his political future. *  NEWS: Docs show NewsCorp lobbied @NYGovCuomo on legislative issuesbefore and after it gave him a $700K book deal




Mayor's Real Estate Pals Use Their Lobbyists to Try to Dump Lynch As PBA President
PBAbig claims de Blasio behind campaign to oust Lynch (NYP) Mayor de Blasio is the hidden hand behind the contentious campaign to boot his most outspoken critic as head of the PBA, the union’s treasurer charged in a fiery Facebook post. Joseph Alejandro said that Hizzoner sicced public-relations big shot George Shea on PBA president Patrick Lynch, and that Shea was carrying the mayor’s water because of his ties to de Blasio’s supporters in the real-estate industry. “George Shea is the p.r. guy for [PBA rival Brian] Fusco and is also the shill for Mayor de Blasio’s real-estate friends. He also directly represents the mayor, through his representation of the Hudson Yards Development Corp.,” Alejandro wrote in a post Thursday. “So the mayor, who was embarrassed by the PBA, has asked his real-estate buddies to attack the PBA. Those buddies came up with Shea to represent the Fusco team and help them raise the money,” he wrote. But Shea, reached while on vacation in Florida, scoffed at the charge, saying he hasn’t represented Hudson Yards since 2009.* NYPD union leader wants boycott of upcoming Brancato movie(NYP)

George Shea Nathans Hot Dog Flack
Shea Client list,
The HYDC Board :

Political Consultant Lobbyists Secret Government Cover Up 

Lobbyists Rise and Fall As Their Campaign Clients Careers Rise and Fall / Notice Silver's Lobbyist Tag Teams Raking In Govt $$$ Until His Arrest
Michael ‏@powellnyt   Consultants and favored PR firms form a powerful and growing shadow government in NYS. Pols trying to cover that up
Just don't call these consultants lobbyists(CrainsNY) They move government without having to disclose their activities. Call them clever, call them stealthy.Like Ms. Cunningham, Mr. Rosen is not a registered lobbyist. Yet he regularly meets with government officials. The mayor's schedule from his first five months in office shows Mr. Rosen was in at least nine meetings and on two calls.BerlinRosen understands how issues play out in the public sphere, its clients say.
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Silver's Shadow Government Lobbyists to Rat On Him In His Fed Corruption Indictment
Close friend, top lobbyist helped feds take down Sheldon Silver(NYP) Brian Meara, 63, is the person referred to in court papers as “the Lobbyist” who revealed that Silver told him “there was nothing to worry about” regarding the speaker secretly sharing in legal fees paid by Meara’s client, billionaire developer Leonard Litwin, the sources said. * Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's arrest aided by closefriend, Albanylobbyist(NYDN) Brian Meara has been cooperating as a 'fact witness' as part of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's investigation, sources told The News. The criminal complaint against Silver references an unnamed lobbyist who the sources say was Meara. According to the criminal complaint, the lobbyist represented a developer who was using a law firm that paid Silver for bringing in business. The developer, sources say, was politically connected Leonard Litwin, who Meara repped at the time. “The fact that Meara is the witness is not a good sign for Shelly,” said one Albany insider, alluding to how much Meara knows about his pal. In addition to the state court officers union and other labor groups, Meara represents a host of big-bucks industries, including casino operators, insurance companies and soft-drink makers. His clients also include the Yankees owners and the Silvercup Studios production facility in Queens.


A Tale of Two Albany's: Kings Makers Eat the Kings Meat
Lobbyists ready to get to work now that state budget is completed (Buffalo News)
Fake Public Albany
The list of end-of-session priorities for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders reads like a song verse stuck in your head: campaign finance law changes, job creation incentives, minimum wage increase, special protections for women in the workplace, and state aid for children of illegal immigrants.
Real Lobbyists Albany
But behind the scenes, most of Albany’s special-interest groups pay little attention to such matters. Hospitals, unions, car dealers, energy firms, pharmaceutical conglomerates and others spend their time caring about the likes of complex civil liability laws, tort insurance, regulatory rules and other issues that the public pays little attention to but can be of great financial value to these special interests. Doing their bidding are 6,383 registered lobbyists in Albany, retained for a record $191 million, according to a state ethics agency report.Just don't call these consultants lobbyists(CrainsNY) They move government without having to disclose their activities. Call them clever, call them stealthy.Like Ms. Cunningham, Mr. Rosen is not a registered lobbyist. Yet he regularly meets with government officials. The mayor's schedule from his first five months in office shows Mr. Rosen was in at least nine meetings and on two calls.BerlinRosen understands how issues play out in the public sphere, its clients say.


Lobbyist Pitta Bishop On Both Sides of the NYPD Crisis . . .  Control Power In Puppet City
The  Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin Lobbying Firm Represent the "I Can't Breathe" Council Speaker at the Same Time It Represents the Detective's PBA-  Michael
Palladino, the president of the Detectives' Endowment Association 
Council Speaker Mark-Viverito who last mother put on an I Can't Breathe T-Shirt to join the anti-police protesters has made Pitta Biship Del Giorno millions in lobbying fees after the lobbyists help her win the speakership.  The lobbying firm also represents the Detectives' Endowment Association, whose leader Palladino said Mr. de Blasio should offer an kind apology. As the lobbyists who operate as political consultants have taken over the Tammany Hall machine these lobbying firms like Pitta Biship Del Giorno have moved away from positions or ideology and represents both sides in their quest for power to make money.* Ethics reform in Albanyfar from a done deal @AlanChartock


Pots of Albany Gold Groundhog Day
Taking Shelly’s lumps (NYP Ed) Last week, the new speaker joined Gov. Cuomo to announce a new day in the Legislature — with, in the governor’s words, the toughest ethics proposal in the country. He practically goaded the state Senate to adopt the same package. Meanwhile, the governor and the two legislative chambers were still up to their old tricks. All three have opted to mark off millions of unitemized “lump sums” — open-ended slush funds, in essence. A total of $2.6 billion in proposed lump sums are on the table in state budget talks — oodles and oodles of cash for the governor and the Legislature to play with outside of public view. As is typical, the Assembly and Senate each wants more above the hundreds of millions in dark money outlined in the governor’s initial budget. Silver, keep in mind, was indicted for abuse of the lump-sum process: He funnelled $500,000 to a cancer doctor who, in turn, allegedly sent business to Weitz & Luxenberg, Silver’s main law firm. Corruption seeps in all across politics and government. But spending the taxpayers’ money in secret is at least as big an opening for trouble. It lets officials funnel cash to friends and family — or political allies — without basic accountability. That’s been the heart of multiple non-profit scandals over the years.If Albany is serious about reform, the lump-sum scam must end. Without real sunlight in the budget process — i.e. details on what spending is for — it’s just a matter of time before the next under-the-table outrage erupts.* Albanygamesmanship snags state budget in traditional blow-ups before deals are struckin final full week of talks.  (Newsday)

Silver Smith Like Secret Pots of Budget $$$
State budget proposals earmark $2.6B for unitemized spending (NYP) State budget proposals by Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature contain up to $2.6 billion in unitemized spending — the type of money that led to a corruption indictment against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, ­according to a new report. Cuomo’s budget proposal includes some $2.4 billion in so-called “lump sums” for the executive branch, $902 million for the Senate and $775 million for the Assembly, Citizens Union said Thursday. The state Senate has proposed adding $83 million more for itself and the Assembly wants another $53 million, the government-watchdog group’s analysis found. The proposed capital budget lists $556.8 million in “miscellaneous” spending. There’s another $6.3 million in the same “miscellaneous” category in aid to localities. Nearly $288 million more is earmarked for the Urban ­Development Corp. and $292.4 million for the Department of Transportation. There’s no indication how any of those funds would be spent. About $1.5 billion is distributed through a “partially competitive” process, mostly large construction grants ­administered by the State University of New York, the report said. Still, the remaining $1.1 billion is distributed through legal agreements “that are not public” and “provide considerable discretion to elected officials,” the report said.

The Making of A New Smith or Silver: Pots of Gold in Budget for Personal Gain
Silver was indicted for tapping a secret health-related fund to steer $500,000 to a cancer doctor, who then referred patients to Silver’s law firm.  In return, Silver collected millions in referral fees, authorities allege.Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith of Queens was convicted last month for conspiring to funnel $500,000 from a transportation account to a developer, who promised to bribe Republican Party officials to deliver Smith the GOP line for mayor in 2013.* New Yorkers want Sandra Lee’s income made public: poll (NYP) * Comp-Stat At DOE AllAbout Controlling Info = Press  (NYP Ed) Even that rule will be a burden on some couples — why should she feel pressure to limit her much more successful career just so he won’t look bad? But the public’s right to know must come first.* The Daily News writes that state Senate Majority LeaderDean Skelos should stop harping about theoretical conflicts of interest in Cuomo and Lee’s relationship and focus on cleaning up his own act; State budget proposals by Cuomo and the Legislature contain up to $2.6 billion in unitemized spending — the type of money that led to a corruption indictment against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, ­according to a new report from Citizens Union. More here. * The ubiquitous Assemblyman Jose Rivera, and his ever-present video camera, captured footage of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s St. Patrick’s Day reception for legislators at the executive mansion, where he invoked the late Gov. Al Smith while discussing ethics.* Bill O’Reilly doesn’t understand why the Senate Republicans didn’t go along with the “surprisingly good package of reforms” proposed by Cuomo and the Assembly Democrats.


Limp Ethics Reforms Update
Cuomo Focuses on Ethics Reform, Not on Funding It (NYT) Most of the agencies that concentrate on investigating ethical lapses have seen flat budgets or even cuts, though Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is pushing to increase enforcement.

Skellos' Red Herring Cook Book to Block Ethics Reform?
 Sandra Lee has built an empire on lifestyle and cooking advice, but it’s her status as Cuomo’s live-in girlfriend that has placed her in the middle of a political fight over stronger state ethics laws. “It’s not about his friend – she’s a wonderful person – this is about equality in terms of disclosure between the executive branch and the legislative branch,” said Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. “This is not anything that is personal.”*The DN accuses Skelos of “sliming” Lee, while the NY Post says she should not be the face of this very viable debate over the outside income of spouses and significant others – an issue not covered by the two-way ethics reform deal cut by Cuomo and the Assembly Democrats. *Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and three Democratic assemblywomen – Addie Russell (North Country), Michelle Schimel (Long Island) and Latrice Walker (NYC) – are featured in a Working Families Party video speaking out against Cuomo’s education proposals.
Sandra Lee is a classy lady, and delighted she makes our Gov happy. But is that the standard to be above the law and exempt?


NYT Schneiderman’s proposal for cleaning up Albany is a reminder to Cuomo that some are pushing for real change and tinkering around the edges will not be enough
The Schneiderman Remedy for Sleaze (NYT Ed) The attorney general’s ethics proposals represent a challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s repeated promises, and offer a chance for a real cleanup of Albany. * The proposed state budget includes $2.6 billion in lump sums, which a report from the good government group Citizens Union says makes it nearly impossible to know where that money is going, the Times Union report:  * State Sen. Kemp Hannon secured $65,000 in grant money for a Long Island hospital that has been represented by his private law firm since 1993 and had cases when the grants were secured, the Daily News reports: 









Even the NYP Says the Garner Grand Jury Records Should Be Released  
NYP Says Judge Was Wrong Not To Release the Records . . . Will Albany Open Grand Jury Records?
Judge Garnett’s mistake (NYP Ed)  Staten Island Supreme Court Justice William Garnett writes that, should he release grand-jury records in the death of Eric Garner, The Post “would merely publish all, or part of, the minutes and might use them as grist for its editorial mill.” Let’s be clear: However good our “mill” might be, it is no reason to keep the facts from the public in this case of utmost public interest. And our “compelling and particularized need” for the records lies in our nature as a New York newspaper — to bring such facts before the public, so that each citizen can judge for him- or herself. Judge Garnett writes that continued secrecy will prevent the grand jury from being subject to “unbridled speculation” about its integrity. Sorry: Such “unbridled speculation” has been rampant from the instant the grand jury’s decision was released, if not before. People across the city and the nation continue to second-guess the jury’s findings — without having heard the evidence that was presented to it. The judge may believe that the high legal bars to overturning grand-jury secrecy have not been met here, but one simple fact remains: Keeping the Garner grand-jury records sealed will only further erode public trust in the justice system’s ability to get it right. We do not look forward to having to keep running that ugly fact through our editorial mill.


Judge Keeps Garner Testimony  

Judge won’t release grand jury testimony from Eric Garner case (NYP) A judge on Thursday refused to release testimony heard by a grand jury that declined to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, arguing there wasn’t a good enough reason to release the secret information. Donovan argued that the disclosure would damage the credibility of prosecutors seeking to assure both grand jurors and witnesses that details of their participation would be kept from public view. Following the grand jury’s decision, Donovan asked for some information to be made public, but it didn’t include testimony or exhibits shown to jurors. The law required the NYCLU and the other parties who brought the lawsuit to establish a “compelling and particularized need” to release the grand jury minutes, the judge wrote. * Eric Garner grand jury testimony will stay secret, courtrules (NYO) *  A judge denied requests to release testimony from the Eric Garner grand jury proceedings because it could "undermine the overriding concern for independence of our grand juries," DNAinfo reports: * Judge Denies Request To Release Eric Garnr Grand JuryRecords #EricGarner #grandjury #JudgeDeniesRequest (NYT) Update NYCUL has vowed to appeal the ruling, and so did NYC Public Advocate Tish James.* In Eric Garner Case, Judge Rules Against Releasing Grand Jury Evidence (NYT) Justice William E. Garnett of State Supreme Court on Staten Island said the parties seeking disclosure of the evidence had failed to establish a “compelling” need.* A fundraising email from Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan’s congressional campaign says the Rev. Al Sharpton is “coming after” him and alleges he is trying to hurt Donovan, the Observer reports * The decision not to unseal the grand jury minutes in theEric Garner case just continues the crime *
Crime-fighting strategy analyzes data of shooters and those shot (NYP) The NYPD is taking aim at 300 pistol-loving thugs responsible for most of New York’s gun violence, using shooting data to tie them to murders and weapon crimes. In a... Abandoning the poor (NYP Ed)  Many of those pushing this are in the anti-cop camp, and simply looking for political cover. But Commissioner Bill Bratton plainly wants the reinforcements so he can keep crime down. We’re not unsympathetic to Mayor de Blasio for being reluctant here. The move commits the city to spending millions of dollars in future years — dollars that can’t go to feed the hungry, house the homeless or just fix the roads. Yet the NYPD plainly needs some kind of help — because not a week passes without cops being hamstrung in some new way. The latest lunacy landed this month, and will harm the city’s poor and minorities the most. The brass have had to gut the quarter-century-old “Clean Halls” program designed to increase security in public-housing buildings. It encouraged cops to clear out or detain loiterers who qualified as trespassers. But de Blasio settled another case where stop-and-frisk Judge Shira Scheind­lin opted for injustice. Now cops must have a demonstrable “reasonable suspicion” that loiterers are in a building illegally before approaching them. This, when the most significant uptick in violent crime over the last year has come in public-housing projects. Just last weekend, a man was fatally shot outside the Gowanus Houses in Brooklyn.




Looks More Like Final Budget Deal With Council Will Include More Cops 
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton is in discussions with Mayor Bill de Blasio about adding hundreds of officers as the mayor faces pressure to reverse his stance on not hiring more cops, The Wall Street Journalreports:  Tish James predicts @billdeblasio will increase police head count:
More on the NYC Budget



Close St Vincent's Makes People Die 
Closing A Hospital kills People in Lots Of Ways
Wind-Blown Plywood Kills Woman in Greenwich Village (NYT) Tram Thuy Nguyen, who came to New York about eight months ago to be with her fiancé, died after she was struck by wood from a construction site on West 12th Street, the police said.* Woman killed by flying plywood from NYC construction site(NYP)* Pedestrian injuries from falling construction debris on the rise (NYP) In the past five years, 59 people have been struck by falling debris from New York City construction sites. And the numbers are on the rise: 27 percent


To the Newspapers Its Not the Closed St. Vincent's Hospital It is A Construction Site
The Rudin Luxury Condo Conversion Plan will set a dangerous public health precedent. City politicians would be saying that a top 1% real estate developer can make hundreds of millions of dollars in private profit by converting the charitable public real estate buildings of the former St. Vincent's Hospital, whilst the 99% have no replacement Level One Trauma Center or Full-Service Hospital. If Rudin's Condo Plan is approved, Mayor Bloomberg would be saying that it is O.K. for an entire section of New York City to have no full-service hospital. How can this be a responsible public health care policy ? Mayor Bloomberg needs to stop the Rudin Condo Plan for St. Vincent's Hospital until a full-service hospital is created.
More on Closing NYC Hospitals 


Albany Ethics Form Update  
Skelos said the ethics reforms put forth by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie are soft on the executive branch, and good government groups called them insufficient
Cuomo butts heads with Democrats over education plans (NYP) Cuomo is steamed that fellow Democrats are taking their cues from teachers unions and resisting his proposals for education reforms. Cuomo received the lowest approval rating of his career this week in a Quinnipiac University survey that showed two-thirds of voters rejected most of his schools agenda, which included tougher teacher evaluations and giving the state the power to close failing schools.
Cuomo unveils new ethics laws — watchdogs say it’s not enough (NYP) Watchdogs immediately warned the changes didn’t go far enough and were merely “partial solutions” to combat pervasive corruption. One provision in the ethics regulations would treat lawmakers like factory workers — they’d have to prove they were in Albany to get their per diem expenses by swiping in with an electronic card. Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough was indicted last year for allegedly collecting $40,000 in bogus travel reimbursements. Senate GOP Majority Leader Dean Skelos blasted the ethics agreement as going soft on the Cuomo administration. “We feel very strongly that outside income for state legislators should be banned,” said John Kaehny of Reinvent Albany. * Editorial: Skelos can't hide from Cuomo's ethics cleanup (NYDN)

As new Q poll finds voters want full disclosure,"Sandra Lee partnership exempt from Cuomo disclosure rules" (Capital) * Q Poll: NYers Back Disclosure From Elected Officials & Their Significant Others (YNN) * In striking a two-way ethics reform deal with Assembly Democrats, Gov. Andrew Cuomobroke his mold of forging bipartisan deals. Asked why he had strayed from the pattern and left out the Senate Republicans, Cuomo replied: “Variety.” * After meeting with his conference on Wednesday evening, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos dismissed the ethics deal, saying any talks of ethics reforms should also include financial disclosures of the executive branch, and should also include domestic partners. * The Senate Republicans have introduced a bill that would make the finances of the executive branch more transparent. Skelos’ hometown paper, Newsday, blamed the Senate GOP for blocking reform in Albany. * Earlier this week, alcoholic beverage manufacturer Diageo announced an expanded partnership with Cuomo’s longtime live-in girlfriend, Food Network star Sandra Lee. This agreement with a company that has substantial business before the state came a day before Cuomo and the Assembly struck their two-way reform deal, which doesn’t require outside income disclosure for spouses of significant others. * Public officials in New York would be prohibited from spending political campaign funds on personal expenses like clothing and country club dues under the two-way ethics reform deal, but paying for criminal defense attorneys and meals with political cash would still be allowed. *  The agreement would also require lawmakers to disclose details of their outside income, including the names of legal clients who they’ve referred to law firms for a fee. “It is unprecedented disclosure,” Cuomo said. * Government watchdogs immediately warned the changes didn’t go far enough and were merely “partial solutions” to combat pervasive corruption. Advocates are pushing hard for a full ban on outside income for state legislators.* NY Senate leader: Ethics reform must include Cuomo - TimesUnion (TU) * Schneiderman calls for the end of outside income for Albany lawmakers to fightcorruption.(NYO) * Reisman: Cuomo's tough-guy brand only goes so far * The IDC Seeks ‘Healthy Debate’ On Ethics Legislation (YNN)* Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos lashed out at Cuomo, saying after a joint budget committee hearing that disclosure rules should apply to the governor’s staff and girlfriend, State of Politics writes: * The New York State Bar Association is backing Cuomo and the Assembly Democrats’ joint plan to require lawmakers moonlighting as attorneys to reveal clients who paid them more than $5,000, Gannett Albanywrites:  * A majority of New York voters back making the state Legislature a full-time job with a higher salary, according to a Quinnipiac poll, Gannett Albany reports:  * Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is doing a little light reading. * Residents of the northeast Bronx are hoping their neighborhood benefits from Heastie’s rise.* A Citizen Union report found Cuomo’s budget contains $2.6 billion in opaque “lump sum funds” which allow spending decisions to be made in the shadows by elected officials after passage.    City Leaders Lobby for Various State Budget Causes in Albany(NY1)


Cuomo: Silver Still the Boss
 Cuomo believes Silver is still running Assembly: source(NYDN)  According to an inside source, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is telling his political backers he believes that indicted ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is still calling the shots in the chamber
Update 



Goo Goos Say the Reforms Are Half Assed
Promising promises (NYP ED) * Eighty-four percent of New Yorkers say elected officials should disclose the source and amount of income from outside jobs and investments, and 64 percent say spouses and live-in partners should too, aQuinnipiac University poll finds: * The Times Union writes that state Senate Republicans should put forth a fuller ethics reform package that includes ending the LLC loophole and not risk being seen as obstructing smart reforms:

The Times Union compiles a summary of the various ethics reform packages proposed in Albany by the governor and Heastie, Senate Republicans, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and good government groups * The Post writes that it likes the ethics reform package presented by Cuomo and Heastie, which doesn’t include “bad ideas” such as limiting or banning legislators’ ability to earn outside income: * Newsday writes that the state Senate Republican majority “disturbingly” balked at the ethics package’s disclosure requirements for legislators earning outside income and that it prefers business as usual: * “Come clean, Dean,” The Daily News urges after writing the state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos “huffed and puffed and complained” that the proposal would not require disclosure of Cuomo’s live-in girlfriend * Editorial: Skelos can't hide from Cuomo's ethics cleanup (NYDN Ed) strong enforcement of the ethics reforms isn't there, but needs to be.* Capital Playbook: Cuomo book recaps DiNapoli spat Capital) * Albanyethics deal covers use of campaign funds -- but not for legal fees 


Cuomo Speaker Heastie reach 2-way agreement on ethics package to be included in budget

2/3 Secret Ethics Deal
agreed on new ethics reforms that would include more detailed disclosures of lawmakers’ outside income. Cuomo said the measures are essentially what he proposed as part of a state budget for the coming fiscal year starting April 1. * Cuomo, Heastie come to agreement on ethics reform(NYP) * The two-way deal, details of which are expected to be announced today, places significant pressure on the state Senate Republican majority to sign on within the framework of the state budget. A spokesman for the GOP conference declined to comment. *  Gov. Andrew Cuomo reached an agreement on new ethics policies with the Assembly, but he has not secured a deal with the state Senate  * Cuomo Lauds Ethics Deal With Assembly, But Senate Deal Remains Up In Air (YNN) 


Republicans in the state Senate are expected to discuss in a closed-door conference this afternoon the ethics agreement forged by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Democrats, State of Politicsreports: * Cuomo, Heastie detail ethics agreement (Capital)  Cuomo, who has said ethics changes are a top priority as he negotiates a budget, said the agreement matches the five principles he sketched out after the arrest and ouster of former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver. That means greater disclosure of business and law clients from legislators' side jobs, a ban on the personal use of campaign funds, greater safeguards for per diem reimbursement, pension forfeiture for lawmakers convicted of public corruption and greater disclosure by independent expenditure campaign accounts. * Skelos: Cuomo-Assembly Deal Doesn’t Include Executive Branch Reforms (YNN) * Bonacic: Cuomo Put Himself In A Box On Ethics (YNN) Bonacic, an Orange County Republican, said he didn’t want to comment on Cuomo’s divide-and-conquer strategy with the two legislative houses on ethics. But he added the governor painted himself into a corner on the issue by including ethics legislation in budget amendments that tied the policy to spending measures. * .@NYGovCuomo & @CarlHeastie have releasedan ethics reform deal. Now, they're looking to the Senate to pass it. (NY1) * NY Senate leader: Ethics reform must include Cuomo.(CBS Albany)

Lawmakers Have Money Parties Waiting on Ethics
 The New York Public Interest Research Group found state lawmakers are busy raising campaign cash this budget session, with some 118 fundraisers scheduled between January and March, State of Politics reports: * NY Dems made sure they can still "use campaign fundsfor dinners out & criminal defense attorneys" (Capital)


Cuomo Makes A Deal With Heastie A Day After the AG Proposes Ethics Reform
Cuomo Gains Support for Ethics Policies (NYT) With a budget deadline two weeks away, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Tuesday that he had come to an agreement on new ethics policies with the State Assembly, which his fellow Democrats control, though a deal with the Republicans who lead the State Senate was not secure. Details of the ethics package were scarce, though Mr. Cuomo said he was “more than happy” with the deal. * Lawmakers briefed on the agreement said it includes disclosure of income larger than $5,000, including the name of legal clients, verification for per-diem expenses and tighter campaign fund rules, the Daily News reports:  * Cuomo begins his second term with his lowest job approval rating, at 50 percent, and those polled indicated they trust the teachers union more than Cuomo to improve education, a Quinnipiac University poll found * The Times Union writes that an “unfortunate new narrative”on police-community relations promoted by Rudy Giuliani has lent support to a state law that keeps details about the discipline of cops secret: Quid Pro Quo From Cuomo Prompts Battle With Lawmakers Over State Budget (NYT) Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s prevailing mode of governance this year appears to be extreme horse-trading: demanding changes from the Legislature, or else.* Albany veterans say few executives engaged in trading policy changes for budget concessions with the same gusto as Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but legislative leaders have rebuffed this strategy. “Call it quid pro quo or tit for tat, but the prevailing mode of governance this year for (Cuomo) is tying appropriations to new policy — or else.” This has prompted pushback from state lawmakers.Cuomo said he was “cautiously optimistic” that his agreement with the Assembly would pass with senators as well. “I think we’re there,” he said, adding: “There is going to be more disclosure, more transparency than has ever existed in this government.” The state Senate Democrats, tired of their “bounce-back clown punching bag” relationship with Cuomo, are finally distancing themselves and asserting some independence from the governor.* Schneiderman, Bharara Team Up On Bank Settlement (YNN)

McCall Blasts Paterson "Its All About Negotiating Tactics"
McCall Swipes At Paterson (YNN)Comptroller H. Carl McCall may have been surprised by his offhand swipe at former Gov. David Paterson. It came when I asked McCall, who was pitching the governor and legislative leaders to invest more money in the state’s higher education system, about Cuomo’s tactic of linking seeming unrelated policy items – like the Education Investment Tax Credit, the DREAM Act and TAP funding – in appropriations bills, over which state lawmakers have very little control. “This is all negotiating tactics,” McCall replied.
Paterson Called Cuomo's Puppet Some Democratic state legislators contend Democratic Party Chairman David Paterson is doing Cuomo’s bidding against fellow party members and is not representing all Democrats, the Daily News reports: * State Senate Republicans adopted a budget resolution that would eliminate funding for the state’s Tenant Protection Unit, which was created by Cuomo in 2011 to enhance rent law enforcement, the Daily Newsreports:  Women's Right Democrats who previously pushed for taking up all or none of the Women’s Equality Act say they are now willing to settle for a partial victory and focus on important measures, The Wall Street Journal reports 


NYCHA Begs Albany for $$$  Hundreds of New York City Housing Authority residents plan to rally in Albany today and demand the state help pay for repairs at aging buildings after it stopped contributing to NYCHA in 1998, the Daily News reports NYCHA Update * The Cuomo administration said it is willing to discuss additional funds for the New York City Housing Authority after tenants rallied at the capital for an increase in the $25 million budgeted, the Daily News reports: * Dan Janison: “Heading down the stretch to an April 1 budget deadline, (Cuomo’s) upper hand over the legislature seems difficult to overstate.” As true budget negotiations begin this week, legislators appear to be standing together — at least when it comes to trying to stave off major new education policy changes. Cuomo’s push to raise the minimum wage has won the backing of more than three dozen downstate business leaders, including Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman, Gilt Groupe Chairman Kevin Ryan, Steiner Studios Chairman Doug Steiner, and Mark Jaffe, president and CEO of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce. Tax Credits The Assembly Democrats might consider a compromise on the education tax credit, but the Senate Republicans remain staunchly opposed to the Dream Act, legislators said during a panel discussion on Sunday hosted by the New York State School Boards Association.  Family Leave Advocates press Cuomo to take action on paid family leavelegislation 

Updated  The Post writes that Assembly Speaker Carl Heastiedeserves the perk of a taxpayer-funded Jeep Grand Cherokee, noting that his predecessor, Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, expensed flights to Albany:

The Assembly has spent $39,448 to pay for a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited used by new Speaker Carl Heastie, while his predecessor used a less flashy 2011 Ford Taurus, the Daily News reports: * Report: Lawmaker gets Cuomo admin job offer,then lawmakergoes on PR offensive against Cuomo critics  Astorino Astorino, In Albany, Says Cuomo Is Isolated (YNN) * Cuomo Is Pushed On Paid Leave (YNN) Woman Rights The Assembly will pass a package of anti-human trafficking legislation, but only a bill proposed by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin will then move toward the governor’s desk as the others are sent to the Senate for approval, the Times Union reports: * In a letter to Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Cuomo’s office challenged the mainline Democratic conference to voluntarily submit to the state’s Freedom of Information Law, State of Politics reports:  * Lawmakers including Sens. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Liz Krueger, and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito pushed Cuomo to back a paid leave measure that’s been embraced by both the Senate and Assembly, Stateof Politicsreports

Poll Shows Clueless New Yorkers Have No Idea What They Don't Know or Think


Q-Poll: New Yorkers Back Teachers Unions Over Cuomo (YNN) Senate Republicans are celebrating two little noticed GOP wins in recent local elections, pointing to these victories as evidence that counters the belief that they’ll have a tough time retaining the majority in 2016, State of Politicsreports: * The Journal writes that it is a “shame” to see the Partnership for New York City endorse a higher minimum wage, because it will make it too expensive to get the poor and unskilled on the ladder of opportunity * Cuomo’s approval ratings hit career-low (NYP)  Astorino  Astorino: Silver Scandal Could Have Changed ’14 Outcome (NYP) Paid Sick Leave Less than a month after saying the state Legislature has no “appetite” to consider paid family leave, the Cuomo administration now says it is seriously studying the issue. But the administration dismissed a proposal introduced by the State Senate as part of its one-house budget as too reliant on state funding and, therefore, unworkable.* Less than a month after saying the state Legislature has no "appetite" to consider paid family leave, the Cuomo administration now says it is seriously studying the issue, Capital New York reports:  * Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein said state lawmakers will hold a hearing on paid family leave in the coming days, State of Politics reports: * Fifty-three Assembly Democrats led by Education Committee Chair Catherine Nolan and Speaker Pro Tempore Jeffrion Aubry are pressing Speaker Carl Heastie to side with Mayor Bill de Blasio over Cuomo on school reform, theDaily News reports:






Yellow Upended Sinking  
After four years in New York City, Uber now has more cars affiliated with it—14,088—than the medallion sector—13,587, data from the city Taxi and Limousine Commission shows, the Post reports: Wow @NYPostOpinion: We sympathize w/folks whole life savings are in a medallion - our business model was upended too * The Post writes that the taxi medallion industry has been upended by the digital age, but it must adjust without getting the New York City Council and state Legislature involved:*Could the threat of Uber & Co. to yellow cabs be a falsenarrative? (CrainsNY)** New York City’s taxi industry is planning to propose a cap on for-hire vehicles to halt the growth of app-based companies like Uber, which now has more cars on the road than the medallion industry, USA Today reports * A judge froze 87 medallions and cabs belonging to New York City’s largest taxi operator, but denied a bank’s request to seize the property after a lawyer said he would crush the already Uber-beleaguered yellow cab industry, the Postreports: * Court delays 'Taxi of Tomorrow' again

More On Taxis and Uber





Always Working and Commuting   















Where Did the City Highway Workers Go?   









de Blasio Blasts Cops for Wikipedia Edits, But His Staff Did the Same, So Did Quinn
De Blasio rips cops for Wikipedia edits — but his staff did the same (NYP) Mayor de Blasio on Monday scolded the cops who used NYPD computers to edit Wikipedia pages — but his memory got hazy when asked how it was any different from his campaign staffers making changes to his own page on the Web site. In 2012, The Post reported that staffers for de Blasio, the then-public advocate and a mayoral candidate, altered his Wikipedia page by removing Warren Wilhelm as his birth name and adding that he is of “German-American and Italian-American heritage.” “Of course, we update the page,” de Blasio spokesman Wiley Norvell said at the time. “That’s become standard practice for public officials.” But on Monday, when pressed about those changes, de Blasio said he didn’t remember them — and then added they could only be made if it were part of a staffer’s job responsibilities. * Brooklyn lawyer files complaint, demands investigation into cops who edited Eric Garner Wikipedia page (NYDN) Flashback City pols rewriting records (NYP) * Christine Quinn Caught Engaged In Wikipedia Rewriting * Former New York City mayoral candidate Sal Albanese blasts the current mayor, saying, “He's probably the least qualified of all the mayors I've worked with," in an interview with City & State's Gerson Borrero:

Guess Who Was Late to the St. Pats Day Mass
The Daily News writes that de Blasio thinks he’s a “demigod” and has never put his “self-centeredness” on display more than he did by arriving 15 minutes to St. Patrick’s Day Mass yesterday * A FLAWED POL TO ANOTHER! Anthony Weiner offers de Blasio some advice about punctuality (NYDN)

Bill de Blasio the boor, late to St. Patrick's Day Mass (NYDN Ed) Whether celebrated in a cathedral or a small parish church, the Mass is the central ritual of the Catholic faith. Each element of the liturgy is crafted in worshipful preparation for the sacrament of communion. By virtue of civic prominence, some Masses become both expressions of private belief and proclamations of a shared conviction. So it often is at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and rarely more so than on St. Patrick’s Day. Mayor de Blasio, arrogant, insulting and egotistical, couldn’t give a hoot. On Tuesday, he showed up 15 minutes late for the Mass that marks the feast day of the patron saint of Ireland and of many a New Yorker.* The Times’ Lawrence Downes writes that de Blasio needs help fixing his “terrible habit” of showing up late, which sends the message that he doesn’t care enough about the job to show up for it on time:  *** He also sidestepped a reporter’s question on whether his aides were authorized to edit his Wikipedia page at the time. Mayor de Blasio on Monday scolded the cops who used NYPD computers to edit Wikipedia pages — but his memory got hazy when asked how it was any different from his campaign staffers making changes to his own page on the Web site. In 2012, The Post reported that staffers for de Blasio, the then-public advocate and a mayoral candidate, altered his Wikipedia page by removing Warren Wilhelm as his birth name and adding that he is of “German-American and Italian-American heritage.” “Of course, we update the page,” de Blasio spokesman Wiley Norvell said at the time. “That’s become standard practice for public officials.” But on Monday, when pressed about those changes, de Blasio said he didn’t remember them — and then added they could only be made if it were part of a staffer’s job responsibilities. He also sidestepped a reporter’s question on whether his aides were authorized to edit his Wikipedia page at the time.* NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said he does not anticipate punishment other than admonishment for two officers who used a police server to edit a Wikipedia page about the death of Eric Garner, the Daily News reports:   Mayor Late  TARDY TO THE PARTY: Habitually late Mayor de Blasio stays true to form, shows up tardy to St. Patrick’s Mass (NYDN) * De Blasio late again at St. Patrick’s Day Mass (NYP) * Bill de Blasio Somehow Manages to Be Late to Event at HisOwn House (NY Mag) * De Blasio rather come late to events & not flyhelicopter, because "It's not my thing. I prefer to be on theground. (NY1)* A FLAWED POL TO ANOTHER! Anthony Weiner offers de Blasio some advice about punctuality (NYDN)
de Blasio's "I didn't sleep well" has to be in Hall of Fame of Lame Excuses for lateness. Lunesta, Brother Mayor?



NYPD Erasing Police Brutality From Wikipedia  
NYPD computers used to change police-brutality Wikipedia pages (NYP) NYPD computers have been used to make changes to online encyclopedia Wikipedia’s pages describing cases of alleged police brutality, it was reported on Friday. The alterations to the free-access site were tracked to the NYPD through Internet protocol addresses, which can be publicly tracked by using various websites. “The matter is under internal review,” Detective Cheryl Crispin, an NYPD spokeswoman, told Capital New York. Computers on the department’s network at 1 Police Plaza were used to edit and try to delete Wikipedia entries for well-known victims of police altercations — such as Eric Garner, Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo, the report said.*  
Text surveys may soon help New Yorkers assess cops: Bratton (NYP)A new Twitter account will automatically track the NYPD’s anonymous edits to Wikipedia.   the account was created following a Capital NY report that computers operating on the NYPD network at its 1 Police Plaza headquarters have been used to alter Wikipedia pages containing details of alleged police brutality. * NYPD computers also linked to ‘The Nanny,’ Playboy Wiki edits (NYP) NYPD computers were also used to make edits to Wikipedia pages for Playboy magazine, wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin, “The Nanny” — and ’90s band Chumbawamba. Goofballs changed the history section for Playboy on March 22, 2007, to read, “Today, ‘Playboy’ is still Responsible for teenage boys for having their first orgazime [sic].” * Way too picky onNYPD Wikipedia revisions (NYDN Ed) * NYPD: Garner Wikipedia edits made from police computers outside One Police Plaza (Capital)


NYPD's Clean Hall's Ends As Part of Stop and Frisk Court Settlement
New protocols end NYPD’s ‘Clean Halls’ program (NYP) NYPD cops are being told to stop confronting loiterers in the halls of housing projects, as they have in the past as part of their “Clean Halls” program, The Post has learned. A recent internal NYPD message revealed Monday said that the operation, which was used by police to curb drug use and sales in building stairwells and hallways, will end as part of the settlement stemming from the stop-and-frisk lawsuit which was reached last August. Officers must now have reasonable suspicion that the individual is in the building illegally before stopping him or her. The new protocols were announced to the rank-and-file in a March 10 memo and terms were worked out between the NYPD and the court. Operation Clean Halls, in existence since 1991, was a program in which police conduct patrols in the hallways and stairwells of buildings to remove non-residents who are loitering. NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in the past that the policy “placed New Yorkers, mostly black and Latino, under siege in their own homes.” “This aggressive assault on people’s constitutional rights must be stopped,” Lieberman said.


De Blasio St Patrick's Gay Marriage Double Standard Is All About the Votes for 2017
De Blasio’s absence from the St Patrick’s Day Parade will “smack of a double standard” after he accepted honors from Jewish groups that lobbied against same-sex marriage, the Daily News writes: *The St. Patrick’s Day Parade — which marks its 253rd year — kicks off on Fifth Ave. around 11 a.m. with Timothy Cardinal Dolan as its grand marshal. More than 2 million people are expected to attend. For the first time, an openly gay group will be able to march under a banner. But NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said the inclusion of NBC Universal’s contingent is not enough to persuade him to participate.



More on de Blasio's 2017 Re-Election

Was the Delay Caused By a Focused Group Test?
LATE AS USUAL: Mayor de Blasio weighs in on McDonald’s brawl in Brooklyn, calling girls’ actions ‘deeply disturbing,’ saying city needs to address ‘mental health’ issues

The Church and State Re-Election Dance 
* In finding new ways to commingle church and state, Mayor Bill de Blasio has carved himself a niche as a liberal who is willing to embrace religious groups rather than treat them as adversaries, the Timeswrites: * For someone unaffiliated with any church, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has become an unlikely advocate for the religious, from supporting the right of Orthodox Jews to use oral suction during circumcision to closing schools on Muslim holidays.*Mayor de Blasio Emerges as an Unexpected Champion of Religion (NYT) In finding new ways to commingle church and state, Bill de Blasio has carved himself a niche as a liberal who is willing to embrace religious groups rather than treat them as adversaries.


 New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters said the agency was focusing on systemic investigations and should not be judged by declines in arrests and referrals, the Journal reports:


.
Cuomo Opponents Spin the Press
1.  Less Than 3 Months Into His New 4 Year Term The Groups Cuomo is Running Against Plan to Challenge Him in 2014 . . .  
Silly NYP Would Make This A News Story and Not Connecting It to Budget Ethics Fight

NYC schools ‘removed’ 289 teachers — but only fired 9 (NYP) Nearly 100 of the roving substitute teachers took severance payments — averaging nearly $16,000 each — while an additional 118 resigned or retired, records show. Department of Education officials say an additional 53 teachers retired or resigned while facing disciplinary charges, meaning they can’t return to the system in the future. A dozen other teachers either missed required job interviews or had their probationary periods ended. *
Eric Schneiderman mulling run against Cuomo for governor (NYP)Democratic Party circles are abuzz with talk that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who forced Gov. Cuomo to retreat on his controversial e-mail destruction policy last week, is seriously considering challenging...Eric Schneiderman mulling run against Cuomo for governor (NYP)Democratic Party circles are abuzz with talk that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who forced Gov. Cuomo to retreat on his controversial e-mail destruction policy last week, is seriously considering challenging...Others promoting a possible Schneiderman primary challenge include a bevy of “progressive’’ Democrats associated with Mayor de Blasio and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, both on the outs with Cuomo — Fordham University prof Zephyr Teachout, who ran a surprisingly strong primary challenge to Cuomo last year, and union activists with the leftist Working Families Party, Democratic sources said. * Democratic activists from NYSUT and the UFT have reportedly given AG Eric Schneiderman “preliminary encouragement” to primary Gov. Andrew Cuomo should the governor seek a third term in 2018.* 'We deserve better teachers': Rookie educators with no credentials is the new norm at troubled NYC schools (NYDN) * New York's charter school defenders downplay teacher inexperience amid strong performance (NYDN) * NYC schools battle student poverty, homelessness and domestic abuse to create effective learning spaces (NYDN) * Cuomo pushes to reform NYC teacher evaluations to rid schools of bad apples (NYDN) * A bill before the Legislature would require school districts to clearly notify parents that they can opt out their children from the Common Core tests this year. The hope is that 200,000 to 250,000 children don’t take the test, forcing the Board of Regents to reopen the discussion about using the standards.* * A report from the union-backed Fiscal Policy Institute found that students living in poverty are the reason New York schools are failing, not under-performing teachers, Gannett Albany reports: * Progressive Group Takes Aim at Hedge FundManagers (NYO)* The Daily News wraps up a series on New York City schools with guest columns by a Cuomo official, de Blasio, charter school executive Eva Moskowitz, UFT President Michael Mulgrew and others:* De Blasio to Borrow From CompStat Model forStruggling Schools ‘War Room’ (NYO)* Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie was critical of an effort being pushed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to have the state take over low-performing public schools, saying it could potentially lead to them becoming charter schools, State of Politicsreports: * Cuomo’s education policy proposals come right from the playbook of pro-charter group Families for Excellent Schools, which dominated the 2014 election cycle, and now the billionaires behind it are getting what they paid for, The Nation reports:  *  Chris Smith in New York magazine writes that he thinks Cuomo sincerely wants to find ways to better educate the state’s students, which is why his confrontational approach has always seemed weirdly miscalculated: * The state Education Department’s role in approving new college degree programs has become a sticking point in the higher education portion of the state budget.* End this moral crisis: Black and Hispanics deserve justice (NYP Ed) Rubin Diaz, Sr.  On Thursday, nearly 100 black and Hispanic religious leaders, representing 650 churches, stood with me to call for an end to our state’s failing-schools crisis. It’s an epidemic that is quietly stealing possibility from New York’s black and Hispanic communities. * Giving kids the schools they deserve (NYP Ed) Corrupt DOE Contract Cancled The New York City Department of Education rescinded a $637 million contract for a private firm to provide computer services after advocates said the firm had been cited in a criminal probe, the Daily Newsreports: * The Times Union writes that the state has broken its promise to end the “shameful practice” of raising tuition at the State University of New York only to direct the extra money to itself: * THE NEWS SAYS: Political and educational leaders must end their feud and hear the pleas of students *Black and Hispanic college students in New York fared worse on new teacher certification tests than their white counterparts, new data show, reprising concerns that efforts to improve teacher quality could undermine a simultaneous goal to boost diversity. *  The union representing State University of New York professors said the state Education Department has failed to issue the passing or “cut” scores required for nearly half of their new tests, which aspiring K-12 teachers must take before they can become certified. * StudentsFirstNY, an education reform group that has been a major financial supporter of Cuomo, is launching a campaign led by parent activists to promote the governor’s controversial proposals to boost charter schools and overhaul the state’s teacher evaluation system and tenure laws.* With help from the Citizens Budget Commission,Crain's has calculated a more accurate figure for the cost of the Department of Education's new and untested parent-engagement program than has been previously reported: 

Cuomo One Last Dip In Money Pool Before It Closes 
Fund-raisers raise speculation Cuomo may run for a third term (NYP) Gov. Cuomo is swinging for the ­financial fences just months after he won a second term and hauled in a record $44 million.Cuomo has scheduled at least two fund-raisers, one April 7 for $15,000-a-head at the Mutual of America building on Park Avenue and another April 24 at Yankee Stadium when the Bronx Bombers play the Mets in the Subway Series. Tickets for that event are going for $5,000 a pop. Word of the high-dollar fund-raisers comes as Cuomo is locked in tough negotiations with lawmakers to adopt a new state budget by April 1. His spending plan includes authorizing public financing of campaigns to reduce reliance on fat-cat contributions. The early fund-raising shows that Cuomo is not closing the door on running for a third term.* My instinct tells meAndrew Cuomo will seek a third term. Why not? He delights in the power, plushis father did 3  (Capital)


AG Goes After Corrupt Campaign Spending and Expense Accounts After Lunch With Bharara 
What About Closing Moreland and Berlin Rosen, Jennifer Cunningham

Forgotten Flashback Preet Bharara, Eric Schneiderman meet for lunch amid Cuomo’s scandal (NYP)
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman looking intolegislators’ expense accounts, campaign spending (NYDN)  At a time when U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has warned the public to “stay tuned” for more arrests from his office, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has also been looking into the legislative expense account system and lawmaker campaign spending, the Daily News has learned. The revelation comes as the Democratic attorney general is set to deliver a major speech Monday evening on state government corruption — his first major comments on the issue since the indictment of Assemblyman Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan). Schneiderman, with the aid of state Controller Thomas DiNapoli’s office, has been reviewing whether state lawmakers have legally put in for reimbursements for travel to Albany and meals, sources say. Schneiderman’s probe comes months after Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-Queens) was indicted on 11 federal charges that he cheated the state by submitting 174 vouchers for at least $40,000 in bogus travel and lodging expenses from 2009 through 2012. While the feds charged Scarborough with the per diem fraud, Schneiderman’s office at the same time hit the veteran assemblyman with 23 state charges that he used more than $38,000 in campaign funds for personal benefit.

His office also recently charged City Councilman Ruben Wills with stealing campaign funds. It’s unclear whether Schneiderman’s look into the per diem system and campaign spending are again in conjunction with the feds. During his speech Monday to the good-government group Citizens Union, Schneiderman — who took some heat for not being publicly critical of Gov. Cuomo’s handling of the now-defunct Moreland anti-corruption commission — is expected to rip past and current efforts at what he sees as incremental reform, said a source familiar with his plans.* State Sen. John Flanagan voted on a host of bills that benefited clients of a law firm where he works, and records show Cablevision, Chase Bank and other such clients lobbied in favor of bills he backed, theDaily News reports:  * State Thruway Authority being probed by AG in call-girl scandal, sources say (NYDN)

Who is Forming or Fueling Issues Groups to Spin the Press and Albany?  
2.  New Transit Group With Former Berlin Rosen Staffer Attacks Cuomo
Angry subway riders rip Cuomo over miserable commutes (NYP)  Angry subway riders ripped Gov. Cuomo on Sunday for what they called deteriorating transit service — and even made posters about their miserable commutes while calling for more funding for the MTA.  The advocacy group Riders Alliance collected stories about riders’ commutes from hell at the Atlantic Avenue- Barclays Center station in Brooklyn to share with Cuomo and the state legislature in Albany.“The subway service has been atrocious recently, and people get frustrated with the MTA,” said Alliance Executive Director John Raskin. “People need to take their frustrations to Gov. Cuomo and the state legislature.” Board of Directors of Riders Alliance


Freedom of Information Detour
Cuomo's Freedom of Information Delay Float 
Cuomo clamps down on Freedom of Information releases (NYP)  Gov. Cuomo’s hands-on management style extends to reviewing public-record requests even meant for other state agencies. Officials from various state agencies have been sending the most controversial freedom-of-information requests they receive to Cuomo-administration lawyers — who then redact them or delay their release for years, sources told The Post. “It’s pretty common practice,” said a state government source. “If they are controversial, they sit over there for months before being sent back with edits by the [governor’s office].’’* Cuomo Challenges Senate Democrats On FOIL (YNN)* The Times Union writes that the lack of legislation to subject the state Legislature itself to the Freedom of Information Law is “quite a shortcoming” for a body professing to be for open government:

The rerouted Freedom of Information Law requests are typically from the state Department of Health, Department of Environmental Conservation, and Public Service Commission, sources said. * Various state agencies have been sending the most controversial Freedom of Information Law requests to Cuomo’s lawyers, who then redact them or delay their release for years, according to sources, the Post reports: *  Officials from various state agencies have been sending the most controversial freedom-of-information requests they receive to Cuomo-administration lawyers — who then redact them or delay their release for years.* The Cuomo administration decided to preserve emails generated by the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, breaking with a policy of automatically deleting most messages after 90 days that the Democratic governor last week pledged to review. A spokeswoman for the state's Office of Information Technology Services confirmed to Capital last week that an exception was made for the Moreland Commission, but refused to elaborate. The commission's nine-month tenure was rocked by criticism, first by charges that senior aides to Governor Andrew Cuomo weighed in about pending investigations and later by legislators who sued to block subpoenas seeking details of their outside jobs. Email deletion was another, albeit smaller, point of tumult,according to several people involved in the commission's work. Moreland investigators began to notice in October 2013 that older messages were disappearing from their In-boxes and several, including Danya Perry, the chief of investigations, brought their concerns to Regina Calcaterra, its executive director. The auto-deletion continued, the people said, and staffers were careful to preserve important messages either by printing them or storing them to a hard disk. The tale of the Moreland Commission's electronic records underscores the importance of email preservation, advocates say, and helps make the case for suspending the auto-deletion policy while a new one is formulated. “It just shows the need for a consistent email deletion policy that allows all records to be preserved for up to seven years," said Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union. “There's no reason this should be the exception.” * Cuomo Defends Email Retention Policy (YNN) Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended his administration’s push to have a 90-day email purge policy, saying it was an effort to created a uniform system across the executive branch. “As I said, we wanted a unified Senate, Assembly, executive, AG, comptroller, ideally,” Cuomo said. “It would make no sense to have one policy for the executive chamber, a different one for the agencies. That would be nonsensical.” * Cuomo: ‘Nonsensical’ to have different email policies (Capital)* Senate Republicans have introduced a bill to make more transparent the finances of the executive branch, which are subject to FOIL but not currently published or posted online, Capital New York reports * State Sen. Liz Krueger and Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell, the two lawmakers behind legislation to block Cuomo’s 90-day email deletion policy, are calling for an immediate suspension of the purge, State of Politics writes: * Cuomo defended the state’s email deletion policy, saying state workers can save the emails before they are deleted and that the state is working on a broader policy across all agencies, Gannett Albany reports * Cuomo insists he’s not a complete luddite, but also admits to preferring phone calls to email. * Cuomo: “I am not a big email guy” (VIDEO) *Cuomo said it was “misleading and unkind and inaccurate” to say the state has a policy of automatically deleting most emails after 90 days. In his first public comments on the matter, the governor continued to pin the policy on his predecessor, ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer (who has declined to comment), and noted that he’s called for a summit with legislators to develop a uniform policy. * Only transparency in Cuomo’s ethics plan is in how thin itis." * Siena Poll: Keep Emails Longer Than 90 Days (YNN) * A poll found 80% of New York voters disagree with Cuomo’s policy on purgingstate emails(NYT) * Siena Poll: Keep Emails Longer Than 90 Days (YNN)



Turns Out the Mayor's Demand That Every Neighborhood Take Affordable Housing  
Does Not Include the Upper West Side
De Blasio agrees to relocate affordable housing units (NYP) Elected officials slammed Mayor de Blasio on Sunday for agreeing to relocate dozens of affordable housing units without consulting Upper West Side community leaders. In a letter to the mayor’s heads of planning and housing, City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal contend that a new deal the administration recently struck with the Collegiate School includes “no guarantee [the units] will ever be built.” In 2014, Collegiate School, which was founded in 1628 and is considered to be the oldest school in the US, agreed to build 55 units of affordable housing as part of a deal with the city for a new school building. But instead of building the units, Collegiate claimed it could not find a site in the neighborhood and paid the city $50 million to build the housing elsewhere, according to the letter. 

Education Drifting Daily News Looks At the School System In Crisis
PART 1: Daily News takes a look at city schools in crisis — the largest public education system in the country (NYDN) * NYC is rife with underperforming schools, including nearly two-thirds of students missing state standards (NYDN) *‘School of No’ principal accused of fraud still collects paycheck (NYP) Marcella Sills — the hooky-playing, fur-draped, BMW-driving former principal of the infamous “School of No” — is still on the city payroll a year after beingcharged with fraud and misconduct. The Department of Education yanked Sills from PS 106 in Far Rockaway in February 2014, yet she draws her $128,000 annual salary and racks up pension credit. Her administrative trial has dragged on since last fall. The DOE won’t say what, if anything, Sills does. Sills’ removal came after The Post exposed her frequent no-shows, chronic lateness and nine years of mismanagement at PS 106, dubbed the “School of No” because it lacked basics like books for the Common Core curriculum, or gym and art classes. Kids were warehoused in the auditorium and shown movies, and kindergarten classes took place in old trailers reeking of urine. * Principal spent taxpayers funds to up her Web presence: records (NYP) * ‘School of No’ superintendent has retired (NYP) * Brooklyn high school principal rehired despite failing record (NYP) * 1/5 of last year’s retired teachers left in middle of school year: DOE (NYP) * Letitia James leads rally against Cuomo's education plan (NYDN) Public Advocate Letitia James led a rally Sunday blasting Gov. Cuomo’s education plan, saying he is holding school cash “hostage” to his policy agenda.* Betting their hedges (NYP Ed) In New York and nationwide, teachers unions and their pawns have declared war on the hedge-fund honchos who provide crucial help to charter schools* In 23 states – including New York – state and local governments are together spending less per pupil in the poorest school districts than they are in the most affluent school districts, according to federal data from fiscal year 2012, the most recent figures available. * Betting their hedges (NYP Ed) In New York and nationwide, teachers unions and their pawns have declared war on the hedge-fund honchos who provide crucial help to charter schools * GONZALEZ: Department of Education does an about-face, cancels firm's $637M contract to provide computers for public schools (NYDN)


School Lawsuit: Poorer Neighborhoods Get Poorer Schools
Why parents are suing to end school failure (NYP) Why are we at NYC Parents Union still suing to force education reform across New York, when Gov. Cuomo is pushing hard toward the same goal?  Why are we at NYC Parents Union still suing to force education reform across New York, when Gov. Cuomo is pushing hard toward the same goal? Several people have asked me that, especially since Judge Philip Minardo last week rejected the efforts of the teachers union, the city and state to have our case tossed out.* Struggling NYC schools hope to change without Cuomo takeover (NYDN)
Well, there’s a bunch of reasons. First off, Cuomo isn’t now pursuing the specific changes we’re seeking in the Davids v. New York suit — namely, to overturn current laws and practices on teacher job-security. These outdated protections, we will show, work to deny countless children their right to a quality public-school education. Second, there’s no guarantee the governor will succeed. He faces the extremely difficult challenge of dealing with the Legislature, Mayor de Blasio and his Department of Education and, of course, the union bosses. Why are we at NYC Parents Union still suing to force education reform across New York, when Gov. Cuomo is pushing hard toward the same goal?  Several people have asked me that, especially since Judge Philip Minardo last week rejected the efforts of the teachers union, the city and state to have our case tossed out. Well, there’s a bunch of reasons. First off, Cuomo isn’t now pursuing the specific changes we’re seeking in the Davids v. New York suit — namely, to overturn current laws and practices on teacher job-security. These outdated protections, we will show, work to deny countless children their right to a quality public-school education. Second, there’s no guarantee the governor will succeed. He faces the extremely difficult challenge of dealing with the Legislature, Mayor de Blasio and his Department of Education and, of course, the union bosses. Our inspiration is the 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education, which ended segregation. Sixty years later, New York City schools are blighted by a different kind of segregation — not so much racial, as economic. Decade after decade, the neighborhoods in the poorest ZIP codes wind up with the worst-performing schools — because the most underperforming teachers are shunted off to these schools, rather than forced to improve or be fired.* NYC'S MOST DESPERATE DISTRICT: South Bronx parents struggle with low scores, high poverty as they fight for their future — SEE THE INTERACTIVE MAP (NYDN)* * The New York City Employees’ Retirement System nixed a recommendation from the comptroller’s office to invest in a hedge fund run by a co-founder of the Success Academies charter school group, the Post reports: Tax Credits The Daily News writes that Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie owes it to parents to put a bill on the floor for a vote that would offer a tax credit to those who donate to funds that provide public and private school scholarships: * In a rare move, the board that oversees the NYC retirement fund for civil servants killed a proposal to invest in a high-yield hedge fund — run by one of the city’s biggest investors in charter schools: Gotham Asset Management, which is run by Success Academies co-founder Joel Greenblatt. * A new effort backed by teachers’ unions and Occupy Wall Street is trying to make a casethat the unions have long sought to make: Charter schools are a wolf — or, in this case, billionaires — in sheep’s clothing. And Democrats should be wary about embracing them. * Chris Smith: “I think Cuomo sincerely wants to find ways to better educate the state’s students, which is why his confrontational approach has always seemed weirdly miscalculated.”


60% of the 421-a Tax Breaks are Located In Manhattan  
The 421-a program is up for renewal by the New York Statelegislature in June 2015. Based on the findings revealed in the maps, Municipal Arts Society urges that the program cannot be renewed as is. Albany must: Rationalize 421-a’s cost-benefit equation either by strengthening the affordability requirements or by decreasing the financial incentives; Redraw the lines of the GEA to reflect actual market conditions, based on data and statistics, rather than politics; andDramatically increase the program’s public transparency and use this data to monitor the program’s successes and failures. * Why builders need 421-a badly: Without it, projects justwon't get built (NYDN) * A budget resolution adopted by the Senate would eliminate funding for the state’s Tenant Protection Unit, created by Cuomo in 2011 to provide stricter enforcement of rent laws. Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh called the move “just crazy.”* Nearly 5,500 affordable apartments in just nine projects would never have been planned if not for a four-decade-old 421-a tax break due to end in three months, according to a report by the Real Estate Board of New York, Crain’swrites:


Obama adviser behind leak of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal(NYP) Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett leaked to the press details of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail address during her time as secretary of state, sources tell me. But she did so through people outside the administration, so the story couldn’t be traced to her or the White House. In addition, at Jarrett’s behest, the State Department was ordered to launch a series of investigations into Hillary’s conduct at Foggy Bottom, including the use of her expense account, the disbursement of funds, her contact with foreign leaders and her possible collusion with the Clinton Foundation. Six separate probes into Hillary’s performance have been ­going on at the State Department. I’m told that the e-mail scandal was timed to come out just as Hillary was on the verge of formally announcing that she was running for president — and that there’s more to come. **Members of Bill Clinton’s camp say the former president suspects the White House is the source of the leak and is furious. * Michelle Obamablocked from releasing video commenting on the 2011 shooting of Gabby Giffords:book (NYDN)


NYP Another de Blasio Late Story
De Blasio’s chronic lateness shows he doesn’t respect NYers (NYP Ed) On March 7, Mayor Bill de Blasio missed half of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Rockaway, Queens. “Give that man a watch!” one angry parade-goer was heard to shout...





Transparency By the Balls 
Our view: State is failing in transparency mission  Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not had a very good record regarding open government. * The Post writes that Cuomo has “no doubt” proposed a single, statewide policy on email retention because of a “bombshell disclosure” about his former aide Howard Glaser’s consulting role was uncovered through emails: Moreland Emails Saved Moreland emails saved from Cuomo purge policy (Capital)









The Secret World of Gang Revenge . . . .  An Unreported Reality   
The three-minute attack — caught on video and shared across the globe — was denounced by a parade of pols and police officials

Sunday Update 
5 Teenagers in Custody After Attack on Another Girl in Brooklyn (NYT) Investigators were seeking a sixth girl in connection with the assault at a McDonald’s on Flatbush Avenue on Monday.* Actions byonlookers, brawling teens in Brooklyn McDonald's beatdown were fueled by fame (NYDN)

COOKIN' FOR MONTHS: Four out of six suspects held in McDonald’s beatdown — including ringleader who planned it since January and teen who tried to flee country (NYDN) Ferguson, smiling for the cameras after her arrest on Thursday, told investigators she had been hunting her prey since January because the victim had “done something to a very close friend,” a source said.


Victim and Attackers Wall of Silence


"Defining Deviancy Down" Gang Violence  
The Daily News Asks the Mayor How Long He Will Accept Gang Behavior As the Norm As the Other Half
Mr. Mayor, do you not see that you are presiding over communities that are the equal of Charles Dickens’ London? It’s time, Mr. Mayor, to stop talking about the tale of two cities and frankly confront the one where today’s other half lives. Recognizing the gravity of the forces that have captured the fighters and their cheering squad, a truly visionary progressive mayor would seize the moment to delve unflinchingly into the dynamics of home and neighborhood that have blighted the futures of all involved, as well as into the responses of public agencies. Bill de Blasio would well serve New York by appointing a high-powered commission to examine how all these young women went so far off-track.  Among others, membership would include the police, child welfare and probation commissioners, the schools chancellor and the chief Family Court judge, as well as clergy on the level of Timothy Cardinal Dolan, civic activists on the level of Mike Gecan of Metro IAF, and health experts on the level of Ken Davis, president of Mount Sinai Medical Center.  Asked about the McDonald’s attack, de Blasio responded as if it were merely one more crime. He called for Ferguson’s prosecution, as is permissible and warranted under the law. But does he really want to keep imprisoning 16-year-olds rather than intervene earlier to prevent the ruination of their lives? New York needs to know exactly what went so horribly wrong for the McDonald’s youngsters, how extensive the pathologies are, where government went wrong — and, most important, what the city’s mayor will do to protect more of the city’s children from the same fates.


Report Clinton Campaign HQ Brooklyn's Metrotech  


Permanent Government of Real Estate Defends Prince Silver to Stop An Investigation That May Expose Their Illegal Practices  
Two legal-defense groups show support for Sheldon Silver (NYP) Two top legal-defense groups have come to the aid of disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers filed a joint brief Thursday supporting the indicted but still politically connected Silver, despite objections from the government. * Two criminal defense law groups filed court papers Thursday arguing the federal corruption case against Assemblyman Sheldon Silver should be tossed because of comments made by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara * Lawyers for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are again pressing a federal judge to toss out an indictment on corruption charges due to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s public comments about the case, theObserver reports: * Although US Attorney Preet Bharara has been accused of overzealousness in some insider trading cases, he has pursued fraud and corruption seemingly without regard for political affiliation or hints of personal vindictiveness.



Speaker Supports Gentrification Igniting Rezoning  

Council Speaker Rejects Claims That de Blasio Rezonings Are Moving Too Fast (NYO) Defending her ally, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito rejected the claims of affordable housing advocates that City Hall is moving too swiftly with its plan to rezone more than a dozen neighborhoods. “I’m not understanding why they’re talking about the pace–[the rezonings] haven’t even been submitted, right? The conversations have just started,” Ms. Mark-Viverito, a Democrat like the mayor, told the Observer at an unrelated City Hall press conference this afternoon. “In my case, where East Harlem was mentioned in the State of the City with the mayor, there hasn’t been a formal plan presented to City Planning.”* Melissa Mark-Viverito on 2017: ‘You Can Never BeOver-Ready’ (NYO)
More On Gentrification


de Blasio Puts Ratner Executive On Rent Guidelines Board  
Forest City Ratner executive Walsh appointed as owner representative on Rent Guidelines Board (all AY rentals rent-stabilized) (AYR) Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed a Forest City Ratner executive as one of the two designed owner representatives on the Rent Guidelines Board, which sets the annual increase (or not) under the Rent Stabilization Law. (Last year's contentious vote was for a 1% increase.) Scott Walsh, a Vice President of Development who has an undergraduate degree in architecture and a master's in real estate, has actually been with Forest City only since February 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile, having spent more than a decade at TF Cornerstone.  Given that the affordable housing--and even the market-rate rentals--in Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park will be subject to rent-stabilization increases, Greenland Forest City Partners surely has an interest in steady increases in annual rents. (So too do all landlords.) * Bill de Blasio appoints three members to Rent GuidelinesBoard, giving the mayor complete control  (NYDN) * New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed three members to the board that sets rents for about one million rent-stabilized apartments, filling all the body’s seats in time for an annual fight, the Times reports: * De Blasio’s three new appointments to the Rent GuidelinesBoard have landlords worrying that a rent freeze is in the offing, Crain’s reports:
More on Rent Control
More on Ratner



Bharara Not Only Fighting Albany Corruption He is Fighting A Culture Defining Deviancy Down 

Bharara defending his mission as crucial to bringing true democracy to a state hobbled by a history of graft
Anti-corruption crusader Preet Bharara took his clean-up-Albany message to Fordham Law School Friday, defending his mission as crucial to bringing true democracy to a state hobbled by a history of graft. "Anyone who denies the fact or suggests that corruption is not a problem in the cases that we have brought recently in Albany is off base," he said. The day he was formally indicted, Silver filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that Bharara’s speechifying was tainting his ability to get an unbiased jury. On Thursday Bharara's office fired back, noting that since 2007 at least 18 current or former Albany pols have been convicted of corruption charges and stating that Bharara has an obligation to speak out. In his speech Friday, Bharara did not mention Silver's name even once. Prosecutors Hit Back at Sheldon Silver Dismissal Motion (WSJ) * Bharara rebuts Silver’s dismissal bid (Real Deal) US attorney fights assertion that his speeches to media were prejudicial * Preet encourages whistleblowers to step forward, cites CityTime, where person who spoke up early was ignored * Preet: "If we can clean up Times Square, can we really not clean up Albany?"  * Bharara Defends Himself from Criticism that He's Politicizing Prosecution ofSilver (NY1) * Politics was once about beliefs and society. Now it’s aworship of money (Guardian) * Bharara Calls for Heightened Awareness of Public Corruption via @NYLawJournal
More On U.S Attorney Preet Bharara



Press Ignoring Bharara Pleas to Investigate Corruption Opens Door for Silver Lawyers to Blame the U.S. Attorney 
Bharara to Journalist Investigate Stop Copying My Press Releases do Investigative Reporting

One Year Ago

Preet challenges journos to do investigative reporting (CrainsNY) "Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," Bharara said. "Groundbreaking corruption coverage is not just good copy, it's a path to good government." Bharara. The press has a role to play. "Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," he said 

Bharara Trying to Repair New York's Broken Democracy Does the Job of the Press and the Missing Reform Political Leaders
ProsecutorDenies Creating a ‘Media Firestorm’ Over Sheldon Silver’s Arrest (NYT) * Preet Bharara DefendsHis Public Appearances at Zephyr Teachout Forum (NYO) Mr. Bharara told the filled room at the law school’s Lincoln Center campus that his public denunciations of Albany’s “culture of corruption” are intended to raise awareness of the ethics dilemmas facing the state government, to deter potential bad actors and to encourage well-intentioned public officials to push back against the problem.“Part of your job as a law enforcement official, whether you’re a prosecutor, or the Attorney General, or the FBI director, is to help prevent crime and deter crime.” * “It’s not enough to simply make sure we’re getting rid of the bad folks,” the US attorney said. “We want to make sure we are empowering, or sometimes embarrassing, good folks at any institution that exists to do something when they see something.”


"Defining Deviancy Down” Newspapers No Longer Attack the Political Bosses That Control City's Elections
From 1939 to 1976 Former NY Post Owner Dorothy Schiff Challenged Carmine De Sapio head of Manhattan’s Tammany Hall as well as the entrenched bosses in Brooklyn and the Bronx.  Schiff was even active in the anit Tammany Lexington Democratic Club.  The Post editorials went after the bosses whenever an opportunity arose. Dolly and Jimmy Wechsler were close to the leadership of the Liberal party.  The Liberal Party was part of the Democratic Party, but outside the party.  If there was a liberal Republic running for office, or a n undesirable Democrat, the Liberal Party would go to the Democratic bosses an say, you know if you have a liberal guy, we’ll endorse him, and if you don’t we’ll run an independent candidate.  That was the game.   The New York City newspaper tradition of going after the bosses that control the city's elections goes back over 100 years before Schiff sold the Post to Murdoch.  In the 1870's Thomas Nass published weekly attacks on boss tweed in the Harpers Weekly magazine. In 1871 the Times expose the crooked dealings of Tammany Hall's William Marcy Tweed, or "Boss Tweed", who, along with others, had been stealing millions from the New York City Treasury. In 1965 the NY Times supported John Lindsay over Abe Beame because Beame would owe a very great deal to some of the worst machine elements in the city, and anyone who hopes that he will be caught dissociating himself from the old-style bosses of the Democratic party is living in a fool’s paradise.

"Defining Deviancy Down" 
Part 1. Unlike the Prosecutors of New York's Past Today the Law and the Press Pushed Out Political Boss de Sapio  Part 2. Today Campaign Consultant Lobbyists Openly Bribe Elected Officials to Get Government Contracts While the Prosecutors and Press Give Them A Pass


Today Lobbyists Have Gotten Away With the Pay to Play Corruption That Sent Boss de Sapio to Jail

DeSapio reached a low point in 1969 when he was convicted in a Federal Court of conspiracy and bribery after it was acknowledged that he conspired to bribe the former New York City water commissioner, James L. Marcus, and extort contracts from Consolidated Edison that would result in kickbacks.[2] He served two years in federal prison (1971–1973). After his release, he never re-entered politics.  Today campaign consultant run campaigns and raise money to elected puppets that will cater to their lobbyists clients

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The Permanent Government Created Lobbyists As A Way to Control Who Gets Elected and A Way to Get Government to Do What They Want
As the city's political machines weakened the permanent government created lobbyists to remain in control of New York City

Today lobbyist political consultants and favored PR firms that pour money into campaigns form a powerful and growing shadow government in New York. Pols trying to cover that up. They cut government contracts for their clients without media or prosecutors attention who sent Tammany Boss de Sapio to jail for a pay to play government contract for Con Ed.   The Old Tammany Hall Machine was corrupt, but the only function of the new lobbyists consultant created after the de Sapio era to pay to play government contracts.  Today's lobbyist's controlled private machine gain power by getting electing candidates, feeding them with campaign contributions from their clients who are looking for city contracts or zoning changes, they never meet the voters. They move government without having to disclose their activities. They elect candidates who will be helpful to the clients they lobby for.  Call them clever, call them stealthy. Most are not a registered lobbyist. Yet he regularly meets with government officials. 

A Lobbyists is At the Center of the Silver Real Estate Corruption Scandal  Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's arrest aided by closefriend, Albany lobbyist(NYDN) Brian Meara has been cooperating as a 'fact witness' as part of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's investigation, sources told The News. The criminal complaint against Silver references an unnamed lobbyist who the sources say was Meara. According to the criminal complaint, the lobbyist represented a developer who was using a law firm that paid Silver for bringing in business. The developer, sources say, was politically connected Leonard Litwin, who Meara repped at the time.
The Lobbyist's Shadow Government



"Defining Deviancy Down”  Today the Media Protects the Corrupt Political Bosses and the Lobbyists Who Work With Them
The NYT Columnist Jim Dwyer Attacked the  WFP's Data and Field Prosecutor After the Arrest in 2014 and Again this Week
The Media Has Not Followed Up The Advance Groups' NYCLASS Corruption Investigation and Its Illegal Involvement In the Council Speakers Race

For One Staten Island Campaign, a Special Prosecutor Instead of an Auditor(NYT) So, it is now five years since the election, and criminal charges are being brought over expenditures and filings that are routinely corrected or penalized through audits by the Campaign Finance Board. More than 40,000 similar claims made last year were denied by the board, and no one got arrested. They just were told, “No.” The Reporter for the NYT Jim Dwyer not only did not google Councilman Sheldon Leffler was convicted  in campaign fraud scheme in his race for Queens BP in 2003. Dwyer must have missed  District Leaders Albert Baldeo indictment by the U.S. Attorney for scheming to use fake names to obtain matching funds from the CFB.  Was Dwyer around in 2013 when federal prosecutors conviction Jia Hou, a former Liu campaign treasurer, and Xing Wu Pan, a fund-raiser, who used straw donors to scam the CFB.  Willy Rapfogel is sitting in jail for a scheme that used his non profit funding to scam the CFB matching funds system? * EXCLUSIVE: City Council Speaker candidate Melissa Mark-Viverito may have violated city ethics rules(NYDN) Mark-Viverito, an East Harlem councilwoman, accepted unpaid assistance from the Advance Group, a prominent lobbying firm working to further her candidacy (Daily News 11/27/2013)

Data & Field Services was a corporation set up explicitly to accomplish the goal of dancing around campaign finance laws with WFP
A Secret Indictment Over Errors That Have Rarely BeenCrimes (NYT)  For all parties, this is a matter that could have been an episode of “The Twilight Zone,” full of weirdness: what appears to be a first-of-its-kind case brought over errors that happen in many, many campaigns across the city. Normally, these errors are caught by the Campaign Finance Board, which audits political spending. 


The Media and Prosecutors Have Been Ignoring Corruption of New York's Election System for Years
The paperwork is then refiled with the proper information. The very issues raised as crimes by Mr. Adler are “routinely addressed through the conduct of our regular post election audits,” Eric Friedman, a spokesman for the board, said in November when the first set of charges was filed. There is something freakish about the existence of a special prosecutor, bringing criminal charges over one campaign whose mistakes — if any — were more or less the same as those of other campaigns. Mr. Adler did not return a message left with his office on Thursday.CITY HALL SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORT (City Hall 2009) * The NYC Working Families Party Scam UPDATED (Daily Kos)

Elected Officials Who Received Help From Data and Fields Attack Adler's Investigation

Council members defend Rose against ‘witch hunt’(Capital) Gathered in the City Hall rotunda to avoid the rain, a dozen Council members defended the Staten Island Democrat and her campaign staff, saying allegations stemming from an investigation into her 2009 campaign were baseless, political and racially motivated. During the 2009 Campaign Before WFP Took Over the City the Following Was Reported About Data and Fields Operation: No Charges Against Working Families Party - NYTimes.com * Settlement Reached in Suit Against Working Families Party (NYT) * Working Families Party = ACORN - Roger Stone: The Stone Zone ... * The Working Families Party Campaign Web | Observer * WFP candidates warned on Data and Field Services firm ...(NYDN) * Working Families Party Hits Back At NY Post Attack: Gothamist * ACORN, the Working Families Party and Political Corruption ... * Anti-WFP Suit Charges Debi Rose Didn't Pay Enough for ... (Village Voice)* WHY IS THE WFP ATTACKING A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR IN THE DATAAND FIELD SERVICES CASE? (City and State)




The NYT, NYP and Daily News Did Not Report On Charges In Rose, WFP's Data and Field Case Yesterday
Debi Rose contends political motivation for criminal charges against campaign workers; a 'threat'to public participation in elections (SI Advance)These charges are trumped-up charges," said Samuel Gregory, the attorney for David Thomas, 57, of Mariners Harbor, after the three defendants were arraigned in state Supreme Court, St. George, on a variety of charges. "It's a political witch hunt. This would be laughable if it didn't involve decent people." Thomas, Ms. Rose's campaign treasurer, was arraigned along with David Jones, 71, of St. George, a political consultant, and Rachel Goodman, 34, Ms. Rose's campaign manager. Ms. Goodman is chief of staff for Democratic Brooklyn Councilman Brad Lander. "Rachel Goodman is flat-out innocent," Ms. Goodman's lawyer, Charles A. Ross said outside court. "This is an episode of the Twilight Zone, ... (but) we will work tirelessly and the last laugh will be ours." The defendants pleaded not guilty through their lawyers, as did the attorney for Debi Rose 4 City Council 2009, an entity which has also been indicted. A representative did not appear for Data and Field Services Inc., the Working Families Party's in-house consulting firm, which has also been indicted. "These are my friends who never did anything wrong in their life," Ms. Rose said moments before the proceeding began. "For this to be the outcome is inexcusable. This is malicious, political and, I believe, it's racial.  Outside the court, Special Prosecutor Adler said the indictment "is about playing by the rules" and denied any political motivation. * Working Families Party leaders protested outside of a Staten Island courthouse after the announcement of indictments: (NY1) @JumaaneWilliams blasts investigation of WFP 2009 Debi Rose campaigns. @NYCProgressives furious that anyone could doubt their probity. * Campaign finance flawed? Good gov't group questions indictment of ... Brooklyn Paper Goo Goos Against Going After Campaign Corruption YES Campaign finance flawed? Good gov’t group questionsindictment of Slope pol’s aide (Brooklyn Paper) * Justice, Staten-Island style: Officials hiss at prosecutorover indictment of Slope pol’s aide (Brooklyn Paper)
Who Wrote the CFB Affidavits for Rose's Treasurer
Rose Treasurer Claims Others Wrote CFB Affidavits For Him (2009 City and State)


After Two Years the NYT Has Reported on the Effect of Citizen United on Local Politics 
But the NYT Still Has Not Reported On How Citizens United Effected the 2013 Election for Mayor, Council Speaker and Council
Dark Money, Blurred Principles  (NYT Ed) Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to play the big-money, outside-influence game in a city with an exemplary campaign-finance law is disheartening.  Beware the politician who professes a devotion to goodness and idealism, and working for “the people” while quietly taking unlimited sums of cash from big donors, supposedly because these benefactors love the values he fights for and not the access and influence that buckets of money can buy. The warning applies across America’s political landscape, post-Citizens United. But, in this instance, it applies specifically to Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York because of a report in The Times on Tuesday that was — pick your adjective, depending on how generous you feel — disturbing, disheartening, discouraging, irritating or infuriating. he article found that Mr. de Blasio and his fund-raising team have quietly asked “donors in the mayor’s inner circle” to give large sums to the Campaign for One New York, a tax-exempt lobbying group known as a 501(c)(4).

NYT Has Not Reported On How A Small Group of Political Consultants Used Citizens United to Fix the 2013 Election
Such groups are free of federal donation limits and stringent reporting requirements because they supposedly promote “the social welfare,” not particular candidates or campaigns. The article said this group’s “social welfare” purpose was buying advertising and using social media to promote top mayoral priorities like affordable housing and greater state financing for public schools. Let’s not be naïve. The way to a politician’s heart is through his nonprofit social-welfare group, a convenient way for outside interests to avoid campaign-spending limits and public disclosure. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Committee to Save New York is another example: for a time the biggest lobbying spender in Albany, fueled by millions from secret donors in business, real estate and gambling who were eager to promote the parts of Mr. Cuomo’s agenda that included things like casino gambling and cutting taxes. Mr. de Blasio likes to present himself as a pure-hearted progressive committed to good-government ideals. In 2013, when he was public advocate, he published a report warning of the threat of 501(c)(4) organizations “to dramatically undermine the democratic process.” He was right, back then. The fund’s defense is that it needs big money to make the mayor’s voice heard, and it isgoing beyond what the law requires in disclosing all its donors and spending twice a year. That is insufficient justification for Mr. de Blasio’s decision to play the big-money, outside-influence game in a city with an exemplary campaign-finance law. It is all too easy to imagine future mayors or other officeholders who will only have to point to Mr. de Blasio’s bad example, and say: I needed the money.
de Blasio Slush Fund PAC Controlled By Berlin Rosen 
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been soliciting contributions to his non-profit Campaign for One New York for advertising campaigns that will support his top policy goals
Mayor de Blasio Is Quietly Soliciting Donations for Future Policy Battles (NYT)  Mr. de Blasio and his fund-raising team have quietly solicited large contributions in recent weeks from donors in the mayor’s inner circle, according to three people who requested anonymity to describe moves by the administration that were not yet intended to be public.  Donors are being asked to contribute to a nonprofit fund, the Campaign for One New York, that is operated by political consultants with close ties to Mr. de Blasio. The fund can accept donations that are significantly larger than those allowed within New York City’s strict campaign finance system.* De Blasio is ramping up a political campaign to promote his housing and education priorities, with an eye toward amassing a financial war chest that can compete with well-funded opponents. The mayor and his fund-raising team have quietly solicited large contributions in recent weeks. Donors are being asked to contribute to a nonprofit fund, the Campaign for One New York, that is operated by political consultants close to de Blasio.

What Happen to Another PAC NYCLASS that de Blasio Help Fund to Control Voters?
Officials at one of Mr. de Blasio’s closest labor allies, 1199 S.E.I.U. United Healthcare Workers East, confirmed on Monday that the union had contributed $250,000 this year. The mayor is not the only prominent elected official in New York to be bolstered by an outside organization. Allies of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, including several real estate developers, donated millions of dollars to the Committee to Save New York, a similar nonprofit fund that supported the governor’s priorities during his first years in office. The funds have drawn criticism from some government watchdogs for accepting contributions from organizations with business before the state or the city. In Mr. de Blasio’s case, the parent union of the United Federation of Teachers made a $350,000 contribution to the fund last spring, as City Hall and the teachers’ union negotiated a labor contract.  “This is a way to get close to, or do a favor for, a mayor who would not otherwise be accepting your campaign dollars in these amounts,” Good government leaders urged the mayor to rely on his taxpayer-funded team: “We believe that elected officials, particularly executives like the mayor and the governor, have fabulous communications apparatuses at their control, through the level of government that they head.”

Berlin Rosen Runs the Mayor's PAC One New York Misinformation Operation
A spokesman for the Campaign for One New York, Dan Levitan, declined to specify how much money the group had raised this year. “Just as we helped build a groundswell for universal pre-k and after school for all New Yorkers, we’ll continue to build support for New York City’s progressive agenda,” said Mr. Levitan, who also served as a spokesman for Mr. de Blasio’s mayoral campaign and now works at BerlinRosen, a public relations firm led by one of Mr. de Blasio’s top political strategists. Under state rules, donations given so far this calendar year will be disclosed for the first time in July. Mr. Levitan said the group would wait until then to identify the contributors.* Alarm raised about ‘dark money’ in de Blasio’s LICH -Fortis letter (Brooklyn Eagle) The backlash continues against a letter sent out by a de Blasio lobbying group supporting the sale of Brooklyn’s Long Island College Hospital (LICH) to a developer.  The controversial June 26 letter touts the “stand-alone ER” that will be replacing the historic hospital. Although it was signed by Carroll Gardens’ resident Gary Reilly, the letter was mailed from the headquarters of de Blasio lobbyists operating under the name “The Campaign for One New York.”
DEB says he's "progressive" & has convinced press but not only doesn't address most pressing problem, a corrupt pol system, he nourishes it



Who Guards the Guards Themselves? 
The AG and DAs Count on the Political Consultant Lobbyists to Get Elected . . . They Ignore Their Corruption
Since the state attorney general and local district attorneys must run for public office, all of the state's top prosecutors must rely on corrupting influence of campaign consultants and campaign donors to win elected office.  Once a prosecutor relies on the advice of campaign consultants, that opens the door to potential lobbying, because, in New York, campaign consultants often double as lobbyists.  Political consultant Red Horse worked for Brooklyn DA Thompson campaign along with Berlin Rosen.  Both Red Horse and Advance Group worked for the UFT's PAC United for the Future (the UFT attempted to covering up Advance involvement by paying them through a fake company) Red Horse worked for Manhattan DA. Red Horse worked for Brooklyn BP Adams, Bronx BP Diaz and PA James. Red Horse worked for Manhattan DA Cy Vance. Red Horse worked for Pitta Bishop for Brooklyn BP Adams. Red Horse worked with George Arzt in the Queens BP campaign. Berlin Rosen not only help elected Schneiderman to his AG position, both it partners worked for him when he was state senator. 

Mayor's Office an Berlin Rosen Joined At the Hip and the Media Ignores 

NYT's Michael Powell -  A couple of weeks back, I called the mayor’s press office and asked about Mr. de Blasio’s perhaps too-optimistic cost projections for prekindergarten.  Twenty minutes later, I heard from Dan Levitan of Berlin Rosen, which is the “it” P.R. firm of the city’s left and a close adviser to the mayor. He advised that I should study the mayor’s proposals carefully if I presumed to take “a skeptical look” at prekindergarten. I asked if Berlin Rosen had a contract to handle queries placed with the mayor’s office. He replied that he handled the “campaign” for pre-K. Lobbyists Search for Berlin Rosen * When Campaign Aides Are Lobbyists, Questions Mount - City Limits(City Limits)  * City Hall's new 'in' crowd of lobbyists (CrainsNY) Lobbyists behind the campaigns of ascendant power brokers are now poised to cash in.*  The Perma-Campaign: For Bill de Blasio, the Race Never Ends(NYO) * When Campaign Aides Are Lobbyists, Questions Mount - City Limits(City Limits) Sugar Fixed Why is Berlin Rosen Not A Registered Lobbyists?  BerlinRosen's current and recent clients include Two Trees Management Negotiations between Mr. de Blasio’s team and Mr. Walentas’s firm took place over the last few days. The two men share a mutual adviser: Jonathan Rosen, one of the mayor’s top political hands and the chief executive of a public affairs firm, Berlin Rosen, that counts Mr. Walentas’s company as a client.* Senate Democrats spend big bucks on consultants, including Melvin Lowe and BerlinRosen, both with Forest City Ratner ties (AYR)
Lobbyists Berlin Rosen Takes Over NYC Government




NYT Leaves Out Berlin Rosen Illegal Campaign and Lobbying Work 

Or the Firms Cheney Like (Brainwashing) and the Privatization of Tammany Hall Corruption

De Blasio-allied group defends LICH deal to brownstone Brooklyn (Capital)  The outside group that advocated for Mayor Bill de Blasio's pre-K plan is sending out a mailer praising a deal that resulted in a dramatic downsizing of Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill. The Campaign for One New York is the new iteration of UPKNYC, the advocacy group run by the mayor's former campaign aides that spent more than $1 million promoting the mayor's universal pre-K plan. When its name change was announced in May, the group's spokesman, former de Blasio campaign aide Jonathan Rosen, told the Wall Street Journal that it would "build on the grassroots energy of UPKNYC and last fall's  campaign to support the mayor's bold, progressive agenda as it continues to move forward — building the affordable housing we need, fighting inequality, and ensuring that every child receives a great education." The mayor got arrested during his mayoral campaign protesting the prospect of the hospital's closure.

What Role Did Berlin Rosen Play With Data and Field? 
Berlin Rosen Work In the Campaign Where Campaign Workers Have Just Been Arrested for Trying to Defraud the CFB Matching Fund Program
In 2009 Berlin Rosen was paid $125,000 to manage council candidate Debi Rose.  Rose's Campaign treasurer and political consultant were both indicted along with a WFP operative.  The campaign workers were arrested for lying to the CFB about undervaluing work done by a for profit company Data and Fields Services created by the Working Families Party.  The SI DA's Special Prosecutor said the Rose campaign got got "sweetheart deals on campaign services from Data and Field and NY Citizen Services. 

Berlin Rosen Ran All the Campaigns in 2009 That Received Funding from the WFP's Data and Field
Mayor de Blasio's 2009 campaign for public advocate campaign paid WFP's Data and Field $225,000 and Berlin Rosen $6,000.  Councilman Lander's campaign paid Data and Field $55,000 and paid Berlin Rosen $85,000.  Speaker Mark-Viverito's campaign paid Data and Field $1000 and Berlin Rosen $75,000.  Councilman Dromm's campaign paid Data and Field $55,000 and Berlin Rosen $20,000. Councilman Van Bramer's campaign  paid Data and Field $35,000 and Berlin Rosen $80,000.  Councilman Williams' campaign paid Data and Field $55,000 and Berlin Rosen $125,000. Securing the WFP nomination comes with important perks. The candidates that Berlin Rosen worked for in 2009 received $466,000 from Data and Field.   Perhaps chief among them is a formidable ground game, courtesy of the party’s political-consulting arm, Data and Field Services (DFS), created in 2007. DFS works only for candidates whom the WFP endorses. The two entities are supposed to be legally separate to comply with election and campaign-finance laws, but they share office space on the third floor of the building at 2-4 Nevins Street in Brooklyn.   In 2013 Berlin Rosen work with the Advance Group for two council candidates Mark Levine and Laurie Cumbo fined for receiving mailings controlled by the NYCLASS PAC under investigation controlled by the Advance Group. Berlin Rosen's candidate Corey Johnson also received funding from another PAC the Advance Group was working for the UFT's United for the Future PAC.  The Advance PAC funded Johnson despite the fact that Advance Was working for his opponent Yetta Krukland.




Why Did Silver Pay A Consultant $750,000 and Spend Almost $2 Million When He Had No Challengers?
Does It Connect to the Albany DA Berlin Client, Never Going After A Corruption With the Lawmaker?
From 2010 to 2014 Friends of Silver (the former Speakers main campaign account) paid lobbyists campaign consultant Berlin Rosen over $750,000.  During that three election cycles Silver paid his campaign consultant he had only one election with a very weak GOP opponent Maureen Koetz in 2014.  Koetz received less than 20% of the vote against the speaker.  Why was Berlin Rosen paid so much money? Was the speaker trying to hide his involvement in other races that Berlin Rosen was running like de Blasio for mayor in 2013? Or was the speaker trying to get over the spending limit by paying the consultant Berlin Rosen directly for candidates he was supporting? Berlin works in a lot of campaigns.  Developer number one in the Silver indictment used LLC as a “loophole corporations,” to get around the election law to funnel more money to political candidates, to buy influence. Was Silver trying to buy with the $750,000 payment to Berlin Rosen?  Besides his own campaign account Friends of Silver, the speaker controls the Assembly Campaign Committee account and the Speakers PAC, which had Trump, James Dolan and Meryl Tisch among its individual donors.  Other than a handful of individuals with less colorful names (Schedule A) SpeakerPAC is mostly a destination for corporate and PAC money (Scheds B, C).  At its beginning, in 2000-02, SpeakerPac spends over $100,000 on entertainment (MARTEL’S RESTAURANT, THE GRAND DELI, RICK ANGERAMI-D.J., ALBANY PARTY WAREHOUSE, RADIO CITY ENTERTAINMENT, SODEXHO, and so on) and nothing else.  SpeakerPAC makes it rain like crazy on the Assembly, and occasionally writes out fat checks to DACC.






True News Had Turner Taking Over the Corrupt Queens GOP Two Weeks Ago
State GOP leader Ed Cox is expected to announce Thursday that former U.S. Rep. Bob Turner will head the Queens Republican Party, ending years of in-fighting and legal disputes over its leadership, thePost reports:  * As expected, former Rep. Bob Turner was recognized as the new leader of the Queens Republican Party last night, potentially ending two decades of internecine warfare, the Observer writes: 

Queens GOP Machine Also Coming Down, Turner To Take Over Next Thursday

State Takeover
Word tonight is that the state GOP leader will appoint someone to the Queens GOP.  As the former VP of the Queens GOP Vince Tabone heads to jail for trying with other GOP leaders to sell the party line to Malcolm Smith (also heading to jail) it look like GOP lead Cox has had enough of the long time civil war fighting for control of the Queens GOP. Insiders report that proxies are being collected to put former congressman Turner in as Queens Boss.


Changing Of the Queens GOP Team 
After of the Death of the Queens GOP Boss, Jailing of Its VP for Ballot Fixing Vinny Trombone There is A Changing of the Machine's Guard at the BOE.  Two Years Ago True News Exposed Bougiamas 360 Consultant Corruption at the BOE Along With Other Queens GOP Corruption At the BOE and Nothing Happen
City Board of Elections official had employee work forhis firm, used city email address: Conflicts of Interest Board (NYDN) A City Board of Elections official illegally enlisted a subordinate to work for his private political consulting firm and used his city email address to do work for the company, the Conflicts of Interest Board found. John Bougiamas was a supervisor at the board’s Queens borough office — and was also running his own consulting firms, 360 Consultants and Pharos Group, which did data services for political campaigns and website design. He got one of his employees to do work for 360 Consultants — mostly working for free, though the staffer got paid $500 for one project. Bougiamas, who worked for the Board of Elections for five years, also used his city email at least seven times to do work for his private businesses, the conflicts board said. Bougiamas resigned after the board’s commissioners voted to suspend him without pay. He did not return a call for comment. 
More on GOP Bottom Feeders 



Halloran 10 Years Smith and Tabone Get Ready to Eat the Cheese 
Ex-Councilman Dan Halloran gets 10 years for bribery scheme (NYP) Saying he believes former City Councilman Dan Halloran perjured himself at trial, a federal judge threw the book at the disgraced pol on Wednesday — sentencing him to 10 years behind bars for masterminding a failed $200,000 bribery scheme to get Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith the Republican line in the 2013 mayoral election. The US Probation Department had recommended 6 ½ to 8 years of prison for Halloran, who tried to claim insanity as a defense at trial and is a “prince” in a pagan order that includes public floggings. “For five days, he lied on the stand,” Karas said. “It was egregious.” “There was overwhelming evidence of his guilt,” the judge added. “I saw him squirm and look uncomfortable on the stand … He lied and lied repeatedly. It was grotesque and offensive.” A White Plains federal jury last July deliberated a mere 85 minutes before finding Halloran guilty on five counts of bribery, wire fraud and racketeering

The Bottom Feeder GOP Has A Lone History of Selling Their Ballot Line
The conviction ended a bizarre two-month trial in which Karas rejected Halloran’s bid to pursue an insanity defense related to a brain tumor he had removed in 2012and also saw Halloran proceed with the case without Smith and another co-defendant, former Queens Republican Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone — even after a mistrial was declared. Both Smith and Tabone were convicted on federal corruption charges in February and have yet to be sentenced. Halloran negotiated for $110,000 in bribes to be paid out to three city GOP leaders through the mayoral-race-fixing scheme, and he sought another $75,000 in payments for himself. He was caught on tape telling an undercover FBI agent and a crooked Rockland County developer working with the feds that money “greases the wheels” in New York politics. To get the GOP line, Smith — then one of the state’s top Democrats — would have needed the support of three of the five borough Republican committees. Queens and the Bronx were allegedly secured for the scheme, but Smith never secured a third borough committee. Halloran testified that he knew the undercover agent posing as a developer was asking him to break the law and that he only went along with the conversation in order to legally snag campaign cash. He claimed the money he secured through the Smith scheme was legitimate consulting fees and that he never planned to follow through with forwarding the Council funds. Following the jury’s verdict, Assistant US Attorney Douglas Bloom alleged that Halloran lied through his teeth about being innocent during his five days on the witness stand. Karas then also agreed, saying he “was also very troubled with Mr. Halloran in terms of his candor.” * Former city councilman Dan Halloran gets 10 years in prison New York Daily News‎ * Former NYC councilman Dan Halloran gets 10-year prison sentence Newsday‎ * US Attorney SDNY ‏@SDNYnews  Fmr NYCcouncilman Daniel Halloran sentenced to 10 years in prison for role in bribery& fraud schemes  * Former New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in two corruption schemes, including taking bribes to help then-state Sen. Malcolm Smith run for mayor in 2013, The New York Times reports: 
More on Halloran 
More on Malcolm Smith Conviction 




Stringer to Review Corrupt DOE Contract 
New York Controller to review $1 BILLION contract between Department of Education and tech firm (NYDN) The Department of Education's potential $1 billion Internet contract with a firm with a checkered past will be thoroughly reviewed, city Controller Scott Stringer said Sunday. The city wants Custom Computer Specialists to deliver Internet improvements at public schools. But the five-year contract with the Long Island based firm has come under fire due to the company’s history of looking the other way and benefitting while a corrupt school system consultant stole millions of dollars between 2002 and 2008. "When this contract comes to my office, we are going to review this top to bottom," Stringer told John Catsimatidis on his Sunday AM 970 morning radio show. * Stringer demands the DOE be more transparent(NYP)

DOE Hiring Corrupt IT Contractor 
The city’s Department of Education plans to award a contract worth as much as $2 billion to a tech firm that got caught up in a kickback scandal four years ago while doing the very same work being proposed, the Post writes: * Letitia James opposes $1B school Internet contract with tech firm(NYP) * 
New contract from city's Department of Education toquestionable technology firm does not compute (NYDN) * Public Advocate Letitia James called on the New York City Department of Education to withdraw a proposed contract with a computer firm previously implicated in a kickback scheme, the Post reports: NYC Public Advocate Tish James is demanding that the Department of Education withdraw a potential billion-dollar contract with a computer firm that was implicated in a kickback scandal doing similar work for the city.




Day After de Blasio LateGate He Pledges SI Will Never Be the "Forgotten Borough"
De Blasio vowed to eradicate the “forgotten borough” moniker and even disgruntled Staten Island residents might concede that the borough is not that forgotten by the mayor, The Staten Island Advance reports:  Tuesday Vague De Blasio gives vague excuse for late arrival to parade (NYP) Mayor de Blasio refused Monday to say which subordinates kept him so busy that he delayed the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the Rockaways, where furious residents reacted with jeers of “worst mayor ever!”


Bill and the Irish Not Happening in de Blasio's NYC
IRISH EXIT: De Blasio booed at Rockaway St. Patrick'sparade, after arriving 20 minutes late and marching just 12 blocks (NYDN) * ‘Worst mayor ever!': De Blasio late again at St. Pat’s parade (NYP) * Mayor's Stance on St. Patrick's Day Parade Alienates Him with Some Irish-American NYers(NY1) * Report: Mayor Bill de Blasio disrespected the Irish withrude late arrival Saturday. (Gawker) Even the City Hall Clocks are Late City Hall running on de Blasio time — some clocks weren’t turned ahead (NYP) * MUST-WATCH: epic @katie_honan video captures every Rockaway heckle of Mayor de Blasio in absentia (DNAINFO)* The Post writes that it is “not good enough” for de Blasiostaff to withhold specifics about the education policy meetings the administration said ran long and made him late to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in the Rockaways  Late Again * De Blasio showed up late to tour Brooklyn’s Boys & Girls High School this morning, just days after being tardy to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in the Rockaways, the Post reports:

Good Economy More Welfare?
Welfare rolls increasing in city, even as economy improves (NYP)  Welfare is making a comeback under Mayor de Blasio, with 13,000 more New Yorkers on the dole by the end of his first year in office, according to a new report obtained by The Post. Enrollment in the city’s cash ­assistance program swelled by 4 percent in 2014 to 352,596 — one of the biggest increases in more than a decade, the Manhattan ­Institute found. The rise comes even as the city’s economy has prospered — some 90,000 jobs were added in 2014, according to the “Poverty and Progress in New York” report ­being released Tuesday. “If government dependence on welfare is rising in a good economy, what’s going to happen in a bad economy?” wondered study author Stephen Eide, who said the trend was antithetical to data dating back to around 1960.

More On de Blasio's City Where Crime is Up Where 91 Failing Persistent Schools Remain Open
De Blasio allowing city to trickle back to bad old ‘Taxi Driver’ days (NYP) A friend who is no fan of Mayor de Blasio’s summarizes the headlines. “What a week!” he writes. “Monday we learned murders are up 20 percent this year.  Now we learn that subway delays are up 45 percent. So here’s my question: Which movie should I rent for the weekend: ‘Taxi Driver,’ ‘Midnight Cowboy’ or ‘Back to the Future’?” New restrictions on school suspensions will make it harder for teachers and principals to keep order in the classroom. The Bad Kids Lobby convinced the educrats that the rights of troublemakers to disrupt an entire class, including cursing out the teacher, are as important as the rights of the good kids trying to learn. And even as he keeps opposing high-performing charter schools, the mayor moved to reward failing district schools. * A de Blasio flashback: he supported AY for "over 3000 low-income units" (nope); "I will take what I can get" (AYR) Flashback 2008 De Blasio claims AY would have 3000 low-income units (AYO)



The Media Made A Big Thing About 12 Days Without A Murder, But Ignore 20% Increase in Shootings and 6% Increase In the Murder Rate
Refusing to close any of the city’s 91 persistent losers or accept a state takeover, de Blasio instead promises to spend $150 million more on those schools, as if more money is the answer. Perhaps most troubling, new restrictions on stop-and-frisk make it harder for cops to keep the streets safe. Carrying an illegal handgun just got easier because cops are no longer allowed to act on “furtive movements” or a “hunch.” It’s also easier for the perps to avoid arrest for an earlier crime because race must be downplayed in describing suspects. So far, it looks like the latter. Shootings are up by more than 20 percent over last year, despite one of the coldest winters in city history. And the increase in murder this year includes the record stretch of 12 days without a homicide, meaning killers are now working overtime. That’s not to suggest the mayor is goofing off while Rome burns. As snow fell last week, de Blasio made two big announcements: He’s still not marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and schools will be closed on two Muslim holidays. As for failing schools, he announced he would shutter two — both charter schools. More cake, anyone? 
De Blasio allowing city to trickle back to bad old 'Taxi Driver' days 






Bharara Not Only Fighting Albany Corruption He is Fighting A Culture Defining Deviancy Down 

Bharara defending his mission as crucial to bringing true democracy to a state hobbled by a history of graft
Anti-corruption crusader Preet Bharara took his clean-up-Albany message to Fordham Law School Friday, defending his mission as crucial to bringing true democracy to a state hobbled by a history of graft. "Anyone who denies the fact or suggests that corruption is not a problem in the cases that we have brought recently in Albany is off base," he said. The day he was formally indicted, Silver filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that Bharara’s speechifying was tainting his ability to get an unbiased jury. On Thursday Bharara's office fired back, noting that since 2007 at least 18 current or former Albany pols have been convicted of corruption charges and stating that Bharara has an obligation to speak out. In his speech Friday, Bharara did not mention Silver's name even once. Prosecutors Hit Back at Sheldon Silver Dismissal Motion (WSJ) * Bharara rebuts Silver’s dismissal bid (Real Deal) US attorney fights assertion that his speeches to media were prejudicial * Preet encourages whistleblowers to step forward, cites CityTime, where person who spoke up early was ignored * Preet: "If we can clean up Times Square, can we really not clean up Albany?"  * Bharara Defends Himself from Criticism that He's Politicizing Prosecution ofSilver (NY1) * Politics was once about beliefs and society. Now it’s aworship of money (Guardian) * Bharara Calls for Heightened Awareness of Public Corruption via @NYLawJournal


Press Ignoring Bharara Pleas to Investigate Corruption Opens Door for Silver Lawyers to Blame the U.S. Attorney 
Bharara to Journalist Investigate Stop Copying My Press Releases do Investigative Reporting

One Year Ago

Preet challenges journos to do investigative reporting (CrainsNY) "Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," Bharara said. "Groundbreaking corruption coverage is not just good copy, it's a path to good government." Bharara. The press has a role to play. "Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," he said 

Bharara Trying to Repair New York's Broken Democracy Does the Job of the Press and the Missing Reform Political Leaders
ProsecutorDenies Creating a ‘Media Firestorm’ Over Sheldon Silver’s Arrest (NYT) * Preet Bharara DefendsHis Public Appearances at Zephyr Teachout Forum (NYO) Mr. Bharara told the filled room at the law school’s Lincoln Center campus that his public denunciations of Albany’s “culture of corruption” are intended to raise awareness of the ethics dilemmas facing the state government, to deter potential bad actors and to encourage well-intentioned public officials to push back against the problem.“Part of your job as a law enforcement official, whether you’re a prosecutor, or the Attorney General, or the FBI director, is to help prevent crime and deter crime.” * “It’s not enough to simply make sure we’re getting rid of the bad folks,” the US attorney said. “We want to make sure we are empowering, or sometimes embarrassing, good folks at any institution that exists to do something when they see something.”


Instead of Connecting the Corruption Dots to Save Democracy Media Joins Silver's Defense Team
U.S. Attorney Keeps Talking, but Leaves Out Sheldon Silver (NYT) Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, offered a notable silence on a corruption case involving the speaker of the New York Assembly after his public remarks became part of it.  Silver's lawyers recently asked a federal judge, Valerie E. Caproni, to dismiss the indictment against Mr. Silver on grounds of “improper extrajudicial” comments by Mr. Bharara. They cited a news conference he held on Jan. 22 to announce the charges, the speech the next day at New York Law School and an interview with MSNBC. The allegations have been strongly denied by Mr. Bharara’s office, which has asked Judge Caproni to deny the motion. Asked whether the United States attorney had taken a different approach in his speech on Friday because Mr. Silver’s pending motion, a spokesman for Mr. Bharara declined to comment. 

NY's Real Estate Industrial Legal Complex Tries to Shut US Attorney Bharara Up 
Mr. Bharara’s speech, atFordham University School of Law, was the keynote address of a symposium, “Fighting Corruption in America and Abroad.” But in his talk, Mr. Bharara returned several times to why he believed it was crucial for a law enforcement official like himself to publicly address corruption. He has noted that more than 18 New York State lawmakers had been prosecuted since 2007. “It’s a fundamental part of this job to talk about these issues,” he said, “so as a community and a country, we’re not just focused narrowly on prosecuting crime but also preventing it and deterring it.” Thomas H. Lee, the law professor who introduced Mr. Bharara, told the audience of academics, students, journalists and others that “as the U.S. attorney, he cannot answer any questions about ongoing prosecutions.” Mr. Bharara also indicated that he did not intend to discuss pending cases.  In the talk, Mr. Bharara raised the question of what kind of government people actually wanted, and seemed to veer at times into an almost philosophical discussion, with references to Archimedes and John Rawls, the noted theorist on justice who had been Mr. Bharara’s professor at Harvard College.  Would you fashion a weak legislature and strong executive?”

NY's Real Estate Industrial Legal Complex Already Controls the Media and Elected Officials
 Mr. Bharara asked. “Would you desire a system in which an individual representative has some power, or one in which all power is concentrated in a single leader?” Mr. Bharara did refer to a closed case involving Eric A. Stevenson, a former Democratic state assemblyman from the Bronx who was convicted in a corruption case and sentenced to three years in prison. Mr. Bharara cited Mr. Stevenson’s now infamous statement, recorded secretly by the government during its investigation, in which he said, “Bottom line, if half of the people up here in Albany was ever caught for what they do,” they would wind up in prison.



Bharara Responds to Silver 
Preet Bharara’s comments on Sheldon Silver’s allegedcorruption were within the law: prosecutors (NYDN)  Prosecutors on Thursday defended Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s public statements slamming former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as “entirely proper.” The documents filed in Manhattan Federal Court came in response to a motion by Silver's attorneys seeking to have the case against the disgraced pol tossed due to Bharara's comments, which they said ruined his chance at a fair trial. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Cohen said Bharara had done everything by the book. Cohen noted that Bharara — who gave a speech at New York Law School and a lengthy MSNBC interview in the wake of Silver’s bombshell arrest — had always spoken in general terms about corruption in Albany, or referred specifically to the criminal complaint against the Assemblyman. “At the end of the day, the defendant is left to complain, not about substance, but about the language the U.S. Attorney used when describing the complaint’s allegations to the public,” Cohen wrote.



Silver's Friends Attack Bharara In Slate 
 A Pace Law School professor who has been critical of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s speech-making and TV appearances in the wake of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s arrest has ties to Silver’s lawyer, the Daily News has learned. Prof. Bennett Gershman and veteran attorney Joel Cohen are longtime friends and occasional co-authors. Gershman, a former prosecutor, recently wrote an online article for Slate that took Bharara to task for what Gershman characterized as grandstanding with inappropriate comments about the speaker and Albany corruption. The article, though, had no mention or editor’s note that Gershman has collaborated on a number of times in the past with Cohen, one of Silver’s lawyers. * Bharara says he cut Silver a break, ‘spared him perp walk’ (NYP) * Federal prosecutors filed a memo opposing Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s motion to dismiss the corruption charges against him, dismissing a claim of “improper statements,” The Wall Street Journal reports: *The office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, asked a federal judge to deny a motion by Assemblyman Sheldon Silver to dismiss his indictment on grounds that Bharara orchestrated a “media firestorm” around the arrest of the former speaker.  Bharara maintains he actually went out of his way to spare Silver undue embarrassment by having him surrender in the basement of the Javits Federal Building before being driven to the courthouse rather than subjecting him to a typical “perp walk.”* Heastie on Silver: "We speak. I've always had a great relationship with him and I don't see why it would change. I consider him a friend."Preet Bharara critic is friend, collaborator of SheldonSilver's attorney (NYDN)

More on the U.S. Attorney Bharara
More on Moreland 





Hey Where is the Media's Outrage About Court Fixing? 

Silver Civil Court Judge Replaced 
Retired judge tied to Sheldon Silver finally replaced(NYP) The civil administrative judge whose court is being probed for allegedly giving Sheldon Silver’s ex-law firm special treatment is finally being replaced — more than two months after her term expired. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Peter H. Moulton will succeed Justice Sherry Klein Heitler, court administrators announced Monday, as feds continue to investigate whether asbestos cases received “red-carpet treatment” at 60 Centre Street. Heitler was the chief judge of a special section for asbestos litigation – which Moulton will now oversee. In February, s​o​urces told The Post that the courthouse was under federal investigation over its ties to the disgraced former Assembly speaker. The dozens of asbestos lawsuits were filed by Weitz & Luxenberg, where Silver was “of counsel” and received $5.3 million in ​what federal prosecutors have called ​kickbacks. Critics have said the firm gets a fast track, “better judges” and first dibs on jurors to hear its cases at the courthouse. * Kavanagh Signs On To Bill Blocking Legal Reimbursements(YNN) * Despite Arrest, Addiction Treatment Group To Honor Silver (YNN) * Assemblyman Sheldon Silver wrote a letter to a local newspaper in his Lower East Side district saying: “There is always more work to be done…My staff and I remain ready to assist community organizations and local constituents on issues big and small.”


Silver's Court Under Fed Investigation
Feds probe civil court following Silver’s arrest(NYP) The country’s most important civil court is under federal investigation, an insider says. The probe is focusing on the state Supreme Court’s civil division at 60 Centre St. in lower Manhattan, where many tentacles reach to disgraced Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the court source said. Silver was arrested last month on corruption charges, and Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara warned the public to “stay tuned” for more developments. The case against Silver centers on his freelance legal “work” and the millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks he hauled in from real-estate and asbestos claims, the feds say. Many of these cases landed in the courtrooms at 60 Centre St., presided over by judges with ties to Silver and his lifelong pal, Jonathan Lippman, the chief judge of the state Court of Appeals. Both men grew up on the Lower East Side, and Silver has been Lippman’s political godfather, pushing him to reach New York’s top judicial post. “The appointment of Sheldon Silver’s childhood friend, Jonathan Lippman, as the state’s chief judge based on his administrative experience made about as much sense as the Yankees making their accountant the manager of the team,” said Charles Compton, former president of the Supreme Court Officers Association. He added that Lippman was appointed “to protect and promote Silver’s interests.”* One of the old three men in a room in Albany is defending his former legislative colleague. Former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver deserves a fair trial and that he’s being charged by an overzealous federal prosecutor.



What Affordable Housing  . . .  de Blasio Gets Re-Elected By Giving the Developers What They Want
De Blasio and Developer Are Close, but Not on Lower-Cost Housing (NYT) Rob Speyer’s company is rushing to qualify for a tax break on a big residential complex in Queens without a key part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s agenda: affordable units.  The relationship flowered, and Mr. Speyer, whose company owns Rockefeller Center and operates on four continents, was a host at Mayor de Blasio’s birthday party at Gracie Mansion last May. At a real estate gathering five months later, Mr. de Blasio singled out Mr. Speyer, telling the 6,200 attendees that the developer was “tremendously civically oriented.” Mr. Speyer is racing to start work on an $875 million residential complex with three high-rises and nearly 1,800 apartments in Long Island City, Queens, a neighborhood a short subway ride from Manhattan

Real estate developer Rob Speyer moved quickly to build a strong relationship with de Blasio, but the men do not seem to be on the same page on affordable housing
He must begin the foundations by June 15 to qualify for a 15-year tax abatement worth about $200 million under a tax program known as 421-a that is intended to stimulate construction and generate affordable housing. After mid-June, the program expires or could be renewed with regulations requiring developers to include a higher concentration of affordable housing. But under current rules, Mr. Speyer is one of six developers eligible for the subsidy without having to build a single low-cost unit, because of where their projects are. None of the other projects, though, is as big as Mr. Speyer’s. If Mr. Speyer’s project, on Jackson Avenue near Queens Plaza, were in Manhattan or along stretches of the East River waterfront in Brooklyn and Queens, he would have to set aside 20 percent of the units for poor and moderate-income tenants. “It’s a huge missed opportunity to create affordable housing,” said Benjamin Dulchin, executive director of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, an advocacy group. “They’re getting an extra tax break for free. It’s unfortunate that the city hasn’t explored whatever leverage it has to get a public benefit.” Spin Alert Mr. de Blasio declined to comment, but Deputy Mayor Alicia Glenexpressed disappointment over the situation.  “This isn’t our vision for the city,” she said. “This is, in fact, a great example of why we need to change the status quo. In many ways, it’s the most overt example of the need to think through the public benefits we get when the city and the state offer tax breaks.” 
 Trio of developers paid $3 million to get projects going (CrainsNY) Albee Development, Halletts A Development Co. and SL Green Realty Corp. spent close to $3 million to get their projects off the ground. Albee Development Lobbyist Capalino, Washington Square Partners Incorporated * Halletts A Development Co Lobbyists Sheinkopf LTD, Cozen O'Connor, KENNETH FISHER, Norman Levy, P.C., SL Green Realty Corp Lobbyists Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Kasirer Consulting LLC, James F. Capalino & Associates, Inc., Goldman Harris LLC* Developers of three new projects paid lobbyists $3M in 2014 (Real Deal) * Speyer and de Blasio disagree on need for affordable housing (Real Deal)


How Speyer Hijacked FDR's Fanny Mae Freddie Mac While Trying to Destroy Affordable Stuy Town  
Tishman  Speyer Lost Billions In Pension Funds in 2006 when they bought Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village for $5.4 Billion and $1.5 billion of Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac funds. Funds which FDR created to help the poor and middle class to buy homes. The Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac funds were ripped off by the Tishman Barons were according to some were intended to push people out of their homes.  Real estate experts agree that the only way Tishman could have made money with that deal was push the middle class tenants out of Stuy TownThe Biggest, Baddest Real-Estate Loan(NY Mag) Tishman Speyer’s $3.4 billion Stuyvesant Town mistake.Speyer and McCray to host birthday bash for de Blasio(Capital) Mayor Bill de Blasio's wife Chirlane McCray and real estate developer Rob Speyer will host a birthday party for de Blasio at Gracie Mansion on Friday, according to an invitation obtained by Capital that's been sent to real estate folks and other municipal powerbrokers. McCray chairs the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, a city-controlled group that raises money for mayoral initiatives (and allows people with money to gain access to the mayor). Speyer chairs the fund's advisory board. He's also the chairman of the Real Estate Board of New York, the city's main real estate lobby, and the president and co-C.E.O. of Tishman Speyer, an international real estate concern that controls, among other things, Rockefeller Center. * True News reported that the Stuy Town developers used their political connections to get Fanny and Freddie Mac hand over to them $1.5 billion to buy the complex at a highly inflated price so the only way Tishman Speyer and BlackRock could make money was was to push out all the low rent tenants.Fannie Mae created in 1938 as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal mission is to tear down barriers, lower costs, and increase the opportunities forhomeownership and affordable rental housing for all Americans
More About Pushing the Middle Class Out of Stuy Town




The Women of Albany Have Their Own Sexual Abuse Hush Fund Wall of Silence
It is even more interesting how the papers could act this way when their own editorial boards scream out for change in Albany. Why do the papers protect the pols Blue Wall of Silence even when they have written thousands of stories about the cops wall of silence and organized crime wall of silence? True News began pointing out the political wall of silence last may The Political Wall of Silence: Not One Pol Expresses Outrage, McLaughlin Goes to Jail


In Albany Women Are Not Equal
Sheldon Silver gave horndogs free rein(NYP) In the end, it was money, not sex, that brought down New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. And that’s a giant slap in the faces of women who’ve toiled long and hard in the state capital in Albany. “Don’t our lives matter?’’ one female Albany veteran asked me. Of course not! Over the decades, Silver, who plans to step down from his powerful post as speaker, likely on Monday, orchestrated payoffs to four women who accused his pals and cronies of sexual harassment or egregious intimate abuse. But this series of scandals (Silver has been accused of enabling, not committing, sexual offenses) had nothing to do with his fall from grace.






As Hotel Market Falls Pressure On Pols to Go After Airbnb and Illegal Hotels  


Hotel Market Staggers in New York City (NYT) After years of growth, the city underperformed almost every other top market in January, but analysts are wary of declaring the start of a troubling trend.* For years, New York City’s hotel sector has been growing. But a sustained strengthening of the dollar and a weak global economy could curb tourism, which could ultimately make the Big Apple a less attractive market for developers and investors. Rising interest rates could also make hotel construction and renovation too expensive.



Judge Rules Airbnb Limits Supply of Rent Stabilized Apts and Drives Up the Rent
Airbnb plainly needs to change some of its practices, but the rent stabilization laws that limit supply and drive up prices also have to change, the Post writes: * A Manhattan Housing Court judge ruled that rent-stabilized tenants cannot benefit profit from their situation by renting their homes to tourists at higher prices on websites like Airbnb, the Post reports: * #Airbnb makes millions by putting NYers at risk of eviction. Apparently"sharing" is not caring. (NYP) * Landlords planning more evictions after Airbnb ruling(NYP) The Manhattan attorney who won a watershed case evicting a tenant who cashed in on his rent-stabilized pad by treating it like a hotel has received a flood of queries from landlords who want to boot other profiteers.* Judge: Residents of Rent-Stabilized Homes Can't Put Place Up for Rent on Websites Like Airbnb(NY1)* @Airbnb foes, Related delight in first site-related eviction viaCity council backs tenants, plans new law to sue landlords for using Airbnb(NYP)
Two City Council members want to arm tenants with a new law that would let them sue their landlords for using Airbnb to rent out neighboring apartments as illegal hotel * City council backs tenants, plans new law to sue landlords for using Airbnb Two City Council members want to arm tenants with a new law that would let them sue their landlords for using Airbnb to rent out neighboring apartments as illegal hotel...* According to a @capitalnewyork analysis, 58% of @Airbnb's #NYC listings are possibly illegal  (Capital) * New York CityCouncilwoman Helen Rosenthal writes in the Daily News that Airbnb should show data supporting its claims that three studies are inaccurate in suggesting most of its listings are illegal hotels



"Muslim Community this is your Selma" @BPEricAdams #EidinNYC
de Blasio is at his “wit’s end” and seeking advice from people who are close to him and Cuomo about how he can improve their relationship, the Daily News’   Cuomo Blamed the WFP or Putting Teachout in the Primary Against Him Those close to de Blasio had hoped the two Democratic powerhouses turned a corner last May when the mayor helped deliver the liberal Working Families Party endorsement to Cuomo, who was seeking reelection, after a contentious battle. And this past week, Cuomo took the unusual step of holding a public event at the Capitol at the same time de Blasio was testifying at a nearby legislative hearing about the governor’s budget. A Cuomo administration official said that while the governor “likes and respects the mayor … the issue is a mayor’s natural frustration that the state controls so much of the city, and the fact that the mayor proposes ideas that are just nonstarters with the Legislature.”* De Blasio on Cuomo divide: Not focused on ‘personalities’(NYDN) * The mayor made it clear he doesn’t want to discuss his rocky relationship with Cuomo, though he didn’t deny a report that he’s trying to mend fences.*  118 New York City schools applied to a new initiative enabled under the teacher’s union contract last summer that allows for bending union rules and city regulations while trying to improve instruction, the Journal reports: * New report challenges de Blasio’s strategy for uppingdiversity in specialized high schools





de Blasio All About Going Around the Media   
Bill 'BuzzFeed' de Blasio Taps Power of Social Media for Public...  (DNAINFO) The de Blasio administration has tried to harness social media to reach New Yorkers directly.* From Flickr and Instagram to the city of New York’s posts on BuzzFeed Community as well as first lady Chirlane McCray’s #FLONYC Tumblr account, the de Blasio administration has made it a point to take their message directly to New Yorkers through as many digital social media platforms as possible.




Question Not Asked if the 421-a Destroying Affordable Housing by Causing More Gentrification?
New Yorkers Spend 60% of Their Income On Rent

De Blasio’s 421-a dilemma (Capital) De Blasio’s ambitious housing agenda puts him on both sides of tenant advocates and on both sides of Big Real Estate, too. On one hand, he is calling for a strong rent control law—something tenant groups have cheered and the real estate industry bemoaned. On the other hand, his ambitious plan to build 80,000 affordable units, preserve 120,000 affordable units, and foster the development of 160,000 market-rate units depends on the cooperation of the real estate industry. His agenda is, in many ways, in developers' hands. And they aren't inclined to see 421-a go anywhere. Meanwhile, revisions to the 421-a program that have required the building of 20 percent as affordable units have not put enough of a dent in the housing crisis to justify the program, tenant groups believe, which means there is little middle ground for the mayor to stake out. * De Blasio hesitant to take position on 421a tax break: MayorBill de Blasio did not take a firm stand on the future… * Tenant Advocates Look to Link Rent Laws in NYC to Development Tax Break


Tenant Group: IDC's Klein is the Bag Man for 421-a Tax Deal
Activists Blast Jeffrey Klein for His Ties tothe Real Estate Industry(NYO) Alliance for Tenant Power, a liberal pro-tenants organization, is planning a series of tweets and Facebook memes blasting State Senator Jeffrey Klein, a Bronx Democrat and leader of the Independence Democratic Conference. The group is targeting Mr. Klein, a co-leader in the Senate and an ally of the Republican majority, for not supporting their priorities, including a repeal of the controversial tax break, 421-a, an end to vacancy decontrol, and an overall strengthening of rent laws. “Senator Jeff Klein has nearly 45,000 rent-stabilized apartments in his district, but too often he operates as a paid spokesman for REBNY and the real-estate industry,” said Delsenia Glover, a spokeswoman for Alliance for Tenant Power. Like other leading elected officials in the city and state, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Mr. Klein has filled his campaign coffers with donations from the real estate industry. Critics of Mr. Klein, who identifies as a progressive, say he is too closely aligned with the Real Estate Board of New York, citing his robust defense of 421-a, a tax break granted to developers for building multifamily housing. he tax break cost the city about $1 billion in foregone tax revenue in 2013, according to the New York City Independent Budget Office. “Mr. @JeffKleinNY has received more than $1M from the #RealEstate industry. No wonder he’s on the Real Estate side NOT the tenant’s side,” Alliance for Tenant Power plans to tweet. “Senator @JeffKleinNY will always be on your side…if you’re a #RealEstate developer.”




Memo to Daily News: Pay to Play Corruption of the 421-a Program At Rick's Albany Place



Wednesday Update
The real estate lobby will press its agenda in Albany today, calling for the renewal of a major development subsidy program, warning lawmakers not to strengthen rent-control laws and arguing for the renewal of an initiative meant tot spur cleanup of contaminant sites. * Bill de Blasio Declines to Take Position onControversial Tax Break (NYO) * 
Pampering the rich:Luxury apartments get 421-a tax breaks and rent protection (NYDN) Henry Ikezi made it into the news because a housing court judge ordered him evicted for renting out the pad using Airbnb. The Hell’s Kitchen tenant had it all for $6,770 a month — sweeping views, sleek fixtures and, to top it off, protection from rent increases. What  Daily News correctly pointed out in today’s editorial is that none of the news story focused on the fact that Ikezi lives in a luxury building whose developer received a tax break to build. The weakness in the Daily News editorial is that it left out the millions in campaign contributions funneled into elected officials campaign accounts, the lobbyists consultant who elect them to design and pass give-away programs like 421-a to developers.  It is very curious why the editorial left out the arrest of Speaking Silver which can give its reader a text book lesson how the luxury developers run Albany.  
The indictment of Silver by the U.S. Attorney states that the former speaker conspired to work with law firms and developers looking for tax breaks to extort pay to play kickbacks millions for himself.  Instead of looking at Silver the Daily News blames the tenant for only getting a 1% rent stabilized increase last year. All Ikezi was take advantage of the state’s corruption produced housing program.  The Daily News can do better that the BS that the 421-a program was born in a hazy past when a middle-class family could afford a Manhattan rental. The program was born in the pay to play corrupt culture in Albany.  that developers like the Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman know well.

If the City is Building A Record Number of Affordable Housing Why Has the Number of Homeless Increased By 10%



The Daily News Won't Even Report That Bharara is Investigating Luxury Real Estate 421-a Tax Break Corruption 
Bharara probing tax deals given to luxury condo building(NYP) US Attorney Preet Bharara is investigating the massive tax breaks granted to Midtown’s luxury One57 condo building, where a mystery buyer just paid a record $100 million-plus for the duplex penthouse, sources told The Post on Sunday. The now-disbanded Moreland Commission panel on public corruption was reported to have been investigating the sweetheart tax abatements scored by developer Gary Barnett of Extell Development. Bharara took over that probe when he subpoenaed the firm’s records after Gov. Cuomo unexpectedly shut down the commission last year, sources said. The One57 tax abatements are estimated to be worth at least $35 million. One57’s tax abatements were granted under the “421-a” program, which was highlighted in last week’s criminal complaint against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who is charged in a $4 million corruption scheme. He was accused of using his power over development incentives to steer business to a law firm run by his former Assembly counsel.

Developers With the Help of Albany Has Destroyed the Strong Neighborhoods of New York, Pushed the Middle Class Out and Increased Homelessness
EmptiestCo-ops and Condos. In Manh, more 421-a units owned by nonprimary than primaryresidents!!!!   Why Silver Helped Kill Moreland  New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, now under federal investigation, was also under scrutiny this year by the Moreland Commission looking into the sources of his six-figure outside income, The WallStreet Journal reports:  *Prosecutors from the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York and agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have found that the law firm,Goldberg & Iryami, P.C., has paid Mr. Silver the sums over roughly a decade, but that he did not list that income on his financial disclosure forms, as required, the people said.  Silver is "not known to have any expertise in the complex and highly specialized area of the law in which Goldberg & Iryami practices"* "properties on the Lower East Side 4 which Goldberg has sought real estate tax reductions include Silver’s own co-op"* Before the focus of US Attorney Preet Bharara’s probe emerged this week, Moreland Commission members said they had considered the speaker’s outside income a high priority up until the point that the panel was disbanded by Cuomo in a budget deal with Silver and the state Senate. The probe into Silver’s outside income sheds a rare spotlight on a small group of lawyers who specialize in challenging tax assessments in New York City’s complex property tax system.* “421-a paid for my bidet” (Real Deal) NYC tenant advocates descend upon Billionaires' Row to rally against controversial tax break


Litwin's Glenwood Has Given $800,000 to Cuomo's Campaigns 
Leonard Litwin At the Heart of the Silver Indictment Campaign Money, LLC Shows How Everyone in Corruption Albany, INC, Gets Their Cut
State’s largest campaign donor a client of Silver’s second firm(Capital) Litwin has used 27 different Limited Liability Companies controlled by Glenwood Management to contribute at least $4.3 million to political committees in New York since the beginning of 2013. Five of these L.L.C.s—Briar Hill Realty, L.L.C.; Columbus 60th Realty, L.L.C.; East 46th Realty, L.L.C.; East 81st Realty, L.L.C.; and River York Barclay, L.L.C.—are currently retaining Goldberg & Iryami for challenges to their real property tax assessments, according to data maintained by the New York City Tax Commission.* Developer Leonard Litwin, by most measures New York’s most generous campaign contributor, is a major client of Goldberg & Iryami, the firm whose payments to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are reportedly being examined by the FBI.

Mystery “Developer 1″ in Silver case said to beGlenwood’s Leonard Litwin(Real Deal) Federal charges appear to cite state's top political donorThe 100-year-old Litwin spent the most money on political donations during that time, as The Real Deal reported. Crain’s also made a connection between Litwin and the $900,000 Developer 1 paid to eight lobbying firms. The complaint also calls out another developer. Cuomo's biggest donor is also the oldest | Crain's New York ... *  Glenwood Management CEO Leonard Litwin, thebiggest contributor to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s victorious re-election campaign, was also the top donor for the state Senate races. Of the $1.5 million he donated, 79 percent helped Republicans while 9 percent helped Democrats * Developers using loophole to funnel donations to Cuomo  (RealDeal) Glenwood, Extell and others contributing money to governor via LLCs, report shows 
Cuomo After Silver's Arrest I See the Reform Light Again



Elected Officials Fund Their Re-Election Campaigns With Real Estate $$$ As New Yorkers Get Pushed Out by the Tax Breakes to Developers 

Only True News Has Connected the Dots to Show How the 421-a Tax Breaks is Fueling Gentrification and Pushing Blacks and the Poor Out of Brooklyn
The “Billionaires Row” high-rise on West 57th Street (left) was among five luxury developments that got 421-a tax breaks authorized by state lawmakers in 2013.* Developer linked to Silver case tops 2014 donor list (Capital) These donations included $1 million to Governor Andrew Cuomo, $450,000 to the New York State Democratic Committee and $19,700 to Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. This makes Litwin the largest donor to Cuomo. He was also the largest donor to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman ($240,000) and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli ($180,000). He gave to each of Albany’s five legislative conferences: Senate Republicans ($1.01 million), the Independent Democratic Conference ($195,300), Assembly Democrats ($179,500), Senate Democrats ($133,000) and Assembly Republicans ($3,150). Senator Jeff Klein received $80,000 from Litwin’s holdings, more than any other individual legislator. In all, 89 state-level campaign committees received money from an LLC owned by Glenwood. * Law firm Weitz & Luxenberg mulls whether to keep paying Sheldon Silver (NYDN)

Both the NYT and Daily News Ignore the Fed Investigation of 421-a Corruption
Among the charges against Silver is that he arranged special real-estate-tax breaks in exchange for large sums funneled through a friend’s law firm.  In Program to Spur Affordable Housing, $100 Million Penthouse Gets 95% Tax Cut (NYT)  The 57th Street penthouse is a prime example in the debate over a program that offers generous tax abatements to generate apartments affordable to poor and moderate-income tenants. * Advocates,politicians push to end billion-dollar housing developer tax break (NYDN) The 421-a property tax exemption, which costs the city more than $1 billion a year, was slammed for 'returning nothing to the taxpayers.' Opponents slammed the break as a giveaway to luxury developers that results in little affordable housing while blowing a big hole in the city budget. The 421-a property tax exemption offered to builders of new housing, which dates to the 1970s, costs the city about $1.1 billion a year and is set to expire this year, unless it is renewed by Albany pols.


The Affordable Bronx Has Become the Poor's Last Stop In NYC
What Are the Affordable Housing Pols Doing to Stop the High Number of Evictions in the Bronx?  

A three-month City Limits investigation found that Bronx tenants are at a severe disadvantage when facing their landlords in court because the system is overburdened
Housing Court SeesRising Pressure in Most Affordable Borough (City Limits)Bronx housing court is crowded for a reason. Among the five boroughs, the Bronx's portfolio of affordable housing stock is the most robust, with rents that are still cheaper than in other parts of the city. That's why housing advocates see the northernmost borough as the last frontier in the fight for housing affordability — a final chance to stop the tide that continually pushes New Yorkers from their neighborhoods. Housing Court Sees Rising Pressure in Most Affordable Borough* Mr. Mayor, here’s how it’s done: Lessons from theaffordable housing frontlines (NYDN)

Affordable Housing Has Become A Band-aid On A Cancer for Elected Officials to Protect Them From What They Are Doing to Our City With Their Tax Breaks to Developers 

From Campaign 2013
The Bloomberg administration’s ambitious housing plan to create or preserve 165,000 affordable units by the end of June 2014, largely through incentives to private developers, will fall short of meeting the need for affordable housing in the city. “We hardly gained anything because we lost an equal number of units from rent regulation and Mitchell Lama,” said Mr. de Blasio. “There’s over a third of the city paying more than 50% of their income for rent.” Poor Door’ in a New York Tower Opens a Fight Over Affordable Housing(NYT) As public housing becomes a relic, American cities have grown morereliant on developers, who say they can maximize their revenues and build more affordable units, by separating them from their luxury counterparts. * Real Estate Developers, Tax Breakes and Politics

Homelessness




Asphalt Green's retaining of lobbyist Jim Capalino last year was highlighted on page 2 of the New York Post in a story about Capalino & Co.'s topping the list of the city's most lucrative lobbying firms in 2014. The hire, which yielded $41,000 for Capalino last year, might be paying dividends. The Upper East Side nonprofit sports and fitness organization is seeking to minimize the impact of a marine-transfer station being built next door by the city—a marked contrast to the longtime strategy of neighborhood residents and real estate interests, which has been to prevent the trash plant from being built. The new approach—which is focused on relocating an access road—resonates with at least one elected official, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. "I do think putting a road through a playground is challenging," she told the Crain's editorial board. "It's a lousy location." The project went through city government's approval process long ago and is now in the hands of the de Blasio administration, so Ms. Brewer has no formal say over it. But her opinion about the access road could matter: She has been an ally of Mayor Bill de Blasio for ages, and was a stalwart supporter of his candidacy for City Council speaker in 2005. Ms. Brewer has no intention of trying to stop the transfer station itself. "The project is going forward," she said.



Vision $$$ Tickets Skyrocket 
 to ease into enforcement (NYP) Cops have been furiously writing tickets since the city speed limit was dropped from 30 mph to 25 mph last year — with summonses skyrocketing by more than 40 percent in the first three months, according to NYPD data obtained by The Post. On Nov. 6, a day before the policy was put into place, Mayor de Blasio promised to go easy on the early enforcement of his speed law to let drivers get used to the new limits. But rather than be granted mercy, drivers felt the heat as speeding summonses increased by nearly 8,700 between November and January — from 20,486 to 29,179 — over the same period a year earlier. In November alone, summonses doubled to 13,606 compared to the 6,600 handed out during the same month in 2013, according to the stats. Call for More Prosecution of Bad Drivers  As Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero enters its second year, safety advocates want more prosecution of drivers who violate traffic laws and kill or injure a pedestrian and want their driver’s licenses suspended, the Times reports:  * Safety advocates are calling for increased prosecution of drivers who violate traffic laws, including a new one that makes failure to yield a misdemeanor, instead of a traffic violation, if a pedestrian is killed or injured. They are also asking the State Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend a driver’s license after serious offenses as a way of deterring dangerous driving.* The NYC Sanitation Department has issued more than 10,000 tickets for failure to clear sidewalks this winter and more than 42,000 tickets since 2010. In total, those tickets carried fines of nearly $8.5 million (excluding a small percentage of tickets that were successfully challenged), of which just $2.6 million has been paid so far.




Escape From New York Increase As State Falls to 4th Biggist . . . Weaking Clout In Congress

New York's cost of living jumps 20% in 5 years (NYDN) A new NY? "Outflow of New Yorkers Rose in 2014": As expectedFlorida has officially surpassed New York as the nation’s third most populous state, according to newly released Census data, State of Politics reports: By adding an average of 803 new residents each day between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014, Florida passed New York to become the nation’s third most populous state, according to US Census Bureau.  The outflow of New Yorkers to other states increased as the national economy improved, surging back to pre-recession levels.* Ceding to Florida, New York Falls to No. 4 in Population(NYT)  With 19.7 million residents, New York now ranks behind CaliforniaTexas and Florida, according to new figures released by the United States Census Bureau.* The U.S. Census Bureau confirmed that, as predicted, Florida has surpassed New York’s population with 19.9 million people, compared with 19.7 million in the Empire State.* New York City legislators distressed at increases in property taxes are going to propose a rebate of about $500 a year for small homeowners, the Post reports:   * A report from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found the state collected $474.2 million more than expected in tax revenue last month, while collections over the last three quarters are $716.4 million more than anticipated, State of Politics reports *  
EJ McMahon considers the ballooning cost of paying for retired NYC workers’ health care.* De Blasio met privately with nearly two dozen Wall Street titans Tuesday and urged them to do more to help the middle class and to back his living wage law expansion and workforce training programs, Crain’s reports:

Organized Crime Toxic Muck in the Bronx Touches the Speaker 
Records show Heastie accepted cash from a convicted mobster (NYP)The state’s newly minted Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie, accepted cash from a mobster convicted of racketeering and steered thousands more to a man who did time for manslaughter, records show.Between 2003 and 2008, more than $2,800 flowed into the Bronx Democrat’s campaign coffers from Tri-State Employment Services and its top executives, including reputed Bonanno associate Neil Messina, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison last April in connection with a 1992 home-invasion murder.Heastie also directed at least $250,000 to the Bronx Business Alliance. The now-defunct non-profit’s head, John Bonizio, was convicted of manslaughter in 1982 for bludgeoning a man to death with a baseball bat. Bonizio also made a plea deal after being indicted in the same year for trying to bribe an NYPD detective. Heastie said through a spokesman he did not know of Bonizio’s brutal crime, which was reported in newspaper accounts in 1989, or of Messina’s reputed ties to the Bonanno family.* Top de Blasio aidesuse personal accounts for city-related emails despite mayor's transparencypromise (NYDN)  First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris and director of intergovernmental affairs Emma Wolfe routinely communicate on city issues via their private email addresses, according to multiple insiders. Good-government groups say that’s a covert way to dodge oversight and contrary to the open government de Blasio vowed to run.

“These contributions were made years ago, before the accusations, and [Heastie] will be donating them to charity,” spokesman Michael Whyland said. “The Speaker has no input regarding the makeup of the [Bronx Business Alliance] board.”Heastie did not receive campaign contributions from Bonizio, state financial-disclosure records show. But Bonizio hasn’t been quiet when it comes to political money. He’s shoveled campaign cash to Mayor de Blasio, and to Council members Ritchie Torres and Annabel Palma, according to city campaign-finance records. The city recently announced it was cancelling a $10 million contract with Tri-State. * Assembly SpeakerCarl Heastie aided nonprofit that stopped filing taxes before going bankrupt (NYDN)  The Bronx Business Alliance stopped filing tax forms after the 2008-09 tax year, reporting a $34,000 deficit. Nevertheless, Heastie kept sponsoring funding for the group. His final grant was for $115,000 in 2009-2010, and other politicians directed hundreds of thousands of dollars more in 2010-2011. Assembly Ethics The Assembly introduced Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget amendments meant to strengthen ethics laws after initially refusing to accept them, but the state Senate has not yet done so, Newsday reports: Term Limits Senate Advances Term Limits Bill (YNN) * A power play by the legislature against Cuomo weakened yesterday as the Assembly agreed to introduce the governor’s budget amendments. The Democratic-led chamber introduced the governor’s budget amendments containing ethics measures aimed at the legislature, state officials confirmed. Senate Republicans haven’t yet followed suit.
More On Speaker Heastie 


Parents Rebel Against Cuomo Linking College Aide: 
to School Tax Credits and Aide to Illegal Immigrant Students 
Parents rebel against bid to deny state aid to college students (NYP) Parents are rebelling against Gov. Cuomo’s bare-knuckled strategy to deny state aid to nearly 400,000 “legal” college students if the Legislature refuses to provide tuition assistance to illegal immigrants or tax credits to supporters of parochial schools.



Teacher Ratings Are BS 
Slippery in the Slope, where all teachers are perfect (NYDN Ed) Families who live in Park Slope have easy access to Brooklyn’s most beautiful green space, to a food coop overflowing with organic produce and to a school where every single teacher is absolutely fantabulous. Come with us now to Public School 321, where the staff walks on water, according to the state’s newly released teacher performance evaluations. Fully 96% of the school’s instructors won “highly effective” ratings, just 4% were marked “effective” and zero fell below grade to “developing” or “ineffective.” Meantime, at Stuyvesant High School — home to the best and brightest students — the ratings reversed and were closer to the citywide trend: just 3% “highly effective and 96% “effective.” Do PS 321’s kids learn the meaning of the word “farce”? * New York City's ban on cell phones in public schools isover. Now, schools are rolling out new rules.(WNYC)* Teachers Union Leaders Question Charter School Rally (YNN)







UFT Fails At Education
UFT-founded charter school closing for poor performance (NYP) A long-struggling K-8 charter school founded by the teachers union to prove that its work contract doesn’t impede student success will close in June, after failing to meet academic benchmarks....*  Controversial UFT Charter Schoolin Brooklyn to Close Elementary and MiddleGrades (NY1) New York City Teachers’ Union Is Closing Portion of Its Brooklyn Charter School (NYT) Low student tests scores are forcing the United Federation of Teachers to shut down the kindergarten-to-eighth-grade portion of a charter school it started in 2005.* A new wave of standardized exams, designed to assess whether students are learning in step with the Common Core standards, is sweeping the country, arriving this week in classrooms in several states and entering the cross hairs of various political movements. Almost every state – including New York – has an “opt out” movement.


Will Murdoch Buy the News To Shut It Down?

First Issue Village Voice

Daily News: The End or A New Beginning In NY Great Journalism?
DeadLine USA Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman is exploring a sale of the tabloid and has retained the firm Lazard to assist in the process. SELLING THE NEWS -- Zuckerman to unload storied tab -- Capital’s Joe Pompeo: Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman is exploring a sale of the tabloid and has retained the firm Lazard to assist. In an email to staff, Zuckerman said he hadn't been considering an imminent sale of the paper, which he acquired in 1993, but that his thinking changed after receiving an approach several weeks ago. ‘I have not come to this decision easily,’ Zuckerman wrote. ‘But I believe the immense hard work in turning the business around in an extremely challenging period for the industry, has put the Daily News in as strong a position than it has ever been, particularly online.’”--POSSIBLE BUYERS “[T]he News ... is believed to be losing around $20 million a year. … Murdoch's name has been the first to come up ... Another possible suitor? The Dolan family, which owns Cablevision and Newsday. ... Ken Doctor, a newspaper analyst and Capital contributor, said … ‘it's an asset with little to no financial value. ... A strategic buyer’—such as [Murdoch’s] News Corp. or, as The Financial Times floated as a possibility, the Newhouse family, which owns the Staten Island Advance and [Newark’s] Star-Ledger —‘might make some sense on a cost consolidation basis.’ The theoretical vanity buyer ... ‘might pay Mort an honorable sum, in recognition of what is passing on.’” * Mort Zuckerman might sell the Daily News, but his other media property, US News & World Report, is not for sale.* Owner of New York’s Daily News, Mortimer Zuckerman, Weighs Selling It (NYT) In a memo to staff members, Mr. Zuckerman said had been approached about a sale of the tabloid and had retained advisers on the matter.* News Corp. Set to Rehire Rebekah Brooks, Acquitted Executive (NYT) After being acquitted in a British phone hacking scandal, Ms. Brooks is expected to take an executive role seeking ways to expand the company’s digital endeavors, people familiar with its plans said. Monday Update MSG and Cablevision boss James Dolan reportedly wants to buy the New York Daily News and has a team of bankers exploring the possibility. But Dolan and MSG have been locked in a 10-year feud with the News, which could put some of the paper’s editorial staff in a precarious position if he becomes the buyer.* Mort Zuckerman paid $36.3M for the Daily News in 1993.The tabloid loses $20M a year





Something is Wrong 
The mayor does not interrupt a useless trip to Albany where a terrorist cell is discovered in Coney Island.  He had Bratton and Miller handle the press conference on the arrests of 3 would be jihadists. Not a story or quote from the mayor about the terrorist's arrests. Almost None of the city or state's elected officials have said a word about the arrests.    The Brooklyn Punks Who Dreamed of ISIS (Daily Beast) *  NYDN Editorial: An ISIS cell grows in BK * NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton described three Brooklyn men arrested and charged with plotting to join ISIS as a real threat and “the lone wolf inspired to take up arms against our country,” the Daily News reports: The arrests of three Brooklyn men who allegedly plotted to join ISIS and kill President Barack Obama demonstrate that New York “is home to the virus of murderous jihad.”* Mitchell Silber, the former NYPD director of intelligence analysis, writes in the Journal that the arrests of Brooklyn men who allegedly sought to join ISIS shows the changing natureof the threat of homegrown extremism:

Other NYC Pols Keep Busy With More Important Issues 
The Black People Eat Different Apology   Brooklyn Sen. Velmanette Montgomery apologized for her racially charged comments regarding the imminent closure of a supermarket.Dromm Out Typewriters NYPD still uses typewriters, but City Councilman proposesbill to scrap them: More Bronx Member Items Bronx officials are looking to new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the borough’s former Democratic party chairman, to champion a host of pet projects. Love Tourism App W/ Senators @bettylittle & @TonyAvella, along w/ ESD's Gavin Landry & Ross Levi promoting the @I_LOVE_NY #tourism app * Caucus Policy Chair @BenKallos w @DistCouncil37 Treasurer Maf Musbah Uddin at City Council Breakfast w labor allies * Senator Diane Savino ‏If you continue stepping on the necks of hard working people and don't be surprised when they turn on you!


WFP Investigation Results in Indictments Against Official's Ex-Aides 
An investigation into the Working Families Party that dates to 2009 allegations of campaign finance issues has resulted in the indictment of two former aides to City Councilwoman Deborah Rose Inquiry Into Working Families Party Spurs Charges Against Official’s Ex-Aides (NYT) A years long inquiry into the party, the influential left-leaning group that helped fuel the rise of Mayor Bill de Blasio, has resulted in the indictments of two former aides to Deborah L. Rose, a Staten Island city councilwoman. A years long investigation into the Working Families Party, the influential left-leaning group that helped fuel the rise of Mayor Bill de Blasio, has resulted in the indictments of two former aides to a Staten Island city councilwoman. But the special prosecutor, Roger Bennet Adler, said on Wednesday that he ultimately chose not to seek criminal charges against the party itself, or any of its top officers, in a case involving campaign finance issues that date to 2009. It is the latest twist in an arcane but notable episode in New York City politics, and the Working Families leadership said it viewed the outcome as a vindication after years of innuendo about improprieties. Mr. Adler was appointed in 2012 and had spent several months presenting evidence to a grand jury. Opponents accused the Working Families Party of circumventing campaign finance laws by supplying some of its candidates with discounted services — such as staff members to hand out fliers or knock on doors — through its for-profit arm, called Data and Field Services. Candidates in New York City are held to strict spending limits, so giving a discount would confer an advantage. Party officials maintain they did nothing of the sort.* WFP Claims Victory in Special Prosecutor Probe (YNN)



DOI Report Show How Consultants Lobbyists and Bad City Hall Planning Have Damaged the City 911 System

Councilwoman, DOI Commissioner Spar Over 911 Overhaul Report (NY1) * Investigation Finds Problems With Work on New York City 911 System (NYT) The city’s Department of Investigation cites mismanagement, overdependence on contractors and tampering with status reports in a new report on a halted project.* City's 911 upgradeis decade behind schedule and nearly $1 billion over budget, a scathing reportby Department of Investigation finds (NYDN) Report shows Bloomberg administration woefully mismanaged overhaul as vendors and consultants ran it with little supervision from City Hall. A scathing report by the city’s Department of Investigation found the Bloomberg administration mismanaged for years the city’s massive overhaul of its 911 communications system.  The upgrade is 10 years behind schedule, nearly $1 billion over budget and needlessly slowed down by a persistent battle of the badges between the FDNY and the NYPD, the report shows. * A new investigation has found New York City employees were pressured by supervisors to “‘sanitize,’ ‘soften’ or ‘spin’” failures surrounding the long-delayed, $2 billion upgrade of the city’s 911 system by tampering with color-coded ratings,the Times writes:  * * The city’s incompetent attempt to modernize the 911 emergency telephone system has now cost taxpayers almost a billion dollars more than expected and will arrive a decade past its original deadline City pols slam de Blasio administration on city 911 system (NYDN) But Elizabeth Crowley said the city should abandon unified call-taking — where police, fire, and medical emergency calls are all initially handled by the same call takers. "Eleven years later, our system is no more reliable," she said at a Council hearing Wednesday. "Response times are longer than they've ever been in the past."
911 Phone System Failure Scandal





For Months True News Was Reporting On the Boss Controlled Special Elections . . .  Today the Daily News Agrees 


Special delivery:Time to consign undemocratic boss-driven special elections to history (NYDN) Let these be the last two contests conducted under New York’s grossly undemocratic special election law. That statute cuts out the usual party primaries, thereby empowering Democratic and Republican bosses to put whatever loyal soldiers they choose on the ballot. Voters get no real choice about who represents them — especially in places where one party dominates, as Democrats do in most of New York City. To give voters input — and give upstart candidates a fair shot — special elections must be reformed in one of two ways. Option 1: Quickly hold special party primaries, followed by a special general election. Option 2: Following the model used to fill vacancies in New York City offices, quickly hold nonpartisan elections without party labels. To his credit, Cuomo has previously avoided calling special elections to prevent bosses from gaming the system. But Brooklyn Federal Judge Jack Weinstein ruled that promptly filling Grimm’s seat is a constitutional necessity — forcing Cuomo to invoke the special-election law. No more.* N.Y.’s undemocratic elections (NYDN)

Previously Reported in True News
Party Bosses and Special Elections 
Who Picks Grimm's Replacement the Bosses or the Voters
Cuomo was right to prevent party boss selection for former Rep. Michael Grimm’s seat, and he should either hold special party primaries and a special general election or one special nonpartisan election, the DailyNews writes: * Cuomo: Special Elections Are Expensive To Hold (YNN) GOP lawyers Constituents of Grimm's Former District Take Call forSpecial Election to Court(NY1)*  argued in federal court today that Cuomo must immediately allow a special election to replace former Rep. Michael Grimm, claiming the governor has failed to provide a valid reason for posposting such a vote.*  WATCH: Special election plaintiff compares Cuomo to Southern states that disenfranchised black voters (SI Advance) David Pascarella, a Staten Island lawyer and member of the Republican Party, is one of eight plaintiffs suing Gov. Andrew Cuomo.* 'The governor is a governor, not a king,' argues attorney inhearing to force Cuomo to set special election * Cuomo attorneys argue against special-election suit (Capital) * Cuomo’s attorneys argued that a legal effort to force him to call a special election for former Rep. Michael Grimm’s seat is an “extraordinary and drastic remedy” for a nonexistent problem, Capital New York reports *Staten Island Democratic Party Vice ChairAnnounces Bid for Congress (NYO) * Frank Sedita, head of the state District Attorneys Association, said prosecutors have significant concerns about Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s plans to open up the grand jury process, Gannett Albanyreports Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Gov. George Pataki were among the big names in New York politics to attend a Manhattan fundraiser last night for Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan’s bid for Congress. 





Special Elections No Longer A Demand for Reforms 
Cuomo Orders Special Elections May 5th Not A Word About Reform to Add Primaries 

Progressives Disconnect From Reform
Primaries Also Needed For Special Elections (NYT, 1990) The New York State Legislature should reform the election law to enable voters to have more input in the selection of candidates running for Congress and the State Legislature in special elections. In early 1990 there will be a host of special elections around the state because of vacancies resulting from last November's elections. There are three Assembly vacancies and one Congressional vacancy to be filled in a winter special election.
More On Grimm Replacement Race




Let the Schwartz Be With You 
Wednesday Update  The Post writes that Cuomo’s “heated outburst” over itscolumnist Fred Dicker’s work shows that the piece on Cuomo’s aide Lawrence Schwartz remaining on the state payroll “couldn’t have been more spot on”:











Fred Dicker reports Cuomo’s top aide, Larry Schwartz, who has been replaced by Bill Mulrow, remains on the public payroll at $181,560 and is having a tough time finding a private sector job – possibly due to his role in meddling with the now-defunct Moreland Commission.

The admin in January had said Schwartz left for the"private sector." Now he's leaving in March.(YNN)* Cuomo calls NY Post story by Fred Dicker about Larry Schwartz "garbage." Cuomo adds: "And I know garbage, because I read that paper."*Cuomo Vs. The New York Post(NYP) * Andrew Cuomo Calls Latest Fred Dicker Story‘Really Garbage’(NYO) * Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed back against a Post report that former aide Lawrence Schwartz remained on the state payroll because he couldn’t find work and called the article “garbage,” the Observer reports: * Cuomo spokesman calls-out columnist amid claims ex-aide is toxic(NYP) The outpouring of venom came in response to Dicker’s story that a former top Cuomo aide can’t find a job because of his role in managing an anti-corruption commission. In fact, Cuomo said, his former secretary, Lawrence Schwartz, is getting such terrific offers that he’d take them himself.Dicker reported that employers view Schwartz as “radioactive” because he was the governor’s point man in dealings with the Moreland Commission panel, which Cuomo appointed last year to battle corruption and then suddenly disbanded. Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara is now investigating the commission’s abrupt shutdown.

Reisman: Do you know where Larry Schwartz works? AskCuomo (LoHud) * Phil Reisman on the Cuomo administration’s response to the Larry Schwartz-is-still-on-the-public-payroll story: “(C)alling somebody a liar is awfully strong stuff, and it hedges perilously close to the kettle calling the pot black.”*Cuomo’s choice of senior adviser Lawrence Schwartz, onetime top aide to bumbling Gov. David Paterson, as his new chief-of-staff has stunned some investigators because of Schwartz’s role in the explosive AEG-Aqueduct casino bid-rigging scandal. Schwartz was criticized for his role in the debacle last fall in a scathing state inspector general’s report. “Schwartz incred[ibly] claimed to not recall myriad meetings he organized and attended, various e-mail correspondence between himself and other individuals, and numerous conversations in which he engaged, and claimed unawareness of the governor’s selection of AEG despite personally engaging the governor’s press office in a colloquy about the very subject,” the report found. “One wonders why the governor, who has such a stellar record, would make such an appointment, given the questions raised in the IG’s report,” said a law-enforcement source with knowledge of the AEG investigation.*Larry Schwartz, Top Cuomo Aide, to Meet With Prosecutors (WSJ)
Cuomo spokesman 2012:“Mr. Dicker has been reporting on Albany politics..for 30 years& is widely acknowledged to be an expert on the topics."






As Hotel Market Staggers Pols Move On Airbnb and Illegal Hotels 
.Hotel Market Staggers in New York City (NYT)  After years of growth, the city underperformed almost every other top market in January, but analysts are wary of declaring the start of a troubling trend.



Children's Blame Game in Albany 
Lawmakers Say Governor Should Be Included In Ethics Package . . .  U.S. Attorney Will Make Sure Of That . . . The Expected Plea Deal Of Former Speaker Silver Will Also Have Something to Say on the Cuomo
"More than 30 state legislators have left office in disgrace .. and their first instinct is to point fingers"
State pols say ethics package should include publicdisclosure for Cuomo (NYDN) State legislators say they are willing to enact a number of new ethics reforms, but they argue Gov. Cuomo should subject himself to more public disclosure as well. Republican and Democratic legislative sources say that while Cuomo has attacked lawmakers on the issue of outside income, the governor is making as much as $900,000 from HarperCollins for his recent memoir, which only sold a few thousand copies. They also say that perhaps there should be a ban on governors giving paid outside speeches. They note his big book advance and lucrative salary and investments of his live-in girlfriend, Food Network star Sandra Lee. While Cuomo during his first four years has not given such speeches, former Govs. Mario Cuomo and George Pataki did. * Cuomo’s former chief of staff Larry Schwartz, who left the administration on Jan. 11, is still on the state’s payroll and being paid his usual $181,560 annual salary for a job listed as “Dir of NY Off,” the Post’s Fred Dicker reports:  * Cuomo's proposal for income disclosure has a few holes,  (Capital) 


When Will the Daily News Ask the Albany Lawmakers If Silver Will Rat Them Out? 
(NYDN) “I intend to fully represent my constituents in the best way I know how,” he told the Daily News. “I am confident I will be fully vindicated.” Some close to Silver said he’s had a hard time adjusting after more than two decades as one of the state’s most powerful men. But others, including former Senate Democratic Leaders Martin Connor, Malcolm Smith, and John Sampson, stayed on after giving up their leadership posts. Some believe Silver wants to hang on as a bargaining chip with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. But by law Silver would be automatically required to give up his seat if convicted of any felony regardless of what type of deal is cut.* Cuomo’s ethics reform package includes exemptions that would not subject state legislators to “total disclosure” of their income sources, which Cuomo has suggested was necessary, Capital New York reports Onondaga County DA Bill Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the defunct Moreland Commission, says he has “no personal knowledge of the guilt or innocence of Speaker Silver.” …The DA also says he wasn’t surprised by the charges brought against Silver. Silver marched Sunday in Chinatown’s Lunar New Year parade as he usually does, and there appeared to be no signs that he is under federal indictment. At the parade, some fellow elected officials praised Silver for helping to push through a law allowing a Chinese new year holiday, while others tried to avoid being photographed with him.

With A Gov Trying to Blow Him Up, GOP Senate and Silver Gone
All de Blasio Will Get From Albany is This Lousy T Shirt 
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will head to Albany this week with a sprawling agenda and no shortage of political challenges during an unusually turbulent time in the Capitol, The Associated Press writes: De Blasio's visit comes at an unusually turbulent time in the Capitol, one that could prove pivotal to the always fractious relationship between City Hall and the Capitol. Manhattan Democrat Sheldon Silver - long the city's key advocate - is out as Assembly speaker, consumed by a corruption scandal. New Speaker Carl Heastie of the Bronx could be a formidable ally for de Blasio, but his leadership is untested. While they profess their friendship, the mayor and Gov. Andrew Cuomo often don't see eye to eye.* The policy priority rift between de Blasio and Cuomo will be on display when the mayor comes to Albany Wednesday to testify before a joint legislative budget committee hearing.* De Blasio moving ahead with Sunnyside Yards housing plan | Capital New York *The “total disclosure” Cuomo says he wants of legislators’ outside income is relative, and would have some exemptions under his current reform proposal.*  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to lobby the state legislature for control over setting the minimum wage during his Albany visit today, but has kept details of his presentation close to the vest, City & State writes:




The NYT and DN Should take the Blinders off and Investigate Who Next for the Feds 
Bharara creates a grim guessing game in Albany(Capital)“When the U.S. Attorney proudly announces 'stay tuned,' it's crystal clear more is going to happen and everybody is looking over their shoulder,” said Blair Horner, legislative director for the New York Public Interest Research Group and a three-decade Capitol veteran. “When he said that, a chill went up the collective political spines of Albany's elite. Not just lawmakers, but also interest groups and lobbyists.” On Friday, lawmakers buzzed over a report that Bharara was looking at Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos, another third of the governing troika. Skelos' aidesquickly questioned the report and said he had not retained a criminal defense attorney or been contacted by prosecutors. * Shaken by the corruption charges against Silver as well as other high-profile arrests in recent years, many lawmakers have become critical of JCOPE, questioning whether it has been effective or independent.

Moreland Was Killed to Protect Silver's Real Estate Conspiracy That Made Him Millions
 Governor Cuomo’s top real estate donor is Glenwood Management, with $800,000 contributed through 19 LLCs, according to ProPublica * Of the LLCs giving to Cuomo, the most generous are controlled by Glenwood Management, a real estate development company headquartered on Long Island. * Gov. Cuomo received $76,000 from real estate investors weeks before giving their property a tax break on bill (NYDN)  *  At least 6 citywide candidates got the loot from the buildings developers.(NYDN)  Extell contributions to city officials were designed to take advantage of the public matching fund program.  

Nobody But True News is Reporting On the Effect of the Millions In Real Estate Money Pured Into NY's Politics
Most were $175 with many of the same contributors giving to more than one candidate.  The Moreland Commission is looking into the state contributions and tax reductions connections, there is no indication if the commission will look into with the city pols for their cash.  * Atlantic Yards Report: Shades of 2007? Another 421-a carve-out to ... * Activists take aim at Litwin donations in report (TU) RE moguls gave 10 times more to Senate GOP than Dems (Real Deal) * Once again, real estate opens up its coffers for Cuomo(Real Deal) * "AssemblySpeaker Sheldon Silver has opened the door to a Legislature of kept men andconcubines." * At least 27 clients of Silver’s recently revealed second law firm received state-authorized real estate tax breaks, a Capital New York analysis has found




The Media Has Stayed Silent About the Lobbyist Shadow Govt Exposed by the Silver Arrest 

1. Lobbyists Working for Litwin's Glenwood Management Led By Meara Now A Fed Rat
Friend, lobbyist helped feds take down Sheldon Silver (NYP) A veteran lobbyist with longstanding ties to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver helped the feds bust the powerful pol in a multimillion-dollar bribery and kickback scheme, sources told The Post on Friday.  Brian Meara, 63, is the person referred to in court papers as “the Lobbyist” who revealed that Silver told him “there was nothing to worry about” regarding the speaker secretly sharing in legal fees paid by Meara’s client, billionaire developer Leonard Litwin, the sources said. Meara, 63, has been friends with Silver for decades and is among the state’s most powerful lobbyists, with offices in both Manhattan and Albany. His relationship with Silver dates back to the 1970s, when they met in the Manhattan courthouse where Silver worked as a law clerk for Civil Court Judge Francis Pecora and Meara was a young court officer. In addition to the state court officers union and other labor groups, Meara represents a host of big-bucks industries, including casino operators, insurance companies and soft-drink makers.  His clients also include the Yankees owners and the Silvercup Studios production facility in Queens

The Bayside resident is also close to Queens Democratic boss and US Rep. Joe Crowley, while his brother, Chuck, was chief of staff to former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. A nephew, Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside), also formerly worked as one of Silver’s legislative aides. According to Thursday’s criminal complaint against Silver, Meara got a non-prosecution deal from the feds in exchange for agreeing to serve as a “fact witness” against the Manhattan Democrat.* Nephew of lobbyist who turned on Sheldon Silver supportedkeeping Silver as speaker (NYP)

2. Senator Kruger's Lobbyist Bribe Partner Lipsky Turned On Him After Getting Caught With $100,000 in his apt by the FBI
Kruger Lipsky On FBI Tape: Lobbyist Richard Lipsky would ask Kruger if he got the memo yet? According to the FBI that question was asked by Lipsky to make sure Krugrer got the bribe pay off.
Days before his arrest, agents executing asearch warrant found more than $100,000 stashed in a safe in his apartment, and another $4,000 in "crisp, large denominational bills" stuffed into a suit jacket. During the raid, he also spoke on the phone to an unidentified "political operative" to spread the word that the feds had closed in, according to court papers.   Lipsky was caught on FBI wiretaps allegedly paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to Kruger, who is charged with directing state cash to Forest City's $4 billion Atlantic Yards project and other Lipsky clients.  Prosecutors had charged that Mr. Lipsky had shared lobbying fees with Mr. Kruger in return for the senator’s actions on matters about which Mr. Lipsky had been paid to lobby * NY lobbyist sentenced for bribing ex-state senator Kruger(Fox 5) *  Daily News pokes at Lipsky contradiction on eminent domain; also, FCR may have hired him for youth sports, but he'






















3. Political Consultant the Advance Group is Being Investigated By the FBI 

EXCLUSIVE: FBI investigating claim Christine Quinn was threatened for refusing to support carriage horse ban during the mayoral race (NYDN) In the past few weeks, FBI agents have been asking questions about the campaign by the animal rights group NYCLASS to get Christine Quinn to support a ban on the iconic carriages, two sources familiar with the matter told The Daily News. The FBI wants to know if the nature of the threat became extortion. When Quinn refused to support a ban on the carriages, an ad blitz began, and she later lost the race. A political consultant hired by NYCLASS, Scott Levenson, twice approached aides to Quinn and allegedly told them that if she didn’t back the proposed ban on carriage horses, they would spend big money on a political campaign attacking her


The CFB Finds the Advance Coordinated PAC NYCLASS $$$ and Campaign $$$

The Investigation Of the Advance Group NYCLASS Corruption Continues With Fines Against Two CN Cumbo and Levenson  
City council members fined over money from anti-horse carriage group(NYP)Two city council members were slapped with hefty fines for accepting prohibited campaign contributions from a group at the center of the Central Park horse carriage brouhaha. Freshman member Laurie Cumbo (D-Brooklyn) was fined $7,868, and newbie Mark Levine (D-Manhattan) was fined $8,686 by the city’s Campaign Finance Board for accepting over-the-limit funding from a “prohibited source.” The board found that the funding source for both campaigns – New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Street (NYCLASS) – was too intertwined with the candidates’ consultant, The Advance Group (TAG).Campaigns are prohibited from coordinating with third-party groups that make “independent” expenditures. Yet TAG president and lobbyist Scott Levenson was political director for NYCLASS, and both groups shared the same office space.* Two NYC campaigns fined over cash from animal rights group(Newsday) But NYCLASS and The Advance Group were intertwined -- NYCLASS' political director doubled as The Advance Group's president, for example -- and spending by NYCLASS "could not be and" was "not independent" of the campaigns, the finance board said. The contributions were over the $2,750 limit as nonindependent spending and weren't reported by the campaigns, the board said. Cumbo and Levine responded with a joint statement, saying their campaigns are opposed to outside spending in elections.* 2 City Council members fined thousands for accepting improper campaign funds from anti-carriage horse group NYCLASS(NYDN)
How the Advance Group Conspired to Steal the 2009 and 2013 Election




More Litwin Lobbyists
Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin Llc $150,000
Carl Andrews & Associates, Inc. $ 144,000
Empire Strategic Planning, Inc. $ 144,000
Meara, Brian R. Public Relations, Inc. $120,000
Lieberman, Mark L. $90,000
Sanzillo, Francis J. & Associates $90,000
Runes, Richard $60,000
Park Strategies $20,000
Meet thebillionaires benefitting from @NYGovCuomo’s giveaway to luxury developments in:



Did Silver Pay the Berlin Rosen and the WFP to Keep the Albany DA Away? 
Was the Albany DA Elected to Protect Silver and His Staff Against Sexual Abuse and Other Corruption?
A capital veteran describes a telling dimension of Silver’s destructive stranglehold on government. The story begins in 2003, when Silver’s chief counsel was charged with rape and marched out of Assembly offices in handcuffs. Although District Attorney Paul Clyne was a fellow Democrat, Silver was furious at being embarrassed.  “He was fuming,” the Albany vet says, “and swore he would get a DA in there he could control and who would never embarrass him.”  Silver found his candidate for the 2004 election, little-known lawyer David Soares, and engineered the support of the upstart Working Families Party.  Against heavy odds, Soares upset Clyne in the primary and triumphed again in the general election. To this day, Soares remains the Albany DA, yet never finds anything amiss in the Legislature. Soares paid Berlin Rosen $30,000 in 2012.  Berlin Rosen's Alex Navarro-McKay as a WFP operative helped Soares get elected as Albany's DA * Cuomo attaches ethics reform laws to state budget voting (NYP)



The FBI May Have to Expand Their Investigation into A State Senator’s Campaign Account to Speaker Silver

“State and federal investigators want to know whether former state senator George Maziarz’s campaign account secretly bankrolled his chosen candidates for local offices in Niagara CountyThe Buffalo News has learned FBI agents want to determine who paid for mailers, advertising, robocalls and other campaign tools in certain local races. There is strong evidence that former Speaker Silver was also using his campaign account to help other candidates. From 2010 to 2014 Friends of Silver paid campaign consultant Berlin Rosen over $750,000 for almost no campaign work. During Berlin Rosen’s employment by Silver, the former speaker had only one weak GOP opponent, Maureen Koetz in 2014, who received less than 20% of the vote against Silver.  Why Berlin Rosen was paid so much money when Silver faced no challengers? Was the speaker trying to hide his involvement in other races that Berlin Rosen was running, like de Blasio for mayor in 2013?   From 2010 to 2014 Berlin Rosen worked in over 50 different state and city campaigns.   The FBI could look to see if the former speaker was trying to get over the candidate spending limit by paying the consultant Berlin Rosen directly?  During the 2009 city elections Berlin Rosen was working for all the candidates who hired the WFP’s Data and Field, which was accused of being used to going around the city’s campaign finance spending limits.  According to Silver’s federal  indictment, developer number one used LLCs as a “loophole corporations,” to get around the election law to funnel more money to political candidates, to buy influence to obtain tax breaks for his luxury building.  The FBI agents, who plan to give the Attorney General Eric Schneiderman the results of their investigation in Maziarz’s campaign, cannot do the same if they investigate former Speaker Silver.  Not only does Silver’s consultant Berlin Rosen worked in both of Schneiderman’s campaigns, its owners Jonathan Rosen and Valerie Berlin stated their political career working for Schneiderman when he was a state senator* Ex-Speaker Sheldon Silver to return to much smaller office (NYDN)

.
Bharara "If You Got Them By the Balls Their Hearts and Minds Will Follow" John Wayne
Gov. Cuomo Talks Reform(NYT Ed)  Gov. Andrew Cuomo sounded this week a lot like the candidate he was in 2010, when he promised that his first job as governor would be “restoring public trust and accountability” in state government. He has done little to fulfill that pledge, and worse, he canceled the Moreland Commission midway through its investigation of ethical lapses by lawmakers last year. With the arrest of the former Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, on corruption charges, Governor Cuomo, the reformer, has reappeared on the scene. Mr. Cuomo said he was prepared to allow this year’s budget to go into overtime, if necessary, unless the reforms are passed. That is a credible threat; legislators’ paychecks are withheld until a budget passes. The governor can also include his reforms in temporary spending bills that keep the government going until a permanent budget is approved. His obligation now is to maintain his resolve and not collapse when back-room trading to produce a budget begins.

The NYT hopes Cuomo “might actually put some political power” behind the effort this time
Mr. Cuomo’s reawakened interest in a cleaner Albany was clearly inspired by revelations surrounding the once-powerful speaker. Mr. Cuomo’s reawakened interest in a cleaner Albany was clearly inspired by revelations surrounding the once-powerful speaker. * The Imperfect Messenger Background Will Give Him Little Ability to Fight Against Real Reforms The scoop on Heastie: Background from The Bronx(NYP). The Bronx seems to have been corruption central since 2002. Wags wondered what was in the water. The shameful rogues gallery of Bronx wrongdoers include state legislators Gloria Davis, Guy Velella, Pedro Espada, Nelson Castro and Eric Stevenson, as well as City Councilman Larry Seabrook, whom Heastie years ago once served as campaign treasurer.* The speaker from Baychester(Capital) * Michael Benjamin in the Post writes he has “some hope” for the promises of transparency and reform made by newly-elected Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, despite his questionable background: * Bharara: NY is the 'show me the money' state(LoHud)

You Cannot Cure A Culture of Corruption By Appealing to Albany's Better Angels
 Former Sen. George Maziarz directed aides to destroy old campaign-related bills and receipts last spring, just before federal prosecutors ramped up a probe into Albany corruption and the misuse of political donations for personal use. In his push for greater disclosure of outside income by state lawmakers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he expects his proposed ethics reforms will be rejected because many in the Legislature cannot comply. * The Buffalo News says: “Lawmakers are tone-deaf. They were tone-deaf in the way they went about electing a new speaker. They were tone-deaf in 2013 when they initially shunned any ethics reform, leading to Cuomo’s creation of a short-lived, if ultimately productive, Moreland Commission on public corruption. There is little reason to believe they have suddenly learned to sing.”* Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested on a series of corruption charges a few weeks ago.  Check our timeline of New York politician behaving badly.



.The Corruption Goes Right Through the Government to the Election System
The Smith Corruption was Caused By the NYC's GOP for Sale Not the Election Law As the NYP Claims
Blame GOP Bottom Feeders Party Leaders for Selling Their Ballot Line . . . the 80% of NYC Voters Going for Cuomo . . .  Local GOP Leaders are More Interested in Giving Out Jobs at the BOE, Than Giving Out An Opposition Message to Democratic Leaders Who Ass They Constantly Kiss for Member Items and other pots of government $$$
Like the Lopez case, the Smith case is attracting its share of snark about how corrupt Smith is. That’s true enough, but in both these cases the focus on personalities misses a larger point. It’s not just that New York pols are corrupt — that’s no secret. It’s that our election and ethics rules invite corruption. Whereas Lopez took advantage of the rules governing Shelly Silver’s Assembly, Smith was trying to cash in on the Wilson-Pakula law that allows candidates from one party to run on another party’s ticket if they get the support of a majority of that party’s county leaders. Combine that with fusion voting — the ability to run on more than one ballot line — and you might as well hang a “for sale” sign out front. Point is, sleazy people wouldn’t get anywhere in Albany without the rules and practices that encourage them.






Grand Jury Debate NYT: Restoring Public Trust . . .  NYP: Keeping the Right of Secrecy  
A Judge’s Idea for Grand Jury Reform (NYT Ed) Proposals from New York’s chief judge would be a step toward restoring public trust in the justice system. Lawmakers should give Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s grand jury reform proposals serious consideration if they want to ensure that the public can trust that police will answer for their acts,Lippman‘s lunatic grand-jury ‘fix’(NYP) Why would anyone need a grand jury? The answer is to protect against a rush to judgment. Or, as Chief Justice Earl Warren once put it, “to determine whether a charge is founded upon reason or was dictated by an intimidating power or by malice and personal ill will.” The uproar over the Garner case was precisely because the grand jury carried out the assignment as understood by Warren and the authors of the New York and United States constitutions. Lord knows what would have happened had a judge intervened. Inserting a judge into the grand-jury room is bizarre enough in and of itself, but Lippman also wants to end grand-jury secrecy. That is, again, he wants to end such protection for certain accused persons, namely police officers and others in police-civilian encounters. All kinds of reasons exist for grand juries to conduct their deliberations in secret. This is so fundamental that it has existed in English law for centuries and is required by New York state law.* * The state’s first African-American county clerk took office, reminiscing about his experiences with racial segregation and vowing to encourage more minorities to serve on Manhattan juries, the Daily News reports: *Erie County DA Knocks Lippman’s Criminal Justice Approach (YNN) Not so fast, said Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita, who also leads the statewide district attorneys association. In an interview, Sedita took issue with the proposal to have judges reside over such cases, saying such a move is a distinctly European import. “Our Founding Fathers had rejected that system,” Sedita said. * The NYT says legislators should give Chief Judge Lippman’s grand jury reform proposals “serious consideration if they want to ensure that the public — and particularly those in minority communities where residents most often encounter law enforcement — can trust that police will be held to answer for their acts.”




Will Cuomo use the New Speaker, Bronx Machine and Faith Based Plan to Break de Blasio's Machine?
Bronx Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. claimed that the “worst teachers” are being dumped in his borough, as parents and elected officials rallied to demand that Albany allow more charter schools.* A report to be released today by the Alliance for Quality Education claims Cuomo is shorting NYC schools $2.5 billion each year, according to the group’s reading of data provided by the state Education Department.* Cuomo’s education agenda picks up where Bloomberg left off (Capital)* Cuomo Calls For Privatization Of "Failing"Schools: From the NY Post:Gov. Cuomo, at another Bronxevent, said ...  * The teachers union and its allies unveiled a new website to show how much Gov. Andrew Cuomo is “shortchanging” each city school, called , the Post writes:   * ‘Thorny’ Legal Issues Surround BrookynDemocrat’s Appointment to Cuomo Administration (NYO)  The legal quandary, first noted by the website NYTrue.com, arises not from any question of the separation of church and state, but an obscure portion in the State Constitution that may forbid sitting members of the legislature from leaving their posts to take positions in newly-created state organizations.* Gov. Cuomo takes a smart stand on ethics and education (NYDN Ed) Cuomo inserted key proposals on ethics and schools into the spending bills necessary to run agencies and fund programs. He did the same with a private school tuition tax credit long sought by parochial educators, including Timothy Cardinal Dolan and Orthodox Jewish leaders, as well as with a so-called Dream Act that would help undocumented immigrant New Yorkers pay for college by adding them to the state’s Tuition Assistance Program. Bottom line: Cuomo is forcing lawmakers to choose between acting on his agenda or shutting down agencies and defunding programs.
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The Media War On An Informed Citizenry  

How Is News Coverage Effect By Journalists Looking for High Paid Lobbyist and Govt Flack Jobs 
Lisberg From Daily News Reporter to MTA Flack
Room 9 reporter leaves City Hall beat to joinconsulting firm (NYDN) A City Hall reporter is leaving behind the cramped press room known as "room 9." El Diario’s senior political reporter Marlene Peralta, 34, is joining the consulting firm Progressive Cities, founded last year by Dan Morris. “Marlene has a deep understanding of what drives news coverage and how press coverage can inform the decisions of elected officials and government agencies in cities,” said Morris in announcing his first hire.
As Reporters Look to Become Lobbyists or Govt Flack Local TV Makes Millions Off of Campaign and Public Interests Tax Payer Funded Commercials While Dumbing Down New Yorkers 
In 2009 when Tom Robbins wrote The Mayor's Press Pass, in the Village Voice it look like independent media coverage of politics was dead and Bloomberg would control news coverage for good. Since the Robbins story lobbyists has gained power over the news media using the advertising dollars they control, in influencing what news stories are covered and how they are covered. Now five years later we not only see new full of fluff and none coverage of issues important to New Yorkers like a closing hospital and a governors race. We also see very little  investigative independent journalism like Robbins, Jack Newfield and Wayne Barrett produced for years at the voice.  Just ask the biggest corruption fighter in town today, U.S. Attorney who criticized the lack of investigating reporting in today's NYC media. Newspaper gives vote of approval to paying political candidates (New York World) * A Takeover Of Journalism by Lobbyist and Politicians (2011 True News)Shrinking Newspaper Coverage Means Less Real TV News More Sexy Reporters(True News)


CrainsNY Engquist Where the Flacking the Truth 
Spin city (CrainsNY) "I took part in a panel discussion recently on discerning spin from truth when politicians speak. I estimated that 90% of what they say is spin. But it's not just elected officials. Everybody spins. Interest groups, flacks, even holier-than-thou good-government groups assail me daily with hundreds of messages spinning ostensibly true information to suit their purposes. I don't resent the spin; these people are advancing their causes. But it's enough to make my head, well, you know."





Great Essay By Bill Maher Has Journalism Has Become A Race to the Bottom  
Maher: The Real Brian Williams Problem Is That ‘NBCNightly NewsSucks’ Bill Maher doesn’t really care that much aboutBrian Williams‘ series of misstatements. No, the real reason Williams should “go away,” according to Maher, is that “NBC Nightly News sucks.” (But to be fair, he also thinks CBS Evening News and ABC World News Tonight suck too.) See, what “destroyed” Brian Williams’ credibility in Maher’s eyes was “ten years of wasting precious news time with bullshit stories.” It really bothers him that national nightly newscasts shirk their “sacred responsibility” to report the news in favor of viral YouTube videos, cutesy human interest stories, and lots and lots of weather coverage. He called it “journalistic malpractice” for Williams to spend so little time reporting on climate change and instead covering east coast blizzards “like white Godzilla is on the way.”





Cuomo Acceptance of Corruption A Rejection of the Teaching of the Founding Fathers
We’ll always have Albany(NYP)‘You’ve always had and you probably always will have some level of corruption. Power corrupts, and government is a source of power, you have it in the City Council . . . the state Legislature . . . the Congress . . .” Albany’s corruption has been fueled by two chief factors: a high-taxing, high-spending and overregulating government that creates all sorts of opportunities for those in positions of power to sell favors, and a political class that for too long has taken a so-what-else-is-new approach. In just the past decade, more than 30 state legislators have been arrested, indicted or forced out of office due to scandal — including two former Senate majority leaders, a governor and an Assembly speaker. 

John Adams Rejects New York's Shadow Government
Look at all the areas of New York life corruption touches: Party officials selling their ballot lines. Elected officials (and their relatives) abusing their nonprofits. Yes, power corrupts, and if Albany is more corrupt than most, it’s because it has too much power. So maybe instead of accepting Albany’s corruption as nothing out of the ordinary, as Gov. Cuomo suggests, New Yorkers should be demanding a leaner and less-powerful Albany.* It will be “very challenging” to force lawyer-legislators to disclose all their clients, AG Eric Schneiderman says – even as the governor has proposed to do just that.* The NY Post: “(M)aybe instead of accepting Albany’s corruption as nothing out of the ordinary, as Gov. Cuomo suggests, New Yorkers should be demanding a leaner and less-powerful Albany.” Albany Reforms Trim state leaders’claws (TU) Rather than imposing term limits, which would only encourage corrupt legislators to do bad acts more quickly, the Legislature needs to alter leadership rules, giving more responsibility* Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the suggestion new disclosure laws would violate the attorney-client privilege for lawyer-lawmakers: “There are no legal obstacles. There are practical obstacles. There’s no legal obstacle if they want to passing the law. They don’t want to do it. That’s different.”



It Seems Term Limits Limits Corruption
By comparison, only five New York City Council members were arrested for corruption while in office in the past 10 years. And only seven sitting members of Congress have been indicted, most recently former Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm on tax-evasion charges. Good government groups say its hard to compare Albany’s cesspool of criminality with other houses of power because ethics laws vary by jurisdiction. “In New York, it sure feels like it is worse. But part of that is [that] the laws have gotten stronger and part of it is that Preet Bharara has decided to take this issue on,” said New York Public Interest Research Group’s Blair Horner. “You’ve always had and you probably always will have some level of corruption,” Cuomo told “Inside City Hall” host Errol Louis. “Power corrupts, and government is a source of power, you have it in the City Council, you have it in the state Legislature, you have it in the Congress of the United States, so, that continues.”  Cuomo said during the TV interview that he hopes to pass ethics reform this year because corruption threatens the legacy he’s built. “I’ve passed very strong ethics. I hope to get that done this year. Because it really, to me, casts a shadow on everything we’ve done,” he said. Cuomo took New York 1’s Errol Louis on a tour of the Hall of Governors at the Capitol and said he wants more accomplishments to be listed under his portrait on the wall where it will eventually reside. 


Michael Caputo ‏@MichaelRCaputo  So a TV crew had rare access to Cuomo and nobody asked him about the Feds investigating him shutting down the Moreland Commission?  Gov. Andrew Cuomo just barely noted the absence of a portrait of disgraced ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer in a lengthy NY1 interview broadcast last night. The governor said recent renovations to the state Capitol are a symbol of his efforts to make the government work again. * Cuomo: Strip pensionfrom corrupt officials (TU) He backs joining other states with such laws. Part of the governor’s five-point ethics ultimatum, which will appear in his 30-day budget amendments, would retroactively extend the effects of a 2011 law that allowed for the denial of pensions from corrupt public officials who entered the system going forward.* Critics worry Gov. Cuomo's proposed budget windfall plandoesn't include enough foreclosure relief. (WNYC)* Cuomo: ‘Power corrupts and government is a source of power’ (LoHud)*  New York’s “CodGov. Andrew Cuomo just barely noted the absence of a portrait of disgraced ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer in a lengthy NY1 interview broadcast last night. The governor said recent renovations to the state Capitol are a symbol of his efforts to make the government work again* Cuomo: No Legal Obstacle To Income Disclosure (YNN)
 NY1 First Interview With Cuomo Was Well Worth the Wait  Exclusive: Governor Gives Errol Louis a Tour of State Capitol Building's Restored Second Floor(NY1) *  Jacqueline Kennedy: White House Tour - Documentary Film

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. Wall Street the Bull With No Jobs 
With Little Help From Wall Street, New York City Enjoys Steady Job Growth (NYT) A rise in employment in tourist-based and tech companies has outstripped the high-paying securities sector, which once fueled job creation in the city.New York City paid $22.2 million to supervisors who cashed in unused vacation and comp days before retiring last year, which represents a 73 percent increase from 2013, the Daily News reports: *New York City has created more jobs over the past five years than during any five-year period in the last half century. But the city is not pulsing with the same boomtown swagger it radiated in past growth spurts. What’s missing? Wall Street.* NYC shelled out $22.2 million – a five-year high – to supervisors who stockpiled vacation and comp days and cashed them in for payouts before retiring last year.* New York City’s economy rolledalong in 2014, despite losing steam at the end(WSJ) * New York City’s economy has rebounded strongly, but the growth has been based on a wide range of industries and sectors and far less on Wall Street, which drove past recoveries, the Times writes: * A Different (and Surprising) Economic Tale of New York City Emerges (NYT) By playing to its strengths beyond Wall Street, the city has created jobs and boosted the economy.* Despite Bill de Blasio’s concern about the shrinking middle class, midlevel jobs are expected to account for 42 percent of the New York City’s job growth over the next four years, The New York Times reports
Why Wall Street Came to NYC

Lawmakers Who Have Done Nothing to Clean-Up Albany Upset With the One Man Who Has

WHAT THE MUCK? Albany lawmakers cry foul over Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's tactics, say he's overstepping (NYDN)  More than a dozen state legislators, legislative officials and other insiders interviewed by the Daily News give credit to Preet Bharara for targeting Albany wrongdoing but are fuming over what they say is the powerful prosecutor’s publicity seeking, tarring of the entire Legislature, and wading into governance issues far beyond the scope of his office. 

Savino Calls Mark-Viverito an "Idiot" but Wants Bharara Not to Cast Aspersions 
Lawmakers Blame the Prosecutor Not Themselves for Albany Corruption
“You want to target corruption? God bless you,” said state Sen. Diane Savino (D-S.I.). “That’s what you’re supposed to do. But the fact there’s some corruption in the Legislature does not mean we all are corrupt. And the rest of us don’t appreciate the comparison.” Assemblyman Nick Perry (D-Brooklyn) is one of many who agreed. * In Federal Indictment ScarboroughAccused Of Misusing Reimbursement Money(YNN)* "Huntley said .. Sampson had warned her earlier to get rid of her phone because the feds were 'on my wire.' " (NYDN) * Huntley’s Colleagues Caught On Wiretap(YNN) * After Helping The FBI, Former State Senator Shirley Huntley Still Gets Slapped With A Year In Prison(Village Voice)

“It’s totally unfair to sort of cast a wide net of mud and dirt across the whole spectrum of elected officials that serve New York” Assemblyman Perry  
 Bharara sees corruption “all over” New York State - The Buffalo News. Stay Tuned “He’s nothing but a politician with a badge,” said one Assembly Democrat. “He should be doing everything he can to root out corruption, but he should not be threatening and grandstanding, telling the world to ‘stay tuned’ and tarring everybody with a criminal brush. It’s inappropriate.” Three Men in A Room is None of Bharara Business “He’s going far beyond the role of a prosecutor,” said a Senate Republican. “If you find people having a conflict of interest or making money illegally, go for it. But ‘three men in a room’? It’s not for a U.S. attorney to be commenting on a system of government.” * Assemblyman-turned-convict Boyland denied bail(NYP) * Prosecutors say Boyland ‘sold his office’ in closing arguments(NYP)
The Elected Officials Who Did Not Speak Out Against Moreland Being Closed Down are Upset Castro Wore A Wire 
HEAR NO EVIL, SEE NO EVIL: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Democrats in the state Legislature are all performing the same duck-and-cover routine when it comes to commenting on Moreland Commission interference, writes City & State’s Morgan Pehme in his latest column: * Even some of Bharara’s investigative tactics have come under fire from lawmakers. Perry is critical of the decision to allow then-Bronx Assembly Democrat Nelson Castro to twice run for reelection while secretly under indictment. Flashback Bribery conviction lands former assemblyman 3 years in prison(NYP) 
Most people don't recall abt 30 yr ago 3 reformers took on political power structure in Albany & became outcasts. Ferris, Pesce, Barbaro

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Weiner Ignores the Corruption, Says Fix the Tax
Wiseguy on NY1 the Official Voice of the Lobbyist's for NY's Shadow Government

How do New Yorkers Unlock Albany Corruption When the Media is Leading the Cover-Up?
Want to rebalance New York City's real estate market? Start by fixing thistax (NYDN, Weiner) Capture more of multi-million dollar sales — and slash the levy for middle-income buyers * Should we effectively fund luxury construction by providing it tax incentives? Should we find a way to tax pied-a-terres, as some are pushing to do? Good questions. The most sensible place to start is by reforming a tax that now hits all those who buy new property. Under state law, the City of New York collects a transfer tax from buyers at a rate of 1% of the value of a home for transactions up to $500,000 and 1.425% on those costing more. Which now means the average home in Sunnyside gets charged the same rate as an $80 million condo on 57th St. Given the explosion in prices at the very top of the market, it is crazy that the fees are not more progressive.
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Feds Bag Consultant Who Illegally Coordinated Campaigns and PACs 
Feds Investigating the Advance Group
G.O.P.Consultant Pleads Guilty in PAC Case(NYT) A Virginia-based Republican political consultant pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges that he illegally coordinated spending between a 2012 congressional campaign and a “super PAC,” federal prosecutors said. The consultant, Tyler E. Harber, was accused of managing a congressional campaign while helping create and direct a super PAC that spent $325,000 attacking a rival candidate, according to the Justice Department. The case appears to be the first of its kind brought by federal prosecutors since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, which allowed for the creation of political action committees that can raise and spend unlimited money, including from corporations, so long as they do not coordinate the spending with candidates.* New YorkPanel Approves Fine for Group Against Carriage Horses(NYT)In documents released after its vote on Thursday, the board said it “found credible” statements by NYClass that it did not know the Advance Group was also consulting for Ms. Cumbo’s and Mr. Levine’s campaigns, and that it had relied on the Advance Group’s assurances that NYClass was in compliance with campaign-finance rules.

UFT Controlling Government By Breaking the Election Law . . .   DAs Don't Notice?

Cover-Up Of Campaign Consultants Advance Group/Red Horse Involvement in UFT PAC United for the Future, Which Conspired To Break Election Law to Control Council

How Campaign Consultant Lobbyists and The PACs They Controlled Broke the Election Law and Got Away With It and Built A Shadow Government

The UFT PAC Paid Advance Through the Fake Group Strategic Consultants Inc. $370,000

Nothing Has Happen - Five Months Ago the Daily News Wrote:

UFT under fire for apparently trying to hide identity of consulting firm(NYDN)The city’s powerful teachers union is under fire from good-government groups for apparently trying to hide the identity of a consulting firm it was using to boost union-backed candidates.  "The listing of the phony firm, 'Strategic Consultants, Inc.,' in campaign filings, obscured that Advance Group was being paid both to promote candidates for the United Federation of Teachers' independent political action committee, and working as the main campaign consultant for several of those same candidates." 




On Third of the City Council Was Is Infected With Illegal PAC $$$ From Advance and Red Horse in the 2013 Election  


Candidates Funding By Advance and Red Horse 
NYCLASS:  Councilman Mark Levine (Advance Client), Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo: (Advance Client)
United for the Future: Councilman Mark Levine (Advance  Client), Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (Advance Client),  Councilman Robert Jackson (Advance Candidate, Boro President Candidate)

Candidates Funding By Red Horse and Advance's United for the Future PAC:
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (Abvance Worked on her Speakers Race)Inez Dickens (Advance Client), Corey Johnson (AdvancePAC) (running against Advance client Yetta Krukland),

Red Horse Clients Who Received United for the Future Mailings from Red Horse 
James Vacca, Helen Rosenthal, Annabel Palm, Daneek Miller,  Antonio Reynoso,  Ritchie Torres

Advance Clients Who Received Mailings from Advance PACs
Mathieu Eugene, Yetta Krukland, Ydanis Rodríguez,  Rafael L Espinal, Jr.

Other Council Member Funded By United for the Future
Costa Constantinides, Mark Weprin (Hudson TG), Karen Koslowitz (Hudson TG),  Elizabeth Crowley (Berlin Rosen Client),  Richard Donovan (Berlin Rosen Client), Inez Barron, Jumaane Williams, Alan Maisel (Brandford), Mark Treyger (Hudson TG),  Debra Rose (Brandford), Steven Matteo, Vincent Ignizio, Eric Ulrich, Rosie Mendez Mendez, Inez E Dickens, Andrew Cohen, Rory Lancman, Steven Levin, Brad Lander





Other Shadow Government Lobbyists That Help Mark-Viverito Become Speaker

The MirRam Group
The Advance Group was not the only lobbying firm to help. Early in Ms. Mark-Viverito's speaker bid, an employee from another lobby firm close to Ms. Mark-Viverito, the MirRam Group, handled an inquiry from Crain's for a story about her past refusal to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. MirRam also was not paid for work on the speaker race. But MirRam maintains the work was merely related to Ms. Mark-Viverito's 2013 City Council bid—for which MirRam was paid—though that campaign had ended weeks before the Crain's inquiry. MirRam has since successfully lobbied Ms. Mark-Viverito on behalf of other clients. 
Lobbyists Campaign Consultants Pitta Bishop Works Both for the I Can't Breathe and Pitta Bishop Which Represents the Detectives Endowment Assoc. 
Pitta Bishop Del Giorno Giblin is paid $40,000 a year to represent the PBA's Detectives' Endowment Association, Inc. After the split with the Advance Group, Ms. Mark-Viverito indeed made hefty payments to a number of other consultants (including lobbying and compliance firm Pitta Bishop) that aided her speaker bid. In a novel move, Pitta Bishop set up a 2017 campaign account for an unspecified city office, and Ms. Mark-Viverito raised more than $100,000, despite only needing the votes of 26 council colleagues to win the early 2014 leadership race. That led another good-government group, Common Cause/NY, to charge that she had exploited loopholes in state election law. Ms. Mark-Viverito's opponents in the speaker race did not similarly set up campaign funds to hire staff. But officials from Pitta Bishop say the move was fully vetted by the city   Campaign Finance Board and state Board of Elections.Pitta Bishop Del Giorno Giblin Has Hit the Jack Pot With Over A 100 New Lobbying Clients Since She Took the Speakers Office .One Wonders How the lobbying Firm Explains the Speakers Views to Their PBA Client. Council speaker puts connected lobbyist on payroll(CrainsNY) Melissa Mark-Viverito quietly handed a $130,000-a-year staff position to a lobbyist from the firm that helped propel her to the City Council speakership, payroll records show. In late March, Carlos Beato, who was a lobbyist at the firm Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin, joined the City Council payroll as a deputy general counsel. The move came not long after the lobbying shop.


Puppet Council Speaker Controlled By A Private Tammany Hall

Top Speaker Lobbyists Puts A Man Inside
Council speaker puts connected lobbyist on payroll(CrainsNY) Melissa Mark-Viverito quietly handed a $130,000-a-year staff position to a lobbyist from the firm that helped propel her to the City Council speakership, payroll records show. In late March, Carlos Beato, who was a lobbyist at the firm Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin, joined the City Council payroll as a deputy general counsel. The move came not long after the lobbying shop—which has long served as Ms. Mark-Viverito’s campaign compliance consultant—quarterbacked her council speaker bid. The firm’s Jon Del Giorno set up an “appointments committee” for Ms. Mark-Viverito to vet applicants for the council staff. The firm lobbied Ms. Mark-Viverito as her speaker bid was ongoing, and has continued to do so since her ascension to the city's second-most powerful post. The close ties have drawn scrutiny and a call from the Daily News for Ms. Mark-Viverito to sever ties with the firm and its clients. In an unprecedented and clever move, the Pitta Bishop set up a 2017 campaign accountto facilitate Ms. Mark-Viverito’s speaker run. That allowed her to raise $100,000, with more than $20,000 coming from the lobbying firm’s clients. The good-government group Common Cause accused Ms. Mark-Viverito of exploiting loopholes in state election law. Pitta Bishop's clients also reportedly funded much of her $27,000 inauguration party. * NY lobbying grows another 4%, spent $109 M in first sixmonths of this year; now 32 lobbyists for every legislator   * Police unions asked de Blasio to denounce MelissaMark-Viverito (NYDN) The leaders of the city's NYPD unions asked Mayor de Blasio to publicly denounce City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for wearing an "I can't breathe" tee shirt but he refused, according to one of the union heads.



Why is Albany Giving Tax Breaks to Foreign Investors? 
Amid Complaints in India, a Real Estate Deal in Manhattan(NYT) As reports of unfinished homes mounted against Kabul Chawla, a New Delhi builder, an opaque corporate entity bought a $19 million condo at the Time Warner Center.
NYC bribe-accepting building inspectors to begin trial(NYT) The city is sweeping out a band of corrupt building inspectors who took hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from dirty contractors and landlords across the city, sources said. The Department of Investigation and the Manhattan DA will charge more than a dozen city employees, the majority of whom are building inspectors, and a group of scheming contractors with bribery. Up to 50 defendants will be arrested Tuesday — and some are expected to surrender at TriBeCa’s 1st Precinct in the morning, a law enforcement source said. No elected officials are involved. * The Time Warner Center has seen 3 condo owners arrested in past 14 months (NYT) 


Why is Albany Screwing NY Taxpayers to Russian Billionaires Who Idolize Alexander Hamilton? 
Wednesday Update Mexican Political Family Has Close PRI Ties, and Homes in the U.S.(NYT) The properties stand in contrast to the working-man image promoted by José Murat Casab, a longtime party insider, and his son, a top housing official. Thursday Update In Manhattan, Well Connected Russians Buy Up Prime Space(NYT) Wealth accrued in the chaotic capitalism of post-Soviet Russia is a powerful force in the luxury condominium boom that is changing New York.


Fact and Reality: The NYT is Right in Saying That Thousands of Affordable Housing Have Been Lost in the Barclays Center Area and Not One Affordable Apartment Has Been Open to Date Where is the proof that increase development leads to more affordable.  There is proof that increased development leads to gentrification push out.  Most of the 400 affordable planned for the Barclay site rent for $3500 hardly affordable to the seniors being forced out of their $700 Crown Heights Apartments.  Summary: The Hidden Money Buying Up New York Real Estate (NYT) At the Time Warner Center, 37 percent of the condominiums are owned by foreigners. At least 16 foreigners who have owned in the building have been the subject of government inquiries, either personally or as heads of companies.  The real estate industry does little examination of buyers’ identities or backgrounds, and there is no legal requirement for it to do so. Nearly half of the most expensive residential properties in the United States are now purchased anonymously through shell companies.



Bharara to Cuomo: Free to Speak On Morland 










 Given U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s considerable power, and the respect and acclaim he enjoys with the public, he ought to be especially careful when expressing his opinions, former prosecutor Bennett Gershman writes in Slate:
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The preliminary budget also didn’t set aside any of the $100 million sought by the City Council to hire roughly 1,000 extra cops. Yesterday Insiders say Cuomo is rattled by Silver corruption case (Dicker, NYP) * NY prosecutor PreetBharara disputes Gov. Cuomo’s corruption claim (WNBC) New York’s top federal prosecutor, is rejecting claims by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that a federal review of corruption investigations has muzzled the governor’s office. In an MSNBC interview airing Tuesday, Bharara says Cuomo’s assertion that he cannot discuss the ongoing investigation is simply not true. “People are able to exercise their public role in the way that they see fit,” Bharara says. “I don’t think I, or anyone else, has ever said that any particular person shouldn’t be talking about how he or she made decisions publicly,” he added. Cuomo set up a commission to investigate political corruption in New York, the Moreland Commission, and then disbanded it in March 2014. Bharara seized its files and began a review of its closure, setting off a clash between two of the most powerful Democrats in New York. * Bharara Criticizes Albany in TV Interview (WSJ) The Comptroller Smells Blood DiNapoli: Cuomo budget boostsreserves, lowers transparency (TU)  * Klein Defends ‘Three Men In A Room’(YNN) * Cuomo’s administration contended state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s math was faulty after he released a report questioning aspects of the executive’s proposed budget, the Daily News reports:  * State Sen. Joe Griffo is sponsoring a bill that would place eight-year term limits on the Assembly speaker, temporary Senate president, both houses’ minority leaders and committee chair positions, theTimes Union reports: * One Ban Fits All (YNN)  Unlike his GOP colleague, IDC Leader Jeff Klein is all for a full ban on outside income – as he demonstrated by announcing this week he’ll divest entirely from his private practice law firm.


The Times convenes an online debate among four New York City experts on whether tax breaks that spur condo development have benefited the rich at the expense of others
VANCE ON CORRUPTION: The failure of district attorneys to combat corruption at the highest levels of government is due to a lack of state laws adequately outlawing the conduct, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance writes in City & State:




Secret Dirty Foreign Money Buying Manhattan Apts Fueling Gentrification In Outer Boroughs 
Stream of Foreign Wealth Flows to Elite New York Real Estate(NYT) On the 74th floor of the Time WarnerCenter, Condominium 74B was purchased in 2010 for $15.65 million by a secretive entity called 25CC ST74B L.L.C. It traces to the family of Vitaly Malkin, a former Russian senator and banker who was barred from entering Canada because of suspected connections to organized crime. By piercing the secrecy of more than 200 shell companies, The New York Times documented a decade of ownership in this iconic Manhattan way station for global money transforming the city’s real estate market. 

But The Times also found a growing proportion of wealthy foreigners, at least 16 of whom have been the subject of government inquiries around the world, either personally or as heads of companies. The cases range from housing and environmental violations to financial fraud. 

On the Same Day the NYT Exposes Foreign $$ Driving Luxury Housing Building the Daily News Defends the Mayor Fact Free Housing Plan Bill de Blasio’s tall order (NYDN) The mayor deserves credit for his valiant affordable housing crusade. But breaking through New Yorkers’ cynicism will be difficult indeed.



Foreign Ownership of Luxury Apts Has Push Whites to Bklyn, Pushing Blacks Out of Crown Heights
Four owners have been arrested, and another four have been the subject of fines or penalties for illegal activities. The foreign owners have included government officials and close associates of officials from Russia, Colombia, Malaysia, China, Kazakhstan and Mexico. They have been able to make these multimillion-dollar purchases with few questions asked because of United States laws that foster the movement of largely untraceable money through shell companies. Vast sums are flowing unchecked around the world as never before — whether motivated by corruption, tax avoidance or investment strategy, and enabled by an ever-more-borderless economy and a proliferation of ways to move and hide assets. The high-end real estate market has become less and less transparent — and more alluring for those abroad with assets they wish to keep anonymous — even as the United States pushes other nations to help stanch the flow of American money leaving the country to avoid taxes. Yet for all the concerns of law enforcement officials that shell companies can hide illicit gains, regulatory efforts to require more openness from these companies have failed.

By marketing the condos to wealthy foreigners, Time Warner’s developer was at the forefront of luring cash from overseas to New York real estate. Twenty-six percent of the original sales were to people from other countries, a proportion that has grown to more than half among recent buyers. In 2003, one-third of the units sold in Time Warner were purchased by shell companies. By 2014, that figure was over 80 percent. One type of corporate structure now commonly used in real estate transactions, limited liability corporations, or L.L.C.s, did not even exist in the United States before the late 1970s. At first, they were primarily used by oil and gas traders in Wyoming to shield individual owners from liability — if, say, a well worker was hurt — and to avoid taxation of both the corporation and the investor. Federal banking guidelines are clear: “Banks should take all reasonable steps to ensure that they do not knowingly or unwittingly assist in hiding or moving the proceeds of corruption.”

This means screening customers to determine whether they are “politically exposed people” — foreign officials and their relatives and associates — and filing a “suspicious activity report” if the customers transfer unusually large amounts of money. But such checks are not required on money flowing into the country through shell companies to purchase high-end real estate. * The precise impact of wealthy foreigners on the city may be more complex, though. As nonresidents, they pay no city income taxes and often receive hefty property tax breaks.

Real Estate Building Building for Foreign Investors Has Pumped Extra Millions Into Campaigns Corrupting NY's Election System
A program aimed at new condo development doles out about a half-billion dollars in tax breaks a year, according to the city’s independent budget office. These savings are passed on to owners in the form of lower property taxes. The Time Warner Center was not part of the most lucrative tax break program, but many other buildings around Central Park have benefited. The city’s first condo costing more than $100 million, which sold in the last few weeks at the new luxury tower One57, had property taxes this past year of $17,268, according to the city’s finance office. Those taxes will go up over time, but for now that is a savings of more than $359,000.
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REBNY jumps into Senate battle, Cuomo Campaign Millions From Real Estate LLCs 
JCrain’s New York reports * But the biggest donors to council races were the city’s real estate titans, who raised nearly $7 million in a bid to influence the election of City Council members. Spending for the PAC was coordinated by the industry’s lobbying arm, the Real Estate Board of New York.  But after the elections, REBNY President Steven Spinola was quick to declare victory, asserting that 18 of the 22 candidates backed by his group had won their elections. But determining just who was doling out the big bucks proved challenging, since most of the contributions to the real estate PAC, dubbed Jobs for New York, came from murky corporate entities that are otherwise ineligible to donate directly to candidates in city elections.

 NY State Senate Republicans have $2.9 million in campaignaccount(NYDN) Campaign Reform and Media Cover Up of Citizens United On Local 2013 Election  *Cuomo Has Raised Millions Through LLCs' Loophole He Pledged to Close (Propublica) The governor has called for closing a gap in the state’s campaign finance laws, but he’s taken far more through the loophole than his predecessors, much of it from real estate developers. * Andrew CuomoBenefited From Same Real Estate Figure That Shelly Silver Did obs for New York Inc., an outside spending group that poured $8 million into New York City’s 2013 elections, is now poised to help Republicans in the high-stakes battle for the state Senate, records show.


% of Residences Owned By Shell Companies 


NYT Pushes Mayor's Housing Ideology Plan Because He Means It
From the NYTs: Can New York Be Affordable Again?(NYT Ed) "Mayor Bill de Blasio’s mission to create housing for all, including working- and middle-class families, is timely and exciting. Cynicism is easy. Idealism is hard when you’re a politician who is making a huge promise. The success of the plan, laid out by the administration in a 116-page book of policy prescriptions, will depend on several factors. Persuasion, toughness: mandatory inclusionary zoning, stronger rent laws, an army of Legal Aid lawyers, stricter code enforcement against landlords who let properties decay. By taking on affordable housing, Mr. de Blasio is making a full, multiyear commitment to a mission that, like “cleaning up Albany,” sounds vague and impossible. But Mr. de Blasio seems to mean it." 
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The NYT and Mayor Ignored the Damage Done in Gentrify Neighborhoods Done By Airbnb 
Fact and Reality: Stop the Gentrification Push Out In Crown Heights Before Promising to Do it City-Wide  Hundreds of Black Residence Are Being Push Out of Crown Heights and the City Has Nothing to Stop It. Why doesn't the NYT demand the mayor stop the push out in Crown Heights to demonstrate that it is possible to stop gentrification push out with his increased development that he promised in his Stat of the City speech.* East New York residents are calling for more details about the mayor’s affordable development plans for the neighborhood, and they have demands of their own, City Limits reports
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Culture Change the Angry New Yorker No More 
The Once Outraged New Yorkers Have Become Sheep to the Culture of Corruption

Where is the outrage from the media, public and GOP for the conviction of Malcolm Smith found guilty of trying to fix the 2013 mayor's race?  Where is the outrage from the women leaders that the state is being forced to pay over a half of million for sexual abuse by former Assemblyman Vito Lopez and the Hush Fund arrangements by former Speaker Silver that give Lopez the opportunity to abuse the two women who sued?  Each year NYC hires over 200 elected officials and so far none has commented on the Smith guilty verdict or the Lopez Silver tax payer pay 


True News Wags the NYP On Where is the Outrage for the Lopez Silver Sex Payout  
New York’s sleaze incentive(NYP Ed)Send the bill to Shelly.  Why should New Yorkers have to pick up the $545,000 tab for settling a lawsuit brought by two former legislative staffers who say they were sexually harassed by then-Assemblyman Vito Lopez?  As disgusting as Lopez’s serial groping of his female employees was, the bigger crime was that Sheldon Silver, then Assembly speaker, enabled his behavior with his cover-ups.  In an earlier case, he secretly authorized the payment of $103,000 in taxpayer-funded hush money to Lopez’s accusers — with the payments signed off on without objection by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.  All perfectly legal.