Thursday, February 23, 2017

True News Angry Tweet About NY1 Kid Gloves Interview of the Mayor Retweeted by NY1's Political Director

Fed Rat in de Blasio Investigation Wanted Hedge Ponzi Schemer to Nake Him as Insurance Beneficiary
Star witness in NYPD bribe case wanted pal to name him as insurance beneficiary (NYP) Jona Rechnitz, the feds’ star witness in the NYPD corruption scandal, pestered a troubled pal to take out nearly $5 million in life insurance — and name him as the beneficiary, sources told The Post.  The financially struggling friend, Hudson River Cafe owner Hamlet Peralta, 37, worried that Rechnitz wanted to have him killed to collect on the money he owed him, sources said.  “I’m working day and night to produce and pay [Rechnitz] every dollar,” Peralta insisted to Rechnitz’s lawyer in an October 2014 ­e-mail. “Please calm Jona.   “I don’t want to get killed in the last hour.”  But a person with direct knowledge of Rechnitz’s insurance push insisted that the real-estate developer was merely making an educated bet that something might happen to Peralta because he owed so many people money.  “He was concerned Hamlet would get killed by somebody because he was caught up in a lot of bad stuff,” the source said. “If [Peralta] was going to get killed by somebody, then Jona is out a lot of money. He wanted to protect his interests.” Peralta was arrested in April for allegedly scamming a dozen people out of $12 million in a Ponzi scheme that centered around a fake wholesale liquor business.  Rechnitz had invested roughly $3 million with Peralta in the form of short-term loans at the time, sources said.  When the money was flowing, the two men had a great relationship and traveled together, including on a 2013 trip with former NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks III and Rechnitz’s businessman pal, Jeremy Reichberg.   Banks’ relationship with Rechnitz has been eyed in the police pay-to-play scandal, and Reichberg already has been charged in the debacle.

de Blasio Under Investigation for Pay to Play Will Not Commit to Banning His Legal Contributions From People Who Do Business With the City
De Blasio cagey about details of his legal defense fund (NYP)  de Blasio on Tuesday would not commit to banning contributions from people who do business with the city when he launches a legal defense fund to deal with multiple investigations. He also wouldn’t say whether he’ll take Comptroller Scott Stringer’s advice and seek guidance from the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board on the proper structure of the fund.  “We will set up a clear standard that is fair and avoids a conflict, but I am not going to go into details because that will take a lot of work and a lot of hours to figure out what is the right way to do things,” he told reporters at an unrelated press conference in Manhattan.  The mayor has also said he has yet to pay a single bill to his lawyer, Barry Berke at Kramer Levin, even though he was retained in April.  Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey has seized on that arrangement in calling for an investigation — and he hit de Blasio again Tuesday at a press conference outside City Hall. “Bill de Blasio is corrupt and New Yorkers deserve to know how deep the rot is at City Hall,” said Massey, a real estate executive. “It’s not a rumor or an accusation, it’s a fact.”  The mayor has insisted that he followed legal guidance in all of his fundraising efforts, which are under investigating by the US Attorney and the Manhattan DA2

Cuomo Wants Happy News Flacks to Control What is Printed About Him 
Cuomo warns state agencies to start pumping out good news (NYP) Gov. Cuomo’s office has warned public-relations officers at 55 state agencies to start churning out a lot more good news about the administration — or else, sources said.  Cuomo’s communications director, James Allen, delivered the stern message in a conference call last week, leaving some of the agency officials rattled.  “If you don’t generate more press releases . . . changes will be made!” Allen declared, according to one source.  He singled out some low-performing state agencies by name, the source added.  One state p.r. vet said the call was jarring.  “I don’t like being threatened,” said the official. Whatever its intent, the call quickly achieved its goal.  Within the space of a few hours, the administration issued a flurry of press releases Tuesday from various agencies spotlighting its achievements.
The announcements included:
  • Solar power in the state increased nearly 800 percent over the past five years.
  • The State Police Forensic Investigation Center had slashed the amount of time it takes to process forensic evidence in drunken-driving cases.
  • There’s a crackdown on illegal waste dumping in the city, Long Island and the Hudson Valley.
  • A sting by the state Department of Financial Services caught 11 health insurers allegedly providing inaccurate or misleading information to consumers about providing contraceptive coverage.
  • Some 370 CUNY and SUNY students registered to take part in the first Making College Possible Coding Challenge.
Agency press secretaries are managerial employees who serve at the pleasure of the governor, so they already spend their time trying to make him look good.  “The time-honored tradition is the governor gets credit for good news generated by an agency. If it’s bad news, it’s the commissioner’s fault,” said one state official.

GOP Mayoral Candidate Calls Press Conference on de Blasio Corrupt Daily News Goes After Him on Social Policies 
Is the Press Protecting de Blasio?
"How can de Blasio think it's OK to go into debt with a law firm that frequently does business with the city?" Massey said. "No ordinary person can get legal services with no plan to pay for them."
GOP mayoral candidate Paul Massey rips de Blasio forfund-raising probes as he fumbles simple policy questions (NYDN) Mayoral candidate Paul Massey blasted Mayor de Blasio as corrupt on Tuesday — but gave muddled answers when asked about his own ideas for the city.  Speaking on the steps of City Hall, the Republican real estate executive claimed the mayor was too distracted by ongoing investigations to effectively run the city.  “New Yorkers deserve to know how deep the rot is at City Hall,” he said. “It’s not a rumor, it’s not an accusation. It’s a fact.”  Massey, at his first press conference, stumbled when asked basic questions about issues facing New Yorkers.  "I haven't established an answer to that," he said when asked if he backed increasing or decreasing the city’s controversial practice of stop-and-frisk police searches.  Asked about mounting homelessness in the city, Massey said, “It’s a matter of having someone run our shelters appropriately and having supportive services for people who need it most,” but did not provide specifics.  De Blasio, who is running for reelection in November, jabbed Massey for his stop-and-frisk non-answer.  “You know, the issue really hasn’t been in the news in the last few years, so who could blame him?” he joked at an unrelated press conference.  He slammed Massey as out of touch.  “I don’t think he knows a lot about the city of New York,” de Blasio said.
de Blasio Like Trump Attacks the Press As Partof His 2017 Reelection  

NYP's Goodwin Reports the Corruption Charges Made by Massey and That Dems Heavy Weights Hide From the Corrupion Investigation  
De Blasio will likely win a second term — unless he faces charges (NYP) But if de Blasio skates free, those timid Dems, especially Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James, are likely to duck the race and hold onto their safe seats for four more years. In which case, de Blasio would be a heavy favorite to win a second term.  That distasteful scenario reveals how bankrupt city politics are, with a mayoral indictment the only red line. It’s based on the cynical belief that voters don’t really care about ethics and that, among Dems, anything short of alleged criminal wrongdoing is good enough for New York.  Thankfully, at least one candidate doesn’t agree, and has the guts to say so. Paul Massey, a Republican running with the backing of the Independence Party, believes the scandals swirling around City Hall are important enough to be part of a winning argument. He is making corruption a key plank in his case against de Blasio, and plans to run whether or not the mayor is indicted.

Massey: Mayor Works Half Days Spending Time With His Lawyers Has No Time to Fix Problems ACS Homelessness
Massey was on the steps of City Hall yesterday, raising corruption for the second time in two weeks. He calls de Blasio “part-time mayor” and says he is so busy fighting to stay out of jail that he is neglecting his day job, which explains why he can’t get a handle on homelessness, child abuse and other issues.  “He’s working half-days, campaigning and spending time with his criminal-defense lawyers,” Massey told me. “We see poor kids getting killed, but no one should be surprised and it will continue until the end of year. He’s corrupt and incompetent.”

Massey: de Blasio Not Paying His Lawyers is Potentially Illegal
Last week, Massey wrote to the state and federal prosecutors investigating the mayor to urge them to also look at de Blasio’s plan to solicit donors to pay his legal bills. The mayor concedes he has not paid a penny to his lawyers at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, despite the fact they have been sending bills for months.  “No ordinary person can get legal services with no actual plan to pay for them,” Massey wrote. “This involves millions of dollars in credit extended to Bill de Blasio personally, which is potentially illegal.”  

Massey: Is de Blasio Sell Favors to the Very Lawyers Who He Hired to Protect Him From Pay to Play?
He also noted that the city already is spending $11 million of taxpayer cash to pay for legal representation of mayoral aides caught up in the probes, and has said it may need $6 million more. If cases go to trial, the cost would soar into the stratosphere.  Another suspicious wrinkle, as Massey noted in his letter to prosecutors, is that Kramer Levin has lobbying clients, mostly in real estate, who depend on City Hall actions. That arrangement echoes the very issue that led to the criminal investigations in the first place, that the mayor sold government favors to big donors.

Bharara Knows If de Blasio Walk No Ethics and Pols Like de Blasio Above the Law

Fair enough, but it’s no guarantee that de Blasio will get the last laugh. Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. and federal prosecutor Preet Bharara convened grand juries to examine the millions in donations de Blasio and aides solicited from firms and individuals with city business.  Several of those donors got favorable government action near the time of their donations, raising the possibility of illegal pay-to-play schemes. Extortion charges are also possible if donors believed their business would be harmed if they refused to contribute to the mayor’s slush funds. If de Blasio is not charged, there will be two main consequences in addition to the election. First, he’ll have no trouble raising money to pay his legal bills. He would still have power over donors’ businesses and contracts, and while some may complain at having their arms twisted, most will pay up.  The second impact is that the city should scrap its ethics and campaign finance laws and the state and feds should dismantle their anti-corruption bureaus. After all, if what de Blasio has done is legal, nothing is illegal, so let’s dispense with the hokum that the laws apply to politicians and private citizens equally.  If de Blasio walks, pols are above the law.

DOI Slams ACS Again Does Peters Who Was Cut Out of the Pay to Play Investigations Smell Blood in the Waters of de Blasio Land?
de Blasio Blasts DOI His Own Agency

.New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio slammed the city Department of Investigation, dismissing its findings about the city’s child welfare agency as “simplistic,” and explained the deaths of two children last fall on failures by individual caseworkers – not systemic problems, the Daily News writes.

Mayor de Blasio insists ACS has no systemic issues inface of damning Department of Investigation reports (NYDN) Mayor de Blasio slammed the Department of Investigation on Tuesday, dismissing its findings about the city’s dysfunctional child welfare agency as “simplistic.”  Responding to questions Tuesday, de Blasio blamed the deaths last fall of 6-year-old Zymere Perkins and 3-year-old Jaden Jordan on failures by individual caseworkers — not agency breakdowns.   Asked whether he had regrets about the pace of reform following the DOI’s reports, the mayor pooh-poohed the DOI’s findings. “Any oversight agency we look at, in looking at their reports, we look at the things that are accurate and we also look at the things that may not be accurate of the full reality,” de Blasio said. “It’s absolutely simplistic, with all due respect, to act like any other report by any other part of government is false. “I think there’s some temptation in the reporting, to take something that is unusual and exceptional and try and suggest that it’s systemic when I’m not sure it is systemic,” he added.  DOI released a report in May exposing systemic failures to properly monitor cases and adequately supervise caseworkers handling investigations of alleged abuse and neglect.

de Blasio Blames Everyone But Himself for ACS Melt Down 
The adult in the room at Administration for Children's Services(NYDN Ed) Instead, debuting Hansell on Tuesday, de Blasio went to embarrassing rhetorical lengths to reject established evidence that ACS is adrift — and to forward blame to outside forces.  While boasting of shrinking the number of kids in foster care, de Blasio pushed back on the notion that ACS hesitates to remove children from harm’s way, citing “cases where ACS decided a child should be removed and a court did not agree.”  He speaks of Family Court judges whom he appoints. Who weigh evidence amassed by ACS staff. Who decide whether children are at imminent risk of harm and so must be placed in foster care. De Blasio mused that judges may “have a belief” at odds with ACS’s judgments about what’s best for children’s safety. Sure, that possible — or ACS failed to marshal evidence necessary to meet its burden of proof under law.  Brushed off by the mayor, too, were recent probes finding alarming dysfunction within ACS — including a Department of Investigation report last month that nights and weekends were amateur hour for child safety workers, who lacked access to crucial information.  DOI rightly deemed that a “systemic failure,” on the heels of an earlier report finding dangerous holes in safety investigations. Again, God knows why, de Blasio bristled at the characterization .  The Administration for Children’s Services is set to be run by a competent professional who does not shy from tough realities. Pity the man he ultimately reports to still has a habit of hiding under the desk where the buck stops.

DOI commissioner slams ACS in wake of child's death  (NYP) The head of the city Department of Investigation blasted child-welfare officials Sunday for failing to address the bureaucratic bungling that led to a child’s death last year.  “We are nowhere near solving this problem, or getting to where we need to be to keep all of the children safe,” DOI Commissioner Mark Peters said on John Catsimatidis’ “Cats Roundtable” on AM 970.   Peters last month issued a scathing report that said ACS wasted two days locating suspected abuse victim Jaden Jordan, 3, of Brooklyn — even though the boy’s address was in the agency’s files.  By the time caseworkers found the child on Nov. 28, he had been beaten to death.  Peters also faulted ACS for not having “fully staffed call centers” at all times.  “Initially, when we came to them with some of these concerns, they told us that their review showed there were no real problems with how this case was handled,” Peters fumed.  DOI is currently probing the death of Mikey Guzman, 5, who died after being found unconscious in his Queens home Jan. 22.  ACS had previously substantiated eight cases of abuse or neglect involving his family, but never removed any of the six kids, sources have told The Post. *  The beleaguered New York City Administration for Children’s Services has failed to deliver its annual report by the city’s deadline, an oversight mandate created by de Blasio when he was a city councilman, and also failed to release its quarterly report, the Post writes. * Former ACS head didn’t enforce safety program for caseworkers (NYP) Mayor de Blasio’s child-welfare commissioner turned her back on a safety program that was a key reform adopted in the wake of the infamous 2006 beating death of little Nixzmary Brown, The Post has learned.  The Administration for Children’s Services modeled its “ChildStat” program after the NYPD’s widely copied “CompStat” crime-fighting initiative, holding weekly meetings at which abuse cases are randomly reviewed for shortcomings.  But ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrión — who abruptly quit amid furor over a series of child deaths tied to her agency — all but stopped attending ChildStat sessions shortly after taking office in 2014, three former city officials said.  As a result, ACS caseworkers now rarely show up for the meetings at which their investigations are analyzed, said the sources, who include a recently retired ACS supervisor.  Under terms of their contract, caseworkers — who directly investigate allegations of abuse — cannot be forced to attend, but they were “strongly encouraged” during the previous administration of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, sources said.

AVS Melt Down Following Zymeme Death Caseloads Exploding 
Embattled NYC Children's Services agency caseloadssharply rising following Zymere Perkins death (NYDN) Last fall, the city’s child welfare agency came under heavy fire for failing to intervene before 6-year-old Zymere Perkins was beaten to death in a squalid Harlem apartment caseworkers had visited many times.  In response, the Administration for Children’s Services insisted that everything was under control, pointing out that caseloads were well below acceptable maximum levels.  The day before Zymere died, the average caseload was 9.2 per worker — well below the target of 12 cases ACS had set “based on national best practice standards.”“Best practice” went out the window in December.  Following Zymere’s death, ACS began getting an increased number of abuse calls. As a result, by December, workers were juggling the highest caseloads in years — on average, 13.8 cases at any given time.  This is happening even as the city hired 600 more caseworkers last year; at the same time, however, more and more caseworkers are leaving, overwhelmed by a very stressful job. The end result is child welfare workers managing more cases each week, increasing the likelihood of missing something or improperly closing a case.

Does NY1's Political Director Bob Hardt Think It is All Over for de Blasio? True News Challenges NY1 to Debate About News Coverage
Retweeted your (True News') Tweet
You such a fake Hardt (your) man could become the first mayor ever arrested in the history of NYC HAVE YOU NO SHAME

True News Challenges NY1 To End the Ban on the Blog So We Can Debate Live on NY1 the Following:
1.  Why Did the Political Director of NY1 Bob Hardt Retweet True News Angry Tweet About NY1's Giving the Mayor A Campaign Commercial Every Week Instead of Asking Him About the Corruption He is Being Invested for by both the U.S. Attorney and the Manhattan DA.  
2. What will de Blasio say in his meeting with Preet Bharara?  
3, What about de Blasio's lawyers Kramer and Levin lobbying contracts?  Is it against NY1 rules to ask the mayor a follow up when he does not answer your question? 

The Mayor's Does Not Respect the Press Corp What Are You Going to do NY1 and WNYC Keep Asking Him Questions That Allows Him to Duck Explaining the Criminal Investigations Against Him
In the Feb 6 Weekly Interview With the Mayor Louis Did Not Even Ask de Blasio About the Corruption Investigation 

Mondays with the Mayor: A Focus on Crime (NY1)
How the Media Cover-Up WFP's Data and Fields Corruption Which If Exposed Would Have End Team de Blasio Schemes to Go Around the Election Law

The mayor’s best hope: more pigs to pardon  (NYP Ed) Somebody’s feeling the heat: Mayor de Blasio stormed out of his own press conference Tuesday after The Post’s Yoav Gonen inquired about Hizzoner’s pending sit-down with US Attorney Preet Bharara and a second reporter followed with another “off-topic” question.  Usually, when journalists defy de Blasio’s rules to limit their queries, the mayor just grumbles “on-topic questions only,” then calls on someone else. This time, he didn’t stick around to try pushing his topic.  Seems he’s no longer in a mood to even hear impertinent questions. t’s been a rough week. The Bharara interview could signify that indictments are (finally) coming down in the federal and state corruption probes of how his team does business — especially with big donors.  Then, too, a state judge is showing skepticism about de Blasio’s effort to dodge the Freedom of Information Law by declaring several top lobbyists “agents of the city” because they also consult for him.  Plus, the Department of Investigation audited a city hearing on that “program” that handed $60 million (above the contracted amount, for no added benefit to the city) to a bus company tied to a prime de Blasio donor.  And little children keep turning up dead despite being on the radar of de Blasio’s Administration for Children’s Services, which DOI just exposed as massively dysfunctional.  Each bit of news pokes another hole in his image as an honest progressive — and makes him seem just another transactional pol who rewards donors and hacks.  The only truly sweet headline the mayor’s been able to win recently came from “pardoning” that Staten Island pig.On Friday's WNYC Brian Lehrer in a 20 minute interview asked one question to de Blasio about the investigation:
WNYC Lehrer: Will You Meet With U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara
de Blasio: Yes I Will in the Next Few Weeks I Will
No Follow Up By Lehrer on Questions on the Issue
de Blasio Uses NY1 and WNYC to Create Safe Space WeeklyInterviews Fishy Attempt to Spin His Scandals

NY1 Stop Asking de Blasio What He Thinks About Going to Meet Bharara Start Asking Questions What New Yorkers Want to Know About What Their Mayor Did!
De Blasio confident about corruption probe before meetingwith U.S. Attorney (NYDN) "We did everything right. My team did everything right. I did everything right to abide by the law and comport ourselves in an ethical fashion," de Blasio said on NY1's Road to City Hall. "I look forward to going in. I'm happy to set the record straight that we did things the right way."  Hizzoner is set to meet with federal prosecutors in the next few weeks, he confirmed Monday night.  "The bottom line is we made a decision based on the needs of the people. That's how I've done things throughout my public life. And I think I'll be able to clarify that for them," he said. "This set of allegations just doesn't comport with who I am or the way my team or I have handled ourselves. And I believe that the discussion with the U.S. Attorney will be clarifying. I look forward to setting the record straight."

What is the Record Bill. NY1?
de Blasio said he’s looking forward to "setting the record straight" when he meets with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office about the corruption probe into his administration.  Bharara is investigating whether City Hall gave favorable treatment to donors to the mayor's now-defunct non-profit, Campaign for One New York. De Blasio denies any such favor-trading took place.

Questions Not Asked de Blasio On NY1 But Bharara Will Ask:
1. Why did Donors to Your Campaign for One NY PAC Like the Rat Bag Guy Get City Contracts?
2. How Many on Your Staff Knew About the Rivington Nursing Home Deed Change Before It Was Done?
3. Why Did Federal Witness Rechnitz Donate 35,000 to the Campaign for One NY?  Why did Reichberg Donate $102,000 to the Campaign for One NY That Was Used Laundered Through A Upstate County Committee to try to change the senate to Democratic Control
4. Why Did Your Cousin Union Contribute A Quarter of A Million to NYCLASS
5. Why Did You Ask Peebles One of the Bidders for LICH Hospital for A Donation for One NY? 
6. You Said You Formed Campaign for One NY to Fight Well Funded Opponents for Universal Pre-Kindergarten. Who Were Those Groups?
7. The Money You Raised to Change the Senate to Democratic Control All Went to Three Candidates Did You Direct the Money to Them and Did Your Lobbyists Like Berlin Rosen Work in Their Campaigns?
8. Why Did the Upstate Campaign Money Go to County Committees?  To Avoid Campaign Limits?
8. Will You Ever Produce A List of the Contributors Who Did Not Get A Pay to Play Contract in Return for Contributing to Your PAC Campaign for One NY?
9 Where Their Straw Donors in Your 2013 Campaign
10. Why Did Developers Contribute to Your Campaign for One NY PAC?
11. The Board of Elections Risa Sugerman Said Your Top Aid Emma Wolfe Violated the Election Law "Willful and Flagrantly" and Warranted "Criminal Prosecution" What Say You?
12. Was Data and Field (2009), NYCLASS (2013) and CONY (2014-2016) An Attempt By Your Team to Go Around the Election Law?

Bharara Slush Funds Invatation to Corruption True News in 2014 Called Campaign for One NY Was A Political Slush Fund
Slush funds are an invitation to corruption: Bharara (NYP) “Slush funds” like the one set up by the City Council nearly a decade ago should set off the alarm bells for all honest elected officials, US Attorney Preet Bharara said Monday.  “The public deserves to see where their money is going and for what purpose. Who puts the money in? Are there subcontractors? Shell companies? Be on top of that. Be wary of slush funds for council members,” Bharara told the Association of Towns of the State of New York at the Marriott Marquis in Midtown.  During his 13-minute speech, Bharara also bragged about not only bringing cases against “Albany’s bad apples,” but also prosecuting “municipal miscreants.”  “They include council members from New York City and Yonkers and elsewhere — municipal workers who decided to defraud the very people they were appointed to serve, party officials that thought nothing of skewing and election and broke the law to do it, Bharara pointed out.  “Third-party contractors who saw an opportunity to steal public money without providing the service is paid for.”

Bharara Looking Out For Kyptonite Fromm Albany Mob What About Team de Blasio? 

At first, Bharara made light of his Presidents Day speech, joking that the audience members had planted “kryptonite” in anticipation of his arrival due to his take-no-prisoners approach to Albany corruption.  “The corruption work I do, the subpoena power I have, why get up early on a holiday, it’s Presidents Day, shave, put on the suit, come all the way to the Marriott Marquis at some risk to myself because I can only imagine that this is some form of kryptonite on the ceiling,” Bharara said to chuckles in the crowd.  “Why come to speak to a captive audience of public officials? And the answer is that I have come to really love the sound of nervous laughter,” Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor quipped.

Not Only Has the Media Ignored Bharara Challenged Three Years Ago to Do More Investigating They Have Done All They Can to Cover-Up His Investigations By Limiting the Coverage
Preet Bharara challenged journos to do investigative reporting (CrainsNY) "Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," Bharara said. "Groundbreaking corruption coverage is not just good copy, it's a path to good government." Bharara. The press has a role to play. "Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," he said  The media has not responded to the U.S. Attorney request.  Today mostly what you read in newspapers feels like press releases. The former DA of Brooklyn called reporters stenographers. The entire 2013 campaign was full of press release promising more services for NYCHA tenants. The press never asked the candidates with the federal cuts in public housing where the funds were going to come from to repair the building.  As recent events have indicated there is no money to fix public housing.

HIGH NOON The Media Ignores the Real Fact That the Mayor Will Be Interviews By Bharara This Week or Next for Selling His Office

Today the Media Reports Instead
NY Times Cheesecake for the Soul: A ‘Golden Girls’ Cafe Opens (NYT) The tonic that is a timeless show about four aging housemates is being dispensed in Manhattan.
Daily News  Mayor de Blasio pushes mansion tax in Albany that wouldfund affordable housing for seniors (NYDN)

Sal Albanese ‏@SalAlbaneseNYC    NYC political reporting especially on local races is almost non existent. As print media sheds reporters it leaves a huge void.* I recall when @nytimes actually had a great reporter, Jonathan Hicks devoted 2 elections in NYC Currently they hardly cover the Mayor's race * I recall local press outlets covering local races with some good reporting. That's also generally history. Today they are 1 big ad * Press corps is apathetic about political reform even though it's one of our greatest problems

In 2013 the Mayoral Candidates Sleep Over in Public Housing and Made Fake News Promises of Fixes The Reality is NYCHA is Dying and Will Be Sold Off Building By Building as Pols Continue to Cut Ribbins on Small Fixes 

The slow death of New York’s public housing (NYP Ed) New York City’s public housing is slowly sinking into decrepitude as its oldest developments creakily approach 80 years in age. It’s long past time to set ideology aside to fund vital repairs — and to think about a future without public housing.  Nearly half the New York City Housing Authority’s properties won “troubled” or “low-performing” ratings in the most recent federal inspections.  According to the city Independent Budget Office, 10 percent of NYCHA developments received inspection scores below 60 to fall in the “troubled” category. And only 9 percent rated “high-performing,” with scores of 90 or above.  The IBO found that just 20,000 of NYCHA’s 400,000 residents live in “high-performing” projects. Three times as many live in “troubled” ones.  Indeed, the budget office noted that the lower-scoring projects were mostly the larger, older ones. That raises the troubling prospect that lots more NYCHA housing is headed into crisis as it ages. The agency is the nation’s largest public-housing authority — and the city’s largest slumlord. NYCHA residents regularly complain of mold, unlit halls and stairs and the lack of heat, hot water and cooking gas. The average public-housing elevator is out of service on a monthly basis.  The rent rolls simply don’t support maintenance needs, leaving NYCHA regularly on the edge of insolvency. And, thanks to decades of deferred maintenance, it faces a capital-repair backlog of $17 billion. Imagine what that could grow to when the time comes that large developments have to be replaced. They weren’t built to last forever, after all. When close to 50 percent of your housing stock is in substandard shape, it’s time to question your business model.  Public housing in New York was created in 1934 to be a way station for the “deserving poor” striving to join the middle class. Today, except for the lucky few who live in those “high-performing” projects, it’s the housing of last resort.  In the short term, one obvious fix is to sell off unused NYCHA-owned land to fund major repairs in existing properties. But ideologues keep vetoing that move — because they refuse to accept the simple fact that NYCHA will never have the cash to build on those sites.  This, when even a stalwart progressive like Mayor de Blasio doesn’t propose building new public-housing projects. His affordable-housing plans all turn on various ways to get the private sector to provide new units. The clear truth is that time will inevitably spell the end of all current NYCHA properties — with no hope that new ones will replace them.

Affordable Housing Lie  87,000 People Applied for 104 Subsidized Apts At Dominos

NYCHA is Falling Apart 10% Troubled $17 Billion Shortfall Federal Funds Decreasing  
10 percent of NYC’s public housing rated as ‘troubled’ (NYP) Physical conditions at 10 percent of the city’s public-housing developments are so poor that the feds have rated them “troubled.”  The city’s Independent Budget Office said a review by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development showed that the oldest and largest developments had the biggest ­issues. Roughly 64,000 out of 400,000 NYC Housing ­Authority tenants reside in the lowest-rated buildings.  This includes the Patterson Houses in The Bronx, rated worst in the city, where tenants have complained in recent years about the lack of heat, hot water and cooking gas, according to published reports.  Officials have said ­NYCHA is facing a $17 billion shortfall in its capital program, but noted that Mayor de Blasio has committed $1 billion over the next 10 years toward roof repairs.* At a time when America’s most powerful landlord, President Donald Trump, has threatened to put legal services for the poor on the chopping block, New York City is pointing toward justice with guaranteeing lawyers for those facing eviction in Housing Court, the Times writes.

NYP Right the Council Speaker de Blasio's Puppet Speaker Distracts From the Real Problems 
But It is the Media and Community Leaders Job to Bully the New Council Speaker Be Responsible For Solving the Real City's Problems 
Why no council speaker should give a ‘state of the city’ speech (NYP) This lame tradition of council speakers giving such a yearly speech was started by Peter Vallone when he thought he had a political career beyond City Hall; it turned out he didn’t. His successors, Gifford Miller and Christine Quinn, kept it up — and also failed to win higher office. But Mark-Viverito continues the practice, even though she has no obvious hopes to move up. Indeed, part of the introduction to her speech was a “What’s Next” video making light of her future prospects.  And that silly video set the tone for her equally silly remarks about resisting Washington. The speech hit all the predictable progressive beats and applause lines:  1.  Cooperation with federal immigration authorities? Resist! 2.  Free birth control! Comprehensive sex ed!  3.  Dismiss warrants for low-level offenses committed 10 or more years ago!   Now, look: New York leaders will surely have plenty of gripes with Washington in the months ahead — but Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo will inevitably lead those fights. Wouldn’t it be nice if the council had its eye on less sexy issues?

The State of the City is What is Really Happening Not Fake Campaigns Pie in the Sky Promises
Help unwanted: Mayor de Blasio's jobs promise is all packaging (NYDN)  Consider the mayoral State of the City address a piece of theater, projecting possibilities for a future New York ever more excellent than the one that rises so tall.  So a review is in order for the central scene of Mayor de Blasio’s 2017 effort, a promise to create 100,000 well-paying jobs within the coming 10 years, 40,000 of them before the end of the second term he hopes to win in November:* Bill de Blasio Seeks a Runway to Vogue Voters (NYP)  Facing re-election, the mayor discovers the promise of the garment industry to deliver jobs and, maybe, fund-raising support.

NYP Find Council Speaker Candidates At An Anti-Trump Rally and Ask them Candidates How They Will Solve the City's Affordable Housing Crisis  

Just four in 10 kids graduate college- or career-ready from the city’s public high schools. Yet Mark-Viverito’s only concern was to force new school curricula that reflect the backgrounds of all students.  She had nothing on the homeless crisis or the woes of the Administration for Children’s Services and the Housing Authority.  Of course, de Blasio engineered her rise to the speakership, so she doubtless feels obliged to avoid issues that would embarrass him. But the City Council could at least focus on the nuts-and-bolts problems facing each member’s constituents. Something for every council member to consider, when the time comes to choose Mark-Viverito’s successor.

How Power Brokers From County Leaders, Lobbyists, Developers and the Mayor Make the Council Speaker Into A Puppet

The NYT Leaves Out the Role of the UFT, Developers PACs and Lobbyists Like Advance Group Which Was Fined by the CFB In Electing Current Council Speaker, Pitta Biship, MirRam Group, Berlin Rosen

New York City Girds for Political Brawl Over Looming Speaker Vacancy (NYT) The focus on the coming mayor’s race overlooks the back-room deal-making over another powerhouse position in city government, the City Council speakership. But that outcome represented a break from recent tradition, in which the county leaders of the Bronx and Queens have teamed up to back a speaker candidate from Manhattan. In exchange, Council members from those boroughs expect to get chairmanships on key committees such as finance and land use.  For the borough leaders, it is an alliance of convenience. The Bronx, for instance, would not back a Queens candidate — and vice versa — because that would concentrate too much power in the other borough. But a Manhattan candidate is seen as palatable to both, partly because the Manhattan Democratic machine is relatively weak.  But this year’s contest offers additional intrigue in the form of Mayor Bill de Blasio; what role he will play is an open question.  In the last race, the mayor intervened immediately after his election, helping tip the balance in favor of Ms. Mark-Viverito over Councilman Dan Garodnick of Manhattan. Mr. de Blasio used his influence as the first Democratic mayor in two decades to support a coalition of liberal Council members, many of them also newly elected, that backed Ms. Mark-Viverito. * The looming January New York City Council Speaker vacancy is already swathed in all the bare-knuckled, backroom intrigue of old-time New York, with observers wondering what role de Blasio will play, The New York Times reports. * New York City Girds for Political Brawl Over Looming Speaker Vacancy (NYP) The focus on the coming mayor’s race overlooks the back-room deal-making over another powerhouse position in city government, the City Council speakership

The UFT Machine Spent Millions and Broke the Law to Elect Most of the CouncilCrainsNY on the Advance Groups Double DippingThe UFT Coup d'é·tat Of NYC Election System and DemocracyCity Council 2014, Fake Progressives, Puppets
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-ViveritoMore About the Increase Council PayMore About the City Council Demand for A 71% RaiseCity Council 2014, Fake Progressives, PuppetsCity Council Speaker Melissa Mark-ViveritoCity Council Crime Fighting and the NYPD

de Blasio Refuses to Disclose How He Will Pay His 

Lawyer Lobbyist Kramer and Levin

On Fake News NY1 Last Night de Blasio Was Not Asked One Question About the Corruption Investigation or How He Will Pay His Lawyers 
de Blasio declined to provide details about the legal defense fund he plans to set up amid state and federal investigations of his administration and fundraising activities, saying the parameters have yet to be finalized
De Blasio won't give details on legal-defense funds (NYP) Mayor de Blasio declined to provide details Tuesday about the legal-defense fund he plans to set up amid state and federal investigations of his administration and fund-raising activities.  Asked at an unrelated press conference in Brooklyn how the fund would work and whether he’d impose donation limits, Hizzoner said the parameters have yet to be finalized.  De Blasio was also asked whether such a fund would open him up to criticism that he’s relying on donations to pay for the legal defense of investigations into his prior fund-raising.  “It’s the only way — it’s a perfectly well-established mechanism — it’s the only way to put together the resources to pay for something like this,” he said.The mayor has committed to disclosing the donors to such a fund, which government watchdogs have warned could be on shaky ethical ground.   City taxpayers have chipped in as much as $11.6 million for the defense of mayoral aides who have been caught up in the probes, while the mayor’s 2013 campaign committee has paid $283,000 to defend campaign workers.

Stringer Calls for Conflict of Interests Board Review of the Mayor's Legal Defense Fund

City Controller Scott Stringer says Mayor de Blasio needs Conflicts ofInterest Board to clear legal defense fund (NYDN)  Mayor de Blasio should get conflict-of-interest clearance from the city over his plan to raise legal defense funds, city Controller Scott Stringer said Wednesday.  Last March, de Blasio retained Kramer Levin Naftalis to handle three investigations of his fund-raising tactics. The firm — which regularly lobbies City Hall — deferred payment until he forms a committee to raise funds to pay what he owes.  

Stringer, who Wednesday declined to say whether he’ll run against de Blasio, said the mayor needs the Conflict Of Interest Board to sign off on this fund.  “The mayor has to spend time figuring out the way to ensure that there is no perceived or potential conflict of interest with a lobbying firm that is also the law firm working on the mayor's behalf,” Stringer said.  The mayor’s press secretary, Eric Phillips, took a shot at Stringer, saying it’s impossible to know if COIB advice is necessary because the fund isn’t yet formed.  “There are not even prospective protocols to sort through, much less solicit legal or regulatory guidance on,” he said. “The controller has earned a reputation for not knowing what he's talking about because of criticism just like this.”* De Blasio backs law firm in fight over tainted land nearschool (NYDN)

GOP Mayoral Candidate Sents Letter to Feds and Manhattan DA to Investigatge de Blasio's Legal Fund
Paul Massey demands probe of de Blasio's legal representation (NYP) Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey is formally demanding the Manhattan DA US attorney probe Mayor de Blasio’s legal representation, describing it as “an arrangement no ordinary person or business entity could secure.”  Massey, a real-estate developer, sent letters to District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and US Attorney Preet Bharara on Friday.  Massey requested the offices “determine whether a thing of value, an illegal campaign contribution, or a failure by the mayor to pay lawfully rendered bills represents a violation of criminal law, the New York City Charter, or New York State ethics laws.”  De Blasio, who’s facing investigations by Vance and Bharara over his fund-raising, is using the law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel to represent him, but has not yet paid any of its bills. His spokesmen refused to say whether the mayor signed a retainer agreement with the firm last week, but said de Blasio plans to set up a legal-defense fund to pay the bills.  Government watchdogs have also criticized the arrangement because of the relative lack of scrutiny legal defense funds receive.  Unlike a campaign account, such funds are not subject to disclosure requirements.  More than a week ago, de Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips issued a “fact sheet” that offered a vague outline of how payments would be handled.

de Blasio 2014 to 2017 Vs More de Blasio State of the City Campaign Promises Real Problem Cover-Up

What Happens to the 2013 Campaign Promise to Keep A Hospital Open, Solve Homelessness, Child Abuse and Solve the Affordable Housing Crisis?

Mayor de Blasio touts the good, pledges job creation, andignores his problems in State of the City address (NYDN)  In his fourth State of the City address, de Blasio stood on the stage of the historic Apollo Theater, touting three years of accomplishments but saying little about several perplexing issues that have left him vulnerable to attack from both the left and right.  Little was said, for instance, about the city’s rising homeless shelter census or the bureaucratic bungling at his child welfare agency. Nor did he mention the $11.6 million taxpayers have shelled out for lawyers representing city workers in the ongoing probes. Instead, he admitted that his push for more affordable housing was not enough unless New Yorkers were making enough to pay the rent. With that in mind, he made a bold new promise to create 100,000 “good-paying” jobs by 2027, including 40,000 within the next four years. What wasn’t said seemed to overshadow what was.  The mayor was elected complaining about his predecessor’s inability to provide permanent housing for the homeless, but he has found himself struggling in vain to reverse the steady rise in the city’s homeless shelter population.  When he arrived at City Hall, the shelter population hovered around 53,000. As of Sunday, it had reached a record 60,111. Meanwhile, de Blasio has been stuck placing families in fleabag hotels and decrepit apartments known as “cluster housing,” where two tots were recently scalded to death by a busted radiator.  The mayor said absolutely nothing on another major headache — a series of revelations about his dysfunctional child welfare agency, the Administration for Children’s Services. ACS’s involvement with families of children who were seriously injured or killed exposed serious shortcomings in this agency’s ability to protect children, with more bad news expected in the coming weeks from an ongoing city Department of Investigation probe.  ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrion resigned in the middle of heightened criticism after stating, “We can’t protect all of them.” Since she left Feb. 3, the agency has been run by an acting commissioner while de Blasio searches for a permanent replacement. * In a move that surprised many at the State of the City, de Blasio avoided talking about homelessness in favor of a socio-economic challenge that is, in many ways, beyond the control of any politician: the creation of well-paying private sector jobs, the Times writes.  * They’re calling it a “prediction,” but it’s hard to interpret a yellow cab industry group saying it’ll yank wheelchair-accessible cabs off the street unless the city bails out the beleaguered industry as anything but a threat – if not outright blackmail, the Post writes.  @SalAlbaneseNYC  He couldn't get 'em to pass a bag tax, but they're gonna pass a mansion tax? * While New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s State of the City speech ran more than 8,000 words, just 214 of them were devoted to Education, prompting some critics to believe that schools won’t get much attention in his re-election campaign, The New York Times writes. * De Blasio’s State of the City Has Critics Asking: What About Schools? (NYT)

Rat Disease Building Owner Was Know by Pols and City Again Nobody Did A Thing 
After the Rat Disease Story Make the Press the Mayor Gets Involved 

De Blasio puts city’s ‘worst landlord’ on notice over rat infestation (NYP) de Blasio is vowing to “take over operations” of a rodent-infested Bronx building hit by a deadly outbreak of a rare rat-borne disease. * Plastic Bag Fees Make Sense. Just Not to Albany.  (NYT Ed)In blocking New York City’s plan to impose a fee, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has needlessly held back a workable solution *Notorious slumlord owns building with disease-carrying rats (NYP)  * NYC Council Members Trash Cuomo for Strangling TheirFive-Cent Plastic Bag Fee (NYO)
The rodent-infested Bronx building affected by a deadly outbreak of a rare rat-borne disease is owned by a notorious slumlord once deemed to be the worst in the city — and has a basement officials say was illegally divided into eight apartments.  Ved Parkash, whom Public Advocate Letitia James dubbed the city’s “worst landlord” in 2015, owns the decrepit building where Braulio Balbuena Flores was living in a basement apartment when he contracted leptospirosis last month.Two other people working at a small business on the same block in the Concourse section also caught the bacterial disease, which is linked to rat urine, within the last two months — and one of them later died, according to officials. Officials said the building’s basement had been illegally converted into eight units, which were vacated on Tuesday.  Parkash also sent two exterminators to the building to begin addressing the rat problem.  “When we came here, we saw substantial evidence of rodent infestation,” said city Health Commissioner Mary Travis Bassett. Last April, 38 tenants filed suit against Parkash, complaining about horrific building conditions.  “Rat infestation has been a problem that’s been going on for years,” said Bianca MacPherson, a paralegal at the Urban Justice Center, which is representing the tenants.  Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz blasted the landlord and the city, saying there have been 1,500 complaints made at the building since 2010.* Residents in the Grand Concourse area of the Bronx were furious after learning three people living or working on one block had been infected by a rare disease spread by rat urine, saying the city had been slow to respond, the Journal reports. * Cuomo signed a bill effectively killing a 5-cent fee on plastic bags in New York City, disappointing environmentalists as well as city leaders who characterized the move as a classic case of Albany’s overreach, The New York Times reports. *Andrew Cuomo blocks 5-cent ‘bag tax’ (NYP) 

City Spending On the Homeless Has Doubled Under de Blasio and Its Not Enough to Stop the Crisis

City spending on homeless to hit $2.3B this fiscal year  (NYP) City spending on the homeless in this fiscal year is poised to reach $2.3 billion — nearly double the $1.2 billion spent three years ago, Comptroller Scott Stringer said Wednesday.  The payouts anticipated for fiscal 2017 — which ends June 30 — include $1.4 billion for housing families and single adults in shelters, Stringer’s office found. The city also expects to spend $400 million for homeless-prevention and anti-eviction services, along with $188 million on rental subsidies. Additionally, the comptroller’s analysis showed that the city spent $102 million on rooms in commercial hotels for the homeless in calendar 2016 — a practice started under Mayor de Blasio.* Why homelessness gets worse as de Blasio doubles spending (NYP) Meanwhile, Stringer noted, the city continues to spend an “out of control” amount on placing families with children in hotels with no supportive services.   The mayor — who once denied a crisis even existed — barely mentioned the homeless in his State of the City spectacle. He now says he’ll have something more to say “in the days to come.”  If so, it had better be more than his usual verbal meanderings and vows to just keep spending. The crisis he’s created isn’t going away anytime soon — and, as Stringer says, it’s time to “just get specific.” And realistic.* The Post writes that New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer was right to suggest de Blasio get specific when he discusses his plans to nearly double funding for homeless services over the next three years because, so far, the spending has not come with results.* Queens tenants fight religious group trying to evict themand turn building into homeless shelter(NYDN)

City to Limit Funding Of Non Profit That Rented Slum Building Where Child Died 
City to limit relationship with provider that oversaw shelter where toddlers died (NYP) The city is moving to limit its relationship with a homeless services provider that oversaw the shelter were two toddlers died last year when a radiator scalded them with steam.  Homeless Services officials said the agency will remove or replace the Bushwick Economic Development Corp as the service provider at 33 cluster sites — which are regular apartment buildings that have some units reserved for the homeless — and then at 11 commercial hotels that are being used as shelters.  The firm, known as BEDCO, also manages eight traditional shelter sites that are not being impacted by the city’s actions.   City officials said a combination of factors prompted the move — including poor outcomes from the firm’s social services as well as the number of violations at certain sites.  A number of building owners have filed lawsuits against BEDCO alleging that the firm stopped paying its bills — including $1.5 million owed to the former owner of a shelter on DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn.  The firm also helped place and support the five homeless families at the building where the Ambrose sisters — 2-year-old Ibanez and 1-year-old Scylee — died after a radiator apparently malfunctioned and scalded them with steam.  BEDCO director Frank Boswell didn’t respond to an email and phone call seeking comment.

What About the Other Non Profits Renting to Slum Landlords?
Mayor de Blasio tocut off city's use of nonprofit that has been cited for placing homeless inrun-down housing (NYDN) Eight months ago the city signed a $16 million contract with a nonprofit that had been cited repeatedly for housing the homeless in decrepit apartments and hotels.  On Thursday Mayor de Blasio pulled the plug, announcing that in the coming months, the city will phase out its use of Bushwick Economic Development Corp.  In Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, BEDCO houses hundreds of homeless families and single adults in 11 hotels and 33 so-called “cluster sites,” private apartment buildings notorious for scandalous conditions.  De Blasio had criticized both programs before he was elected mayor but was forced to expand the use of both as the shelter census rose from 53,000 in January 2014 to 60,000 this week.  The city will move the all the homeless individuals now living in these hotels and apartments to either permanent housing or other hotels and cluster sites not run by BEDCO.  The nonprofit, which receives tens of millions of taxpayer dollars each year from the city and state, was one of several groups DHS paid to house the homeless.  In March 2015, the city Department of Investigation cited several of those groups — including BEDCO — for routinely placing families in squalid apartments with dozens of housing, building and health code violations.  At one BEDCO building on E. 174th St. in the Bronx, DOI found a large dead rat that had been lying in the lobby for days.  At the time, DOI criticized the city’s habit of repeatedly retaining the groups on an “emergency” basis without actual contracts. That gave the city little leverage to demand the groups remedy horrendous living conditions.  BEDCO also placed families in the Bronx building where two infants were scalded to death in December due to a faulty radiator. A tenant at the building told the News she'd reported a busted radiator in her apartment to BEDCO, but no one came to fix it.  The BEDCO announcement came three days after the mayor was criticized for saying nothing about the homeless crisis during his rambling 65-minute State of the City address Monday night.  The decision to cut off BEDCO is part of a de Blasio promise made last year to eliminate all "cluster sites” by 2018. He’s also vowed to end the use of hotels, but without a specific deadline.  The cut-off also represents an abrupt about-face. Just eight months ago, DHS renewed two BEDCO contracts, including a $2.2 million contract that was to continue through June and a $16.8 million contract that was to continue into 2020.  The nonprofit currently has 12 contracts with DHS, most of which expire this year. It also manages eight traditional shelters, and the city says it will review those contracts as well within the next 90 days. Last year, Banks said, the city eliminated 10,000 code violations in shelters and “cluster sites,” and will stop using these apartments and hotels as soon as possible.


The Times writes that Cuomo looks inconsistent now that he has halted New York City’s plan to impose a 5-cent fee on plastic bags because he’s not known for letting perfect be the enemy of the good and has argued for region-by-region initiatives in the past.  * The Times Union writes that New York City could once again lead the way on statewide law – as it did with its indoor smoking ban – if the state would not stand in the way of innovators trying reduce the use of disposable plastic bags. * The Daily News writes that Cuomo joined the gang “infantilizing New York City” when he did not stand up and reject the Legislature’s attempt to kill the city’s imposition of a nickel fee on disposable bags.

Cuomo’s mighty pen must defend the city’s nickel bag fee(NYDN) * The Times writes that the state Legislature is abusing its power by overriding New York City’s plan to impose a nickel surcharge on plastic and paper bags, and Cuomo should stand up for home rule by vetoing the legislation.* The Post writes that Cuomo is reportedly trying to broker a compromise on the plastic bag surcharge, but he has better things to do and should just sign the bill and kill what amounts to a punitive tax.
Cuomo says he’s torn between the environmental andeconomic impact of 5-cent plastic bag fee (NYDN)   Sources say @NYGovCuomo has already reached out to State and City legislative leaders in an attempt to broker a compromise on bag fee * Only the New York state Legislature could take the uncontroversial idea of a 5-cent fee on plastic bags in New York City and twist it into a radical scheme to harm New Yorkers, Nicole Gelinas writes.

Assembly halts city's plastic bag fee. Speaker Heastie: "We have heard from many constituents concerned about the financial burden."
State lawmakers to vote on delaying city’s 5-cent bag fee (NYP) ALBANY — State lawmakers within days plan to vote on a bill that would postpone the city’s 5-cent plastic-bag fee for a year.* 5-Cent Plastic Bag Fee Slated to be Postponed, Less Than 2 Weeks Before its Start (NY1) * Environmental groups and New York City politicians urged the state Legislature not to block the city from adding a 5-cent fee on plastic and paper bags, with some saying Albany is moving to make a power grab, the Daily News reports. * Carl’s dirty deed to stop bag fee soils democracy (NYDN Ed) * Carl’s dirty deed to stop bag fee soils democracy (NYDN Ed) Heastie and his fellow Democrats join John Flanagan and the Republican-controlled Senate in bipartisan, bicameral ignominy: subverting local representative government to undo a fully legal act of New York’s City Council.  In the process, they are violating basic fairness — by leaving intact word-for-word identical bag fee laws in Suffolk County and Long Beach, L.I.  They are caving to Albany Megalobbyist Pat Lynch, a longtime aide and ally of Heastie’s disgraced predecessor Sheldon Silver, who represents, at $15,000 a month, the Orwellian-named American Progressive Bag Alliance (the chemical companies that make the bags).  They are insulting the democratic process by speeding the bill through without any hearings, testimony, public discussion or real debate. Compare that to the City Council’s two years of hearings and public testimony.  They are stoking false fears. Heastie baselessly claims that a phrase in the city’s law that “stores shall charge a fee of not less than five cents for each carryout bag” means that stores could charge more than that. But that wording just lets retailers sell sturdier plastic totes for a buck or so; Suffolk has the same language. Besides, the Council has offered to change the wording to specify precisely five cents.  None of that matters to Heastie. In cahoots with Flanagan, in cahoots with Lynch, he is set to treat his own city’s voters like children.  The arrogant asses in Albany should wear bags over their heads for this one. Governor, veto this piece of garbage.* Assembly votes to delay controversial 5-cent 'bag tax' (NYP)

de Blasio's Jobs Plan Will Costs Up to $91,000 A Job and Not Happen Until 2027
De Blasio's 'jobs plan' is a laughable con  (NYP Ed) de Blasio must’ve thought he was doing stand-up comedy Monday night at the Apollo — because his vow to create 100,000 jobs was a real knee-slapper.  Hizzoner was focusing his State of the City speech on Gotham’s “affordability crisis.” He said “half of the equation” is jobs.  Yes, jobs are key. But the idea that de Blasio (of all people) will snap his fingers and — puff! — tens of thousands of jobs will materialize is simply preposterous.  Even the mayor admits his 100,000 jobs — many supposedly to pay $50,000 a year and up — won’t fully appear for another 10 years. That is, long after he’s left office.  Start with his $136 million plan for a “hub” in Sunset Park for clothing makers and film and TV companies. If all goes well (cross your fingers), de Blasio says it’ll lead (eventually) to . . . all of 1,500 jobs.  That’s right: 1,500 jobs — at a cost to taxpayers of $91,000 a job. (And that doesn’t count Gov. Cuomo’s own $420 million a year to supposedly boost film and TV jobs.) Yet the biggest irony is that de Blasio has practically done everything in his power to discourage job growth — like pushing for a $15 minimum wage, paid sick leave and family leave, all of which make it more expensive for employers to hire workers. If Hizzoner truly sought to gin up jobs, he’d move to scrap all the mandates on employers and lower New York taxes, perennially among the highest in the nation. He could also make New Yorkers more attractive to employers and push up wages by seeing that kids get a decent education in the public schools. Right now, two out of three kids who graduate aren’t ready for college or the workplace — yet the mayor brags of gains he’s made in the schools.* De Blasio must’ve thought he was doing stand-up comedy Monday night at the Apollo Theater – because his vow to create 100,000 jobs was a real knee-slapper, as the idea that de Blasio will snap his fingers and jobs will materialize is simply preposterous, the Post writes. * Day after State of City speech, @BilldeBlasio's jobs announcementlight on details (PoliticoNY) * Stringer also bashed the mayor’s 10-year plan to create 100,000 jobs with city subsidies — the main focus of the de Blasio’s State of the City speech this week — arguing that many private-sector jobs are already created almost every year.  The comptroller’s analysis showed that the city has added a net 635,000 private-sector jobs since 2009 alone. “I don’t think people truly ­understood what he was talking about because [there’s] no plan, no timetable for a plan,” said Stringer, a possible mayoral contender this year. “[It’s] just an empty promise, and it’s certainly not enough.”* Stringer, a rumored mayoral candidate, tore into New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new plans to create jobs and affordable housing, and his decision to withhold specifics to address the city’s homelessness crisis in his State of the City speech, the Observer reports.

Dumb TV News Runs de Blasio Con Job As A Campaign Commerical
Mayor announces new fashion and film complex in Brooklyn, to create jobs with salaries of $53K to $57K (WNBC)

Manhattan Institute Ignores the Effect Of Gentrification on NYC Housing  
De Blasio's building challenge: The key to creating moreopportunity for all is producing far more housing at all levels (NYDN)   The mayor's new rhetorical pivot from inequality to inclusive growth — more housing, more jobs for everyone — is welcome, even if many of his tax-and-spend proposals aren't the best way to advance that growth.  The most promising tool in his toolbelt to grow the city's economy and make it more inclusive is his rezoning effort to reduce housing scarcity — and the blunt reality is, de Blasio hasn’t wielded that tool effectively.  If Wall Street and our high-income tax base leave, or if the international poor stop coming, it could only mean something terrible has happened to New York's opportunity engine. It would mean we've either taxed away our tax base or entirely priced out the working class with tight zoning, a la San Francisco.  True, the East New York rezoning went through, but everywhere else seems to be bogging down. Major rezonings in the Bronx and East Harlem — which would permit thousands of new units of all kinds for all incomes, fund new schools, create local retail jobs and grow the tax base — are at risk of stalling out.  One of the most symbolically frustrating defeats came in Inwood, where local NIMBYs defeated an application to build 355 apartments, half of which would have been below-market. Upon defeat, the project defaulted to a smaller, all-market-rate building, with less housing of all kinds.  The mayor expressed his disappointment after the fact, but didn't help Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez when it counted. Even now, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito needs help in her East Harlem district to make the case for the rezoning proposal there; where is the mayor?

2 of 3 NY Senators Skip Their Committee Meetings
I-Team: 2 of 3 New York Senators Skip Their Committee Meetings (WNBC)  The meetings are supposed to be opportunities for lawmakers to debate, vet and advocate for proposed legislation. But more often than not, the meetings are sparsely attended affairs held in nearly empty conference rooms with little discussion beyond opening pleasantries.  To measure committee attendance, the I-Team reviewed more than 200 committee meetings amounting to nearly two full days of video archived on the state Senate website. The overall attendance rate was 35 percent.  Unlike in the State Assembly, where rules require lawmakers be physically present to cast their committee votes, Senate rules allow members to send in “vote sheets” without ever showing up in person. The result is a lot of committee meetings where chairpersons simply move a list of bills forward based upon written instructions of absent members.  On one occasion last year, the Standing Committee on Rules approved 25 bills in just five minutes despite video showing fewer than half of the senators on the committee were physically present in the room. Another time, the Standing Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks, and Recreation approved 17 bills in just five minutes. Only two of the 14 committee members were present.   Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Brennan Center for Justice, a government watchdog, said Senate rules may actually incentivize poor committee attendance. Because it is nearly impossible for bills to get a committee vote without the blessing of Senate leadership, members of the minority party may feel as though there is little point in showing up to fight for their own bills, Norden said. Conversely, members of the party in power may have little incentive to show up, because their legislation is almost guaranteed to sail through. “There isn’t an opportunity in the committees the way there is in some other states for dissension, for the ability to force a conversation or hearing if the chair or the majority leader in the Senate doesn’t want it to happen. So in that sense, it’s For example, last year Sen. Roxanne Persaud (D-Canarsie) proposed a bill to provide cash assistance to single mothers struggling to afford diapers. Sen. Tony Avella (IDC – Bayside), Chair of the Children and Families Committee, declined to bring the diaper bill to a vote.    Avella blamed Persaud for failing to push her own bill hard enough. “She never asked for the bill to be moved,” Avella said. “She never called me or filled out the form to move the bill out.”  When asked why Persaud didn’t push harder to move her own bill out of committee, she suggested to do so would have been pointless. 

I-Team: 2 of 3 New York Senators Skip Their CommitteeMeetings (WNBC)  The meetings are supposed to be opportunities for lawmakers to debate, vet and advocate for proposed legislation. But more often than not, the meetings are sparsely attended affairs held in nearly empty conference rooms with little discussion beyond opening pleasantries.  To measure committee attendance, the I-Team reviewed more than 200 committee meetings amounting to nearly two full days of video archived on the state Senate website. The overall attendance rate was 35 percent.  Unlike in the State Assembly, where rules require lawmakers be physically present to cast their committee votes, Senate rules allow members to send in “vote sheets” without ever showing up in person. The result is a lot of committee meetings where chairpersons simply move a list of bills forward based upon written instructions of absent members.  On one occasion last year, the Standing Committee on Rules approved 25 bills in just five minutes despite video showing fewer than half of the senators on the committee were physically present in the room. Another time, the Standing Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks, and Recreation approved 17 bills in just five minutes. Only two of the 14 committee members were present.   Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Brennan Center for Justice, a government watchdog, said Senate rules may actually incentivize poor committee attendance. Because it is nearly impossible for bills to get a committee vote without the blessing of Senate leadership, members of the minority party may feel as though there is little point in showing up to fight for their own bills, Norden said. Conversely, members of the party in power may have little incentive to show up, because their legislation is almost guaranteed to sail through. “There isn’t an opportunity in the committees the way there is in some other states for dissension, for the ability to force a conversation or hearing if the chair or the majority leader in the Senate doesn’t want it to happen. So in that sense, it’s For example, last year Sen. Roxanne Persaud (D-Canarsie) proposed a bill to provide cash assistance to single mothers struggling to afford diapers. Sen. Tony Avella (IDC – Bayside), Chair of the Children and Families Committee, declined to bring the diaper bill to a vote.    Avella blamed Persaud for failing to push her own bill hard enough. “She never asked for the bill to be moved,” Avella said. “She never called me or filled out the form to move the bill out.”  When asked why Persaud didn’t push harder to move her own bill out of committee, she suggested to do so would have been pointless. 

de Blasio and Mark-Viverito Give Tenants Being Pushed Out By Their Gentrification Producing Housing Policies That Pushing Tenants Out A Right to A Lawyer in Housing Court 
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito revealed a $93 million program to guarantee legal counsel to any tenant facing eviction, the Observer writes. 

As Subway Riders Suffer the Gov Cuts $65 Million From Its Budget

A line tucked in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget calls for a $65 million cut to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority at a time when commuters are fuming over frequent delays, spotty service, overcrowding and fare hikes, the Daily News reports. * After a long period of improvement, the New York City subway system’s reliability has dropped significantly, with delays more than doubling over the last five years, the Times reports.  * Members of the MTA board have not reported their incomes and financial information, or have not updated them, despite a requirement to submit annual public disclosure reports each spring to the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics, the New York Post reports.  * A national pro-Republican political action committee is preparing to ramp-up efforts to oppose Cuomo – not in expectation of his likely run for a third term next year, but with an eye to his potentially seeking the presidency in 2020, the Times Union reports.
More on the MTA 

All Incumbents, the Party Machines Even the Unions Like NY's Declining Voter Participation Rates
NY Voter Suppression State Senate Republicans have balked at making voting easier, worried, it seems, that it will bring out more Democratic-voting minorities, but that’s no excuse, as encouraging greater participation in elections is the democratic thing to do, the Times Union writes. * Politicians push to make voting easier in New York:  (DNAINFO)
Voter's Protest: New York's Decreasing Voter Turnout

Who Made 4 Dems to Vote Against Sanctuary Cities CUOMO?

4 Mainstream Senate Democrats Against Sanctuary Cities (Kings County) While the progressive wing of the Democratic Party continues to rail against the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference for being aligned with “Trump Republicans,” Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Flatbush/Kensington/Midwood/Windsor Terrace/Park Slope), along with three other Democrats from the mainstream Senate Democratic Conference voted for an Anti-Sanctuary Bill, Kings County Politics has learned.  It passed the Senate, 36-26, on June 17 of last year as Trump was spewing anti-immigrant rhetoric in the lead-up to the presidential election. Parker and fellow Democratic Senators George Latimer (D-Westchester County), Timothy Kennedy (D-Buffalo) and Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Island) voted for the measure.  “I did vote no in committee and I’m the founder of the Democratic Task Force on New Americans,” said Parker, noting the task force strongly supports New York being a Sanctuary State. “Every member of the Independent Democratic Conference voted against the anti-sanctuary city bill that came up at a time when Donald Trump spewed hateful anti-immigrant rhetoric on the campaign trail. It matters how senators vote, and the fact is that four Democrats, including Senator Parker, voted in line with Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant platform,” said Giove.  According to the transcript of the session, among the senators that spoke up vehemently on the senate floor against the measure was IDC Member Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D-Central Brooklyn), who has been the target of mainly white progressive Democrats in the past few days for being a member of the IDC.

A Fight Between Lobbyists Who Gets the Body Camera Deal and Who Gets Campaign $$ And Secret Part of the NYPD's Budget
De Blasio and Stringer Trade Barbs Over Police Body Camera Deal (NYT) * Nearly $390 million of the NYPD’s budget is shrouded in secrecy, with the names of vendors getting paid listed as “not available” on the city’s transparency website, though the payments are vetted by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, the Daily News writes.

NYP Agrees With True News the Mayor's Interviews With NY1 and WNYC Are Controlled They Give Him Cover to Duck Answering Questions on ACS Incompetence and the Federal Investigation Against Him
Can the mayor make a habit of not dodging the press? (NYP)  Say this about Mayor de Blasio as the entire political world awaits news from his much-heralded sitdown with US Attorney Preet Bharara: He’s more than happy to talk about the weather.  And, to be fair, with Niko still raging amid Thursday morning’s press conference, reporters weren’t asking about anything else. 

"de Blasio makes the time for short, fast radio hits — the kind guaranteed not to go off-topic — as well as longer, but controlled, one-on-ones on NY1 plus the WNYC call-in" NY Post

Maybe de Blasio just wanted to focus on accepting the United Federation of Teachers endorsement the same night. Or been more worried that, with the snow not yet falling, the media might be too eager to ask the kind of “off-topic” questions he tries to ban. After all, it was just eight days earlier that he stormed out of a press conference after two reporters in a row dared pose queries on “unapproved” topics. The next day, he refused reporters’ questions up in Albany.  Yet the unprecedented “on-topic” rules have also allowed the mayor to stay mum on the Administration for Children’s Services mess, even after his own DOI slammed “systemic” and “high-level” dysfunction at ACS.

Buffalo Billion Corruption Update 3 Aides Arrested Demand Charges Be Dismissed
Cuomo aides arrested for bid-rigging demand charges be dismissed (NYP)   Three businessmen arrested in a bid-rigging probe that ensnared aides to Gov. Cuomo are demanding that their portion of the case be dismissed — or at least moved to upstate Buffalo where they say it belongs.  Louis Ciminelli, Michael Laipple and Kevin Schuler — all of Buffalo-based contracting company LPCiminelli – said there is no reason the bid-rigging case against them should be tried under Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara because no alleged crimes were committed in the city’s Southern District.* Cuomo has received campaign contributions from Kingston, New York, including one from an organization affiliated with Steven Aaron, who previously donated to Cuomo’s campaign and then secured tax credits, despite receiving poor initial reviews from state housing officials, the Times Union reports. * Bharara seeks 'efficient and fair' timetable for BuffaloBillion case (Buffalo News)
Buffalo Billion Investigation and Percoco AND 8 OTHERS Arrested

DiNapoli Stop de Blasio's Pay to Play Hollywood Because of Studio's Owner Contributions to deB and CONY Under Federal Investigation 
Former prison won't become a film studio in midst of de Blasio probe (NYP) State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has rejected the sale of state-owned land on Staten Island to a buyer that’s caught up in federal and state probes of Mayor de Blasio’s fundraising.  Broadway Stages won a bid in February 2014 to buy the former Arthur Kill Correctional Facility for $7 million from the state’s Empire Development Corp. and convert it into a 69-acre TV and film studio. But the firm’s plans — which included $20 million in promised capital investments — are stalled because co-owner Gina Argento has been a prominent donor to de Blasio fundraising efforts that are currently under investigation. “Broadway Stages and its owner and president, Gina Argento, appear to be involved parties in State and Federal investigations into campaign contributions to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio,” The Comptroller’s office also questioned the $7 million sale price, given that two state appraisals had put the value much higher.  Argento and her associates have for years been prolific donors to politicians on both sides of the aisle.   She rounded up $111,805 for de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign and, with Broadway Stages, gave $60,000 to the mayor’s shuttering non-profit — the Campaign for One New York.   An affiliated LLC – Kingsland 339 – gave $60,000 to the Working Families State Party and Puntam County Democratic Committee in late 2014 as part of de Blasio’s 2014 senate push.  Federal officials are probing donations to the mayor’s causes, while the Manhattan District Attorney is probing the mayor’s fundraising push for the 2014 state senate Democrats.  Argento has also given more than $115,000 to Cuomo’s 2018 re-election campaign, and made small contributions to DiNapoli’s campaign committee.

Will de Blasio Be Forced to Resign by Tanking Poll Numbers if He is Indicted and Take A Ferry or Trolley Out of Town? 
Will deB Make History by Being the First NYC Mayor Arrested ?
De Blasio's criminal defense lawyer, Barry Berke, already had at least one meeting of his own with prosecutors in an attempt to convince them not to press charges, sources told NBC 4.   Berke has not returned numerous calls for comment. The planned meeting with federal prosecutors comes after the mayor met with the Manhattan district attorney's office. Prosecutors there are apparently wrapping up a separate criminal investigation into whether anyone at City Hall crossed any lines in helping raise money to try to help Democrats take control of the state Senate.   De Blasio said he hasn't been informed that he's the target of an investigation in that case.* Hizzoner instead defended his taxpayer-funded legal bills on Brian Lehrer’s radio show Friday, while remaining silent on the ACS and the Department of Investigation’s damning report on “systemic” problems within the agency.
Who’s who in the federal NYPD/City Hall corruption probe:(DNAINFO)
More on Mayor Walker

de Blasio Counting On Deep Pocket Contributors to CONY PAC Under Federal Investigation That He A Target Of To Also Pay for His Legal Bills 
Is de Blasio Using Tax Payer $$$ to Pay for His Aids Lawyers to Keep Them From Ratting On Him?
De Blasio’s dubious plan for paying his lawyers (NYP Ed)  It’s come to this: Mayor de Blasio says he’ll do fund-raising down the line to pay the lawyers representing him in all those corruption probes into . . . his fund-raising, and possible favor-selling.  He’s spending $11.7 million in public funds on outside lawyers for several top aides also caught up in the investigations. But for the cash for his own attorneys, the mayor now says he’ll handle things through a legal defense fund or a future fund-raising event.  To which, presumably, the usual fat cats will give, with the usual expectation (at least) of return favors down the line. So the public can still end up paying . . .  It boggles the mind. The mayor seems to think he can convince US Attorney Preet Bharara that everything was kosher. But if that doesn’t work, he just might blame one of those aides.  Could that be top confidante Emma Wolfe? The Post’s Michael Gartland reports she’s been noticeably absent from key City Hall meetings for four months. Political intrigue aside, de Blasio’s Campaign For One New York was set up to operate outside of city campaign-finance rules. That meant it could — and did — accept money from people doing business with the city, who didn’t exactly suffer from having written big checks.  Which raises the next big question: Will such people be banned from donating to a legal-defense fund? That could get tricky — since it sure looks like the mayor is going to need a lot of deep-pocketed “supporters.”
de Blasio Legal Fees to Be Paid for by the Same Deep Pocket Developers That Funded CONY Now Under Federal Investigation

SenatorPeralta joining @JeffKleinNY and IDC to become their 8th member Liberals to Run Campaigns Against IDC Members 

Mainline Dems face new challenge, may lose Senate seat as member runs for Council  (NYDN) As the war between the fractured Democrats in the state Senate rages on, the mainline Dems could lose another member this week — though not to a rival faction. Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Harlem) is the favorite to win a City Council special election Tuesday. If he’s victorious, he’ll immediately resign his Senate seat, leaving the mainline Dems with 22 members in the 63-member chamber heading into budget season. More important, it would mean even if all nine breakaway Senate Democrats who are aligned with the Republicans had rejoined the fold — as progressives demand — the Dems would be a vote shy of holding the majority for at least several months. And the Senate would be thrown into chaos since neither party could muster a majority. The earliest the Democrat-safe Perkins’ seat could legally be filled would be mid-April, which is several weeks past the budget deadline.  Under state law, a special election must be held between 70 and 80 days from when the governor formally calls for one. But Gov. Cuomo, who has an icy relationship with the mainline Senate Dems, is under no obligation to order a special election. With previous vacancies, he sometimes waited months or didn’t call one at all.  If he doesn’t set a date, Perkins’ seat would remain unfilled until the November elections.  The intrigue comes as tensions between the traditional Democrats and the eight-member renegade Independent Democratic Conference have hit a boiling point.  A ninth breakaway Dem, Simcha Felder, of Brooklyn, actually caucuses with the Republicans. He recently was quoted as saying he’d consider switching sides if the IDC also went back.  The tensions were inflamed by the election of President Trump and bubbled over after veteran Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens) recently defected to the IDC.  IDC member Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) said that after Peralta’s move, she received a call from Senate Democratic Deputy Minority Leader Michael Gianaris seeking a commitment that her group would not poach any more members.
Rift among NY Democrats grows again (LUHUD) * Protesters Rip Republican-Aligned Brooklyn Democrat for ‘Running Away’From Constituents (NYO)

Breakaway Democrats in New York Senate Add Another to Their Ranks(NYT) * State senator switched parties because he needed a pay raise (NYP) Queens state Sen. Jose Peralta bolted from the Democratic Party because he needed a raise, sources told The Post. The Corona lawmaker announced Wednesday he would join the Independent Democratic...* A Movement Grows to Unseat a Turncoat Queens Democrat Peralta (Village Voice) * After state Sen. Jose Peralta left mainline Democrats to join the Independent Democratic Conference, sources say more Democrats in the fractured state Senate are considering defecting to join a rogue alliance with the Republican majority, the New York Post reports.Breakaway Democrats in New York Feel Trump Backlash (NYT)  Protesters in New York spurred to action by the new administration have found a new target: state senators who are members of the Independent Democrats.* Liberal activists are pledging to mount primary challenges to the Independent Democratic Conference’s three new additions – state Sens. Jose Peralta, Jesse Hamilton and Marisol Alcantara – and organizing protests outside members’ offices, the Times reports. * 
From Skelos to Flanagan, GOP and IDC Coalition

The Feds Try to Turn de Blasio Staff Against Him NY Post Leaves Out Lobbyists, Contributors and Developers Many Have Already Become Federal Witnesses  Who Will Turn on the Mayor Facing Prision Time? 
De Blasio’s aides fear he will ‘sacrifice’ them to the feds (NYP) de Blasio’s aides are scared stiff about his impending interview with federal prosecutors in Manhattan over his fund-raising operation, a City Hall source said.  “Folks in the mayor’s office are very nervous about the mayor going in and speaking,” the source said. “Everybody is expendable.”  City Hall aides believe “someone is going to be sacrificed,” the source said  “It’s tough to see how the mayor walks in there, turns to [US Attorney Preet Bharara], and says, ‘I’m innocent. I did nothing wrong. My staff is innocent. They did nothing wrong,’ ” the source explained. “He’s got to give them something.”

For Three Years True News Has Been Reporting That Campaign for 1NY PAC Was Corrupt 
De Blasio agreed to the interview after Bharara convened a grand jury in December to look into whether he and his team gave favors to donors for their contributions to his 2013 campaign and his nonprofit, Campaign for One New York

de Blasio Already Spoke to the Manhattan DA on Laundry CONY Money to Upstate Democratic Candidates 
He answered state prosecutors’ questions on Jan. 25 in a separate probe of whether Team de Blasio broke election law when it funneled money through upstate county committees to help Democrats win the state Senate in 2014.
While de Blasio and the press focus on Putnam $$$ laundering the FBI looks at the Terminator: Citizens United 

Rechnitz in the Middle of NYPD GifeGate and Seabrook-Platnum Hedge Fund Arrests is Already A Federal Rat
A cloud of suspicion has hovered over City Hall since April, when The Post reported that the FBI grilled about 20 cops over gifts and trips they allegedly received from de Blasio donors Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg in exchange for favors such as providing police escorts.
Rechnitz the Rat, Seabrook Indictment 
Sex, strippers and cops on call: How two Orthodox Jewssparked New York's worst scandal in decades(IBTIMES)  Jewish community leaders say Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg 'embarrassed the whole community'.

Berlin Rosen is the Top Boss of de Blasio's Shadow Govt of Lobbyists

Avi Fink Involved In At Least the LICH Hospital Sale and the Rivington Deed Change to Help Developers and Lobbyists Capalino
Another top mayoral liaison, Avi Fink, met with federal prosecutors regarding the donors and development projects, the source said.
CONY Paid for A Dirty Money Mailing That Help Close A Hospital to Build LuxuryHousing for A Developer That de Blasio Campaign CONY Manager Hilltop Now WorksFor
Closing Hospitals,HHC, LICH

Almost Everyone Knew About The Rivington Nursing Home Deed Change But the Mayor? 
The inquiry included the city’s lifting of deed restrictions on a Lower East Side nursing home. The move had allowed the Allure Group, whose executives had met with Fink, to sell the building to developers at a $72 million profit.

Timeline On the Village Nursing Home Investigation

de Blasio Created A Shadow Govt of Lobbyists That the Press Ignored But the Feds Have Not
Since then, federal and state prosecutors have widened their inquiries to business leaders, lobbyists, city employees and campaign workers to see if the mayor was engaging in pay-to-play schemes.

Where are the Follow Ups on de Blasio's Aides Wolfe, Gold and Offinger Who Have Been Served Subpoenas

State prosecutors in November and December met with campaign fund-raiser Ross Offinger, top political aide Emma Wolfe, union political operative Josh Gold, and political consultants Bill Hyers and Hayley Prim of Hilltop Public Solutions to answer questions, according to a second political source.
Where is the Media Follow Up on Team de Blasio CorruptionSubpoenas?

de Blasio's Wolfe Target of the Feds In Hiding
De Blasio’s top adviser absent amid scandal  (NYP) Emma Wolfe, one of Mayor de Blasio’s top advisers, has been noticeably absent and harder to reach over the last four months while embroiled in a federal and state probe of his fund-raising.  Wolfe, de Blasio’s director of intergovernmental affairs, is one of several aides now under scrutiny.  “Emma’s been pulled out of a lot of meetings,” said a city government employee who is typically there with her. “She’s his closest confidante in many ways. How effective can she be in that role?”  For the last two to three months, Wolfe has missed meetings with a top government official — meetings she typically attended in the past, the source added. “It has to be hard [for the mayor]. You lose your sounding board,” said the source. “You lose your political compass, to some degree.”  Wolfe, who worked as de Blasio’s chief of staff when he was public advocate, is regarded as “indispensable” to the mayor, according to a council member who recalled a recent, unexplained weeklong silence. Another council member said he abruptly stopped receiving calls from Wolfe in November.

The BOE Commissioners Fix the Ballot Again 
Something is rotten at the Board of Elections (NYP) Something stinks in Harlem — and at the Board of Elections.  In what critics claim is an extraordinary political deal, seven of the 10 commissioners on the city’s Board of Elections abstained in a vote to remove a politically-connected candidate, Larry Scott Blackmon, from the ballot — overruling their own lawyers and ignoring legal precedent.  The case involves the Feb. 14 special election to fill the Harlem City Council seat vacated by Inez Dickens, who won the state Assembly spot given up by Manhattan Democratic Party chairman KeithWright.  Among the nine candidates is Blackmon, who is backed by Dickens and Wright.  But Blackmon made a big mistake — he submitted petitions to run under the banner of the “Harlem Family” Party while gathering petitions.  The board’s chief lawyer, Steven Richman, said the name violated the law because it sounded too similar to the Working Families Party, and could mislead voters to thinkBlackmon had the WFP’s support.  “This is not a curable defect,” Richman said. “There’s a potential for confusion and fraud.” Candidates are barred from running under a partisan party banner in a non-partisan, special election. The board’s staff then recommended yanking Blackmon from the ballot. Board president Frederic Umane agreed.

Not Even Ballot Fixing By the BOE in 2010 is Investigated
Head of Board of Elections Fired One Week Before Election (WNYC) Sources at the Board of Elections say Gonzalez was fired over irregularities that initially appeared on the ballot of a special election in Queens for the City Council seat in the 28th district.*  Gonzalez Firing, DOI Investigation, Could Ease Awaited Bloomberg BoE Power Play(CHN)

De Blasio said he plans to meet with federal prosecutors in the next few weeks

As Yellow Taxis Weakens Because of Uber Type Services is de Blasio Turning His Back on Industry Whose Contributions Help Make His Mayor  

Fair Weather Friend 
De Blasio isn’t interested in helping out yellow cabs (NY1) de Blasio said Friday he won’t bail out the yellow-cab industry — even as the value of city-issued taxi medallions is plummeting because of competition from Uber and other ride apps.

Taxi Bosses Funded the Mayor in 2013

In 2013 the mayor raised more than $350,000 from taxi interests, while championing the industry's fight against Mayor Michael Bloomberg's efforts to bring green taxi service to the outer boroughs.   Flashback  on Funding de Blasio Campaign De   De Blasio, a taxi-industry ally, will start by ditching Yassky(Capital*   Analysis: Cab industry donors going strong for de Blasio(Newsday) *  De Blasio Reaps Big Donations From Taxi Industry He Aided ...(NYT)Taxi, Livery Owners Help Fill Candidates' Coffers(WSJ) Cab, Livery Owners Help Fill Coffers of Favorite Candidates * Taxi industry gave De Blasio over $550,000 for campaign (NYP) “He’s someone that’s totally indebted to the medallion industry,” said former City Councilmember and ex-mayoral candidate Sal Albanese, who now works as a lawyer. “They have huge hooks in de Blasio – and he owes them big time.” * Poll: NYVoters Say Taxi Cab Political Donations Motivate Crackdown on Uber
TAXI,  Owners, Lobbyists, Campaign Contributions and the App Uber Revolution

de Blasio Refuses to Stop the Corrupt Rivington Nursing Home Deal By Using the False Claims-Act

Big de Blasio donors and Lobbyists Like Campalino seemingly greasing the skids, damn the law and the consequences.
On Monday, state Sen. Daniel Squadron demanded an explanation for why the city has declined to sue the developer de Blasio claims deceived his officials into lifting deed restrictions protecting the Lower East Side nursing home known as Rivington House, allowing its conversion into luxury condominiums . Following a frenzy of lobbying by two donors to de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York, lobbyist Jim Capalino and union 1199SEIU, a city agency scrambled to satisfy the demands of nursing home buyer the Allure Group.  Those demands included the deed restrictions’ removal at the bargain price of just $16 million, far lower than area property values would dictate, all on the pretense that a nursing home would remain. Allure then turned around and sold the building to a luxury condo developer for $116 million. Quite the rip-off. Like this editorial page, Squadron remains puzzled over de Blasio’s claim that his lawyers are powerless to file a credible case under the state False Claims Act, which punishes malefactors who bilk New York taxpayers.
Timeline On the Village Nursing Home Investigation
DE BLASIO DILEMMA: Both Rivington Nursing Home Deed Change and LICH Hospital converting to luxury apartments...Both Under Fed Investigation . . .  Both Involve Lobbyist Capalino 

The building was run like a “RICO enterprise’’ complete with “mail fraud, wire fraud, extortion, obstruction of justice and transportation of stolen property,’’ the suit says. The plaintiffs even claim to have a company mole as a witness.  That person is a former rental agent and Two Trees worker who acknowledged that the defendants “intentionally sat down and agreed in advance to take part in an unlawful scheme to illegally charge inflated rents to rent-stabilized tenants,” the suit says. The lawsuit suggests that government officials turned a blind eye to the allegedly illegal shenanigans because they were “influenced no doubt by campaign contributions made by Defendants and their associates. “It is a matter of public record that seven developers wrote checks totaling $245,000 to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York before de Blasio announced plans for a Streetcar along the Brooklyn waterfront, with stops near the developers’ projects, including $100,000 from Defendant Jed Walentas,’’ the suit says. De Blasio has denied any connection between the big bucks and pushing his street-car plan. Court papers describe the Walentases as a $4 billion family empire “known for its singular role in transforming the Brooklyn neighborhood of “DUMBO” (an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) where the company’s holdings include 12 buildings comprising more than 3 million square feet of commercial and residential real estate.’’ The family also is behind the $3 billion conversion of the old Domino Sugar factory in Williamsburg into luxury pads. Two Trees bought the 125 Court St, property at Atlantic Avenue in 2003 for $16.5 million, according to reports. They then went after millions of dollars in public funding by promising to provide rent-stabilized and affordable housing, the suit says. But over the years, the developers knowingly misrepresented the market value of units so they could illegally inflate rents, the court papers say. The lawsuit adds that “despicably, Defendants even perpetrated this fraud upon the low-income tenants of the units designated as ‘affordable housing.’ ” The tactics led to a 300 percent tenant turnover rate at the building between 2005 and 2013, or 10 times the citywide figure, the suit says. Berman said he is seeking $10 million in back rent for his clients.* Tenants Take the Hit as New York Fails to Police Huge Housing TaxBreak (Propublica)

Conflict of Interests Berlin Rosen Works for the Mayor and Two Trees During Affordable Housing Deal Developer 40 More Apts Out of 2200?
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 agreement comes after a New York Times report last week that redevelopment of the former factory site could hit a snag with the de Blasio administration, even though a previous proposal from Two Trees had received support from local leaders and residents. The de Blasio administration wanted even more space for affordable housing. de Blasio has prevailed in his bid to wring more affordable housing from Two Trees’ redevelopment of the Domino Sugar site on the Williamsburg waterfront, with the developer agreeing to add 40 more units

The Most Powerful Man in Politics –Outside City Hall (NY1)
NY1 Berlin Rosen and the Wiseguys Lobbyists
Lobbyists Berlin Rosen Takes OverNYC Government
The Privatization of the Tammany Hall Machine
How Berlin Rosen Comprised Journalism
Sugar Fix: Berlin Rosen an Unregistered Real Estate Lobbyists 
The WFP Has Played Fast and Lose With the Election Law,Data and Field Arrests
Media Cover-Up of NYCLASS, Other Citizens United PACs,  MayorOne NY PAC
How the Advance Group Conspired to Steal the 2009 and2013 Election 
CrainsNY on the Advance Groups Double Dipping

de Blasio Stonewalls Bullies the Weak Press On U.S. Attorney Bharara Meeting 
De Blasio refuses to address upcoming Bharara meeting (NYP)  de Blasio — who is under heavy fire over everything from a federal corruption probe to his beleaguered child-welfare agency — shut down a press availability Tuesday rather than answer questions about his upcoming meeting with US Attorney Preet Bharara.   “This is not what we’re talking about,” de Blasio said, when a Post reporter asked for details about the Bharara meeting following a photo op regarding the NYPD’s bulletproof squad-car windows in The Bronx. “C’mon c’mon — we’re on this topic,” the mayor insisted.  The US attorney sit-down was revealed Friday — and since then, de Blasio has kept his media briefings on-topic only.  When another reporter asked Tuesday about comments he made that characterized drunken driving as a minor offense not worthy of reporting to federal immigration officials, he snapped, “This is not about this topic here.”  The mayor left while several reporters had their arms raised to question him.

Everyone in the Press Who Talked to de Blasio's Press Spokesman Levitan Knew About Berlin Rosen Conflict of Interests With the Administration That Supreme Court Justice Lobis Pointed Out Yesterday 

There are 163,000 Google Hits for Berlin Rosen' Dan Levitan on Google Most of Those As Spokesman for Mayor de Blasio

de Blasio Goes Around Bidding to Give More Money to A Bus Contractor Interconnected to the Federal Investigation Senate Political Donor DOI Investigates
City Hall’s putrid multimillion-dollar gift to a political donor (NYP Ed)  Why let a few corruption probes stop you from rewarding your donors with taxpayer cash?  Prosecutors are looking closely for ties between a private bus company founder’s $100,000 political gift and Mayor de Blasio’s $61 million grant to that firm — yet Hizzoner is set to hand it millions more.  On Tuesday, a Department of Small Business Services hearing will consider shelling out fresh tens of millions to school-bus companies like Reliant Transportation — whose founder, Alex Lodde, gave $100,000 to de Blasio’s 2014 push for state Senate Democrats.  Reliant has already scored $61 million in such grants over two years. Why? To “encourage” bus companies “to maintain the wages and benefits” of senior employees, says Team de Blasio.  Huh? Mayors have a duty to safeguard taxpayer funds and bargain for the lowest price for services — not hand millions to (some) companies to raise their workers’ pay.  As the Citizens Budget Commission says, the grants are “supplementary payments” to contractors “above the terms of legally binding” deals, “in exchange for no additional services.” And they make a mockery of the bidding process — setting a “troublesome precedent” for other vendors: Bid low, then beg for a “bonus” to pay your people more.  Is it even legal? “The state Constitution prohibits the city from giving money directly to a private corporation” absent a strong “public purpose,” notes City Councilman Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan), and it’s a “stretch” to say these payments qualify.  * City probes bus company’s donation to de Blasio cause (NYP)  The Department of Investigation has taken an interest in a city program that has delivered more than $60 million in subsidies to a school-bus company whose CEO made a $100,000 contribution to a political cause championed by Mayor de Blasio. For the first two years of the program, only one firm — Reliant Transportation — had applied for and collected $61.2 million to boost the salaries of its drivers.  A third round of funding begins this year.  Less than two months after the program first launched, Reliant CEO Alex Lodde donated $100,000 to an upstate Democratic committee as part of de Blasio’s controversial Senate push. The effort ultimately failed. De Blasio had pledged to make up the wages lost by veteran drivers when his predecessor removed seniority requirements in a new round of contracts.  Critics say the mayor is exceeding his authority by giving away taxpayers’ money when there’s no contractual reason to do so.

Will the Left Destroy Schumer? Who is Their Last Hope to Use the Senate to Block Parts of Trump Agenda  

Protesters deliver boxing gloves and protein bars toSenator Schumer's home and urge him to fight President Trump:(DNAINFO) *  Thousands of protesters gather outside Chuck Schumer’s apartment (NYP)  "Thousands of angry demonstrators gathered outside Sen. Chuck Schumer's luxury Brooklyn apartment building - holding up signs and chanting 'What the f-k, Chuck?!' - to protest his lukewarm stance on President Trump's cabinet picks. 'Senator Schumer needs to know we're watching him,' fumed Brad Wolchansky, a 40-year-old soccer coach from Flatbush who was carrying a cardboard cut-out of a giant eye on Tuesday night."

Weiner Continues His Fall From Top of the World

Prosecutors Weigh Child-Pornography Charges AgainstAnthony Weiner  (WSJ)  Former congressman is being investigated for sexually explicit exchanges he allegedly had with a 15-year-old girl * Anthony Weiner may get slapped with child pornography charge (NYP) * PROSECUTORS WEIGH CHILD PORN CHARGES AGAINST WEINER -- Wall Street Journal's "Federal prosecutors are weighing bringing child-pornography charges against former congressman Anthony Weiner over sexually explicit exchanges he allegedly had with a 15-year-old girl, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Weiner, a New York Democrat, is being investigated by the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which seized his electronic devices, including a laptop and a cellphone, as part of the probe. Officials initiated the investigation last fall, after the Daily Mail in the U.K. reported that Mr. Weiner had exchanged sexually explicit messages and photos with the girl. In recent weeks, according to some of the people familiar with the matter, attorneys for Mr. Weiner have had discussions with federal prosecutors in Manhattan in hopes of dissuading them from bringing charges, or at least from bringing the most serious one: production of child pornography, which carries a 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence upon conviction."
More Weiner  and More  

de Blasio vs Cuomo War Update: The Albany Budget "Tin Cup Day" Edition
@NYCMayor says states new 421-a proposal produces roughly half the affordable units the mayors proposal last year would have  Big BdB beef with Cuomo proposals: Gov's new 421-a plan. BdB says costs city too much in forgone tax $ for not enough affordable housing.  "Were particularly adamant that we cannot revert back to a plan that subsidizes luxury condominiums," @NYCMayor says  .@BilldeBlasio raises concerns about pre-k grant consolidation program. Includes rate cut that would effectively eliminate 3,400 pre-k seats * De blasio says charter school initiatives in budget would cut funding for public schools. He also says no need to raise cap on # of charters * Unsurprisingly, @NYCMayor is critical of state cut that defunds some DOHMH programs, foster care programs, aging programs * Now, @NYCMayor turns to homelessness. He says city will announce "new comprehensive vision" for city's homeless in February. * Cathy Young calls @NYCMayor pledge of no new prop tax rate increases a "shell game" because assessments keep going up * De Blasio makes another push for ‘mansion tax’ (NYP) * De Blasio Steps Away From Trump Turmoil to Defend His Ideas in Albany (NYT) New York City’s mayor, who has publicly opposed the new president, attended the state budget hearing, where he spoke about education, children’s services and affordable housing.* De Blasio fights Cuomo’s proposal to abolish charter school cap (NYP) * De Blasio told CNN’s Jake Tapper that it is OK to shield undocumented immigrants who drive drunk from federal authorities if it does not “lead to any other negative outcome.” * Speaking to state lawmakers, de Blasio insisted the “overwhelming majority” of cases investigated by the city’s Administration for Children’s Services are handled properly and he blamed the media for painting an unflattering picture of the agency, the Daily News writes. * * State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan called New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed tax on home sales of more than $2 million “a non-starter,” after meeting with the mayor yesterday, State of Politics reports. * Video: Felder Slams De Blasio On Nickel Bag Tax & Being Unresponsive

Fredric U. Dicker@fud31   “This is not about free tuition,it’s about shifting costs &putting added burdens on people in the city..a sham.”

Anyone Who is Not Outraged Does Not Protest Our Corrupt Play2Play Mayor Who Spends $11.6 Million of City Money on Lawyers is Not A Real New Yorker But A Low Life Sheep 

After the Feds Join the Lawsuit for Voter Suppression by the BOE the AG Also Joins
AG Eric Schneiderman to sue NYC Board of Elections overimproper purging of 200,000 voter registrations  (NYDN)  Claiming that the New York City Board of Elections improperly purged over 200,000 voter registrations, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said his office would seek to intervene in a federal lawsuit on the matter.  "The right to vote is sacred, protecting all other rights,” Schniderman said Thursday. “Yet the NYC Board of Elections' practices were directly responsible for disenfranchising over 200,000 voters — violating federal and state laws, and undermining New Yorkers' trust in the institutions meant to protect their rights.”  Schneiderman sent a letter Thursday to U.S. Eastern District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn seeking to join a federal lawsuit brought by Common Cause on behalf of the purged voters. Garaufis already granted the U.S. Justice Department permission to intervene in the suit two days before Donald Trump took over as President.  NY AG Schneiderman Alleges 'Gross Negligence' by CityBoard of Elections (WNYC)  The New York City Board of Elections' improper purge of nearly 120,000 Brooklyn voters ahead of last year’s presidential primary was just one part of wider problem that extended over two years and stretched across the city, according to an eight-month investigation by New York State Attorney General’s office.  Beyond the Brooklyn purge, first reported by WNYC, Schneiderman’s office found that the city improperly removed another 60,000 voters in 2014 and 43,000 voters in 2015, in violation of state and federal laws. These actions were taken with the knowledge of borough officials and the central staff, commissioners, and executive management, who the AG alleges either did not know or did not care that they were breaking the law. In December 2013, the city Department of Investigation released a report that found systemic problems at the city Board of Elections, particularly related to their maintenance of voter rolls, and recommended the agency review its cancellation policies to ensure ineligible voters were removed. According to Schneiderman’s motion, in late January 2014, officials from the Queens Borough Office signed up for a subscription to the private, commercial website, where people share their family history data. Schneiderman described the source as "completely improper." The Queens staff told the board’s head of Voter Registration and the top two executives at the board of their plan to use the website for voter list maintenance. No one attempted to stop them, according to AG’s investigation. The investigation began after WNYC reported that the city Board of Elections improperly removed 117,000 voters in Brooklyn from the rolls in the run-up to the hotly contested presidential primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The AG’s investigation found that staff at the Queens and Manhattan borough offices also removed voters from their rolls for not voting, although the exact number of voters removed is unknown. Voters are only supposed to be removed from the rolls if they have died, are in prison or on parole for a felony conviction, or have been deemed incompetent by a court.  If the board has evidence a person has moved, the law requires it to send the voter a notice confirming the move and then the voter is placed in “inactive status.” The board must then wait two federal election cycles (usually up to four years) before the voter can be removed from the rolls, according to state and federal law. According to the AG’s office, the city board improperly removed another 103,000 voters whom the city Board of Elections believed had moved outside of the city, but only gave them 14 days to respond to a cancellation notice, instead of the two federal election cycles mandated under state and federal law.
AG Pushing Voting Reforms

The AG Wants Former Congressman Vito Fossella Mother Removed As Head of BOE Voter Registration 
Schneiderman also wants the court to remove the city’s current head of Voter Registration, Beth Fossella, who has served in the position since 2001. She is the mother of former congressman Vito Fossella, who left office under a cloud in 2009. The AG also wants the court to order the board to create a training program for employees on how to comply with state and federal law. * Fossella faces calls for his resignation - POLITICO * Affair revelation halts GOP congressman's re-election pursuit -

The Post Attacks the AG's Election Reforms As Not Addressing Real Problem Political Machine Control of the BOE What About the PACs and Pay to Play Lobbyists Controlling the Elections?
The Political Machines Run the BOE
None of solutions addressed the problems that left voters plagued with closed and inadequately staffed polling stations, broken machines and flatly incompetent poll workers. Driving all those woes is the fact that most New York boards of elections — particularly in the major cities — are controlled by political bosses who use them as patronage mills.  The answer lies in demolishing and rebuilding the Board of Elections structure. But Schneiderman didn’t want to go there — just as we expected. Nor do they address the issue of possible voting fraud — of the kind that city Board of Elections Commissioner Alan Schulkin spoke of in an undercover video, where he also defended voter-ID laws. (For his troubles, Schulkin is losing his job.) But precious few of Schneiderman’s suggestions have anything to do with what actually went wrong at polling stations this year — or the purge of one in eight voters from the Brooklyn rolls.* Schneiderman goes Hollywood for donations (NYDN)

Schneiderman Gives the Easy Solutions

All the hyper-partisan AG offers is the usual liberal wish list on elections: early voting, same-day registration/voting, “no excuse” absentee voting, full voting rights for felons out on parole, making it harder to challenge a voter’s eligibility and so on.  Which is why his “report” quickly won praise from the usual bevy of “progressive” and good-government reform groups.
Special Election and the Election Law
Attorney General Schneiderman and His Re-Election
BOE History of Corruption and Incompetence Timeline
10 Areas Where DOI Can Investigate the BOE

Justice Dept Joins Lawsuit BOE Violated Federal Law in the Brooklyn Voter Purge
Where is the Criminal Investigation?
Justice Department Says City Board of Elections Violated Federal Law inBrooklyn Voter Purge (WNYC)  The United States Department of Justice is taking on the New York City Board of Elections for improperly purging nearly 120,000 Brooklyn voters before the April 2016 presidential primary.  In a motion filed in federal court Thursday, the DOJ claims the Board violated the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 when it removed those voters from the rolls.    It's the first time federal authorities have taken a position on the purge, which was first reported by WNYC on the eve of the primary vote in April. Numerous elected officials and advocates had requested federal intervention since.  The case was originally filed in federal court in Brooklyn last November on behalf of the good government group Common Cause, which advocates for individuals' voting rights, along with two named plaintiffs.     Lawyers for the plaintiffs also sought intervention from the Justice Department, citing WNYC's reporting.

The suit challenges the Board’s removal of voters from the registration rolls in violation of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. The law prohibits removing voters from the rolls unless the person has failed to vote in two successive federal elections and has failed to respond to a notice from the Board indicating that their registration will be cancelled.  The government said that some voters had in fact voted in prior elections, and in other cases the notice itself was improperly handled.    WNYC reported that the board mysteriously purged 120,000 Brooklyn voters from the rolls prior to the hotly contested primary between Hillary Clinton and challenger Bernie Sanders last April. The board then said it would reinstate those voters in time for last summer's congressional primaries and the fall general election for president. WNYC also reported that the purge disproportionately affected Latino voters in Brooklyn's 7th Congressional district.  Elected officials and advocates cited the station's reporting in their complaints to the federal government and the court. They also argued that more voters may have been improperly purged on other dates, and that the problem persists. The court case describes the situation of two foreign service workers, Benjamin Buscher and Sean Hennessey, the two named plaintiffs, who keep a permanent residence in Brooklyn while they work overseas for the State Department. In October of 2016, both men applied for absentee ballots to vote in the general election, according to the complaint.  When those absentee ballots did not arrive, they contacted the Kings County Board of Elections Office and were told that their registrations were no longer valid and that they had missed the deadline to update their registration.  The plaintiffs contacted the nonprofit Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, which learned that the Board had removed the plaintiffs more than two years before.  The case was brought on behalf of the plaintiffs by the Lawyers Committee along with LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the law firm Dechert LLP.  Five additional named plaintiffs have been added to the lawsuit.  The city Board of Elections had no comment, and the city Law Department, which is defending the board, says the matter is under review. In a letter to the judge, the Justice Department said it is in talks with the board about an appropriate remedy and will have an answer by February 6.* The Justice Department is getting involved in a lawsuitagainst the NYC Board of Elections.(NYT)

Goldman Sacks Deputy Mayor Glen Helps Developers Ignores Homeless Housing  
Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen helps her Goldman Sachs friends instead of pushing for more homeless housing, activists charge (NYDN) Housing activist groups launched a blistering attack on Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, pinning the blame on her for the city’s failure to stem its homelessness crisis.  In a letter to Mayor de Blasio, groups including the Met Council on Housing and New York Communities for Change charge his top deputy for housing and economic development has “had the wrong priorities from day one.”  “She has enabled the real-estate elite, her long-time friends from Goldman Sachs, to make massive profits while refusing to help New Yorkers who are sleeping on the streets,” they wrote of Glen, who worked at Goldman before coming to City Hall.  The city has launched a rental subsidy program for people leaving homeless shelters, which is run by the Human Resources Administration, an agency outside Glen’s purview. Nonetheless, the activist groups, which also include Faith in New York and Tenants & Neighbors, accuse her of being too cozy with developers and say she could use her influence to pressure more landlords to accept the vouchers. They also fault her role in negotiating deals with developer Blackstone to take over Stuyvesant Town and Fairstead Capital at Savoy Park. “Glen’s harmful decisions, more than anyone else’s at City Hall, have worsened the tale of two cities you vowed to end,” they wrote. “She hobnobs with her developer and landlord friends over drinks while failing to push them to play a bigger role in expanding the number of apartments available for homeless New Yorkers.”

421-a Wasted $2.5 B in Tax Expenditures and It Is Coming Back to Waste More and Increase Gentrification
City wasted $2.5B in tax expenditures through 421a: IBO (Real Deal)  Program doesn't fulfill its purpose, agency report charges * The New York City Independent Budget Office released a report on Monday that claims the city squandered $2.5 billion to $2.8 billion in tax expenditures from 2005 to 2015. The report asserts that these dollars were wasted because condo owners receiving the benefit saved more in taxes than they paid in higher sales prices. The agency — which looked at 101,477 condo sales over 11 years — points out that Manhattan condo owners paid a mean of $35,500 more for properties with the 421a tax abatement. The report found that Manhattan buyers paid between 53 to 61 percent of their tax benefits extra for their properties. In the outer boroughs, buyers paid a mean of $31,200 for condos with 421a — or 42 to 50 percent of the benefit that they are expected to receive.  The crux of the report is that the tax benefit is being passed off to the condo buyer instead of the land owner/developer, when the program is ostensibly designed to encourage development. The IBO posits that the tax abatement therefore hasn’t fulfilled its purpose and may actually raise land and housing prices. (The developer would likely argue that the tax break is a major selling point — that it’s what makes the project feasible in the first place.) He also claimed that his program would’ve added 25,500 affordable housing units over 10 years, whereas the governor’s will only add 21,750. (The mayor’s math seems a bit different than the governor’s, which estimates that 2,500 affordable units each year would be created. A spokesperson for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development said the discrepancy is due to the small condo projects allowed outside Manhattan.) * A report by New York University’s Furman Center found that, under the latest 421-a tax abatement proposal, New York City would lose $2.6 to $5.7 million in tax revenue for each 300-unit building, The Wall Street Journal reports.

de Blasio's Alternative Facts On Union Apprenticeships Program
Channeling Trump, de Blasio has 'alternative facts' too (Crains) Mayor denies expressing skepticism about a union-friendly mandate, but his own transcript proves he did  But the Crain's report was accurate. Just two weeks prior, the mayor had addressed the apprenticeship mandate at a press conference, saying, "I don’t think requirement works, practically speaking," as his office's own transcript and video show. When asked why he did not think such a requirement would work, de Blasio then cited the high volume of nonunion work in the city.

Cuomo Cut Off From Gleenwood by Silver and Skelos Corruption Has Found New Pots of RE Campaign LLC Contributions What Cap?
No doing-biz limits + LLC loophole = $$$ for Cuomo from entities with state business - new big donors 
CAMPAIGN CASH -- Cuomo's newest big donors -- POLITICO New York's:  "Most of the donors who helped Gov. Andrew Cuomo raise $4.4 million over the past six months were familiar names. Contributors like Brookfield Financial ($100,000 this filing period), Howard Milstein (who, with his family, gave $50,000) and Genting ($50,000) have all regularly appeared in the governor's campaign finance reports in the past. But there were 20 donors who hadn't previously given to Cuomo since he took office in 2011 and gave $25,000 or more from mid-July through mid-January. ...
-- FISHER BROTHERS ($130,000): While Cuomo had previously picked up $281,000 from executives at the real estate firm, he hadn't previously received any donations directly from the company itself. Some of these earlier donations prompted scrutiny as they were made weeks before Cuomo approved a bill of the 421-a tax abatement that included a special carve-out for one of the company's properties. ... The two new donations came three days before Cuomo announced that a 421-a renewal would be in his budget this year. ... SOMERSET PARTNERS &
-- KEITH RUBENSTEIN ($84,500): An LLC tied to real estate investment firm Somerset Partners gave Cuomo $50,000 in November, and founder Rubenstein gave $34,500 last week. While neither had previously given to the governor, Rubenstein hosted a $2,500 a head Bronx fundraiser for him last April." * Cuomo raises $4.4M with help of real estate donors (Real Deal) *No doing-biz limits + LLC loophole = $$$ for Cuomo fromentities with state business - new big donors via @mahoneyw: * Cuomo Again Rakes in LLC Cash — While Proposing to Cap It  via @WNYC

421-a May Return Wtih A Provision That Allows It to Target Gentrification Neighborhoods Pushing Out More Tenants and Mom and Pop Stores  
ANOTHER BUDGET SHOT AT DE BLASIO -- POLITICO New York's : State legislation to revive a property tax break, whose expiration last year rocked New York's real estate industry and halted new rental projects, contains a significant benefit for outer-borough developers. A bill to bring back the 421-a exemption on new residential developments includes a provision that would allow buildings outside a previously designated zone to receive the tax break, so long as they satisfy other requirements in the legislation. Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration and the city's Independent Budget Office were each analyzing the possible impact of the new bill as of late last week. The addition of outer-borough rental buildings could have a significant impact on New York City's budget, depending on how many developers opt to construct large enough buildings to take advantage of the tax exemption. Only buildings with at least 300 units would be eligible for the tax break under the new language.* Affordable Housing Plan Reworked, Cuomo Looks to Albany (NYT) The State Legislature is now considering the governor’s new version of a program that offered tax incentives to encourage construction of apartments for low-income residents.*  Gov. Cuomo’s New Affordable Housing Proposal Would MakeSome Rents Less Affordable (Pro Publica)  The governor’s initiative would water down a longstanding requirement that developers who receive a $1.4 billion-a-year tax break must cap rent increases in new apartment buildings. 
Shadow Real Estate lobbyists Corruption Were At the Center At the Both the Skelos and Silver Trials
The Privatization of the Tammany Hall Machine
Campaign Lobbyists Control A Secret Shadow Government
Speaker Sheldon Silver, His Law Firm $$$
How Real Estate $$$ Corruption Government and Politics Silver Skelos Indictment

Nonprofit that runs deadly ‘exploding radiator’ building racked up 185 violations (NYP) The nonprofit agency that oversaw a Bronx apartment where two baby sisters were scalded to death has racked up a city-high 185 open violations at a separate site it manages for the homeless, according to a scathing report.  Investigators for the state Senate Independent Democratic Conference found that 1055 University Ave. in The Bronx had 185 unresolved violations, the most of any of the so-called “cluster sites” that the city leases for homeless families.  Units for the homeless in the building are supervised by the Bushwick Economic Development Corp, or BEDCO, the Brooklyn-based nonprofit that also oversees the Hunts Point Avenue apartment in The Bronx where the Ambrose sisters — 2-year-old Ibanez and 1-year-old Scylee — suffered lethal steam burns from a faulty radiator.  he violations at the University Avenue apartments include rodent and roach infestations, mold, lead paint in some apartments and no smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, the report found. BEDCO could not be reached for comment.“[Homeless people] get sent to places that are so appalling and so deplorable that, if they could, the rats would put in a request for transfer,” said State Sen. Diane Savino (D-SI). “That is how bad our shelter system has gotten.”  The report also found that 38 of the 41 cluster sites used by the city for the homeless had open violations. Six of the 10 worst are based in The Bronx

Cuomo Disguises Corruption: Changes the Name of Corrupt State-Up NY to Excelsior Business Program 
What Was the Point of the $50 Million in Ads During the 2014 Election? 
Cuomo ‘fixes’ failed jobs program — with a new name (NYP) It may be the closest Gov. Cuomo ever gets to admitting failure: He now wants to rename his signature job-creation program and ease terms for eligibility.  As The Post reported Thursday, Cuomo’s budget bids adieu to Start-Up New York — a 2013 program offering tax breaks to new companies — and rebrands it as the Excelsior Business Program, with some relaxed rules.  The “why” is no mystery: Taxpayers shelled out tens of millions not just for the tax breaks, but also for TV commercials touting the program (and, indirectly, Cuomo).  But Start-Up through 2016 produced just 408 jobs, far below the 5,000 once promised.  What was to be one of Cuomo’s proudest “economic development” initiatives instead became a running joke and a symbol for his failure to aid the economy at all.  Now he pretends a rebranding and some carburetor tweaks will turn a lemon into a lean, mean jobs-growth machine. Really? One tweak will allow firms that already operate in New York to qualify, if they’re less than five years old. How does that lure new business? Another lets a company sign up if it creates just one job over its first five years.  Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said someone asked if Cuomo will buy “a couple of hundred-million” in new ads to promote the new name. Sadly, with this governor, that may prove no joke.* Start-Up New York Gets a New Name, and a Focus on Start-Ups (NYT)
Fredric U. Dicker ‏@fud31 "It may be the closest Cuomo ever gets to admitting failure." 

With Trump de Blasio Wounded With Expected Federal Indictments See Opportunity to Win Progressive Votes For Reelection 
New Yorkers are furious about de Blasio’s anti-Trump rally (NYP)  Mayor de Blasio caused traffic mayhem for his own political gains on Thursday night as he headed a massive anti-Trump protest in Columbus Circle. “It’s terrible, I just want to go home,” fumed Mary Aliaj, a 30-year-old Staten Islander who works at the nearby Valery Joseph Salon. “It is worse [than Trump],” she said. “This is disturbing. I don’t think [the mayor] is going to solve anything. They should of done it somewhere that doesn’t stop other people. It’s wasting time and disturbing other people.” Many residents that weren’t involved in the protest — attended by Alec Baldwin, Cher, Mark Ruffalo, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rosie Perez, Shailene Woodley, Robert DeNiro and Natalie Merchant — were outraged by de Blasio and how the traffic-snarling protest seemed to be fueled by his quest for the political spotlight and anger toward the President-elect. A Quinnipiac poll found New Yorkers nearly evenly divided over the issue, with 46 percent against and 45 percent in favor.

Trump to GOP Leader Kick Cuomo and de Blasio Out of Office  
NY GOPchair: Trump says boot Bill de Blasio, Andrew Cuomo out in next elections (Real Deal) Donald Trump indirectly provided “an assignment” to New York Republicans on Thursday: kick Bill de Blasio and Andrew Cuomo out of office. Ed Cox, chair of the New York GOP, told an audience of state party members at the Loews Madison Hotel that the president-elect provided the mandate in a phone call. The assignment wasn’t specific: He didn’t mention Paul Massey, the real estate broker who plans to run on the Republican ticket and has already raised $1.6 million for his campaign. After Thursday’s event, Cox told The Real Deal that his organization is yet to choose a candidate to back. He said he’s sure that indictments against de Blasio will eventually materialize, and that the party is waiting to see what happens before launching their full-scale opposition.

 Cuomo's Flack Ring of Truth On Bipartisan Rule  Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi responded that the governor “has always worked in a bipartisan way, as everyone knows.”  “That won’t change,” Azzopardi said. “We hope it doesn’t change for the (state) Senate.”

With Cuomo's Art of the Double Talk and Framing Media Debate Who Needs Fake News 

Fredric U. Dicker ‏@fud31   "It’s a damning indictment of Cuomo’s wage-raising agenda..cross purposes with his 'NY Open for Business' campaign."

Cuomo’s minimum-wage hikes are already killing jobs (NYP Ed) As of Dec. 31, the Empire State shares with California the dubious distinction of having the country’s most onerous minimum-wage requirements. Employers now face at least 14 different minimum-wage levels, depending on the size, type and location of a business, as well as the type of employee. (The state restaurant association has compiled all of the wage requirements in a chart at   It’s a damning indictment of Gov. Cuomo’s wage-raising agenda, which is working at cross purposes with his “New York Open for Business” campaign. In a 2015 New York Times article about the continued economic difficulties in this part of the state, Cuomo shrugged that “the state can only do so much” and “it’s up to the localities to also come up with a business plan.” They’d love to — if Cuomo would stop shackling them with unmanageable costs.

Rosenthal Taking Over the Fight for Passage of the Child Victims Act in the Assembly From Markey Who Lost Her Reelection Bid 
Manhattan assemblywoman to lead fight for passage of Child Victims Act(NYDN) The Assembly has a new lead advocate for the Child Victims Act, which is designed to make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek legal recourse as adults.  Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) will carry the legislation after its longtime sponsor, Margaret Markey (D-Queens), lost her primary in September.  Rosenthal, one of several legislators who expressed interest internally of picking up the fight, was selected by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “I really wanted this bill because I think it’s so important in terms of protecting our children who are vulnerable to pedophiles who have not been brought to justice, as well as helping to heal survivors who have been denied justice,” she said. “I will be a strong advocate for this.”

The Polls Were Wrong on Election Day, In 2012 Not Even Trump Was Thinking President But In Bubble NY Media Debates Cuomo 2020?
Cuomo brushes off ‘flattering’ rumors of 2020 White House bid (NYP) * Cuomo’s 2020 ambition only means trouble for New York (NYP) One part of it is the governor’s sharp left turn — which, to be fair, is also aimed at his 2018 re-election run. He’s eager to avoid the progressive pique that brought him Zephyr Teachout’s annoying primary challenge in 2014, and a large Green Party dissent vote in the November election.  On the other hand, even his desire for a strong 2018 showing is linked to his 2020 ambitions: He wants to show Democrats nationwide that he’s a big winner.  The problem for New York is that it all exacerbates Cuomo’s already-enormous penchant for a big show now, no matter what the hidden costs.  Hence his deal to close the Indian Point nuclear plant, his plan for tuition-free college (announced with Sen. Bernie Sanders by his side, no less) — along with pushes to double the child-care tax credit for middle-class families, cap prescription-drug costs and on and on.  All those shoutouts to the Democratic base come at a cost — whether to taxpayers, or to everyone’s electric bills.   Worse, the big costs don’t show up for years: Indian Point won’t close before 2021, when Cuomo hopes to have moved to the White House.

NYP Correctly State That de Blasio Affordable Housing Plan is Peanuts Does Not Help Fight Homelessness Paper Does Not Connect the Damage Gentrification and Airbnb is Doing to NYC Affordable Housing Stock 
The futility of de Blasio’s ‘record’ housing success (NYP Ed) de Blasio high-fived himself Thursday for financing “more affordable housing in 2016” than at any time in 27 years. But his strategy hasn’t eased the city’s housing crunch one bit — or even made a dent in the ranks of the homeless.  Since 2014, the city has spent billions to build and preserve 62,500 homes, including 22,000 units last year, the most since 1989.  Yet it’s an old and futile tale. In the 1980s, Mayor Ed Koch launched a $5 billion, 180,000-unit program. In 2006, Mayor Mike Bloomberg bragged that his housing plan was the biggest “in the nation’s history.” But the city’s housing shortage never goes away.   Subsidized housing hasn’t even cut the ranks of the homeless, as promised. The shelter census is at 60,200, a record high.  A new Coalition for the Homeless report offers clues as to why: Though “more people are exiting . . . to stable housing than at any time since 2004,” a far greater number are entering the system. So the shelter population is up 14 percent since 2014, “despite Mayor de Blasio’s efforts” to offer more permanent housing. As for the city’s programs to boost the housing stock: A 2014 report put the number of city units at 3.4 million, including 2.2 million apartments. De Blasio’s bragging about adding 22,000.   New York City has a vast pent-up housing demand, but laws from rent regulations to the tax code choke non-luxury construction. Decades of efforts have proved that city government can’t make up the difference.  So de Blasio can set all the new-units records he wants — and his successor will still face a crisis every bit as big.

NY Times Continues to Play Cheerleader to Minimize de Blasio Problems Like Homelessness

Mayor de Blasio Scrambles to Curb Homelessness After Years of Not Keeping Pace  (NYT) A surge in homelessness, and criticism of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s handling of it, has become one of the visible and vexing issues of his first three years in office.* New York Secures the Most Affordable Housing Units in 27 Years (NYT) Daily News Also Mayor de Blasio touts record number of affordable housingunits despite dip in new 
apartments (NYDN) * Reports of homeless people more than doubled last year (NYP) Reports of homeless people to the city’s 311 hot line more than doubled last year — but the city says it’s because more workers are looking for them.  Calls and phone messages about homeless people swelled 106 percent, from 24,625 in 2015 to 50,783 last year, records show. More than half of last year’s calls were the city’s homeless-outreach workers reporting the presence of a homeless person, records show. * Homeless deaths in New York City increased in FY 2016 (PoliticoNY)

Back to the Old Machines for the Run Off Again
 Old lever voting machines could come out of mothballs for NYC runoffelections (PoliticoNY) Though the state was required to replace its lever voting machines a decade ago, it's possible the dust could be blown off those old gray behemoths later this year.  “The New York City [Board of Elections] commissioners have mentioned that they are considering using the lever voting machines for the runoff election,” state board co-chair Douglas Kellner said during a meeting on Monday.  At issue is whether the city board can program electronic machines in time for a runoff election in this year’s citywide primary elections. Such a race would be held two weeks after the Sept. 12 primary if no candidate receives 40 percent of the vote.   The city board notes that while the idea came up during its most recent meeting, it hasn’t actually made a request to use the machines yet or even decided that would be the best way to go.

Replacement Commissioner Shows How Elected Officials Control the BOE
BOE Control Another Reason to Ban Elected Officials From Holding Party Positions . . .  Where are the Reformers? 
Staffer to assemblyman voted to replace elections official (NYP) Manhattan Democratic Party bosses voted Sunday to replace their disgraced city Board of Elections commissioner with another controversial candidate for the job.  The district leaders picked Jeanine Johnson, a staffer to Harlem Assemblyman Keith Wright, to fill the spot left open by Alan Schulkin, who’ll leave the job at the end of December.  Johnson landed in hot water last year when she made a plea deal over drunken driving charges.  Schulkin didn’t get floated for another term after a hidden-camera video surfaced last month depicting him saying that the city’s municipal ID contributed to voter fraud. He said Sunday there were “no hard feelings” over his departure, and Wright praised him for his service. “Alan has been a responsible, hands-on commissioner,” Wright said without irony. The Board of Elections has two commissioners — one Democrat and one Republican — from each borough. Johnson’s selection by borough Dems does not necessarily mean she’ll get the job. City Council Democrats will also have to approve her nomination.  Manhattan Democratic Party bosses voted to replace disgraced city Board of Elections Commissioner Alan Schulkin with Jeanine Johnson, a staffer to Assemblyman Keith Wright who last year made a plea deal over drunken driving charges

While New Yorkers Have Stop Voting Helped By Its Repressive Voting Laws, Its Dead keep Voting

The Post after seeing the story last week of an irate Queens woman, Michelle Dimino, who was getting absentee ballot for her dead father, who died in 2012. Still, a city Department of Investigations probe of the 2013 elections found that at least 63 ineligible voters were still in the voter registration books at polling sites. DOI undercover probers were able to “cast a vote” in the names of 61 of the 63 ineligible voters — including 39 dead people, 14 convicted felons, and eight non residents. The BOE declined to discuss its procedures for purging dead voters. City Comptroller Scott Stringer said the examples of dead voters on the rolls “ raise important flags” and “are emblematic of the incompetence of the agency.”  He’s currently auditing the BOE.

Shocking BEDCO The None Profit That Uses City Money to House the Homeless in Slum Building Has Tax Problems
Firm managing building where 2 tots died hid years of tax problems (NYP) A firm that manages dozens of city homeless shelters — including the Bronx site where two toddlers were killed by a radiator steam leak in December — has kept years of tax problems hidden from the city even as it continued to collect millions in taxpayer dollars, according to DNAinfo.  The outlet reported that Bushwick Economic Development Corp. (BEDCO) was hit with a $532,898 tax lien by the state last month — and that the firm failed to report at least two prior IRS tax liens on city questionnaires.   Those omissions can result in the loss of a contract or even criminal charges, according to DNAinfo.  BEDCO has collected more than $155 million for providing services to the city’s homeless families since January 2010, according to online records.  “We are very concerned with this vendor and are thereby conducting an intensive review of their contract,” said a City Hall spokeswoman.

Now Cuomo Says He Can Reform NY's Voting System Better than de Blasio As Cuomo Faces A Much Less Friendly Legislature in 2017 1st of 6 SOS Starts Today
The governor of the second-largest Democratic state in the union this week will present his agenda for the coming year. The speeches — half a dozen of them, delivered over three days around the state — come amid a steady stream of worrying news for Democrats coming out of Washington and a week before Trump’s inaugural address.  But Cuomo didn’t mention, let alone attack, Trump as he announced expanded college tuition subsidies and plans to remodel JFK airport last week. Instead, in this week’s State of the State tour, Cuomo is less likely to fire any kind of direct shot than he is to simply focus on policy responses. It’s an approach that fits with his core political narrative as well as the political realities in Albany.Cuomo Set His Agenda in the Trump Era (PoliticoNY)

Cuomo revealed more of his 2017 agenda ahead of his six State of the State speeches, including expanding voter access, cracking down on wage theft and promoting electric vehicles
Cuomo wants early voting, more electric car charging stations (NYP)  Cuomo unveiled several new policy proposals Sunday, including plans to allow for early voting and install hundreds of new charging stations for electric vehicles throughout the state.  The announcements came a day before Cuomo is set to kick off a three-day, state-of-the-state tour in which he’ll deliver addresses in Manhattan, Buffalo and Long Island.  His plan to create 500 new charging facilities would rely on incentives for employers who agree to install them at workplaces throughout the state. He also plans to install 69 more stations along the New York State Thruway as part of its greenhouse gas reduction push. There are only four charging stations along the 570-mile now.* De Blasio Calls For Voter Reform ‘Action’ After ReportsOf Long Lines At NYC Polling Sites (Nov8 WCBS) De Blasio has vowed to lead an effort to make it easier to vote in New York, urging the state to implement same-day voter registration, early voting and no-excuse absentee voting.* As he gets ready to roll out his agenda this week, insiders expect Cuomo, who has been warring with lawmakers, to rely less on the state Legislature than any time during his first six years in office, the Daily News writes.  * New rule restricts Cuomo staff access to NYS Senatefloor (NYDN) * The Times Union writes that Cuomo’s proposal to make public college affordable for most New Yorkers has gaps that must be filled in before it can be called an excellent plan

Cuomo vs de Blasio College War Twlight Zone: New York Caught in "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Govt Better" Unfunded College Programs 
Andrew and Bill Get Your Gun Flack, Lobbyists and Media Puppets
De Blasio announces plan to set up college accounts for students (NYP) Just days after Gov. Cuomo unveiled a splashy proposal to make state college tuition free for low- and middle-income students, the de Blasio administration tried to steal back the spotlight with its own plan to offset higher education costs. After questioning the viability of his political rival’s grand scheme, de Blasio announced a program on Thursday that will provide for college savings accounts for city kindergartners. “All of NYC’s kids deserve the chance to attend college and pursue their dreams, regardless of their family’s economic status,” de Blasio said in a statement. “We hope to see this program continue to grow so families across the five boroughs can start saving early for their children’s future.” Funded by a $10 million grant from the Gray Foundation, the NYC Kids RISE pilot campaign will kick off in District 30 in Queens beginning next fall. Roughly 3,500 kindergartners will be set up with $100 in a college savings investment account, with their ranks more than tripling to roughly 10,000 district and charter kids over the next three years. Kids also would be eligible for an additional $200 in matching funds if they satisfy basic incentives, such as good attendance.The Buffalo News writes that rather than just offer free tuition at public colleges, the state needs to examine the entire secondary education system and aim to keep education spending below the current rate of growth. * * Newsday writes that Cuomo’s lofty proposal to cover tuition at public colleges lacks detail and leaves questions and topics to debate, which means legislators must get answers and make it work.* Cuomo Tuition Plan Stands to Help Students Make ‘the Last Mile’ (NYT) For the thousands of students who could benefit from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposal, even a few hundred dollars would make a difference.* Taking the State of the State on the Road Allows Cuomo to Tailor His Speech for Suburban Audiences (NY1) * Cuomo Outlines Free College Tuition Plan, Indian Point Closure Deal in State of the State Address (NY1)

Mob Still on the Waterfront
Along New York Harbor, ‘On the Waterfront’ Endures   (NYT) Much has changed since the days when mobsters controlled the waterfront, but investigators say organized crime still has a presence there.


Port Authority
Outgoing Port Authority exec to cash in with double-dip pension(NYP) 
As Port Authority commissioners decided how to spend $32 billion over the next ten years, three Democratic state legislators from New Jersey argued that $3.5 billion for a new bus terminal in Manhattan was not sufficient, the Times reports.

Most New Yorkers Are Roughly 1 Paycheck Away FromHomelessness: Study (DNAINFO)
Cuomo vetoed legislation late Saturday that would have shifted the cost of expensive 
The increase in the state’s minimum wage is a huge victory for the working class, and those counting the proceeds of their well-earned raises owe thanks to Cuomo and de Blasio, who pushed the issue in New York City and around the state, the Daily News writes.
Legal Services for the Poor from counties to the state in the coming ye
New York's forgotten poor: Income needed to survive is nearly 3 times poverty rate
De Blasio leaves subway fare cuts for low-income ridersup to MTA, thinks it's too expensive for city (NYDN)
City council talks public money for Citi Bike pushinto poorer neighborhoods (NYDN) Several New York City Council members have called for the city to create a public-private financial partnership to bring the CitiBike program to disadvantaged areas, noting the company hasn’t done so because it likely wouldn’t be profitable

Sandy Repairs Not Done, Broken Promise

Bad Landlords

No Money for Constitutional Convention Promoting
Cuomo remains noncommittal on the idea of promoting a constitutional convention, which he has described as the best way to initiate reform in the state, as funding proposed to study possible issues never made it into his final spending plan, the Times Union reports. * 309 days until we decide whether to hold a Constitutional Conventionin NY. Educate yourself: 

No Bail From the Speakers Bail Fund
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s ballyhooed bail fund to free low-level detainees hasn’t given out a single penny more than a year after it was announced as the first major step in reducing the jail population, the Daily News reports.

Groundhog Day EDITORIAL: Cuomo vows to clean up Albany — again  via @poststar

Trump's Dumping of Obama Care Will Blow A Hole In NYS's Budge What Will It Do to HHC?
ars, though he promised to introduce a new plan in the coming months, the Times Union writes.

CUNY’s Independence Is Under Attack by Cuomo, City Council Members Say (NYT) The City Council’s Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus say that actions heralded by the governor could put the university and its mission at risk.* * Alarmed by what they said is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bid to politicize CUNY, a key bloc of New York City Council members pushed back against his assertions that the university’s administration has been financially irresponsible, The New York Times reports. Pols demand $2 Million for CUNY

Crime at Housing Projects Up As Inner City Schools Keep Failing  
Crime at housing projects rises despite city-wide drop (NYP) Crime at city housing projects increased 2.4 percent last year, even as the city enjoyed a historically low crime rate overall.   Rapes surged by 20 percent, from 153 to 184, city records show. Assaults went up 7 percent, from 2,138 in 2015 to 2,292 in 2016. Burglaries rose 4 percent in the past year, from 401 to 416, while grand larcenies increased by 1 percent, from 1,043 to 1,052.  Homicides dropped 8 percent, from 52 in 2015 to 48 in 2016.  One out of five shootings in New York last year took place on NYCHA property, records show. There were 190 shootings last year, down 17 percent from 229 shootings in 2015.* The NYPD’s success — and the failure of NYC’s schools (NYP Ed) Which brings us back to New York’s public schools, whose failure has the same disparate impact. That is: This city’s schools fail the underprivileged in the same way that the Chicago PD does, and for a similar reason: Because no one has yet proved to the voters that it doesn’t have to be this way. Which is why charter schools are a threat to the vested interests of the school system: because they’re starting to provide that proof.Charter students in Brownsville and Bed-Stuy now score higher than the city’s average in reading and math — and those charter kids are more than twice as likely as kids in regular schools in the same areas to score at the highest achievement levels. Charters in Harlem and the South Bronx also massively outperform the regular public schools in those ’hoods.  All this, when lotteries for entry guarantee that the charters can’t “cream off” the best students: The children start off equal; it’s the schools that make the big difference.

NYT Says High Crime Neighborhoods Outside of Manhattan Just Don't Get the Same Crime Fighting Resources 

Crime and Gratitude in New York (NYT Ed)  The news is good, but 335 homicides in a city of more than 8.5 million is still a lot of human agony. The Times spent the last year logging every murder in the 40th Precinct in the South Bronx, one of several neighborhoods beset by gangs, drugs and guns, where violence and poverty and mistrust of the police are entrenched. New Yorkers there have not shared in the peace dividend the city as a whole enjoys.  The Times series noted that neighborhoods in boroughs outside Manhattan just don’t get the same crime-fighting resources that those in Manhattan do. It found that the 40th Precinct’s detective squad lost about eight investigators between 2001 and 2015. While crime citywide fell by more than a third over that period, the rate in the 40th Precinct remained essentially unchanged. The Police Department’s job is the same across the city; its methods and commitment to crime prevention should also be the same. The challenge for Mr. de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill is to keep tamping down violence in the hot spots, deploying resources as fairly and effectively as possible.

Mayor's Race Whose In, Who is A Maybe 
Bo Dietl to de Blasio: ‘I’m running right against you head-to-head!’ (NYP)
 New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's middling poll numbers have provided a theoretical opening for a Democratic challenger, but it's unclear how well state Sen. Tony Avella – a Queens moderate who has caucused with Republicans – fits that bill, Politico New York reports.
Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who lost the 2013 mayoral race to de Blasio, has re-emerged as an advocate for the homeless and put herself in a position, whether by accident or design, to mount a mayoral challenge next year, The New York Times writes.
Cory Booker’s protégé taking on Bill de Blasio for mayor (NYP) Josh Thompson, a 31-year-old Newark native who’s had stints promoting school choice in his hometown and in Washington, D.C. and Bridgeport, Conn, has views on the school voucher issue that are more in line with members of the Trump administration than with members of his own party.
Seven New York City Council members endorsed de Blasio for re-election on Sunday, the Daily News reports.
Cuomo did not indulge a question about whether he plans to run for president in four years, saying only he is running for re-election in 2018, the Times Union writes.
State Sen. Tony Avella launched his campaign for New York City mayor, choosing the site of a Maspeth hotel used to house the homeless to kick off his challenge to de Blasio, the Daily News reports.
Here's Who Might Run Against Bill de Blasio in 2017 — AndWho Already Is (DNAINFO)
Councilmembers "who rallied to de Blasio's side thisweekend did so with some prodding, receiving calls from...32BJ" *Politico)
Though Republicans won the White House and scored victories across the country in November, strategists in both parties say the tide is unlikely to translate into winning the New York City mayor’s race, the Journal reports.
What is Staten Island's role in the 2017 race for mayor?
Trump Ally Poised to Bring Populist Note to New YorkMayoral Race (WSJ) Bo Dietl is seeking to run in the Democratic primary in the 2017 campaign
* New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich, a Queens Republican who is considering running for mayor, began filming for a possible reality show on his decision-making process, The Wall Street Journal reports
Inside the Beltway: Madam Mayor? #HillaryClinton being urged to run for mayor of #NewYork

NYP Joins True News A Week Later in Asking Why Are Manhattan Democrats Being Led by A Lobbyists

Manhattan Democrats let their chief be a lobbyist, too? (NYP Ed) Are Manhattan Democrats going to sit still while their chairman works as a lobbyist — or will they dethrone Keith Wright?  Wright’s old job representing Harlem in the state Assembly presented no conflict of interest. His new one with the lobbying firm Davidoff Hutcher and Citron plainly does.  His spokeswoman insists, “It is legal” — but even if so, it’s wrong. As John Kaehny of Reinvent Albany notes, “The potential for abuse and corruption is sky-high. It’s the worst of Albany culture.”  Take it from the late Stanley Friedman, longtime Bronx Democratic leader until he was convicted on corruption charges in 1987. As he told The New York Times in 1992, “If a political leader is going to represent private industry in matters before government . . . he’s dead meat. If you control votes and you’re asking for government contracts, somebody’s going to think you’re getting two for the price of one.”  It reeks — and if Manhattan Democrats go along with it, so do they.

Not One Elected Official or District Leader in Manhattan Has Opposed Democratic Boss Wright From Being A Lobbyists 
Manhattan Used to Be the Center of the Reform Movement Which Grew Out Of the Anti-Vietnam Movement, Today Reads Like A Major Player in Newfield's Book "City for Sale" Stanley Friedman
Critics say party head joining lobbying firm ‘worst of Albany culture’ (NYP) Former Harlem Assemblyman Keith Wright has joined a high-powered lobbying firm — but he’s keeping his other job as Manhattan Democratic Party leader. While Wright insists the dual roles are legal, critics say the conflict of interest is glaring.  Wright joined Davidoff Hutcher & Citron this week, where he’ll “focus on a variety of issues at the city and state level,” the firm said in a statement.  Jeanine Johnson, Wright’s spokeswoman, argued there’s no issue with a lobbyist also wielding political power.  “It is legal,” she said.  “It’s an obvious conflict of interest. It’s unethical, and maybe illegal, for the county leader to be a lobbyist,” said John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany.  It poses a challenge if not an outright conflict of interest,” he said. “He’ll have a distinct advantage when lobbying elected officials from Manhattan.” The state public-officers law prohibits “political party chairmen” from being paid to work on “the adoption or repeal of any rule or regulation having the force and effect of law.”  Wright, who last year lost a bid to succeed longtime Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel, also is prohibited from lobbying the state Legislature for two years.  The state Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which enforces the law, declined to comment.

Wright's Flack Incorrectly Says He Will Have No Control Over Public Activities 
While Johnson argued that Wright no longer has “any control over any public activities,” as New York County chairman, he’s in a prime position to influence whether elected officials face primary challenges — leverage that could come in handy for a lobbyist.

The NY Post Missed the Fact That Wright Appoints BOE A Commissioner Who Has Great Power On Challengers to Elected Officials Remaining On the Ballot 
"Under the eye of Assemblyman Keith Wright, chairman of the New York County Democratic Committee, members voted unanimously to nominate Jeanine Johnson, his chief of staff and attorney—who received a drunk driving charge last year, according to the New York Post." NY Obsever

Wright won’t be the first political party chairman from New York City to earn a living as a lobbyist. Stanley Friedman, a former Bronx County Democratic leader, was a registered lobbyist for taxi- fleet owners. In 1986, Friedman paid for his double-dealing when he was convicted of corruption charges in a wide-ranging scheme to defraud the city Parking Violations Bureau. He served four years in prison and was released in 1992 before landing a job running a hotel on Staten Island.
A Look Back At the Manhattan Democratic Reform Movement

The Manhattan County Leader is Now A Lobbyists 
Keith Wright’s next act will be lobbying with Sid Davidoff’s firm   (PoliticoNY) Former state Assemblyman Keith Wright has joined Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP, a prominent law and lobbying firm.  In announcing his new position, Wright, a Democrat from Harlem, said in a statement that he is “excited” and “ready for a new challenge. It is not often that you get the opportunity to work among friends and that’s what the team at DHC is.” According to a statement from the firm, Wright will focus on “a variety of issues at the City and State level” and “will
Brooklyn Democratic Boss Seddio

Brooklyn Boss Seddio A Lawyer Hired by SUNY to Closed Down A Hospital to Build Luxury Housing Working With de Blasio's Lobbyists
In disappointing turn for de Blasio, Long Island College Hospital will not include affordable housing (Politico) The land owner, Fortis Property Group, said it will not seek permission to rezone the site of Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Without a rezoning, which requires several layers of city approval, Fortis is free to build market-rate condos without any price-controlled housing for lower-income residents. (Politico)

A Fake Museum Exhibit to Show Good Crime Numbers . . .  Why the Soviet-Style Propaganda?

De Blasio’s Soviet-style propaganda machine hits a new low (NYP) de Blasio used one of the city’s gleaming cultural icons for “cheap propaganda” Wednesday — promising an NYPD photo exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum that turned out to be nothing more than a self-promotional stunt, critics griped.  In fact, the “exhibit,” contrasting New York’s bad old days with the safer, cleaner Big Apple of today, was quickly dismantled by City Hall staffers after a related discussion on record-low crime statistics and a Q&A with reporters.  No member of the public at large ever got to see it. “I urge everyone to really look at it because it reminds us of all of the work that went into changing things,” de Blasio said at the press conference, hailing the display as “powerful” and “wonderful” — even as workers were working feverishly to remove the photos before the museum opened to the general public.  Critics derided the move as another example of de Blasio’s Communist-style propaganda. A spokeswoman for the museum said of the display, “It was part of the press conference and taken down at the end.”  But earlier, the mayor had cited the exhibit as the reason for holding the press conference at the museum.  “I didn’t choose the location,” he told reporters.* The Post writes that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s need for ego boosts bit him in the butt this week when reporters learned his administration staged a photo exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum and claimed the exhibit was why they held a press conference there.  * The Times writes that Cuomo’s last minute veto of a bill that would have had the state assume the cost of legal services for those who can’t afford it means lower-income New Yorkers will continue to wait for equal justice. The perils of Cuomo’s rush to build, build, build (NYP)

“The location was chosen because we had this wonderful exhibit that talked about the history, and we wanted to put this in historical perspective.”   The ruse raised eyebrows, particularly coming on the heels of another taxpayer-funded prop — a video of Broadway stars literally singing de Blasio’s praises in a year-end review of City Hall’s 2016 accomplishments.  “It’s just bizarre. They made a fake museum exhibit,” said a source. “It’s not even good propaganda — it’s cheap propaganda.”* Shootings in New York Fall to Lowest Number Since the ’90s (NYT) The city recorded 998 shootings in 2016, the lowest of any year since at least 1993. Officials credited the decline to the Police Department’s focus on gang violence.* Brooklyn Museum 'photo exhibit' was created by NYPD forde Blasio crime stat briefing, taken down after event (NYDN) * City's Declines in Crime Give de Blasio Critical Campaign Issue to Promote in Coming Months (NY1) * How to Predict Gentrification: Look for Falling Crime (NYT)

Cuomo announces $10B plan to upgrade JFK Airport (NYP)  * Remaking Kennedy Airport Is Governor’s Next Big Plan(NYT)  * Cuomo outlined plans for a $10 billion modernization of Kennedy Airport, which suggests he does not intend to stop trying to impose his will on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, The New York Times reports. * A Promising Proposal for Free Tuition (NYT)  Some public university officials are concerned the campuses might be forced to shoulder additional costs on their own. This wariness stems partly from the governor’s recent behavior. In 2015, for example, he vetoed a bill that would have required the state to pay for increases in some operating expenses at public universities. And last year, he tried unsuccessfully to strip nearly $500 million in state aid from the City University’s budget. The Legislature has a responsibility to make sure that the state funds all of the costs associated with this proposal without hurting the university system. * The Times writes that Cuomo’s proposal to cover tuition at public universities for families making up to $125,000 annually is “exciting,” and the Legislature has the responsibility to make sure the state funds costs associated with it so it does not hurt the university system.* Cuomo is for unfunded projects when they're his ideas  via @_VoiceNews_ The Post writes that Cuomo has repeatedly focused on headlines at the expense of reality, and his plan for a $10 billion overhaul of JFK Airport is likely to fall into the category of projects for which overburdened taxpayers wind up with the tab.*  Cuomo Wants One-Seat Ride From City to JFK as Partof $10 Billion Makeover (DNAINFO)

The Future Of NYC's Democracy Is Up to Bharara NYC Elections With Falling Voting Participation are Now Controlled (Fixed) by Incumbents, Lobbyists Who Work for Unions, Developers and Party Insiders 
Incumbents in New York traditionally are all but certain to win second terms — David Dinkins didn’t, but Bloomberg managed to massage the city’s term-limits laws and take a third — so the fact that challenges to de Blasio are even being discussed is a fair measure of his weakness. But so far, the city’s public-employee unions are lining up behind de Blasio, his fund-raising is proceeding apace and only marginal players have announced candidacies.That could change in a flash if either US Attorney Preet Bharara or Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. — or both — were to indict de Blasio or senior members of his administration — or both.City Comptroller Scott Stringer has indicated that he’ll run in such a case. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Brooklyn Rep. Hakeem Jeffries have been hovering on the periphery for months and could join in. And there are others.Bill de Blasio’s fourth year in office, in other words, could turn out to be anything but happy. Time, and New York’s corruption cops, will tell. Grading de Blasio’s pivotal year (NYP Ed) * Another Year of Corruption and Scandal in NY

The Media Never Looks At the Campaign Power of the UFT The CFB and the DA's Cover-Up How the UFT and Their Lobbyists Break the Election Law 
WHO OWNS THE CITY COUNCIL? The UFT's United for the Future and the Developer's PAC Jobs for New York Elected Most of the Council Members
The mayor placed himself in thrall to the United Federation of Teachers almost immediately upon taking office (a $350,000 UFT payment to a key de Blasio not-for-profit apparently remains under federal investigation), and the results show. Teacher-evaluation standards have been gutted, and student-exam scores have been fairly flat over the years — and especially if you correct for the watering down of testing standards. The administration’s hostility to charter schools is manifest, never mind that fully 10 percent of city public-school students — some 106,000 — attend charters, with another 44,000 on waiting lists.
UFT Illegal PAC United for the Future
Who Watches the Watchmen DAs Conflict of Interests With Elected Officials and Lobbyists

de Blasio A Poor Manager But, Do His Policies Really Close the City's Income Inequality Gap?
If Developers Who Contribute to de Blasio and His PACs are Pushing Out Tenants, Raising Rents All Over the City Has Does That Close the Income Gap?
To all this, add the recent scandals in the Administration for Children’s Services; City Hall’s inability to deliver much beyond words when it comes to affordable housing; the abject failure of de Blasio’s pipe-dream promise to reduce “income inequality”; and those enduring low poll numbers — and it would seem that the mayor would be vulnerable at the polls this fall.

Since 2011 SUNY has Raised the Tuition 30% Now Cuomo Want Free Tuition? Progressive Cuomo 3 Days After Vetoing Legal Help for the Poor
SUNY Wants More Money 
Cuomo seeks free SUNY tuition for those making under$125,000 (Buffalo News) More than 200,000 New York State college students would get free tuition if they attend a public university or community college in the state and have a family or individual annual income below $125,000, according to a budget proposal from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The proposal, which would need legislative approval, would be phased in over three years. The plan comes from a governor who in his first year successfully pushed an effort for what was called a “rational” SUNY tuition policy. That program led to five straight years of $300 annual tuition hikes, or a total of 30 percent over the period.* Cuomo Plays Progressive Three Days After Vetoing Help forthe Poor (Village Voice) On Tuesday, he took the stage with Bernie Sanders to unveil a plan to offer free college tuition for families earning less than $125,000. As the crowd of LaGuardia Community College students chanted “Bernie, Bernie, Bernie,” Cuomo clapped along, a wide grin on his face. Never mind the well-intentioned Excelsior Scholarship will need legislative approval, where Cuomo’s Senate Republican friends still hold sway, or has no clear funding stream, beyond some money from existing tuition assistance programs. The announcement made a striking headline and scene for the once proudly centrist governor, now beginning to tinker with the idea of a White House run: a progressive icon with the 25-and-under crowd crediting him with a “revolutionary idea.”  But New Year’s Eve was another reminder that Cuomo’s liberalism will always have a ceiling. In a move that galled criminal justice reform advocates and elected officials in both parties, the governor quietly vetoed a bill on Saturday that would have required the state to pick up the cost from counties to fund legal services for the poor. The legislation had passed the Democrat-controlled Assembly and Republican-controlled Senate.* Cuomo announced a plan to offer free tuition at state colleges to hundreds of thousands of middle- and low-income students from families who earn $125,000 or less annually,The New York Times reports. *
Brigid Bergin ‏@brigidbergin  Team Cuomo knows how to make news. Proposed free-tuition is a big idea & teaming up with @SenSanders ensured lots of ppl paid attention

de Blasio Who Pays for the Free Tuition? State and Federal Grants Already Cover Much of This Cost
de Blasio said he supported the concept of Cuomo’s plan to make public colleges tuition-free, provided that the state does not try to hit the city with additional costs to fund the initiative
De Blasio gives Cuomo backhanded compliment on college tuition plan (NYP) de Blasio gave Gov. Cuomo a backhanded compliment Tuesday over Cuomo’s plan to make New York’s public colleges tuition-free, saying he supports the concept — provided the state doesn’t try hitting the city with additional costs to fund it.  During his weekly appearance on NY1, Hizzoner said “the concept” of free tuition “is one I absolutely agree with,” but due to past experience with the governor, he first wants to learn all the details of Cuomo’s plan before deciding whether to lobby hard in Albany to support it.  “You know, we had a big controversy here last year in the state budget when the state tried to move some important costs over to the city,” said de Blasio, referring to a Cuomo plan the governor eventually backed off from that called for the city to pick up about $800 million in Medicaid and CUNY costs now paid by the state. “We want to make sure that is not happening here,” he added.

The Post writes that Cuomo’s plan to fund public college tuition for middle- and low-income families won’t do much to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to quality higher education, because to do that, he would have to fix the K-12 system
Cuomo’s free-tuition plan misses the real need (NYP) state and federal grants already cover so much of those sums that Cuomo figures he can take it down to zero with less than $200 million a year in new taxpayer funding.  (The plan covers New York residents whose family incomes top out at $100,000 this year, rising to $125,000 in 2019.)  Perhaps it will help Cuomo escape the stench of the Buffalo Billion corruption prosecutions, which have ensnared several of his onetime intimates. The governor’s certainly been extra headline-hungry of late.   But, hey, Sanders crowed his approval: “If New York state does it this year, mark my words, state after state will follow.” Well, maybe California — but progressives don’t have many other strongholds left.  Then, too, the gov will have to sell the Legislature on his plan — and provide a lot more clarity on his assumptions. It wouldn’t be the first time that a new entitlement turns out to cost more than anyone thought.  More important: Lowering tuition from nearly to completely free won’t do much to assure that all New York students have access to quality higher education.  For that, Cuomo would have to fix New York’s K-12 public-education system, which leaves far too many high-school grads unable to do university-level work without a year or more of remedial work in college.   That problem is especially acute for the lower-income kids targeted by the free-tuition plan.  “Free stuff” that you can’t actually use isn’t all that marvelous a gift. * The Daily News writes that Cuomo smartly seeks to have the wealthy continue to pay tuition at public colleges, but he should explain why parents earning double the state’s median family income qualify for a free ride.

Piss Boy CM Lander Now Wants to Use Trump to Pay for His Reelection
Brooklyn councilman seeks communications staffer to ‘resist thethreats’ of Trump policies (NYDN) A Brooklyn city councilman is looking to hire a staffer to battle the “Trump regime.”  Democrat Brad Lander, in an unusual job listing for a communications director that he posted on several employment sites, said he’s looking for someone to help “resist the threats of the Trump regime to American democratic values and vulnerable constituencies.”  The listing does not include a salary, but, one of the employment sites it was posted on, estimated it to be in the $61,000 to $67,000 a year range, based on offers for similar jobs.

Dicken's Special Election  
Candidates for Inez Dickens' Council Seat to Face Off in Forum (dnainfo) Candidates expected to attend include:  ►Charles Cooper, a former Community Board 9 vice-chairman and businessman ►Marvin Holland, policy director for the Transit Workers Union Local 100 ►Mamadou Drame, a community activist  ►State Sen.   ►Troy Outlaw, a former City Council aide  ►Dawn Simmons, a teacher and social worker  ► Athena Moore, an aide to the Manhattan Borough President  ►  Larry Scott Blackmon, the former Deputy Commissioner for Community Outreach at the city Parks Department  ► Todd R. Stevens (no information publicly available)  ► Shanette M. Gray (no information publicly available)

Councilman Lander Takes A Piss On All New Yorkers' Homeless Can Pee in the Streets But Not Santa
City Councilman is ticked about fallout from a law he backed (NYP Ed) The 1960s folk singer Phil Ochs called a liberal someone who’s 10 degrees to the left of center in good times and 10 degrees to the right — if it affects him personally. Say hello to City Councilmember Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn).  In April, he was an outspoken backer of the misguided council vote that all but eliminated criminal penalties for most quality-of-life crimes, including public urination. In fact, Lander, who’s white, claimed police enforcement of such crimes is racist: “We all know that the majority of people that happens to don’t look like me.” Yet Saturday, the Park Slope councilman came face to face with SantaCon, the chaotic annual Manhattan pub crawl by thousands of boozers dressed as Kris Kringle.  “OK, I’ll admit it,” he tweeted. “Being in Midtown during SantaCon makes me want to restore higher penalties for public urination for just this one day.” Now he tells us. He expanded on the tweet Monday, telling The Post’s Rich Calder “it was gross. There was a substantial number of people peeing on the sidewalks.” Welcome to the real world, Brad. Yes, public urination is gross, no matter when it occurs — including on any of the 364 days a year when offenders don’t look like Santa and councilmen may not be watching. That’s why so many New Yorkers, including us, were dismayed when the council voted to try to roll back “broken windows” quality-of-life policing, which had fueled the city’s historic drop in crime.  Now Lander will have to endure SantaCon and live with the consequences of his and his colleagues’ action.  Along with the rest of New York.

Update Council Speaker Race 
The Most Important NYC Campaign You Don’t Know About IsWell Under Way (Village Voice) The New York City Council has always been a little bit like high school. There are poseurs and nerdsy, may get personal and petty. In a year from now, the 51 members will elect a new speaker. The current speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, is term-limited. Since many council members, rightly or wrongly, assumed Mark-Viverito was lobbying for a job in a seemingly inevitable second Clinton administration, the race to replace her has long been underway. It’s quietly consumed much of her speakership.   Here are the caveats about any speaker’s race: all the action occurs behind closed doors and the public has no say. Council members have a right to elect their leader. A candidate becomes speaker thanks to the right amount of hustle, savvy, and luck. Circumstance and timing very much matter. Mark-Viverito has no clear successor, but council members and political operatives watching the backroom contest agree there are three front-runners: Councilman Corey Johnson, Councilman Mark Levine and Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras. A fourth candidate, Councilman Robert Cornegy, is also competing.* City Council Candidate Carlina Rivera Reports $176,000Campaign Fund (L0-Down) A press release from Rivera’s campaign noted that she has “one of the largest small donor bases in the city” and that her filing, “demonstrates that she is the clear front-runner in the open–seat primary to replace Councilwoman Rosie Mendez.”* The City Council speaker race is in full swing (NYP)  Front-runners include Councilmembers Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Corey Johnson, Mark Levine and Jimmy Van Bramer — all of whom have raised $200,000 or more each for their campaigns. Ferreras-Copeland (D-Queens), the council’s Finance chair, is viewed by many insiders as the favored choice as a successor by current Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mayor de Blasio, and has raised $325,635 so far for her run.  But Ferreras-Copeland has burned through $284,000 of that and could be facing a credible challenge from Assemblyman Francisco Moya.  De Blasio’s support also could become problematic if he or his staffers are implicated in any wrongdoing in two ongoing corruption probes. “Money matters, for sure, but as long as people pass the threshold of being able to fund their [campaign] operation and give some money to other council members, it’s not the only thing,” one member said, citing the importance of already-formed relationships. Johnson (D-Manhattan) has raised $291,310. Van Bramer (D-Queens) has raked in $387,228, and Levine (D-Manhattan) has collected $211,270.  Councilman Robert Cornegy (D-Brooklyn) is also considered a viable option by several council insiders, but has not yet submitted fund-raising numbers to the Campaign Finance Board.  Of those, Van Bramer has by far the most cash on hand — about $300,000. But Van Bramer, like Ferreras, doesn’t enjoy the support of Queens Democratic boss Rep. Joe Crowley, who will undoubtedly play a role in who gets the job.  The Queens and Bronx Democratic machines are expected to whip votes together. Still unclear is what role the Brooklyn party will play.  Other members considering a run include Vanessa Gibson (D-Bronx), Donovan Richards (D-Queens), Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) and Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn).

Other Races
PAC Reforms are Fake News: How the City Council Uses PACs to Game the PublicFinance System
More on the Brooklyn DAs Office

City Council Races in 2017

At least seven NY lawmakers may run for City Council (NYP) At least seven state lawmakers are eyeing City Council seats in 2017. Queens Democratic Assemblyman Francisco Moya is raising money to challenge Corona Democratic Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras in what could be a key race, political sources said. Ferreras is a leading candidate for speaker, but Moya’s potential challenge signals that the Queens Democratic Party has other ideas over who should succeed Melissa Mark-Viverito. Sen. Bill Perkins is running to replace Harlem Councilwoman Inez Dickens, and Bronx Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj is running to replace Councilman Jimmy Vacca. East Harlem Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez is preparing to run for Mark-Viverito’s seat, sources said. Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim is raising money to explore a citywide office such as public advocate or comptroller, a source close to Kim said. And Brooklyn Assemblyman Peter Abbate plans to run for the seat Bay Ridge Councilman Vincent Gentile is leaving, sources said. Bronx state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. is “95 percent of the way there” toward declaring to run for the seat left by Councilwoman Annabel Palma.
District Leader Tommy Torres is considering a bid for Reynoso's city council seat, he said. 
Four of the seven City Council members facing term limits and required to leave at the end of the year are women, which has sparked alarm for New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the Daily News reports.

Airbnb Booming in the City Which Has Not Started to Enfore New State Regulations 
NYC sees more New Year’s Eve Airbnb rentals thanany other city (NYDN) The company says it has 55,000 bookings projected for New Year's Eve in the five boroughs, up from 47,000 last year.  New York City is so popular, it's the No. 1 city for all Airbnb bookings in the entire world to ring in 2017, according to the company.  The new record comes at the end of a tough year for Airbnb in New York, following a state law imposing fines for many home rentals.  The law levies penalties of up to $7,500 for people who rent their apartments for less than 30 days if they are in a building with three or more units.  A court upheld enforcement of the law after Airbnb sued. The company and New York City settled this month, paving the way for the city to start cracking down on Airbnb hosts.* New York: In Airbnb’s biggest market, lawmakers last year said they would impose steep fines for advertising home rentals that violate New York City’s short-term rental rules. Airbnb initially challenged the new rules, but last month withdrew its lawsuit.

de Blasio Defends Tax Pay Adds 
Come On Press A Man Under 8 Federal Investigations Will Never Admit to Any Wrong Doing 
De Blasio defends glitzy taxpayer-funded video (NYP) Mayor de Blasio staunchly defended a taxpayer-funded video put out by City Hall this week that used Broadway stars to trumpet his administration’s accomplishments – insisting it wasn’t an ad because no one paid for air time.   At the same time he was touting new technology to get his administration’s message out, the mayor fell back on an antiquated notion of what constitutes a commercial as his main defense to criticism that the video looked like a re-election commercial. “The notion it was an ad is outrageous and ludicrous,” he said at an unrelated press conference in midtown on New Years Eve safety measures.  “Ads have to be broadcast. You have to pay to get time for an ad,” he added. “No one’s doing anything like that. So I think it’s a pretty big misunderstanding of what we did.”  Pressed repeatedly about that line, de Blasio insisted it was just a “cursory message about me.”  “You guys can ask all day long. I think it was a lighthearted attempt to get information out,” he said. “I just am not reading into it what you’re reading into it.”  At one point, Hizzoner was even asked if the job was going to his head — based on the fact the video had Broadway stars singing his praises — to which he responded: “I feel my head is quite fine.”  City Hall officials said they have no plans to halt the video communications next year, despite rules against taxpayer funds being used for commercials that feature elected officials during a re-election year.

de Blasio's City Hall Govt Media Expands to the Transportation Dept No Secret As MSM Cuts to the Bone, They Become Mostly A Stenographer Operation 
Transportation department to pour money into video team (NYP)  The Depart of Transportation is following City Hall’s lead and procuring its own video team for short films to “promote agency initiatives” — a scheme that will cost taxpayers as much as $300,000, documents show. A request for bids posted online seeks a vendor to produce video and audio recordings, photography and film editing and production services for videos that highlight agency projects and city infrastructure over the next three years. “The films and photographs shall have maximum visual impact, strong pacing and be accessible for a variety of audiences,” the bid documents state.* The New York City Department of Transportation is following City Hall’s lead and procuring its own video team for short films to “promote agency initiatives” – a scheme that will cost taxpayers as much as $300,000, the Post reports.


Two Days Ago True News Said JCOPE Soft on Corrupt Glenwood Real Estate, Today NYP Agrees 
Not One Elected Official or Good Govt Group Has Opposed JCOPE Low Fine Against Glenwood
JCOPE’s soft slaps at Glenwood and AFP prove it’s a joke, but the real problem lies with the politicians, who make the laws to benefit themselves, take the cash – no matter how smelly – and never, ever look back
The latest explanation for New York corruption (NYP) Glenwood Management — and all the New York pols it bribed over the years — must be laughing all the way to the bank.  Wednesday, the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics hit the real-estate firm with $200,000 in penalties in connection with the corruption cases against ex-legislative leaders Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos. It also slapped another firm, Administrators for the Professions, with a $70,000 fine. Glenwood isn’t likely to miss the money: It has given millions to New York pols over the years to curry favor — so what’s a couple of hundred thou more in fines? And both firms virtually admit their goal was bribery; they skirted prosecution only because they made deals to cooperate with US Attorney Preet Bharara, who brought the charges against Silver and Skelos.  Glenwood hired Silver’s law firm, Goldberg & Iryani, “knowing that the firm paid Speaker Silver a referral fee and that Speaker Silver performed no work in connection with the Goldberg firm’s services to Glenwood,” a JCOPE statement said.  Meanwhile, Glenwood was trying to sway Silver on real-estate issues.  Glenwood also pushed another firm, AB Tech Industries, to hire Skelos’ son and arranged a referral fee for him. And AFP retained his son at Skelos’ behest.  Yet the deals the firms made with prosecutors mean they aren’t likely to face any new sanctions. And no one, it seems, is even looking to penalize Glenwood for the millions it showered on pretty much every major power player in Albany for years — in what was, let’s be honest, just a different form of bribery.  True, those donations may have been legal under New York law. But they sure give off a foul stench, particularly in light of the Silver and Skelos convictions.  The worst part: Of the pols who took those “bribes,” from Gov. Cuomo on down, practically no one will pay a price. Heck, they even refused to return the tainted cash, despite repeated calls to do so.  Watchdogs often refer to JCOPE as J-JOKE because of its glaring failure to curb Albany corruption, and the soft slaps at Glenwood and AFP prove the point. But the real problem lies with the pols, who make the laws to benefit themselves, take the cash, no matter how smelly — and never, ever look back.

The Low Fine Gives Real Estate the Green Light to Continuing to Buy Support in Albany
Why Developers of Manhattan Luxury Towers Give Millionsto Upstate Candidates (Pro Publica) A first-of-its-kind analysis shows just how tactical the real-estate industry is about bankrolling state legislators who will protect its $1.4 billion tax break and weaken rent laws. n 2014, an obscure campaign in the foothills west of Albany between a sheep farmer and a home builder mushroomed into one of the most expensive State Senate elections in New York history. Each side’s supporters spent at least $3.5 million, or more than four times the cost of the average U.S. House of Representatives contest that year.  The bulk of money poured in from outside the district. Labor unions and national committees for campaign finance reform backed incumbent Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk, the farmer. Some contributions to her opponent, Republican George Amedore Jr., which helped fund his television attack ads, were harder to trace. The money came from the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, which collected it from limited liability companies at glamorous Manhattan addresses, including Hawthorn Park, a 339-unit luxury tower with sweeping views of the Hudson River, as well as The FairmontThe Encore and The Pavilion — all high-end rental towers. The LLCs, in turn, were arms of Glenwood Management, a developer of upscale Manhattan residential properties, and the New York real-estate industry’s largest contributor to political campaigns. Each election cycle, millions of dollars flow to Albany from luxury residential buildings, office towers and parking garages controlled by some of New York City’s biggest tycoons. What the buildings have in common is that they’re owned by LLCs, a structure shielded from New York’s tight restrictions on corporate campaign donations. Thanks to their vast networks of such entities, developers can give virtually unlimited sums each campaign season. In one day in 2014, Glenwood funneled $450,000 in contributions to two accounts for the Senate Republican Campaign Committee through 18 separate LLCs.  Exploiting the LLC loophole has been a shrewd investment for the real-estate industry. 
Wrong Dicker, if you add de Blasio's Campaign for One NY PAC He Got More From the Taxpayer Subsidized Developers
Fredric U. Dicker ‏@fud31 "Cuomo was by far the largest recipient of donations from the taxpayer-subsidized developers."
A Developer Worth Billions Fined By JCOPE $270,000 For Corrupting the Assembly Speaker and Senate Majority Leaders- Lobbyists Walk
Companies fined $270k in Skelos, Silver cases (LoHud) wo companies involved in the corruption cases of the state's former legislative leaders have agreed to pay $270,000 to the state to settle alleged lobbying violations. The state Joint Commission on Public Ethics on Wednesday said Glenwood Management Corp. will pay a $200,000 penalty and the Administrators for the Professions, Inc. will pay $70,000. “The lawmakers who sought to use their official positions to secure unwarranted privileges have already been punished," JCOPE executive director Seth Agata said in a statement. "The clients of lobbyists who facilitated these acts and provided those public officers with such special benefits are now facing the consequences of their actions.”  Silver was convicted on charges of pocketing more than $4 million that he disguised as legal payments from law firms specializing in real estate and asbestos claims. He was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison, but is free pending an appeal.  In one scheme, Silver was found guilty of directing real-estate developers, including Glenwood Management, to hire Goldberg & Iryami, a Manhattan law firm that provided Silver with a cut of the business.  In exchange, prosecutors said Silver used his influence to benefit the developers through legislation, particularly rent-control laws in 2011.  In the JCOPE settlement, the agency said Glenwood acknowledged it retained the law firm "knowing that a portion of the fees paid would be shared with Silver, who would perform no work in connection with such legal services." Glenwood, also one of the state's largest campaign contributors, was a player in the Skelos case.

Skelos and his son, Adam, were convicted of scheming to use the senator's position to get more than $300,000 in work for his son from Glenwood. In the JCOPE settlement, Glenwood admitted it violated the state's Lobbying Act by "failing to disclose activities and meetings related to lobbying Skelos" in its public-disclosure reports and for failing to submit other registration information. "Glenwood also acknowledged that it recommended to an environmental technology company that the firm hire Skelos’s son, Adam, as a consultant, and arranged for another company to pay the younger Skelos a referral fee," JCOPE said.  The elder Skelos was sentenced to five years in federal prison, while Adam Skelos was hit with a 6 1/2 year prison term. They are both appealing their convictions....* Real estate firm in Silver, Skelos trial to pay $200Gpenalty (NYDN) * Firms linked to Skelos, Silver corruption cases fined $270K(NYP) * JCOPE Fines Glenwood, AFP For Role In Skelos And Silver Scandals (YNN)

Almost No Media Coverage of the JCOPE Fines But Lots of Coverage During the Trial of Silver and Skelos for Pols to Give Back the Money

Post editorials calling for the return of millions in campaign cash from Glenwood Management, * De Blasio takes astand against corruption — now it’s Schneiderman’s turn (NYP) Mayor de Blasio just set an example for all New York politicians: He wants no part of any money tainted by Silver-Skelos corruption — so he’s giving it back. Too bad de Blasio is, so far, the only one to get it. Pols from Gov. Cuomo on down insist on clinging to the tainted dough. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s position is particularly appalling. * Politicians need to pay up after Silver-Skelos convictions (NYP Ed) New York politicians from Gov. Cuomo on down are quick to blast the kind of corruption that took center stage in the Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos trials — even while pretending they’re above it all. It’s time to prove they mean it. Start by returning every stinking dollar of political “donations” you got from Glenwood Management and its affiliates. Glenwood was at the heart of both cases — a key briber of Silver and Skelos.* Sheldon Silver’s not alone: The corrupt NY pols who tookreal estate money (Real Deal)
Post editorials calling for the return of millions in campaign cash from Glenwood Management, * De Blasio takes astand against corruption — now it’s Schneiderman’s turn (NYP) Mayor de Blasio just set an example for all New York politicians: He wants no part of any money tainted by Silver-Skelos corruption — so he’s giving it back. Too bad de Blasio is, so far, the only one to get it. Pols from Gov. Cuomo on down insist on clinging to the tainted dough. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s position is particularly appalling. * Politicians need to pay up after Silver-Skelos convictions (NYP Ed) New York politicians from Gov. Cuomo on down are quick to blast the kind of corruption that took center stage in the Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos trials — even while pretending they’re above it all. It’s time to prove they mean it. Start by returning every stinking dollar of political “donations” you got from Glenwood Management and its affiliates. Glenwood was at the heart of both cases — a key briber of Silver and Skelos.* Sheldon Silver’s not alone: The corrupt NY pols who tookreal estate money (Real Deal)


DM Shorris Allure Deceived Us On Nursing Home Deed Change So Why Does the City Refuse to Sue?  Where is Corp Council Carter?  Blocking Special Agent Emails? 
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city likely doesn’t have a case to go after the nursing home operator who officials claim conned them into waiving a deed restriction so the Lower East Side property could be sold off for luxury condos, the Daily News reports.
Show us your papers, Bill (NYDN Ed) de Blasio’s No. 2, Tony Shorris, swears his underlings were deceived into handing the keys to a former city public school building turned AIDS home on the Lower East Side, known as Rivington House, to a nursing home operator secretly planning luxury condominiums for the site.  As First Deputy Mayor Shorris told the City Council in September, speaking of dealings with the Allure Group: “We believe, and not as a lawyer, but that there was deceptive practices by Allure; that’s part of the reason I think the the city, but I also believe the state, may not have been informed correctly of their intentions.”  De Blasio, too, has trotted out the we-were-wronged excuse, complaining as the scandal unfolded: “We have a lot of evidence that they misled us.”  Oh really? We’re still waiting for the legal case that proves it — and so is so is state Sen. Daniel Squadron, who last week sent a letter to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and city Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter urging Action under state and city statutes that allow civil lawsuits against schemers who rip off the government. For victims wronged, Shorris and de Blasio appear awfully reticent to step forward and make their case — saying only, through a Carter spokesman: “We have awaited the conclusion of ongoing investigations to determine whether there is evidence to support a claim of fraud in connection with the Rivington transaction.”  And who can blame them. Heaven or hell knows what potentially devastating information about the city’s own actions would surface in the objective glare of court proceedings, about matters so sensitive that Carter’s Law Department took the extraordinary measure of denying the city Department of Investigation access to City Hall’s computer networks to reconstruct why city officials so badly botched Rivington House.  Count on Carter to do squat. But Schneiderman has his work cut out for him.

Squadron Whose District Contains the Rivington Nursing Home Says Months After Deed Scandal Hit That the Mayor Should Take Action
1. Squadron is Running for Comptroller if Stringer Runs for Mayor
2. Squadron Has A Friend in Washington That May Know Something In Federal Case is Going to Break
NYC pol demands de Blasio take action against Manhattannursing home owners that tricked city in order to sell to condo developer(NYDN) de Blasio should go after the nursing home operator he claims conned the city into waiving a deed restriction so they could sell the place to a luxury condo developer. So says state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn) who Wednesday demanded that the city file a False Claims Act suit against Allure Group for misleading the city in the Rivington St. nursing home transaction. Allure Group bought the property for $28 million, paid the $16 million fee to the city, then sold it to a developer for $116 million.  That assumed the property would become a for-profit nursing home. Turning it into luxury condos greatly increased its value, a result the de Blasio administration says it did not expect.  But a powerful lobbyist steered $50,000 in donations to de Blasio after pressing the city for a deed change that allows one of his clients to turn a building restricted for use as a nursing home into luxury condos.  Since October lobbyist James Capalino has collected $40,000 in checks for de Blasio's 2017 reelection bid and personally wrote a $10,000 check in May to Campaign for One New York, the nonprofit de Blasio uses to promote his causes.  Capalino represented both the original seller of the nursing home at 45 Rivington St. on the Lower East Side and the developer who will turn it into luxury condos.
DE BLASIO DILEMMA: Both Rivington Nursing Home Deed Change and LICH Hospital 


Lawsuit to Protect Lobbyists and Goo Goos Funding 
The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union foundations have jointly filed a lawsuit alleging an ethics law passed by the state Legislature earlier this year is unconstitutional, the Times Union reports.   "This law was pitched as a vehicle to address the problem of money in politics, but instead of doing that, it takes aim at free speech rights of groups like the NYCLU and ACLU and hundreds of other educational and advocacy groups and their supporters," said the NYCLU's executive director, Donna Lieberman. "The law goes way beyond lobbying or electioneering expenditures and makes public names and addresses of supporters who have nothing to do with lobbying or electioneering activities." The government reform group Citizens Union has also filed a lawsuit over similar concerns. Good government groups have put forth the idea that the law was passed to target them in order to stifle their criticism of state government. The Cuomo administration has said the law is meant to prevent the use of tax deductible donations for lobbying.  "Everyone is all for transparency unless it applies to them," said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi. "I'm amazed they are able to compartmentalize this hypocrisy."

The 2013 de Blasio Campaign Prop Arrest  
Fake News Derived from a Fake Event

John Catsimatidis — who’ll announce a run for mayor in January — threw wife Margo a birthday party in a private room in the Metropolitan Club. (Page 6)
Developer Files Plans for 28-Story Residential Tower at LICH Site (DNAINFO)

A Tale of Two Uber Lobbyist Tusk + Gold and A Mayoral Re-Election Campaign for One NY Runs Through It

“Look at Donald Trump,” said Bradley Tusk, a former Michael Bloomberg campaign manager who is openly pushing for a candidate to challenge de Blasio. “He didn’t have anything besides a message.” Tusk’s message around a de Blasio challenge would be “corruption, laziness and incompetence.” Protesters fight zoning plan by giving de Blasio a fake turkey “Other than that he’s great,” he deadpanned. De Blasio’s gym habits — which include late-morning trips to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park YMCA on work days — would be featured prominently in Tusk’s campaign. The mayor’s aides say he is in constant communication with his staff, even at the gym, but Tusk doesn’t think New Yorkers are buying it. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to say, ‘Why is he at the gym at 10 o’clock on a Tuesday morning?’” said Tusk, who has formed a group, NYC Deserves Better, to try to unseat de Blasio. (NYDN)