Saturday, February 6, 2016

Tale of Two Cities: City Workers Vs the Council; The Daily News Says the Mayor Should Veto the Pay Raise

New Yorkers Stop Acting Like Sheep Use Social Media to Force the Mayor to Veto the Pay Raise
In 2008 the Council Ignored Charter to Extended Term Limits, Yesterday They Ignored It Again to Raise Their Pay  
City council members give themselves a 32 percent raise (NYP) The three Republican members, Steve Matteo and freshman Joe Borelli of Staten Island, and Eric Ulrich of Queens, issued a joint statement explaining why they voted no.  “There is a critically important reason the City Charter requires any changes to salaries for elected officials be evaluated and ultimately recommended by an independent body: because there is an inherent and obvious conflict of interest in having to vote oneself a pay raise,” the trio said.

Daily News Demands the Mayor Veto the Council Pay Raise
Veto the pay raise (NYDN Ed) De Blasio properly recognized that he ran for, and was elected to, an office with the set salary of $225,000. Those were the conditions of the job, and he is sticking with them rather than pocketing $258,750 after a 15% hike. At the same time, de Blasio is abiding by a standard set for Washington by the United States Constitution. There, to avoid conflicts of interests, members of Congress seated in one term may vote hikes only for members after an election in another term. On that score, the mayor’s hands will be germ-free when the Council’s pay-raise bill lands on his desk. At that point, to further clean up the mess the members have made, the mayor must veto the measure.

NYC Council members Williams, Viverito & Dickens get $36,000 increase and don't have to give up outside rental income. 

De Blasio cannot in good conscience give his stamp of approval to the Council’s excessive hike after limiting the general municipal workforce to smaller boosts — and right now holding fast to 1% annual raises for cops. some members seriously advocated for a $192,000 salary for themselves. So, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito settled without justification on $148,500 — taking the unprecedented step of blowing past the recommendation of the salary commission by more than $10,000. Police officers, who risk their lives, make roughly half what a Council member does. The two cops shot Thursday night have incomes of $55,189 and $56,870. The mayor cannot let a hyper-privileged 51-member bunch exceed the generous pattern he set for almost 300,000 employees. Seven members voted no, and they are to be praised. De Blasio must slap sense into the rest.* New York City Council Votes to Raise Members’ Pay (NYT) * Immigrant Killed in Manhattan Crane Collapse Recalled as Decent and Humble (NYT) David Wichs, 38, graduated with a degree in mathematics from Harvard University and had a career in finance. A neighbor said Friday that Mr. Wichs was "so unusually lovely.” * Crane Collapse in Lower Manhattan Kills One Person (NYP)Workers were trying to secure the crane amid high winds when it toppled onto Worth Street in TriBeCa shortly before 8:30 a.m. Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.* New YorkCity Council raises its pay but limits members’ income (WSJ)

In de Blasio's NY Its Real Estate and Their Lobbyists Over the Lives of New Yorkers, Until He Gets Caught Then Spin City I Will Fix Historically 
Crane company had at least two other serious accidents in last year (NYP) Bay Crane, the company whose massive rig fatally collapsed in Tribeca Friday, had at least two serious accidents last year — and victims of those mishaps say this latest calamity has left them even more rattled. “It’s the same crane company?” Gregory Welch of Elmont, LI, said when The Post phoned him with the news. “I hadn’t realized!”  He and his wife, Priscilla, are suing the Queens-based company over an accident last May in which a crane dropped a massive heating and air-conditioning unit atop a building in Midtown. The fall sent debris crashing onto the couple’s SUV as they drove on Madison Avenue, says their lawyer, Jay Tanenbaum. The Hicksville, LI, company has faced at least eight accident lawsuits in the last five years, including one from 2014 in which a worker in Tribeca slipped on a greasy boom. Reps of both companies did not return requests for comment.* 'HE WAS AN ANGEL' Routine morning commute turns tragic for 38-year old math genius computer trader, who was crushed to death by fallen crane in Tribeca (NYDN) * TriBeCa #Crane collapse thatkills one, equipment owner linked to other accidents  CrainsNY * City's DOB spokesman says cranes will be allowed to go backto work today after yesterday's #cranecollapse

The Daily News Snarky: the FBI Knows de Blasio's Mania With Horses, Seems A Little Insensitive to Election Fixing By NYCLASS 
At this point, de Blasio’s obsession for carriage horses is nothing short of a mania. He appears to be irrational. But is he? To find out, call a psychiatrist or call the FBI
Mayor, money andmania: Ugly truths drove necessary defeat of de Blasio's carriage horse plot(NYDN)  In 2007, as a councilman, he spurned a carriage-horse bill. In 2008, animal-rights activist Wendy Neu gave $1,000 to his public advocate campaign. For a time, de Blasio remained uninterested in efforts to rein in carriage horses. Even so, wealthy activist Stephen Nislick, founder of a group called NYCLASS, and likeminded others kept donating. By January 2011, NYCLASS supporters had written $20,400 in checks to de Blasio’s treasury — and the then-public advocate came around to supporting an anti-carriage-horse drive. Money continued to flow into his coffers: $45,350 by the mayoral election. Then, in 2013, Neu, Nislick and NYCLASS poured $625,000 into a political action committee that was hammering mayoral rival Christine Quinn with powerfully effective negative ads. Run the total: $670,000. For that sum Nislick, Neu and NYCLASS surely want their money’s worth, and, hell, de Blasio is trying to give it. Whatever a psychiatrist might ask about, an FBI agent would want to discuss the conversations surrounding payments and services rendered. On the eve of his inauguration, de Blasio famously vowed to ban carriage horses entirely on Day One, but the Council balked.* The lessons of de Blasio’s latest carriage-horse fiasco (NYP) De Blasio could satisfy those developers — his donors — by just negotiating a true deal to move the stables, as Mayor Rudy Giuliani did in his day. Apparently, though, fair negotiation just isn’t part of this mayor’s skill set.* If the Teamsters Did Not Kill the Horse Bill Council Was Willing to Accept Legal Bribes to Pass

The Daily News Which Investigated the Advance Group Ducks Comment the CFB AG Parking Ticket Fine 
In 2014 the Daily News repored that the FBI was investigating donations to NYCLASS from men closeto Mayor de Blasio that may have been used toward anti-Christine Quinncampaigners    On May 21, lawyer Jay Eisenhofer gave $50,000 to NYCLASS, the animal rights group leading the crusade to ban carriage horses. Ten days later, on May 31, NYCLASS gave an equal amount — $50,000, to the anti-Quinn group. On June 1, NYCLASS received another large donation, this time for $175,000. It came from UNITE HERE! — a labor union headed by John Wilhelm. Two days after that, on June 3, NYCLASS sent the same amount, $175,000, to the anti-Quinn campaign. The issue? Both Wilhelm and Eisenhofer have long-standing ties to Bill de Blasio, one of Quinn’s Democratic rivals in the mayoral campaign. Wilhelm is de Blasio’s cousin — and a prolific fund-raiser for him. Wilhelm raised $6,950 for de Blasio’s 2009 race for public advocate and $80,000 for de Blasio’s successful campaign for mayor. * EXCLUSIVE: FBI investigating claim Christine Quinn was threatened for refusing to support carriage horse ban during the mayoral race (NYDN) *Consulting firm head hired by de Blasio for Central Parkcarriage industry review was early supporter of NYCLASS (NYDN)

The Daily News and Good Govt Groups Who Said UFT PAC Illegally Funding Advance Now are Silent
Getting Away With Fixing Elections
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."

The Daily News is Ducking the Low Advance Fine and No Criminal Investigation Means Nobody is Watching the Watchmen
The Daily News Reported That People Close to de Basio Sent Cash to Advance Run NYCLASS
Bill at the trough (NYDN Ed) De Blasio's conversion on horse carriages coincided with a rush of campaign cash. This is the curious story of how a self-described skeptic of the ban in 2007 became, by March 2013, a man who pledged to “ban the horse carriages in Central Park within the first week on the job.” In 2007, then-City Councilman de Blasio declared himself “skeptical” of a bill seeking to ban the carriages. In January 2008, the checks began arriving — and, presumably, the reeducation of the politician got underway. Wendy Neu, a longtime animal rights advocate who would later become a NYCLASS board member, gave $1,000 to de Blasio’s campaign for public advocate.Before long, more checks from Neu, NYCLASS co-founder Stephen Nislick and others started rolling in.Conversion complete? Not quite.

The Daily News Broke the Story That Advance Illegally Worked On Mark-Viverito Speakers Race Says Nothing Today
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) * New York City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito’s ties to the consulting firm Advance Group may be hurting her candidacy for speaker

Daily News's Myler Who Counted On Nude Hits Gone and the Paper Cuts the Meat
Colin Myler is resigning his post at the New York Daily News, where he has served as editor in chief since 2012. He’s returning to his native London, and will be replaced by Jim Rich, his deputy, after leaving the paper later this year. * Desnuda brings topless toddler to panhandle in Times Square (NYP) * NY Daily News staffers are bracing for another round of cuts this week as owner Mort Zuckerman tries to stanch the flow of red ink at the tabloid – perhaps in advance of trying to sell it again. Mayor's Times Square Task Force Has Yet to Meet Mayor's Times Square taskforce to deal with topless, painted women and costumed characters still hasn'tmet  (WNBC)* City & State columnist Alexis Grenell mourns the loss of Bill Hammond’s byline from the pages of the Daily News. * The Daily News Layoffs and Digital Shift May Signal the Tabloid Era’s End (NYT) To veteran media watchers, the layoffs mean that the recent attrition at newspapers across the country has finally arrived in force in the nation’s media capital *  The recent layoffs and digital shift at the New York Daily News, once the city’s ultimate hometown paper, signals something bigger afoot in the newspaper industry. “If people don’t want horses and buggies anymore and they want to ride in automobiles, then you better damn well get into the auto business,” said DN owner Mort Zuckerman.

Council Pay Raise Voted Now the Public and Media Will Answer Their Tyranny Against New York
City Council Votes To Give Itself $36,000 Pay Raise (WCBS) City council members give themselves a 32 percent raise (NYP) The three Republican members, Steve Matteo and freshman Joe Borelli of Staten Island, and Eric Ulrich of Queens, issued a joint statement explaining why they voted no. Democrats Elizabeth Crowley of Queens and Alan Maisel of Brooklyn voted no without explanation. Chaim Deutsch (D-Brooklyn), who earns considerable outside income, also voted no, while Paul Vallone (D-Queens), who holds an outside job as attorney, voted against after saying he believed a reform banning outside jobs would have “unequal impact” on members. *  Less than 24hours after cops shot, City Council votes to give themselves 32% pay boost  (NYO) *  With just seven dissenters, NYC Council members today went above the recommendations of a salary commission to award themselves a 32 percent raise — from $112,500 to $148,500.* Completing a fast, criticized process, Council membersvote for raises (PoliticoNY) *   City Council,Surprising No One, Votes To Give Itself A Raise (Gothamist) Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who will now take home $164,500 annually, was asked by a reporter how she and other members planned to spend their windfall, declined to answer. "If you want to be cynical, that's your right," she said.

Council Members Not Only Offered Pay Raise Also Offered Member Items, Campaign $ to Pass Horse Bill
De Blasio offered plenty of carrots in bid to pass horse carriage bill (NYP) Multiple City Council members were offered resources or capital projects in their districts in exchange for their support of the measure — which would have shrunk the carriage industry and limited it to Central Park, the sources said. “There were plenty of carrots and plenty of sticks being bandied about over the past 72 hours,” a City Hall source said. Sources said council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito also made it clear to members that she expected their support on an initiative she had championed for years. One council source said she gave Brooklyn Councilman Carlos Menchaca a hard time for his public support of the pedicab drivers — who were treated as collateral damage under the carriage deal with the Teamsters union. “She made it known to members that she wanted this bad and said, ‘This is what I need you to do. Plain and simple,’ ” the source said. “The mayor wasn’t the only one with a lot of skin in the game. She . . . had a lot riding on it.” t appears their efforts would have been successful if the Teamsters hadn’t bowed to pressure from fellow labor unions and backed out at the 11th hour. After announcing they were pulling the vote, Council officials insisted they had enough support to push it through. Sources said former Edison Properties honcho Stephen Nislick and Hugo Neu Recycling director Wendy Neu — leaders of the animal-rights group NYCLASS — also put pressure on council members. The two of them and close associates pumped at least $900,000 into de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign and the progressive nonprofit he now operates as mayor. * Raise? The City Council’s only earned a pay cut (NYP Ed)  The implosion of the horse-carriage-execution bill doesn’t give the City Council license to go ahead and vote itself a windfall pay hike — just the opposite. That arrogance has the public furious. Today’s Post reports on the fury in Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez’s Washington Heights district. Our favorite is Jose Blanco’s question: “What about the rest of the city?” If all the council is going to do is collect (legal) bribes for endorsing the mayor’s deals with special interests, it’s hard to see why members deserve any pay at all. * According to a memo, New York City Councilman Paul Vallone will propose an amendment that would allow members to supplement their incomewith outside work paying up to 15 percent of their annual Council salary: * Mocked, resented, and now dead: De Blasio’s horse debacle makes history (PoliticoNY) * 'This is one of the worst political debacles “maybe in all-time memory,” said @BillCunningham8  *  Outside-income ban affects few Council members (PoliticoNY) 40 members make no outside income *   Less than 24hours after cops shot, City Council votes to give themselves 32% pay boost (NYDN) * Melissa Mark-Viverito doesn't plan to push de Blasio's horse carriage bill after Teamsters dropped support (NYDN)

Rodriguez's District Residents Who Make Average $39,000 Furious That He Said He Needs $175,000 to Feed His Family 
Washington Heights residents furious with councilman’s raise request (NYP) Residents of Washington Heights lashed out Thursday at their local city councilman, Ydanis Rodriguez, for saying he needs to get paid at least $175,000 to support his family. “You’re telling me you can’t live off of [$148,500]?! Get outtahere!” said a Sanitation Department worker who gets by on $62,000 and would only give his first name, Ernesto. “I live on less than that,” he seethed. “These City Council guys, they get all the perks.” “What about the rest of the people in the city?” fumed José Blanco, a 41-year-old bookseller who makes $30,000 a year and was walking near 181st Street. The median household income in Rodriguez’s district is $39,500. “The pay should reflect the constituents,” said Michael Bridenstine, a 47-year-old freelance TV director. “I don’t think [Rodriguez] deserves a raise. At $148,500, he should be able to support a family of four. I made less than that and I did it.” Rodriguez’s office issued a statement Thursday saying he supports the $148,500 “compromise reached by the [council] speaker . . . given [members’] foregoing of outside income and the hours of tireless work they put in each day.” Annie Richardo, a 32-year-old teaching assistant who pulls in $32,000, said she wouldn’t again for Rodriguez again now that she knows how much he wants. “What about the other citizens who also have families and need more money?,” she asked.* Residents of Washington Heights lashed out at their local NYC councilman, Ydanis Rodriguez, for saying he needs to get paid at least $175,000 to support his family. Rodriguez in 2011 was arrested at an Occupy Wall Street protest, and is among the Council’s most progressive members.

All Aboard the de Blasio Gentrification Trolley 
Mayor de Blasio to Propose Streetcar Line Linking Brooklyn and ... New York Times * De Blasio to propose streetcar connecting Brooklyn, Queens In-Depth-New York Post * New York Has a Streetcar Plan That Isn't Totally Awful CityLab * De Blasio expected to back Brooklyn-Queens streetcar proposal Capital New York Yea NYT Served Poor Neighborhoods who will be emptied out by the time the street cars start running A Waterfront Route to Serve the Poor, Not Just the Wealthy  (NYT)A planned streetcar line running from Brooklyn to Queens would provide a lifeline for a stretch of New York City that is starved of mass transit options.* Elation and Skepticism Over Proposal for Streetcars in Brooklyn and Queens (NYT) Some residents agree that a 16-mile streetcar line running through the neighborhoods would ease commutes, but it would also mean having to live through several years of construction.* De Blasio’s waterfront tram is a fine idea — but will Cuomo kill it? (NYP)   * De Blasio’s proposal to build a streetcar line connecting 16 miles of neighborhoods along the booming East River waterfront of Brooklyn and Queens presents an eye-catching ambitious exercise and will serve all kinds of communities, the Times writes:  * The Post writes that the proposal for a streetcar alongthe Brooklyn waterfront is “a pretty goodidea,” but warns that Cuomo might find a way to quash the plan like he did with the mayor’s Sunnyside Yards housing proposal: * De Blasio's Streetcar Proposal Is A Shiny Waste Of Money(Gothamist) * A Streetcar Ride to New York’s Future (NYT Ed) The mayor’s enticing proposal must show itself to be worth the cost and not merely serve as a convenience for the affluent.

Community Groups Trying to Delay de Blasio's Zoning Plan 
Community groups are asking the New York City Council to delay hearings next week on de Blasio’s ambitious but controversial affordable housing plan, saying the plan is moving too fast and is not allowing for public Jarticipation, the Daily News reports: * Community groups push for more public input on Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan (NYDN)

JCOPE Battles the Lobbyists and Their 1st Amendment Pushback 
JCOPE Releases FAQ On Grassroots Lobbying Regulation(YNN) Amid ongoing concerns being raised over an advisory opinion that would require consultants to inform lobbying regulators when they seek to influence an editorial board’s opinion, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics has released a set of frequently asked questions on the regulation. JCOPE has insisted the regulation is not aimed at having journalists register with the government or have PR representatives divulge conversations with reporters. Rather, JCOPE’s advisory opinion is aimed having consultants reveal when their effort “controls the delivery” of a clients issue through an editorial board. * Jennifer Cunningham, long one of the state’s most prominent strategic political consultants, has dipped her toe back into the lobbying world in light of new rules passed by the state’s lobbying regulator, JCOPE. 

de Blasio Touts Drop in Shooting At SOTC Around the Same Time 2 Cops Shot 
Capping one of the more bewildering political debacles in recent New York memory, de Blasio’s speech was overshadowed — before he so much as delivered a word of it — by the implosion of his widely mocked, ill-supported deal to get horse carriages off New York City streets.* Two NYPD officers shot while de Blasio delivered State of the City (PoliticoNY)

'I AIN'T GOING BACK TO JAIL': Two NYPD officers shot in Bronx ambush — one suspect kills self, several others in custody (NYDN) * De Blasio touts 34% drop in shootings last month in State of the City speech as two NYPD officers are shot nearby in the Bronx(NYDN) * Thug shoots pair of officers before turning gun on himself (NYP) * De Blasio touts drop in shootings around time two cops are shot (NYP) Mayor de Blasio spotlighted NYPD heroes Thursday night in an unusual nighttime State of the City speech in The Bronx, where he unveiled plans to create the nation’s first retirement-savings program for private-sector employees. As he spoke — and discussed how shootings were down 34 percent last month — news was coming in that two cops had been shot just a few miles away. * Two New York City police officers patrolling a public housing complex in the Bronx were shot Thursday night by a gunman who fled and killed himself, while only five miles away de Blasio was giving his speech, the Times reports:  * 'I AIN'T GOING BACK TO JAIL': Two NYPD officers shot in Bronx ambush — suspect, 23, kills himself in friend's apartment (NYDN)

de Blasio's State of the City 
During his State of the City address, de Blasio laid out a vision of New York that would gleam from pavement to rooftop, while renewing his pledge to create a more equal city without diminishing its quality of life, The New York Times reports:   * A State of the City overshadowed by horses, and a police shooting (PoliticoNY) * De Blasio Aides’ Puzzle: When to Tell Him Police Had BeenShot? (WSJ) As events collided, the mayor’s staff decided the speech should go on

The Teamter Killed the Horse-Carriage Deal Not the Shameless Corrupt Council and Mayor 
Someone Put Pressure on the Teamsters Union, The Horse-Carriage Drivers A GoodFellow in Albany?
De Blasio’s bid for horse-carriage deal collapses (NYP) Mayor Bill de Blasio’s months-long bid to push through a deal to shrink the horse carriage industry and restrict it to Central Park fell apart suddenly on Thursday, after the Teamsters Union, which represents drivers, backed out. “The Teamsters’ first priority is always our members and their livelihoods. With the legislation now finalized, our members are not confident that it provides a viable future for their industry,” said Teamsters Joint Council 16 president George Miranda. “We cannot support the horse carriage bill currently before the City Council.” Carriage license owners started to make waves earlier this week by arguing that the union, Teamsters Local 553, had made a deal without their consent. Told of the parent union’s pullout from the deal, carriage license owner and driver Ian Mckeever — who has been a vocal opponent of the deal — was elated. Just Wednesday, de Blasio had dismissed questions about the apparent discord between Local 553 and its members. De Blasio’s 2013 campaign for mayor and his progressive nonprofit — formed since becoming mayor — have benefited from nearly $900,000 from just two animal rights activists and their associates: former Edison Properties honcho Stephen Nislick and Hugo Neu Recycling director Wendy Neu. The mayor later issued a statement saying he intends to continue pressing the issue.* Mayor de Blasio vows to keep trying to rein in horsecarriage industry after Teamsters scuttle City Council vote (NYDN) * When asked for a comment about collapse of horse carriagedeal, a spokesman for @NYGovCuomo responded "Neigh" (AP)

de Blasio Another Humiliating Defeat Was Ubered  
Incompetent de Blasio earns yet another humiliating defeat (NYP Ed) Last year, de Blasio sought to cap the growth of e-taxi services such as Uber, Lyft and Gett. Why? Because wealthy donors of his, city cab medallion owners, knew that the increasingly popular services were a significant threat to their bottom line. Instead of innovating and improving the service they offered to riders, these fat cats went to de Blasio, reminded him of their prior contributions and called in their chits with one goal: kill the competition. De Blasio dutifully tried. And he failed, backing down in the face of industry opposition and public outcry. The horse-carriage deal followed a similar trajectory. It was pushed by an organization, NYCLASS, that was established under the guise of animal welfare, but really was a way for its wealthy donors to seize the valuable land belonging to the horse-carriage industry and develop it for their own personal gain. Noble. On Thursday, as news spread that de Blasio had once again lost a big political fight, he sat in his SUV outside City Hall, surrounded by the very people whose jobs he wanted to eliminate: the carriage drivers. The men and women whose livelihood de Blasio had threatened surrounded his car and the mayor sat there . . . for 16 full minutes — he probably wished he was back in Iowa where nobody knew who he was. There were other instances of de Blasio proposing a big policy and losing. His push to build housing on Sunnyside Yards in Queens would have added 11,250 affordable-housing units to 200 acres of undeveloped land and ultimately rivaled Peter Cooper Village and Stuy-Town. Gov. Cuomo snuffed that idea out because the state, not the city, controls that parcel of land. Or de Blasio’s stance against Police Commissioner Bratton’s desire to put more police officers on the street? In that instance, the City Council overrode the mayor and went even further than what Bratton was calling for. When things go wrong, de Blasio and his team pass the buck. Homelessness increasing? That’s just the press fear-mongering. A top aide violating the law and having a live-in boyfriend who was a convicted murderer and had a history of misogyny and anti-police statements? The press was misbehaving and not focusing on what he wanted them to focus on. Carmen Fariña telling parents about cuts to school language programs that they should just buy their kids Rosetta Stone? (What if history were cut? Would Fariña advise parentsto buy their children The Oregon Trail?) The press clearly took what Fariña said out of context. This time, however, he has a new scapegoat: the unions. How dare they fight for their own jobs at the expense of a few donors making millions of dollars? Remember, de Blasio ran for mayor as the champion of unions and the working man. He decried how our political system let donors, or as he called them “those people,” buyinfluence with elected officials.  How ironic.

The FBI Needs to Offer A Reward on Their Billboards to Stop Corrupt Elected NYOfficials Not Just A Tip Phone Number 

No wonder the feds are feeling a little lonely. No wonder they’ve turned elsewhere for help — to the public. The FBI has just commissioned a set of digitized billboards along Albany-area highways. They flash “Report Corruption” at drivers — no kidding.  This is at best an amusing gesture and, at worst, a cynical joke. Amusing, because why not prompt public virtue like folks sell automobile tires? And cynical, because while an Albany winter can make the city seem like East Berlin in the ’60s, there is no informer culture there. Just the opposite: It’s expected that what happens in the halls of government stays in the halls of government. This is in return for stuff: A revised tax assessment, a job, preferred entry to a government-funded social program, admission to a favored school, etc.* Bob McManus: “The FBI has just commissioned a set of digitized billboards along Albany-area highways. They flash ‘Report Corruption’ at drivers — no kidding. This is at best an amusing gesture and, at worst, a cynical joke.”

Coming Soon: 
Who Crushed Political Dissent in NYC
All Power Mayor Council Puppets Deserve A Big Pay Raise as Media Dissed 
City Council members really think they deserve a 32 percent pay hike(NYP) Membe rs of the City Council spent hours Wednesday trying to justify a 32 percent pay hike they plan to award themselves, but they didn’t convince the head of a special panel that recommended they get $10,000 less. “For me this is a big compromise we’re doing today. Our salaries should be $175,000,” said Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan). “We have a right to make a living to support our families.” Rodriguez, whose Washington Heights district has a median household income of about $39,500, argued he and his colleagues deserve more because they have to attend night meetings and deal with constituents’ complaints at all hours. 

The Mayor, Speaker and Council Who Have No Clothes Live In A Clueless Bubble 
“One-third of the 51 council members have zero significant prior work experience, except as aides to elected officials—frequently the council member whose seat they now occupy. Another six council members are former public school teachers. Several, including speaker Mark-Viverito, were union staffers or community organizers. Aside from a handful of lawyers who could possibly maintain private practices and an evangelical minister who continues to preach every Sunday, it’s hard to imagine that many members of the New York city council have much earning potential in the real world.Six-figure Schmoozers (City Journal) Overpaid already, New York City lawmakers propose a big, fat raise.
“When we go to eat in a restaurant, we have to allocate time to speak to our constituency,” he said. Schwarz brushed off Rodriguez’s concerns. “Everybody needs to feed their family,” he said. “We thought we did an appropriate raise for all offices.”  Councilwoman Inez Dickens (D-Manhattan) argued that the commission’s proposed raises amounted to being “penalized” because members often give needy constituents money “out of our pockets in order for them to eat.” The raises are scheduled to be voted on Friday, the same day members will be asked to approve Mayor de Blasio’s bill to downsize the horse-carriage industry and limit the animals to Central Park. The mayor said he supports the raises. He dismissed criticism from good-government groups that the timing makes it appear he’s holding the raises hostage to the horse-carriage bill.* The City Council’s pathetic case for a windfall raise (NYP)  Frederick Schwarz just nicely punctured the City Council’s excuses for its obscene pay-hike plan. Schwarz chaired the outside panel that recommended a 23 percent raise for council members, to $138,315. The council promptly turned around and tacked on another $10,185, for a 32 percent bump — and is rushing the vote through on Friday. Never before has the council raised its pay more than the outsiders suggested. Another first: The hike’s retroactive to Jan. 1, rather than kicking in after the next election. At Wednesday’s required-by-law hearing, Councilmember Margaret Chin (D-Lower Manhattan) claimed the higher number would attract “more good people to government.” Schwarz answered, “There’s no shortage now.” Darn right: Candidates flock into council races. * Council clowns’ modest pay proposal (NYDN Ed) * De Blasio: Move of horses to Central Park will pass (NYDN) *   A City Council Raise That Raises Questions (NYT Ed) There are good reasons for a pay increase, but there are also good reasons for taking the time to explain why such a large raise is needed.  

Two days before they are expected to vote to increase their salaries by nearly a third, New York City council members held the first, and only, public hearing on the package of bills that would raise their pay while enacting significant reforms, the Times reports:  * The Times writes that a better-paid New York City Council is welcome, but there are good reasons to be uneasy about how the Council approached the raise and it's reasonable to ask the members to take a bit more time to answer lingering questions: * Political consultant Tom Shanahan in the Journal writesthat a full-time state legislature and barring outside income won’t prevent corrupt practices, and no state in the country limits outside income for its legislators for good reasons: * Many New York City Council members believe the pending horse-carriage legislation that could erase hundreds of jobs and cost the city millions is less about animal rights and more about de Blasio keeping a campaign promise to wealthy donors. But they’ll likely approve it anyway tomorrow, saying they are under intense pressure to do so. * NY horse-carriage drivers brace for city to rein in theirbusiness  * 
The Transport Workers Union said it will sue the mayor and the City Council, should they pass a law to move a diminished horse carriage industry into Central Park and ban pedicabs outside the park’s tourist areas.* Members of the City Council spent hours yesterday trying to justify a 32 percent pay hike they plan to award themselves, but they didn’t convince the head of a special panel that recommended they get $10,000 less. * The NYT weighs in on the NYC Council’s plan to vote itself a raise: “A better-paid City Council is welcome, on several levels. But there are also good reasons to be uneasy about how the Council got here — and to ask the members to take a bit more time to answer a few lingering questions and to make a better case than they have for the package they are about to give themselves.” *  NYC Council member wants to keep outside income amid raise (NYDN) * Horses will continue to trot as Teamsters reject De Blasio'scarriage plan: Horse carriages are free to fully… * Animal rights activists who have been trying to ban the carriage industry for years placed the blame for the deal’s demise squarely on Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.* Mayor de Blasio’s Carriage-Horse Plan Falters in City Council (NYT)

TWU to Sue Horse Deal on Behalf of the Pedicab Drivers
Where are the Teamsters Who Represent the Drivers?
Union ready to sue de Blasio over horsecarriage plan (NYP) The Transport Workers Union said Wednesday it plans to sue Mayor de Blasio and the City Council, should they pass a law to move a diminished horse carriage industry into Central Park and ban pedicabs outside the park’s tourist areas. TWU said the city cannot use the iconic park for a commercial use without approval of the state Legislature Gov. Cuomo in Albany. The TWU is getting involved in the legal fight on behalf of the pedicab drivers.* The City Council’s pathetic case for a windfall raise (NYP)* Pedicab drivers will be jobless under Mayor de Blasio’s plan (NYDN) * Should the New York City Council on Friday approve a bill to house a shrunken horse carriage industry inside Central Park and banish pedicabs from the park’s southern precincts, it will face a lawsuit by the Transport Workers Union Local 100, Politico New York reports: 

One of Silver Replacement Candidtes Might Not Be Eligible 
Top contender for Silver’s seat isn’t eligible to run, rivals say (NYP)  A leading contender to replace disgraced Assemblyman Sheldon Silver doesn’t meet the state’s five-year residency requirement, rivals charged Wednesday. The campaign of at least one opponent of Yuj-Line Niou, an Assembly staffer, said she would face a court challenge if she ran to represent the downtown district where Silver presided for decades. “This is a real issue. Niou doesn’t meet the residency requirement. We’ll challenge her eligibility if she’s nominated by the Democratic Party,” said Sarah Steiner, election lawyer for Jenifer Rakjumar, a Democratic district leader.  Niou, chief of staff to Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim, came to New York from Seattle in 2010 to pursue a master’s degree through a National Urban Fellowship at Baruch College and lived briefly on Staten Island, sources said. But sources said her fellowship also required her to be in Washington, D.C., Sources claim Niou did not establish a continuous residence in New York until December 2011. Niou’s election lawyer, Martin Connor, insisted his candidate meets the five-year, residency requirement. “This is bull. She’s got plenty of documents showing that she lived in New York,” said Connor. Other candidates in the race include district leaders Alice Cancel and Paul Newell.The remains of Silver’s political machine loom large over the race. He served the Lower East Side district for 40 years and his power base, the Truman Democratic club and other allies, could determine who succeeds him. His longtime chief of staff, Judy Rapfogel, is a Democratic Committee member who still wields influence in the district, sources said.* Naval reservist businessman tapped for Silver’s Assembly seat (NYP) The Manhattan Republican Party Thursday night tapped businessman and naval reservist Lester Chang as its candidate to run for disgraced ex-Speaker Sheldon Silver’s downtown Assembly seat. Silver was forced to...*  New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer will endorse Yuh-Line Niou, an Assembly staffer vying for the Democratic nomination for the April 19 special election to replace former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the Daily News reports:  * The Manhattan Republican Party tapped businessman and naval reservist Lester Chang, who opposes the $15 minimum wage and supports a private schools tax credit, to run for Silver’s downtown Assembly seat, the Post writes: * NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and state Sen. Brad Hoylman joined former Comptroller John Liu in calling for the New York County Democratic Committee to pick Yuh-Line Niou as its candidate for the April 19 special election for Silver’s seat.* NYC Democrats vie to replace Sheldon Silver  (WSJ)

Klein, Lobbyists Mirram and Herbalife Connected 
New state lobbying filings raise questions about the level of coordination between a powerful state lawmaker – IDC Leader Jeff Klein – his influential political consultant (Luis Miranda) and a billionaire who has placed a $1 billion bet against the stock price of Herbalife, a multinational nutritional sales company.
Bronx Lobbyists MirRam Group 

Heastie Protecting Pensions for Corrupt Pols 
Look who’s protecting taxpayer pensions for criminal politicians (NYP) New Yorkers overwhelmingly think crooked pols should retroactively lose their state pensions. But Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie keeps making sure it doesn’t happen. On Tuesday, he offered yet another excuse for nixing a constitutional fix for the outrage. It was his lamest yet. Basically, he claims to fear that a too-broad constitutional amendment would let future lawmakers change the rules by “which someone could lose their pension,” said Heastie. His members “just want clarity.” * Cuomo has in his budget proposal $145 billion to make New York the 38th state in the country to allow early voting. It would allow a limited number of polling places to open ahead of elections, freeing up voters from having to cast their ballot on a specific day
Speaker Heastie, Albany Campaign and Financial Reform 

Another None Profit Rip Off
Nonprofit director laundered nearly $1M to fund lavish lifestyle: officials (NYP) The head of a city-funded nonprofit that delivers meals to senior citizens stole nearly $1 million from the foundation to pay for his family’s Long Island home, luxury car and clothes, federal officials charged Wednesday. United Block Association Executive Director Kwame Insaidoo, 59, and his wife Roxanna Pearson, 62, allegedly laundered $953,875 through a shell company they owned called Allied Home Care Services, federal prosecutors say in court papers. Insaidoo is accused of failing to report to the city “several” bank accounts he used to funnel the money from UBA to Allied — which he was required to do. Insaidoo allegedly over-reported and over-billed the city for expenses at the four Upper Manhattan senior centers it operates..

Sleepless On the Subways

A Rich Lady Who Has Accomplish Nothing At DCA Gets A New Job to Party With the Stars
De Blasio moves consumer affairs commish to film office (NYP) Mayor de Blasio shuffled his administration on Tuesday, announcing that Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin is becoming head of the city’s film office * De Blasio announced that city Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin will replace Cynthia Lopez, who resigned abruptly in August after 16 months amid criticism of how she ran the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, the Post writes:  * The mayor shuffled his administration, announcing that Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin is becoming head of the city’s film office. Menin will be replaced temporarily by Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico until a permanent successor is named, city officials said. Menin Campaign Consultant for Her 2013 Run for Manhattan Borough President Berlin Rosen

Why is the State Having More Than One Primary in 2016?
The McGoven Primary Lesson Still Rules
40 Years Ago George McGovern Pull Out Thousands of New Voters in A Primary, A Lot of Albany Incumbents Lost - Schumer and Holtzman and Others Entered

By not consolidating state and federal primaries into one day, taxpayer money is wasted and incentives are created for politicians to run for multiple offices at once without any real consequences, former New York City Councilman Adam Clayton Powell 4th writes in the Daily News: 

Why 2 Primaries in Presidential Election Years
An Expensive and Unnecessary Election(NYT Ed) The extra New York State primary will cost state taxpayers $50 million for their trouble. New York State is poised to put voters through another needlessly expensive election year. Instead of taking the sensible route — one primary to pick party candidates and one general election to pick ultimate winners — New York is scheduled to have an extra primary. That means three elections when two are enough. The extra primary will cost state taxpayers $50 million for their trouble. The Assembly was right to challenge this scenario with a bill providing for federal, state and local primaries on the fourth Tuesday in June (the 24th this year). That gives officials plenty of time to count ballots and announce nominees for the November general election. It also allows the state to comply with federal law that requires primaries to be held early enough so that troops overseas can get ballots and mail them back in time to be counted. The Senate, however, has yet to agree to a single June primary. Its members want a federal primary in June and a separate state and local primary (which would include their own primary elections) in September. It’s been that way for 40 years, and the Senate, which is now almost evenly divided between the two major parties, seems intent on resisting change.* Stewart-Cousins Urges Passage Of Consolidated Primary(NYO)

NYP Calls Council Killing Horse Carriages for A Pay Hike A Dirty Trick DN Says the Pay Hike is Too High Only True News Calls Them All Lying Crooks
Should the New York City Council on Friday approve a bill to house a shrunken horse carriage industry inside Central Park — and banish pedicabs from the park’s southern precincts — it will promptly encounter a lawsuit *  City Council pushing for even bigger pay raise (NYDN)
Killing horse carriages for an outrageous pay hike: Doubly dirty City Council tricks (NYP)  Give Melissa Mark-Viverito credit for cleverness: By having the City Council vote Friday on the outrageous anti-horse-carriage bill, she’s minimized the public anger over the obscene council-pay-hike bill set for its own vote that day. The carriage bill savages the industry. The city now licenses about 180 carriages, which each supports two or more horses; the bill would cut that down to 110 horses by year’s end (and to 95 if the promised new Central Park stables ever get built). Slashing the number of horses by two-thirds would quickly force the closure and sale of the stables where the horses live. Stables that sit on land long lusted-after by de Blasio mega-donor Steve Nislick.  The mayor insists these two bad bills aren’t linked — that the pay hike’s not a bribe to get the council to kill the carriage industry. But if the City Council wants anyone to believe that, it should act accordingly.  As Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) notes, there’s no reason the carriage vote needs to take place now. The only ones eager for a vote are the mayor, the speaker he helped install — and the special interests who want it rushed through.  The carriage operators oppose the bill unan­imously. Parks lovers don’t want valuable land turned over to a private enterprise, as the bill promises. Nor should taxpayers have to pay for new Central Park stables. The key Community Boards — 5 and 7 — are also shouting, “Stop!” On the merits, both measures should go down. But it’s just perverse to pass them as a de facto package. Any member who votes for both stands exposed as selling out working-class jobs in order to line his or her own pocket. Instead, listen to the public — and end the rush on both.* Paying for theCouncil’s raise with reforms made permanent (NYDN) The timing. Mark-Viverito’s reasoning for the extra spike is that the Council is banning outside income, for which members should be compensated. We get it. But the entire pay hike is retroactive, starting Jan. 1. By the speaker’s own logic, the $10,185 jump and the outside income ban should start together, after the 2017 election. The time after that. While the Council is rightly killing lulus — bonuses that the speaker doles out to allies — a future Council can revive them. The Council should put a Charter referendum on the November ballot to make the reforms permanent. *  The Daily News writes the pay hike sought by the New YorkCity Council is too high and should start after the 2017 election, while members of the committee considering the hike must do real work to improve the rotten plan:* While de Blasio was in Iowa stumping for Hillary Clinton, opposition to his plan to shrink the horse-carriage trade and restrict it to Central Park has grown, prompting the mayor and his surrogates to do some last-minute vote wrangling to counter the growing number of antagonists.

City Hall Council Speaker Still Trying to Fix the Horse Deal 
City Council memberswant to delay vote on horse carriages (NYP) City Council members are bucking Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito by calling for a delay in the vote to cut back the horse-carriage industry — while the hansom drivers claim they were sold out by their union. Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) and several colleagues on Monday said there were too many unanswered questions about the legislation to vote on Friday, because people’s livelihoods are on the line. “The time to study whether your policy is going to put people out of work is before you put those people out of work, not after,” said Greenfield. “We have spent way too much time on this issue,” said Andy Cohen (D-Bronx). “There’s a deal — I’d really like to put this behind us so we can focus on more significant issues.” Sources said de Blasio has been personally calling legislators to collect votes for the measure, which is a compromise to his initial bid to get rid of the carriages entirely. Two supporters of the ban, former Edison Properties owner Steve Nislick and Hugo Neu CEO Wendy Neu, have contributed $628,000 to de Blasio’s campaign interests and mayoral agenda, and made additional donations through the animal-rights group NYCLASS. In a new development Monday, the owners of all 68 horse-carriage medallions charged their own union — Teamsters Local 553 — with ignoring their interests by approving the deal with City Hall. “A lot of council members think we support this deal. We don’t support this deal,” said Ian McKeever, a medallion owner and driver for 28 years. Local 553 Treasurer Demos Demopoulus acknowledged the bill wasn’t perfect, but insisted the drivers had been consulted.* De Blasio’s carriage plan is made for horse-haters (NYP Ed) For decades, carriage-horse owners have been able to rotate their horses and give them days off as they’ve seen fit. Carriage-horse owners are able to easily bring in new horses to try out. Older horses spend increasing amounts of time “on vacation” until their owners find retirement homes for them. Finding a good retirement home can take months or years. Allowing older horses to continue to work, even for a couple of months a year, keeps horses fit both physically and mentally and extends their lifespan. De Blasio would change all of that and put horses in danger. * Some New York City Council members are calling for the body to delay a planned Friday vote on a deal to curtail the horse-carriage industry because they believe there are too many unanswered questions on it,the Post reports:  Mark-Viverito quietly pushes package deal on horses, raises (PoliticoNY) * “The Sopranos” actress Edie Falco, a backer of NYCLASS, sent robocalls to pols urging them to sign off on the deal to cut the number of horses to 75 and keep them in a stable inside Central Park, as did actresses Debi Mazar and Kathy Najimy. Hip hop mogul Russell Simmons was also personally calling members, according to NYCLASS. And X-files star Gillian Anderson is sending them e-mails.

Speaker Still Trying Connect Horse Deal and Pay Raise Joined At the Hip Everywhere
HOW THE SPEAKER PLAYED POLITICO New York's  When Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito convened her Democratic conference last week, she had good news and bad news. The good news was that the mayor would back an unprecedented 32 percent raise for Council members, and that the legislation for the raises would be ready for a vote this Friday. The bad news was that members would also be voting on a long-stalled bill to restrict the horse-carriage industry - a priority of Mayor Bill de Blasio that would eliminate jobs across two industries, and require an estimated $25 million in city money to refurbish a horse stable in Central Park. The two bills - neither of which is particularly popular with the public - would be considered on the same day, Mark-Viverito told her members. Media strategy: "These two issues have been hanging over our heads forever, so let's just get it over with and move on is what she was basically saying," recalled one member who attended the conference meeting. "There was certainly a lot of frustration among folks from the council who would prefer not to be voting on these two bills at the same time, and that was something that was discussed by members then." Scheduling both bills for a rare Friday session appeared to be a way to minimize the damage, and bury them in a single Saturday news story. But packaging the bills together has also proven problematic. Mark-Viverito and the mayor have each denied any connection between the two bills, and the speaker has hailed the reforms included in the pay-raise bill - which restrict members' outside income and eliminate committee stipends - as "unprecedented, substantial reforms." But she has also tried to preempt the bad press leading up to the votes.* CARRIAGE OWNERS SPLIT WITH UNION  Owners of horsecarriage medallions say moving industry into Central Parkwill harm their business (NYDN) *  De Blasio Swears His Horse-Carriage Plan Has ‘a Lot ofSupport in the Council’ (NYO)

90% Think NY is Corrupt But New Yorker's Acting Like Sheep and Accept Organize Crime Elected Officials 
Why corruption is so rampant in New York government (NYP) New Yorkers care about corruption in government. But not much. Which is why there’s so much of it. It was just six weeks or so ago that federal juries in Manhattan found two of the state’s three most powerful political figures guilty of theft and extortion. Monday, the upstate Siena College Research Institute reported that nearly 90 percent of New Yorkers believe the state is fundamentally corrupt — but only 18 percent think doing something about it should be a top priority in the just-convened 2016 legislative session. This, in a state that has seen 30 lawmakers removed from office via criminal conviction or resignation under fire in the past several years — and that soon will see former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and one-time Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos sentenced to lengthy prison terms * Corruption is so rampant in New York politics because, while New Yorkers care about corruption, they care more about issues like the $15 minimum wage or paid family leave, which is why Albany will not change,the Post’s Bob McManus writes:

Electing Leaders Who Do Nothing to Stop Corruption 
Gov. Cuomo stood around with his hands in his pockets for years as the two legislative leaders were filling their knapsacks with other people’s money — and then arguably attempted to ease the heat on the pair (and maybe on himself) by shutting down a special anti-corruption commission.  Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who’ll hop on fantasy-football bettors like a frog on a lily pad, has never shown the slightest interest in legislative corruption — perhaps because he came to his present office straight from the Legislature. The Joint Commission on Public Ethics was established in 2011 and is controlled by genteel hacks appointed by Cuomo, Silver and Skelos. It has never — not once — caught a pol with his hand in somebody else’s pocket.This should be astonishing, given US Attorney Preet Bharara’s record during the same period. But, given the commission’s appointing authorities, it’s not surprising at all.  And local district attorneys have only rarely been interested in official corruption. Who wants to make those kind of political waves?   More basically, who’s to doubt that Shelly Silver’s district would re-elect him in a New York minute — tomorrow?  The politicians understand this, of course. That’s why nothing fundamental ever changes: The pols aren’t the problem — the people are.  Sometimes, democracy is a real bitch.* A new Siena poll found voters overwhelmingly support a number of Cuomo’s priorities for 2016, but still hold mixed views about the governor himself.

Delayed Homeless Shelter Safety Report Released Whooping 21,401 Code Violations

Delayed New York City Report on Shelter Safety Violations Is Released (NYT) The report, which Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to release last May, documents longstanding problems in housing units rented as shelter space from private landlords. * There are 21,401 outstanding violations at homeless shelters (NYP) After months of delays, the de Blasio administration Monday finally released its new scorecard for the city’s 643 homeless shelters, showing 21,401 violations outstanding at the end of last year.And that was an improvement. At the end of November, there were 21,872 open violations, said the report, which was supposed to have been released last May.* HELL-TER SKELTER: City homeless shelters had a whopping 21,401 open code violations at the end of 2015, such as vermin and leaks, scorecard shows (NYDN) * Senate lawmakers are pushing legislation that would block sex offenders from gaining access to homeless shelters. * A delayed report on New York City shelter safety violations has been released. * State presses city on homelessshelter security after two stabbings in four days  via @Newsday *  De Blasio Administration Makes Good on Commitment to Release Scorecard for Every City Homeless Shelter (NY1)  * New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio released an overdue report cataloging violations at 600 sites used to house homeless people, which showed traditional shelters were safer than the cluster sites being phased out, The New York Times reports:  * State orders increased security at 53rd Street homeless shelter (PoliticoNY)

421-a Allowed NY Corrupt Pols and Lawyers to Launder Dirty Money While Give Tax Breakes to Developers 
Anonymous, Inc (60 Minutes) See what happens when hidden cameras capture New York lawyers being asked to move highly questionable funds into the U.S. Steve Kroft reports.  If you like crime dramas and movies with international intrigue, then you probably have a basic understanding of money laundering. It's how dictators, drug dealers, corrupt politicians, and other crooks avoid getting caught by transforming their ill-gotten gains into assets that appear to be legitimate.  They do it by moving the dirty money through a maze of dummy corporations and offshore bank accounts that conceal their identity and the source of the funds.  And most of it would never happen without the help -- witting or unwitting -- of lawyers, accountants and incorporators; the people who actually create these anonymous shell companies and help move the money. In fact, the U.S. has become one of the most popular places in the world to do it. 

Tonight, with the help of hidden camera footage, we're going to show you how easy it seems to have become to conceal questionable funds from law enforcement and the public. You need look no further for evidence than the changing skyline of New York City, where much of the priciest residential real estate is being snapped up not by individuals, but by anonymous shell companies with secret owners. There's nothing illegal about it as long as the money's legitimate, but there's no way to tell, if you don't know who the real buyers are. It is one of the reasons Global Witness, a London-based nonprofit organization that exposes international corruption, came to New York City 19 months ago. It wanted to see how helpful U.S. lawyers would be in concealing questionable funds. * NYC attorney: "We run the country  Investigative report from @globalwitness targets lawyers advising foreigners on how to move shady money into US. * Top real estate lawyers offer advice on moving shadymoney into US: report (Real Deal)  Gerald Ross, John Jankoff and Marc Koplik among attorneys caught on camera

Developers Get to Make Noise At Night 
A tale of two noises: De Blasio’s unequal ‘quality of life’ crusade (NYP) On Sunday, his team announced a deal to halve tourist helicopter flights. The same day, The Post reported on the jump in permits for loud overnight construction work. De Blasio’s Economic Development Corp. says the chopper deal will cut 30,000 Downtown Manhattan Heliport flights a year. No more Sunday flights either, or ones over Governor’s Island. Yet the city’s doing nothing about another ear-ache: As Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein reported in Sunday’s Post, the Buildings Department OK’d 59,895 permits last year for work between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. — a 24 percent jump from 2014. It nixed only 431 applications, for an approval rate of 99 percent. ’Copter-noise complaints make up a minuscule share (less than 1 percent) of all noise-related 311 calls. But one resident calls night-time construction work an “indescribable nightmare.” Machines make it impossible to sleep, and filing complaints “does not work,” says Isabel Madden, who lives near a project at 220 Central Park South.* Developers, DOBlove night construction, but residents not so much (Real Deal)
* The Post writes that helicopter noise complaints make up a“miniscule share” of calls to 311 about noise concerns, and the de Blasio administration is not addressing the “ear-ache” stemming from night-time construction work: * Post writes that helicopter noise complaints make up a “miniscule share” of calls to 311 about noise concerns, and the de Blasio administration is not addressing the “ear-ache” stemming from night-time construction work:

Is Selling Off NYCHA Land the Only Way to Save Affordable Housing
Could Building on NYCHA Land Save de Blasio’s Affordable Housing Plan? (NYO) On January 11, Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn to celebrate laying the groundwork to build or preserve 40,000 below-market rate apartments in his first two years of office—putting him on schedule to hit his goal of seeing 200,000 such units constructed or maintained by 2024. At the time, Mr. de Blasio would not even consider the possibility that the 421a tax credit for developers, which incentivizes creation of affordable housing, might expire on January 15. Construction unions and the real estate industry had been locked in a stalemate for six months over new prevailing wage standards to be written into the abatement, ever since Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislaturedecided in June that the two sides would have to come to a deal on pay floors, or see the exemption wither away. Vicki Been, commissioner of the City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, would admit that many of construction starts in 2015 were a result of real estate interests making a run on the bank before the break could disappear. “We did certainly see a rise in building permits resulting undoubtedly from the desire to get in the ground before 421a,” she told reporters. Sure enough, 421a expired. And the private housing market Mr. de Blasio has counted on to build his affordable apartments is in disarray.
More on the NYCHA and Its Deep Problems
Campaign 2013 Media Failure  And Broken Political Promises 

Cuomo de Blasio War the Housing Battle as the NYT Like Aways Sides With the Mayor 
A battle over housing policy is rekindling the feud between Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who opposes the governor’s proposal to add state oversight of the city’s affordable housing bonds, The Wall Street Journal reports: * * If Cuomo were serious about solving the affordable housing crisis, he would not be trying to place new layers of state control over the city’s use of federal tax-exempt bonds to build and preserve affordable rental apartments and may be purposely sabotaging the mayor, The New York Times writes: * A battle over housing policy is quietly rekindling the feud between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The Cuomo administration wants to add oversight to the city’s affordable-housing bonds, a measure the city fears will slow development and cause uncertainty among developers—and imperil the top item on the mayor’s agenda. * The New York Times: “Cuomo, who should be using his power to make New York City more hospitable to working-class and middle-class families, has instead slipped a little poison into his executive budget that could cripple the city’s ambitious efforts to build affordable housing…It’s not a stretch to call this sabotage (of de Blasio’s agenda).”
The Battle for the Control of the State Senate
More on Cuomo

The Senator Who Holds the Keys to the Control Senate 
Brooklyn senatorcould decide which party controls New York senate (NYDN) A Brooklyn senator who could be the key in deciding which party controls the chamber wouldn’t commit to either side on Monday. Though a Democrat, Sen. Simcha Felder has caucused with the Republicans since taking office in 2013, helping them maintain their slim majority. But if the Democrats win an April 19 special election to fill the seat left vacant by the conviction of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, it would give the Dems a numerical majority in the chamber. Whether they would ascend to power, however, would depend on whether Felder and a separate group of five breakaway Democrats who formed their own independent conference agree to work with the mainstream Dems in a majority coalition. The six Dems have been aligned with the Republicans. Felder wouldn’t commit when asked by the Daily News what he might do.*  Brooklyn state Sen. Simcha Felder and Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein would not disclose which party they would caucus with after an April 19 special election for an open Long Island seat, the Daily News reports:  *   State Republicans shoot down proposed tax hike on the rich (NYP) * Sen. Michael Nozzolio, 64, who has represented the Finger Lakes region for more than 30 years, announced he will not seek re-election in the fall, citing a heart problem. * Nozzolio’s departure causes another headache for the Senate GOP as it seeks to retain the majority this fall. He was unopposed in four of his last six Senate campaigns, and with $209,986 in his campaign accounts as of mid-January,he likely would have been difficult to unseat in 2016. * Many New Yorkers who earn more than a million dollars a year would see a tax increase under the terms of a proposal introduced by Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. (The idea was immediately shot down by the Senate Republicans).

Cox Pushes Ulrick for Mayor - No Word from Catsimtidis
New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich, a Republican from Queens, is considering challenging de Blasio next year, according to at least three GOP leaders, including state chairman Ed Cox, the Post reports: 2017 CHATTER -- 30-year-old Eric Ulrich as the Republicanchallenger? -- Post "A young Republican lawmaker from Queens is considering challenging Mayor de Blasio next year, The Post has learned. City Councilman Erich Ulrich, 30, is being encouraged to enter the race by GOP leaders, including state chairman Ed Cox, Queens leader Bob Turner and Joe Lhota, the 2013 party standard bearer who lost to de Blasio. All three said Ulrich is interested. The councilman was first elected in 2009 ... Turner said Ulrich can invigorate the GOP while also connecting with outer-borough Democrats turned off by de Blasio's left-leaning policies. 'We need a dramatic, different direction and Eric provides that,' Turney said. Ulrich, who turns 31 on Feb. 13, declined to comment."* State Republican Chairman Ed Cox announced this year’s State Republican Convention to select its candidate to challenge U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and discuss the April presidential primary will be held in Buffalo, the Times Union reports: 
de Blasio campaign 2017 and His National Campaign

de Blasio 2008 Promise of Ratner's Affordable Housing Falling Far Short
Are You Following East NY?
A de Blasio flashback: he supported AY for "over 3000 low-income units" (nope); "I will take what I can get" (AYR)  I recently found the original copy of a document I cited nearly seven years, when then City Council Member Bill de Blasio, at that point aiming to be Brooklyn Borough President and now of course our city's mayor, explained his support of Atlantic Yards with a sloppy, erroneous reference. The interview was in the Spring 2008 issue of the Park Slope Reader."I’ve supported Atlantic Yards because it will provide over 3000 units of affordable housing to low-income residents and it will bring more local jobs to the neighborhood," de Blasio claimed.Actually, the plan was and is to include 900 low-income apartments, among 2250 subsidized rentals, and potentially 600 to 1000 for-sale affordable units, of which a "majority... will be sold to families in the upper affordable income tiers," according to the Housing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Forest City Ratner signed with ACORN. (The plans for the for- units are far more fuzzy than plans for the rentals.) Low-income does not mean "affordable," but de Blasio apparently didn't care about the distinction. Or is it that, as an October 2013 profile inPoliticker  indicated, he was said to be "a surface guy, total surface. He’s not in the weeds." The "surface" now is that two towers will have 100% affordable units (but be matched by 100% market-rate rental buildings, which was never planned). So de Blasio can say "affordable" even as the affordability drifts upward--even in the low-income categories--from the income "bands" targeted in the ACORN agreement. As I reported, half the units in the next two towers would go to households at the income band that requires some $3,000 for a two-bedroom apartment.
How Bruce Ratner Wins Approval for his Projects
Mayor Ignores Community Leaders Opposing His Zoning Plan   

Education: Dumbing Down Tests and Charters Go At Albany Alone

Wednesday Over 1,000 charter school kids rally in Albany for more money (NYP) * State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia addressed more than 1,000 charter school students and teachers rallying in Albany for equal funding with regular public schools, angering the state teachers union, thePost writes: * State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has canceled a trip to the state’s most controversial and politically connected charter network, Success Academy, as she seeks to tamp down a recent drama around her appearance at a charter school rally.
New York state tests are about to become meaningless (NYP) State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia just moved to do exactly what we’d feared — water down New York’s exams. It’s a win for the teachers unions — and a loss for kids and parents. First, Elia confirmed a change announced in September: She’s cutting the number of questions on the state’s math and English tests for grades 3-8. Fewer questions makes for a less-meaningful test — especially since the state inevitably “disqualifies” several questions every year after students have taken the exams. Far worse, she’s ordered that the tests no longer be timed. * SuccessAcademy CEO Eva Moskowitz is asking state Education Department commissioner MaryEllen Elia to get involved in a spat between her charter school network and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio over pre-K services. This is lunacy. Nowhere in the world do standardized exams come without time limits (though New York makes an exception for kids with certain disabilities). Tests are about gauging a student’s knowledge and skills — including the skill of time-management. Without time limits, they’re a far less accurate measure. And kids need to learn how to take timed tests to prepare for higher-stakes exams, such as the SAT. Elia answers to the state Board of Regents, which is controlled by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. So it’s now plain Heastie puts the teachers unions ahead of New York’s children — especially underprivileged kids. Elia’s move means doing far less to measure children’s performance — so that parents (and the kids themselves) will have far less an idea of how much they need to improve. And of how much more their school, and its teachers, should be doing. We’ve crusaded against the “worthless diploma” awarded in so many city schools. Now the whole state faces “empty exams.”* Charter school chief Eva Moskowitz threatened to shut her new pre-K program at Success Academies if her dispute with New York City over payment and curriculum isn’t resolved by mid-February, The Wall Street Journal reports: New York City Rejects Federal Findings That Many Elementary Schools Defy Disabilities Law (NYT) * Fair deal for charters: Students who attend theindependently run public schools should be treated like those who attenddistrict schools (NYDN) * Officials at SUNY and CUNY headquarters are defending the salaries of their top leadership amid criticism from the Cuomo administration.* NY education commissioner'sdecision to speak at charter school rally hits a sore spot (TU) *  New York City Public Advocate Letitia James is suing the Department of Education, accusing it of failing to provide services to students with special needs as a result of a flawed data tracking system.  * The Daily News writes that charter schools are public schools, and therefore their per-student taxpayer funding should be on par with the rate provided to traditional district schools: *  Breaking down the changes to this year’s state tests in New York (PoliticoNY) * Education Commissioner’s Charter Rally Appearance Stirs Union(YNN)* Public Advocate Letitia James has sued the New York City Education Department, saying a $130 million computer system meant to track services for students with disabilities was a failure.

Uber Drivers Strike Unrest
Uber Drivers StrikeAgainst The "Policies Of Impoverishment" (Gothamist) Over 100 Uber drivers protested outside the company’s Long Island City offices on Monday afternoon, in reaction to Uber's Friday decision to slash UberX fares by 15% city-wide. The drivers were aiming to kick off a 72-hour strike against the company, and trying to get their voices heard by a company which considers their drivers as “partners,” but not employees. “They cut the cost of their service, and they didn’t even ask us,” said Tenzin Wangchuk, a Woodside resident who has been driving for Uber for six months, after switching over from a yellow cab. “The cost is being reduced from us, not from the company. If they wanted to do a discount that they would pay for, fine by us. But they’re asking us to lose out on a huge part of our fare.”* Uber drivers in New York City called today for a strike to protest the company’s decision to cut fares by 15 percent, as drivers rallied at the ride-sharing app’s New York headquarters. * Uber drivers gathered near its New York City headquarters and demanded the e-hailing service restore its prices, while the company released data it said proved the 15 percent average cut per ride ultimately benefited drivers, the Times reports:  * Lyft drops fare prices to keep pace with Uber (NYP) * Uber drivers get testy on second day of strike (NYP) *  Uber and Lyft’s decision to lower prices to attract passengers has caught the attention of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, who said the agency will hear from aggrieved drivers about fares and income, theDaily News reports:  * In a fight fracturing labor groups, the New York City Central Labor Council is teaming up with one member union against another to stymie de Blasio's plan to limit the operation of pedicabs in Central Park,Politico New Yorkreports:  * Some Uber drivers are beginning to band together in search of leverage and to secure what they see as fairer treatment from the platforms that make the work possible.

As the Mayor Campaigns Uninvited in Iowa the Guardian Go Back to Patrolling the Subways
Tuesday - De Blasio not releasing names of city staffers with him in Iowa (NYP) * NYPD boss Bratton believes rash of subway slashings overhyped — says more significant concern is thefts (NYDN) * The Guardian Angels are back in the subway after a number ofslashings on the rails. (WNBC)

Subway riders beg the Guardian Angels to protect them again (NYP)  The city Sunday saw its sixth and seventh subway slashings in less than a month — and the terrifying spree has inspired the Guardian Angels to resume patrols not seen since the Big Apple’s bad old days. For the first time since 1994, the red-berete-wearing Angels will maintain a regular night-and-day presence in the subways, group founder Curtis Sliwa said. The teams of 12 volunteers will take two shifts, one running from the afternoon until 7 a.m., and another from the morning into the afternoon.*STALKER: Blaz d CORN oor-knocks in Iowa for Hillary even after her 'no thanks' — but some question if he's just wasting time (NYDN)  NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has taken pains to maintain a low profile while stumping for Clinton in Iowa. He kept his aides, the news media and even his security detail at a distance, often knocking on doors in the company of only his wife, Chirlane McCray. * The Clinton campaign accepted de Blasio’s offer to do basic door-to-door work in Iowa, even after initially rebuffing him, and said he could perhaps act as a surrogate for her in New Hampshire before that state’s primaries.* The city yesterday saw its sixth and seventh subway slashings in less than a month — and the terrifying spree has inspired the Guardian Angels to resume patrols not seen since the Big Apple’s bad old days.* De Blasio on Sanders' movement vs. Clinton’s accomplishment (PoliticoNY) * Despite a series of #subway slashings, @CommissBratton will announce January the safest month in NYC's history. * 6 people have been slashed on New York City's subway so far this year:(NY Mag) * De Blasio and Clinton orbits weren't thrilled with mayor's Iowa trip. He knockedmany doors but didn't see Clinton: (WSJ)
This is a mayor who is a top operative, who understands optics, who just enabled a series of stories that make him look downtrodden

Iowa Who Is de Blasio? Hillary Campaign Declined de Blasio Frist Offer to Help 
Iowans have no idea who Mayor de Blasio is as he knocks on doors to aid Hillary Clinton campaign (NYDN) Des Moines, Iowa — Eagle-eyed Hawkeyes don't know who he is — and he's getting no face time with Hillary Clinton. His staff refused to allow reporters to come along or provide details of his canvassing times — necessary, de Blasio said, to hold frank and persuasive conversations.* In Iowa, NYC Mayor deBlasio is a little-known, low-level Clintoncanvasser.@WSJ * Hillary Clinton Campaign Declined Bill de Blasio’s FirstOffer to Help in Iowa  via @NYTPolitics *HE STUMPS, THEY'RE STUMPED! Iowans have no idea who’s Mayor de Blasio as he knocks on doors to aid Clinton campaign (NYDN) * De Blasio spent two hours walking door to door in Iowa on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and he seemed not to mind being relatively obscure in the state as well as not appearing with the candidate,the Journal reports: * Hillary gave de Blasio her worst campaign volunteer job (NYP) *  Mayor de Blasio heading homefrom Iowa a day early after knocking on 1,800doors for Clintoncampaign (NYDN) * Hillary gave de Blasio her worst campaign volunteer job (NYP) * De Blasio’s awkward tour of Iowa (PoliticoNY)

Daily News Leaves Out Council Pay to Play Pay Raise and the Real Estate Deal As It Attacks the Deal On the Health of the Reduced Number of Horses
They kill horses,don’t they? The City Council must refuse de Blasio’s horse bill (NYDN) Whipped like mules and rewarded with money sweets — good boy, good girl — the City Council is moving to a vote that will hurt humans and animals.  Members must understand that Mayor de Blasio is driving them to return the favors of animal-rights activists who funded his mayoral campaign in appallingly cruel fashion. The activists wanted to ban horse carriages from the city, declaring that the horses suffered terribly. With the activists spending lavishly on ads that hobbled Christine Quinn’s candidacy, de Blasio declared that the carriage industry was inhumane. Initially, the Council balked at killing the business. And, now, paid-laborer de Blasio is ramming through a “compromise” that would limit horses to Central Park, where they would be housed in a new taxpayer-funded, wasteful $25 million stable. The members are urged to read the Op-Ed article published today. Susan Kayne, of the Unbridled Thoroughbred Foundation, documents that de Blasio’s scheme would severely overwork the horses.* De Blasio denied the suspicion that NYC Council support for his horse carriage proposal is somehow intertwined with a plan to raise lawmakers’ wages.

Even the NYT is Against the Central Park Horse Deal, But Says Nothing About the Mayor's Pay to Play Pay Deal With the Council Central Park Conservancy Pressuring the NYT
A Misguided Plan for Carriage Horses (NYT Ed) Having failed to kill New York City’s carriage-horse industry, Mayor Bill de Blasio has settled for crippling it. He has sent a bill to accomplish this to the City Council, which is expected to vote on it next Friday. The Council needs to stop him. As weary as members might be of this issue, which has been festering since the 2013 mayoral race, they need to dispose of it. This means standing up to the administration, to passionate but misguided animal lovers and to real estate interests presenting themselves as animal lovers. Because the deal would reduce but not eliminate the carriages, and confine them to the shady lanes of Central Park, where new stables would be built, it carries the appealing scent of compromise. But it’s a shoddy effort, shot through with dubious assumptions and unanswered questions. Why spend public dollars — perhaps $25 million, though no one knows — to set up a private, profit-seeking business in Central Park? Why build redundant housing for horses during a human homelessness crisis? Why go after law-abiding small-business owners and employees, and take away jobs?  When the uprooted business shrivels — from about 170 horses to 110 by December and 95 by 2018 — how will it survive, and what will become of the displaced drivers and jobless horses? Why punish pedicab drivers, who have no political clout, by banishing them from the parts of the park where the carriages will go? Why was the Central Park Conservancy, which has deep reservations about the plan, left out of the discussion?  The deal offers a solution where there was no problem. The industry is well-regulated, drivers make a living, and the horses are safe and healthy. The bill before the City Council smells more like a political fix than good policy. It pays a debt to the mayor’s wealthy donors, and it clears the way for developers who covet the West Side property where the stables lie.
Adrian Benepe ‏@Adrian_Benepe
Three major NYC daily newspaper editorials reject mayor's horse carriage plan; will @NYCCouncil listen? Zero community support for plan.
Suzannah B. Troy l@unitedNYblogs is this like Bloomberg Quinn slush money to buy an illegal 3rd term, Bill trying to buy 2nd term?

Saturday NYP's de Blasio's Dirty Real Estate Deal But Nothing About the Election Fix
Bill de Blasio’s dirty deal to kill the carriage-horse industry (NYP Ed) It’s a dirty new low, even for Mayor de Blasio: He’s set to finally impose a death sentence on the carriage-horse industry while lying about it — and (legally) bribing the City Council to OK it. The drivers don’t want it, the stable owners don’t want it, parks advocates don’t want it — and New Yorkers, by an overwhelming majority, don’t want it. But the City Council is poised to pass a bill Friday to destroy an industry that predates the Civil War. Steve Nislick — who dumped some $2 million into making de Blasio mayor.  What’s their interest? Valuable West Side real estate, now home to carriage-horse stables, they’d love to seize and develop. (Nislick denies it. Buy that, and he’ll offer you a bargain on the Brooklyn Bridge.). The mayor calls the bill before the council a “compromise.” That’s pure horse manure. It’s actually a way to pay back de Blasio’s rich backers by killing off the horse-carriage trade in stages while pretending to preserve it. The council is wired to go along in exchange for a deal that will hike members’ pay by 32 percent without a public hearing. Anyway, de Blasio’s bill starts sharply reducing the number of carriages right away, years before the facility could open.That will cut the financial legs out from under the stable owners — forcing them to sell. (Hello, Steve!). No, our “progressive” mayor is destroying honest, working-class jobs — and an entire, small-but-iconic New York industry — so he can repay a fat-cat donor. And he’s using taxpayer cash to bribe the “progressive” council to go along.Looks like another case for Preet Bharara.* Albanybillboards ask public to apply ‘See Something, Say Something’ to politicalcorruption (NYDN) *City Council Members: No Deal-Making in Their Potential Salary Increase (NY1)  *  A Misguided Plan for Carriage Horses (NYT)

Friday's True News
A Result of the Cover-Up by the CFB and Board of Ethics On the NYCLASS Election Corruption, The Council is Openly Bribeable To A Developer Deal 

BOSS TWEED WOULD CHEER: Stink of manure as Council plans to vote for big raises on the very day it votes on de Blasio’s horse bill (NYDN) * There was no smell of fresh hay when Mayor de Blasio reached a horse carriage deal with Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on the very day he blessed pay hikes for her members. Now there’s the stink of manure as the Council plans to vote for even bigger raises for themselves on the very day it votes on de Blasio’s horse bill. This isn’t horse trading; it’s daylight bribery. First, animal rights activists pump a critical $1 million into de Blasio’s election campaign. Next, de Blasio says he’ll spend $25 million on a Central Park stable to keep promises to the activists. Next, a Council that had refused to kill the carriage industry gets a big payday and goes along with a plan that purports to limit the horses to Central Park but, in fact, will starve the industry to death well before a necessary new stable opens. Meanwhile, the Council is writing a pay raise bill in secret with plans to take far more than the hike an independent commission recommended. In doing so, Mark-Viverito and company will violate decades of sensible precedent. In every previous pay raise round — in 1979, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999 and 2006 — the Council voted into law the salary recommendations of special temporary commissions set up to provide the public with an independent judgment of how much pay levels should be increased. Never has a Council passed raises greater than a commission thought warranted. This time, the panel recommended hiking the Council salary 23% from $112,500 to $138,315 while abolishing extra stipends doled out to loyalists. Instead the Council is moving to set salaries closer to $150,000. De Blasio got his money, the animal rights activists got their stables, and Council members are sealing the deal with big money in their pockets.* The New York City Council completed a package of bills on that would adopt provisions on outside income and financial disclosures while raising pay to $148,500 a year, far above a city commission’s recommendation, The NewYork Times reports: * The New York City Council has scheduled two separate hearings on Feb. 9 and 10 for de Blasio's controversial zoning plans related to his overall affordable housing goals, though it’s not clear which officials will testify, Politico New York reports:

Bratton Nothing to See Here On the 10th Slash Victim This Month

NYPD Tells the MTA to Ban Career Criminals?
Bratton says we just had safest January everdespite spike in assaults (NYP)

The NYPD’s unprecedented plan to stop rampant subway crime (NYP) The NYPD wants to take the unprecedented step of banning career criminals who repeatedly target straphangers from the city’s transportation system, The Post has learned. NYPD brass said at a Manhattan South Compstat meeting Friday that they would ask the MTA to consider the plan after a rash of underground attacks— although the agency has previously cited legal issues with such a ban, according to law-enforcement sources.*  Bill Bratton said he and Mayor de Blasio were 'joined at the hip' on law enforcement issues while attending American Justice Summit (NYDN) * State presses city on homelessshelter security after two stabbings in four days   via @Newsday

Bratton rides the subways with other cops, declares them safe (NYP) * Subway ‘machete slasher’ turns himself into police (NYP) String of slashings has subway riders on edge (NYP) * NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said after riding the rails between Times Square and City Hall that city subways are “very safe” despite a recent uptick in subway violence, adding that he didn’t see any reason to worry, the Post reports: * SUBWAY SLASH NIGHTMARE: 71-year-old woman cut with razor to the face while riding on D train in Manhattan (NYDN) *One of the last gun-possession arrests made by Randolph Holder, a New York police officer who was killed in the line of duty last year, remained intact after a state judge denied a request by the defense to exclude the weapon from evidence.*  NYC Subway Attacks Come Amid Rise in Stabbings (WSJ) A string of high-profile subway attacks, including the slashing of a 71-year-old woman’s face, comes amid a 15% increase in slashings and stabbings in New York City over this time last year, officials said Wednesday.* Spate of Random Subway Slashings Has Straphangers on Edge via @Dnainfo * Post: "CUT AND RUN: New slasher strikes fear in subways" -- Daily News: "Another subway slasher on loose after machete hit" -- Metro: "CUT IT OUT! New Yorkers disgusted and frightened by recent spate of subway slashing"

de Blasio's Affordable Housing Plan Crumbles as He Heads to Iowa to Campaign for Hillary

The Cuomo administration strongly backed a plan by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer to divert $400 million over 10 years for affordable housing to make needed improvements at the New York City Housing Authority. But de Blasio quickly threw cold water on the idea, pitting him against two of his frequent critics. * De Blasio’s affordable housing plan allocates fewer units for the poorest households in the city than his predecessor, Mike Bloomberg’s did, according to a new study — frustrating advocates who say they supported him because he promised to help the neediest. IOWA NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to travel with his wife, Chirlane McCray, to Iowa this weekend to campaign in support of Hillary Clinton, his fellow Democrat and former boss, in the final days of her close race against Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the state’s presidential caucuses. The couple will pay their own expenses.* Tish James & Scott Stringer participate in rally slamming @BilldeBlasio housing plan in comparison to Bloomberg's:

\@WSJ on DEB Iowa trip 2 "help" HRC echoes what I pointed out most people don't know him & a resident said NYC seems dysfunctional under him

de Blasio So Loves Developers He Allows Them to Build At Night 

Candidates for the Skelos Seat Picked
Todd Kaminsky gunning for Dean Skelos’ Senate seat (NYP) * Sources: Republicans Potentially Settle On Candidate for Skelos Seat (Updated) (YNN)  The Republicans appear to have found themselves a candidate to run in the yet-to-be-called special election for former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ Long Island seat, settling, according to sources, on Christopher McGrath, a personal injury attorney who has never held or run for elected public office and says he doesn’t have ties to the Nassau County GOP. * Kaminsky Plans ‘Special Announcement’ For Sunday (YNN) Democratic Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky on Sunday will hold a “special announcement” as he gears up for a run for the state Senate formerly held by ousted ex-Majority Leader Dean Skelos.* The Nassau County Republicans Committee unanimously selected personal injury attorney Christopher McGrath to run against Democratic Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky for former state Sen. Dean Skelos’ seat, Newsdayreports * Long Island Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, a former federal prosecutor, officially announced his campaign for former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ seat, and was immediately endorsed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (via press release).

The Democratic DA Victory On LI and the 89% Poll of NYers Concerned With Corruption  Will Play A Role In the Race to Replace the Skelos' Seat
A Sienapoll found 89 percent of New Yorkers say corruption in state government is a serious problem, while majorities also support paid family leave, a full-time legislature and stripping pensions from lawmakers convicted of felonies:* Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky said Sunday he would run for the Long Island state Senate seat vacated by former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and that he was intent on rooting out corruption in Albany, The Wall Street Journal reports: Key New York Democrats, longtime supporters of Clinton, have begun rooting for both Sanders and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump in the upcoming April 19 primaries — in hopes that the national races will help them take control of the state Senate.* 40% of voters say Albanycorruption scandals will have no impact on whether they vote to re-elect theirlegislators (WSJ)

The Politics On When To Hold Special Elections Settled April 19th  
Special Election Is Set for April to Fill Seats Left Vacant in Albany(NYT)An election will be held on April 19 to fill four vacancies in the State Legislature, including those created by the convictions of Sheldon Silver and Dean G. Skelos.
The Long Island GOP Want to Take Advantage of Large President Vote . .  But If Sanders Is In the Race the Vote Will Be Big On Both Sides
Let the votersdecide: Gov. Cuomo should let ordinary New Yorkers, not party insiders, fillthe Assembly seat vacated when Sheldon Silver went to prison (NYDN) The time approaches to fill the seat once occupied, and notoriously vacated by, Sheldon Silver, convicted felon and master anti-democratic manipulator. Gov. Cuomo will soon decide whether to hold a special election on April 19, the day of the presidential primaries, or to allow standard primaries and a general election in the fall. The governor has 43,597 reasons to stand aside and let the contest be in the fall and just 100 to act and set it in April — 43,597 being the number of Democratic voters who would get a say in the fall and 100 being the rough number of party insiders who otherwise will be empowered to, in essence, anoint Silver’s successor in the spring. Silver would, of course, choose the latter route. Cuomo should not. He should accept a delay in filling the post for a few months after April (a span over which the Legislature will be largely inactive) so as to empower primary voters to choose among a healthy field of at least five serious candidates. The victor of a boss-picked special election would unfairly have an advantage in a primary. The governor should also be mindful that the Board of Elections, paragon of inefficiency, may not be capable of combining a special election in Silver’s district with the presidential voting. Cuomo can take a stand both for democracy and for a workable electoral process by letting Silver’s seat be up for a fair vote in the fall.* Sources: Cuomo to Call for April Special Election to Fill Silver's and Skelos's Vacant Seats (NY1)

Mayoral Control of Schools is Not Part of the War for the State Senate
Fariña’s failures prove that de Blasio can’t be trusted (NYP) Who will control New York City public schools on July 1? The question has become a referendum on Mayor de Blasio’s leadership. De Blasio requested permanent mayoral control of the schools last year. In June, an unimpressed state Legislature renewed it for a single year. De Blasio was essentially on probation. At an Albany budget hearing last week, de Blasio floated a seven-year extension — ensuring his control through a second term — when this year’s renewal runs out. A still-skeptical Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan responded that he “supports mayoral control . . . but not at any price.” Flanagan and his Republican colleagues are put off by de Blasio’s antagonism toward charter schools. They’ve also called for more scrutiny of the city’s education spending. De Blasio, then, hasn’t earned a longer leash. Why not? A primary reason is his handpicked schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña. * Playing politics with toddlers: De Blasio’s real pre-K priority (NYP) The mayor is refusing to pay roughly $720,000 due to the Success Academy network for pre-K tuition until Success signs a contract giving the city Education Department control over the charters’ pre-K programs. This, when many city-overseen pre-K outfits are just glorified day care, while Success and other charters actually teach. “Kids are hanging in the balance,” Success chief Eva Moskowitz wrote state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “We simply cannot sustain these classes without state-mandated funding. If there is no decision by Feb. 15, 2016, we will have no choice but to cancel our pre-K classes for next year.”

SKDKnickerbocker Making Money Off of Puerto Rico's Bankruptcy Works In Top NY Elected Officials Campaigns
City lawyers, consultants cash in on Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy (NYP) SKDKnickerbocker, the powerful Manhattan communications and public-affairs firm, was retained by Puerto Rico to handle public relations and marketing at a cost of up to $3.4 million, including $500,000 for advertising. Influential lobbyist Jennifer Cunningham is the point person in six of the seven Knickerbocker contracts with Puerto Rico, records show. Cunningham, pal to Gov. Cuomo and former wife of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, is a former honcho with SEIU Local 1199, the giant health-care-workers union based in Manhattan. Some of Puerto Rico’s contracts with Knickerbocker, like with other firms, were amended and the payment caps increased. The contract ­totals were confirmed by Puerto Rico’s Office of the Comptroller. Yet Knickerbocker VP Barbara Morgan, speaking also for MillCo, Cleary Gottlieb and the Puerto Rican government, insisted to The Post that the contract figures listed on the comptroller’s Web site were inaccurate. “The documents referenced do not reflect the payments made to these firms; they only represent the potential costs of the contracts,” said Morgan, former spokeswoman for Rep. Anthony Weiner’s mayoral race.

SKDKnickerbocker Worked In the Following Campaigns 

SKDKnickerbocker's Cunningham to Register As A Lobbyists
Just don't call these consultants lobbyists (CrainsNY) They move government without having to disclose their activities. Call them clever, call them stealthy.  Jennifer Cunningham was at the top of her game four years ago when she announced she would leave the lobbying business. Her stated reason: "to avoid even the appearance of a conflict" of interest that could be damaging to the political allies she had just helped get elected, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Since deregistering as a lobbyist, however, Ms. Cunningham has remained as active as ever. She has represented health care businesses before Mr. Schneiderman and met with Mr. Cuomo on behalf of a lobbying group seeking to pass marriage-equality legislation, according to records obtained by Crain's. But she has operated largely in the shadows, maintaining her access to elected officials without having to disclose activities that could lead to unwanted attention. Ms. Cunningham is part of a growing industry of strategic consultants who do not register as lobbyists yet nonetheless have close ties with New York politicians and represent clients (including elected officials) with interests before the government. These nonlobbyists—at firms such as SKDKnickerbocker, or SKDK, and BerlinRosen—get many of the lucrative paychecks accorded their registered peers without the hassles and scrutiny that come with having to disclose their frequent interactions.  And it's legal. * Power in Money: When is lobbying in NY not lobbying? In the case of SKDKnickerbocker, it received $1.2 million to help run campaigns since 2010, including more than $155,000 from the Monroe County Democratic Committee, which was then headed by Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit. The firm isn’t registered as a lobbying firm. It is run by Jennifer Cunningham, a former campaign adviser to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the ex-wife of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Cunningham said that she would no longer lobby because of her close ties to both powerful leaders after they were elected to their respective posts in 2010. Another firm, Mercury Public Affairs, received $1 million last year to run a Jobs for New York campaign funded by New York City business interests to aid Republican state Senate candidates, including upstate and in the Hudson Valley. It also has a prominent lobbying firm, including work for the Committee to Save New York in 2011 and 2012. * 'Firewall' bill vs.lobbyists: Campaign consultants would no longer be allowed to turn around andlobby those they help elect (NYDN) * Gamblings Genting employs SKD Knickerbocker (CrainsNY)

Will the Fact That All 3 Paper Editorials Oppose Mayor's Horse-Carriage Plan Means Nothing to Council Members 
Three major NYC daily newspaper editorials reject mayor's horse carriage plan; will @NYCCouncil listen? Zero community support for plan.

As True News Follows Thomas Nass Using It's Editorial Pictures to Explain Corruption the News and Post Go Fleet Street Selling Sex to Get Internet Hits

Pete Hamill: Because Newspaper Have Gone Fleet Street They Will Not Survive
TONY GUIDA: So much of your life is spent in newspapers and you edited two of them here in the city. I don't know if I should even ask you but do you have any faith that we're going to, that the kind of newspaper that you grew up on and worked on is going to survive?
PETE HAMILL: The short answer is no. Too many of the papers have gone Fleet Street, which means they drive all the women readers out. The women readers are the people that buy toasters at Macy's and if you drive them out of your readership you're making a terrible mistake but you know they think the world as about T&A on page 3. And if they continue to do that it's oblivion. It will be a memory. There’ll be people assembling at universities to go watch front page or something on an old television set.
TONY GUIDA: His Girl Friday.
PETE HAMILL: Yeah. And I feel terrible about that because I've had my life. I've had a wonderful life with disappointments and small defeats but the newspapers gave me a chance to have a life instead of an apology. The life allowed me to do something that helped other people, that helped my friends, that helped me live, in the best sense, a rich life where I could worry about murders in Brooklyn and read Balzac too.

DN's Editor-in-Chief Touts Tabloid Twitter Journalism Strong Intelligent Journalism
The Paper is Reinventing the Attention Grabbing Old School Front Page As An Agenda Setter on Social Media.   But Can That Be A Business Model?
How the New York DailyNews Became Twitter’s Tabloid (NY Mag) It was past 10 p.m. on January 14 when New York Daily News editor-in-chief Jim Rich received an email from editors at the paper at his home in Park Slope. Earlier editions, with a cover featuring Andrew Cuomo, had already been put to bed. But now they told him that in the midst of the Republican presidential debate — which he hadn’t been watching — Ted Cruz had assailed “New York values” in his attack on Donald Trump. That morning Rich had reached out to Daily News columnist Mike Lupica about writing on an earlier salvo Cruz had made against the city, suggesting a headline reading “DROP DEAD, TED.” It evoked the famous 1975 Daily News headline “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD,” after President Gerald Ford refused a federal bailout for a beleaguered, broke city. Now, with Cruz’s second volley, Rich believed he deserved front-page treatment for the final edition. But how? He came up with a brash solution: the image of the Statue of Liberty giving the middle finger to Cruz, with the earlier headline, while adding, “Hey, Cruz, You don’t like N.Y. Values? Go back to Canada.” The image of the front page went viral on Facebook and Twitter, especially among the many people who want to give Cruz the finger anyway.

 Drop Dead? Not the Newly Relevant Daily News (NYT) It was the latest in a series of attention-grabbing covers that have shifted the conversation around the struggling paper. Just a few months ago, after an aborted sale and sweeping layoffs, The News seemed to have completed its devolution from the model of a big-city tabloid to a battered symbol of the diminished state of America’s newspapers. But the recent string of covers, which were all widely shared on social media, have sent a very different message — if not about the paper’s long-term financial prospects, then at least about its continuing cultural relevance. Put another way, Mr. Rich, a News veteran who took over the paper in October, seems determined to make sure that the tabloid that famously shamed President Ford for abandoning New York in its time of need will at least go down swinging.

It Does Not Take A Rocket Scientist or Dumb Council Member to Understand Why the Homeless Live in the Cold On the Streets 
HELTER SHELTER: Ex-teacher butchered by roommate at East Harlem shelter over cell phone — facility is scene of another gruesome murder over room lights in 2013 (NYDN) * DHS officers raid Harlem homeless shelter where man was butchered by resident(NYDN) * LETHAL MADNESS: Homeless shelters unequipped for influx of mentally ill (NYDN) It’s no wonder that thousands of the homeless brave wintry nights on the streets and in the subways when the alternative is to risk a from-hell roommate like Anthony White. The slasher secured his weapon without triggering a metal detector, then escaped from the 101-bed facility. All this, after White had been making death threats for a week, other residents of the Boulevard shelter said, ranting about his stolen iPhone, before he turned his murderous rage on 62-year-old Deven Black. A security guard is reported to have found White reclined on his bed with Black’s dead body on the floor. White ran out of the place amid horror-stricken staff.* 2 Lives Collide in Fatal Night at a Harlem Shelter (NYT) Deven Black and Anthony White ended up in the same room of an East Harlem shelter on Monday. By Wednesday night, Mr. Black was dead, his throat slashed, and Mr. White was on the run. *  

Instead of Blaming the Mayor for Bad Management NYT's Pattern, Protect the Mayor and Publish His Flacks Press Release to Solve the Latest Problem 
Mayor de Blasio Announces Plans to Boost Security and Mental Health Staff at New York City Shelters (NYT) The announcement came days after a killing at a shelter in Harlem, where a man with a history of psychiatric issues is suspected of fatally stabbing a former teacher.* After two apparent squatters died in two separate Bronx fires, a de Blasio spokesman said several city agencies work to secure abandoned homes and find suitable homes for anyone living in them, the Timesreports:  * After a homeless shelter resident was killed by another, the de Blasio administration announced steps to increase security at 27 shelters and to add medical staff to help identify people with mental illness,the Times reports:

CM Torres a Demands NYCHA Secret Private Developers Building Plan
Wright and Union Demands A State Takeover of the NYCHA
Councilman accuses NYCHA of keeping secrets about apartment development plan(NYDN) NYCHA is keeping too many secrets about the plan to raise money by letting private developers build apartments on its land, a city councilman charged. Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx), who chairs the Council Public Housing Committee, wrote a letter to NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye on Monday demanding she answer more questions about the development plan. “I have serious concerns about the slow and secretive manner in which details of the plan are being unveiled. There is no defensible reason for withholding information from either the general public or their elected officials,” Torres wrote. NYCHA says its $300 million to $600 million projection is based on a 10-year timeline, using real estate market studies, and it has held sessions to inform residents about the plans.* Bronx Democrat Ritchie Torres, who chairs the Council Public Housing Committee, wrote a letter to NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye on demanding she answer more questions about a plan to raise money by letting private developers build apartments on the authority’s land.* The head of NYCHA’s biggest worker union and the chair of the Assembly’s Housing Committee, Keith Wright, took the unprecedented step of calling on the state to take over the city’s troubled Housing Authority. * Head of NYCHA’sbiggest union calls for state takeover (NYDN) The head of NYCHA’s biggest worker union and the chair of the Assembly’s Housing Committee Friday took the unprecedented step of calling on the state to take over the city’s troubled Housing Authority Friday. Teamsters Local 27 President Greg Floyd and Assemblyman Keith Wright, (D-Harlem), called on Gov. Cuomo to step up and put NYCHA into a receivership to fix its many ills.
More on the NYCHA

Sampson Lifelong Friend Who Snitched On Him Sentenced
Lifelong friend who snitched on ex-state Sen. Sampson cries at sentencing (NYP) A former federal court paralegal tearfully apologized for relaying confidential information to lifelong friend and disgraced former state Sen. John Sampson before being sentenced to a year of probation Friday. Sam Noel, once a trusted and popular fixture at the Cadman Plaza courthouse, breached restricted computers to snoop around a mortgage fraud case that was beginning to encircle the disgraced politician. With a group of sympathetic federal prosecutors looking on, Noel told Judge Dora Irizarry that his lapse in judgment — fueled by misguided loyalty — robbed him of a hard-earned career that he had treasured. “There is not a day that has gone by that I don’t think about the mistake that I did that cost me the greatest thing I ever did in my life,” said the former head of the Eastern District’s paralegal corps before dissolving into sobs. “I never got a chance to say sorry to my colleagues for everything I’ve done,” he continued. “It hurts me so bad. But there’s nothing I can do about it now.” Noel — who grew up with Sampson and delivered his mother’s eulogy — took the stand against him last year and admitted to the betrayal of his former office. Noel told jurors that Sampson enlisted his help to find out the names of cooperating witnesses and prosecutors who were probing a case against his business partner. “I just tried to look out for someone I looked at as a friend and as a brother,” he said. “It was an honor and it still is an honor to be a paralegal with the US Attorney’s Office. I was proud to do it. It was a beautiful career I had.” Prosecutor Kevin Driscoll reminded Irizarry that Noel’s cooperation helped to cinch Sampson’s conviction.

Berlin Rosen Not the Mayor Office Listed As Contact for the Mayor in Iowa
...And while @BilldeBlasio is in Iowa, it's not @NYCMayorsOffice Press Off who is listed as the contact...It's @BerlinRosen

After Holding Off On Clinton Endorsement and Failure of His Progressive PAC Mayor Heads to Iowa to Campaign for Clinton
Bill de Blasio’s off to Iowa to sell his soul (NYP) The trip comes in the wake of two years of ego-driven national overreach. Last year, he set his heart on his Progressive Agenda Committee hosting a presidential forum on income inequality. Oops: Not one candidate, not even Bernie Sanders, agreed to show. As another part of his broader plan to make himself the face of the new progressive movement, the mayor also loudly held off on endorsing Clinton — despite having run her 2000 US Senate campaign. He insisted he needed to hear more “commitment” from her on progressive issues like inequality.

Bharara Going to Albany to Meet With Mayors
Feb. 8 promises to be a very busy day in Albany for US Attorney Preet Bharara. On top of speaking to the state Conference of Mayors in the morning and attending an already sold-out talk with WAMC in the later afternoon, Bharara plans to attend the swearing-in ceremony for the state’s new chief judge, Janet DiFiore.* Crusading US Attorney Preet Bharara took a sharp dig at former U.S Attorney General Eric Holder, under whom he served from 2009 until Holder stepped down in last year, for how he handled the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis.

Bharara Coming To Albany (YNN) U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is heading to Albany next month to meet with the New York Conference of Mayors. Bharara will attend NYCOM’s winter legislative meeting, scheduled for Feb. 8, at the Hilton Albany, less than a mile down the hill from the state Capitol. Gannett’s Albany bureau first reported the news of Bharara’s planned visit.* Kolb Urges Legislative Leaders To Invite Bharara To Albany (YNN) * US Attorney Preet Bharara, the most feared man in Albanyis traveling to the Capital City next month to speak on corruption issues. But his remarks won’t be before the state Legislature. Instead, he will address the New York State Conference of Mayors on Feb. 8. * While he’s in town, Bharara will also speak at 4 p.m. at The Linda, WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio, 339 Central Ave.Albany. The radio station will broadcast the event live. Citizens Union, the New York Public Interest Research Group, the League of Women Voters and Common Cause New York are co-sponsoring the free event.* Bharara to speak to NY mayors about government ethics (NYP) * Bharara Talks Running For Governor, Compares Wall Street To Albany (YNN) U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara quickly shot down a question on whether he is running for governor during a question-and-answer session on Friday at John Jay College“I am not,” Bharara said. * Culture Matters’and ‘Legislatures Actually Matter,’ Says Bharara In Push for Reform (NYO) He refused to back away from his claims that Albany is a “cauldron of corruption,” and had an endemic and systemic atmosphere of permissiveness that allows for misconduct, just like some corporations do. “Culture matters. There’s more corruption in certain firms on Wall Street than in others, there’s more corruption in some state capitals than others,” he said. “Institutions have to be established in a way, and have to be governed in a way, and have to have a certain kind of culture that brings out the best in people.”

 U.S Attorney PreetBharara Assesses Eric Holder’s Failure to Prosecute Wall Street (NYO) Crusading U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara took a sharp dig at former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder—whom he served under from 2009 until Mr. Holder stepped down in last year—for how he handled the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis. Asked why the Justice Department had not brought criminal charges against any top Wall Street figures in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Mr. Bharara, known for his zealous prosecution of insider trading and public corruption, suggested the problem came from over his head. “I don’t think there was a failure of resources there, or a failure of will,” Mr. Bharara answered. “Decisions were made about who would look at which bad things which arose from the financial crisis. And maybe, it’s possible that someone, you know, taking a step out, maybe someone should ask that question later in the day of an individual who’s coming.” The dryly sarcastic comment provoked a low murmur of laughter in the auditorium. Mr. Bharara openly named Mr. Holder when asked later about the delayed prosecution of Khalid Sheikh. The 9/11 Commission called Mr. Mohamed the “architect” of the 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center.

Why Are de Blasio and Albany GOP Meeting and Pretending Their Real Goal is To Destroy Each Other?
During his marathon testimony at a joint legislative budget hearing, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio revisited one of last year’s biggest defeats: asking lawmakers to once again to grant him control of the city’s school system for at least seven years, if not permanently.. * During a five-hour marathon testimony at a joint legislative budget hearing, de Blasiorepeatedly found himself justifying the city’s tax and spending practices. He explained the need for the city to maintain a surplus, and calmly opposed arguments that the city should contribute hundreds of millions of dollars more to help pay for Medicaid and the City University of New York system. * De Blasio intended to protest cuts in the new state budget to Medicaid funding and the City University, but instead found himself fending off demands by lawmakers that the city limit increases in the property tax to 2 percent a year.* The Republican-dominated Senate quickly passed a measure requiring the city to honor the 2 percent cap. But a spokesman for the Democratic-controlled Assembly said that body wouldn’t go along. *De Blasio fights Albany’s bid to limit property tax increases (NYP) * De Blasio grilled over resistance to property tax cap (NYFN) * De Blasio traveled to Albany to ask for money but instead faced five hours of questions focusing on the city’s spending, with some lawmakers urging him to cap the city’s property-tax rate,The Wall Street Journal reports:  * * The Cuomo administration strongly backed a plan by city Controller Scott Stringer to divert $400 million in surplus money over 10 years to NYCHA improvements, but de Blasio called instead for new funding, the DailyNews reports: * The multimillion $ difference of opinion: de Blasio saysstate budget could cost $1B; state says it gives city $322M  * 2 against 1: Cuomo supports Stringer plan to fund NYCHArepairs, de Blasio throws cold water on it  (NYDN) * State lawmakers urge Mayor Bill de Blasio to cap New York City’sproperty-tax rate  *  In a shift, de Blasio goes humble in Albany (PoliticoNY) *  De Blasio Fends Off State's Efforts to Make City Pay More for Services (DNAINFO) The mayor asked for permanent control of schools and fought against the idea of a city property tax cap. * Following a year when most of his asks were either rebuffed entirely or whittled down, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio adopted a new, more deferent and humble attitude when meeting with state lawmakers, and also reduced the size of his wish list.* Carmen Farina urges Albany to OK mayoral control of schools (NYDN) * New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina went to bat for Mayor Bill de Blasio, urging state lawmakers to pass a seven-year extension of mayoral control, saying students “can’t go back to the system of patronage * NYC City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina went to bat for de Blasio in Albany, urging state lawmakers to renew the law giving him control of the school system. “After more than a decade we know that New York City students do better when the mayor has direct authority and accountability,” she told a legislative budget committee.

3 Months Flashback
de Blasio Say He Plans to Be Less Involved In Pushing for A Democratic State Senate
After a bruising state Senate election season in 2014 that failed to produce a Democratic majority in the upper chamber, de Blasio said he plans to be far less involved in next year's legislative elections when control of the state Senate is one again in contention, Politico New York writes: 

The feud between Cuomo and de Blasio has added a new dynamic in Bronx politics as Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has stepped up his attacks against the mayor's policies and increasingly places himself in lock step with the governor, his ally, Gotham Gazette reports: * In an interview on the Brian Lehrer show, Cuomo declined to directly criticize de Blasio’s handling of homelessness in New York City, instead leaving his criticisms veiled while promising a full homelessness plan in his upcoming State of the State address.

Now Lobbyists At the Center of Albany Corruption Wrap Themselves in First Amendment 
An ‘ethics’ assault on the First Amendment(NYP Ed) The state Joint Commission on Public Ethics just passed an absurd rule ordering anyone paid to talk to editorial boards about public issues to register in Albany as a lobbyist. “Any attempt by a consultant to induce a third-party — whether the public or the press — to deliver the client’s lobbying message to a public official would constitute lobbying,” says the new JCOPE rule. Specifically, a consultant “who contacts a media outlet in an attempt to get it to advance the client’s message in an editorial would also be delivering a message,” even if indirectly. JCOPE boss Daniel Horwitz calls this “reasonable regulation of speech.” Freedom of speech is the heart of democracy — and it’s protected by the Constitution. That’s why even left-leaning civil-rights groups, like the New York Civil Liberties Union, are livid. “Requiring someone to report every conversation with an editorial writer is intimidating to both journalists and advocates,” says NYCLU head Donna Lieberman.

JCOPE Passes Regulation That Requires Berlin Rosen and Other Shadow Govt PR Operations to Register As Lobbyists 
Ethics RegulatorsExpand Lobbying Definition To Include Consultants (YNN) Ethics and lobbying regulators on Tuesday approved an advisory opinion that would broaden the definition of lobbying to include paid political consultants and public relations firms. The rule, in some cases, could include when those PR teams contact the media in order to influence the direction of coverage. The Joint Commission on Public Ethics approved the opinion in order to address what has become an increasingly hazy distinction between registered lobbyists and those who are hired as consultants who do not — technically speaking — lobby state officials directly. One provision of the opinion includes having PR consultants reveal how much they are being paid by clients the proposed laws they are pushing whenever they reach out to a media outlet when it comes to a “client’s message in an editorial.” Broadly, the opinion addresses what has increasingly come to be considered a “shadow government” in which consultants provide contact for their clients to speak with government and elected officials or in some cases reporters. The consultants themselves do not directly lobby state officials * JCOPE adopted a pair of controversial advisory opinions intended to tighten fund-raising restrictions for New York’s highest-ranking elected officials, and widening disclosure requirements for public-relations consultants, including for activities like soliciting editorials from news organizations. * Opponents said the measure would force public relations consultants to divulge their interactions with reporters who are gathering news. JCOPE Chairman Dan Horwitz countered that the rule would only require a consultant to report his or her general activity in trying to influence public policy by meeting with newspaper editorial boards. * After Cuomo’s deal with de Blasio to pump a total of $8.3 billion in state money towards the MTA’s five-year capital program, the governor’s budget proposal only included an IOU. Transit groups rallied at the Transit Museum yesterday to criticize the budget maneuver.* State Ethics Commission Votes on New Regulations that Redefine Work of Many Public Relations Firms as Lobbying (NY1)
NY1 Berlin Rosen and the Wiseguys Lobbyists

The Daily News Attacks JCOPE to Protect the Lobbyists Shadow Govt 
Not A Word Was Printed In the Daily News After the Cover-Up Fines Against the Advance Group and Council Speaker by the Ethics Committee Cover-Up of the consultant lobbyists illegal work for Mark-Viverito Speaker Race, an investigation that the Daily News Help Start
Keep those callscoming: Labeling dealings with editorial boards 'lobbying' is nuts (NYDN Ed) A classic example of lobbying: Worried about lost profits, an individual or business (for example, a landlord) hires someone who is politically connected to win amendments to a bill (for example, rent control legislation). JCOPE requires lobbyists to report their activities — serving the public good by informing citizens of efforts to influence their representative’ actions.  Over time, the rules expanded dangerously by defining letter-writing campaigns as lobbying and to mandate disclosure by those behind such drives.* JCOPE has lost its constitutional bearings by puttings actions of the press under government scrutiny, and while efforts to regulate dark money in politics are appreciated, the committee has crossed the line, theTimes Union writes:
JCOPE needs 1A litigators to surgically cut precise exposure-excision of corruption-enhancers; but not a pathway to tyranny. Ed Bds=freedom.

The Daily News is Silent On How the Lobbyists Shadow Govt is At the Center of Albany's Corruption, How They Snuffed Out Democracy in Elections With Their Coordination of PACs and Calls Banning Lobbyists in the Newsroom Unconstitutional, WTF
Now, ill-considered letter-of-the-law logic has led the panel into extending the definition of lobbying to include communication between paid representatives of interest groups and the media.  The draft of its rule would have covered “a public relations consultant who contacts a reporter or editorial board in an attempt to get the media outlet to advance the client’s message.” This happens, oh, thousands of times a week at media organizations across the state as PR representatives offer reporters and editors information helpful to their clients. Those reporters and editors determine if the information is in any way useful.

When Will the Good Govt Groups Stop Protecting Lobbyists and Help the Voters?

 NYCLU: "It should be obvious" that the new JCOPEstandards are "intimidating to both journalists and advocates." (WSJ)

Even During the Silver Trial the Daily News Protected the Lobbyists
Lobbyist 'surprised and concerned' - New York Daily News Nov 13, 2015 - Albany lobbyist testified he was “surprised and concerned” to discover Sheldon Silver was collecting fees from the company he worked for. *  Uber Executive Suggests Digging Up Dirt On Journalists(Buzz Feed)

Head of de Blasio Fund Raise Lobbyist Capalino Makes Deal With the Mayor to Save Tourist Helicopters  
City nears deal to cut helicopter tours in half (NYP) The de Blasio administration is close to a deal that would allow the helicopter tourist industry to keep operating – but with flights cut in half and eliminated entirely on Sundays, sources told The Post.  The pared-down flight schedule is intended as a response to noise complaints from residents living near the Downtown Manhattan Heliport and on the other side of the East River in Brooklyn Heights, who persuaded the City Council to draft measures that would ground all tourist fligh “It’s unclear whether the smaller operators will survive, but this, at least, will keep the major operators functioning and keep in the helicopter tourist industry alive in the city,” said one source, adding he expects the mayor to announce an agreement “very soon.” An EDC spokesman declined comment.Sources said that powerhouse lobbyist James Capalino, a longtime friend and fund-raiser of de Blasio, played a key role in the negotiations. Among the meetings he arranged was a rare face-to-face session with the mayor at City Hall last May – a day after Capalino’s firm gave de Blasio’s nonprofit fundraising arm, Campaign for One New York, a donation of $10,000, records show. Capalino’s firm has received $120,000 in lobbying fees from the industry since de Blasio took office in 2014, including $85,000 from the Helicopter Tourism & Jobs Council. Pending bills in the council to ban the tourist flights would not affect private charter services, which cater to corporate clients. * The de Blasio administration is close to a deal that would allow the helicopter tourist industry to keep operating – but with flights cut in half and eliminated entirely on Sundays, in responding to noise complaints

De Blasio fund-raisers are big time lobbyists - NY Daily News The host committee included James Capalino, who has lobbied for Rudin Management, developers of high-end condos near the old St. Vincent’s Hospital, and lobbyist Suri Kasirer, who met with de Blasio on Brooklyn’s contentious Atlantic Yards project. Others on the host committee included Stan Natapoff and Alexandra Stanton of Empire Global Ventures, Rachel Amar of Waste Management of New York, and Michael Woloz of Connelly McLaughlin & Woloz. SHAWN INGLIMA FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS James Capalino lobbied for Rudin Management, developers of high-end condos near the old St. Vincent’s Hospital, and Suri Kasirer who met with Bill de Blasio on Brooklyn’s contentious Atlantic Yards project, are part of de Blasio's host committee for $1 million fund-raiser. * De Blasio’s door is open to lobbyists | New York Post Leading the pack was last year’s highest-earning city lobbyist, James Capalino, who met with Hizzoner three times in the last three months. Capalino hosted two fund-raisers for de Blasio’s successful mayoral run in 2013. Clients who accompanied him to the meetings included Chinese real-estate and movie-theater mogul Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, and Janno Lieber, a top Silverstein Properties exec who bundled $11,100 for de Blasio two years ago. Capalino most recently met with the mayor on May 28 on behalf of helicopter-tour operators in lower Manhattan — an opportunity that critics of the noisy flights say they haven’t gotten. “It’s very discouraging but not surprising,” said Delia Von Neuschatz, a resident of Battery Park City who founded an advocacy group to halt the tours.*De Blasio raises $1.5M for political nonprofit - NY Daily News

Mark Green Goes Rogue On de Blasio, Cuomo and Sharpton 
Tell-all book dishes dirt on New York’s top Democrats (NYP)Former NYC Public Advocate Mark Green has penned a tell-all book about New York politics that savages NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio as a pandering phony, Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a pompous elitist and the Rev. Al Sharpton as a lying con man. “To keep my wife and sanity, I’m now done with electoral politics and free to be candid about politicians of all persuasions — and myself,” he wrote in an early draft of the book, published by St. Martin’s Press and sent to The Post. He complained that de Blasio sent mailers ripping his brother, Steven Green, a prominent real-estate developer, as “one of the most corrupt landlords in New York City” during the 2009 election battle between the two for public advocate. “What the hell are you doing falsely sliming my brother? I thought there’s a rule that candidates lay off families,” Green says he told de Blasio during a phone call. 

“He [de Blasio] smoothly begins saying, ‘Well my research people tell me that . . .’ I interrupt and say, ‘You are so full of s–t and we both know it. Goodbye.’ ” Green then fast-forwards to de Blasio’s successful 2013 mayoral campaign. “Bill visits my ‘corrupt’ brother at his S.L. Green office to ask for money,” he writes. Green’s harshest accusation against de Blasio is that the mayor exploited his own mixed-race family for political benefit. “His first four citywide mailings are composed largely of pictures of him with his African-American wife and mixed-race children. OK, we all have wives and children who we love and campaign with, although I’ve never seen a candidate advertise his quite so much,” Green writes.  

When it comes to Cuomo, Green portrays him as behaving like a pampered, wealthy scion of a major political family.  Green said he got a taste of the then-future governor’s arrogance during a “get to know” meeting in 1996, in which Cuomo behaved like a prince by not looking Green in the eye and instead speaking pompously into “the royal middle distance.” He said that in 2002, he questioned Cuomo about why he would challenge then-state Comptroller Carl McCall in the Democratic race for governor — and Cuomo replied by asking: “Mark, do you know the three pictures every black family has on their walls? . . . Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King and either John or Robert Kennedy.” Green said he was confused at first by the comment — but then the later realized that Cuomo was implying that he expected African-American support because Cuomo’s wife at the time was Kerry Kennedy.

Green is most anguished when discussing his 2001 loss to Bloomberg for mayor.  He directs much of his wrath at Sharpton, who supported his Democratic opponent, Fernando Ferrer, in the primary that year. Green says Sharpton turned on him because of a controversial flier sent out by Green supporters in white neighborhoods linking Sharpton to Ferrer. Green disavowed the fliers.  Green says Sharpton sabotaged his campaign by falsely claiming Green sought his endorsement.“He’s a riveting, entertaining ‘confidence man’ — see The Sting, Music Man — who charms his way out of a list of particulars that would destroy anyone of lesser talents — mob ties before becoming an FBI informant against the mob, Tawana Brawley, IRS fines, multiple campaign violations, anti-Semitic comments, racial bullying,” Green writes.  When told of Green’s book, Sharpton dismissed the criticism as coming from a “sore loser who’s trying to sell books.”Cuomo’s spokesman, meanwhile, brushed Green’s book aside by saying “Mark’s memoir should be called ‘Green with envy.’ ”

Failed Media Can Learn From the Flint Water Investigation and Forgotten Lessons of the Experts  
What we don’t knowcan hurt us (Louis, NYDN) This degree of turmoil isn’t good for anybody. Without a critical mass of well-trained journalists, news organizations can’t properly investigate political and corporate institutions, nail politicians on broken promises or scour dense government documents for revealing details and hidden inconsistencies. That’s especially needed in an election year, when the promises and rhetoric — and bull — will fly fast and thick. “There’s no scoops in the newsroom!” my friend and mentor, the late Jack Newfield, used to tell younger journalists. It was his shorthand reminder to get off our butts and spend time in the streets talking to people rather than wading through press releases and other prepackaged dreck sent by publicists and politicians. Jack, who left us too soon, was even more right than he realized.

How Can A Respected Reporter Say Reporters Are Not Covering the News &Nobody Notices? 

How Team de Blasio (Berlin Rosen) Tried to Blame Homelessness and the NYCHA Mess On Cuomo 

Gabe Pressman: A Generation of Reporters Without Good Journalism Ethics
Not only are all the great stories “out there,” but in the digital age, members of the public who once might have sent information to our newsrooms are instead connecting with one another and cutting out the media middleman. It is why people are turning in droves to Facebook, Google and Twitter for news generated and curated by people they know and ignoring their local newspaper or nightly broadcast. The age-old image of journalism as a one-way provider of important information — All the News That’s Fit to Print! — is being replaced by a seemingly more modest, but exponentially more powerful definition suggested by Prof. Jeff Jarvis, my colleague at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism: “helping a community better organize its knowledge so it can better organize itself.”

Journalists Who Copy Press Releases Former DA Hynes Called Stenographer, Don't Protect the Public From Corruption
That is what happened in FlintMich., where a 30-year veteran journalist, Curt Guyette, working as an organizer with the ACLU of Michigan, put his news chops to work by digging through scientific data, quizzing health professionals and knocking on doors in Flint to ask people to get their tap water tested for lead. Guyette uncovered a massive scandal that Michigan Public Radio and the Detroit Free Press masterfully probed and raised to national attention, exposing a monstrous series of falsehoods and unconscionable choices by the authorities running Michigan that led to the poisoning of thousands of residents. We need many more Guyette-style journalists who think like organizers, especially in this election year. This is exactly the time the public most needs media to help pull together widely dispersed data and help America avoid the roadblocks. As New York state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics is set to address proposed  disclosure regulations, one type is attracting controversy because it could require conversations between consultants and the press to be logged and recorded, The Wall Street Journal reports:

Pete Hamill Gives A Real Snap Shot How New York City Tabloif Journalism Has Changed
From CUNY TV Tony Guida Interviews Journalist Pete Hamil About His Lone Love for the City (Video)

On Learning the Craft of Journalsim
TONY GUIDA: Well your interest in writing growing from the reading finally found a place at your first job writing at the Post. You were 25 years old. Much different paper, the Post, when you joined it then it is today.
PETE HAMILL: Yeah. It was Dorothy Schiff owned it and it was then the most liberal of the papers when there were seven papers at the time, dailies, and there was a staff of guys that really wanted to take a dumb kid like me and help train me, you know? They really believed in the whole development of craft you know? You can't do that. You can't use that many adjectives in the lead or else blah, blah, blah, blah. You know? And they did that for me and for Nora Ephron and for all kinds of people. The most brilliant writers Murray Kempton and people like that thought nothing of stepping over on the side and say, that piece you had today. You know would have been better if you moved this paragraph over there you know. You ended up with a kind of generosity and spirit that wanted to make the thing better and therefore make you better by encouraging you, buy showing you what a mistake you make doing it this way and once you heard that you didn't get upset. You said, I'll never do that again. You know? The craftsman had a way of doing it that didn't sound like punishment. They said, look the way we do it is X, Y or Z.

On How the Developers Suck the Power Out of the Neighborhoods
Hamill: New Yorkers Have Lost A Sense of Themselves As People in Control of Their Lives in This City 
TONY GUIDA: Sure. What a lesson. I want to talk a recent piece, very recent piece, in The National Geographic about this city. I mean there's many people talk of you Pete as the poet of New York City. The bard of this city. No one sings the song of New York better than Pete Hamill and so here in the National Geographic you're reflecting on the city and I was a bit taken aback. You said, my beloved New York is in a bad way. How do you mean that?
PETE HAMILL: I mean that certain things as epitomized by the super tall buildings that are going up everywhere erasing the sky and throwing shadows into our lives. Are more a triumph of money then of architecture. They’re more building refugees for people who don't want to live here. I don't get a sense walking past some of those buildings, there’s a few right here in Tribeca where I live that there are people living in these buildings who are not going to join the Parent Teachers Association. Who are not particularly interested in finding out the name of the guy that sells the newspaper or the butchers last name or the kinds of things that came from neighborhoods because the neighborhood was the kind of series of connected hamlets that made New York so rich particularly if you were a reporter. You know you could go from one block to another and it was a different world and the last two or three years with the explosion of these buildings, the super talls, I just felt that they were losing a sense of themselves as people in control of their lives in this city. That it was being determined by some other standard but not the standard that had shaped me and a whole lot of other people who grew up here.
TONY GUIDA: Your point about it's money and it's not community.
PETE HAMILL: Yeah. That's exactly the point. Yeah.

de Blasio’s Stable Deal Follows In Mayor Jimmy Walker’s Casino Deal In Central Park
By Jim Callaghan  Big Bill rushing to break Mayor Jimmy Walker's record for sleazoid deals before he leaves office in two years. as yogi said: "It's Dej Vu all over again- theft of pubic parkland.  The Central Park Casino, originally the Ladies Refreshment Salon, was a restaurant near East 72nd Street, in Central Park in New York City. The name of the building came from the Italian for "little house"; the Casino itself was not a gambling business. Built in 1864, the restaurant was once intended for unaccompanied female visitors to Central Park, but was soon patronized by both men and women. While the building that housed the Casino belonged to the City of New York, the City often leased the Casino to independent operators. Mayor Jimmy Walker exercised this power in 1929 by terminating the lease of C.F. Zittel, allowing Walker's friend, Sidney Solomon, to transform the Casino into one of New York's most expensive nightclubs.  Besides entertaining elite guests in the restaurant, Walker had an office in the Casino and conducted city administration there while meeting with political cronies. When the Great Depression hit four months after the Casino reopened, the nightclub faced increasing criticism for operating on city land while maintaining prices only the wealthiest New York residents could afford. As part of their personal vendetta against Jimmy Walker, the new Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia and his Park Commissioner Robert Moses demolished the Casino in 1936 and built a playground over the site of the former restaurant  Koch tuned City Hall over to Meade, Cohn, Manes, Freidman and their pals; DiB turns it over to his pals in the same fashion. where is the "reform?"

Now the Mayor Distracts From the Corrupt Real Estate Deal By Saying the Laid-Off Carriage Drivers Will Be Given Jobs 
De Blasio says horse carriage drivers who lose jobs will be given new ones (NYP) Carriage-horse drivers in Central Park who lose their jobs under Mayor de Blasio’s plan to downsize the industry will be given other employment, he said Monday. “The Teamsters union that represents them has been very, very clear they will have other jobs available,” de Blasio said. “So there’s no job loss.” Drivers quickly rebuffed the mayor’s claims, saying they haven’t been offered new careers — nor would they want them. “If someone does offer a horse- carriage driver another job, he or she won’t be interested,” said Ian McKeever, president of Historic Horse & Carriage of Central Park. “The only thing that horse-carriage drivers want to do for a living is to drive a horse carriage.”*   The city’s plan to move the carriage horses into Central Park will cost the industry “several dozen” jobs and the taxpayers around $25 million, de Blasio said. *  Administration provides Council with details of horse carriage plan (PoliticoNY)

Nobody Asked Me But:  
Does NY1's Fink Really Think Cuomo Wants to Lose His GOP Senate by Not Holding Special Elections in April? 
@NYGovCuomo still pushes for special #NYAssembly election in April, #GOP resists as @ZackFinkNews reports: *Cuomo signaled he’s still leaning toward an April 19 special election to fill state legislative vacancies – including the Long Island seat that belonged to Skelos – but wants to clarify if the New York City Board of Elections can handle legislative races on the same day as the state’s presidential primaries. * Governor Continues to Push for Special Election in April to Replace Skelos and Silver Against Opposition (NY1)

de Blasio It Obsessed With Getting Rid of the Horse Carriage to Cover-Up His 2013 Election Fraud With NYCLASS De Blasio has been obsessed with getting rid of Central Park’s horse carriages since before he was mayor — and the bizarre quest points at his every weakness, Nicole Gelinas writes for the Post: 

GOP Flanagan Will Meet With de Blasio to Avoid A Not Meet Bigger Story . . .  The Two Have A Death Match for Senate Control in 10 Months NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will be in Albany today to testify before a joint legislative budget hearing, and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has (finally) agreed to meet with the Democratic executive while he’s in town.

de Blasio Horse Plan Will Make Millions For His Developers Friends As He Puts New Yorkers Out of Work 
Properties could collect up to $70M if they house Central Park horse carriages (NYP) The properties that house the city’s four West Side stables could fetch a combined $65 million to $70 million if they are sold to move carriage horses to Central Park under a controversial plan pushed by Mayor de Blasio.The Post asked real-estate vets Steven Hornstock and Randy Modell of ABS Partners to analyze the value of the four properties: 618 W. 52nd St., 547 W. 37th St., 538 W. 38th St. and 608 W. 48th St. “The Far West Side is taking off like a rocket,” said Hornstock, the broker who helped a group of horse-carriage drivers purchase the property that is now the Clinton Park horse stable on West 52nd Street for $4 million in 2003. The properties are small, roughly 25 feet by 100 feet. But the commercial zoning for the Hudson Yards district provides the potential to build 21.6 times the lot size, or 40,000 square feet for each property. * New York Cityhas a new plan for horse carriages that nobody seems to really like:  (NY Mag) *  PEDICAB REVOLT -- Initially left out, pedicab drivers show up in force in horse carriage debate -- POLITICO New York * City Council Grills Officials Over Proposed Deal on Horses - WSJCity Council Grills Officials Over Proposed Deal on Horses - WSJ  *  Historic Central Park Building Shouldn't Be Used as HorseStable: Critics (DNAINFO)

de Blasio, CFB, Conflict of Interests Board and the Media's NYCLASS Horse Carriage Cover -Up

How Lobbyists and Campaign Contributors Run A Pay to Play Shadow Govt HQ @ City Hall
Daily News: Campaign filings show that while de Blasio spins his political maneuverings as attempts at enlightened compromises for public benefit, what he is really showing is that if you help him, he may go all out to help you 
City’s top lobbyists living the high life thanks to de Blasio (NYP)  Many of the city’s top-earning lobbyists are longtime allies of Mayor de Blasio and have significantly helped bolster his campaign coffers and the nonprofit fundraising arm that he uses to... James Capalino, Harold Ickes, Sid Davidoff and other politically connected lobbyists have seen their city-related business over the past two years skyrocket while scoring sweetheart deals and other positive results for clients after private sit-downs with the mayor, records show. For example, Capalino’s firm gave de Blasio’s nonprofit Campaign for One New York $10,000 in May — and the next day was granted face-time with the mayor at City Hall to discuss a City Council bill to eliminate chopper tours at the Downtown Manhattan heliport.  On Jan.11, de Blasio’s longtime mentor, Ickes, helped client AEG Live score a controversial permit to host a Coachella-style major music festival on Randall’s Island — on the same day he bundled $13,000 in donations for the mayor’s re-election campaign.

Anti-horse-carriage lobbyists Steve Nislick and Wendy Neu have donated $125,000 combined to de Blasio’s nonprofit — which doesn’t fall under campaign-finance law restrictions — and landed three meetings with Hizzoner through August. The huddles included a March 2 meeting that occurred three days after the lobbyists gave the nonprofit $50,000 each. Capalino – who records show had at least two other private meetings with the mayor through May of last year – led all city lobbyists in 2014, collecting $8.2 million in client fees. City records for the first nine months of last year show he’s on pace to topple that number, amassing nearly $8.3 million in fees — or nearly double the $4.6 million his firm amassed all of 2013 during the last year of the Bloomberg administration. His dozens of new clients include Uber, which wants to avoid further city-imposed regulations as it competes with the yellow-cab industry. It paid Capalino $150,000 the past two years to push its agenda

Davidoff Lobbyied for Astoria Cove Development OK Which Fell Short of the Mayor's Affordable Housing Goals 
Sid Davidoff, another longtime de Blasio pal and fundraiser, got a face-to-face meeting with deBlasio in September 2014 to discuss his client, Hunts Point Terminal Market. Six months later, the mayor announced plans for a $150 million infrastructure upgrade there. Besides seeing his company’s City Hall work jump from $2.1 million during the last two years of the Bloomberg administration to $4.2 million 1 ¾ years into the de Blasio administration, Davidoff scored another private business session last May with de Blasio to discuss a “civil rights museum,” records show. He even convinced Hizzoner in April 2014 to perform his first City Hall wedding and marry him and his bride, Daily News columnist Linda Stasi. James Capalino, Harold Ickes, Sid Davidoff and other top-earning lobbyists are allies of de Blasio and have helped bolster his campaign coffers and the nonprofit fundraising arm that he uses to push his progressive agenda, the Post reports: A Davidoff Lobbyists Project A de Blasio 'game changer' falls short of 421-a requirements (Capital)  Astoria Cove, the premier mandatory affordable housing project of the de Blasio administration, will not qualify for a 421-a tax break under the newly passed version of the law. The Queens development,
More on Lobbyists Davidoff and Capalino

Daily News Join NYP In Branding de Blasio's City Hall As Shadow Govt Pay2Play HQ
Bill’s money gamespay off big for his friends (NYDN) A tale-of-two-cites divide has emerged between the mayor’s devoted service to campaign sponsors and that he provides to less connected outsiders. Tracking recent headlines offers a revealing glimpse of Bill de Blasio as transactional politician. Jan. 15: On the eve of a holiday weekend, the mayor released a $2 million report that City Hall had suppressed for two months. The document is a thank-you note to the yellow taxi industry, which poured at least $300,000 into de Blasio’s 2013 campaign and which is getting battered by competition from Uber, the high-tech car-for-hire service. In July, de Blasio called for slowing Uber’s growth on the grounds that its cars were worsening traffic congestion. Lacking evidence, he went the extra mile for the taxi barons by wasting the two mill on a consultant’s study that he hoped would prove him right. It proved him wrong.*  AG Eric Schneiderman has relaunched a website first created by then-AG Cuomo containing public information to match lobbying disclosures with specific legislation proposed and passed by state lawmakers.* Shades of John Lindsay disaster. Mayor 'Not Happy' with SnowClearing in Queens After Historic Storm via @Dnainfo * The carriage-horse fight exposes all of de Blasio’s weaknesses (NYP) The mayor is downsizing and moving the horses on traffic-safety grounds, but nobody from his administration could show that horses are in danger from having to commute. They couldn’t even say how many hours a day horses spend commuting. Asked for firm figures, a de Blasio minion said that “horses roam the streets in the Theater District,” as if it were the OK corral. She also said the city isn’t eliminating pedicabs from Central Park — which is, well, a lie. The city would ban the cabs from the only part of the park where they can get customers. Councilwoman Margaret Chin eventually said that we shouldn’t burden an entire industry “without any statistics.” But this is just a sign of the mayor’s factual fast-and-looseness.  Naked subservience to special interests, not the public interest. If there’s no reason to lay off horses and move the rest to the park, why’s he doing it? The Post’s Rich Calder reports that anti-horse-carriage folk scored a meeting with the mayor this year just after giving his “nonprofit” a six-figure sum. The pedicab drivers? They don’t have that cash, so the mayor never met with them. This is how de Blasio operates. Whether it’s helicopter tours or “affordable” housing or controlling crowds from big corporate music “festivals,” the mayor follows the money.

Daily News Includes Nislick's NYCLASS Attacks On Quinn As Part of the Payoff For de Blasio Horse Stable Plan
Jan. 17: De Blasio announced that he had reached a supposed compromise in his drive to banish carriage horses from the city with a plan that includes spending as much as $25 million to build horse stables in Central ParkBefore taking office, de Blasio vowed to destroy the carriage horse industry, only to be forced into surrender in the face of overwhelming public opposition and resistance from the City Council. But the mayor wasn’t done trying to help animal-rights activists who had hammered election rival Christine Quinn with nearly $1 million in attack ads during the mayoral campaign — and have followed up with donations to de Blasio’s advocacy fund, the Campaign for One New York. De Blasio spins his maneuverings as attempts at enlightened compromises for public benefit. Please. 

DSCC Cuomo Takes LLC $$$ As They Attacks The Corruption They Cause
And Gianaris' DSCC Hires Parkside Lobbyists Who Works for REBNY Jobs for NY
The Daily News’  that former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno gave his former conference a pep talk last week; and that state Sen. Michael Gianaris accepted tens of thousands of dollars from LLCs while calling for closing the LLC loophole:  * State Sen. John DeFrancisco said the so-called LLC loophole is something that should be looked at closely, as well as the murky funding of Capitol watchdogs, the Times Union reports: * Upstate Republican optimist and former (and 2018?) gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladinosaid he expects a wave of upstate political movement will mitigate the influence of a heavily “liberal” New York City in the next election.* Former longtime state Senate Republican Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who recently gave the Senate GOP campaign committee more than $1 million, addressed his former conference last Wednesday at the Capitol. Sources described the chat as a pre-election “pep talk.”* "Convicted of Corruption, but Still Getting aPension": "Under current law in New York, a former public official sitting in prison for a felony conviction for misconduct in office can still receive his or her pension checks. In the cases of Mr. Silver and Mr. Skelos, those payouts could easily total millions of dollars each. ...* Sen. Michael Gianaris accepts LLC money whilecalling for loophole closure (NYDN) Gianaris' statewide campaign account since July received eight donations from LLCs totaling $70,500, which makes up 20% of the total $345,698 in donations the account received during the period. While legal, two of the donations, one for $33,000 and another for $10,000, were well above the normal $5,000 corporate limit. Gianaris' Senate campaign account since July received $18,350 from LLCs, though none of those donations exceeded $5,000. But the Senate Democratic campaign committee that he heads received in recent years numerous LLC donations that exceeded $5,000. One insider accused Gianaris of “hypocrisy” for seeking LLC money while at the same time calling to close to the loophole. Gianaris last week sent a letter to the Senate Ethics Committee chairman demanding the panel hold hearings on proposed reforms that include closing the LLC loophole. "Hypocrisy, thy name is Mike Gianaris," the source said.

This is not only a waste of taxpayer money, but it also conveys the message that Albany tolerates - and is even willing to bankroll - those proved beyond any reasonable doubt to be corrupt. Changing this situation for state and local officials requires an amendment to the New York State Constitution." (NYT) * Campaign filings show Cuomo raised almost $900,000 from LLCs over the past six months, underscoring what critics call a gaping loophole in the laws meant to cap corporate political contributions, Newsday reports:    * Lawyers for former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, who were convicted on federal corruption charges last month, filed a motion seeking a judgment of acquittal and a new trial, the Timesreports:

Avella Who Never Held A Meeting As Head of the Senate Ethics Committee Say Lobbyist's Pay to Play System Runs City Hall
“The whole pay-for-play system is worse than ever at City Hall,” said state Sen. State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens), a former councilman who previously worked as an aide for former Mayors Koch and Dinkins.   “It goes to show you that the mayor and lobbyists don’t even care now about the appearance of impropriety. They believe they’re untouchable.” “I think a lot of these good government types were spoiled by Mike Bloomberg and forgot how politics work because we had a billionaire mayor in office for 12 years who would could not be bought,” said the lobbyist. *  Sen. Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat and IDC member, suggests NYC be required to cap hikes in property tax and assessments to 2 percent a year if it wants the state to continue to pick up its share of Medicaid cost increases.

Even Involvement in the Skelos an Silver Corruption Does Not Stop Lobbyists . . . Where is JCOPE

Lobbyists Are Teflon Proof with the Law
1.  Lobbyist Meara Recommended the Law Firm That Pay Off Silver, Yet He Testified He Did Not Know Silver Was Getting Paid Off Until 2011 2. When Silver Said Gleenwood’s LLCs Was Not Glenwood Lobbyist Meara Told Runes and Dorego and Disengaged Himself, Because He Said It Was A “Dangerous Position” to Be In  3. Lobbyists Runes Said He Remained Uncomfortable About the 2011 Private Letter  of Agreement (outlining related terms outside of the main retainer) Between Silver and Glenwood Put Together After the Changes In the Lawmakers Disclosure Law Which Led to the Silver LLC BS

47 Years Lindsay Was Destroyed by Not Cleaning Up Queens Snow
Today New Yorkers and the Media are More Forgiven to de Blasio for Not Cleaning Up the Snow in Queens

De Blasio blames Queens residents for snowplow nightmare (NYP Ed) With Queens still snowbound on Monday, Hizzoner slapped residents for digging out their cars on plowed streets: “A snowplow goes through and then people go out and clean their cars off and they literally re-block their own streets . . . People are saying, ‘My street’s not cleared.’ They’re not wrong, but unfortunately they may have contributed . . . to it inadvertently,” he said. * Bill de Blasio Progressively Worse?: Queensresidents: De Blasio’s a ‘moron’ for snow comments one term Bill  *  NO EXCUSES, BLAZ: Mayor faces storm of controversy over snow cleanup in Queens that left residents with unplowed streets (NYDN) *
The Council’sphantom menace (NYDN Ed)* New York City snapped back to normalcy after one of the largest blizzards in city history, but pockets of the city, mostly in Queens, had yet to be plowed by Monday afternoon, engendering wrath that worries public officials, The New York Times reports: * While de Blasio appears to have learned from past mistakes in blizzard recovery efforts, Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia needs to explain why many smaller streets in Queens were still impassable Monday, the Daily News writes * As New York City kept digging out from the second-largest snowfall on record, residents and elected officials in Queens said their borough got short shrift.

 Operating on the assumption that policing is an inherently oppressive and almost surely racist act, the City Council is working up legislation advertised as limiting the NYPD’s enforcement of quality-of-life offenses. The bills started out as measures to decriminalize behavior like public urination, public drinking and turnstile jumping. Now, they offer a “solution” that is as small as the imaginary problem they address is vast.  Effectively, cops would keep discretion to treat minor offenses as either criminal matters deserving arrest or as non-criminal matters, with simple tickets that won’t turn into warrants if they are not dealt with. The NYPD’s hold on criminal authority is certainly why Commissioner Bill Bratton has acquiesced to this neutered fix to an imagined ill — as he heads a department that has already reduced quality-of-life arrests to 20-year lows, as a matter of voluntary strategy. Letting the Council play mock government may be the simplest way to let the grownups actually run the city. But, ultimately, the legislation damages police-community relations by unjustly appearing to certify that the NYPD is guilty of widespread abuse. * Queens was basically forgotten during Winter Storm Jonas (NYP) * COP VESTS ON ICE: $60M that Cuomo planned to spend on police gear went to snow plows, other expenses instead (NYDN) * SNOW EXCUSE! Mayor de Blasio tours Queens for closer look at borough hit hardest by blizzard, expects to see streets in passable shape by Monday morning (NYDN) * New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said schools will be open today and alternate side parking is suspended until Friday after the blizzard, and he directed more plows to Queens, saying the Sanitation Department needs to do a better job there, NY1 reports:  * Cuomo’s plan to spend $60 million for police vests and body cameras instead went to new snow plows and other expenses, including last summer's manhunt for two escaped murderers and the state's response to a 2014 Buffalo snowstorm, theDaily News reports: 
sorry doofus @Warpublican i have family in the bronx (born there) they got screwed too @BilldeBlasio @nypost

Cuomo de Blasio Fight in the Snow is the Shut Down One-Upmanship? 
War: de Blasio vs Cuomo
Mayor @BilldeBlasio going LIVE on @facebook soon. Watch: 
Cuomo, de Blasio issue travel bans, limit MTA service (Politico)  Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have both issued travel bans effective at 2:30 p.m. for New York City and Long Island as a winter storm is expected to deliver record-breaking snowfall for the region. * If they are doing their jobs, they don’t need martial law.Igrew up in NYC. It never closed, certainly not for snow.    Is the war between the two causing them to try to outdo each other -Shutting the City? Subway?


NUTS: Pols Who Fear Homeless on the Streets Do Not Fear Lowering the Quality of Life
Race Has Now Been Brought Into Quality of Life Enforcement De Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito say vigorous enforcement of so-called quality-of-life crimes is too burdensome on what the speaker terms “communities of color.” So, the city means to effectively decriminalize low-level antisocial behavior — public urination, outdoor dope-smoking and drinking, turnstile jumping and so on — on the way to gutting the so-called broken-windows approach to safe streets. *  Mark-Viverito continues push to decriminalize quality-of-life offenses (NYP)De Blasio is undoing all the quality of life gains of the last 25 years (NYP) In only two-plus years, Team de Blasio returned much of the school system to a state of rudderless pandemonium — where one kid can do a crime knowing some other kid will do the time.  That is, bad actors of all sorts now earn only a stern tut-tut — suspensions largely are out — as violent crime has skyrocketed and classrooms and corridors in many schools have become so chaotic that serious scholarship is all but impossible. Disciplinary suspensions dropped by 16% between the 2013-14 school year and last June; unsurprisingly, Albany reports that forcible sex offenses in city schools were up 90% and serious assaults jumped 69%. As The Post reported, a student caught with seven bags of marijuana was given a warning note. It was up to him whether to show it to his parents. And the head of the city’s principals union complains bitterly of chaotic conditions in many of the schools. Now comes word that de Blasio, hand-in-glove with the City Council, is preparing to visit the same pox on New York’s streets. De Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito say vigorous enforcement of so-called quality-of-life crimes is too burdensome on what the speaker terms “communities of color.” So, the city means to effectively decriminalize low-level antisocial behavior — public urination, outdoor dope-smoking and drinking, turnstile jumping and so on — on the way to gutting the so-called broken-windows approach to safe streets.* * A series of bills to be introduced by the New York City Council seeking to resolve an impasse over how to deter minor lawbreaking without punishing too many people unjustly shows the city is poised to move toward a fairer and smarter criminal justice system, the Times writes: * @BilldeBlasio's office backs bill that would cut back penalties for public urination  *De Blasio Administration Agrees to Decriminalization ofLow-Level Offenses (NYO)* Council bills cut back penalties for minor offenses (NYDN)

In A City Where 73% Upset About Homeless Council Moves to Decriminalized Quality of Life Crimes
The Post Played the Broken Windows Damage the Move Cause to Crime Fighting
New York is headed back to chaos in the streets (NYP Ed) Nearly three in four New Yorkers say the city is doing too little to help the homeless — and a majority disapprove of the way Mayor de Blasio is handling the problem. But that’s not stopping the City Council from moving full-speed ahead on legislation to back away from police enforcement of crimes so often seen among the street homeless, like urinating and drinking alcohol in public. Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is determined to undo the highly successful “broken windows” policing policy that has played such a key role in driving crime down to record low levels. A package of eight bills to be introduced at the council Monday would steer even more “low-level” non-violent crimes to civil proceedings, where fines would replace jail sentences. But those minor crimes, and others like turnstile-jumping, have often proved to be precursors to more serious offenses. Broken windows gets thugs — and, often, their illegal guns — off the streets before they “graduate” to more serious crimes. It’s the difference between preventing crimes before they occur and stepping in only after crimes have been committed. And it comes as a new Quinnipiac University poll shows continued public discontent over the growing homeless crisis — and what New Yorkers see as the downward spiral of the city’s quality of life. Fully 73 percent said City Hall needs to do more to help the homeless, and 55 percent say the mayor is mishandling poverty and homelessness — despite his recent initiative aimed at responding more quickly. In fact, 58 percent said they see more homeless people on the streets these days.

The Piss Bill is Back to Change the Way the City Handles Low-Level Offenses
The NYC Council is set to introduce a package of bills that would broadly reshape the way the city handles low-level offenses such as public urination and drinking alcohol in public, in some cases removing them from the criminal justice system.*   New York Council to Consider Bills Altering How PoliceHandle Minor Offenses(NYT) * City Council wants to decriminalize quality-of-life offenses (NYP) The plan to decriminalize the offenses — which also include littering, breaking park rules, making excessive noise and failing to appear in court — and lessen penalties for scofflaws are included in eight bills, collectively dubbed “The Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2016,” that are up for a public hearing Monday.* New York City Is Set to Adopt New Approach on Policing Minor Offenses (NYT) The measures would affect low-level offenses such as littering, public urination and public consumption of alcohol, in some cases removing them from the criminal justice system.*New York City is poised to reshape how it treats many quality-of-life offenses, softening its stance on low-level infractions like public urination and drinking alcohol in public by steering those cases away from the criminal court system, The NewYork Times reports: 

MTA Trains Like Flex Buses
MTA to test open-gangway trains to give passengers more room
The MTA on Monday released renderings of open-gangway trains where the cars are all connected in one long hallway and straphangers have more room to spread out. The agency will...*MTA gives glimpse of The Subway of Tomorrow (NYDN)*  Second Ave.Sagas: A first glimpse at the MTA’s plans for an open gangway prototype - 

JCOPE Rule Limiting Contributions Targets AG and Comptroller
Schneiderman: JCOPE rule would unfairly target AG, comptroller (PoliticoNY) A decision by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics to wade into the state’s campaign finance system produced a stern letter from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office on Friday, after the ethics commission released its latest draft of a proposal to limit contributions by state elected officials who have “enforcement powers” over potential donors. The letter, signed by Schneiderman’s deputy counsel Leslie Dubeck, criticized the proposal for unfairly targeting only two of the three statewide offices, that of the attorney general and comptroller. (The other statewide office is, of course, the governor.)

On Wednesday True News Said de Blasio Increase in the Polls Was Because of the Weakness of His Opponents  
If Gov. Cuomo wants to run NYC, why doesn’t he run for mayor? (NYP Ed) At every turn, Cuomo has sought to undercut and embarrass Hizzoner. De Blasio, demonstrating his trademark naïveté of all things government, seems to have spent the initial months of his administration believing that, despite the blows inflicted on him, Cuomo would eventually play nice. Their feud has been escalating for the past two years. They’ve fought over affordable housing and equal-disability protections for minority firefighters — in both cases with Cuomo running to de Blasio’s left. At turn after turn, Cuomo has been to the left of the self-appointed “progressive leader” de Blasio. Now, Cuomo begins 2016 as he ended 2015: trolling de Blasio. He beat de Blasio to backing the $15/hour minimum wage — which 75 percent of New Yorkers are in favor of — and is now considered its champion in New York. The governor is also taking on de Blasio using his current Achilles heel: the homelessness crisis in New York City. Cuomo issued an executive order to force the homeless into shelters when the temperature drops below freezing. This wasn’t exactly out of left field; it was a long time coming because of de Blasio’s inaction. New Yorkers are clearly frustrated with de Blasio’s reign of error and Democrats are openly debating who among them should challenge the mayor in next year’s primary. The four most-often mentioned contenders are Stringer, Public Advocate Tish James, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. It’s unlikely any ofthem has the name recognition, political skill or the fund-raising prowess they’d need to unseat the mayor. Andrew Cuomo does. And Cuomo would happily knife de Blasio when needed during the primary. It’s not like their relationship could get much worse. The two men loathe one another, which is why they openly fight and bicker at every opportunity. The only difference is that Cuomo seems to take an immense amount of personal enjoyment from it — because he’s winning.

Wednesday's True News
de Blasio's Poll Numbers 5 Point Increase Represent the Weakness of His Opponents Than His Strengths 
In the Era of Trump and Sanders Where is NYC's Real Populist
A Quinnipiac poll found Mayor Bill de Blasio’s approval rating ticked up amid his concerted effort to convey a more forceful public image, and he now receives positive marks from half of New York City voters, The New York Timesreports:   New Yorkers Fed Up With Mayor's Handling of Homeless  New Yorkers are fed up with De Blasio’s handling of homeless (NYP) New Yorkers aren’t convinced Mayor de Blasio is doing enough to tackle homelessness, with 73 percent saying the city should do more, according to a poll released Wednesday. * De Blasio is doing better than Cuomo handling homeless: poll(NYP)  
Thirty-three percent sided with de Blasio on the issue, while 28 percent favored Cuomo. When the voters were asked whose views were closer to their own, 30 percent picked de Blasio and 25 percent selected Cuomo. That was a turnaround from the last time Quinnipiacasked the question in September, when Cuomo got 28 percent and de Blasio 15.
de Blasio campaign 2017 and His National Campaign

Wag the NYT Stenographer Dwyer 
True News Published A Picture Editorial 3 Day Before Dwyer That Stable Money Can Better Be Spent On the Homeless
 The Times’ Jim Dwyer writes that de Blasio’s horsecarriage plan solves a problem that doesn’t exist and will cost the city millions of dollars that could otherwise be spent on other issues, like homelessness

True News Wags the NYP On Lobbyists Ickes Other NYC Clients But Left Out Bus Contract Connection to de Blasio Senate Funding
The Post's Writer Richard Calder Even Started to Follow True News On Twitter Yesterday Afternoon
De Blasio’s lobbyistpal has collected $862K since 2014 (NYP) A longtime pal of Mayor de Blasio has collected $862,550 as a lobbyist for 14 clients since the mayor took office in 2014 — compared to $61,305 off a single client the previous 12 years, according to city records. Harold Ickes operated out of Washington, DC, and didn’t even have a New York office until after de Blasio ­ascended to power. They include the American Beverage Association, which has shelled out $180,000 trying to limit Health Department restrictions on sugary drinks; JPMorganChase, which paid $172,500 in a failed bid to win subsidies to build new headquarters on the Far West Side; AEG Live, which shelled out $150,000 before scoring a permit to host a music festival on Randalls Island; and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181-1061, which spent $42,000 before Ickes delivered $42 million in taxpayer funds to boost private-bus driver salaries. When asked about Ickes’ influence at City Hall, mayoral spokesman Peter Kardushin said: “Every day, individuals lobby New York City on a broad range of issues. All decisions by the de Blasio administration are made on the merits.” * It sure pays to be Mayor de Blasio’s pal (NYP Ed) Harold Ickes is the new poster boy for how well it pays to be pals with Mayor de Blasio. As The Post’s Rich Calder reports today, Ickes — a longtime de Blasio friend — has seen his City Hall lobbying income soar under this mayor. In the entire Bloomberg era, Ickes got just $61,305 to lobby City Hall. In the two de Blasio years, he’s raked in a whopping $862,550. JP Morgan Chase paid him $172,500 to try to win city subsidies. The American Beverage Association paid him $180,000 to head off restrictions on soda sales. No lobbyists can guarantee results. But Ickes sure delivers high-level access: He and his business partner had a 90-minute dinner with the mayor and his wife in 2014 — just to discuss JP Morgan Chase. And some clients win big: A private bus-drivers union sent $42,000 to Ickes and got $42 million in taxpayer funds to boost the drivers’ pay. “It appears that ‘pay to play’ is very much alive and well in the de Blasio adminstration,” says NYC Parks Advocates’ Geoffrey Croft. “I guess in hindsight, it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that AEG Live got preferential treatment.” To be fair, Ickes delivers better results than the mayor himself. For all the help real-estate mogul Steve Nislick gave de Blasio’s 2013 campaign, he still hasn’t gotten his big ask: a shutdown of the West Side carriage-horse stables on a parcel he longs to develop. The mayor’s failed to shut down the carriage industry — and his new deal to bribe the horse-cabbies into taxpayer-paid Central Park stables is already falling apart. The proposal’s under fire from the carriage drivers, the animal-rights nuts, Central Park stewards and good-government types. If de Blasio still manages to push it through, it deserves attention from US Attorney Preet Bharara — who’s pretty good at exposing corrupt quid pro quos.

From True News Yesterday
The NYP Ickes de Blasio's School Bus Pay to Play $40,000 for Campaign for 1NY and $100,000 for Senate Dems 
Mayor de Blasio’s secret cash gifts (NYP July 23, 2014) On Tuesday, The Post’s Carl Campanile reported that several school-bus operators funneled $40,000 to the Campaign for One New York. This is the nonprofit founded by de Blasio allies after his election as mayor and devoted to promoting his agenda. * What's driving political donations(CrainsNY)Last month, a man named Alexis Lodde made a $100,000 donation to a Hudson Valley Democratic Party account. It was an exceptional gift from a Texan who until recently had never made a political contribution in New York. The donation came less than two months after employees at certain bus companies, including one owned by Mr. Lodde's firm, were given a $42 million grant pushed through by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Employees at Mr. Lodde's company are expected to be among the largest beneficiaries. The Daily News reported that Mr. de Blasio and associates raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the obscure campaign account—the Putnam County Democratic Committee, whose chairman quickly transferred $433,000 to help two Democratic state Senate candidates. The $42 million allows them to pay competitive salaries after having won the contracts with low bids. "It makes it possible for the companies to have labor peace," said Ms. Kellermann. MV Transportation had been a target of vandalism during a 2013 school-bus strike over its labor contracts.

Lobbyist Ickes Other NY City Clients 
Mayor's old pal wins new biz as lobbyist (CrainsNY) For a City Hall 'in,' clients turn to DC power Harold Ickes. A few months ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio rushed a union-backed bill through the City Council that handed $42 million in public funds to privately employed school-bus workers. Even some labor-friendly lawmakers questioned the precedent set by taxpayer-funded raises for workers at the low-wage bus companies. Harold Ickes, a former top Clinton administration official, had long been a fixture in the center of the lobbying universe: WashingtonD.C. But since his protégé Mr. de Blasio's election last November—a victory aided by Mr. Ickes—the lobbyist has found new business opportunities in the Big Apple. Soon after vetting administration hires as a member of Mr. de Blasio's transition team, Mr. Ickes opened a New York branch of his lobbying firm, the Ickes & Enright Group. He and his employees have since lobbied a dozen de Blasio administration officials for a rapidly growing number of clients. Mr. Ickes also separately pushed legislation that led to the bus drivers' $42 million windfall. In recent months, the Ickes & Enright Group has signed a number of clients seeking to influence local government, such as the American Beverage Association, JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, North Shore-LIJ Health System, entertainment company AEG Live, office supplier Canon Solutions America and prekindergarten advocacy group Los Angeles Universal Preschool. At the same time, the 75-year-old Mr. Ickes remains a key de Blasio political adviser. Both men worked for David Dinkins' 1989 mayoral campaign, and drew closer when they worked for the Clinton* De Blasio’s lobbyist friend was the Clinton administration’s ‘Garbage Man’ (NYP) Lobbyist and longtime Mayor de Blasio pal Harold Ickes earned an infamous nickname during his years as a highly partisan political operative in President Bill Clinton’s White House: The Garbage Man. “Ickes has been caught up in so many of Clinton’s scandals and crises that he came to describe his function in the White House as ‘director of the sanitation department,’” author Michael Lewis wrote in a 1997 profile of the key Clinton aide. Ickes’ main job was to get people together in a room and figure out what to tell the public and congressional investigators about the “garbage” — also known as the scandals over Bubba’s fund-raising, sexual dalliances and other tawdry episodes. These days, Ickes is earning his keep as a lobbyist who spends a lot of time with de Blasio — and rakes in the dough doing so. “Bill has referred to Harold as his ‘political surrogate father,’ ” the source said. “He clearly is a mentor in every way.” The son of the late Harold L. Ickes, who was secretary of the interior under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, he has kept a high profile as a powerful lawyer, lobbyist and political advisor.

True News Also Wags the Daily News On the Speaker Statement That the Mayor Owns Central Park 
The public doesn’tcount in Central Park horse deal (NYDN Ed) Mayor de Blasio’s campaign-donor-driven obsession with carriage horses has revealed how one-party political rule distorts the minds of elected officials. First, Queens Councilman Rory Lancman: “I’ll probably support the agreement because my goal is to protect the drivers’ jobs and keep the horse carriages for New Yorkers,” he said, adding: “It really is ridiculous that we have to spend $25 million and upend not one but two industries” because de Blasio would not buck his donors. His was the pronouncement of a supine politician who would rather get along with the mayor than refuse to divert $25 million from, say, affordable housing. Next, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who is backing de Blasio and just wants park advocates to shut up: “At the end of the day, the city owns the park. The city owns this facility, and the city is making a decision to invest in this facility.” First, Queens Councilman Rory Lancman: “I’ll probably support the agreement because my goal is to protect the drivers’ jobs and keep the horse carriages for New Yorkers,” he said, adding: “It really is ridiculous that we have to spend $25 million and upend not one but two industries” because de Blasio would not buck his donors.

His was the pronouncement of a supine politician who would rather get along with the mayor than refuse to divert $25 million from, say, affordable housing. Next, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who is backing de Blasio and just wants park advocates to shut up: “At the end of the day, the city owns the park. The city owns this facility, and the city is making a decision to invest in this facility.”

The New York City Council has increased its spending by millions of dollars over the past two years, hiring new staff as it seeks to pass more legislation and play a greater role in the city’s land-use process under Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the Journal reports:   * A day after carriage drivers criticized parts of his plan to move their industry inside Central Park, de Blasio’s animal rights friends reversed course and said they now fully embrace the controversial compromise, the Daily News writes *  The Daily News writes that the public’s opinion seems to matter little in one-party New York City on the matter of horse carriages in Central Park, as de Blasio’s political donors have been driving his push to ban the practice

True News Yesterday 
Did Mark-Viverito Just Admit The Council is the Mayor's Puppet?
Central Park is Owned By the People, Not You and the Mayor Madam Speaker
Mark-Viverito: Critics just have to deal with Central Park stable plan (NYP) City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said Tuesday that critics of the city’s plans to convert a maintenance building into stables in Central Park should just accept that the city has the power to do it. “At the end of the day, the city owns the park, the city owns this facility, and the city is making a decision to invest in this facility,” Viverito said. “There are those who may think they own the park. Central Park Conservancy has a contract with the City of New York. The park in Central Park is city property, and the mayor does make decisions as to what are priorities for the city.” Outside City Hall on Tuesday, pedicabbies protested the move, chanting: “Central Park is not for sale.” *After de Blasio characterized a potential ban on pedicab rides below 86th Street in Central Park as a “fair outcome” in the deal to cut the number of horse carriages, pedicab drivers protested outside of City Hall, Politico New York reports: * The de Blasio Diaries, Chapter 53: Save a horse, ride amayor  (Vanity Fair)* "Animal rights advocates suddenly back de Blasio horseproposal" (PoliticoNY) * #NYCLASSsays it backs new bill to limit horse-drawn carriages to #CentralPark 

de Blasio Supporter Lobbyists Ickes Gets OK for Massive Music Fest
Ickes Donates $13,000 to de Blasio and the Mayor Delivers the Lobbyists Client An Island 
Friend Gave to de Blasio Just as Client Won Permit to Stage Festival (NYT) Harold M. Ickes delivered donations to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s re-election campaign the same day a client, A.E.G. Live, won approval to hold a lucrative music festival on Randalls Island Harold M. Ickes, a longtime friend and mentor of Mayor Bill de Blasio, delivered about $13,000 in donations last week to the mayor’s re-election campaign, on the day that one of his lobbying clients received the de Blasio administration’s go-ahead to hold a lucrative music festival in New York City  Mr. Ickes, a veteran political counselor best known for advising the Clinton family, had been paid $150,000 by A.E.G. Live, a concert promoter based in California, to lobby the city as it vied for permission to hold a summer festival in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Last week, the company’s Queens application was rejected, along with those of two rival promoters, after local opposition. Instead, A.E.G. Live was given clearance to hold a festival in July on Randalls Island; its rivals, Madison Square Garden and Founders Entertainment, did not receive similar permission to hold their events.* * After de Blasio announced a plan to shrink the horse-carriage trade in Manhattan and relocate its animals into Central Park, a number of groups have expressed their dissatisfaction, the Times writes:
De Blasio OKs massive music fest for cronies’ pal after denying others (NYP) Mayor de Blasio has quietly cut a deal allowing a concert promoter linked to one his cronies to host a multi-day major music festival on Randall’s Island — only after city officials simultaneously nixed similar proposals in Queens. AEG Live — which runs the Coachella concert series in California — will now host its “Panorama Festival” on Randall’s Island July 24 to 26 through a deal confirmed by the Parks Department Monday. Madison Square Garden, Founders Entertainment and AEG had previously submitted similar applications to shut down Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens for large for-profit mega festivals. However, Borough President Melinda Katz and community leaders argued for more transparency in the city’s permit process, ultimately leading to all of the Flushing Meadows’ applications being tossed. Unlike its competitors, which were left empty handed, AEG had a politically connected ace in the hole in lobbyist Harold Ickes and that led to the Randall’s Island deal being ironed out behind closed doors, sources said. AEG Live since 2014 has shelled out $150,000 to Ickes, a longtime mentor to the mayor, to help garner support to put on a major New York show. Ickes also served on de Blasio’s transition team, so he played a role in the March 2014 hiring of Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, who signs off on all park permits.Coachella Organizers Move Festival To Randall's Island AfterParks Dept Pushes Them Out Of Queens  * Coachella won't be coming to Queensafter this rejection (NYDN)*   Lobbyist delivers $12.3G to de Blasio campaign as music festival gets approval (NYDN)

NYP Goes After Heastie and de Blasio's Lobbyists
One of the recipients (Paid by the Mayor's PAC 1NY), the p.r./lobbying firm BerlinRosen, is practically a wing of City Hall
 The Post writes that despite tough talk from city and state politicians on ethics reforms, many are still engaging in questionable, if legal, practices and are not serious about real changes  On ethics, New Yorkpoliticians still won’t walk the walk (NYP Ed) State and city politicians are talking tough on ethics reform these days — but their actions tell a different tale. Consider two disclosures, each perfectly legal, that smell to high heaven. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is paying $4,000 a month to Patrick Jenkins, his former college roommate and current political consultant. Yet Jenkins is also a high-powered lobbyist. His clients include Uber, the Trial Lawyers Association and Genting, the casino giant — all with business of their own before the Legislature. Which raises questions about whether the Jenkins-Heastie relationship gives those clients special access to the powerful speaker. Again, this is legal. Still, Heastie became speaker only after Sheldon Silver’s arrest on corruption charges — and now Silver’s been convicted, as has former state Senate boss Dean Skelos. You’d think the new speaker would try to avoid any hint of back-room dealing. Jenkins and Heastie note that the Joint Commission on Public Ethics cleared their arrangement — which tells you all you need to know about that ethics “watchdog.” Meanwhile, at City Hall, Mayor de Blasio’s key political consultants — who also represent clients doing city business — were paid $500,000 in the last six months by the mayor’s campaign committee and his slush fund, the Campaign for One New York. There’s nothing new here: One of the recipients, the p.r./lobbying firm BerlinRosen, is practically a wing of City Hall. On the other hand, de Blasio is the guy who vowed to undo the “consultant class.” What What Ethics? The ethics panels in the state Assembly and Senate, where ethics reform could begin, have largely disappeared from Albany, holding few meetings in recent years and with little in the way of punishment doled out, the Times reports: * * Cuomo has taken in about $5 million over the past six months from contributors, continuing to advocate for stitching up the so-called "LLC loophole" in state election law while taking such donations in large quantities, the Times Union reports:

Is the House Consultant of the NYP George Arzt Jealous? 
“The speaker is paying a lobbyist as a political consultant? It’s certainly not prudent,” said one veteran lobbyist, who requested anonymity. “What’s going on here? Is it Speaker Heastie or Speaker Jenkins?”

As the 2017 Referendum on the New York State Constitutional Convention Approaches: A Look Back At the Early Accomplishment Constitutional Conventions Not Been Successful Since 1938

By James S. Kaplan

Recently, a political consultant and editor of the True News blog I have periodically written about historical subjects informed me that in the wake of the convictions of Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senate speaker Dean Skelos, the hottest topic in the political community fighting for ethic reforms of Albany is the upcoming referendum on the New York State Constitutional Convention. He thus asked me about the history of such conventions.   I was somewhat surprised to discover that the next referendum on this subject would not be held until November 7, 2017 almost two years hence,  and that the vote would only be on whether to hold such a convention (presumably only if favorable would the delegates would be selected and the convention itself would be held later). Furthermore, in the last two referenda (which by law must be held every twenty years) in 1997 and 1977 the voters of this state had declined the invitation to hold such a convention. In fact the last time a convention to revise the New York State Constitution was held was almost 50 years ago in 1967, and despite the hard work of its delegates, the revised Constitution that was put to the voters was rejected in its entirety. The last successful significant amendment to the New York State Constitution was that promulgated by the Constitutional Convention of 1938, almost eighty years ago. Nevertheless, the history of Constitutional Conventions in New York State is not as bleak as this recent history would indicate. In fact there are at least three New York State Constitutional Conventions—those of 1777, 1821 and 1938—which shaped the State’s political history in a very positive way and have had a vast impact on the state and its people.* The Rockefeller Institute launched a new, “educational” website about the possibility of a 2017 constitutional convention.


Meeks Mansion Giving Him Problems Again  -No Permit
Gregory Meeks has no city permit for his Queens mansion (NYP) Rep. Gregory Meeks has been living in his 6,000-square-foot Queens mansion for nearly a decade — without city authorization. He never got a required certificate of occupancy for the custom-built Hollis home, finished in late 2006.  A temporary certificate of occupancy, which he needed to get his mortgage, expired Jan. 4, 2007, and was never renewed, city records show.  “Until recently, I had no idea that there had only been a temporary certificate of occupancy. I will be in touch with the Buildings Department and the architect to bring this into compliance,” he said in a statement.  The home has created controversy for Meeks.  He borrowed $624,000 to buy the $830,000 property and took out a $78,000 line of credit.  Then, in 2007, Meeks got a $40,000 “loan” from businessman Edul Ahmad that he said went to furnishing and other household needs. He made no payments on it and claimed to have lost the loan paperwork. It was paid only in 2010 after the FBI began probing Ahmad, later indicted in a mortgage-fraud scheme.

Senate GOP Plans to Stop the $15 Hr Wage Hike 
Leaders from the New York State Business Council and other groups told a Senate panelthat the proposed statewide $15-an-hour wage hike would cost employers nearly $16 billion in added costs, far exceeding the benefit of any possible tax cut. * Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco said he does not think the Senate will pass a $15 an hour minimum wage this year because it would hurt small businesses.* One influential senator predicts NY will not pass a statewide$15 minimum wage  *  Everyone else will pay for the war between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio on the minimum wage, including the mayor’s $15 wage for city employees and Cuomo’s similar windfall for state university workers, the Post argues: 


As Many As 200,000 Apt May Be Missing From Rent Regulations
NY State Data Indicates Even More Landlords Duck Rent Limits(ProPublica) As many as 200,000 New York City apartments could be missing from rent regulation as required by law, according to figures released by the state’s housing agency.

Congressman Israel Calls It A Day
Rep. Steve Israel, a Long Island Democrat, abruptly announced he won’t be seeking re-election this year, making him the third New York congressman to do so. He says he’ll bespending time writing his second novel. *  Steve Israel retiring from Congress to become a novelist (NYP) * Rep. Steve Israel won’t seek re-election to a ninth term in November in order to spend more time writing his second book, and he said he hopes high voter turnout will keep a Democrat in the Long Island seat, Newsdaywrites: * State Sen. Jack Martins has expressed interest in running for Israel’s seat, which could create yet another headache for his fellow Republicans on Long Island, which is shaping up to be a major battleground (again) in the fight for control of the majority.* Israel cited the unrelenting demands of fundraising as one of the reasons behind his decision to retire, saying: “I don’t think I can spend another day in another call room making another call begging for money. I always knew the system was dysfunctional. Now it is beyond broken.”*  Fourth NY Congressman To Forgo Re-Election Run (YNN) * --Ret. Lt. Col. David Gurfein, a longtime Marine, is the only announced candidate for the Republican nomination, and has already raised north of $240,000 for their exploratory committee. "After many years of service he left active duty to attend Harvard Business School where he was elected co-President of his class. Upon graduating David began a career on Wall Street. After the devastating attacks on 9/11, David requested a return to active duty and saw combat action in both Iraq and Afghanistan. With 25 years of combined service in the Marine Corps, David retired as a Lieutenant Colonel to focus on being a father." -- A source says DNC member Robert Zimmerman is considering a run for the seat after receiving several phone calls about the matter. -- Azi

Cuomo Ends the Christmas Truce Quickly the 2016 War Has Begun  

De Blasio to defy Cuomo’s order to shelter homeless  via nypost * Homeless reject Cuomo's plan to force them into hellholeshelters (NYDN) * Cuomo’s helping hand (NYDN Ed)* City to End Use of‘Cluster’ Homeless Shelter Units (NYO) “We are taking this initiative in order to end the use of this program, which resulted in substantial sums being paid for apartments—many that were in substandard conditions,” Mr. Banks said today at a City Hall press conference. *Homeless Advocates Question Executive Order(YNN) In a statement from Coalition for the Homeless President & CEO Mary Brosnahan, the group said it has “major concerns” with the effort to force homeless people into shelters and decried “aggressive measures” pursued by Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s administration.* Bratton says Cuomo’s executive order doesn’t change anything for #NYPD officers, re: homeless * Local governments and police agencies don’t have much time to comply with Cuomo’s new homelessness mandate, which was issued Sunday and takes effect tomorrow.* De Blasio and Bratton: Cuomo’s order has little impact on NYC (PoliticoNY)  Mayor: ‘We appreciate the intent’ * NYPD stats show overall crime down, serious offenses up in ’15 (NYP)  * Cuomo Orders Homeless People to Be Taken to Shelters in Freezing Weather (NYT)  The executive order, which requires local authorities to remove homeless people from the streets when temperatures fall to 32 degrees, is likely to raise legal concerns and practical questions.  * As an arctic front headed toward New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order requiring local governments across the state to take homeless people off the streets to shelters in freezing temperatures, The New York Timesreports:  * The de Blasio administration supports the executive order, but a New York City official said Cuomo lacks the power to impose the mandate and knocked him for failing to provide more legal or financial resources to help the homeless, theDaily News reports:  * Questions Over Cuomo’s Order on Homelessness (NYT)  Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s plan to forcibly take people to shelters as temperatures drop has drawn scrutiny.

'HELL NO! I WON'T GO TO A SHELTER': Homeless New Yorkers reject Cuomo's order to vacate streets in freezing temps (NYDN) * COLD WAR: Gov. Cuomo freezes out Mayor de Blasio, issuing order to get homeless off street when temperatures hit 32 degrees (NYDN) Cuomo will sign an executive order on Sunday that will bring the homeless in out of the cold — and it’s mandatory. Citing the risks of hypothermia and possible death, Cuomo will require communities — including New York City — to take the homeless who live outside to shelters when the mercury hits the freezing mark, the Daily News has learned. If they refuse to go, the order, which goes into effect on Tuesday, calls for the involuntary taking of the homeless to shelters when the temperatures hit 32 degrees or below. A Quinnipiac poll from October found 68% of voters disapproved of how de Blasio was handling homelessness and poverty. A Cuomo aide recently said the de Blasio administration “can’t manage the homeless crisis.” The mayor has said the city’s homeless crisis got worse after Cuomo cut a $68 million rental assistance program in 2011. After talks for a joint effort failed, the mayor recently announced a $2.6 billion, 15-year city plan to create 15,000 apartments that would cater mainly to people with mental illness and substance abuse problems. The city currently has a “Code Blue” procedure in place that goes into effect when the temperature hits 32 degrees or below. The procedure calls for double the amount of vans in the field for street outreach efforts to check on homeless individuals more frequently. It also allows the homeless to access shelters without going through the usual intake process. But unlike Cuomo’s order, it does not require the automatic taking of the homeless to shelters when the weather turns frigid. Cuomo’s executive order will not just have an impact on those living on the streets. It could also affect those sleeping in cars or in structures with inadequate heat during the cold weather. The order will not necessarily affect those who take shelter in subway stations that are heated. The state order, he says, will supersede any conflicting local laws on the issue *  Gov. Cuomo signs order requiring towns & cities to takehomeless people to shelters when temperature drops to 32  * BdB spox: forcing homeless off sts requires state law & order "adds no legal or financial resources to NYC programs to assist the homeless" * Cuomo to order homeless indoors when temperatures drop(NYP) *  A cool response from @BilldeBlasio on @NYGovCuomo's order to keep thehomeless off the streets in cold weather: (NY1)
War: de Blasio vs Cuomo
The Media Reports on the Homeless, the Mayor 180 Admits Its A Problems, But Nobody Explains the Reason for the Increase
How Team de Blasio (Berlin Rosen) Tried to Blame Homelessness and the NYCHA Mess On Cuomo 

Daily News Albany Pols Don't Respect the High Court
Dereliction of dutyin Albany (NYDN Ed) Flagrantly violating a crystal-clear statute, Flanagan and Bonacic have led the Senate into allowing the state’s highest court to open session Monday without a chief judge. In doing so, they are depriving plaintiffs and defendants in more than 20 crucial cases of the full measure of justice that is their due. Flanagan did not respond to a message left at his office. Previously, he had ruled out calling the Senate to act on DiFiore’s nomination by saying, “I don’t see any reason why we would do that.” In other words, screw the law and screw the parties to the cases that are calendared for oral arguments in the court over the coming weeks. None will have the fullest complement of judges possible, perhaps swaying the outcome one way or the other. Still more, although only five judges will be sitting, four must still agree in order to render decisions. If judges split, a case will be frozen. Finally, the cavalier disregard for the law shown by Flanagan and Bonacic reveals they learned nothing from the convictions of Silver and Skelos. Central to both of the corruption cases was Albany’s way of doing business. Laws are written to be ignored or distorted by the top dogs. Legislators — even committee chairs like Bonacic — do as they are told, often out of fear the boss will cut the legalized bribery that flows from the legislative payroll and campaign committees. And nothing matters until someone else gets arrested.* The story of Daniel Chill, a Sheldon Silver-connected lawyerwho made millions thanks to a Court of Appeals ruling: (Barrett, City and State)

Game Time: True News' Top 10 Issues to Be Answered in 2016
1. What Will U.S. Attorney Bharara Do?  Indict Cuomo? Buffalo Billion? Eastern District Long Island Officials?

2.  Cuomo vs de Blasio War: Who Will Win the Battle for the State Senate?

3.  Will de Blasio Continue at Being A Failed Manage of NYC's Govt? Will His Poll Numbers Continue to Drop? Will the Failing School Join Homelessness in Symbols of de Blasio Failed Policies? Will More Than 3 Failing Schools Be Closed

4.  Will Cuomo Continue to Turn His Back On Charter Schools to Win Back the UFT if the Senate Goes Democratic and for His 2018 Campaign?

5.  Will the Green Shoots Fighting Gentrification Developers Gown Stronger in 2016? Will de Blasio Zoning Changes Pass?

6.  What Will Happen With the Crime Rate in 2016?  The NYPD? 

7.  What Effect Will the Corruption Convictions Have On the 2016 State Campaigns and Elections?

8.  Will the Money Be Found To Avoid Cuts At the City Hospitals?  Will the State Save the Health Insurance Funds?  

9.  Will the Repairs Every Be Made for NYCHA Tenants?  Will the City Sell Off More Public Housing Land and Apts?  Will Crimes Crisis Continue At Public Housing?

10.  How Will de Blasio Hide His Help in His Main Goal this Year in Winning A Democratic State Senate Without Giving the GOP the Opportunity to Use His Failed Leadership of the City As Campaign Ads of What Will Happen to the State if They Lose Control?  (does not matter if he hides the GOP will use his mistakes and low poll numbers anyway)

More Creative Flacking and His NYT's Mini Me NYT on Vet Homelessness 
Decrease in Homeless Veterans in New York Far Outpaces National Drop (NYT) Even as homelessness has surged, the city has recorded a drop of 80 percent in the number of veterans living in shelters or on the street since 2009 — though some advocates question the counts. * De Blasio's Pride Over Ending 'ChronicHomelessness' Is Premature: Veterans (DNAINFO) But the designation excludes the approximately 600 veterans living in Department of Homeless Services shelters and the 760 remaining homeless veterans. Two hundred of those veterans in DHS shelters are slated to move out in January. There are also five homeless veterans who have been offered housing but have declined to accept.
"If you are homeless person who lives in a homeless shelter you are still homeless. Are you chronically homeless? No. But you still don't have a permanent home," said Kristen Rouse, executive director of the NYC Veterans Alliance* De Blasio can claim a victory in his battle against homelessness, as New York City succeeded in getting every U.S. military veteran struggling with mental illness, disability or addiction off the streets, the Daily News writes:

Campaign for Gov in 2010 for Constitutional Convention Today Ducking  
Cuomo Muted In Support Of Constitutional Convention  Bill Mahoney revisits the question of a constitutional convention in Politico NY, writing  that “while the 2017 vote on whether the state should hold a constitutional convention is likely to face much of the same opposition that caused the question to go down in a landslide in 1997, the state has so far done less to prepare for it than it had twenty years ago. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been mostly silent on the issue up to this point. While campaigning in 2010, he said he favored a convention “to rewrite the Constitution” and make changes to “clean up Albany” immediately “because we cannot wait any longer for the state legislature to act.” One advocate says Cuomo was explicit that this meant he’d push for one in his first year in office. (The question of a convention is automatically on the ballot once every twenty years, but legislative action can result in one convening in the intervening period.)”

Shameless Albany Pols Will Allow Silver and Skelos to Keep Their Pensions
They Could Be Saved From This Embarrassment by Bharara Moving in Court to Take Silver and Skelos Pensions Away
New York pols shameless in the face of corruption convictions (NYP Ed) Juries found both Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos guilty of corrupt abuse of their high offices — yet together they’ll still draw public pensions of nearly $200,000 a year for the rest of their lives. That’s the reality after Skelos, the former state Senate majority leader, filed his pension papers Tuesday. With 45 years in various public-sector jobs, he’s eligible for $95,000 in benefits.  The felons’ pensions are protected even after official misconduct. A 2011 reform allows for ending the benefit for officials who started after that year. Anything stronger requires a constitutional change — passage of an amendment in consecutive legislative sessions and by public referendum. But the Assembly this year declined to pass the necessary bill, so most felonious pols’ taxpayer-paid pensions are still safe.* Timeline of the good, the bad and the ugly at the Capitol in2015: (TN) * Denying pensions to public officials convicted of corruption gets vocal support from many state legislators, but there are at least 10 active bills with multiple sponsors languishing in committees, some for more than a decade, Newsday writes:  * Convicted lawmakers Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver getting state pensions is a disgrace, so legislators should be able to craft an intelligent law to address unions’ concerns while allowing courts some discretion, the Times Union writes: * 

NYP Pols Have No Interest In Rooting Out Corruption Fueled By Dirty Money
If 421-a Was So Good for the City Why Did Glenwood Spend 10 Million Bribing Pols?
New York lawmakers have no interest in rooting out corruption (NYP) Why should anyone expect the Legislature to root out corruption when its own official watchdogs refuse to give up their tainted campaign cash? Current and former members of the Senate and Assembly Ethics Committees have taken more than $227,000 from scandal-scarred Glenwood Management since 2012. The firm has lined the campaign pockets of pretty much every Albany power broker to the tune of $10 million over the past decade. But Cuomo refuses to give back a penny of his Glenwood money. Same for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, state Comp­troller Tom DiNapoli and city Comp­troller Scott Stringer, and campaign committees run by Republican and Democratic legislators. Yet it’s particularly disgusting that Ethics Committee members decline to send the funds back. Those contacted by The Post either didn’t respond, didn’t want to talk about it or vaguely promised to “look into it.”* Expect the spate of high-profile corruption convictions to shape Albany’s agenda in the new year — whether they want it to or not.
Senate Democrats Have No Interest In Going After Corrupt Shadow Govt Lobbyists

LOL . . . As Most Fail de Blasio on Management of the city Bloomberg Touts His Skills All Over the World  
Bloomberg and his fans have been traveling the world to spread the gospel of the former mayor’s management style and philosophy to other city governments.*  The annual overtime costs of uniformed workers in New York City hit more than $1 billion.

Citi Bike Passes 10 Million Trips A Year 
Citi Bike exceeded 10 million trips this year, an increase of 24 percent and a record the mayor attributed to improvements to the bike share program and expansion into more neighborhoods, including parts of Queens, the Daily News reports: 
More on Citi Bikes

Failed SI DA Candidate Returns to Manhattan DA Office
Etan Patz prosecutor returns to retrial as special counsel (NYP) The longtime prosecutor who oversaw the Etan Patz trial is headed back to the Manhattan DA’s Office to retry the decades-old cold case, officials said Wednesday. Joan Illuzzi has been appointed as special counsel to Manhattan DA Cy Vance following her failed bid to become Staten Island DA in November.

The NYT Who Help Make Chief Judge Along with Silver Says Goodby
As Judge Lippman finishes his seven-year run presiding over the Court of Appeals, his success expanding legal services for the poor and championing a host of other court reforms stands out even more than his decisions as a jurist, legal scholars said. Like his predecessor, Judith Kaye, Lippman took the job far beyond the adjudication of cases and deep into policy making.  Lawyers in New York State will be subject to a uniform disciplinary process under new rules Lippman announced yesterday – a move that caps months of negotiations aimed at standardizing a system long hampered by regional differences.* LIPPMAN'S LEGACY - New York Times': "A few weeks before he was to retire as chief judge of one of the nation's most influential courts, Jonathan Lippman traveled to Brooklyn to open a small storefront office that offers legal advice to poor people in civil cases, like housing disputes and fights with creditors. The ribbon-cutting was one of Judge Lippman's last public acts before he steps down as the leader of the New York Court of Appeals on Thursday, and it emphasized what some say may be his most notable legacy: his campaign to provide lawyers and other legal help to thousands of impoverished New Yorkers who face serious proceedings - such as eviction, foreclosure and the loss of child custody - with no representation ... As Judge Lippman finishes his seven-year run presiding over the Court of Appeals, his success expanding legal services for the poor and championing a host of other court reforms stands out even more than his decisions as a jurist, legal scholars said. Like his predecessor, Judith S. Kaye, Judge Lippman took the job far beyond the adjudication of cases and deep into policy making. * Having served for 11 years as New York’s top administrative judge and for seven years as chief judge on the state’s highest court, Jonathan Lippman left the judiciary with plenty to be proud of, the Daily News writes:

After All This Cuomo Double Dipping On Developers $$$ Both Union and No Union 
Attorney for anti-union construction group to fundraise for Cuomo (PolitiaNY) The hosts are listed as the Gerstmans and David and Heather Schwartz. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is scheduled to make an appearance, according to the invitation. It’s not clear whether Cuomo himself will attend.  Brad Gerstman and David Schwartz are the founding partners at Gotham and represent some developers who have been in the news lately. State records indicate their firm lobbies for 400 Times Square Associates LLC, which is reportedly using non-union labor to develop a hotel at 577 Ninth Ave., where a construction worker recently died. As of last month, Gerstman was also an attorney for the Rinaldi Group, a building contractor whose license was pulled for running unsafe job sites.

The city launched an investigation into Rinaldi after a worker perished at a Rinaldi construction site in Midtown. Gerstman is also frontman for BuildingNYC, a group launched this month that advocates against union construction labor. From NY Observer But Mr. Cuomo handed Mr. LaBarbera the ultimate trump card over the real estate industry in June: the 421a tax credit for developers, which many builders regard as essential to all new construction in the city, and which came up for renewal this spring. After weeks of ads and lobbying from union-backed groups like UP4NYC, the governor, Mr. Heastie and Mr. Flanagan reached an agreement: the abatement would expire in six months unless Real Estate Board of New York and the Building Trades Council could come to an agreement on new pay floors to be written into the tax credit. Was it a reward for Mr. LaBarbera backing the governor up in his spat with public employees unions years ago? Or was the union leader just the beneficiary of Mr. Cuomo’s continuing war with Mr. de Blasio? Probably nobody knows—and it’s unlikely Mr. LaBarbera and his members care. The days before the January 15 deadline are now swiftly draining away with no agreement in sight, leaving the Building Trades Council and REBNY in a game of chicken. But unlike REBNY President John Banks, Mr. LaBarbera has no incentive to blink.*  Cuomo is taking blood money from anti-union grouplinked to worker deaths


National Columnist Is Shocked How Little Investigative Journalism There is in NY 
Davil Sirota on the state of investigative journalism in New York:  “I’m looking at this as something of an outsider. I don’t live in New York, but, frankly, when it comes to both New York and New Jersey, I have been pretty shocked at how little what you would call ‘enterprise reporting’ that there has been in the area of money in politics and corruption. By that I mean [Preet Bharara] is right in the sense that there has been good after-the-fact reporting. There has been decent reporting when a source like the Moreland Commission brings, kind of hands on a silver platter documents to news organizations saying, ‘Here’s exactly what happened.’

NY Magazine Once Known For Great Investigative Reporting Prints A Cover With A Small de Blasio
But I tend to do what’s called enterprise work, like a number of other reporters, where you’re actually going out and you’re actively investigating something that hasn’t been brought to light yet, that hasn’t been brought there. And look, in Albany there’s plenty—and New Jersey I should add, too—these are places that there’s no shortage of topics and stories to do that are enterprise reporting. Doing enterprise reporting takes and lot of resources media organizations have to invest in it and you lose friends you’re not going to be on Cuomo’s Christmas card list . . . A Really Scary Time for Democracy when you have in the state capital in Albany media organizations both financial and imtidatition factor under attack not do investigation reporting ” (Effective Radio Interview With Sirota)  David J. Sirota is an American political commentator and radio host based in Denver. He is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, Democratic political spokesperson, and blogger. Wikipedia * Who shrunk the mayor? @NYMag's latest cover, inspired by one of our classics from 1969:  * The man behind NY corruption busting (Democrat Chronicle) Preet's public-corruption plan: "We were always looking for ways we could either get a wiretap or wire people up"

.Why Does the Daily News Rely On Lobbyists Who Do Business With the City/State to Grade de Blasio? 
TAKING NO VICTORY LAPS: Mired in record-low approval ratings, Mayor de Blasio admits failures midway into his term (NYDN “He is more comfortable exercising the levers of power now, but he’s more unsteady politically than would have been expected given his experiences,” said former City Councilman Kenneth Fisher (D-Brooklyn).De Blasio has said he has done poorly communicating, pledging more town halls and call-in radio appearances.  “Sometimes it takes a couple of years to realize that certain things aren’t working.” said Kenneth Sherrill, a political science professor emeritus at Hunter College. But some of his problems are entirely of his own making — as in August when he had a 100-minute gym session at the Brooklyn YMCA during a hostage standoff on Staten Island that left a firefighter badly wounded. De Blasio insisted he was in touch with teams on the scene, but it certainly looked bad.“You can say being there is just optics, but what are you saying? You’re saying it doesn’t matter what the public sees,” said William Cunningham, Bloomberg’s first-term communications director. “That’s how the public judges you during a crisis.”* Anthony Weiner Tangling with Cuomo Grade B+ * Mary Brosnahan is the executive director of Coalition for the Homeless whose Group Does Business With the City and State Gives de Basio A B on Homeless?
More on NY's Disconnected Journalism
More on Preet Bharara
Pay to Play Journalism Nussbaum
How Local TV News Make Millions Rehabilitating Candidates and Cleaning Up Policies Harmful to the Public
No Town Hall de Blasio Spins and the NYC Press Defining Journalism Down
Blasting the Press, de Blasio, Sharpton Over Noerdlinger and Racial Divide

Why Not Tie City Pay Raises to Job Performance Approved by the Voters? 
As Homeless Increase, Schools Suck, No Affordable Housing City Officials Get A Pay Raise From Berlin Rosen Commission
Commission recommends pay raisesfor city officials   (PolticoNY) In a report released Monday morning, the Quadrennial Advisory Commission suggested the mayor receive a salary of $258,750. That represents a $33,750 raise from what a New York City mayor currently earns. City Council members, who have been clamoring for higher pay, would receive a base pay of $138,315, up $25,815 from the current salary of $112,500. The commission recommended the members' roles be classified as "full time," which would mean they could not earn outside income as they are now allowed to do. In addition, the commission recommended eliminating bonuses members receive for chairing committees — a perk known as a "lulu." Those bonuses vary in amount depending on the committee assignment and total $447,000. The speaker of the Council would see a salary raise to $154,375, which would reflect folding a $25,000 lulu the position comes with into the base salary.

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was noncommittal about the recommendations in a statement after the report was released. The city comptroller's pay would be raised from $185,000 to $209,050; the public advocate from $165,000 to $184,800; and borough presidents from $160,000 to $179,200. The five district attorneys would also see a raise of $22,800, bringing their final salaries to $212,800. Read the full commission report here: * A commission convened to assess the salaries of top NYC officials has recommendedraises for the mayor, the City Council and other politicians, while declaring Council members should not be able to earn outside income. * New York City’s Elected Officials Should Get Raises, Panel Says (NYY) * De Blasio would receive a 15 percent raise, to $258,750 a year, under a series of recommended pay increases for New York City’s elected officials. The mayor has said he will not accept a pay increase for the duration of his first term in office, which concludes at the end of 2017. Any raises must be ratified by the City Council. Elected officials in the city have not received raises since 2006.*An independent commission's set of recommendations that would give city officials salary increases creates a difficult challenge for New York City Council members, who must decide whether to vote to give themselves a raise while also ending certain perks, Politico New York reports

Cuomo Says Public Financing Kills Citizens United
Common Cause: Citizens United Isn’t Blocking Reforms (YNN) The good-government group Common Cause vehemently disagreed with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s assertion on Monday in a radio interview that the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case made it impossible for major campaign-finance law changes. “You need people in office who are going to use their best judgment in office,” Cuomo said on WNYC this morning, “because you’re not going to change the campaign finance system because of Citizens United.” * Cuomo (YNN) In urging state lawmakers to take up the latest round of soon-to-be-announced ethics measures, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned on Monday they could face the wrath of voters should the proposals not be made law.* Cuomo, the state's most prolific campaign fundraiser, said in a radio interview that calls to take money out of politics won't affect change until the courts or the federal government reverse the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, the Times Union reports *  The Times Unionasks its readers to urge one of the 31 state senators who have not signed on toa letter asking Congress to put limits on political spending, adding it needs only one more signature for New York to become the 17th state calling for an amendment: * Cuomo, the state’s most prolific campaign fundraiser, said in a radio interview that calls to take money out of politics won’t effect change until the courts or the federal government reverse the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.*Former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno has been out of office for the better part of a decade, but a recent seven-figure political donation by the once-powerful Republican has kicked up a new election law complaint by Democrats. * Cuomo says the Supreme Courtlimits what he can do to fix money in politics 

Public Financing Contaminated by Lobbyists PACs Will Not Stop Albany Corruption
Time for Term Limits, Ban Lobbyists from Campaigns, Better Investigative Reporting and Putting Pressure on Local Prosecutors to Go After Political Corruption
NY Democrats have learned nothing from Shelly Silver’s downfall  (NYP) Sheldon Silver hasn’t even been sentenced yet, and already the left is plumping for public financing of elections. Or to put it another way, if Albany is going to lose its access to graft, why not force the taxpayers to pay up? Our Democrats couldn’t care less that Silver sold his office for reasons that had nothing to do with raising money for his campaign. They know that he represented a safe district on the Lower East Side, winning easily (in 2008 he got 100 percent of the vote). Yet we’re already hearing how his conviction is grounds for the Legislature to force the taxpayers to pay politicians’ election expenses. The New York Times greeted the verdict with an editorial calling for “public funding of elections for all state offices.”

The Times isn’t alone. The jury had barely spoken when the Green Party of New York rushed out a statement by co-chair Gloria Mattera arguing that “only full public financing of elections will put an end to this ‘pay to play’ system.”* The governor and the successors to Silver and Skelos must close the LLC loophole to prevent the funnelling of money from outside interests into campaign operations and help clean up the way Albany does business, the Daily News writes  : * U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is doing the public a great service in exposing some of the larcenous deals that have occurred in the hallways of Albany, but the real focus needs to be on the whispered deals that keep the state at the bottom of so many economic categories, Republican consultant William O’Reilly writes in Newsday: * Buy, buy Silver & Skelos: Close the LLC loophole corrupting Albany politicians left, right and center (NYDN Ed)* Two decades after the legislation that created limited liability companies in New York, the business entities have taken on a central role in the funding of political campaigns,according to a new report from state Sen. Daniel Squadron, a Democrat who has been one of the most vehement opponents of the so-called “LLC loophole.”

Chinese Developers Who Get NY Tax Breaks Loo for Buyers At Home
FOREIGN EXCHANGE-"Chinese Developers Build in America, but Look for Buyers at Home," by WSJ's  "SHANGHAI-In a low-slung building near an artsy riverfront area known as West Bund district, a group of more than 10 families gathered on Thanksgiving Day for a tutorial about the American holiday, complete with a golden-brown roasted turkey. This wasn't a cooking class. Instead, the attendees were being sold new condos in the U.S. being built by Chinese developer Greenland Holding Group, coupled with a culinary and cultural lesson on the autumnal holiday. Greenland is in the process of building two large apartment projects, one in Los Angeles and the other New York, and is turning to its standard client base-Chinese investors-to help fill them up. Commercial property development has long been a local sport in the U.S., dominated by local firms catering to local demand. Greenland's savory sales pitch offers a glimpse at a nascent effort by Chinese developers to turn that model around, converting demand from China into Chinese-built condos an ocean away."

Developers Pay Millions to Get Tenants in the Way Out 
New York Builders Paying Huge Buyouts to Tenants in TheirWay (NYT) Tishman Speyer Properties, one of New York City’s most active real estate developers, had bought two parcels of land on the Far West Side of Manhattan to clear the way for a 2.8 million-square-foot office tower planned for Hudson Yards. Standing in the way, though, were the occupants of two apartments on the site. So this year, the developer turned to a lubricant that can be counted on to ease New York City tenants out of their rent-regulated units — a buyout, in this case, for $25 million in total to three tenants.* de Blasio's defense of donations from developers = "the ends justify the means" (which sounds like Markowitz) (AYO)

Cuomo tears a ligament, de Blasio just got surgery for a hernia. This feud is taking its toll

NYP's Dicker Winners and Losers in 2015
The biggest winners and losers in New York politics this year ( NYP) ’Tis the season . . . to name the winners and losers in New York politics in 2015. And while losers have dominated the state political scene for years, nothing compares to the slate that emerged in the top ranks of our electoral system this year. A year ago, Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) was the Assembly speaker and the second-most- powerful Democrat in the state, while Dean Skelos (R-Nassau) was the Senate majority leader and the most powerful Republican in New York. Today, they’ve been ousted from office as convicted felons guilty of public corruption and on a fast track to federal prison. A year ago, Gov. Cuomo was just off a re-election victory and there was talk around that he might yet be a contender for the 2016 Democratic presidential or vice-presidential nomination. Today, Cuomo is polling at his lowest public-approval ratings ever, has flip-flopped on what he once claimed were core policy issues, and is, most ominously, in the cross hairs of the continuing corruption probe being led by hard-charging US Attorney Preet “Stay tuned’’

 Bharara. Silver and Skelos are, of course, the biggest Losers of the Year for 2015 — perhaps, as a pair, even the biggest losers in New York political history. And Cuomo, who still hasn’t told the public about what he knew of Silver’s and Skelos’ illegal activities as he shuttered the doors on the corruption-fighting Moreland Commission, is clearly the runner-up as Loser of the Year — with talk increasing that he’ll face a challenge in the Democratic primary should he seek re-election in 2018. 

As with the biggest losers, the Winner of the Year — the biggest winner since a then-little-known prosecutor named Rudolph Giuliani declared war on another set of corrupt politicians in the mid-1980s — isn’t hard to choose. He’s clearly Bharara, who initiated the successful prosecutions of Silver and Skelos as well as of former Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (D-Queens), former Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous (R-Binghamton) and a long roster of other crooked pols. And he’s done anything but rest on his laurels. Bharara has emerged as the public’s avenging angel against those who have corrupted our democratic system in Albany. and he has clearly chosen the role of the crusader who is determined to set things right. That’s why Albany now shudders each time Bharara utters the ominous words, “Stay tuned.’’

Tone Deaf Heastie Reappoints Silver's Appointees to Joke Ethics Committee JCOPE
 Recently convicted ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's two remaining appointees to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics were reappointed to five-year terms by his successor, Carl Heastie, but one will be "transitioning off," theTimes Union reports: * Heastie selects state ethics panelists originally picked by Silver (NYP)Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie just reappointed two “ethics watchdogs” originally named by the now-convicted Silver. Renee Roth and Marvin Jacob got new five-year terms at the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, a k a JCOPE. The last thing Heastie should be doing is keeping any Silver remnants. Especially on an ethics panel — even a joke like JCOPE. If Roth and Jacob were truly “ethical,” they would’ve quit JCOPE the minute their patron was convicted (if not before). Same for ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ JCOPE picks — George Weissman, Joseph Covello and ex-state Sen. Mary Lou Rath. Their terms expire this month; let’s hope Skelos’ successor, John Flanagan, is smart enough to offer an entirely new slate.* The Joint Commission on Public Ethics raised concerns that the state's latest ethics reform law contained significant loopholes that may obscure the disclosure of state lawmakers' legal clients, the Times Unionreports:  * The Joint Commission on Public Ethics raised concerns that the state’s latest ethics reform law contained potentially significant loopholes that could obscure the disclosure of state lawmakers’ legal clients. The law was passed this year in the wake of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s indictment on charges that he used his office to garner millions in legal payments. * JCOPE members are looking to offer guidance for when discussions of policy matters on social media constitute lobbying * In a letter to commissioners of JCOPE, the head of Citizens Union slammed a push by one of the commissioners to allow the “hand-delivery” of forms lawmakers submit seeking exemptions from a law requiring the listing of legal clients, the Times Union reports: *  Common Cause New York found only 40 percent of state lawmakers elected before the most recent cycle have income other than the $79,500 and stipend pay they are given for their job as elected officials,State of Politics reports: 

90% of New Yorkers Think Corruption is A Problem in Albany
Only 20% of New Yorkers Know About U.S. Attorney Brahara, The Man Who Has Already Gotten 2 of the 3 Men in the Room and Says Stay Tuned 

New Yorkers Want New Ethics Laws to Clean Up Albany, Poll Finds (NYT) In a new poll conducted by Siena College after the conviction of Sheldon Silver, the former Assembly speaker, about nine in 10 New York voters say corruption is a serious problem. The picture is unambiguously grim for the state’s lawmakers: About nine in 10 New York voters say corruption is a serious problem in Albany, including a majority who say it is a very serious problem. Nearly half of the state’s voters say recent corruption scandals have made them less likely to re-elect their own members of the Legislature. ynicism prevails about the prospects for change: Sixty-one percent of voters agreed with the statement, “Silver got caught, the next guy will do the same just more carefully.” Around two-thirds of voters said it would take new laws to prevent another scandal like the one that brought down Mr. Silver. If the recent series of corruption trials has made Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, into something of a celebrity among political elites, he remains mostly unknown to voters. Just a under a fifth of New York voters had a favorable view of Mr. Bharara, but three-quarters had no opinion of him at all.* While 83 percent of voters statewide say the conviction of former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver is an important step toward cleaning up Albany, only 22 percent say the conviction will convince lawmakers to act more ethically and honestly on their own. Sixty-four percent say new laws are needed to prevent unethical and illegal behavior. Sixty-one percent of voters statewide say that while Silver got caught engaging in illegal behavior, “the next guy will do the same just more carefully.” * Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s favorable-unfavorable number is largely unchanged at 51-38.* U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s favorable-unfavorable is 18-9, with 73 percent of all voters saying they don’t know who he is or have no opinion of him.* Many New Yorkers have lost faith in a state government that’s been embroiled in one corruption scandal after another. But instead of merely complaining, they’ll soon have a chance to tear it all down and start over. Voters will be asked in 2017 whether the state should hold a constitutional convention to consider fundamental changes to its 121-year-old state constitution. * Cuomo: Legislature Needs To Heal Itself (YNN) * Stewart-Cousins: Poll Shows NYers Want Change In Albany (YNN) * @PreetBharara on @NYGovCuomo"I'm notgoing to talk about any investigations that we have open"  (PoliticoNY) * Bharara on pension claw backs: "We will be looking at all the ways justice can be done."  * A Siena poll finds that a strong majority of New Yorkers want new ethics laws passed to clean up state government, and few of them believe corruption in Albany can be stopped by prosecutors alone, theTimes reports:  * Who’s next? Bharara won’t disclose corruption probes 
Nicole Malliotakis ‏@NMalliotakis

Sampson Appeal to Drop the Top Charges 
Facing 20 years in jail, Sampson hopes to have top counts against him dropped (NYP) Facing up to 20 years behind bars, former state Sen. John Sampson is not going to prison quietly. After being convicted in July of obstruction of justice and lying to FBI agents, the desperate Brooklyn Democrat will push to have the top counts against him dropped at a hearing in January, court filings reveal. Sampson took a $188,500 loan from a shady business partner to cover money he skimmed from foreclosure dealsthe feds charge. After the ex-associate, Edul Ahmad, was indicted, he wore a wire during a sitdown with Sampson at a Queens restaurant.* Feigning concern for his pal, Ahmad pulled out a copy of a check register of the loan and asked Sampson what he should do with it. The shaken former lawmaker put the document in his pocket and told Ahmad to keep his mouth shut. But the feds said Sampson baldly lied in a later interview by saying he never saw the piece of paper.  In a Hail Mary filing by his lawyer, Sampson claims he was technically telling the truth because he never saw the original check register — only a copy. Sampson also wants the obstruction conviction tossed, claiming that he never overtly asked anyone to do anything illegal in trying to thwart investigators. Sampson won’t challenge a lesser conviction of failing to disclose his ownership stake in a liquor store. He was acquitted in July of the top charge against him, conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The Media Has Not Done One Story That Bharara Went After Silver and Skelos Shut Down Moreland
One of Cuomo’s bold moves was creating another Moreland Commission designed to weed out all aspects of wrong doing. That grandiose plan faded within months, when the governor suddenly decided to shut down the panel. As a result, Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, had sufficient grounds to probe into that decision too. Some critics on Capitol Hill are still convinced that the governor may have felt intimidated by what direction the commission seemed to pursue. Was the investigation perhaps moving too close to the Governor’s Office?  Not surprisingly, some in Albany, especially reform advocates, were calling for a special legislative session focusing on ethics and changes required to restore the public confidence in government. Cuomo, never keen on calling back the lawmakers for that reason, said he could not legislate morality or intelligence and that his administration had already proposed every ethics law imaginable.* Asked about Moreland commiss in light of Silver, Skelos convictions, @NYGovCuomo says, "It was a temporary process. ... It did its job."

The Silver Asbestos Court Still Being Covered Up

Daily News Says Fix is in for Excessive Pay Hikes
Asbestos court gets a boost thanks to Silver conviction (NYP) Ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s corruption conviction has helped pull New York City’s “asbestos court,” where he held influence, up from its spot as the nation’s worst “judicial hellhole.” The American Tort Reform Foundation now says California courts hold the title. “With Silver perhaps headed to prison . . . the Big Apple may begin to bob up from the bottom of the barrel,” the report says.* Silver’s son-in-law gets two years in prison for Ponzi scheme (NYP) * A son-in-law of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was sentenced to two years in prison, well-below federal sentencing guidelines, after admitting he cheated four investors out of nearly $6 million in a Ponzi scheme, the Times reports:  * Sheldon Silver’s son-in-law will spend 2 years in prisonfor $6M Ponzi scheme (NYDN) * Golden gavels for state judges getting excessivepay hikes (NYDN Ed)

In the race for Rep. Charlie Rangel’s seat, Assemblyman Keith Wright is leading in fundraising among the candidates.*    Wright Has Strong Fundraising Lead in NY13 (YNN) Wright, a Manhattan Democrat, posted fundraising totals of more than $155,000 in the latest quarter, bringing his campaign account to just below $270,000. His closest opponent – State Senator Adriano Espaillat – raised $104,630 in the last quarter. That’s nothing to frown at, but it still leaves Espaillat down more than $167,000 from his primary opponent. Espaillat has slightly more than $102,000 in cash on hand moving forward. Some of Espaillat’s trouble comes from a crowded field of primary opponents. Five other Democrats – besides Wright and Espaillat – have registered to run for the seat that’s being vacated by retiring Congressman Charlie Rangel. Three of those five have posted fundraising totals, though none come close to what Espaillat or Wright have raked in. State Senator Bill Perkins has slightly more than $18,000 to boast in his campaign account. But ahead of him are Democrats Suzan “Sujay” Johnson Cook and Adam Clayton Powell. Cook has just below $70,000 on hand and Powell has $77,000.

Campaign: The Carmen Arroyo Seat 
The race to replace Maria del Carmen Arroyo keeps gettingmore crowded (DNAINFO) * Union Leader to Join Crowded Race for Arroyo’s City Council Seat (DNAINFO) Helen Foreman-Hines, political project director at 1199 SEIU, intends to run for the City Council.

Salamanca, Septimo Cash Haul Outpace Contenders In South Bronx Special Elex (Bronx Chroncle)
South Bronx Special Election Candidates to Square Off at Upcoming Forum (DNAInfo) Nos Quedamos plans to hold the event on Jan. 27 at Pregones Theatre on Walton Avenue.

Special Elections 
TO THE RACES -- Former Assembly candidate runs for Council seat -- POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: George Alvarez, a community leader and activist in the Bronx, will file petition papers on Tuesday announcing he will run for the City Council seat recently vacated in the Bronx. Alvarez, a Democrat who recently ran an unsuccessful race for the Assembly, will run to replace former councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo, who stepped down at the end of last year citing pressing family needs. Alvarez lost the 2014 Assembly primary to Michael Blake, but he is hoping to rally his supporters in the district on his bid for the council.  Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a proclamation Monday ordering a special election to fill the seat on Feb. 23rd. The Bronx's 17th Council District includes parts of Concourse, Concourse Village, Crotona Park and Hunts Point. Alvarez, born to Dominican parents, holds a masters degree computer sciences and logistics as well as a masters in political science from Columbia University. He also helped create the Coalition for a New Future in the Bronx, a nonprofit group that helps low income Bronx residents obtain loans to start small business, pay for their education and buy their own homes. "Above all, I am running to fight passionately for the people of this District and be a loud voice for people who are too often not heard," Alvarez said.

After receiving support from Democratic party chairs in the district, Fordham Law Prof.Zephyr Teachout is “committed to making commitments in the next week” about whether to run in NY-19.

TEACHOUT GETS BACKING FOR CONGRESSIONAL RUN - Times Union's Casey Seiler: "Fordham Law educator and 2014 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout won the support of a majority of the Democratic county chairs in the 19th Congressional District on Saturday, when 10 of the 11 party leaders in the sprawling district interviewed Teachout and three other candidates. 'Yeah, that was pretty amazing,' Teachout said in an interview Monday. She called it a 'great meeting,' one in a series she's had with the district's Democratic leaders since Ulster County Executive Mike Hein decided against running for the seat, which will be vacated by Republican Rep. Chris Gibson at the end of the year. She called the county leaders' vote 'a really critical piece of support.' Teachout, who mounted a robust left-flank attack on Cuomo in 2014, has not yet formally announced her candidacy."

-- Former Nassau County executive Tom Suozzi said he has formed a committee to explore a run for Rep. Steve Israel's congressional seat.

PAC Tied to Congresswoman Valazquez Challenger Slams her For Links to Silver 
PAC Tied toChallenger Slams Congresswoman Over Alleged Links to Sheldon Silver (NYO) Brooklyn residents have been receiving campaign literature blasting Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez over Can alleged link with convicted  former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver—and behind the mailers is a well-funded political action committee linked to her long-shot challenger. Several people in Ms. Velázquez’s district told the Observer they received mailers attacking Ms. Velazquez as “arrogant,” “dismissive,” “indifferent” and “unaccountable,” and accusing her of having a longstanding backscratching arrangement with the disgraced Mr. Silver. The literature came from the “Community Action Now” PAC, based out of a post office box in Whitestone, Queens, far from a district that spans Brooklyn, Manhattan and portions of Queens. “For 25 years, Nydia Velazquez & Shelly Silver shared districts, neighborhoods and long-term incumbencies. They’ve depended on each other to keep their public office ‘thrones,'” the mailer reads. “Times have changed. What we’ll tolerate has changed.”

de Blasio Over Rides the UFT for Votes 
For once, Mayor de Blasio snubs the teachers union (NYP) Whaddya know? For once, Mayor de Blasio and the City Council actually stood up to the teachers union. On Monday, council members — with the mayor’s blessing — OK’d $20 million in funding for unarmed security guards at private schools with at least 300 kids. True, the move will cost just $20 million, out of the city’s $80 billion budget. But the United Federation of Teachers still opposed the move, because it shifted public funds to schools the UFT doesn’t control. Yet there were zero real grounds to withhold funds. Not when the city faces heightened terror threats. And when government regularly pays for other secular private-school expenses, like textbooks and nurses. Plus, the guards belong to another union — the one for building-service workers. The UFT didn’t care.* The New York City Council passed a bill to allocate $19.8 million for private schools that hire unarmed security guards and pay union-level wages, despite opposition from civil liberties and budget watchdog groups, the Daily News reports:  * The Post praised de Blasio and the City Council’s decision to “stand up to the teachers union” for once and allocate $20 million for unarmed security guards at private schools that enroll at least 300 students:*   The NYC Council overwhelmingly passed legislation to provide up to $19.8 million annually to nearly 300 private schools to pay for unarmed security guards.* De Blasio said that he would sign a bill that would allow private and parochial schools to hire security guards at a cost of nearly $20 million annually to New York City, drawing criticism from some of his usual allies, who called it a giveaway to religious schools.

Democrats Pick Kaminsky for the Skelos Seate
Democrats on Long Island have picked Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, a former federal corruption prosecutor, to be the party’s candidate in an expected special election for the state Senate seat left vacant by Dean Skelos, the Times reports:  * When Kaminsky Has Knocked Silver (YNN) An early line of attack for the coming Senate campaign from Republicans leveled against Democratic Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky is that he hasn’t knocked former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for collecting his pension.

DICKENS CAMPAIGNING FOR KEITH WRIGHT'S ASSEMBLY SEAT -- POLITICO New York's Azi Paybarah: City Councilwoman Inez Dickens is raising money for a campaign for the Assembly seat currently held by Keith Wright, who is running for the congressional seat being vacated by the retiring Charles Rangel. According to an invitation obtained by POLITICO New York, the Feb. 11 fund-raiser will take place in Harlem, and seeks donations from $150 up to $4,400. A fund-raiser organizing the event confirmed Dickens' candidacy for the seat. The congressional primary for Rangel's seat - where Wright faces seven declared opponents - takes place in June. The primary for state legislative seats is in September. SEE THE INVITATION:

-- Is Dickens' bid contingent on Wright winning the NY13 race? "I strongly believe that Keith will be our next Congressperson. Keith believes strongly in his own candidacy and is not so disingenuous as to play on the minds and integrity of his constituents and their voting rights by running for Congress in June and almost simultaneously for his current seat in September. I am running for an open seat." -- Dickens statement to POLTIICO New York

Scandal-Plagued Pols Battle for Queens Congressional Seat 
Scandal-plagued politicians will battle for Queens congressional seat(NYP) A shady showdown is brewing in Queens, where state Sen. James Sanders has filed paperwork to challenge Rep. Gregory Meeks for his congressional seat. Both Democrats have faced questions over their ethics. Sanders, 58, has been under scrutiny for steering millions of taxpayer dollars to dozens of Queens organizations to which he has ties. And Meeks, 62, has been probed for his ties to a Queens nonprofit that stiffed Hurricane Katrina victims and for failing to disclose his receipt of a personal loan. If Sanders loses the June 28 primary, he could still petition to run for his state Senate seat on Sept. 13. In 2010, the FBI quizzed Meeks over New Direction Local Development Corp., a Queens charity he co-founded with disgraced ex-Sen. Malcolm Smith in 2001. It had solicited thousands of dollars in donations for Katrina victims in 2005, but gave them virtually nothing. Meeks denied responsibility. The House Ethics Committee probed his failure to disclose $40,000 given to him by fraudster Queens businessman Edul Ahmad in 2007. Meeks claimed he lost the “loan” paperwork. As a councilman, Sanders steered nearly $3 million in council cash from 2003 to 2008 to dozens of groups in his district, which the FBI is reportedly examining.

Sharpton Crashes Mayoral Hopefuls Power Breakfast 
Al Sharpton crashes mayoral hopefuls’ power breakfast (NYP) Real estate developer Don Peebles and city Comptroller Scott Stringer had a power breakfast at the Regency on Monday, which piqued the interest of fellow diner the Rev. Al Sharpton at a nearby table. When he spotted the pair, who are both considered potential challengers to Mayor de Blasio in his re-election bid, “Sharpton walked over to their table to say hello, and joked that some might view their ‘secret meeting’ as a plot to take down de Blasio,” a spy said. Peebles, who’s reportedly worth $700 million, told The Post in August he’s giving serious thought to a run, saying, “I was a political supporter of [de Blasio] . . . I’ve lost confidence in him. It would be irresponsible of me to do nothing.” * De Blasio's affordable housing plan for East N.Y. is not affordable, according to report by Scott Stringer (NYDN)

Wright Candidate for Rangel Seat Tied Up in the Glenwood Silver Web
Sheldon SilverConviction Casts Shadow Over Race for Rangel’s Seat (NYO) Of all the candidates running, Mr. Wright, the chairman of the Assembly’s influential housing committee and the waning Manhattan Democratic Party, may have the most to lose from Mr. Silver’s downfall. As fellow Manhattanites and veteran lawmakers, the two Democrats naturally worked together, even if Mr. Wright was never known as one of Mr. Silver’s top lieutenants. Most glaringly, and at the behest of Mr. Silver, the Harlem Democrat carried a 2013 housing bill providing tax breaks to five select developers. Mr. Wright’s aides claimed he knew nothing of the tax breaks and was furious at Mr. Silver, though the Daily News reported he may have been more aware than he let on. Glenwood Management, a leading real estate developer accused of taking part in bribery schemes in the cases of Mr. Silver and Dean Skelos, the former Republican majority leader currently on trial, funneled $45,000 through limited liability corporations to the housekeeping account of Mr. Wright’s Manhattan Democratic Party over the past four years. Glenwood was a prolific donor, giving cash to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and many state lawmakers. At least one candidate, Clyde Williams, is not letting Mr. Wright off the hook. Mr. Williams, a former congressional candidate and Democratic National Committee official who has never held elected office, said the Silver conviction was an “indictment of the entire political culture of Albany.” With the backing of the Harlem political establishment, including former Gov. David Paterson, Mr. Wright is a top contender and likely to face more barbs from outsider candidates like Mr. Williams. State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who twice tried to unseat Mr. Rangel, also endured scrutiny over his 14-year Assembly tenure when Rangel aides gleefully highlighted a vote he took with Mr. Silver that many city Democrats revile to this day: the 1999 decision to repeal the commuter tax, costing New York City nearly $10 billion in subsequent years. Mr. Espaillat called it a“terrible vote.”

Eric Garner Daughter May Race On SI Against Donovan
The 25-year-old daughter of fatal police-chokehold victim Eric Garner is mulling a run for Congress against Rep. Dan Donovan, the former Staten Island district attorney who she claims didn’t deliver justice for her father.

Rangel Backs Wright
Charles Rangel backs Keith Wright to succeed him (NYP) Rep. Charles Rangel has told supporters he’s backing Assemblyman Keith Wright to succeed him when he steps down next year after nearly five decades in Congress, The Post has learned. Rangel, 85, pledged his support to Wright, who is also the Manhattan Democratic Party chairman, during a private fundraiser last week at Melba’s restaurant in Harlem. “Every week, there’s someone new, some labor leader, someone from the community planning board, some people from The Bronx, some in the Congress, in the Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus who say, ‘Is Keith our man?’” Rangel said at the event, a video of which was obtained by The Post. “I said, ‘Of course he is!’” Rangel said to thunderous applause.

Perkins Runs for Rangel Seat
Harlem state Sen. Bill Perkins is throwing his hat in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, who will give up his seat after more than four decades in office, the Post writes:  * Farrell Endorses Wright’s Bid To Replace Rangel(YNN) *  Harlem Pol Launches Bid for Congress—With Help From Two ofthe Central Park Five  (NYO) *Two rivals for Rangel seat tout backing from exoneratedCentral Park Five…  *Bill Perkins declares himself ‘front-runner’ to replace Rangel (PoliticoNY) * Former Mayor endorses Keith Wright to succeed Charles Rangel (NYP) Former Mayor Dave Dinkins is endorsing Keith Wright to succeed Rep. Charles Rangel in Congress. Dinkins noted that Harlem Assemblyman Wright, the Manhattan Democratic Party chairman * Manhattan Democrat (and Harvard grad) Michael Gallagherenters sweepstakes to replace Rep. Charles Rangel in NY -13. *   “I think I come into this race as the frontrunner" as @EspaillatNY looks to run forcongress * Harlem Lawmaker Calls Use of Term 'AffordableHousing' a 'Lie' (DNAINFO)* REPLACING RANGEL -- Michael Oliva, Democratic consultant in "[F]ew voting blocs will be up for grabs. Many residents already know who they will vote for. The aspirants will need to strike a balance between turning out their bases and leaving their comfort zones to convince small pockets of undecided voters they are not used to communicating with to support them. Creative, disciplined messaging and effective delivery are critical to success. Further, it will be difficult for candidates to differentiate themselves on specifics. Most will have similar platforms on voter concerns like housing, health care and gun control, and most have solid governmental experience as state legislators or federal officials. Therefore, this will become a personality-driven race, a factor that always benefited gifted retail politicians like Rangel. Public appearances, debates and street campaigning will go far toward determining the victor." 

Bronx Candidate Fighting Gentrification
Latest Council Race Candidate Wants to Fight Gentrification in The Bronx (SNAINFO) Marlon Molina would focus on gun violence and fighting gentrification as a member of the City Council.* Former State Assembly Candidate Joins Jam-Packed City Council Race (DNAINFO) George Alvarez is one of many people hoping to fill Maria del Carmen Arroyo's old council seat.* Bronx Democrats Endorse Rafael Salamanca for Arroyo's Council Seat (DNAINFO)  Salamanca formally announced his campaign for City Council on Tuesday, joining several other candidates.

SEIU backs Keith Wright to succeed retirng Charles Rangel (NYP)

Two Black Candidates for Congress Look to Expand Their Base By Endorsing Sanders  
In two districts once believed to be strongholds for Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton, the state senators from Harlem and Queens — Bill Perkins and James Sanders Jr. — will endorse Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for president instead.

Espaillat Owes $ But Running Again for Congress
This pol owes $96,000 but is making a third run for congress (NYP) State Sen. Adriano Espaillat has launched his third run for Congress, but still hasn’t paid off nearly $100,000 in bills from his campaign of two years ago — including money owed to Eliot Spitzer’s old flame. One debtor, photographer/Web designer Jon Reznick, said he got such a runaround trying to collect $1,250 from Espaillat that he took down the campaign’s Web site last year.*Former NYC Assemblyman Robert Jackson is running again for the state Senate seat currently held by Adriano Espaillat, who is running for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Charlie Rangel.

Grimm SI DA Race, NYC Congressional Delegation 
The Bronx DA, The BP and Corruption Machine