Friday, February 27, 2015

True News Friday Update: In An Investigation News Draught 2 Paths for the Daily News; Why Not Put A Women in the Room?

Will Murdoch Buy the News To Shut It Down?

First Issue Village Voice

Daily News: The End or A New Beginning In NY Great Journalism?
DeadLine USA Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman is exploring a sale of the tabloid and has retained the firm Lazard to assist in the process. SELLING THE NEWS -- Zuckerman to unload storied tab -- Capital’s Joe Pompeo: Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman is exploring a sale of the tabloid and has retained the firm Lazard to assist. In an email to staff, Zuckerman said he hadn't been considering an imminent sale of the paper, which he acquired in 1993, but that his thinking changed after receiving an approach several weeks ago. ‘I have not come to this decision easily,’ Zuckerman wrote. ‘But I believe the immense hard work in turning the business around in an extremely challenging period for the industry, has put the Daily News in as strong a position than it has ever been, particularly online.’”--POSSIBLE BUYERS “[T]he News ... is believed to be losing around $20 million a year. … Murdoch's name has been the first to come up ... Another possible suitor? The Dolan family, which owns Cablevision and Newsday. ... Ken Doctor, a newspaper analyst and Capital contributor, said … ‘it's an asset with little to no financial value. ... A strategic buyer’—such as [Murdoch’s] News Corp. or, as The Financial Times floated as a possibility, the Newhouse family, which owns the Staten Island Advance and [Newark’s] Star-Ledger —‘might make some sense on a cost consolidation basis.’ The theoretical vanity buyer ... ‘might pay Mort an honorable sum, in recognition of what is passing on.’”

Cuomo Report More Money Does Not Help Failing Schools 
Start the revolution(NYDN)  More than 100,000 students across the state attend 178 campuses where test scores and graduation rates are persistently bottom-of-the-barrel. In many, the percentage of kids able to read or do math at grade level is in the single digits. In New York City, more than 50,000 kids are trapped in 91 such schools, including 18 that are on track to close this year or next. Forty city schools have been allowed to flounder, and steal kids’ futures, for a decade or more. Take Community Health Academy of the Heights in Manhattan. It’s been on the failing schools list for four years. Only 8% of its kids passed the state math tests and only 12% are reading at grade level. Yet 100% of its teachers are officially rated as “effective” or “highly effective.” Or take the Ida Posner School, P.S. 165 in Brooklyn. It’s been deemed failing for five years, with only 9% of its students passing in math and 11% in reading. Yet 94% of its teachers are scored “effective.” More money is not the answer.

As Cuomo’s report documents, all of these failing schools have seen substantial funding boosts over the past four years, and their per-pupil spending is typically around double the national average. Mayor de Blasio’s answer, to the extent he has one, is: “Trust me, I’ve got this.” He and Chancellor Carmen Fariña plan to layer on extra support services and lengthen the school day. But they fall short of taking the necessary steps to aggressively weed out weak links on the faculty. A clear-eyed mayor with fewer allegiances to the teachers union would recognize that Cuomo is offering him the chance for greater control and fresh strategies for helping kids trapped in failure.* *A day after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio traveled to Albany and requested to remain in charge of turning around the city’s poorest performing schools, Cuomo challenged that with a report highlighting the schools’ struggles, Chalkbeatreports:  * The City University of New York’s approach to community college, with its web of support services, is a “highly promising strategy” for raising graduation rates among the disadvantaged, the Times writes: * As a new report shows that more than 97 percent of area principals and teachers are deemed effective or highly effective, educators across the state are rallying against a plan by Cuomo to make the rating system tougher. * Though 95 percent of New York’s teachers were deemed effective or highly effective in 2013-14, there are some exceptions.
A day after NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio traveled to Albany to try to convince state lawmakers that he should remain in charge of turning around the city’s lowest-performing schools, Cuomo challenged that assertion with a new report highlighting those schools’ struggles. * In the report, Cuomo linked legislators’ names to chronically failing public schools in their districts in a provocative move to win support for his education reforms. * Cuomo’s report cited 178 failing schools across New York – the same number used in a Families for Excellent Schools (F.E.S.) report released Wednesday, which calls for a state takeover of those schools, a major component of Cuomo’s education reform proposals. * Republicans in the state Assembly pushed Cuomo to release school aid runs so that districts can better plan their budgets and tax levies, which are due to go before voters this May.* "Educational wastelands plague New York, especially in the city and itsneediest neighborhoods." (NYDN)

Pressure to Put More Men In Albany's 3/4 Men Room ... 
What About A Women in the Room?
Friday Update More In the Room?   State legislators want Gov. Andrew
Cuomo to The Wall StreetJournal reports: * Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he is disappointed Cuomo inserted ethics reforms into budget measures released last week because it “kind of ties the Legislature’s hands” in negotiations, the Daily Newsreports: * Low teacher ratings at New York City’s chronically troubled schools highlight the difficulty of turning around schools as de Blasio implements a new strategy for them and Cuomo seeks more power to take them over, the Journalreports: 
let minority legislative leaders join budget negotiations now that Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeffrey Klein is in the talks,
Klein To Be Included In Budget Talks (YNN) Independent Democratic Conferenceff Leader Jeff Klein will be included in the closed-door budget talks with the legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo made the announcement today at a cabinet meeting that he would include Klein, a Bronx Democrat, in the first leaders meeting scheduled for later this afternoon. Klein was included in the talks — colloquially called the “Three Men In A Room” talks — in the last two years after he was elevated to co-president of the state Senate under a power-sharing agreement with Senate Republicans. But Republicans last year gained full control of the chamber and Klein lost the title, plus the ability to have veto power over which bills come to the floor for a vote. Cuomo today said he discussed having Klein included in the talks with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who agreed Klein should be included. * After Silver arrest, Bharara mocks ‘three men in a room’(Capital) * Sen. Klein keeps his spot at the negotiating table (LoHud)* Cuomo said he hasn’t had any conversations with federal prosecutors investigating his office’s role in the activities and disbandment of his Moreland Commission, but declined to say whether his staff has, Gannett Albany reports: *Skelos: Disclosure For Cuomo, Too(YNN)

 Andrew Cuomo says he is not subpoenaed for handling MorelandCommission, does not rule out aides (NYDN) * Cuomo’s office said no employee of the executive chamber has been subpoenaed in connection with a federal investigation a few hours after the governor declined to say if staffers had been subpoenaed, GannettAlbany reports: *  The Times writes that Cuomo’s decision to tie ethicsreforms measures to the state budget makes it a powerful tool, but that whether this tactic works remains a question:* Cuomo: Governors don't have same 'opportunity for conflict'when moonlighting as NY lawmakers  * An Ethics Reform Blind Spot (YNN) Ethics reform is pretty much THE hot topic at the Capitol these days, thanks to Cuomo’s desire to extricate himself from the Moreland Commission mess and the Sheldon Silver corruption scandal. But while the governor is threatening to hold up the entire budget in order to see his reform proposals passed by the state Legislature, he has recommended no additional funding for the three existing ethics enforcement entities currently responsible for policing the three branches of government: JCOPE, the state inspector general and the state Commission on Judicial Conduct.* A spokeswoman Cuomo said that “no employee of the executive chamber” has been subpoenaed in connection with a federal investigation, a few hours after the governor himself wouldn’t say whether they had.* The governor said only "a 'twisted mind' would assumehe was attempting to divert attention from the mayor's visit"(Capital) * DiNapoli Questions Cuomo Per Diem Reform Tactic(YNN) * Kolb: ‘Malarkey’ Cuomo Doesn’t Invite Leaders (YNN) *Senate Republicans Make An Ethics Target Of Sandra Lee (Updated) (YNN) * With Some Snark, Cuomo Administration Reacts To Senate GOP Ethics Proposal (YNN)

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

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

ISIS In Brooklyn
3 Brooklyn Men Arrested For Trying to Join ISIS: Sources via @Dnainfo * 3 Brooklyn Men Are Charged With Supporting ISIS  (NYT) *FBI: Three men attempted to join ISIS In-Depth-CNN * Three men from Brooklyn arrested, charged with supporting ISIS CBS News * 3 Brooklyn Men Arrested For Plot to Join ISIS, Bomb Coney Island: Sources DNAinfo * Three Men Accused of Planning to Go Overseas to Join ISIS Arrested in New ... * US Attorney (and US AG nominee) Loretta Lynch announced the arrest of three Brooklyn residents on charges they conspired to provide material support to the Islamic State terrorist group, or ISIL.* The Brooklyn ISIS case is emblematic of a dangerous new chapter in the fight against terrorism, authorities said, warning of the growing menace posed by “lone wolf” individuals intent on attacking the West, often after leaving home to fight overseas.

A City's Leadership In Hiding and Denial 
 The nomination of Loretta Lynch to serve as the nextattorney general is hitting a few road bumps in Washington: (NY1) * 3 Brooklyn Men Accused of Plot to Aid ISIS’ Fight(NYP) * NOT A DRILL: Bratton calls 3 men who allegedly wanted to join ISIS a ‘real threat’ as FBI says they intended to ‘execute’ President Obama, bomb Coney Island (NYDN) * 3 Men Allegedly Planned to Join ISIS, Attack NYC if They Failed (WNBC) * Three NYC Men Arraigned for Allegedly Trying to Join Islamic State (NY1) * Speaking on the eve of today’s anniversary of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, US Attorney Preet Bharara said his office and the law enforcement officials it works with have taken the hard lessons of the last 22 years to heart.

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

Cuomo to de Blasio: "I Will Respect Your In the Morning"  

Cuomo Boasts of30-Year Friendship With De Blasio Despite Public Spats (DNAINFO) Despite a history of public spats, Gov. Andrew Cuomosaid he and Mayor Bill de Blasio will go down in history as having the best political relationship between any governor and mayor —and he's willing to bet money on it. "This will be the best relationship between a mayor and governor in modern political history when all is said and done," Cuomo said at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights.* Despite periodically undercutting New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Cuomo said they may have the best relationship of any New York governor and mayor in “modern political history,” the Observer reports: De Blasio said he doesn’t “have enough sense of modern political history to fully analyze.”* De Blasio Makes His Albany Pitch, Sometimes at Odds With Cuomo (NYO) * Bill de Blasio Slams Andrew Cuomo’s Homelessness Proposals (NYO) * Mayor Bill de Blasio's agenda diverges significantly fromGov. Andrew Cuomo's, via @andyjayhawk

Mayor Bill de Blasio trekked to Albany to present state lawmakers with a wish list that included a $15 minimum wage, permanent mayoral control of city schools and an end to vacancy decontrol of rent-regulated housing, Crain’sreports:  *  The mayor asked the state Legislature to find $300 million more for New York City’s chronically underfunded public housing authority, one prong of his agenda to protect the city’s affordable housing stock. But de Blasio declined to take a position on the controversial 421-a real estate tax break, the Observer reports: * De Blasio lashed out at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to slash funding for state programs aimed at preventing families from becoming homeless, a paring back that would apply only to New York City,the Observer reports: * Before a Q-and-A focused largely on ethics reform and investigations, Cuomo held a cabinet meeting to highlight two initiatives in his budget proposal, including plans to boost spending on pre-K for 3-year-olds, Gannett Albany reports:  * Extras: Asked if his cabinet meeting was deliberately timedto coincide with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s budget...  * Cuomo And de Blasio: No Rivalry Here(YNN) * Cuomo: Mayoral Control ‘An Experiment’(YNN) * Asked if his cabinet meeting was deliberately timed to coincide with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s budget testimony, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said: “Only a really twisted mind would come up with that one.” * Cuomo did not endorse NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call for permanent mayoral control of schools, saying: “I think it’s going well enough to extend it for three years.”* De Blasio, in Albanyto Discuss Budget, Faces Competition From Cuomo (NYT) Questions about Capitol chicanery ran rampant in Albany on Wednesday after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo held a cabinet meeting at the same time as Mayor Bill de Blasio’s budget presentation to state lawmakers.* The mayor said Wednesday that the state must do more to fundthe MTA's Capital Plan: (NY1)* De Blasio goes to war against Cuomo over schools control(NYP)* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call for permanent mayoral control of public schools pits again him against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who would like to extend it for three years, The Wall Street Journal reports: * De Blasio’s first trip to Albany this year could not be called a success. His budget requests were met with skepticism from some lawmakers, and his call for a permanent extension of mayoral control was promptly dismissed by Cuomo, who held a competing event at the Capitol. *The mayor’s agenda diverges significantly from the governor’s this year.* Cuomo shot down de Blasio’s pitch for permanent mayoral control of the NYC school system, saying the idea should be subject to review in Albany every few years. *  Cuomo, who convened a cabinet meeting at the exact time de Blasio was providing budget testimony to a legislative panel, scoffed at the notion that he would seek to upstage a man whom he has repeatedly referred to as a good friend, saying: “Only a really twisted mind would come up with that.” * The mayor panned two of Cuomo’s top education proposals that would weaken his say over school policy — including one that would allow the state to put failing city public schools into a receivership.

With Some Snark, Cuomo Administration Reacts To Senate GOP Ethics Proposal (YNN) Former Gov. David Paterson said today that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has successfully neutralized the innate media advantages Mayor Bill de Blasio enjoys in the governor-mayor tug-of-war. Speaking to host Joe Piscopo on AM 970 The Answer, Mr. Paterson said that the mayor of New York City usually enjoys far greater press coverage and a closer relationship with the public than the governor, and commands the support of a huge part of the state’s population “The mayor is holding all the cards. The central media outlets are all in New York City, the governor is sitting in Albany,” said Mr. Paterson, now the chairman of the New York State Democratic Party. “Everyone sees the mayor almost every day. The mayor is far more accessible than the president. If you want to see the mayor, go down to City Hall and hang around, you’ll see the mayor. You can shake the mayor’s hand.”

Closed Hospitals, Brooklyn 911 Phone System Are Reasons Not Given for A 10% Increase In Ambulance Response Time
NYC sees increase in cardiac emergencies as ambulance response time rises (NYP) Ambulances responded to 8,804 cardiac arrests in the first four months of the fiscal year — a 10 percent increase from the same period a year ago — and it took longer to get to those needing help, according to figures released Tuesday. Every second is critical in cardiac cases — a detail made more worrisome because the longer response times came as the number of cardiac calls jumped sharply from 8,026 a year earlier. The numbers explain why Mayor de Blasio is adding 32 ambulances to the city fleet in his upcoming budget. The Transportation Department reported it took an average 6.7 days to close a pothole work order, up from 4.3 days, because of an “exceptionally harsh winter” that left so many of the craters.There was better news at the NYPD, which dispatched patrol cars to crimes in progress in an average of 8.4 minutes, down from 9.3 minutes the previous year. * * New York City lawmakers said the de Blasio administration is not doing enough to overhaul the 911 system during a tense City Council hearing, the Daily News reports:  * NYC Council members criticized the de Blasio administration’s continued push of a plan to overhaul the 911 emergency response system, despite the project being years behind schedule and more than $2 billion over budget.NYC Council Criticizes Long-Awaited, $2 Billion 911 System (WSJ) New York City council members sharply criticized Wednesday the remaking of the city's 911 system, a $2 billion-plus, more-than-decade-long project that remains incomplete.* NYPD Deputy Commish John Miller: Why ISIS' appeal is sostrong (NYDN)
Closed Hospitals
Lobbyists are at the heart of the 911 Emergency Systems Failure 

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

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

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

de Blasio Campaign 2017: I Do Anything For the Religious Jewish Vote
De Blasio Set to Waive Rule Requiring Consent Form for Circumcision Ritual (NYT) New York City could ease a requirement on a Jewish ritual that has been linked to herpes infections in infant * NYC repealing Jewish circumcision law requiring consent (NYP) de Blasio’s administration seeks to waive a rule requiring parents to sign a consent form before an Orthodox circumcision ritual that has been linked to herpes in infants * The de Blasio administration, under pressure from ultra-Orthodox rabbis, is set to easeNew York City’s regulations on a controversial Orthodox Jewish oral circumcision ritual that has been linked to herpes infections in infants.* De Blasio circumcision deal puts health officials in a tough spot (Capital)

Silver Plays Bharara's Victim in Court
Silver in federal court. . . Attorneys filed motions to dismiss charges entered not guilty 

Casino industry: deep relationships, potential conflicts (Pressconnects) The selected casino bidders — Lago, Montreign and Rivers Casino — had prior business dealings with the firm that provided gambling-advisory services to the Gaming Facility Location Board. When a Chicago law firm ended its 11/2-year relationship with a partner in the Lago Resort & Casino project last March, it had another big client waiting in the wings. That month, the firm, which specializes in representing the gambling industry and also advising governments on gaming legislation and regulation, signed on with the New York Gaming Facility Location Board. Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP, which merged with law firm Shefsky & Froelich last year, became the state board's lead gambling consultant under a one-year, $4.9-million contract.

In December, the board recommended Lago, in Seneca County, for a commercial casino license. Montreign Resort Casino and Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor also got recommendations. Key officials involved in all three projects had previously used the Taft firm in their businesses.* Sheldon Silver’s Lawyers Criticize U.S. Attorney (NYT) Lawyers for the former New York State Assembly speaker accused the prosecutor Preet Bharara of a “media firestorm” undercutting the presumption of innocence. * Sheldon Silver nearly takes a tumble after court appearance (NYP)* The former speaker’s legal team moved for a mistrial based on “improper extrajudicial statements” by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office is prosecuting the case.


SI Race for Congress
* The Staten Island Democratic Party nominated Brooklyn Councilman Vincent Gentile to run against Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan in the congressional seat vacated by Michael Grimm, the Observerreports: 

Daniel Donovan, Garner Case Prosecutor, Defends Record as He Runs for Congress(NYT)
Mr. Donovan is the unofficial favorite to replace Representative Michael G. Grimm this spring, despite criticism of his handling of the inquiry into the chokehold death of Eric Garner on Staten IslandRepublican congressional candidate and Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan defended his approach to the Eric Garner case and expressed frustration over it impacting his reputation. He did not conceal his frustration that his reputation has been transformed because of a racially divisive legal battle.”Legal Aid Society suing for access to info of Eric Garner cop (NYP) * * Relatives of people killed by police wrote a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo urging him to use an executive order to assign a special prosecutor to all cases of police killings moving forward, the Daily Newsreports * Eric Garner ProsecutorWould ‘Explore’ Deporting Undocumented Immigrants (NYO)

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

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

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

The Philpotts Machine Elects New Assemblywoman 

According to thebylaws of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, the party’s choice will be made by a little-known committee of party members who live within the Assembly district. The committee, which in theory could have hundreds of members, currently has only 10 — all placed there by Guillermo Philpotts, a gadfly candidate who runs for office every few years, mounting failed bids for state Senate in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2014. (In some of his bids, Philpotts was bounced off the ballot; in others, he never showed up at candidate debates.) Sources tell me that Philpotts plans to hurriedly add new members to his handpicked committee, then deliver the Democratic nomination to Shirley Patterson, the area’s female district leader. Insiders say the deal has been blessed by state Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D-Brooklyn) and Borough President Eric Adams. Here again, voters might well have gone in a different direction. Democratic District leader Geoffrey Davis, longtime consultant Musa Moore and nonprofit manager Diana Richardson have all been gearing up for a primary election that will never happen.

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

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

Is the U.S. Attorney Destroying the Campaign Pledge of Transparency? 

"The most transparent administration ever": Cuomoadministration begins large-scale email purges (Capital)* Erasing e-mails proves Cuomo’s vow of transparency is a sham(NYP Ed)  If you can’t trust Uncle Andrew, who can you trust? Never mind that US Attorney Preet Bharara — fresh from taking down Sheldon Silver — seems to be breathing right down the gubernatorial neck. “Stay tuned,” the prosecutor warned — with both eyes fixed firmly on Andrew. Never mind that Cuomo’s former chief of staff, Larry Schwartz, who left as the noose was tightening around Silver’s neck, now can’t find a job — reportedly because of Bharara’s continuing probe. Never mind that state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman just opened an inquiry into Cuomo’s casino-siting commission. What’s important is that Cuomo’s cyber scrubbers soon will have vaporized all e-mail generated by state government that’s more than three months old — eradicating evidence of, well, who knows what. * What is it about the casino-siting procedure that has excited Schneiderman’s interest? He’s as political as Cuomo, to be sure, but this is now a matter of personal trust for the governor. 

* Why did Cuomo really decide so abruptly to terminate his self-initiated Moreland Act commission probe of ethical misfeasance? Is there an e-mail trail, as of yet unbeknownst to Bharara, that embarrasses the executive chamber? (Lookin’ at you, Larry Schwartz!)* CUOMO I.T. CHIEFGRILLED OVER EMAIL PURGE—Maggie Miller, the state's chief information officer, faced a fusilade of questions from lawmakers at a budget hearing Thursday afternoon that raised concerns about the Cuomo administration policy to automatically delete emails of state workers that are more than 90 days old. “The concerns that have been raised publicly are the accountability and the transparency of New York state government. Could you please comment on that?” asked Senator Patrick Gallivan, a Republican from western New York.

Murdoch's Post Destroys Cuomo Moves On to Planet Hillary 
Before Book Deal, Andrew Cuomo Backed Bills That Helped NewsCorporation (International Business Times)  "We must prove once again that state government can be trusted, and that means passing tough new ethics laws and creating a system that deters, detects and punishes individuals who seek to abuse and corrupt," he said last week in a statement announcing ethics reform legislation. "We must bring sunlight to ethical shadows. New Yorkers deserve nothing less." But the Democratic governor's strong words don’t quite square with his own personal appetite for cash earned outside the confines of his state work. Cuomo has so far raked in more than $188,000 from HarperCollins, a News Corporation subsidiary. That is part of a book deal that could ultimately net him more than $700,000. With Albany’s transactional politics now the subject of a federal probe, the context of that April 2013 book deal is particularly significant: An International Business Times review of New York state documents reveals that News Corporation gave Cuomo a book contract after Cuomo’s administration backed a series of state initiatives that benefited the media giant. One of the initiatives was a bill that created a special sales tax break for online-only publications that charge for subscriptions. News Corporation, which was one of the two companies that lobbied for the bill, was at the time investing tens of millions of dollars in such a publication. Another initiative was a special tax exemption that Cuomo’s administration created for electronic books, which are sold by, among others, HarperCollins. State records list News Corporation as lobbying Cuomo’s tax department in the months before the exemption was announced. And, while News Corporation lobbied the governor’s office in 2012, Cuomo championed an expansion of controversial film and television tax credits that have benefited News Corporation’s films, and that News Corporation had lobbied for in the past* A day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended a book deal that’s paying him at least $700,000, the state Republican Party is calling on him to release the contract, GannettAlbany reports: 

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

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

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

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

NYCHA Corrupt Contract Fire Sale 

The New York City Housing Authority has begun selling off hundreds of thousands of dollars of new, unused items for far less than the agency paid for them, while city Comptroller Scott Stringer has begun to probe the purchases, the Daily News reports: * The Daily News writes that the New York City HousingAuthority must stop the “unconscionable” waste of taxpayers’ property by quietly selling $18.1 million worth of inventory in “black-hole storerooms”* * New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer issued subpoenas seeking details on the New York City Housing Authority’s sale of unused supplies, and a councilman scheduled oversight hearings, the Daily News reports: * NYCHA will be forced to give answers on their supply sale - NY Daily News * New York City Housing Authority Chairwoman Shola Olatoye called agency spending prior to her tenure “reckless” and said NYCHA is taking a more prudent approach and using a centralized office to track purchases, the Daily News reports:

de Blasio's NYCHA Plan: The Beginning of the End of Public Housing 

Monday Daily News Supports the Public Housing Sell Off
The Daily News writes that New York City politicians are sending a “donot enter” message to private investors who may potentially aid public housing by publicly tarring a much-needed deal:
All Bloomberg Wanted to Do Was Sell Their Parking Lots to Support Public Housing
De Blasio NYCHA Head Suggests Private Partnerships Are theFuture * NYCHA defended a deal to sell off half of six projects to private developers as the only way to bring in additional revenue for the troubled housing agency and improve conditions for residents, the Daily Newsreports:  * New York City Housing Authority Chairwoman and CEO Shola Olatoye said partnerships between the housing authority and private real estate groups may be the future for the cash-strapped agency, the Observer reports . The deal was made behind the back of de Blasio puppet city council.

The 18 Billion NYCHA Debt, GOP Congress Makes the Campaign Promise to Fix Public Housing BS 

You Get No Help From Washington When Their is A Congress Controlled By the GOP And Your One Party City With A Mayor on the Left
While U.S. law forbids mortgaging public housing, a spending deal in Congress may expand a small program that lets housing authorities team up with developers for a turnaround.  Ocean Bay Houses in the Rockaways would get a $78 million overhaul under the spending bill. That’d be a start, but would still leave about 176,000 NYCHA apartments rotting. The rehabbed units are, in effect, market rate units. Section 8 pays the developer the difference between 1/3 of the income of the tenant and market rate. If Section 8 money is not available, the developer has the right to empty the apartments and charge what the market will bear. (Just as in private section 8 voucher deals.)."* NO HELP FOR BILL: Republican-run Congress won't be friendly to Mayor de Blasio's goals for New York, insiders say(NYDN)

NYCHA Up Elevator $$$    
Elevator repair costs for NYC skyrocket after court settlement (NYP) The fattest paycheck in city government last year went to Richard Licht, a New York City Housing Authority elevator-mechanic supervisor. With added back pay, Licht took home $346,427, according to records compiled by the Empire Center for Public Policy. That includes $145,963 for 1,095 hours of overtime. A NYCHA elevator mechanic and a supervisor with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which services elevators in city buildings, made over $300,000 each. And 80 other NYCHA elevator mechanics and supervisors got $200,000 to $300,000. A whopping $77 million was spent last fiscal year on city elevator staff, who got raises up to 35 percent and six years of back pay.  “I keep calling, calling, calling until they get tired of hearing from me and finally come out,” says William Mitchell, a resident of Baruch Houses. NYCHA has stepped up its repairs since a 2012 court settlement, which mandates that it fix 90 percent of elevators within 24 hours after they are reported out of service.* Shafted! New York City’s worst elevators(NYP)

More About NYCHA 

Lobbyists Behind Developers Named By de Blasio in Public Housing Sell-Off Are On the Mayor's Staff

Do the Residents in Public Housing Have Human Rights?  Mercury Greenspun Part of the City's Shadow Government Was Appointed By de Blasio  to the Human Rights Commission

Greensun's Mercury Public Affairs, LLC Work for BFC Parnters A Company Name to Take Over Public Housing Apartments

Campaign 2017: de Blasio Pull GOP Lobbyists Who Opposed Him in 2013 to His Team (Pulling A Cuomo)
As a managing director at Mercury, Mr. Greenspun lobbied New York City government on behalf of the technology company, Intergraph Corporation, which was a contractor on the city's troubled Emergency Communications Transformation Program, or ECTP, outsourcing technology contract to upgrade the city's unwieldy 911 emergency call system.  The primary contractor on the ECTP contract, Hewlett-Packard, initially resisted efforts to work with Intergraph on a solution to the New York Police Department's upgrade of its Computer Aided Dispatch system, according to a draft 2007 memorandum between Bloomberg administration officials.  The ECTP project has been faulted by government reform advocates for having ballooned by about $1 billion over budget, for falling several years behind schedule, and for still failing to properly work.  The troubled ECTP project has led to several deaths, raising questions of possible criminal negligence by ECTP consultants.Mayor de Blasio named a chair for the city’s Commission on Human Rights and eight new commissioners to the agency’s board Friday – including a deep-pocketed lobbyist who donated heavily to the mayor in 2013.  Newly appointed Jonathan Greenspun, a Mercury Public Affairs Managing Director and registered lobbyist, bundled $4,075 for de Blasio’s 2013 City Hall campaign, and donated another $23,000 towards his transition, according to campaign finance records. Another lobbyists for BFC The Carey Group LLC

Media Never Names the Lobbyist Who Made Money on the Broken 911 System . . .  Will the Investigators?
What role did 911 lobbyists play in giving Verzon gifts to NYPD Assistant Chief Charles (Chuck) Dowd?  The Death of Ariel Russo Did Not Even Stop the Corruption and Incompetence of the 911 System
Daily News the What Happen But Not the How and Why
Daily News Today Says 911 System Failed Ariel Russo But Do Not Name the Lobbyist for the Contractors or the reasons for NYPD's communication director Dowd being forced out and his aides jumping ship. Former Comptroller Liu said HP overbilled the city for $163 million and didn't properly deliver for years.   In 2012 Liu callled for a review of the HP contract by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. “because of the possibility of fraud in the solicitation and billing process.” Liu’s audit said that Hewlett Packard shouldn’t have been hired for the 911 work because it failed to meet the city’s technical requirements. Among the lobbyists to get paid by the city’s broken 911 system contractors wLiu also claimed that the city and HP hired unqualified project consultants and overbilled the city by another $50 George Arzt, Mercury Public Affairs, LLC, Jennifer Carlson, Peter Barden, Jonathan Greenspun, Michael McKeon, Kasirer Consulting LLC. More on Corrupt Lobbyists

de Blasio's Deputy Mayor Has Ties to L+M Development Partners Inc the Other Company Picked to Take Over Public Housing Apartments
Mr. de Blasio is still an enigma to some in the business community, even those who have worked with him over the years. Lisa Gomez, an executive at L+M Development Partners, raised more than $13,000 for Mr. de Blasio based on his commitment to build more affordable housing, a focus of her firm. Two Mayor de Blasioappointees tasked with affordable housing have ties to developers (NYDN)  Alicia Glen, the new deputy mayor for housing and economic development, and Vicki Been, head of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, both have ties to an organization funded by major developer Ron Moelis. The housing deals Glen worked on at Goldman Sachs may also come before her for approval in City Hall. At the time of her selection by de Blasio, Glen also sat on the board of the Moelis Institute for Affordable Housing Policy, an organization founded by a major developer of affordable housing — Ron Moelis of L+M Development Partners Inc.

Corrupt lobbyist: Arzt, Mercury, Advance Group, BerlinRosen, Parkside, Schlein. Kasirer, Bolton-St. Johns, D'Amato, Sheinkopf

Census Bureau Stats Prove Affordable Housing Not Happening  
As the de Blasio administration focuses on affordable housing, Census Bureau stats show city rents rose faster than inflation and lower-income tenants felt a housing squeeze, the Times reports: 

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

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

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

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

Back to the Future: State's Gambling Bid Investigated Again 
AG Investigating New State Gambling Bidding Process, Conflict of Interests Again
New York Attorney General Is Said to Review Casino BiddingProcess (NYT)  The state attorney general’s office has opened a preliminary inquiry into the process by which three projects were recently recommended for new casino licenses, according to two former bidders who were later contacted by investigators.  Jeffrey M. Gural, whose bid to build a full-scale casino at his racetrack casino in Nichols, N.Y., was rejected in December, said he met with a representative of Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s office last week. Gural said he did express concern to the investigator about a potential conflict of interest between a winning bidder and a casino consulting firm used by the board that recommended new licenses to the State Gaming Commission.

James Featherstonhaugh, a lobbyist from the Albany area who was involved with two other losing bids, also confirmed on Monday that state investigators had contacted members of his projects in recent weeks about the selection process.* AG Schneiderman investigating Cuomo over casino selections (NYDN) State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has opened a new front in his feud with Gov. Cuomo — the awarding of casino licenses. In December, state gaming officials awarded casino licenses to bidders from the Catskills, Schenectady and the Finger Lakes region. The Finger Lakes award infuriated Gural and officials in the Southern Tier, who argued their region was more in need of an economic boost.

2010 AEG Bidding Process Rigged 
The feds are grilling state Senate Democratic insiders as part of an explosive probe into an alleged Aqueduct casino bid-rigging scandal
Senate bigs targeted in racino bid-rig probe(NYP) Investigators are asking questions about the roles of then-Senate Democratic leaders John Sampson and Malcolm Smith and others who were accused of helping the Aqueduct Entertainment Group (AEG) land a multibillion-dollar casino contract three years ago, sources said.  It’s the second federal probe targeting Sampson. The Post last week reported that the former Senate minority leader is linked to a broader federal investigation into Queens Rep. Gregory Meeks and a convicted real estate developer, Edul Ahmad.* Pay to Play Albany Slots Capping a flawed selection process, Gov. Paterson yesterday picked a business consortium tied to friend and former Democratic Rep. Floyd Flake to build a slot-machine casino at the Aqueduct Racecourse in Queens.Playing faves Gov pulls 'win' lever for friend * Sheldon Silver on hot seat over racino bid as e-mails track money to political committee(NYP)

Lobbyists Sheinkopf Took the 5th in the AEG Investigation 
Sheinkopf took the 5th when asked questions by the NY former state Inspector General Joseph Fisch about the AEG scandal which is still being investigated by the feds as part of the AEG investigation.  The Feds are also investigating a Board Of Election (the cesspool of political corruption) contract for new machines that Sheinkopf was a lobbyist for.

Poll shows strong doubts about Cuomo & co.'s ability to fight corruption 

92% of New Yorkers see state government corruption as amajor problem: poll (NYDN)A Siena poll found that 51 percent of voters say Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed ethics reforms would reduce corruption, which 92 percent say is a serious problem, but 53 percent say an on-time budget is more important: * Poll: Part-time NY lawmakers should disclose more aboutprivate income or stop moonlighting (NYDN) * As New Yorklawmakers debate ethics law changes, they still have the laxest campaignfinance limits in the country (Capital)

Garner's Daughter Caught On Conservative Hidden Tape

Eric Garner’s daughter on Al Sharpton: ‘He’s all about the money’(NYP) Al Sharpton is all about the Benjamins, a daughter of police chokehold victim Eric Garner claims in a bombshell videotape. Erica Snipes tees off on the reverend as interested primarily in money during a secretly recorded conversation by controversial conservative activist James O’Keefe’s group, Project Veritas. One of O’Keefe’s investigators poses as a Garner supporter with a hidden camera during a protest last month at the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island“You think Al Sharpton is kind of like a crook in a sense?” the investigator is heard asking Garner’s oldest daughter. “He’s about this,” Snipes replies, rubbing her fingers together. “He’s about money with you?” the undercover asks. “Yeah,” Snipes responds. Eric Garner’s daughter Erica SnipesPhoto: Gabriella Bass Snipes, 24, also complained that the Staten Island director of Sharpton’s National Action Network, Cynthia Davis, scolded her for handing out street fliers about her father’s case that did not include NAN’s logo.* Al Sharpton, #Comcast sued forracial discrimination #AlSharpton * The Rev. Al Sharpton is firing back at a report questioning his motives for his involvement in the Garner case. * The Legal Aid Society has filed suit to force the CCRB to turn over information it might have about Daniel Pantaleo, the officer whose takedown of Garner led to his death on Staten Island last year.
The Secret World of Sharpton

Uber No Subway Surcharge Yet 
 The Greater New York Taxi Association, which represents yellow taxis, will change its name and work with green cabs and black cars in a new coalition to confront industry changes like e-hail app Uber, the Post reports:  * Although they pay sales taxes, passengers who use car-for-hire services like Uber should join yellow cab riders in financing mass transit by paying the 50-cent-per-ride surcharge for the MTA, the Daily News writes: *  What Uber owes subways (NYDN Ed) Taxi passengers contribute almost $90 million annually to the MTA. Imposing the 50-cent surcharge could double that sum, helping the agency fund its deficit-ridden construction program. Uber has 13,408 vehicles on the streets, only 121 shy of the total number of yellow taxis. The company is adding cars so fast that it will surpass the yellow fleet a day or two from now. To use it, you summon drivers, who operate as independent businesses, via a smartphone app and pay through a credit-card account.


Elected Officials Ignore MTA Debt Train Wreck  
NYT Waits Until After the Election to Say That Cuomo Will Take the Blame of the MTA Funding Crisis

Thomas F. Prendergast said major construction plans and renovations for the system could be in jeopardy if a $15 billion hole is not addressed.
A Bumpy Ride for the M.T.A. (NYT Ed) New York City’s transit authority is facing real financial trouble. If its network deteriorates, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will most likely be to blame. The MTA simply “has a funding crisis,” he says. And it is a crisis that is not getting enough attention from Congress or — less understandably — from New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo. Every five years, the M.T.A. puts forth a plan for spending on such major items as tracks, signals, buses and subway cars. The latest budget, in October, called for an estimated $32 billion in capital outlays from 2015 to 2019. The M.T.A. said that it could find $17 billion on its own — including over $6 billion expected from the federal government, bonds, taxes and fares — but that it needed help for the remaining $15 billion. The state and city would seem obvious sources for much of this support. Mr. Cuomo, however, rejected the M.T.A. plan as “bloated” soon after it was submitted, even as some mass transit advocates regarded it as barely adequate. The governor’s latest budget gives the M.T.A. about $1.15 billion for these big projects over five years. 

NYT says Cuomo should “help create a five-year capital plan that gives the M.T.A. some confidence about how to expand and maintain itself while he also finds the matching funds that upstate legislators will inevitably demand for bridges and roads in their constituencies.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio has offered only $40 million a year as the city’s contribution, far lower than the usual $100 million. These responses seem miserly when measured against the needs of a system that is already stuffed with passengers and expects at least one million more in the next 10 years. The requirements go beyond new cars; the M.T.A. proposes to replace more than 80 miles of track and a subway signaling system that is more than a half-century old and needs a $3 billion upgrade. In the end, it is Mr. Cuomo who will have the most to say about whether this vital network thrives or deteriorates. * STAND CLEAR OF THE TRASH! Subway stations looking dirtier than ever after MTA removes garbage cans in pilot program(NYDN) * New data revealed subway riders are being squashed together on increasingly crowded trains and a lack of basic manners getting in and out of cars is contributing to a spike in delays, the Post writes: * There's been a 113 percent increase in delays caused byovercrowding on city subways(NYP)

Cuomo and de Blasio must provide more fiscal support for the struggling MTA because without a strong five-year capital plan, the MTA will have to fall back on fare increases
He should help create a five-year capital plan that gives the M.T.A. some confidence about how to expand and maintain itself while he also finds the matching funds that upstate legislators will inevitably demand for bridges and roads in their constituencies. A short-term fix of a year or two is little more than a Band-Aid. Former Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch, who helped rescue the system decades ago, has been telling transit officials for years that the state needs to increase the state gas tax to help provide a reliable stream of financing for mass transportation. A citizen coalition known as Move NY has recommended tolls on vehicles crossing four East River bridges that are now free and on drivers traveling across 60th Street in Manhattan — a form of congestion pricing. But that’s a longer-range approach. Without a strong five-year capital plan, the M.T.A. will have to fall back on fare increases. And those increases would have Mr. Cuomo’s name on them.

Group Appears, Not Elected Officials to Close MTA 34 Billion Debt 

Cuomo doubts viability of congestion pricing: Last time, he says, "it went nowhere," and nothing has "changed that political dynamic."

Push made to add toll that charges drivers on East River bridges and cuts congestion (NYDN) Advocates are launching a public relations push Tuesday to support the ‘Move NY’ plan, which would put $8 tolls — or $5.54 with E-ZPass — on the four East River bridges, and charge drivers the same amount to cross 60th St. in Manhattan. The plan aims to reduce congestion and raise cash for mass transit. NYTimes: Group Seeks New Tolls in Manhattan to Pay for Region’s Transportation Needs * Daily News: Push made to add toll that charges drivers on East River bridges and cuts congestion * A group of transit advocates will release a proposal today to overhaul New York City’s bridge toll system and to raise money for the region’s transportation needs. The proposal calls for for new tolls on four East River bridges in Manhattan and lowering the costs of several crossings in the other boroughs. It would also create a toll for vehicles crossing 60th Street in Manhattan so that all drivers would have to pay to enter the core of the city.  * A transit advocacy group unveiled a proposal for tolls on four East River bridges and to travel south of 60th Street in Manhattan, but reduces tolls on bridges where they are already collected, The New York Times reports:     * In the latest bid for congestion pricing, a transit advocacy group unveiled a proposal to remake the way tolls are set across NYC. Now comes the hard part — persuading lawmakers and drivers to embrace an idea that was defeated in Albany nearly seven years ago.* Cuomo said he understands the practicality of a congestion pricing plan that would alter tolls in New York City, but he doesn’t think the political dynamic that doomed it in 2012 has changed, Capital New York reports

Daily News Keeps Coming Up With Scams to Push Their Readers Out of the City 
As the Middle Class and Mom and Pop Stores Close Throughout NYC the Daily News Wants to Put Tolls on the East River Bridges
Editorial: How to cut some tolls (NYDN Ed) Time to cross that bridge, New York. Time to toll the four long-free East River crossings. In its place rises a soundly considered scheme, known as Move NY, to bring sanity to New York City’s cockamamie bridge and tunnel cash-collections — and raise billions in desperately needed road, bus and subway funding. Kick the tires, Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders, and then rise to the challenge of keeping this ever-more-clogged and crumbling city moving.* Gov. Cuomo does not think there is enough support for a congestion pricing plan with the public.* Slap ’em with summonses: The right way to enforce theVision Zero failure-to-yield law against bus drivers and others (NYDN) The far more effective and fairer way to change driver behavior would be for the NYPD to ramp up failure-to-yield summonses before anyone has been hit. Cops now issue an average of roughly 50 a day. Five hundred, with a concentrated public education campaign, might do the trick.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Litwin Lobbyists
Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin Llc $150,000
Carl Andrews & Associates, Inc. $ 144,000
Empire Strategic Planning, Inc. $ 144,000
Meara, Brian R. Public Relations, Inc. $120,000
Lieberman, Mark L. $90,000
Sanzillo, Francis J. & Associates $90,000
Runes, Richard $60,000
Park Strategies $20,000
Judge Rules Airbnb Limits Supply of Rent Stabilized Apts and Drives Up the Rent
Airbnb plainly needs to change some of its practices, but the rent stabilization laws that limit supply and drive up prices also have to change, the Post writes: * A Manhattan Housing Court judge ruled that rent-stabilized tenants cannot benefit profit from their situation by renting their homes to tourists at higher prices on websites like Airbnb, the Post reports: * #Airbnb makes millions by putting NYers at risk of eviction. Apparently"sharing" is not caring. (NYP) * Landlords planning more evictions after Airbnb ruling(NYP) The Manhattan attorney who won a watershed case evicting a tenant who cashed in on his rent-stabilized pad by treating it like a hotel has received a flood of queries from landlords who want to boot other profiteers.* Judge: Residents of Rent-Stabilized Homes Can't Put Place Up for Rent on Websites Like Airbnb(NY1)* @Airbnb foes, Related delight in first site-related eviction viaCity council backs tenants, plans new law to sue landlords for using Airbnb(NYP)
Two City Council members want to arm tenants with a new law that would let them sue their landlords for using Airbnb to rent out neighboring apartments as illegal hotel...

Airbnb Should Be Forced to House the Homeless in Cold Weather 
Code Blue” program aims to bring the homeless inside when temperatures fall helps, but the city’s outreach workers should require people to go to a shelter or hospital for their safety. New York’s cold shoulder: When the weather isbrutally cold, we must save homeless people from themselves (NYDN Ed) Nobody should freeze on the streets* A building gets sold by $100.5 million. Gets 95% tax cut.Take action #SubsidizeMyPenthouse * 'We gotta move him because we gotta work': Homeless man forced to move from sidewalk spot by construction workers (NYDN)

Let Them Freeze: Homeless Almost Dies In Front of $100 Million Tax Subsidized Apt  
Bitter divide:Homeless man miraculously survives brutal cold snap just 500 feet away from New York’s first $100Mapartment (NYDN) Many homeless New Yorkers opted to take their chances outside as temperatures dropped to single digits over the weekend. Some were only feet away from penthouses worth millions. The palatial palaces are a far cry from the makeshift campsites and city shelters where thousands of homeless New Yorkers braved the cold.
Update Hours After the Daily News Hit New Stands Homeless Man On Their Front Page Kicked Out of His 18 Month Spot At Construction Site Deuce the homelessman being booted from makeshift Manhattanconstruction site shelter (NYDN)  The 50-year-old man known as Deuce was told to be gone by 7 a.m. Wednesday after 18 months at the site with his five blankets, two jackets, gloves and a makeshift cloth face mask. A construction worker at the 1409 Sixth Ave. building apologetically delivered the bad news Tuesday to Deuce after a night of steady snow and temperatures in the teens.

NYP Over the Weekend: NYPD Training Light . . . Game Changer Not
Monday Update:  Hide and Seek Angry Man Training

De Blasio has reached a deal with the Sergeants Benevolent Association, leaving just one NYPD union without a contract and finding “common ground” with a union whose leader had been one of the most strident critics of City Hall’s policing policies.* Police reform activists slammed a push by the NYC Council and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to add 1,000 new cops to the NYPD. *Cops instructed to ‘close eyes’ during  * In a free-speech case that could bolster whistle-blowers, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of a New York City police officer who said his commanders retaliated against him after he complained to them about what he believed to be a quota system that resulted in unjustified stops and arrests.* Sergeants head and de Blasio make nice after new wage pact (NYP) * tense situations (NYP) Cops should “take a deep breath’’ — and close their eyes — when dealing with angry people, according to the NYPD’s new “retraining’’ program. The potentially dangerous advice is part of a $35 million “smart policing’’ primer by Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton that most of the cops who have gone through it say is completely useless.“That’s pretty funny — that I would close my eyes in a tense situation.” * NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton delivered a broad commentary on the country’s troubled history of race relations and the role of the police in fostering old divisions that still sow distrust in minority communities. “Many of the worst parts of black history would have been impossible without police,” he said.

Another cop called the lectures “smoke and mirrors” to appease the public. “They want you to stop and think about everything before you do anything, but a lot of times cops have to make a split-second decision, and they don’t have the luxury of stopping and thinking,” the cop said. De Blasio has promised that his retraining program “will have an impact on millions of people, because every interaction that every officer has with their fellow New Yorkers after they are trained again will be different.” 

NYPD using ‘Road House’ movie to teach cops how to ‘be nice’(NYP) Police bosses are using a scene from the 1989 action flick “Road House” as part of the mandatory, three-day retraining course for 22,000 cops, The Post has learned. “You have to have a thick skin,” an instructor told cops forced to take part in the $35 million program before hitting play on the two-minute clip from the cult classic, sources said. In the scene, Swayze — playing the tough guy bouncer, Dalton — teaches his goons at the rowdy bar Double Deuce how to handle unruly customers. First, he spells out three rules, with the third being simply “Be nice.” “If somebody gets in your face and calls you a c–ksucker, I want you to be nice. Ask him to walk. Be nice. If he won’t walk, walk him. But be nice. If you can’t walk him, one of the others will help you, and you’ll both be nice,” he says. “I want you to remember that it’s a job. It’s nothing personal.” The potentially dangerous advice is part of a $35 million ‘smart policing’ primer by Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton that most of the cops who have gone through it say is completely useless. One cop who sat through two full-day programs called them ‘not realistic’ and “pretty silly.’ At one point during the lectures, the cop said, those in attendance were given breathing exercises to learn how to calm down — even when facing someone who could pose a threat to their safety.” 

 In New York, Indictment of an Officer Divides Chinese-Americans (NYT)  The filing of manslaughter charges against Officer Peter Liang in the shooting death of an unarmed black man has pulled Chinese-Americans into a politically charged debate. The manslaughter charges against Peter Liang, the Chinese-American NYPD officer whose ricocheting bullet killed an unarmed black man, Akai Gurley, in a housing project stairwell in November, have divided the Chinese-American community in New York and beyond. Terrorism NYPD steps up patrols in response to new terrorist threats | New York's PIX11

Cops say training after Eric Garner‘s death is a ‘waste of time’ (NYP) About 80 percent of cops retrained after Eric Garner’s death called the three-day Police Academy program a “waste of time,” and many fell asleep in their seats, says a high-ranking NYPD official. A day after The Post revealed that a goofball department bigwig wanted to arm officers with breath mints as part of sweeping reforms, a disgusted member of the brass revealed that much more is wrong with the program. The veteran boss said that the $35 million “smart policing” primer is a flop, and that eight out of every 10 cops give it negative reviews when they finish the training. “Officers thought they were going to get some real hands-on, quality training on how to deal with a hostile prisoner or arrestee,” the source said. “They didn’t get that.” Instead, most of the training involved eight-hour lectures — with some cops dozing off, he said.“It’s three days, it’s boring and there’s no real tactics,” he said. “They’re not putting them in scenarios. Cops felt they would get more tactical training in light of the Eric Garner case.” 
On the first day, officers participate in “Blue Courage,” a cultural-sensitivity workshop created by a consulting group and used by other police departments. “Blue Courage is a way of being, a philosophy that inspires one to embody the noblest of character and unquestioned devotion,” the company’s Web site says. “It is to flourish in all aspects of life, to act with practical wisdom, to exude vitality and to hearten human connections.” The insider said: “It’s more of a self-reflection kind of course — reflecting on how they can improve as police officers.” On the second day, officers get lectures on “the legitimacy of policing — why police officers do what they do,” he said. In the final session, held in the gym, officers are taught the “high-low takedown,” in which two cops apprehend a suspect, one from behind at the legs, the other from the front at the torso. “There’s not enough tactical, hands-on training. This should be 100 percent hands-on training, not sitting in a classroom eating breath mints because it’s going to make you curse less.”

Deputy Commissioner Breath Mints Out   

NYPD’s idea of reform included breath mints and baby oil (NYP) Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered sweeping reforms for the NYPD after the Eric Garner death — but his demands were handled by a goofball police bigwig whose ideas included arming cops with breath mints and spraying protesters with baby oil, sources revealed Thursday. Michael Julian, who was appointed deputy commissioner of training in November, lasted just two months on the job before his ridiculed proposals got him transferred out, the sources said. “He would come up with these wacky ideas. We would roll our eyes and move on,” a police source said. The last straw came in late January — less than a week before Julian was reassigned — when a box of 10,000 individually wrapped breath mints arrived at headquarters. Julian explained to skeptical cops that officers should pop mints in their mouth when they feel the need to curse, police sources said.* Cop denied time off because of quotas (NYP)* Failed NYPD reform chief once sued the city over small desks(NYP) * Friends, Family Mark Three Months Since Akai Gurley Shooting Death (NY1)* Bratton: Retraining program a ‘work in progress’(NYP)

Silver's Assembly Gang As Loyal As Any Mob Gang in Silence, Even During Sexual Abuse 
Silver’s taintedpast comes to light after arrest (News10) Silver has been accused of covering up sexual harassment scandals of fellow lawmakers, and rape allegations against his chief of staff have topped headlines over the last two decades. Silver has been coined one of the ‘Three Amigos.’ He’s known to be a major player when it comes to passing state laws, and his authority commanded respect at the Capitol. In 2001, Elizabeth Crothers accused Silver’s then-Chief of Staff Michael Boxley of rape. She was a staffer for a republican assemblyman. According to reports, when she met with Silver to discuss the alleged rape, she said Silver was “callously” eating as she told her story. Silver initially backed Boxley who denied the claim. * Assembly Spends More For Sexual Harassment Investigations(NYP)

An internal assembly investigation was inconclusive, and Crothers never filed a criminal complaint. In 2003, Boxley was accused of raping another female assembly staffer. Boxley eventually resigned and pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct. Silver was later tied into several sexual harassment cases involving then-Assemblyman Vito Lopez. In 2013, a state ethics report found Silver failed to investigate the allegations. He later apologized for his role in the Lopez scandal. It was later found, Silver had arranged for a secret $103,000 settlement with two of Lopez’s accusers, and that money was found to have come from taxpayers. According to assembly rules, he was supposed to immediately refer the matter to the ethics committee. Silver has held the one of the highest powers in the state for 20 years out of his 39 years in office. Many believe he will fight the charges for the rest of his life and not willingly give up his role as Speaker of the Assembly.

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

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

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

U.S. Attorney Pushing Reforms In Albany Someone Should Tell the Daily News and NYP 
The Daily News Credit Cuomo With Taking A Stand and Do Not Include the U.S. Attorney Investigations of Albany, Convictions of Elected Officials or the Speakers Arrest
Gov. Cuomo takes a smart stand on ethics andeducation (NYDN Ed) With a muscular exercise of executive power, Gov. Cuomo has forced a showdown with the Legislature that promises to make the first year of his second term among the most consequential of his administration.  On Friday, Cuomo inserted key proposals on ethics and schools into the spending bills necessary to run agencies and fund programs.* Cuomo Targets Legislators’ Per Diems (WSJ) Cuomo, a Democrat, proposed replacing legislative per diems with a more conventional reimbursement practice and making such reimbursement dependent on disclosure of lawmakers’ outside income. The proposals were among the amendments to the executive budget Mr. Cuomo released 30 days after its introduction. Legislators now get a $172-a-night per diem automatically when they travel to Albany. Under Mr. Cuomo’s change, lawmakers would be reimbursed only for their costs and only if they had complied with proposed new disclosure rules. Those would force them to disclose the source of outside income above $1,000 and the identity of any clients for whom they personally have done work who compensated them more than $5,000. Lawmakers also would need to disclose whether services they provided “were related to pending legislation governmental action.”* Cuomo Takes Budget Message to Brooklyn(NY1)

Green Shoots of Democracy In Reforming Albany Caused by the Law Not Daily News

It's Not the Daily News that is forcing Albany's Hand by publishing the names off the anti-reforms, it's the fear of jail. It is a good thing that the News is publishing the names of the bastards, but that is their job and should have always be putting pressure on our elected officials They should also listen to all of the U.S. Attorney's message to the media last year.  "Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," Bharara said. "Groundbreaking corruption coverage is not just good copy, it's a path to good government." Bharara  * Dean Skelos feels the heat (NYDN) New York's State Senate leader, who shields up to $250,000 in annual income from outside scrutiny, finds a sudden passion for transparency in state legislators' business affairs  * Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said he’s “actively engaged” in talks with Gov. Andrew Cuomo to enact ethics reforms because “we need full transparency…to restore the public’s trust.” But the Long Island Republican has balked at providing a public list of his outside law clients.* NY State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos probed by feds (NYDN) Someone is Watching the AG Bharara and Schneiderman Do Lunch (YNN) * Schneiderman: No Comment On Moreland * Schneiderman Breaks Silence on Moreland Commission(NY1)
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara
Moreland Investigation Ends, Media Cover-Up 
Albany: Pay Raise, 2014 Budget , 2015 Session, Three Men inthe Room Again
Daily News Crap

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

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

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

What Happen to Cook's Per Diem Expense Investigation?
Politicians caught collecting Albany per diems when they’re not there(NYP) “I don’t lie, I don’t cheat, and I don’t steal,” said Cook, whose nonprofit Rockaway Boulevard Local Development Corp. prompted an investigation for allegedly misusing taxpayer funds. In 2010 and 2011, Cook collected a total $17,035 in daily and overnight stipends, plus other travel expenses — on top of her $79,500-a-year state salary. During the 2010 legislative session, she missed 51 meetings of the Assembly, 63 percent of the sessions. “I was sick for a very long time,” she said of her absences, but could not recall the dates.

The Rockaway Boulevard nonprofit folded in 2010 after The Post revealed how it misspent its money, most of which came from the Port Authority. It lost its tax-exempt status with the IRS in 2012 after failing to file tax returns for three years. Cook founded the organization in 1979 and lobbied the PA for cash in the 1990s as it began planning for the AirTrain from Jamaica to Kennedy Airport. The PA agreed to give $8 million to Rockaway Boulevard LDC and had handed over $2.5 million by 2010. The organization used $560,500 to buy the empty lot in 2006 although the land was valued by the city at $287,000.The land was to be the site of a business resource center, but was never developed. The organization used $560,500 to buy the empty lot in 2006 although the land was valued by the city at $287,000. The land was to be the site of a business resource center, but was never developed. Cook told The Post in 2010 that there was a delay because the PA wanted to put the project out to bid, but the organization wanted to “hire our own people.” The nonprofit, which had two paid employees, also had a street-sweeping project, but contracted out the work to another organization, the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce. After the Post exposé, the PA cut off the cash and launched an investigation into the charity. Federal investigators also started a probe, and the group shut its storefront office on Rockaway Boulevard. It hasn’t filed required paperwork with the state since 2008. Cook, who was listed as the group’s president on its 2008 tax filing, said some of the charity’s former board members came together to rent the property.

If Smith Wants to Cut Jail Time Forget Letters, Make 2015 the Year of the Rat 
Where is the Outrage From the GOP About Their Ballot Line Being for Sale? 
Ex-State Sen. Malcolm Smith is asking that letters detailing how he has impacted individual lives and the community be sent to the judge ahead of his sentencing on corruption charges, the State of Politics reports:

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

Although it is the voters who will be able to choose the ultimate winner, it will be the party bosses who will have the power to nominate the party candidates. Under New York State law there is no provision for a primary election to take place in special elections. Every enrolled party member should have the right to choose the party nominee in a special election. Providing a party boss with the power to handpick a nominee to run in a special election does not insure that all the voters will be able to choose the most qualified, independent, honest and responsive candidates. The ultimate winners will owe their seats to party leaders, not the people. Schedule Set For Special Elections(YNN) * Special Elections Set For May 5 * Camara Resigns, Officially (YNN) Dan Janison notes Cuomo has never rushed to call special elections to fill vacant legislative posts. Last year, he allowed a dozen seats in the State Legislature to remain unoccupied until the November general election, so that some went without incumbents for an entire year.* Cuomo declared a vacancy in the Staten Island seat held by former Rep. Michael Grimm and set a special election for May 5, which will coincide with a vote to fill the seat of outgoing Assemblyman Karim Camara, the Observer reports: * Cuomo announced a special election for May 5 to fill theseat in Congress vacated by Michael Grimm (NYT)
More about Special Elections 

More About Congressman Grimm

Last January True News Asked: ________________________________                                                                                 
What Kind of Progressive Era?
The 1st Progressive Era Goal Was to Destroy Political Bosses 
The Progressive Era was a period of social activism and political reform in the United States that flourished from the 1890s to the 1920s.[1] One main goal of the Progressive movement was purification of government, as Progressives tried to eliminate corruption by exposing and undercutting political machines and bosses. Many (but not all) Progressives supported prohibition in order to destroy the political power of local bosses based in saloons.[2] At the same time, women's suffrage was promoted to bring a "purer" female vote into the arena.[3] A second theme was building an Efficiency movement in every sector that could identify old ways that needed modernizing, and bring to bear scientific, medical and engineering solutions. 
Progressives Without Reform Beliefs 
Progressives sought to enable the citizenry to rule more directly and circumvent political bosses. Many cities set up municipal reference bureaus to study the budgets and administrative structures of local governments. Charles Henry Parkhurst (April 17, 1842 – September 8, 1933) was an American clergyman and social progressive. Although scholarly and reserved, he preached two sermons in 1892 in which he attacked the political corruption of New York City government. Backed by the evidence he collected, his statements led to both the exposure of Tammany Hall and to subsequent social and political reforms. Frances Perkins and the New Deal

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

Chief Judge Proposes Grand Jury Reforms 
It Took Garner's Chokehold Death to Push Grand Jury Reform

Bold Plans for New York Courts (NYT) The state’s chief judge has come up with innovative ideas and programs to close the “justice gap.” (NYT Ed)
NY chief judge proposes sweeping grand jury reforms(NYP) New York’s chief judge has proposed major grand jury reforms with records released when nobody is charged and direct judicial oversight when police are investigated for killings or felony assaults. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s legislative proposals follow protests last year after a grand jury declined to indict a police officer seen on video choking an unarmed Staten Island man who died. He says Tuesday the immediate concern is the perception that prosecutors, who work closely with police, can’t objectively bring cases against them in secret grand jury proceedings. His legislation would have a judge preside inside the grand jury room in police cases. Lippman would also open records in cases where there’s no indictment and where it would advance “a significant public interest” and the person investigated is already known or consents.* N.Y.'s top judgecalls state's secretive grand jury process a “relic of another time" (LoHud) * State’s Top Judge Calls For Grand Jury Transparency (Updated) (YNN)

NY chief judge proposes sweeping grand jury reforms (NYP)* Head of New York’s Top Court Says Judges Should Oversee Grand Juries in Deaths Involving Police (NYT) Prosecutors, who handle the proceedings now, are seen as too close with law enforcement, Jonathan Lippman, the chief judge of the Court of Appeals, said his annual address.* State judge proposes letting public see evidence fromcases that do not lead to indictment (NYDN)* Calling for an “end to grand jury secrecy as we know it,” Chief Judge Jonathan Lippmanproposed legislation allowing the public to see evidence presented in high-profile cases that did not lead to an indictment. * Lippman said the grand jury system is”a relic of another time” that needs overhaul in light of deadly police encounters, apparently a reference to the case of Eric Garner, an unarmed man who died after a police chokehold last summer. * Lippman’s ideas would go further than previously proposed grand jury reforms, placing judges squarely in the middle of grand jury activities – something that national groups say would set New York’s judges apart from jurists in other states. * Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson backed Lippman’s proposal to allow greater disclosure of grand jury proceedings. * Lippman turns 70 in May and so must retire at year’s end. This was his final State of the Judiciary address.

City and State Officials Cover Their Ass After Arrests of Inspectors Pushing Tenants Out 
As Developers Prepares to Push More Affordable Tenants Out, Remaking Neighborhoods Out, the Government Which Approved the Development CYA With Task Force to Protect Tenants 
Schneiderman, de Blasio to fight owners forcing out tenants (NYDN) * City and state officials are set to launch a coordinated crackdown on New York City landlords accused of trying to harass tenants into leaving their rent-stabilized apartments* New York's master builders: New megaprojects will remakes waths of the city from scratch  (NYDN) Hudson Yards, Pacific Park and Essex Crossing are just a few of the big scale redevelopments happening in the five boroughs.* With tenant harassment complaints against landlords rising, New York City and state officials announced the creation of a multiagency task force to weed out and punish bad landlords, The New York Times reports:

1877 NYT: The Building Dept: "Its Rottenness Exposed" 
.The science of bribery (NYP Ed) Unfortunately, this was way back in 1877. We refer to a Times dispatch from Aug. 11 of that year. It appeared under the headline “The Building Department: Its rottenness exposed.” The story described the city’s Building Department this way: “That department has long been regarded as a mere refuge for rapacious politicians, who furnished no equivalent services for the salaries they received, and, in its present condition, its abolition would be a public benefit.” Ira Stoll at the referred us to the Times story. He had cited it in a post about the most recent Buildings Department scandal, in which nearly a dozen of its people have been charged with accepting bribes in exchange for building permits or favorable inspections or the like. Some of the bribes show imagination. They include a holiday in Puerto Rico, tuition for a summer course for one official’s daughter, an SUV — and, of course, the old standby: cash. Now, it’s easy to look at the two Times stories on corruption at the Buildings Department — one from 1877 and one from 2015 — and conclude things haven’t changed. Indeed they haven’t, human nature being what it is. But the larger point Stoll makes strikes us as the better one: This city would be far better off if we recognized that every regulation creates an opening for corruption by giving officials something they can sell or use to shake us down, especially when we can’t move ahead without it. The 1877 Times understood this dynamic. Here’s how it described it: “It is said that the facilities for extortion are more extensive in the Department of Buildings than in any other; in fact, a builder is completely at its mercy. His plans are subject to the approval of the Inspector, and the Department . . . may interpret the law as they please. Builders have long since become painfully aware of the fact that they must yield to the pecuniary demands of a little tribe of sharks.” In short, the Times figured out that regulation give regular the power to shake people down. As we learned from the latest arrests at the Buildings, Department, it’s as true today as it was then.

de Blasio Affordable Housing Fed Problems Possible, Still Pushing Queens Rail Depot 
The practice of setting aside lower-rent units in new developments for local residents is drawing federal scrutiny, potentially undermining Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing efforts, the Journalreports:
A mailer from Sen. Mike Gianaris raises concerns with a project being proposed by Mayor Bill de Blasio.* Despite Cuomo’s Opposition, de Blasio Requests Housing Proposals for Queens Rail Depot (NYT) Mayor Bill de Blasio hopes developers will build more than 11,000 units of affordable housing in Sunnyside Yards.
Affordable Housing, Low Wages Building, Rents 

Corrupt NYC Building Inspectors Emptying Building For Landlord In Gentrifying Areas 

A plot to trick Brooklyn residents into moving was just one discovery of a bribery and kickback investigation involving city workers and others that resulted in dozens of indictments this week  Inspectors Were Paid to Pretend Brooklyn Tenants Had to Move, Prosecutors Say(NYT) A plot to trick a building’s residents into moving was just one discovery of a bribery and kickback investigation involving city workers and others that resulted in dozens of indictments this week.One night last December around nine o’clock, tenants at 159 Suydam Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn, were startled by loud banging on their doors and walls. A man in some kind of uniform was going up and down the four stories of their building, yelling that they had 72 hours to get out. If they did not comply with the city’s order, he said, a marshal would come with police officers to take them out in handcuffs. * DA: Landlord paid building inspectors to evict Bushwicktenants — and the inspectors went to the wrong address (Brooklyn Paper) A Brooklyn Legal Services attorney who represents tenants in housing court said the staggering 26 indictments show the need for greater oversight in the borough’s overheated real estate market.
More on Gentrification 

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

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

JCOPE Covering Their Ass After Bharara's Indictment of Silver for Outside Income
Silver Fined For Hiding Outside Income  
Embattled former Speaker Sheldon Silver fined on charges of not properlydisclosing outside income (NYDN) The Joint Commission on Public Ethics — the state’s top ethics watchdog agency —notified Silver that he faces up to $120,000 in fines for filing inadequate financial disclosure statements in 2011, 2012 and 2013. A spokesman for Silver, however, says that the politician believes he filed correctly and 'intends to prove that.' The Joint Commission on Public Ethics — the state’s top ethics watchdog agency —notified Silver that he faces up to $120,000 in fines for filing inadequate financial disclosure statements in 2011, 2012 and 2013. A spokesman for Silver, however, says that the politician believes he filed correctly and 'intends to prove that.'* JCOPE says Sheldon Silver's disclosure forms are deficient (Capital)* Ethics commission demands more information from Silver about his income(NYP) A legislative ethics commission has sent a notice of delinquency to former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver demanding information about his outside income.* The state Joint Commission on Public Ethics yesterday quietly filed a notice that former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver faces up to $120,000 in fines for not properly disclosing his outside income on ethics forms, Gannett Albany reports:

Silver Still Pulls Stringers on JCOPE Despite Conflict Of Interests With His Indictment  
Sheldon Silver’s pals leading ethics probe (NYP) Scandal-scarred Sheldon Silver may no longer be the powerful Assembly speaker, but he still has pull through friends he’s appointed to positions throughout state government — including the Joint Commission on Public Ethics that’s investigating his outside income, The Post has learned. Silver’s three appointees to the JCOPE board — Paul Casteleiro, Marvin Jacob and Renee Roth — will serve at least through December amid the probe . Silver’s selection in 2011 of Jacob, 80, a retired lawyer for Weil, Gotchel and Manges, is especially drawing scrutiny in light of the ex-speaker’s federal corruption bust, sources said. Jacob is the brother of Harold “Heshy” Jacob, a Silver pal who manages the Grand Street co-op complex where Silver lives, as well as an adjacent building. In a federal complaint last month, US Attorney Preet Bharara charged that Silver accepted $700,000 in kickbacks from the tax firm Goldberg & Iryami.  The firm represented the two Grand Street buildings managed by Heshy Jacob in city tax appeals. That would put Marvin Jacob in a position of reviewing an ethics case against Silver that potentially implicates Marvin’s brother. Marvin did not return a call. *  Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie needs to address criticism of the “three men in the room” by being transparent and dissolving secret slush funds, Michael Benjamin writes in City & State * US Attorney Preet Bharara faces a Feb. 23 deadline to formalize charges against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver with a grand-jury indictment.

Although Berlin Rosen Does Not Register, is A Lobbyist When It Comes to Real Estate According to Its Sugar Addiction
Berlin Rosen who is not for some reason not listed as registered lobbyist work for a lot of real estate developers.   Berlin Rosen’s current and recent clients include Two Trees Management Negotiations between Mr. de Blasio’s team and two trees' Walentas’s firm took place over a few days. The two men share a mutual adviser: Jonathan Rosen, one of the mayor’s top political hands and the chief executive of a public affairs firm, Berlin Rosen that counts Mr. Walentas’s company as a client. Berlin Rosen served as a consultant to de Blasio campaign and runs he slush fund PAC NY1 which pushes the mayor’s agenda. The NYT Michael Powell – “A couple last year; "I called the mayor’s press office and asked about Mr. de Blasio’s perhaps too-optimistic cost projections for prekindergarten.  Twenty minutes later, I heard from Dan Levitan of Berlin Rosen, which is the “it” P.R. firm of the city’s left and a close adviser to the mayor.”  Berlin Rosen worked all the candidates that hired the WFP’s Data and Field in 2009.  One of their clients is still being investigated by a SI special prosecutor.  Both partners in Berlin Rosen, Jonathan Rosen and Valerie Berlin worked for Schneiderman.  Berlin was his chief of staff when he was a NYS Senator.  

PBA Creates The Yes Mayor de Blasio, Just Re-Elect Me in 2017 
The lurch toward reconciliation between NYPD union officials and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has come quietly, aided by coincidences of timing, an evolving strategy from some union leaders and a series of well-placed nudges — both on and off camera — from the mayor. And so, a sort of détente has set in, at least temporarily.* The union representing NYPD lieutenants ratified its seven-year labor contract with the de Blasio administration.* Mayor de Blasio and Rabbis Near Accord on New Circumcision Rule (NYT) *  
Hikind Praises de Blasio for Addressing Orthodox UPK Concerns Yeshiva World News‎ ... high praise for NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio this evening following word that Universal Pre-K requirements will now accommodate New York City's Jewish Orthodox families.* New York City Eases Pre-K Rules to Allow Prayer Breaks (NYT) A compromise by the de Blasio administration, designed to increase participation of private schools in his signature program, permits classes on federal holidays and daily time for “nonprogram activities.”The de Blasio administration agreed to changes like prayer breaks during pre-kindergarten to increase participation by Orthodox Jewish and other private schools in his signature initiative* Starting in September, some children attending taxpayer-funded prekindergarten programs in New York City may have school on Christmas and Thanksgiving. And their school day may be interrupted by a period for religious prayers.
Re-Elect de Blasio 2017

The Media War On An Informed Citizenry  

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

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

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

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

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

After Waiting Years for A Cuomo Interview NY1 Gives Us Jackie's Tour
There will always be corruption in government — and Albany is no worse than anywhere else, Gov. Cuomo said Monday. “You’ve always had and you probably always will have some level of corruption,’’ said Cuomo in an interview with New York 1. “Power corrupts, and government is a source of power, you have it in the City Council, you have it in the state Legislature, you have it in the Congress of the United States, so, that continues.” His remarks stood in stark contrast to those of US Attorney Preet Bharara, who last week noted that state lawmakers are more likely to be arrested than be tossed out at the polls. “When you have a degree of corruption that is that deep and pervasive and frequent, that’s a big problem,” Bharara told MSNBC. A rogues gallery of more than 30 state politicians have been arrested, indicted, or forced out of office due to scandal in the past decade. Last month, Sheldon Silver, one of the most powerful figures in the state, gave up his position as Assembly speaker after being accused of collecting nearly $4 million in referral fees from law firms for which he did “nothing,” according to authorities. Another six current or former state legislators are reported to be in the cross hairs of federal prosecutors, with Bharara suggesting the public “stay tuned’ to further revelations of graft.

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

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

GOP Consigliere Warns No Rats  
GOP warned not to'do anything stupid' like talk to feds without lawyer, source says(NYDN) Counsel David Lewis gave the stern advice to Republican members during a recent closed-door session. The briefing came after the arrest of Sheldon Silver and a report that said Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos is also being investigated. Carl Heastie’s election as speaker means. Senate Republicans have been warned by their counsel David Lewis not to “do anything stupid,” like talking to the FBI or other investigators without a lawyer present. “He said, ‘If someone knocks on your door, you don’t have to talk to them,'”rent regulations will be renewed and probably not changed much says RSA: (City and State)

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

Third Candidate Enters PBA Leadership Race
Ronald Wilson, a 28-year veteran of the NYPD, announced his candidacy last Thursday at the Traffic Control Division in Midtown. He told the Daily News that Lynch's leadership team has 'lost touch' with the rank and file.* NYPD veteran to runagainst Patrick Lynch for PBA president, says union head has 'lost touch' (NYDN) Ronald Wilson, a 28-year veteran of the NYPD, announced his candidacy last Thursday at the Traffic Control Division in Midtown. He told the Daily News that Lynch's leadership team has 'lost touch' with the rank and file. * Hamill: The absurd practice of ticket quotas needs to stop — even my 15-year-old son knows the system is ‘messed up’ * The Times profiles Brian Fusco, a police officer and unionofficial who is challenging Patrick Lynch, his longtime boss, for leadership of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association: * NYPD arrests are returning to normal levels after a drop-off in December, but criminal summonses are still down, in part because of a directive to only issue tickets for low-level marijuana possession, The WallStreet Journal writes: 

NYC Public Advocate Tish James stood by her earlier claims that the grand jury system is “antiquated,” even after the indictment of NYPD Officer Peter Liang in the killing of Akai Gurley, an unarmed black man from Brooklyn.* The NYPD Civilian Complaint Review Board is battling the city comptroller in court for the right to access transcripts of hearings involving police misconduct without a court order, the Daily News reports: * The de Blasio administration agreed to pay $3.24 million to settle a five-year-old lawsuit contending cops stopped and arrested people for trespassing on NYCHA property without probable cause, the Post reports: * Lawyers rake-in almost $3M in stop-and-frisk settlement(NYP) Legal services were provided by the Midtown firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, as well as the Legal Aid Society and the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund.* Post educates Harvard (NYP Ed) Plainly they’re reading The Post up at Harvard Law. Because just hours after this newspaper reported on plans by two Harvard Law student groups to honor a New York City lawyer whose office was involved in a video extolling cop-killing, the university backed down. Even so, two student groups — the Harvard Women’s Law Association and the Law and International Development Society — had planned to honor Steinberg as an “inspiration” to all would-be lawyers as part of their 2nd Annual International Women’s Day celebrations. But now they’ve canceled. A public statement issued Monday put it this way: “We did not intend for her nomination to suggest in any way that it is acceptable to harm police officers or incite others to do so.* After Public Acrimony, Quieter Steps by Mayor de Blasio and Police to Mend Rift (NYT) A secret meeting of Mayor Bill de Blasio with his outspoken critic Edward D. Mullins of the Sergeants Benevolent Association helped achieve détente.* Columbia University professor who teaches peacekeeping skills tocops, firefighters is charged with assaulting boyfriend (NYDN) EXCLUSIVE: Joann Baney, 54, was charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly slugging Walter Frey, 46, on Valentine’s Day because he cheated on her. Frey is a retired NYPD sergeant. Baney is a faculty director for a program that teaches FDNY and NYPD leaders how to control heated situations. Baney is a staunch defender of women's rights and an outspoken critic against domestic violence.* No terrorist groupis capable of a 9/11-type attack, but they could get weapons to take down anairliner: Ex-CIA chief (NYDN Michael Morell, former acting director of the CIA, told the NYPD on Tuesday that while Al-Qaeda no longer poses the threat to commit another large scale terror attack on U.S. soil, it would take just 'three years' for them to regain that ability if left unchecked.* EXCLUSIVE: DIS-UNION IN THE RANKS! PBA boss ripped by officers for using video of him attending memorial of late NYPD heroes Ramos and Liu in ad for reelection (NYDN)

Albany Corruption, INC Still Partying Like Its 1999 Pay to Play Fund Raising Booked 
Albany legislators plan swanky fund-raisers despite crackdowns (NYP) Even the fear of a federal crackdown isn’t stopping Albany politicians from getting right back to their “pay-to-play” ways, a Post analysis has found. Despite US Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigation, which has already toppled Sheldon Silver as assembly speaker, more than three dozen lawmakers and party leaders are planning big-bucks Albany fund-raisers from mid-February through mid-March — while they negotiate a state budget. The legislators will be hitting up lobbyists, business leaders, real-estate tycoons, public-employee unions and others for thousands of dollars in contributions at posh venues just blocks from the state Capitol. The schmooze-for-cash-fest events fly in the face of Bharara’s investigation, critics say. Cuomo Parties On Also  Cuomo unfazed by lack of buzz  (TU) At home, Cuomo has been buffeted by the recent corruption arrest of now ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and continued criticism from his controversial decision to scrap his Moreland Commission...

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

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

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

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

Ruben Diaz Defends Bharara, Says He is Cleaning-Up Albany 
Former Democratic Assemblyman Eric Stevenson is heading to ​prison after being sentenced Wednesday to three years behind bars for pocketing more than $22,000 in bribes as part of a scheme... “Mr. Bharara is doing a great job,” said Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. (D-Bronx). “He’s the only one who could clean up the mess in Albany.” Added an Assembly Democrat: “He’s building his yellow brick road and we’ll see where that leads. If there’s something wrong, it’s not a bad thing. If there isn’t something wrong, it will turn around and bite him in the butt.”*  Two-thirds of New York's voters think Albany lawmakers are corrupt(NYDN)  * * Report: State Lawmakers Spending Heavily On Legal Fees(YNN)
More About Albany Corruption
More About U.S. Attorney Bharara
How Albany Killed Moreland

The State Senate Leadership Jail  
THE DEAN OF THE SENATE A commentary on the chronicles of corruption in the state Senate. (Wayne Barrett, City and State) New York’s state Senate, where four of the last five majority leaders have been indicted and the fifth, Dean Skelos, is reportedly under investigation.  The first, Joe Bruno, got his conviction overturned because the U.S. Supreme Court significantly narrowed the “honest services” he owed his constituents, excluding the $3.2 million in conflict-of-interest consulting fees he collected from clients with public business before him. Pedro Espada was forced to resign as leader the same day he was indicted for embezzling hundreds of thousands from a state-funded nonprofit, using $49,000, for example, to make a down payment on a Bentley. Malcolm Smith, who thought cash bribes were the quickest way to buy himself a ballot line for mayor, is now facing 45 years in prison. And John Sampson, who succeeded Smith, will soon go to trial for stealing $400,000 from foreclosure accounts and trying to get a list of the witnesses against him so he could, as he put it, “take them out.” He wasn’t looking for dates. As one measure of how interlocked this two-house degeneration is, Frank Seddio, the former assemblyman who’s now the boss of the Brooklyn Democratic party and played a pivotal role in the elevation of new speaker Carl Heastie, took credit for Sampson’s 2014 re-election, running the indicted senator’s campaign out of his own Canarsie club. The swamp is so deeply bi-partisan that Democrat Smith was bribing Republican county leaders to get the Republican line. Criminal charges have become so routine in Albany that the Senate Republicans just re-elected Tom Libous as deputy majority leader without so much as a word of public criticism. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has already indicted Libous and just convicted his son.

Klein Still On His Law Firms Tit 
Jeff Klein will still get payments even after breaking ties with firm (NYP) State Sen. Jeff Klein may be giving up his outside legal work, but that doesn’t mean the profits will stop pouring in. Klein announced last week he would break ties with his law firm, Klein, Calderoni & Santucci, as he called for a ban on all outside income for state lawmakers. “I already told my partners I won’t handle any more cases, see any more clients, not get any income at all from the firm,” the Bronx Democrat said. But that’s not quite right. Klein, 54, said he stopped working on cases as of Feb. 9.


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

How do New Yorkers Unlock Albany Corruption When the Media is Leading the Cover-Up?
Want to rebalance New York City's real estate market? Start by fixing thistax (NYDN, Weiner) Capture more of multi-million dollar sales — and slash the levy for middle-income buyers * Should we effectively fund luxury construction by providing it tax incentives? Should we find a way to tax pied-a-terres, as some are pushing to do? Good questions. The most sensible place to start is by reforming a tax that now hits all those who buy new property. Under state law, the City of New York collects a transfer tax from buyers at a rate of 1% of the value of a home for transactions up to $500,000 and 1.425% on those costing more. Which now means the average home in Sunnyside gets charged the same rate as an $80 million condo on 57th St. Given the explosion in prices at the very top of the market, it is crazy that the fees are not more progressive.

Council Speaker Let Broken Windows Go 
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is wrong to push for summonses rather than arrests for subway turnstile jumpers because detaining them can help prevent other crimes Melissa hops the turnstile(NYP) When Rudy Giuliani appointed Bill Bratton to head the police back in 1994, among the first moves the new commissioner made was to go after subway turnstile jumpers. For in his time as head of the city’s transit police, Bratton had learned that many of those arrested for fare-beating weren’t first-offenders or kids out on a lark. Many turned out to have criminal records or outstanding warrants. Detaining them often helped authorities prevent other crimes and help get career criminals off the streets. * Why does term-limited Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito have $152,408 in her 2017 NYC campaign account? @errollouis asked, but no clear answer.

Savino laid into the City Council Speaker after She Blasted the IDC Work in Public Housing

Savino: Speaker's An Idiot
Which is why we find Melissa Mark-Viverito’s speech this week so alarming. In her State of the City address, the council speaker calls for the city to go back to the past by giving fare-beaters a summons rather than arresting them. Yes, there’s room to debate about which infractions should be considered arrest-worthy. In and of itself, jumping a turnstile might not seem the biggest crime. But from the vantage of history, we can now see that going after these fare-beaters was a huge first step in the recovery of this city. In many ways, it was at the heart of the Broken Windows policing that transformed a crime-plagued metropolis into America’s safest big city.* Staten Island stateSenator Diane Savino calls City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito 'anidiot' on Facebook (NYDN)  The state Senator was very upset with Mark-Viverito's comments that implied the Independent Democratic Conference had ignored public housing. Savino laid into the City Council Speaker, declaring: 'I will match my legislative record of real accomplishments against yours!'* Jeffrey Klein NY Senate | NYCHA Housing | NYC Worst Landlord * New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said she was “surprised” that Independent Democratic Council leader Jeff Klein issued a report on public housing, implying that he hasn’t shown much interest before,the Observer writes: * NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said she’s “surprised” the IDC “suddenly finds public housing of interest.” She dismissed a recent report on the subject by the conference as “nothing new.”  …not suprisingly, Sen. Diane Savino had something to say about that. She called Mark-Viverito an “idiot” on Facebook.* Staten Island state Senator Diane Savino calls CityCouncil Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito 'an idiot' on Facebook (NYDN) The state Senator was very upset with Mark-Viverito's comments that implied the Independent Democratic Conference had ignored public housing. Savino laid into the City Council Speaker, declaring: 'I will match my legislative record of real accomplishments against yours!'* Report: Sen. Diane Savino calls Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito an 'idiot' on Facebook (SI Advance)  While on the Brian Lehrer Friday on WNYC, Ms. Mark-Viverito was asked about a city housing report in which Ms. Savino, Klein and others commented on "deplorable" conditions in New York City Housing Authority buildings .@JeffKleinNY proposes program to let private developers "adopt" a NYCHA project, repair decrepit conditions, get tax credits in return * Calling NYCHA the city’s “worst landlord,” state Sen. Jeff Klein and other politicians released a report that found “deplorable” conditions at the public housing authority’s developments, the Daily Newswrites: * New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito presentsher own agenda (WSJ)* How good eggs in Albany can stop therot (NYDN) To start, they ought to call out corrupt colleagues early and often

Feds Bag Consultant Who Illegally Coordinated Campaigns and PACs 
Feds Investigating the Advance Group
G.O.P.Consultant Pleads Guilty in PAC Case(NYT) A Virginia-based Republican political consultant pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges that he illegally coordinated spending between a 2012 congressional campaign and a “super PAC,” federal prosecutors said. The consultant, Tyler E. Harber, was accused of managing a congressional campaign while helping create and direct a super PAC that spent $325,000 attacking a rival candidate, according to the Justice Department. The case appears to be the first of its kind brought by federal prosecutors since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, which allowed for the creation of political action committees that can raise and spend unlimited money, including from corporations, so long as they do not coordinate the spending with candidates.* New YorkPanel Approves Fine for Group Against Carriage Horses(NYT)In documents released after its vote on Thursday, the board said it “found credible” statements by NYClass that it did not know the Advance Group was also consulting for Ms. Cumbo’s and Mr. Levine’s campaigns, and that it had relied on the Advance Group’s assurances that NYClass was in compliance with campaign-finance rules.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Shadow Government Lobbyists That Help Mark-Viverito Become Speaker

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

Puppet Council Speaker Controlled By A Private Tammany Hall

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


What Do You Do After the Prosecutor Call You a Liar Distract 
Cuomo Plays The Weiner Penis Card
Gov. Cuomo deniesconnection between ending Moreland Commission, Silver charges: (NYDN)  'If Anthony Weiner shows his private parts, do you blame Obama?' 'If Anthony Weiner shows his private parts, do you blame Obama?’ Cuomo said in a New Yorker profile over accusations that he’s somehow to blame for the corruption scandal that led to Sheldon Silver’s resignation as Assembly Speaker.*NY prosecutor basically calls Governor Cuomo a liar (hotaid)* Former Rep. Anthony Weiner and a Cuomo administration spokesman traded barbs on Twitter after Weiner make a joke criticizing Cuomo’s decision to close the subway during a snowstorm in January, the Daily Newswrites:  *Gov. Cuomo Staffer Smacks Down Anthony Weiner on Twitter * Cuomo said he views ethics reform that would require lawmakers to disclose more information about private income as the “single toughest item” he will have to negotiate with legislators, Gannett Albanyreports:

Next: 50 Shades of Cuomo and Weiner Distraction

It Was Corruption and NYPD War That Killed the Convention 
de Blasio's Failed Bid Aide Walks the Plank
De Blasio Chief of Staff to Leave City Hall for U.N. Job (NYT) Laura Santucci recently was charged with New York’s failed bid to host the Democratic National Convention in 2016.

Democratic Convention to Philly 
First on CNN: Philadelphia wins bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention
Avoiding @BilldeBlasio's New York is an early sign of how Hillary's party is going to navigate Elizabeth Warren's * This is the biggest snub of Brooklyn since the Dodgers left * Is Brooklyn over? Like WC Fields, the DNC on the whole would rather be in Philadelphia. * @maggieNYT  Somewhere, Cuomo's staff is watching the de Blasio DNC convention bid video and smiling broadly* Philly beats Brooklyn(NYP Ed)* * Democratic officials balked at the difficulties of holding the Democratic National Convention in Brooklyn in a densely residential neighborhood far from te hotels and amenities of Manhattan, The New York Times reports: Mayor's Chief of Staff Takes Blame and Could Fall Laura Santucci, who took a leave of absence from her post as Mayor Bill de Blasio’s chief of staff to head the DNC, now has an unclear future, with sources saying she may not return to City Hall, the Observerreports

More on the Democratic Convention Proposal 

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

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

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

EDUCATION What is Next Chancellor Farina, Where is the Plan for Poor Preforming Schools? 

The 2013-14 teacher evaluation rating data found 95 percent of the state’s educators were either effective or highly effective.* Cuomo links lawmakers’ names to failing schools *In Report, Cuomo Points To Failing Schools * The Staten Island Advance supports de Blasio in his disagreement with Cuomo over education policy, and calls on local lawmakers to do the same.

In Video, StudentsFirstNY Highlights Education Rally (YNN) * NYSUT Knocks ‘Clueless’ Cuomo On Teacher Evals(YNN)* De Blasio Parts With Cuomo On Testing, School Takeover(YNN) * A federal investigation found that New York City public schools have long denied girls an equal chance to play high school sports and the schools need to add 3,862 more spots for girls to reach fair access, The Wall Street Journal reports:  * It’s time for girls to “gear up,” now that the New York City Department of Education has responded to a Title IX probe by agreeing to survey girls and add sports teams they’re interested in, the DailyNews writes: * Stewart-Cousins Gives Nod To Teachers(YNN)
School chaos ahead: Dropping basic discipline (NYP Ed) * A day after a top Cuomo aide signaled plans to overhaul the state’s education structure, Success Academy Charter Schools CEO Eva Moskowitz registered her organization as a lobbying entity, State of Politics 
New York’s diplomas leave too many kids out (NYP Ed)* State Education Department officials agree with Gov. Andrew Cuomo that the state should make “a close examination” of how a Massachusetts law allowing for state takeovers of underperforming schools is working there.* City’s new rules make it tough to discipline unruly students (NYP)* Blackboard bungle (NYP Ed) The New York Civil Liberties Union, members of the City Council and the mayor have just found their newest straw man: school suspensions. On Friday, Carmen Fariña made it official. New York’s public schools, she announced, are going to make it more difficult for principals to suspend students. She defended her new approach in part by noting that African-American kids are four times as likely to be suspended as their peers. Leave aside that suspensions are actually down significantly the last two years. The more important point is that suspending an unruly student is an important tool for teachers to maintain enough order in their classrooms so the rest of the class can learn. The numbers tell us nothing by themselves. Nor does the racial breakdown. * Suspension Rules Altered in New York City’s Revision of School Discipline Code (NYT) Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration on Friday announced long-awaited revisions to school discipline policies, including new suspension procedures. *  Flanagan: Don’t Let Ethics Eclipse Education (YNN)* Most New York City charter schools’ disciplinary codes do not meet either state or federal requirements, according to a report by a children’s advocacy organization to be released today, The New York Times reports: * New York’s diplomas leave too many kids out(NYP ED) While students in New York state struggle with the new Common Core-aligned Regents Exams, the state Board of Regents has another nasty surprise looming on the horizon. By 2022, students will not only have to pass five Regents Exams to graduate, they’ll have to score at least 75 percent on the English exam and 80 percent on the math exam. Get set for graduation rates to fall even further.* Retired New Yorkteachers are raking in SIX-FIGURE pensions(NYP)* Overhauled public school discipline code to cost $5M: officials (NYDN) The money will pay for training in conflict resolution for school staff and other aspects of the changes, which have been praised by Mayor de Blasio.*

The de Blasio administration’s push to reform student disciplinary measures will only disrupt the students who are trying to learn and encourage insubordination and chaos Less supensions, more insubordination in NYC's schools (NYDN Ed) Suspend your disbelief and try to swallow this proposition: Fewer students will disrupt New York public schools if principals suspend fewer disruptive students. That is the line Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Fariña are selling as they limit principals’ ability to remove kids from classrooms when they act out. The mayor and chancellor assert that current disciplinary practices damage students. They also see racial unfairness because the makeup of those suspended doesn’t precisely parallel the composition of the school system. As evidence of bias, advocates point out that blacks make up 26% of the student body but were 53% of those suspended in 2013-14. At the same time, though, Hispanic students make up 40% of the school system and are 35% of those suspended. And boys, who represent half of the school system, are suspended more than twice as frequently as girls.

True News Who Watches the Watchman, DAs Conflict of Interests 

Shame On the Daily News For Ripping Off True News Story About the DA's Misconduct

Daily News Punk Bill Hammer Rips Off True News
.@NYDNHammond on efforts to create a body that would oversee prosecutors' misconduct and mistakes: Who prosecutes the prosecutors? (NYDN) After wrongful convictions, time to create a commission that holds DAs accountable and repairs the justice system

Demands That The Feds Take Over All Police Homicide Cases, What About Political Corruption? Is There A Structural Problem With Local Borough DAs Offices Who Because of Their Close Working Relationship of the NYPD and the Political Machines That They Depend On to Elect Them.  True News would like the Daily News to answer why Albany became an organized criminal operation?  Where were the DAs?  Why are the feds doing almost all of the indictments of elected officials  Were are the DAs?  Since lobbyists are working to elect DAs who is watching them?  The DOI reported that the lobbyists were running the failed 911 phone system

Did any of them work with contractors to break the law, comptroller Liu asked for a criminal investigation  The city's prosecutors ignored.  Who is checking the millions of secret money going in luxury housing? Is any of the money buying apartment hidden drug money, who know the DAs give the big developers a free hand.  DOI finds the Advance Group Broke the PAC and CFB laws fine their clients and the DAs look the other way. What happen to the investigation of another Advance Group client NYCLASS? What about the UFT attempt to hid the Advance Group's involvement in their United for the Future PAC?  Advance and another consultant group Red Horse who worked for the UFT PAC worked for many other campaigns that the UFT PAC broke the law to help What about Speaker Mark-Viverito illegal help from the Advance Group, where are the prosecutors?  Even now who will go after the individuals in the Brooklyn DAs office who put innocent people in jail?

Bharara to Cuomo: Free to Speak On Morland 

Killing Moreland Killing 3 Men in A Room And Others in Albany
Speak up, Gov (NYP Ed) With the arrests of top Albany pols, and with Bharara having taken up the work Moreland wasn’t allowed to finish, New Yorkers would surely love to hear Cuomo explain why he did what he did. Then again, he’s already talked about Moreland. Actually, double-talked: Once he said he shut the panel to save money; another time, that it was only meant as a way to pass an ethics bill. This week’s excuse? The probers got “stuck.” Cuomo has also claimed the panel was independent — except when he was insisting it was “my commission, so he could “appoint” or “unappoint” members as he pleased.  In a New Yorker piece this week, he offers a gem to defend shutting the panel even though Bharara used its work to indict then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver: “If [former Rep.] Anthony Weiner shows his private parts, do you blame Obama?”   New York state legislators open to unveiling their outside income
Hours after the Daily News published the names of 16 lawmakers who made more than $100,000 in outside income, state Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos issued a statement saying he was 'actively engaged in discussions' with Gov. Cuomo on a package of ethics reforms.* The Post urges Cuomo to speak up about his dealings with the Moreland Commission, an anticorruption panel he convened and shut, now that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said he is free to discuss his role in the probe * De Blasio demands more MTA funding in $77.7B budget plan (NYP) The mayor raised the issue of the $15.2 billion MTA capital budget deficit and the state’s failure to abide by a 2007 settlement that promised additional education funds to the city — saying arguments about lean economic times no longer hold water. He also reminded the governor that the state was shortchanging the city on education aid. “It’s time to have a serious conversation again about the state’s ongoing obligation to the city and other cities around the state in terms of the CFE agreement,” de Blasio declared, referring to the court settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. Despite the annual uncertainties about state and federal funding, de Blasio found plenty of dollars for his pet initiatives in his Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal, including a $40 million boost to pre-K funding and a $45 million increase to after-school programs. Other significant allocations included $28.4 million for rental assistance to move homeless families out of shelters, and $35.3 million to reduce violence in the city’s jails. Missing from the spending plan were any cuts, which officials said would have to wait until April because agency heads are still working to identify internal savings.* Why Silver Helped Kill Moreland  New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, now under federal investigation, was also under scrutiny this year by the Moreland Commission looking into the sources of his six-figure outside income, The WallStreet Journal reports: 
War: Cuomo vs de Blasio 
More on Governor Cuomo

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

Bharara's Seabury Commission With A Twist
In 1931 the State Legislature Empowered the Seabury Commission to Go After Corruption in the Courts and NYPD, In 2015 the U.S. Attorney Could Be Using A Grand Jury Report to Go After Corruption in the Legislature
The Seabury investigations, was a joint legislative committee formed by the New York State Legislature to probe into corruption in New York City, especially the magistrate's courts and police department in 1931. It led to major changes in the method of arrest, bail and litigation of suspects in New York City. * Federal Prosecutors Launch Assault on Public Corruption in New York State (WSJ) Strategy Could Include Unusual Step of Producing Grand-Jury Report. For years, federal prosecutors have gone after Albany politicians one by one, taking on lawmakers such as Pedro Espada, Carl Kruger and, most recently, Malcolm Smith.Now, federal prosecutors in New York’s Southern District are pursuing a broader strategy—“an assault on the criminal opacity of Albany,” in the words of one Justice Department official. As part of that approach, prosecutors could take the unusual step of producing a grand-jury report on systemic public corruption in the state capital. The broad reach of prosecutors’ interest was evident in the development of the case against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and the scope of their investigation is likely to unfurl in coming months—in the form of a report or, more likely, a series of cases.* Preet Bharara's office has at least a dozen prosecutors working on Albany-related public corruption probes(WSJ) * MSNBC's Ari Melber Nabs First Interview with U.S. AttorneyPreet Bharara (Video)* Federal prosecutors have launched “an assault on the criminal opacity of Albany,” in the words of one Justice Department official, and could take the unusual step of producing a grand-jury report on systemic public corruption in the state Capitol.* Bharara: Cuomo Can Talk About Moreland Probe * Preet Bharara Says ‘Unfortunate Percentage’ ofAlbany Politicians Are Corrupt (NYO)* Preet Bharara promises more corruption probes(NYP)“We have a number of investigations going on. And we’ve had them for a long time,”Bharara said.

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

Breaking  NYP: Federal Investigation of the Bronx Political Machine
FBI ‘probing’ Bronx political machine(NYP) Federal investigators are looking at voter fraud and financial mismanagement in the borough, sources tell me. It’s unclear who the target is, or if there is more than one. But I’m told that the investigation is — at least in part — spurred on by information provided to Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara. Bharara, whose jurisdiction includes The Bronx, is on a bit of a crusade. He was incensed, sources said, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year abruptly shut down the one-year-old Moreland Commission, which was investigating public corruption. I’m also told that FBI agents from upstate New York, and not Manhattan, are working the case.  Depending on the outcome, any probe could be embarrassing to Heastie and Ruben Diaz Jr., the Bronx borough president who is considered Heastie’s mentor, as well as the Albany establishment in general. The impetus for the probe could have been information provided to Bharara by opponents of Diaz, one of whom I spoke with last week. Included in the material was evidence of alleged voter fraud — particularly alleged fake signatures on voter petitions. I’m hearing that one document turned over to Bharara shows that some candidates in certain Bronx districts got more votes than the number of voters who went into the booths. There is also a question about the use of campaign funds for personal purposes, a source tells me. Stay tuned. This coul interesting quickly.* FBI 'probing' Bronx political machine - Info 24 US The FBI is investigating The Bronx. Not the whole borough. Just the way politics is conducted, according to a pair of reliable sources. And that could prove interesting since power Federal investigators from upstate are reportedly looking at voter fraud and financial mismanagement in the Bronx, which could prove embarrassing to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

% of Residences Owned By Shell Companies 

NYT Pushes Mayor's Housing Ideology Plan Because He Means It
From the NYTs: Can New York Be Affordable Again?(NYT Ed) "Mayor Bill de Blasio’s mission to create housing for all, including working- and middle-class families, is timely and exciting. Cynicism is easy. Idealism is hard when you’re a politician who is making a huge promise. The success of the plan, laid out by the administration in a 116-page book of policy prescriptions, will depend on several factors. Persuasion, toughness: mandatory inclusionary zoning, stronger rent laws, an army of Legal Aid lawyers, stricter code enforcement against landlords who let properties decay. By taking on affordable housing, Mr. de Blasio is making a full, multiyear commitment to a mission that, like “cleaning up Albany,” sounds vague and impossible. But Mr. de Blasio seems to mean it." 
The NYT and Mayor Ignored the Damage Done in Gentrify Neighborhoods Done By Airbnb 
Fact and Reality: Stop the Gentrification Push Out In Crown Heights Before Promising to Do it City-Wide  Hundreds of Black Residence Are Being Push Out of Crown Heights and the City Has Nothing to Stop It. Why doesn't the NYT demand the mayor stop the push out in Crown Heights to demonstrate that it is possible to stop gentrification push out with his increased development that he promised in his Stat of the City speech.* East New York residents are calling for more details about the mayor’s affordable development plans for the neighborhood, and they have demands of their own, City Limits reports

Culture Change the Angry New Yorker No More 
The Once Outraged New Yorkers Have Become Sheep to the Culture of Corruption

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

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

No Outrage Have New Yorkers Given Up?
Organized Crime Albany, Court Corruption, Tax Give-Aways to Foreigners
According to indictments unsealed this week, Ms. Rahaman was right. It was all a ruse involving their landlord and two inspectors from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, prosecutors said, a small piece of a larger bribery and kickback investigation involving nearly four dozen city housing and buildings employees, property owners, managers and construction industry workers. The court documents describe in detail how building code violations and tenant complaints were dismissed for payoffs that were sometimes just a few hundred dollars. “Notably, many of the buildings at issue are located in areas of Brooklyn which are rapidly developing and gentrifying, resulting in an economic incentive for building owners to sell or refinance quickly to take advantage of the booming real estate market,” said a letter submitted to the court by the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

de Blasio's Madness, Fantasy, Wish List, Delusional State of the City Speech
de Blasio has changed the State of the City Speech to A PR Acid Wish List Trip
From the NYT: He made no mention of last year’s bitter struggle with the Police Department, or the spike in shootings and homicides in January that runs counter to the crime statistics he cites so proudly and often. There was little talk of street homelessness, but he mentioned an effort to house homeless veterans. Also left unsaid was how he was going to enlist help from state government. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who seems to love cutting the mayor down to size, wasted no time in declaring on Tuesday that the Sunnyside Yards plan was unworkable because the state has other plans for the property. Housing fantasies: The hole in de Blasio‘s ‘big idea’(NYP) *Address: Full of Ambition, but Light on Details (NYT)  Mayors often use their annual speech to outline a raft of proposals, but Bill de Blasio spoke mostly about a plan that would transform neighborhoods from Staten Island to Brooklyn.* De Blasio’s speech focused mainly on housing. It was big on ambition and light on details.*Activists Trash Billde Blasio for Neglecting NYPD Issues in State of the City Speech (NYO)* Mayor de Blasio on his ferry plan: ‘If you build it, they will come’(NYDN)
The mayor appears addicted to blurting out preposterous, fantastic proposals, and then backing them up with faux-enthusiastic guff that only the most uncritical progressive could possibly swallow
Mayor Blue Sky (City Journal) Bill de Blasio’s empathy agenda for New York City New York City mayor Bill de Blasio delivered hisState of the City speechthis week after his first full year on the job. The address, along with various media follow-ups, demonstrated that his administration is focused almost exclusively on one thing: making New Yorkers understand how much Bill de Blasio cares. The mayor appears addicted to blurting out preposterous, fantastic proposals, and then backing them up with faux-enthusiastic guff that only the most uncritical progressive could possibly swallow. In de Blasio’s world, the sun is always just about to come out. Everything’s going to work out great.

Weaken the Neighborhoods for Central Control By the Mayor and Developers 
Lindsay, Wagner Breslin and Mailer Worked to Give More Power To the City's Neighborhoods
In the early 1970's, Mayor John Lindsay created additional entities in some districts whose responsibility it was to oversee the provision of City services. Each "Little City Hall" as they were called, was headed by a District Manager, a person appointed by the mayor. Lindsay wanted the city halls to give neighborhoods more control of the city's government.  How They Came Into Being What would eventually evolve into a system of Community Boards was the brainchild of Robert Wagner, Manhattan Borough President, in 1951. He designated twelve districts within Manhattan and established, for each, a Community Planning Council composed of fifteen to twenty members. The function of these Councils was to advise the Borough President on matters related to planning and the budget. In 1963 while Wagner was battling Tammany Halls shadow control of city government, he got the City Charter to establishment Community Planning Boards, as they were referred to, in all five boroughs of New York City. Eventually the term "Community Planning Board" was shortened to simply "Community Board". The role of the boards was still that of advisory boards to the Borough Presidents.

Assembly Puppets So Used to Kissing Silver's Ass Could Not Even Oppose A Weak Political Machine
Weak Pols Fear of Pissing Off the Leader
Lawmakers are failing to vet their party bosses' anointed candidate for speaker. The raw power of New York City’s Democratic bosses has set Assemblyman — and, yes, Bronx party leader — Carl Heastie on track for coronation as Assembly speaker. Never mind that Heastie is an expense-account hog, has been a no-show at roll calls, has pulled down $14,000 in bonus pay for no work, has a paper-thin legislative record, cuts corners on campaign finance disclosure and plays fast and loose with campaign funds. These are frivolities to his fellow bosses: Frank Seddio of Brooklyn, Rep. Joe Crowley of Queens and Assemblyman Keith Wright of Manhattan. But they should be matters of pressing interest to the Assembly members the bosses have cowed into backing Heastie without the slightest scrutiny. When the Dems began to come to their senses after Sheldon Silver’s arrest, they gushed with promises of openness and reform. They agreed that Silver would leave Monday and that members would vote on a successor on Feb. 10. The delay was designed to give contenders the chance to make their cases and for members to review the backgrounds of candidates. But then the bosses intervened with visions of owning the Assembly through Heastie. Quickly, the members fell in line. On Thursday, while visiting the Daily News Editorial Board, Majority Leader Joe Morelle called for a full and open process and said he was in the fight to the end. Less than 24 hours later, the hayseed from Rochester caved to the city’s tough guys.  Ladies and gentlemen, we give you Carl Heastie, Albany’s new standard-bearer of ethics, a man who is also surrounded by an small army of fixers. Whoa.Assembly Democrats are being too hasty about Carl Heastie (NYDN Ed) * Speaker selection process happens behind closed doors (LoHud)

True News Wags NYP's Goodwin on Organize Crime Albany Government
Today's NYP 
Sheldon Silver'sdownfall exposes corruption in Albany(Goodwin, NYP) Since prosecutors filed the charges against Silver, published reports are detailing how he manipulated the courts, the Legislature, not-for-profits and even an innocuous-sounding resolution to enrich himself. The portrait that emerges is that of a boss of a Mafia-like gang. Think of it as La Cosa Nostra’s government family.

True News Last Weekend
New York's Organize Crime Politics 
Crooks in Assembly are using 1957 Apalachin Organized Crime Commission as model to Take Heat Off Them 

A Coalition of County Leader Puppets and Silver Changes Nothing

New York’s representative democracy has been hijacked in an organized crime sort of way by our elected officials.  Just like the mob at the Appalachian meeting rigged drugs, gambling and prostitution, our elected officials have rigged government, the judicial system and the state prosecutors to enrich themselves in money and power.  That 1957 meeting included over 100 mobsters including "Joe the Barber," divided the illegal operations of loan sharking, narcotics trafficking and gambling controlled by the late Albert Anastasia. The soldiers of New York’s Political Elected Mob are two Tammany Hall machines that have control over a broken down election system, unbeatable and unaccountable to the voters in New York’s broken down election system.  The lobbyist with their real estate and union funding make up the new machine, the party leaders who no longer control the vote, but its leaders have control of the special election, the court and the old guard of elected officials in Albany makes up the second machine.Under plan to cede duties to senior members, Silver would keep his title, his formal powers and his leadership stipend, spokesman says.

The New Puppet Bosses of Albany Is As Bad As the Old Boss
Like the Appalachian mobsters the Party leaders, consultants/lobbyist has divided up New York to control the government and rake in millions of dollars for themselves. The press coverage of politics is amazingly similar to the SEC reviews of Madoff’s records over the years. They saw but did nothing.  The press is reporting the indictment of the U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, but they are not helping him by investigating the corrupt like he asked them to do over a year ago.

NYP: Why Did the AG Not Scream to High Heaven About Moreland Being Shut Down
Eric the silent(NYP Ed) Ever since Sheldon Silver’s arrest, there’s been nothing more thunderous in New York than the silence of the state’s top lawman, Eric Schneiderman. If what US Attorney Preet Bharara alleges is true — that for years Assembly Speaker Silver “monetized public office” — why should it have taken a federal prosecutor to bring him down? Why wasn’t it New York’s attorney general? Schneiderman has said before that our state laws don’t give him much power toprosecute crooked pols. But even if it’s true, the excuse doesn’t wash in this case. When Gov. Cuomo set up the Moreland Commission to “probe systemic public corruption and the appearance of such corruption in state government, political campaigns and elections in New York State,” commission members were deputized under Attorney General Schneiderman. This was done specifically to give them the authority to investigate the Legislature. Gov. Cuomo later shut down the Moreland Commission before it could finish its work — as we can see by Bharara’s corruption charges against Silver. He did so, moreover, after his own staff had been pressuring Moreland investigators against some subpoenas they’d wanted to send out.Which leaves us with questions. First is whether the governor in fact had the authority to take these powers from Schneid-­­­ erman’s deputies in the middle of their investigation. Even if he did, why wasn’t Schneiderman scream to high heaven about what was happening to his deputies?* Preet Bharara seemsto like to steal Gov. Cuomo's thunder (NYDN) His arrest last Thursday of Silver, a day after Cuomo unveiled his 2015 agenda, is not the first time he’s stolen the governor’s thunder. Last year, a Bharara radio interview in which he made veiled references to his investigation of the Cuomo administration’s handling of a now defunct anti-corruption commission aired the day of the only gubernatorial debate. * Did Cuomo know about Silver? (CrainsNY) The question during the historic Watergate hearings in the 1970s was "What did he know, and when did he know it?" When the answers became known, President Richard Nixon had no choice but to resign. The same question looms following Thursday's arrest of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. "What did Gov. Andrew Cuomo know, and when did he know it?"

Follow the Money Weitz and Luxenberg to the AG and Others 
Weitz and Luxenberg was equally generous with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Perry Weitz, Felicia Weitz, Arthur Luxenberg, and Randi Luxenberg alone combined for $200,000, with each giving $50,000 according to an article that says “The attorney general has topped even his popular predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, in raising money from organized labor.” There have been other donations since, including $12,500 each from the two named partners.Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) said, “Did Schneiderman go along with Cuomo’s decision to shutter Moreland? Did Cuomo have the power to shut it down if Schneiderman deputized these guys? And if Schneiderman didn’t go along with it, did he just appear to while continuing to investigate? We just don’t know.” The good-government publication Gotham Gazette wrote, “Schneiderman’s entire involvement in the Moreland Commission mess, both past and present, remains a question mark as the AG has only commented to say he shouldn’t comment – something that is becoming a familiar refrain for many of those involved with the commission.”Interestingly, referral fees are at the core of the case against Mr. Silver. The government alleges that Weitz & Luxenberg paid the speaker $1.4 million in salary and another $3.9 for referrals – and that some of those referrals came from a doctor who himself was the beneficiary of state money that Mr. Silver helped arrange.With the stunning arrest of the Speaker, the disbanding of the Moreland commission once again takes center stage. The Attorney General was not only involved with that disbanding, but also counts the law firm at the center of the Speaker’s demise among his biggest donors. With US Attorney Preet Bharara hinting that New Yorkers ought to ‘stay tuned‘ for additional corruption arrests, the next few weeks could prove to be wildly interesting in the Empire State. (NYO)
More on the Attorney General Schneiderman 

High Noon The Sheriff Rounds Up the Dark Master of NY Politics 
Bharara Speaks to NY's Sheep (Us) Get Mad As Hell And Don't Take It Anymore
Preet Bharara, speaking at the New York Law School, took direct aim at how deal-making has long been done in the state capital.* U.S. Attorney Blasts Albany Status Quo(NY1) *  Assembly Speaker's Arrest Draws Attention to US Attorney Prosecuting Him (NY1) *Bharara tells publicto demand more of its leaders as Speaker Silver faces possibility of morecharges.(NY1) *Preet riffs on New York for being the ‘sitcom’ state(NYP)

People need to demand more, Bharara says before quoting Edward R Murrow: 'a nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves'* #SheldonSilver Silver charges - time for reform is now. Time for people to demand more from their pols. * "I'm very confused about the Moreland Commission" like many others, Bharara says, done thinking about its powers (doing own investigations) * "The purpose of school is to educate people...if all our schools did was teach to the test, we'd have a bunch of crappy people" -Bharara * People need to demand more, Bharara says before quoting Edward R Murrow: 'a nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves' Bharara: reforms are needed; and we almost had that with the Moreland Commission (audience grumbles)* "A lot of people can't name their state legislators, they can't name 2 of the 3 men in the room" Bharara says, adding public must care. 

Escape From New York Increase As State Falls to 4th Biggist . . . . Weaking Clout In Congress
A new NY? "Outflow of New Yorkers Rose in 2014": As expectedFlorida has officially surpassed New York as the nation’s third most populous state, according to newly released Census data, State of Politics reports: By adding an average of 803 new residents each day between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014, Florida passed New York to become the nation’s third most populous state, according to US Census Bureau.  The outflow of New Yorkers to other states increased as the national economy improved, surging back to pre-recession levels.* Ceding to Florida, New York Falls to No. 4 in Population(NYT)  With 19.7 million residents, New York now ranks behind CaliforniaTexas and Florida, according to new figures released by the United States Census Bureau.* The U.S. Census Bureau confirmed that, as predicted, Florida has surpassed New York’s population with 19.9 million people, compared with 19.7 million in the Empire State.* New York City legislators distressed at increases in property taxes are going to propose a rebate of about $500 a year for small homeowners, the Post reports:   * A report from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found the state collected $474.2 million more than expected in tax revenue last month, while collections over the last three quarters are $716.4 million more than anticipated, State of Politics reports

A Lobbyists Guides Mayor, Has the Mayor Marry Him and New Wife and Gets His Massive Housing Project 

 “[De Blasio’s] very interested in the history of the Lindsay administration. He has been quite clear in asking very pointed questions about what happened in that era.” -- SidDavidoff, via NYO’s Ross Barkan: 

Lobbyist For the Astoria Cove Project Davidoff Spotted At City Hall
De Blasio Performs First Marriage at City Hall(NYO) between lobbyists Sid Davidoff. and Linda Stasi, a columnist for the Daily News.Sid Davidoff, an early de Blasio backer and longtime friend whom insiders view as one of the big winners of the 2013 elections. Has gotten the following contracts in 2014 to lobby the mayor: Telebeam Telecommunications Corporation,   New York Cosmos LLC,  Association of Water and Sewer Excavators Inc.,  Madelaine Chocolate Novelties, Inc.,   AMERICAN RECYCLING TECHNOLOGIES INC.,  Election Systems & Software, Inc.,  Touro College,  Abbott Laboratories,  Times Square District Management Association, Inc.,  Oxford Nursing Home, Inc.,   New York Community Bancorp, Inc.,   Marshall E Bloomfield ESQPalladia, Inc.,   RCN Telecom Services, LLC,  AbbVie, Inc,  2030 Astoria Developers, LLC.,   HUNTS POINT TERMINAL PRODUCE COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION INC,  Taxicab Service Association Inc.,  Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York, Inc,  American Recycling LLC,  FIGLI DI SAN GENNARO, INC. ***Here is City Hall lobbyist Davidoff telling Earl Lewis on NY1 that the mayor will be OK

 Davidoff Cashing in Again  5-building complex OK'd for Queens waterfront (CrainsNY) The City Planning Department has given a preliminary thumbs-up to a proposed residential project set to include three towers, each with as many as 32 stories, plus a pair of six-floor buildings farther inland, with a total of 1,698 apartments. "This project will take what is presently an isolated and desolate, underutilized area and transform it into a vibrant mixed-use community," said Howard Weiss, chair of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron's land-use group, who is representing the developer. Astoria Cove, south of Astoria Park on a gritty waterfront peninsula, is being developed by 2030 Astoria Developers Group, which includes Queens-based Alma Realty. The property will include 295 units of affordable housing, a public school and a supermarket, plus a waterfront park that will be open to the public.
The Lobbyist's Shadow Government 
Real Estate Developers, Tax Breakes and Politics               

de Blasio's Owes His Victory to 3% of  New Yorkers, 80,000 Black Voters and 1 Sharpton 

Governing to 282,344 
New Yorkers
282,344 votes were cast for de Blasio in the 2013 Democratic Primary, about 3% of New Yorkers (8.500.000).  de Blasio tied Bill Thompson, the only African-American in the race, overall at 42 percent of the vote. Sharpton did not back Thompson in the primary.  In the general election virtually every vote cast by black New Yorkers — 96 percent — went de Blasio way.  Of those we have flagged as likely Black (which would exclude Whoopi Goldberg, Spike Lee & David Dinkins), we have 178,843 Dems who voted in 2013 Primary. That is certainly too low.

Many Black New Yorkers Are Seeing de Blasio’s Victory asTheir Own(NYT)In New York the Democratic Primary is the real election, for most elective officers.. In the primary runoff Comptroller John Liu received 127,173 or just 4% of the registered Democrats in the city (3,177,740) in the runoff. De Blasio did a little better with 138, 736, he got 4.4% of the city's democratic voters. John Liu was elected with just 2.7% of all the city's registered voters casting their vote for him.* "This isn’t thecampaign"-Ray Kelly to Bill de Blasio Bill de Blasio’s Circle of Power(NYT)

SI Special Prosecutor WFP Grand Jury Extended

The NYT Reports Who Is Behind the Demonstrations But Does Not Report the Groups Created to Influence Who New Yorkers Vote for
How Fringe Groups Control Politics In NYC
Special prosecutorRoger Bennet Adler’s probe  into Working Families Party extended (NYDN) Grand jury examining whether Data and Field Services illegally provided campaign services. The investigation into whether the Working Families Party violated election laws in 2009 will continue for at least a month into 2015. The grand jury convened in the matter was set to expire Dec. 21, but a judge extended it through the end of January at the request of special prosecutor. In an interview Wednesday, Adler didn't rule out indictments. He also said it's likely there will be a grand jury report that could recommend legal and policy changes "that would improve the campaign finance system and election law enforcement." "It's beneath the dignity of a political party," he said. "It's indecent and I think it's inappropriate. This should play out without the name calling. Let the grand jury do its thing and the result will speak for itself."