Friday, January 20, 2017

The End of the Investigative Era In NY Reporting A Journalist Institution Has Fallen

- a hero to us all -in the battle between & -Pwrful, has earned respect & a 🇺🇸👏

Andrew Cuomo ‏@NYGovCuomo  Wayne was a truth finder and a truth teller. He was never afraid to speak truth to power, and those who listened were the better for it
Wayne Barrett, Tenacious NYC Reporter of Trump, Dead at71 (WNBC) nvestigative reporter Wayne Barrett, a scourge of New York City power brokers from Rudolph Giuliani to Mike Bloomberg during a decades-long career with the Village Voice and an early and tenacious chronicler of President-elect Donald Trump, died Thursday at age 71.  Barrett, who had been battling interstitial lung disease, died at NYU Langone Medical Center, his family told The Associated Press.  Starting in the 1970s, there was no more dedicated muckraker than the gruff, relentless Barrett, a self-described "country boy from Lynchburg, Virginia" and graduate of Columbia University's journalism school who evolved from founding a teen Republican group to becoming an impassioned leftist as an adult. Fellow journalists regarded him as a role model and even some politicians grudgingly acknowledged his skills and integrity.  "I tell the young people still drawn to this duty that it is the most honorable one in America, and that I have never met a corrupt journalist," Barrett wrote in his farewell column for the Voice, which laid him off at the end of 2010 after more than 30 years.  His many scoops ranged from the criminal past of Giuliani's father to the many votes missed by then-Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, who had accused the man who would defeat him for re-election in 1998, Democrat Charles Schumer, of similar lapses. Schumer would later say the revelation helped him win. D'Amato would call Barrett a "viper."   "Mr. Barrett has become the unrivaled master of long, dense articles about the unsavory side of New York's political culture," The New York Times wrote of him in 2011. 

"He has passed decades digging through government archives, court transcripts, property records, police blotters and campaign filings, weaving tales of corruption and hypocrisy involving union leaders, neighborhood power brokers, real estate developers, mayors and governors."  Few reporters knew Trump as well as did Barrett, whose death came less than a day before Trump was to be sworn in as the country's 45th president. He began covering the budding real-estate developer in the late 1970s and his expertise and the cache of records sitting in his basement drew dozens of reporters from around the world after Trump declared his candidacy in June 2015.  "The most remarkable thing is that the leading birther in the United States is succeeding this president (Obama), Barrett told "Democracy Now!" interviewer Amy Goodman shortly after Trump's stunning defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton. "It's just - I mean, I just - I can't imagine it."  

Barrett's "Trump: The Deals and the Downfalls," published in 1992, uncovered Trump's ties to various unsavory characters involved with the construction of Trump Tower, investigated claims of bias against prospective black tenants in Trump buildings and prompted gaming officials in New Jersey to probe various Trump associations. Barrett also wrote books on Giuliani and another New York mayor, Edward I. Koch, co-authored with his Voice mentor, the late Jack Newfield.  In recent years, he was a contributor to Newsweek/The Daily Beast and a fellow at The Nation Institute. He is survived by his wife, Fran; his son, Mac, and a legion of former Voice interns and Columbia graduate students whom he mentored.  Barrett's "Trump: The Deals and the Downfalls," published in 1992, uncovered Trump's ties to various unsavory charactersf involved with the construction of Trump Tower, investigated claims of bias against prospective black tenants in Trump buildings and prompted gaming officials in New Jersey to probe various Trump associations. Barrett also wrote books on Giuliani and another New York mayor, Edward I. Koch, co-authored with his Voice mentor, the late Jack Newfield.  In recent years, he was a contributor to Newsweek/The Daily Beast and a fellow at The Nation Institute. He is survived by his wife, Fran; his son, Mac, and a legion of former Voice interns and Columbia graduate students whom he mentored.  "Atlantic City cops who doubled as part-time Trump security even confiscated my pocket tape recorder," he wrote. "When I was chained to the wall in an Atlantic City holding pen for hours that night - also by cops who were moonlight for Donald - I began to get the point: Trump had decided not to cooperate with this book."* Wayne Barrett, Fierce Muckraker at The Village Voice, Dies at 71 (NYT)  In 37 years at The Village Voice, Mr. Barrett took on New York’s builders, landlords and politicians, among them Donald J. Trump and Rudolph W. Giuliani.* Remembering Wayne Barrett, the journalist who changed mylife (NYDN) WayneBarrett, muckraking journalist and Trump biographer, dies at 71 (Washington Post) Mr. Barrett was a journalistic institution in New York, where he was dreaded if not loathed by the same public officials who, in occasional unguarded moments, conceded a certain respect for his intellect and doggedness on the trail.  He wrote for the Voice, the counterculture weekly with a reach that outpaces its modest circulation, from 1973 until he what he described in a New York Post column as his “sudden and involuntary end” amid budget woes in 2010. The New York Times called him “the junkyard dog of city political reporters who has drawn blood from generations of elected officials.” * RememberingWayne Barrett, in his own words

Barrett reserved his harshest criticism for TV news
"All of my life, I have believed and said, we're in the truth-telling business. Our job is to tell truth," he told CNN. "I can't say that anymore about broadcast journalism."

Michael Powell (@powellnyt): The Lion is dead. Wayne Barrett, best, most passionate of investigative reporters, has passed. Hard to believe that Life Force extinguished

Michael Benjamin   Rest in Peace, Wayne Barrett. You were a good and faithful servant to the public in the journalistic pursuit of justice and speaking truth to power.

The Exploding Radiator Non Profit Where 2 Children Died Racked up 185 Violations 
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.

Sampson Gets 5 Years  
John Sampson, former Democratic leader of the @NYSenate, is sentenced to 5 years in prison - Sampson's sentence to begin on April 21.As per @gracerauh: In Brooklyn federal court, Sampson said: "I apologize for my actions..most of all I apologize for not respecting others."Sampson sentenced to 5 yrs prison, same as Skelos's. Sampson's lawyer argued unsuccessfully that Skelos' corruption case was much worse. * Only took 18 MONTHS after conviction to get to this point.* John Sampson, Once a State Senate Powerhouse, Sentenced to Prison (NYT) * Former N.Y. State Sen. John Sampson Sentenced to FiveYears (WSJ)  Convicted of obstruction of justice and lying to investigators during a probe of embezzlement

John Sampson Trial and Conviction

True News Reported 3 Weeks Ago What the NYP Wrote Today That de Blasio Brushes Off the Media Like Trump
De Blasio tries brushing off similarities to Trump in handling the media (NYP) de Blasio insisted Tuesday that his refusal to answer questions from certain reporters is completely different than Donald Trump’s boycott of selected members of the media.  De Blasio claimed that when he ignores questions at press conferences, it’s for good reason. “It’s apples and oranges,” he told a Post reporter who asked how his practice differs from Trump’s.  “I was very explicit that when I thought a particular outlet was running a particular strategic play that I was going to call it out — that being your outlet,” the mayor said during an unrelated press conference on school issues in Queens. De Blasio criticized Trump’s media tactics, but argued that his own refusal to answer certain questions was different. “I just can see an act that’s partisan when I see it. That being said, to say to outlets wholesale that they can’t be in the room or they can’t ask questions is ridiculous,” he said. “I’ve never practicedthat and it’s absolutely unacceptable.” De Blasio tried to lighten the mood when a New York Times reporter asked him to draw a distinction between his “propaganda” insults directed at The Post and Trump’s “fake news” claims.  De Blasio declined to answer and sarcastically chided the Times reporter for interrupting.“I know the Times thinks it’s important, but I find that disrespectful,” he said.  A Post reporter then asked de Blasio if singling out outlets set a dangerous precedent.De Blasio countered that it was a “personal” decision to counter what he claimed was a “vast ideological agenda.”

Cuomo Tells Trump Loss of U.S. Funds Would Hurt New York (NYT) Gov. Andrew Cuomo said after meeting with Donald Trump that his main message was that their home state relies on federal support in key areas.

At On Press Conference de Blasio Refused to Take Questions from the PostSix Months After He Downplayed or Blamed the NYP for His Homeless Crisis 2016 de Blasio My Biggest Failure Homeless
De Blasio ‘dissatisfied’ with efforts against homelessness (NYP)   Six months after downplaying the homelessness crisis, Mayor de Blasio on Thursday pointed to his administration’s inability to get a handle on the issue as his biggest disappointment of the year.  “I’m very dissatisfied when it comes to a lot of strategies we’ve put into play to address homelessness that still ­haven’t gotten us where we want to go,” the mayor said.  “My job is to get it right. And I’m not certainly not satisfied that I or my team got it right to date, but I do see the beginning of some real progress.”  The number of homeless in city shelters topped the 60,000 mark for the first time ever in October.  As recently as July, de Blasio had claimed that, “homelessness is not going up, thank God.”* Six months after downplaying the homelessness crisis, de Blasio pointed to his administration’s inability to get a handle on the issue as his biggest disappointment of the year, the Post reports.  * De Blasio Ends 2016 with Contentious News Conference (ny1)

de Blasio Blames the Post’s Coverage of the Homelessness for the Crisis 
De Blasio thinks homeless crisis is a case of ‘fear-mongering (NYP) Mayor de Blasio on Monday ripped The Post’s coverage of the homelessness crisis — and touted an estimated drop in the vagrant population based on a single-day census conducted in sub-freezing temperatures. * NY1's Louis Concerned That Lobbyist Have Manipulated andComprised Journalism (March 16th 2015) *  Mayor Blames NYC Homelessness on the Economy NBC (WNBC) * Head of homeless services ‘shocked’ over shady shelter (NYP) Oct 8th 2015 * De Blasio knew about homeless crisis even as he was denying it (NYP Ed) Oct 16, 2015 * De Blasio is underestimating the homeless population: advocate (NYP) Oct 19, 2015 * Despite Vow, Mayor de Blasio Struggles to Stop Surge in Homelessness (NYT)  Oct 26, 2015 * Despite Vow, Mayor de Blasio Struggles to Stop Surge in Homelessness (NYT)  Oct 26, 2015*  Bronx woman shares her story about homelessness, says NYPD boss Bratton is wrong if he thinks the homeless will go away if they aren't given money (NYDN) Nov. 11, 2015 * Bill Bratton’s Solution to Homeless Panhandling: Don’t GiveThem Money (NYO *  Bill Bratton’s Solution to Homeless Panhandling: Don’t GiveThem Money (NYO) Nov 19, 2015 * Fed-up deputy mayor quits after being ‘ignored’ by de Blasio (NYP) Nov, 1, 2015 The city’s top official on health and homelessness quit because she was tired of being ignored by a mayor more interested in boosting his national profile than attending to the city’s day-to-day concerns, sources said. Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli worked for five mayors and oversaw seven city agencies under Mayor de Blasio — but she couldn’t get meetings with him, sources said.

The "Hot Neighborhood" Enabling Role the Media Plays With Gentrifying Communities 
Remember de Blaio Rezoning of East NY and the Fact That the Only Section of the NYT That Still Makes Money is the Real Estate Section
This is going to be NYC’s next hot neighborhood (NYP) The city’s next hottest neighborhood for real estate is gritty East New York, according to a report.  The Web site Property Shark says the Brooklyn community is likely to see an influx of residents because of a rezoning project and new residential towers, according to the survey of 203 investors, brokers and appraisers.  Affordability in East New York, which has a median house price of $339,275, is a draw for those priced out of nearby trendy Brooklyn neighborhoods, such as Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant, according to the survey.

de Blasio B List Celebs and Staffers Biggest Campaign Donors  
De Blasio’s biggest campaign donors are celebs, ex-staffers (NYP) de Blasio’s biggest campaign boosters over the past six months include Hollywood celebs promoting his progressive agenda and former top staffers who left him for the private sector.  De Blasio’s re-election campaign reported pocketing $1,073,908 in donations since mid-July and spending $592,606, according to his latest filings submitted Tuesday to the city’s Campaign Finance Board.  Although more than four-fifths of the 3,261 new donations were under $250, de Blasio scored $4,950 – the maximum allowable under campaign finance laws – from dozens of supporters. The big donors include actors Steve Buscemi and Cynthia Nixon, designer Diane von Furstenberg, composer Jonathan Scheffer, de Blasio’s former Communications Director Karen Hinton, who left City Hall last year, and former Senior Adviser Peter Ragone, who left in 2015.  The campaign’s key expenses over the six months included shelling out $60,045 in consulting fees to Ross Offinger and another $42,500 to the firm  BerlinRosen. As part of a widening probe of City Hall, the feds have been looking at past fundraising activities for de Blasio by Offinger and political consulting work by staffers at BerlinRosen.  With the latest filing, de Blasio has now amassed a campaign war chest of $3.3 million for his re-election bid and has $2.2 million in hand.  However, he was out-raised and outspent over the past six months by deep-pocketed developer Paul Massey, a political novice running as a Republican for mayor who raised $2.9 million. This includes nearly $1.63 million in donations – slightly more than half that came from residents living outside the city — and $1.27 million of his own money that he loaned to the campaign.  Massey, who only kicked off his fundraising August, has already spent a whopping $1.8 million on his campaign – much of it on staff and consultants. Others who announced candidacies to run for mayor include former NYPD detective Bo Dietl, who raised $282,656 since mid-July; former New York Jet-turned-minister Michel Faulkner, who raised $206,591; and state Sen. Tony Avella, who raised $750 after kicking off his candidacy last month.  Comptroller Scott Stringer, who is considering a mayoral run but has not declared his intentions yet, raised $346,961 over the past six months. His campaign fund has raised more than $2 million and has $1.7 million in hand.* Mayor Rakes in Campaign Cash from Billionaires Even as heCampaigns on a Message that the very Rich Oppose Him (NY1)

Another Joke Massey Raises Big Money to Pay Consultants Who Do Nothing To Win in A GOP That Tried to Sell It Line to Smith in 2013 and Corrupt Cult Like Independence Party

de Blasio Goes for Small Donations As He is Being Investigated by Feds for His PACs Large Donations
Mayor de Blasio Seeks Small Donations to Fill War Chest Amid Inquiries (NYT)  Facing federal and state inquiries surrounding his fund-raising practices, Mayor Bill de Blasio has shifted his re-election strategies.* Steady Cash Flow in Mayor's Re-election Bid, Campaign Says (NY1) Mayor Bill de Blasio’s re-election campaign says it has raised more than $1 million over the last six months.* De Blasio raisesjust over $1M for reelection campaign — much less than his Republicanchallenger Paul Massey (NYDN) * De Blasio raisesjust over $1M for reelection campaign — much less than his Republicanchallenger Paul Massey (NYDN)  De Blasio 2017 has raised just $96,824.50 from Staten Islanders, or 2.92% of more than $3.3 million citywide.

On the Last Day the DOJ Moves on the Garner Grand Jury? No Go No Charges 
SOURCES: GRAND JURY HEARS ERIC GARNER CASE -- Post's Shawn Cohen, Larry Celona and Bruce Golding: "The Obama administration is scrambling to secure an indictment in the racially charged, NYPD killing of Eric Garner before President-elect Donald Trump takes office Friday and potentially scraps the case, sources told The Post. Federal prosecutors from Washington, DC, called cops in front of a Brooklyn grand jury Wednesday, and more witnesses are expected to testify Thursday, the sources said. ... Garner's mom, Gwen Carr, told The Post she's been 'really hoping that we will get some type of justice and accountability, even if it's on the last day.' 'But if it doesn't, I was still going to remain hopeful it could happen under a Trump administration, because everyone's seen the injustice done to my son,' she added." 

Another de Blasio Commissioner Leaves HPD After Announcing New Affordable Housing Plan This Week?
New York City’s housing commissioner resigns (NYDN) The city official in charge of the mayor’s affordable housing plan announced on Tuesday she’s stepping down from her post, the third high-profile departure from the de Blasio administration in less than six weeks. Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been, who last week announced the city had reached its ambitious affordable housing goals for 2016, said she would return to her teaching post at New York University on Feb. 6. She’d been on leave from her tenured job.  Maria Torres-Springer, now president of the city Economic Development Corp., will take her spot. James Patchett, chief of staff to Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, will take her role at the economic agency.

Real Estate Developers, Tax Breakes 421-a and Zoning 

Cuomo Got Us the 3 Stop 2nd Avenue Subway, The TWU Got Their Raises the Poor Riders Got the Bil
MTA Can't AffordNew Transit Workers Contract, Budget Watchdog Says (DNAINFO) As transit workers cheer a tentative contract agreement that would give them higher wage increases than the MTA wanted, a budget watchdog group warns the contract could mean higher fare increases for riders.  The MTA raises fares by 4 percent every other year, for an average of 2 percent a year, in line with cost-of-living increases.  The transit authority wanted to increase workers' wages by that same cost-of-living increment, but the workers' union, TWU Local 100, argued that such an increase only allowed workers to live paycheck-to-paycheck, not to save money

It is No Longer About What is Good for the Riders Its All About Buying Labor Piece for Reelection 
Deal for more MTA fare hikes helps Cuomo avoid trouble (NYP Ed) The MTA’s new contract with the Transport Workers Union means 28 months of labor peace — but at what cost? TWU Local 100’s 38,000 city bus and subway workers scored 2.5 percent wage hikes — and new dental benefits — without making any concessions.  Plus a “me-too” clause that lets the TWU reopen this contract if Long Island Rail Road workers win a bigger raise. That’s ludicrous. MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast calls the deal affordable. But The nonpartisan Citizens Budget Commission warns that “the settlement is more generous than the MTA’s financial plan provides and may require higher fare increases than planned.” Blame Gov. Cuomo, Prendergast’s ultimate boss. The deal avoids trouble for him before his re-election campaign ends in 2018. Added fare hikes down the line? Cuomo can likely escape blame — while leaving riders to pay the bill..
MTA and Bridge Tolls

Closing More Brooklyn Hospitals? As LICH Under A Bid Rigging Federal Investigation is Being Made Into Luxury Housing 

What About Health and Hospital Corp That is $8 Billion in Debt?  How Will the Changes in Obama Care Effect the City Hospitals?  Why the Media Black Out on These Issues?

State officialslooking to merge three ailing Brooklyn hospitals in healthcare overhaul (NYDN) State officials are preparing to move ahead with long-awaited efforts to overhaul the healthcare network in central and eastern Brooklyn, including the likely merger of at least three money-losing hospitals into a single care-providing entity for the region. Cuomo and state lawmakers have been working for years to address the problem of Brooklyn's financially ailing heath care system, which serves a large pool of poor and uninsured patients. They have set aside $700 million in capital funds to pay for the effort.  The moves follow the release in November of a report, commissioned by the state Health Department, that called for the merger of four Brooklyn hospitals - Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, Interfaith Medical Center and Wyckoff Heights Medical Center - into a single system. The four hospitals are projected to lose nearly $2 billion over the next five years.  Cuomo administration officials stressed no final decisions have been made concerning the disposition of the hospitals but noted that three - Kingsbrook, Interfaith and Brookdale - announced plans in December to band together into single entity.
Closing Hospitals,HHC, LICH

A Teacher Explains How de Blasio Failed To Turn Around Failing JHS 145 
  How the city failed ourstudents at a closing Renewal School (NYDN Ed) City Department of Education executives tasked with improving the poorest-performing schools are grossly incompetent. As a result, a marginalized and very vulnerable group of impoverished minority students in the Bronx face eviction from their neighborhood school.  That’s the inescapable conclusion if one really scrutinizes how the DOE handled, or mishandled, Junior High School 145, which they now propose closing for its poor student performance on state tests.  We are veteran teachers at JHS 145, which was one of 94 struggling schools identified for a turnaround via Mayor de Blasio’s high-stakes, $150 million-a-year School Renewal Program. In November 2014, the mayor and Education Department heralded the program as a shining example of innovation that would provide the resources, training and services necessary to serve kids.  JHS 145, once known as the Arturo Toscanini School, is in one of the poorest congressional districts in the entire country, and gang violence is rampant.  There are approximately 300 students. At least 20% are living in homeless shelters or temporary housing; 21% have learning disabilities, and 18% have gone extended periods of their lives without any education at all.  Of the 300 or so students, more than 130 are just beginning to learn the language. But the department has admittedly failed to provide adequate English as a Second Language instruction.

Cuomo Wants to Lift Ban to Charter School Expansion
Cuomo suggests cap to limit charter school expansion (NYP)  In a potential boon for charter schools, Gov. Cuomo has proposed abolishing the cap that limits the sector’s expansion in New York City. Advocates applauded the move, which the governor included in his $152.3 billion spending plan unveiled on Tuesday.  The city is coming close to hitting its charter-school cap and only 30 more can be approved under existing law.  The governor’s plan also would boost support for new and expanded charter schools housed in privately leased space in the city.  “Gov. Cuomo’s proposed budget reflects his deep understanding and appreciation of public schools and the important role charter schools play in the public education system, particularly for the highest needs students,” said James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center.

Cuomo's Budget Millionaires Tax Stays Cuts for the Middle Class Start 
Cuomo’s budget gives NYC over $400M in funding increases (NYP) Cuomo’s new state budget shifts at least $56 million in costs to New York City — but also includes more than $400 million in funding increases for the city, say governor’s aides.   Reimbursements to city agencies for placement of special-education students and foster-care kids is being slashed by $42 million.  Other cuts include $11 million for city public-health programs. Increases include $295 million more for education, $129 million extra for Medicaid and $55 million for other programs.*   New York Budget Hinges on Contentious Tax on the Rich (NYT) * Cuomo wants to rename, tweak Start-Up NY program 

Cuomo slapping millionaires with additional income tax (NYP) Cuomo plans to extend an income tax surcharge on millionaires to help balance his state budget for the upcoming year, a lawmaker said following a closed door briefing at the executive mansion. “We’re going to have to be battling over the tax that’s going to come out, the so-called millionaires tax,” said state Sen. James Tedisco (R-Schenectady). “I don’t agree with him on that. The one thing he said there’s going to be consternation about [the millionaire’s tax) and he knows that . . .We’re not going to support taxes in the senate.* LoomingExpiration of New York Millionaire’s Tax Presents a Dilemma for Gov. Cuomo (WSJ)  Governor’s move toward liberal leadership position clashes with push for fiscal restraint and tax cuts* Cuomo Takes a New Approach in Unveiling His 2017 State Budget Proposal (NYT)  Instead of giving a traditional address to the State Legislature, the governor held a series of closed-door meetings with legislators on his $152 billion plan.* Cuomo #nybudget offers free #SUNY tuition to some & allows for up to $250 increase for everyone else. #TuitionFreeNY * Cuomo's budget proposal includes policies ranging from ride hailing in upstate NY to marijuana decriminalization

INBOX: Cuomo has $21.9 million cash on hand, raised $4.4 million in last filing period* Tedisco: Cuomo joked to Senate GOP about how little hecampaigned for Dems (TU)

.@NYGovCuomo gives budget briefing at Executive Mansion Says $152 billion budget is "best of his administration"  Cuomo’s agenda has the word “middle class” in it five times. Here it is:  Cuomo's middle class agenda: cut income taxes, reduce property taxes, college affordability, more jobs, reduce prescription drug costs  Going down bullet points of #nysbudget @NYGovCuomo including clean water $2b over 5 years & college affordability $153b  Budget deficit: $3.5 Billion. Education: $1 Billion K – 12 * Cuomo notes he’s increased school aid, “been exceedingly generous,” in hiking school aid by 4% a year. Except 2011, when he cut it. * So called millionaire's tax would be extended. 45,000 New Yorkers impacted. Loss of that revenue would be $4 Billion over two years * Cuomo on mil tax continuation. "# 1, we don't cut taxes for millionaires. #2 we do cut taxes for the middle tax." * State facing budget deficit 3.5m and the money from millionaires tax will go to middle class tax cut for 6m NYers. Also 1m education boost. * Cuomo looking at extending the millionaires tax for three years. Says with deficit the state can't afford to lose revs from that tax Liz Benjamin@CTLizB   Going unasked: how to close the darn 3.5m deficit?! Millionaires tax doesn't seem to generate enough* Andrew Cuomo breaks his tax pledge yet again (NYP Ed) Cuomo kept his new budget hush-hush all Tuesday, and one reason is obvious: His call to extend the millionaires tax (again) shows his rank hypocrisy. Again. “No new taxes.... $1BN Education, $2BN Clean Water, $500MM Buff Bill II, $550MM Airports, $10BN JFK, $240MM Lawyers for Poor...* Klein Thinks Senate GOP Will Come Around On Millionaires Tax(YNN) * NY Gov. Cuomo’sBudget Extend State’s Film Incentives Program $400 Million A Year (Hollywood Reporter) * Asmblymn Babenec"unorthodox &self-serving manner..Cuomo rolled out..Budget&SoS insulting to foundations of open government&transparency.." * Advocates Say Education Spending Falls Short (YNN) * Cuomo looks to enforce tax laws on out-of-state Web sales (NYP) * NEEDLING DE BLASIO - POLITICONY Cuomo's proposed budget would cut $50 million in Medicaid funding from New York City unless the de Blasio administration comes up with a plan in the next five months to receive $100 million more in federal Medicaid dollars for preschool and school supportive health services. The city has until June 30 to come up with a plan, which must be approved the state's health commissioner, and the incoming Trump administration. The ambitious plan, and even more ambitious timeline, must explain to the state health commissioner's satisfaction how the city will identify preschool and school-aged children who are receiving preschool and school supportive health services, and how the plan will generate $100 million in savings, according to Cuomo's budget, which was released Tuesday.
Tedisco: Cuomo joked to Senate GOP about how little hecampaigned for Dems (TU)

Daily News to Cuomo Pass Albany Ethics First  Yea Fat Chance 
Pass ethicsreform first: Cuomo must push hard to clean up the Capitol (NYDN Ed) Cuomo’s 380-page book accompanying his six State of the State speeches is overflowing with 149 prposals, from closing nuclear plants to rebuilding airports to free college tuition.  Good or bad, and plenty of it is good, all of it is secondary to an ethical, functioning government in Albany free of taint, which we do not have.  Last legislative session saw Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara haul away in handcuffs the leaders, Democrat and Republican, of the Assembly and Senate, plus one of Cuomo’s closest aides.  Ethical reform for a corrupt Capitol has to be this year’s top priority. Not like last year, when Cuomo pushed a good-government package on June 8, a week before the session ended.

What Ethics are Needed From Albany 
1.  Unlimited outside income for lawmakers, a root cause of so much double dealing, must be eliminated. Legislators either work for the public or for private clients. They cannot have two masters. 2.  Also on the money front, New York’s loosest-in-the-nation campaign finance laws must be tightened radically. Close the LLC loophole, which allows big players to funnel unlimited cash to pols through anonymous shell corporations.  
3. At the same time, sharply reduce the largest-in-the-nation contribution caps. A donor can give Cuomo’s campaign $65,100 but only $5,400 to a presidential campaign. How dumb is that?  4. And abolish campaign “housekeeping” accounts, which allow for unlimited donations to committees under the thumb of party bosses.  5. Term limits for legislators, 6. plus public financing of campaigns. The latter could actually make matters worse if it happens without ethics controls in place first.

In Albany No Ethics Bill, Even After 30+ Members Jailed Pay to Play, Lobbyists and Big Money Still Lives 
Pay-to-play isn’t going away anytime soon (NYP) Albany’s notorious pay-to-play culture is alive and well, despite corruption indictments and convictions that have rocked both houses of the Legislature and Gov. Cuomo’s office.  At least 20 legislative campaign fund-raisers are already scheduled just blocks from the state Capitol building in the coming weeks, with dozens more being planned. And that’s just two months after incumbents were re-elected.  The lawmakers are fattening their campaign wallets by discussing government business with lobbyists and donors during the day and then schmoozing with them at night — for a campaign check.  That’s pay to play, government watchdog groups say. A disgusted Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group added of Albany, “It’s like what Willie Sutton said about robbing banks — you go where the money is.’’  The fund-raisers include a $1,000-per-person bash for Deputy GOP state Senate Majority Leader John De Francisco of Syracuse.  Majority Leader John Flanagan of Long Island, whose name is being floated to run for governor in 2018, has already held a $1,000-per-head fund-raiser, even though he has $643,000 in his campaign kitty.  “It wasn’t like this when I started lobbying in the 1980s,’’ Horner noted.  “It’s turned into a Frankenstein of special-interest fund-raising.”  Given New York state’s high donation limits, the same donors will get hit up for more checks throughout the two-year election cycle.  For state Senate races, donors can give a maximum of $7,000 for party primaries and $11,000 for the general election.  For the Assembly, donors can give up to $4,440 for primary and general-election contests alike.  But the watchdogs said New York should do what about half of the states already do and restrict or ban contributions from lobbyists and corporations — particularly during the legislative session.

Trump Appointed Bharara and Schneiderman Has Lunch Again Whose Next? 
Eric Schneiderman and Preet Bharara power lunch (Page6, NYP) Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and US Attorney Preet Bharara had lunch together at the Odeon late last week.  Bharara and Schneiderman’s offices have several overlapping probes and remain in regular contact to ensure they’re not stepping on each other’s toes.  But their public lunch has political insiders talking.  Bharara is investigating many of Gov. Cuomo’s associates concerning what he calls the “show-the-money culture in Albany,” and he indicted the governor’s closest aide Joe Percoco for alleged bribery and bid-rigging.  Meanwhile, Schneiderman has criticized Cuomo’s ethics reform plan as “likely unconstitutional.”
More on JCOPE

Cuomo's Budget Relies On NY's Authorities Off the Book Unregulated Debts 
New York’s ‘authority’ problem: Gov’t off the books (NYP) DiNapoli’s latest report is a reminder of how much of New York’s government is “off the books” — handled by state and local authorities, with far less accountability than regular public spending.  These “independent” agencies are now spending some $67 billion a year, with total outstanding debt above a quarter of a trillion bucks. Indeed, state authorities have run up 96 percent of state-government debt — outside the rules that “require” taxpayer approval of new borrowing.  All of which makes it far easier to borrow and spend, of course. So, natch, three-quarters of the proposals outlined in Gov. Cuomo’s 2017 State of the  State booklet are financed via public authorities — either new debt, or cash transfers to the state General Fund.  The comptroller suggests a host of reforms to restore public oversight, including putting a real cap on state debt — one that includes borrowing by authorities — and having a single “infrastructure council” prioritize capital spending.  Authority abuse is an old Albany game, and getting worse. One way to judge anyone’s claim to be cleaning up New York politics is whether he or she is willing to embrace DiNapoli’s accountability agenda * Feds fine Port Authority $400K over Pulaski Skyway project borrowing *  $13487: NY's debt per person from public authorities The Journal News.
Fredric U. Dicker ‏@fud31 10m10 minutes ago
New York's 'authority' problem: Gov't off the books 

The Yellow Taxi is Over for Many Uber Takes Over the Political Contributions With Their Lobbyists 
Yellow Cab, Long a Fixture of City Life, Is for Many a Thing of the Past (NYT)  Facing growing competition from ride-hailing apps, taxis are struggling to remain relevant to a generation of digital-minded New Yorkers.

AS WE WAIT Stringer Takes Campaign Shot at deB Says Fix Homelessness for MLK, de Blasio Says Rally Against Trump 
Scott Stringer takes swing at de Blasio’s homelessness policies (NYP) Comptroller Scott Stringer, who’s mulling a run for mayor, took a sharp swipe at Mayor de Blasio Monday by telling a Harlem audience that the best way of dealing with  Donald Trump is to fix the city’s numerous problems  “The way you beat Trump is you solve the homeless crisis here in New York,” Stringer said during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.  Stringer called for reforms to the city’s homeless policies, the removal of homeless kids from hotels that offer no social services and an increase in the number of procurement contracts going to minority firms. At one point, the comptroller led the crowd in a chant of “no procurement no peace.”  Later in the program, Sharpton joked about all the politicians talking like preachers and suggested that he might make another run if the right job was open  “What do you got for office this year?” Sharpton asked.  For his part, de Blasio urged the crowd to join a Thursday night protest against Trump at Columbia Circle.  “It’ll be our last chance to be together under the leadership of President Obama,” said the mayor.* Scott Stringer’sPlan ‘To Beat Trump’ Sounds a Lot Like a Plan to Beat Bill de Blasio (NYO) “The way to beat Trump is to solve the homelessness crisis in New York City. The way to beat Trump is to give 1,150 vacant properties in this town back to the people, not the developers. In this city, if you take the thirty percent of the people who are homeless and working and give them a real affordable housing unit, I mean a real, low-income affordable housing unit, that’s how you reduce the homeless in this city.”* Mayor Extends Olive Branch to Incoming Administration even as he Vows to Take on Trump's Extreme Policies (NY1)  Even as he pledges to work with the administration on issues like infrastructure, Mayor de Blasio will attend an anti-Trump rally in Midtown Thursday and plot strategy against what he called Trump’s extreme policies at a meeting this week of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.* On Martin Luther King Day, New York Democrats Draw Inspiration from His Legacy as they Prepare to Resist Trump Administration (NY1)

Will NY Leaders Fighting With Trump Hurt New Yorkers Who Need More Federal $$$ NYCHA, Medicaid, Transit and Inferstructure Funding? 
New York pols might hurt the state by fighting Donald Trump (NYDN) Efforts by Gov. Cuomo and other top New York Democrats to pitch themselves as the anti-Donald Trump could wind up hurting, not helping, the state, a GOP state senator warns.  Citing the late New York Democratic U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, state Sen. Joseph Griffo (R-Utica) noted how the state has long sent more money to Washington than it gets back.  With President-elect Donald Trump hailing from New York — as does new U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — “the State of New York finds itself in a unique position to finally be recognized and receive the attention we truly deserve from our nation’s leader,” Griffo wrote in a piece given to the Daily News.  “Yet instead of trying to find common ground with our next President to secure the most advantage for New York, the governor — along with the mayor of New York City and New York’s attorney general — appears more intent to undermine Mr. Trump before he’s even sworn in.”

La Guardia Built the Modern City Because of His Relationship With New Yorker FDR 
Cuomo vows to ‘stand up’ for New Yorkers against Trump (NYP) Cuomo is already trying to raise his own presidential profile off fears of Donald Trump’s presidency. As Democrats licked their wounds, Cuomo posted and emailed a message Saturday morning saying he would “never compromise” with Trump over federal laws and policies that would negatively affect immigrants and he vowed to “stand up” for all New Yorkers.
Josh Dawsey ‏@jdawsey1 De Blasio is fundraising off the Trump win this morning. Just sent an email asking supporters to give cash to "stand up" against Trump.

La Guardia and FDR Together Built Bridges, Schools, Subways Put the Unemployed to Work As They Created A Real Progressive New Deal Govt 
City of Ambition: FDR, La Guardia, and the Making of Modern New York (W. W. Norton & Company, 2013) by urban politics historian Mason B. Williams is a loving exploration of the history of the New Deal and its role in the making of modern New York City.  The story of a remarkable collaboration between Franklin Roosevelt and Fiorello La Guardia, this is a case study in creative political leadership in the midst of a devastating depression. Roosevelt and La Guardia were an odd couple: patrician president and immigrant mayor, fireside chat and tabloid cartoon, pragmatic Democrat and reform Republican. But together, as leaders of America’s two largest governments in the depths of the Great Depression, they fashioned a route to recovery for the nation and the master plan for a great city.  Roosevelt and his “Brain Trust”—shrewd, energetic advisors such as Harold Ickes and Harry Hopkins—sought to fight the Depression by channeling federal resources through America’s cities and counties. La Guardia had replaced Tammany Hall cronies with policy experts, such as the imperious Robert Moses, who were committed to a strong public sector. The two leaders worked closely together. La Guardia had a direct line of communication with FDR and his staff, often visiting Washington carrying piles of blueprints. Roosevelt relied on the mayor as his link to the nation’s cities and their needs. The combination was potent. La Guardia’s Gotham became a laboratory for New Deal reform. Roosevelt’s New Deal transformed city initiatives into major programs such as the Works Progress Administration, which changed the physical face of the United States. Together they built parks, bridges, and schools; put the unemployed to work; and strengthened the Progressive vision of government as serving the public purpose. * The new Hudson tunnel: President Trump’s first construction job (NYP) * Cuomo: If Trump governs unjustly, we'll fight at every turn (NYDN) * Cuomo Vows ToProtect Muslims, LGBTQ Communities In Post-Election Letter (WCBS) * Mayor de Blasio talks to Muslims about Trump's presidency(WABC) * De Blasio stands tall: Kudos to the mayor for committingto protect New York's undocumented immigrant population (NYDN) * Gov. Cuomo: If Trump governs unjustly, we'll fight at every turn(NYDN) * Feuding Mayor and Governor Unite to Reassure New Yorkers their Local Leaders will Stand up to Trump's Divisive Policies and Rhetoric (NY1) * Mayor Meets With Religious Leaders in the City to Soothe Worries About Trump Policies (NY1)

As NY's Elected Officials Ignore the Moynihan Rule to Up Their Poll Numbers the Media Ignores History and Who Will Get Hurt
NY’s elected officials should actively work to undermine our President simply to position themselves as the Trump alternative.”  The late New York Democratic U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, state campaign on how NY has long sent more money to Washington than it gets back.

 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.

Cuomo Disguising 421-a As A Tax Incentives for Poor and Working Class, Now Called AffordableNY A Housing Program That Creates Gentrification and Pushes Out the Poor, Middle Class and Increases Homelessness by Raising Rents 
Cuomo offers tax incentives in new affordable housing proposal for low-income New Yorkers (NYDN)  The governor said he wants to replace a program designed to create apartments for poor and working class New Yorkers.   The initiative would replace the 421-a program, which expired last year, granting property tax cuts to developers who set aside subsidized affordable apartments.  Cuomo said the new program will create 2,500 units per year of affordable housing and will extend the tax incentives for 40 years.  “It is actually in my opinion a better program than the old 421a,” he continued. “This has increased the length of affordability to 40 years, and it’s actually made it more affordable for people to qualify.”  The governor did not discuss the length of the tax exemptions, the extent of the affordability mandates or other conditions imposed as eligibility requirements under the program.  “It’s important to have a program like that to encourage private development and affordable housing in New York City.”Cuomo Introduces Rebranded 421-a Tax Credit Bill InLegislature (Gothamist) * For 421a, What’sIn A Name? (YNN)
More on Gentrification Destroying Neighborhoods
More on 421-a Gentrification

5% Increase in Traffic Deaths This Year de Blasio's Vision Zero Plan Flops No Effect 
De Blasio’sVision Zero plan backfires as traffic death stats are up (NYP) Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan to cut pedestrian deaths has veered dramatically off course, advocates and families of crash victims charged Thursday at City Hall.  Safe streets supporters rallied after an unlicensed van driver last week fatally struck an 8-month-old baby in his stroller in Queens. And contrary to the goal to cut traffic deaths eventually to zero, deaths so far this year are up 5%, to 195.* Critics blast de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan for failing to protect NYC pedestrians as traffic deaths spike (NYDN)  Hermanda Booker’s bright life was cut short when she was struck by an SUV and then run over by a school bus during a rainstorm at a Midwood intersection just a few blocks from her home.  She was one of 11 people killed in a spate of road fatalities in the first two weeks of the year that have cast a harsh light on Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero traffic safety plan.  The traffic deaths recorded in 2017 represent a 57% spike compared to the same period last year when vehicular crashes claimed seven lives.  Many of these victims — including Booker, 73-year-old Darton Besler of Brooklyn, 52-year-old Thomas Bradley of Queens, and 43-year-old Marlon Palacios — were killed while simply crossing the street. Four died in hit-and-run crashes when cowardly motorists either sped off or — on two occasions — sprinted away on foot. Last week, Mayor de Blasio defended his Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024. “We have now seen traffic fatalities in our city decline for three straight years, strongly countering national trends,” he said Wednesday.  The city recorded its fewest ever traffic-related deaths last year. But it wasn’t all good news — while fewer motorists died in 2016, there was an uptick in the numbers of pedestrians and cyclists killed on the roads.  “It’s gotten safer to be on the inside of a car than outside of one,” said Doug Gordon, a member of StreetsPAC, a political action committee dedicated to maintaining safe streets.  Gordon said the city needs more infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists, including better protected bike lanes.  The upswing in vehicular deaths this year has spurred police to step up traffic enforcement, particularly in Brooklyn, where seven of the 11 fatal accidents occurred.

As More Reporters Leave for PR, News Content Produced by Many of Those Left Has Become More Accepting of the Press Releases A Growing Cancer of Quality Journalism 

We Know Pols Become PR Lobbyists  * Daily News reporter busted for $12K in unpaid tolls (NYP)  A longtime Daily News sportswriter was busted Thursday on the Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel for allegedly having more than $12,300 in unpaid tolls and penalties, authorities said.  Julian Garcia, 42, of Montville, NJ, was pulled over at around 5:30 p.m. — allegedly after trying to blow through another toll.

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)

CFB Fines Liu Comptroller Campaign $15K While It Fined A Few Months Ago Corruption Electing the Council Speaker Peanuts Which is Now Under Federal Investigation
Ex-comptroller’s campaign fined $15K over donations scheme (NYP) The campaign of former City Comptroller John Liu was hit with more than $15,000 in fines Thursday by the same city board that denied matching funds to his mayoral run in 2013 — effectively derailing it.  The violations, which stem from Liu’s successful 2009 campaign for comptroller, include accepting over-the-limit donations and the purchase of three airline tickets that were deemed to be unrelated to the campaign.  Campaign Finance Board officials say the fines weren’t levied until now because of delays caused by federal probes and prosecutions of staffers on Liu’s 2013 campaign.  In May 2013, his ex-campaign treasurer and a former fund-raiser were convicted of trying to pry unde
served matching funds from the board.  Later that year, the CFB declined to provide as much as $3.5 million in matching funds to Liu’s campaign near the end of the Democratic primary for mayor. 
UFT Illegal PAC United for the Future

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)

DiNapoli Joins In On Those Blasting ACS After Another Death of A Child  
Thomas DiNapoli’s office says ACS ‘failed miserably’ (NYP)  The city’s Administration for Children’s Services failed miserably in implementing recommendations made in a 2015 audit that found kids are being put at risk by the agency’s renewal of contracts with poorly performing vendors, the state Comptroller’s Office said Wednesday.  “We found that ACS officials made virtually no progress in addressing the issues identified in our initial report,” wrote Michael Solomon, audit manager for Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.  “Of the report’s five recommendations, none were substantively implemented,” he reported.  The comptroller’s July 2015 audit found that ACS “did not provide sufficient oversight of contractor performance” and that contracts were renewed or extended with vendors despite substantial problems.  The audit sampled 12 contracts whose vendors had poor performance scores and found that seven vendors with nine contracts totaling $114 million had cases where children under their care were abused by employees or foster parents.* Fresh proof of deadly mismanagement at ACS (NYP Ed) State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s new report on gross mismanagement at the city Administration for Children’s Services is just the latest sign of Mayor de Blasio’s deadly failure to lead.  DiNapoli revealed this week that ACS essentially thumbed its nose at warnings from state auditors back in 2015; Team de Blasio failed to implement a single one of the five recommendations.  Actually, ACS shouldn’t have needed any warning in the first place that extending and renewing contracts with dodgy outfits would put children at risk.   The comptroller’s initial review flagged 12 contracts where the vendors had poor performance scores. Nine contracts involved outside agencies that had allowed child abuse by employees or foster parents — yet all were renewed.   DiNapoli isn’t remotely a de Blasio rival. We note that because City Hall has muttered of political motives when hit by other reports on ACS horrors from city Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James.  Yes, Stringer is aiming to challenge the mayor this year, and James just might — though she was a de Blasio ally back when she first started pushing for ACS reform.  Stringer’s audits have flagged “pervasive mismanagement” at ACS, including systemic failure to follow its own guidelines.   This, at an agency that de Blasio promised to manage better than the Bloom¬berg team. Instead, the new mayor’s team ignored red flag after red flag, from three different outside officials — until the high-profile tragedy of little Zymere Perkins finally forced the ouster of ACS chief Gladys Carrion.  And the imposition of an independent state monitor — though the mayor tried to pretend the monitor was the city’s idea.   The overall ACS budget is nearly $3 billion; more than $774 million a year goes to 86 nonprofits to look after abused, neglected and sick children.   That ought to be enough to keep kids safe — if ACS weren’t stuck with a culture of dysfunction, under the control of a mayor who can’t seem to manage any branch of city government.

Media Cover-Up of Connecting Pension Scadal to DiNapoli What Happen to the Hevesi Reforms?
Pension-fund manager accused of drug-fueled sexcapades ordered to stay sober (NYP) The state pension manager charged with taking bribes to fund his rock-star lifestyle — including prostitutes, strippers and drugs — was warned Wednesday that he’d better stay sober pending trial or he’ll be tossed in jail.  “You will be subject to drug testing and treatment,” Manhattan federal Judge J. Paul Oetken told Navnoor Kang (right, leaving court) before releasing him on a $750,000 bond with the provision that he wears a GPS monitor.  The disgraced former New York pension official — hired by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli despite a shady past — pleaded not guilty to charges that he steered billions of dollars in fixed-income-securities trades to two brokers in exchange for bribes.  Kang’s co-defendant, broker Deborah Kelley, also pleaded not guilty, was released on a $500,000 bond, and was ordered to “not use or possess illegal narcotics” as a condition of her release.  The feds say Kelley and another broker, Gregg Schonhorn lined the hard-partying Kang’s pockets with more than $100,000 in cash and gifts, including luxury vacations and VIP tickets to a Paul McCartney concert. In exchange, Kang allegedly boosted their business by steering some $2.4 billion in fixed-income trades their way.  On Wednesday, prosecutors told the judge they have “consensual recordings” and text messages as evidence. Schonhorn, who has pleaded guilty, is cooperating with the feds * Correspondence between state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s and Cuomo’s office received through a FOIL show that the comptroller’s team had concerns about Cuomo hiring an investigator in the wake of a procurement scandal, the Times Union reports.

How the Daily News' Lovett Allows Himself to Be Used By DiNapoli to Distract From His Pension Corruption

ken lovett ‏@klnynews  LOVETT: N.Y. could lose as much as $5.7B if @readldonaldtrump kills Obamacare * State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said New York could lose more than $5.7 billion a year if the federal government kills Obamacare and doesn’t replace it, which would likely cost New York more than any other state, the Daily News’ Kenneth Lovett reports.

DiNapoli Picked By Corrupt Silver Because of Hevesi Pension Fund Scandal Has One of His Own 
Tom DiNapoli needs to answer for pension-fund scandal (NYP Ed) A s a director of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, Navnoor Kang allegedly took $1 million worth of bribes to steer $2 billion in pension-fund investments to two firms. Kang’s then-boss, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, has a lot to answer for. Starting with how Kang got hired when he’d lost his previous job over similar allegations.  Plus: One of the brokers who now stands charged with bribing Kang apparently put in the good word that got him the job.  Then again, DiNapoli initially got his job thanks to a now-convicted felon, Assembly ex-Speaker Sheldon Silver.   Back in 2007, Alan Hevesi had to quit as comptroller — because he was headed to prison for a different pension-fund kickback scheme. State law effectively gave Silver the power to choose a new comptroller — and he tapped DiNapoli, an Assembly back-bencher with zero experience in finance. DiNapoli has since won election twice, and escaped controversy until now. But his internal investigation can’t be the end of this.  After all, DiNapoli insisted years ago that he’d put in sufficient safeguards against Hevesi-style corruption. How many chances does he need to get it right? The comptroller is the sole trustee of a $184 billion pension fund for more than 1 million public workers and retirees, with the taxpayers on the line to cover shortfalls. When he prosecuted Hevesi, then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo proposed putting a board of trustees over the pension funds. Now Gov. Cuomo is raising the issue again, noting the “chronic problem” of corruption.  He’s right: A single official shouldn’t have sole authority over the nation’s third-largest pension fund. Nor is an internal probe enough. Both the governor and the Legislature should pull out the stops to investigate — and possibly remove DiNapoli from office, since the voters won’t have the chance until 2018. * State controller’s office to review procedures afterex-pension fund director’s arrest on bribery charges (NYDN)

O'Hara Finds Justice In Brooklyn After His 20 Year Fight Against the Political Bosses Three Found Boxes Obstruction of Justice? 

Update: Congrats to my good friend John O'hara for having his conviction overturned

Brooklyn DA Moves to Exonerate Lawyer in Notorious VoteFraud Case (NY1) When he succeeded the late District Attorney Ken Thompson last fall, Eric Gonzalez vowed to continue Thompson's agenda. Now he's fonce again fulfilling that promise, moving to clear a man who has long said his only crime was defying Brooklyn's Democratic bosses.  Now his hand-picked successor, Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, will add to that list, moving to clear lawyer John O'Hara, who was convicted of voter fraud in a controversial prosecution 20 years ago.  "I was the first person ever to be tried three times," O'Hara told NY1. "It's a debilitating process, and then all the appeals that went on. It's been 20 years now. And when you have a felony conviction, you're officially a second-class citizen."  O'Hara was prosecuted on charges of using his girlfriend's address - 14 blocks from his own - to vote in 1996. He was said to be the first person convicted of illegal voting in New York since Susan B Anthony in 1872.   He always maintained that former DA Charles Hynes had it out for him, because O'Hara repeatedly ran for office against candidates backed by the Brooklyn Democratic machine. "When you investigate somebody on their residency, it's an excuse to get into all of their personal records, their taxes, their checks, their credit card slips," O'Hara said. After O'Hara's conviction, a judge fined him and ordered him to perform community service by picking up garbage and cleaning public toilets in city parks. He also was disbarred from practicing law.  He eventually got his law license back, in 2009, but the conviction remained. The case was so notorious, it came up in a debate during Thompson's campaign to unseat Hynes three years ago.     "I believe that what the appellate division said that the character and fitness division said that John O'Hara was a victim of a political hit by the machine carried out by this DA," Thompson said then.   Hynes always stood by the prosecution, although his office had to try the case three separate times beforee winning a conviction that would stick.  But after Thompson was elected in 2013, it was of the many controvetrsial convictions the district attorney's office moved to examine.   "About one year ago, former DA Thompson's conviction review unit turned over three boxes of materials to us which we have never seen before," O'Hara says.   Thompson died of cancer last fall before the review of OHara's conviction was completed. The evidence vindicating Ohara is expected to be presented in a Brooklyn court Thursday. * New York Secures the Most Affordable Housing Units in 27 Years (NYT)  Over the years, lawyers unearthed documents in the Brooklyn district attorney’s office that showed illegal tactics had been used in cases far more serious than Mr. O’Hara’s. In time, this helped lead to the ouster of Mr. Hynes by Kenneth P. Thompson, who ran on a platform of undoing what he saw as the injustices of the Hynes administration. Mr. Thompson, who died in October, set up a special unit to look into possible wrongful convictions.  One of the lawyers who had uncovered wrongdoing in the district attorney’s office, Joel B. Rudin, took up Mr. O’Hara’s cause, filing 620 pages of arguments and exhibits with the court. Mr. Thompson agreed to review it.  Investigators traveled to the southwest United States to interview the former owner of the house. She told them that she and her husband had indeed finished the basement as a recreation area. Asked in court if it were an apartment, she had said no. But no one asked if someone could live there.  That was the entire crux of the case: Mr. O’Hara could actually have lived there. Mark Hale of the district attorney’s office said these facts created “insurmountable reasonable doubt as to his guilt.”  So after 20 years, three trials and hundreds of thousands of dollars in court costs, Justice Cyrulnik     “nd sealed,” she said.  Mr. O’Hara, now 55, reflected on those words.  “That means,” he said, “there’s no fourth trial.”

The Daily News Won't Even Name Fake Reformer Former Assemblyman Jim Brennan Who Pushed Hynes to Go After O'Hara
Justice for John O’Hara: After 20 years, a convictionoverturned  (NYDN Ed)  O’Hara had the unhappy distinction of being the only person in New York guilty of this arcane crime since Susan B. Anthony in 1873, and the reason for his conviction was nothing more and nothing less than one man’s political spite.  In a pursuit of injustice that would be right at home in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, it was former Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Hynes, a political enemy of O’Hara, who railroaded the gadfly because he had the temerity to challenge Hynes’ pals in the Democratic machine.  The tale is absurd. Bothered by O’Hara’s repeated runs for office (he always lost), Hynes had a grand jury gin up seven phony felony charges that O’Hara had voted from the wrong address.  O’Hara was arrested, fingerprinted and photographed. The charge was not that O’Hara had voted twice or that he had voted out of a fake address.  It was that he had voted out of the wrong address — the address of a girlfriend.  O’Hara was offered a deal of a single misdemeanor, which the machine thought would scare him away. Guilty of nothing, O’Hara refused.  So Hynes tried him. O’Hara was convicted, but the verdict was overturned on appeal. Hynes went at him again; that trial ended in a hung jury.  Then, for the first and only time in his 24 years as DA, Hynes brought a person to trial a third time. It worked because hack Judge Abe Gerges, a slug of a former councilman, all but instructed the jury to return a guilty verdict.  O’Hara appealed the verdict all the way up to the state’s highest court, where a foolish majority let it stand. Hynes had speared his white whale.  Because of the vindictive grudge of one politician, a lawyer who had done nothing wrong was fined $20,000, sentenced to 1,500 hours of community service and disbarred, losing his law license and legal practice.  O’Hara was saddled with nearly a half million dollars in lawyers’ bills. He and his girlfriend had hoped to wed, but she worked in a heavily regulated industry where she couldn’t be married to a convicted felon. How can that be undone?

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.

Under de Blasio the UFT Has Become A Bigger Stronger Political Machine $182 Million Budget That NY Pols Fear and Use for Their Reelection 
Boom times for the teachers union, even as more schools fail (NYP) Most “graduates” of the city’s public schools lack the skills to prosper in college or the workplace, but at least business is booming for the United Federation of Teachers.  As Carl Campanile reported in Monday’s Post, the city teachers union is spending more furiously than a drunken sailor: In the year ending last June 30, the UFT upped outlays by $13 million over the year before, to $182.1 million. That equals the entire budget for the city of Albany.   It helped that the union collected an extra $7 million in dues (to $151 million total), thanks to 7,000 new teachers hired under Mayor de Blasio’s Universal Pre-K program.   UFT boss Michael Mulgrew’s smug justification for it all? “Defending public education is increasingly expensive.”   Starting with his pay: The former middle-school shop teacher gets $283,804 — more than Mayor de Blasio, and $56,000 more than Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.   Heck, six UFT staffers out-earn Fariña, who runs de Blasio’s $24 billion, 1 million-student Department of Education. Another 65 staffers pull down more than $150,000.  The UFT also spent $3 million on catered meals, and more for baseball tickets and for junkets to Orlando, New Orleans and Vegas. To be fair, the union also helps its outside friends, handing $3 million to various community and advocacy groups. And it ponied up $125,000 for de Blasio’s nonprofit, United for Affordable NYC. No, the mayor’s housing agenda has nothing to do with education — but pleasing de Blasio is vital to the UFT’s real work, which is preserving its members’ privileges.   Ironically, news of the union’s spending boom follows fresh word of the failure of the mayor’s UFT-friendly Renewal program, which was supposed to turn around dozens of failing city public schools. Thanks to plummeting enrollment and/or still-stagnant scores, Fariña is closing another six Renewal schools, and merging three others with less-dysfunctional schools with which they share buildings.   In all, the chancellor is closing or merging 22 failing schools, a tacit retreat from de Blasio’s bluster, back when he started the Renewal farce, that “we reject the notion of giving up on any of our schools.”No apologies yet from City Hall to the kids stuck attending these schools in the years before the de Blasio-Fariña-Mulgrew regime finally stopped pretending.

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.

First NYT Pushes Clinton for Mayor Now Cuomo for President in 2010
Andrew Cuomo Raises His Profile, Stirring Talk of a 2020 Run (NYT) Though it’s premature to pick a front-runner for the next presidential race, there is reason to speculate about a possible bid by the governor of New York.* In Address, Cuomo Posits New York’s Policies as an Answer to Trump (NYT) The governor delivered the first of six State of the State speeches at 1 World Trade Center on Monday. He presented an array of liberal proposals.* Cuomo Confirms Deal to Close Indian Point Nuclear Plant (NYT) * Cuomo's State of the State speech appears directed to national audience (NYDN) Cuomo, during his 43-minute speech at 1 World Trade Center on Monday, again tried to claim the progressive mantle he hopes could play well at home while also springboarding him into the national conversation for 2020. It’s clear he wants to be a voice in defending against many of President-elect Donald Trump’s policies. State GOP Chairman Ed Cox referenced Cuomo’s father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo, who famously agonized about running for President before deciding against it. “He’s no longer thinking about New York,” Cox said of the son. “He’s now thinking of going where his father didn’t. It’s late-second termitis.”

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)

Media Acting Like "Vinny the Chin" When It Comes to Following Up on Govt and Campaign Corruption Since the Reports of Subpoenas Flying At City Hall Last May? 

The NYT is Trying to Get Voters to Ignore Govt and Campaign Corruption to Only Look At Crime Falling in the None Public Housing Areas, Even Attacking the Press
From NY Times  "A common caricature of Mr. de Blasio — fed by his critics and amplified by tabloid and TV news — is that he neglects nitty-gritty governance while ineptly pursuing ego-driven ambitions. Some point to problems like homelessness, an unsolved, slow-motion disaster under this mayor, as evidence of his incompetence."

Subpoenas Fly At City Hall Laundering $$$

Nursing Home Deed Change Investigation

Fund Raising Investigation

State Senate Fund Raising Investigation

Hospital Bid Rigging Sale Investigation 

Cop Gifts, Seabrook Pay to Play and Platinum Hedge Fund Investigation

NYCLASS PAC Going Around the Campaign Finance Laws

Feds Investigation of NYCHA

Media Has Learned Nothing in 4 Years 

Fixing Elections 
The UFT Coup d'é·tat Of NYC Election System and Democracy 
How the Advance Group Conspired to Steal the 2009 and 2013 Election

The Corrupt CFB

Daily News Give 16 Reason Why 2016 Sucked for de Blasio  True News Adds More 

16 reasons why 2016 was a horrible year for Mayor deBlasio (NYDN) It began with the unsettling news that his administration had somehow allowed a landmark AIDS care facility on the Lower East Side to be turned into luxury housing — in a sweetheart deal that benefited several of his donors — and ended with news that grand juries have been convened to probe his fund-raising.  But the mayor struggled to navigate political minefields — many of them self-created — and might have had the worst 2016 in American politics outside of Hillary Clinton.* Here's what we knowabout the probe into Mayor Bill de Blasio's fundraising  (DNAINFO)

2.     INVESTIGATIONS U.S. Attorney Bharara, Manhattan DA, JCOPE
5.     Homeless Hotels
Increased Homelessness
6.     Cluster Homeless Housing Fumble
7.     Bad Landlord
8.     Sandy Unfinished Rebuilding
9.     WIKILEAKS Behind the Scenes Relationship With Hillary Campaign
110. CP Time Inner City Racist Skit
111. Departures
113. Administration for Children’s Services
115. web kiosks Porn
116.  Deer Murder
Cuomo vs de Blasio Deer Killing

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

More Than Coffee: New York’s Vanishing Diner Culture (NYT) With the number of restaurants that call themselves diners and coffee shops dwindling in the city, a devotee wonders how New Yorkers will get along without these antidotes to urban loneliness.

The Post writes that the NYPD continued a decades-long trend in keeping crime down thanks to former Commissioner Bill Bratton, current Commissioner James O’Neill, the entire force, and to de Blasio despite his past stumbles.

Date Rape Comments by Brooklyn Police Captain Are Condemned (NYT) Peter R. Rose, a precinct commander, contrasted sexual attacks on acquaintances with “true stranger rapes,” which he called “the troubling ones.” * NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill has already faced many challenges in his first 100 days on the job, and while not a celebrity like former police commissioner William Bratton, O’Neill’s approachable style has impressed subordinates, Newsday writes.

NYPD's Property and Evidence Tracking System doesn't keep detailed records of property seized during arrest (NYDN)
Domestic Abuse Killings Climb as Murders Drop, Frustrating New York Officials  (NYT) The persistence of such killings has frustrated the police, prosecutors and social service providers struggling to prevent intimate tensions that play out behind closed doors from turning deadly.
Expanding Smart Car Fleet, New York Police Just Got More ‘Adorable’  (NYT) Since their rollout last year, the tiny, bean-shaped vehicles have drawn the attention, and sometimes the affection, of curious passers-by.
Black Lives Matter wants NYPD to turn over protest surveillance (NYP)
* Despite a promise three years ago, New York police interrogations are largely still not videotaped, and without the recordings of the interrogations, hearings on disputed confessions drag on for days, wasting time and money, the Times reports.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said he wants every patrol officer outfitted with a body camera in five years, but the first wave of body cameras that was supposed to roll out over the summer got hung up in discussions over procedures, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The NYPD is quietly wresting control of crime stats from local commanders, spending millions of dollars on a new program run out of Police Headquarters that officials say will bring CompStat-style crime analysis to the precinct level, the Post reports.
City to pay NYPD cops more to wear body cameras(NYP)  In an effort to sweeten the pot in contract talks with the police union, City Hall is offering a 1 percent salary bump for NYPD officers forced to wear body cameras
Complaint Board Softened Report on Police Use of Tasers (NYT) Recommendations for the NYPD to create an annual report on the use of Tasers and prohibit their use on handcuffed suspects were removed from the final version of a report issued by the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board
* In a year that is on pace to have record-low crime, the NYPD graduated 555 new officers on Wednesday, with Commissioner James O’Neill talking about community policing and the importance of “just saying hello to people,” Politico New York reports.
Religious Police Officers in New York Will Be Able to Wear Beards and Turbans (NYT) Under a new policy, officers will be allowed to wear a beard that extends one-half inch from their faces and blue turbans adorned with department shields.
NYPDsergeant in de Blasio's security detail tests positive for marijuana use (NYDN)
More on Crime 

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

Daniel Horwitz, the chairman of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, has stepped down, and officials said it was not clear if acting chairman Michael Rozen would eventually be named the full-time chairman, the Times Union writes.


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 

If Bronx BP Decides to Run for Mayor He Will Be Hit On Kingsbridge Mess
Ruben Diaz cost the Bronx 1,200 jobs — and it shouldn’t ‘feel good’ (NYP) The Bronx is now entering its eighth year since Borough President Ruben Diaz killed plans for a mall at the Kingsbridge Armory that would have brought 1,200 new jobs.
More on Diaz's Bronx Kingsbridge Mess

de Blasio to Washington to Collect $$$ From UFT
Will de Blasio buy cops’ support with an overly generous contract? (NYP Ed) De Blasio may be preparing to offer New York City cops an overly generous contract in order to buy back their support after implementing policies that officers dislike, such as the body camera program
Political Buzz says celebrity PI & wannabe mayor @BoDietl isn't an enrolled Democrat or Independen(ce)t due to a registration error. Woops!
Stringer says he’ll run for mayor if feds indict de Blasio (NYP)
Mark-Viverito doesn’t rule out running for mayor in 2017 (NYP)
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito raised eyebrows when she said she plans to support de Blasio if he decides to seek re-election next year, even though de Blasio has already been running for months, the Post reports.
During a recent cocktail party a boisterous anti-de Blasio labor leader growled that Comptroller Scott Stringer (and fellow Democrats: Diaz, Adams, James) should “grow a pair [of balls]” instead of waiting for indictments to drop before declaring their intentions. One partygoer offered the scenario of Public Advocate Tish James entering the fray if Stringer runs against Mayor de Blasio. The thinking is James could capitalize on a voter split between the two men. Meanwhile, former Kings County GOP leader Craig Eaton says he’s trying to recruit food and oil magnate John Catsimatidis to run again.
Ex-City Councilman Sal Albanese announces 2017 challengeto Mayor de Blasio (NYDN)
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
Clinton vs. de Blasio for New York Mayor? Unlikely Idea Has People Talking  (NYT) From political circles in New York City to cocktail parties on Capitol Hill, two of the biggest untethered threads in New York politics are being drawn together around a single question.
Aideto John Catsimatidis Doing Polling for 2017 NYC Mayoral Race (NYO)

Former NYPDdetective Bo Dietl calls de Blasio ‘corrupt,’ says cops ‘hate this mayor’ (NYDN)

Bo Does Not Understand That It Is the UnDemocratic NYS Election Law That Is Preventing Him From Running for Mayor No BOE or deB
Bo Dietl claims de Blasio sabotaged his mayoral bid (NYP) Former NYPD detective Bo Dietl is threatening to sue the city Board of Elections for thwarting his attempt to register as a Democrat in time for a mayoral primary — and blames Mayor de Blasio for the ballot-busting move.  Dietl announced in August he would challenge de Blasio but can’t run in the Democratic primary because he made a mistake on his voter forms, checking boxes for both the Democratic and Independence parties. Dietl sent his form to the board in August when he switched his voter registration from Nassau County to Manhattan. The error canceled out his party registration and invalidated his form, making it impossible for him to run in the Democratic primary.  Dietl said he marked both boxes because he had conversations with Independence Party leaders and wanted their endorsement. “I’m a Democrat in my heart but I wanted the Independence party line so I checked the Democratic and Independence lines,” he explained. “I didn’t know it was wrong.”  Dietl’s lawyers noticed the blunder and called the Board of Elections, which sent him a blank affidavit on Nov. 30 in order to sort out his party affiliation.  But election commissioners told Dietl Wednesday that state law prohibited them from changing his voter forms because he had registered for a different political party within the past five years.  “He signed that the was enrolled in the Republican Party in Nassau County for all five years,” Board of Elections spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez said. “Based on that alone the correction of enrollment was denied.” Dietl and his attorneys are filing a challenge with the state Supreme Court this month to fix the mistake. He called the board’s decision “mysterious” and said de Blasio was “interfering” with his registration.  “There’s something going on behind the scenes,” he said. “Somebody is afraid of me getting on the ballot.”  A Board of Elections spokeswoman said no one from City Hall inquired about Dietl’s case. A de Blasio spokesman called Dietl’s accusation “absurd.”
More on Campaign 2017 
Campaign 2013 Media Failure And Broken Political Promises

East Side Pols Say Nothing As China Fun Shuts Closes Down Blaming Govt Over-Regulations
Manhattan culinary staple China Fun shutters,blaming government over-regulation (NYDN)  For 25 years, China Fun was renowned for its peerless soup dumplings and piquant General Tso’s chicken.  What left a bad taste in the mouths of its owners and loyal patrons was the restaurant’s sudden Jan. 3 closing, blamed by management on suffocating government demands.  “The state and municipal governments, with their punishing rules and regulations, seems to believe that we should be their cash machine to pay for all that ails us in society.” The Second Ave. restaurant became a beloved local mainstay, with customers bemoaning its unexpected disappearance. The Daily News hailed the soup dumplings as the best on the Upper East Side in 2015. Albert Wu, whose parents Dorothea and Felix owned the eatery, said the endless paperwork and constant regulation that forced the shutdown accumulated over the years.  “When we started out in 1991, the lunch special was $4 a plate,” he recalled. “Now it’s $10, $12. The cost of doing business is just too onerous.”  Wu cited one regulation where the restaurant was required to provide an on-site break room for workers despite its limited space. And he blamed the amount of paperwork now required — an increasingly difficult task for a non-chain businesses.  “In a one-restaurant operation like ours, you’re spending more time on paperwork than you are trying to run your business,” he griped.  Increases in the minimum wage, health insurance and insurance added to a list of 10 issues provided by Wu. “And I haven’t even gone into the Health Department rules and regulations,” he added.  Media Cares More About  City’s top eateries are freaking out over a white-truffle shortage (NYP) *

"Due to rent, labor and food costs on the rise.." Two More Manhattan Diners Have Closed

Two More Manhattan Diners Have Closed The Diner NYCin the Meatpacking District and The Greek Corner Coffee Shop in Chelsea jointhe list

de Blasio Refusal to Close Failing Schools Has Hurt Kids and Wasted Millions in Education Funding
Slow learner Bill: Yes, shutting bad schools is the bestoption (NYDN) de Blasio is learning from painful experience what careful study of the evidence should have taught him from the get-go: that Mike Bloomberg’s approach to chronically failing schools — closing them and letting kids get a better education elsewhere — made a hell of a lot of sense.  As de Blasio slowly awakens, finally announcing plans to shutter six woefully underperforming schools, thousands of kids remain stuck in classrooms where real teaching and learning may never happen.  In November 2014, the mayor stood before the city exuding moral conviction that a humane new approach to the city’s worst schools, now christened Renewal Schools, would yield dividends that mean old Mayor Mike failed to deliver. As de Blasio caricatured it, under Bloomberg “teachers were hamstrung,” parents and students were “written-off” and “put down,” and schools were summarily shut down long before they had a chance to change.  In fact, the Bloomberg strategy — phasing out chronically failing schools with rock-bottom academic results and corrosive cultures, and opening new schools, both district and charter, in their place — helped kids.  Reams of research confirms it.  Under de Blasio’s watch, Chancellor Carmen Fariña began pouring upwards of $180 million a year into nearly 100 schools, layering on community programs, additional instructional time, teacher training and more. The money would buy progress, they promised, and no excuses. “We will demand fast and intense improvement — and we will see that it happens,” said de Blasio. That bold pronouncement proceeded to slam into the brick wall of reality. Enrollment in the schools has fallen, from 44,000 in 2014 to 37,000 this school year. And though results are uneven, by many indicators progress has been halting. Surely there have been some successes. But even granting those results, it’s hard to see how they add up to sufficient bang for the buck in what works out, in rough math, to nearly an extra $4,800 per enrolled kid per year.And despite all that focused attention and funding, at slated-for-closure Leadership Institute in the Bronx, enrollment is plummeting. At Monroe Academy for Visual Arts and Design, the graduation rate is now an abysmal 38%.  At JHS 162 Lola Rodriguez De Tio, just 3% of students are doing math at grade level, and just 9% are passing state English tests.

de Blasio sharply criticized former Mayor Michael Bloomberg for closing schools Before He Became Mayor

City to Close or Merge 9 Schools That Were in Support Program (NYT) The institutions that will no longer be operating as before are part of the de Blasio administration’s Renewal program for low-performing schools.  The Bloomberginitiative was nixed by Mayor de Blasio, who instead decided to pump money andresources into what he called “renewal” schools.  * Bloomberg’s policy of closing failing schools helped students (NYP) * “If he does whathe promised, he will be the most important national leader against the movementto close down and privatize public education,” said Diane Ravitch, theeducation historian and blogger who opposes the kinds of changes Bloombergchampioned. (Wash Post)  * State education officials are eyeing a plan that could “recalibrate” – and presumably lower – passing scores on a challenging new teacher licensing exam that has produced a failure rate of more than 20 percent since it was introduced statewide in 2015, Newsday writes.

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)

IDC Records Civil War: First Day of Hearing On the City's Attempt to Destroy the IDC Records
City still can't destroy IDNYC documents as lawsuitcontinues (SI Advance) On Thursday, State Supreme Court Justice Philip G. Minardo heard testimony from Nisha Agarwal, commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs; Steven Banks; commissioner of the city Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services; and John Miller, NYPD deputy commissioner of intelligence and counter-terrorism. The assembly members brought the suit after a state official began encouraging banks to accept the ID cards to open bank accounts, which they argue could allow terrorist-funded activities to occur in American banks. Deputy Commissioner Miller testified that if terrorists did conduct financial transactions in American banks, it would be easier to detect them.  Castorina was particularly unhappy with the questions posed by Miller when he was on the stand, as she pressed him about FOIL and retaining the records. "American blood is at stake here," he said. He called Deputy Commissioner Miller's testimony "political mumbo jumbo," saying later when speaking to the press that Miller acts as an agent of the mayor's office, not an apolitical law enforcement expert. Castorina and Malliotakis are hoping Councilman Carlos Menchaca, the chairman of the City Council Immigration Committee who commented to the press that the city wants to destroy the documents because of a Republican White House, and John Burnett, a banking expert, will testify in court next week. Minardo has not decided yet whether he will call on them.*    New York City ID Holders Aren’t a Threat, N.Y.P.D.Official Says in Court (NYT) “In the course of two years, we have not seen New York City IDs surfacing in a rampage of terrorism threats or other matters,” Mr. Miller said. For six hours, Justice Minardo questioned city officials and the Staten Island lawmakers, Ronald Castorina Jr. and Nicole Malliotakis, both Republicans, and then agreed to hear more witnesses for the plaintiffs next week. In the meantime, the city must continue to retain the documents, which were to have been destroyed on Dec. 31. When questioned by Justice Minardo, Mr. Castorina was dismissive of Mr. Miller’s testimony.  “What I heard was political mumbo jumbo,” Mr. Castorina said on the stand.  Mayor Bill de Blasio has made IDNYC a signature of his administration, and Mr. Castorina said later that Mr. Miller was beholden to the mayor. Mr. Miller said that there was actually a greater risk of “massive identity fraud” in retaining the scanned documents, leaving them open to hacking. Ravi Batra, a lawyer recently retained by Mr. Castorina and Ms. Malliotakis, argued that the city’s “compassion” toward the underprivileged came at the expense of the security of all New Yorkers.* Know when tofold ’em: The politicians suing the city over its plans to destroy IDNYCdocuments should give it up (NYDN)

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)

Several Overlapping Campaign Bundlers for De Blasio and StringerKirsten Theodos  
Recently, I have been pondering who is more beholden to REBNY, de Blasio or Scott Stringer? Well now we know, their allegiance to REBNY is the same! #Pay2Play   "There’s overlap in those who have bundled campaign donations for Mayor Bill de Blasio and Comptroller Scott Stringer, a review of campaign finance documents shows.   According to records from the New York City Campaign Finance Board, through the most recent filing period for the 2017 city election cycle, six individuals have bundled donations for both de Blasio and Stringer. Bundling involves collecting money from different parties and delivering it together to a campaign.  The six overlapping bundlers for de Blasio and Stringer are employed by six major legal, lobbying, and real estate firms, most of which have city business or clients with city business: Brown & Weinraub PLLC; Brown Harris Stevens; Capalino & Company; Connelly McLaughlin & Woloz; Greenberg Traurig; and Rudin Management Company."  "Seven of the ten individuals involved in the aforementioned bundling for de Blasio and Stringer through July also show up in the city’s “Doing Business” portal, which tracks entities that have city business or clients with city business. The city’s campaign finance law limits donations from those with city business to just $400 per candidate campaign, but their bundling of money from other donors is not limited." Take Back NY

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)

Cuomo Brings His War With de Blasio Underground with State Police NY Eve Who Cares but the Media Doing Flack Work for the Gov? Nobody Knows Buffalo Billion

Second Avenue subway takes first ride just before NewYear's Eve ball drop in Times Square (NYDN) * Diggingthe future from Second Ave. and beyond  (NYDN Ed)

MTA Boss to Retire
MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast plans to retire early2017 (NYDN)  Potential replacements has surfaced, including Pat Foye, who is currently Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive director to the Port Authority * After Victory Lap for Second Avenue Subway, M.T.A. Chief Will Retire (NYT) * After MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast confirmed he will retire, Cuomo said he will look at a replacement that has both transit and real estate expertise, which he said is needed due to the redevelopment of Penn Station, Politico New York writes.

Most Expensive 3 Stops Ever

As Second Avenue Subway Opens, a Train Delay Ends in (Happy) Tears  (NYT) Thousands of riders flooded into polished stations on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to witness a piece of history nearly a century in the making.
In a major moment for New York’s transit system, the Second Avenue Subway opened in Manhattan on Sunday, with thousands of riders flooding into its stations to witness a piece of history nearly a century in the making, The New York Times writes.
Cuomo’s Second Avenue subway security is another jab at de Blasio (NYP)  The Cuomo-de Blasio feud is heading underground for New Year’s.  In what NYPD cops are seeing as a blatant dig at Mayor de Blasio, Gov. Cuomo is putting his own teams of MTA and State Police front and center at Saturday night’s grand-opening party for the new Second Avenue Subway.  Sidelined will be the city’s own cops, who actually have to police the subway day-to-day.  Cops from the 19th Precinct on East 67th Street also have been relegated to above-ground duties, helping attendees park their cars.  “They’re turning over the keys to the MTA Police for this event, then they’ll unglamorously toss us the keys the next morning,” groused one police source.  Cuomo is bringing scores of state-paid cops down the shiny new escalators with him for the “formal attire suggested” celebration, at which invited guests will take the inaugural ride on the new East Side tracks. * Second Ave. subway launch party takes a hit as the Mets,MoMA decline invitation (NYDN) The invitation for the underground countdown to 2017 and the launch of the Second Ave. subway featured iconic New York names like MoMA and the Mets.  Those organizations lent their names for the invitation to the Second Ave. subway’s New Year’s Eve celebration, even though they had no role in the event. And of the roughly 600 guests the governor’s staff is expecting, no bold-face names from those institutions will be partying with dignitaries who will be on the inaugural ride through the Upper East Side at 10:30 p.m.* Alan Chartock’s The Capitol Connection: It ain’t easybeing Cuomo

2nd Avenue Subway Was Not Build for the Hundreds of Businesses That Closed During Its Construction, But for the Developers
Second Avenue Subway’s Arrival Brings Fear That Rents Will Soar (NYT)

Cuomo Special Session Pay Raise Deal Blew Up, He Faces Anger From Both Parties In 2017
More About Cuomo
MTA and Bridge Tolls

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

NYP and Most of the Media Does Not Connect the Dots Gentrification and Rising Rents Are Causing Increasing Homeless
Meanwhile, homelessness is on a rapid rise, making a mockery of de Blasio’s early insistence it wasn’t a problem and his more recent claims it’s declining.  Some 61,000 individuals were in the program as of Dec. 1, a record, with many being jammed into astonishingly expensive commercial hotels.* Loss of Affordable Housing Increases Health Issues inEast Harlem: Study (DNAINFO) * Comptroller Stringer Report in 2014 on the Growing AffordableHousing Gap There was a dramatic shift in the distribution of affordable apartments, with a loss of approximately 400,000 apartments renting for $1,000 or less. This shift helped to drive the infl ation-adjusted median rent from $839 in 2000 to $1,100 in 2012, a 31.1% increase. In some neighborhoods – among them Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Ft. Greene and Bushwick in Brooklyn, average real rents increased 50 percent or more over the 12-year period. * Between 2002 and 2014, the number of unsubsidized unitsaffordable to low-income households declined by over 330,000 units. (City Limits) Rent-stabilized units affordable to low-income households fell by 233,931 units (27 percent). During that same period, the stock of unregulated units affordable to low-income households declined by 96,595 units (23 percent). Between 2011 and 2014, affordable unsubsidized units decreased by approximately 124,000 units.
How Team de Blasio (Berlin Rosen) Tried to Blame Homelessness and the NYCHA Mess On Cuomo 

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.

LI Official Resigns Tied To Federal Rat Singh Who is Also de Blasio Fund Raiser 
Official resigns amid bribery indictment tied to Mangano (NYP) A longtime town supervisor on Long Island, who was indicted alongside Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano on bribery charges, is resigning, he announced Tuesday.  The news comes nearly three months after Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, Mangano and the executive’s wife Linda were charged in a pay-for-play scheme involving a local restaurateur.  Venditto and the Manganos are accused of taking bribes from restaurateur Harendra Singh in exchange for helping him secure lucrative county contracts and loans.  Linda allegedly raked in $450,000 from a no-show job as a “food taster” at one of Singh’s eateries in Queens, while the family received lavish trips to Florida, Turks and Caicos and St. Thomas, prosecutors said. Singh, who is charged in a separate indictment, also gifted Venditto and his family limo rides around town and provided discounted rates for Venditto to use his restaurant for fundraisers.
Singh Update Federal bribery trial for Harendra Singh indefinitelydelayed (Newsday)

Singing Singh Federal Rat Donated More Than $54.000 to de Blasio Pleaded Guilty to Bribing Mangano and Other GOP on Long Island  
Restaurant Owner Central To Ed Mangano Case ContributedTo De Blasio Campaign (WCBS) A restaurant owner central to the case against Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and his wife is also a major donor to Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose fundraising activities are under investigation by federal and state authorities.  Harendra Singh was named as “co-conspirator #1” on the indictment of Mangano and others.  He also donated thousands of dollars to de Blasio when he ran for office, and his generosity was rewarded with a number of key appointments, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.  U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who is probing de Blasio’s campaign fundraising activities, is trying to determine if there were any quid-pro-quos, with donors receiving favors in return for their contributions. More than $54,000 were donated to de Blasio’s mayoral campaign and transition committee by Singh and various relatives. Singh was then appointed to a number of prestigious posts on de Blasio’s inauguration committee, the committee backing the city’s failed bid to get the Democratic National Convention, and the committee to support and raise money for the mayor’s pre-k initiative called UPKNYC, Kramer reported. Expected to be of particular interest to investigators are Singh’s problems with his Queens restaurant, The Water’s Edge, and the city’s attempt to evict him for owning $1.4 million in rent underpayments.

Post Rips Off Nahmias PoliticoNY Story On Campaign for One NY Donors Giving to GOP and Conservative Causes Leaves Out the Singh Manghano Pay to Play Connection 
Ideology explains CONY fund-raising only if “progressive” means “pay to play.” 
De Blasio’s strange ‘progressive’ bedfellows (NYP) Either Mayor de Blasio thinks Republicans are progressives — or he’s one lousy liar.  To answer charges he was selling City Hall access (at least) for donations to his shady Campaign for One New York, de Blasio said on NY1 last month, “We sought donations from people who had historically given to . . . progressive causes.”  Oops: Turns out, “more than a dozen” CONY givers had funneled hefty sums to conservative groups and candidates, like Donald Trump and Chris Christie, Politico New York reported Tuesday.  Stanley Chera’s real-estate firm, Crown Acquisitions, forked over $20,000 to CONY in 2015. Yet Chera also gave $30,000 to super PACs backing Christie and $50,000 to Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee. Chera’s now on Trump’s transition team. Is he a “progressive”?  Developer George Klein sent $50,000 to CONY. Yet he also pumped $216,600 to the RNC and $125,000 to a group backing Jeb Bush — who bashed de Blasio’s pre-K expansion, the original raison d’être for CONY.  Businessman John Catsimatidis ponied up $20,000 for CONY — the year after running for mayor in the GOP primary.  Bruce Toll gave to donkeys like Hillary Clinton and Sen. Chuck Schumer and GOPers like Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. Seems the $25,000 his firm handed CONY has less to do with “progressive” values and more with the fact that it holds property near de Blasio’s planned streetcar. Joseph Dussich bundled $32,000 for de Blasio’s 2013 GOP foe, Joe Lhota. But his donations to CONY hit $100,000 — and then he landed a city contract for rat-repellent trash bags that had long eluded him. 

de Blasio has defended raising millions of dollars for a nonprofit that backed his political agenda by saying the group targeted contributors who share his progressive vision on issues like universal pre-kindergarten and affordable housing. "We sought donations from people who had historically given to, donated to, Democratic Party causes, progressive causes, to my candidacy, et cetera, and there was no preference given to them in any way, shape or form," de Blasio said Monday during a television interview on NY1. The mayor has repeatedly denied that the group's donors - many of whom had business before the city - received any special treatment from the administration, pointing instead to the shared ideology on a host of progressive issues to explain the millions of dollars in donations. De Blasio has also drawn a distinction between his nonprofit - called the Campaign for One New York - and the flood of unregulated money that flowed to conservative groups after the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United, saying his own supporters were not trying to "undermine the democratic process." But a POLITICO New York review of the Campaign for One NY's fundraising shows that many of its donors have given liberally to powerful politicians in both parties, and more than a dozen have significantly funded conservative causes and candidates - like Donald Trump, Scott Walker and Chris Christie - who have openly opposed the mayor's progressive agenda. (PoliticoNY) 
John Quaglione ‏@JQuaglione  This is interesting: "Catsimatidis gave $20,000 to de Blasio’s nonprofit, 1 yr after he lost GOP nomination for mayor"

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 nerds 
y, 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.”

Brooklyn DA Race

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.

Despite de Blasio's Vows to Do Away With Them More Homeless Hotels Coming for Next 9 Years 
Homeless could get more hotels as de Blasio vows to get rid of them (NYP) The city could be using hotel rooms to house the homeless for another nine years under a new proposal, despite Mayor de Blasio’s stated goal of changing that policy “as quickly as possible.” The Department of Homeless Services, facing a record homeless population of nearly 60,000 across the city, posted a request last month for vendors that could supply “emergency shelter social services in commercial hotels.”  The mayor announced in February that the city intended to phase out the hotels after a homeless woman and her two children were stabbed to death at a Staten Island motel where they had been placed by the city.  “The goal is to use hotels less and less and eventually stop using hotels altogether,” de Blasio said at the time. But the department’s solicitation for bids notes that the resulting contract would be “anticipated” to last between three and nine years. From Nov. 1, 2015, to Oct. 31, 2016, the department made 425,000 hotel-room bookings at a cost of more than $72.9 million, according to city Comptroller Scott Stringer.  With the homeless population growing, the city actually expanded the use of the hotels.  But critics said the extended time frame is evidence that “homeless” hotels will be around for years.
The None Battle Against Gentrification and the Harm Done By 421-a and Airbnb to Affordable Housing, Causing More Homeless 

Former Deputy Mayor Barrious-Paoli de Blasio Took Eye Off the Ball of the HOMELESS Problem 

Former deputy mayor rips de Blasio's handle on homelessness in the city (NYDN)  Ex-Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli blasted her old boss Mayor de Blasio for not having a long-term vision to deal with homelessness — and said she left the administration because she didn’t like the way it was handling the issue.  The former nun, who was well-respected among advocates for the poor, said there is too much “immediatism” in the administration when it comes to homelessness.  “They are not seeing the long term and they don't have a long-term plan,” she said in an interview on NY1 Noticias in Spanish. Barrios-Paoli, who had been the deputy mayor in charge of homelessness, stepped down last year citing “personal reasons.”  “I thought that the best thing for me was to leave,” she said. Asked if she liked working with de Blasio, she added, “There were some difficulties.” She chuckled when asked to elaborate, then declined to say more.  Meanwhile, city Controller Scott Stringer demanded that de Blasio immediately address what he termed “potentially dangerous conditions” at city homeless shelters. In a letter to the heads of the homeless, health and child welfare agencies, Stringer cites his finding that 82% of child care workers at shelters didn’
t have criminal history checks. * Woman Who Once Ran Mayor's Homeless Initiatives Criticizes Mayor's Response to Homeless Crisis (NY1) * Coney Island A “Dumping Ground For Homeless Shelters” LocalsComplain In Protest to Proposed Shelter (Bensonhurt Bean)

Dominican Espaillat Takes Over Harlem
An Old Story of What Happens In New York When Neighborhoods Change
New York's newest Congressman Adriano Espaillat to make history(NYDN)  When Espaillat is sworn into Congress on Tuesday he'll become the first Dominican-American — and first formerly undocumented immigrant — sworn into Congress. “Personally it's very rewarding. I've tried several times, the third one is the charm. And this is also a collective victory for many folks in this district who want a new chapter written,” Espaillat, 62, told the Daily News. He'll also be the first non-African American since World War II to represent Harlem in the House, marking a sea change for the neighborhood and the city. Espaillat's win came after two unsuccessful attempts to knock off Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), a onetime giant in Congress who was forced from his role as the powerful chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee in 2010 after a lengthy ethics investigation. The district is majority-Latino and slightly more than a quarter African American, with many African Americans having left the area for the outer boroughs in past decades, driven at first by crime and then by gentrification as Harlem has become increasingly expensive. Charlie Rangel on the end of his era: “This guy from Lenox Avenue is ... * Rangel, Paterson and the Fall of a Harlem Dynasty - Black Politics on ... * Espaillat's Win Another Blow to Harlem's Black Political Power ...

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.

"My Video Was Not A Campaign Ad Because It Was Released for Free on the Internet" de Blasio  Does de Blasio Believe That Trump's Free Twitter and Facebook Posts Were Not Campaign Ads? 

Group demands investigation into de Blasio’s taxpayer-funded ad (NYP) A group dedicated to ousting Mayor de Blasio is demanding a city watchdog investigate a “propaganda” video produced by City Hall for possible campaign-finance violations.  In a letter dated Dec. 30, NYC Deserves Better founder Bradley Tusk asked the Campaign Finance Board to examine whether the taxpayer-funded video is lawful since it looks suspiciously like a campaign ad. *  Mayor de Blasio sayscriticism of the video his taxpayer-funded team created is ‘ludicrous’ (NYDN) A visibly annoyed Mayor de Blasio defended the taxpayer- funded video his team created to literally sing his praises, insisting Thursday that it wasn’t a campaign ad because he released it for free. “In any branch of government, people put out reports of all kinds,” he said. Criticism that the video is like a campaign ad, he said, is “outrageous and ludicrous.”  “Ads have to be broadcast. You have to pay to get time for an ad. No one’s doing anything like that,” he said.  Whether the video — which features Jenna Ushkowitz, of “Glee” fame and Broadway vet James Iglehart singing about de Blasio administration projects — is an ad or not matters because the city charter prohibits elected officials from releasing taxpayer-funded ads during an election year. De Blasio is up for reelection in 2017.  De Blasio on Thursday got testy when asked why the latest video features him so prominently. “Every leader ... puts out materials talking about what they’ve done. They usually have glossy pictures of their leaders,” he said. “C’mon. This is no different.”

Two Grand Juries Investigate Team de Blasio
UFT Illegal PAC United for the Future

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.

In 2013 de Blasio Went Around the Election Law With the NYCLASS PAC to Win In 2017 the Media is Covering It Own Death as de Blasio Games It, With His Own Press Operation

NYP Appeals to de Blasio's Ethics Not to Set Up His Own Press Operation, He Has None SAD, BEYOND FAKE NEWS

Shameless de Blasio’s new videos push the ethical limits (NYP Ed)  You might think a guy facing as many official investigations as Mayor de Blasio would show a little, uh, humility — or maybe, at least, caution. Ha!  Hizzoner is instead now busy at work stepping up efforts to promote himself as he gets set for his bid for re-election next year — and all at the expense of taxpayers.  Tuesday, just hours before sending out requests for campaign donations, City Hall posted a 3 ¹/₂-minute video on Twitter featuring Broadway actors crooning about pre-K, low crime rates and affordable housing on de Blasio’s watch.   That comes after he boosted his digital-production team, adding three videographers to churn out high-quality videos bragging of his accomplishments.   And just in case anyone missed the mini-flick, the NYPD chimed in with a tweet, claiming: “The part about the Safest Big City in America sounded pretty good” — and offering a link to the video.  Heck, even the Department of Transportation is getting its own videography unit — no doubt to promote the mayor’s flagging “Vision Zero” campaign.  Let’s be honest: These are blatant campaign ads dressed up as “official” city-business communications that qualify for public funding. Who needs the mayor’s disgraced — and now shuttered — Campaign for One New York to promote the mayor and his agenda when he can get helpless taxpayers to foot the bill?  Nor does de Blasio seem to care much about how his scheme looks given that CONY — the political nonprofit group he created funded by campaign donors, unions, developers and favor-seekers — is now under investigation by the FBI and US Attorney Preet Bharara.  Indeed, on Wednesday, in response to criticism of the musical video, Team de Blasio doubled down: “Great voices, catchy tune, and substantive content. What’s controversial about that?”  Will de Blasio ever buy a clue? Those campaign ads — er, informational media — may or may not be legal. But by pushing the ethical bounds and using taxpayer funds for self-promotion, he’s only inviting more well-justified criticism.   Sure, we understand he’s worried about his re-election. But the right way to address that would have been to do a better job at running the city — not pitching himself. * New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign ads – er, informational media – may or may not be legal, but by pushing the ethical bounds and using taxpayer funds for self-promotion, he’s only inviting more well-justified criticism, the Post writes.

More on de Blasio Tax Payer Social Media Paid 2017 Campaign 
de Blasio campaign 2017 and His National Campaign Failed Attempt   
de Blasio Fails at Management, Progressive Fake 

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)

IDC GOP Senate Coalition and Skelos  Flanagan

Under 8 Federal Investigations the Times Keeps Printing Campaign Flyers for the Mayor's Reelection As They Continue to Bash NJ Gov Christie
De Blasio and Big City Mayors Try Pooling Their Power Against Trump (NYT) New York’s mayor, casting himself as a defender of immigrants, minorities and others, is among those rallying urban leaders.* ‘Abandoned’ in New Jersey, Chris Christie Returns to a Changed Landscape (NYT)

WNYC Weekly Interview Allows de Blasio To Spin "Fake News" and Avoid A Full Press Conference 
On WNYC the next day, the mayor made the “fake news” charge as he condemned Stringer and The Post for “denigrating the work of all the people at ACS who protect children.”  No, we’re exposing the non-work of people — especially ACS management, which has bloated under de Blasio — who didn’t protect these now-dead kids. And there’s nothing fake about the deaths of children living in unsafe situations and known to the city. The mayor’s also claiming that four of these deaths occurred years earlier — yet ACS confirms the figure of 10 deaths in that period, and in any case Stringer was working from the records that ACS provided. De Blasio also insisted that the six other deaths were unrelated to abuse or neglect — although the records on that are conveniently not open to the public. And, again, Stringer was simply reviewing the files on “high priority” cases of at-risk kids that ACS provided.  Then there’s this: The mayor also bragged on WNYC that “the number of cases that have been substantiated as potential child abuse has gone down steadily” in recent years. That’s great — if it’s actually a drop in abuse, or in false findings.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s claim that reports from the New York City Comptroller’s office, reported by the Post, are “fake news” is part of his effort to mask the basic failings of management at the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, the Post writes.  * New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio released an elaborate video that was financed with public money to tout his accomplishments in 2016, while ignoring all of his missteps, the Daily News reports.

Its Time to End de Blasio's One on One Spin Weekly Interviews and Let Him Face the Pressure of the Full Press Force 

De Blasio insists Campaign for One New York donors receivedno special treatment (NYDN) de Blasio insisted Monday there is not a single example of donors to his political causes getting preferential treatment from the city.  “The question has been, for those who donated, did they get any particular preference. I’ve said repeatedly no, and no one’s ever produced an example of where such a preference existed,” de Blasio said on NY1. “People are not showing that example of bias or favoritism because it doesn’t exist.”  A number of donors to Blasio’s political non-profit, the Campaign for One New York, ended up getting items they wanted from the city government. The question of whether those were favors given in exchange for the cash, or were simply coincidental as the mayor says, is the subject of a criminal investigation.  As documented in a Daily News investigation, de Blasio announced plans for a streetcar along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront after seven developers with property near the route made donations totaling $245,000.  In another widely publicized case, a businessman hawking rat-repellant garbage bags who had been unsuccessfully seeking city business for years got a city contract after donating $100,000 to CONY.
de Blasio Uses NY1 and WNYC to Create Safe Space Weekly Interviews Fishy Attempt to Spin His Scandals
How Pay to Play Works Inside City Hall 

The One on Ones With the Mayor Allow Him to Spin Back Nonsense That A Full Press Conference Would Not Allow
During Monday night’s weekly NY1 appearance, host Errol Louis pushed de Blasio on the streetcar, known as the BQX, as an example of donors who got something they wanted.  “That’s a huge assumption on your part, respectfully. Why is that donors who got something if it is a mass transit line for...400,000 people?” de Blasio shot back. “Our mission is to create good public policy that serves people, and if we do it, it doesn’t matter who likes it, who doesn’t like it,” he said. “We don’t care who proposed it. If a bunch of non-profits proposed it, I guess you’d be saying this is just pristine public policy.” Two grand juries are hearing testimony in criminal investigations into de Blasio’s fundraising. Hizzoner said Monday that his only aims were to promote universal pre-kindergarten and affordable housing, and flip the state Senate to Democratic control.  “No one was lining their pockets. No one was doing it for personal gain,” he said.

Even the NYT's Says de Blasio Media Attacks Are Ugly and the Opposite of Transparent Do They Know Something About the Federal Investigation?
 Mayor deBlasio’s Media Freeze-Out (NYT Ed)  If Mayor Bill de Blasio has decided that he is going to answer questions only from “real media outlets,” and not The New York Post, why doesn’t he just go all the way? Revoke The Post’s credentials, and bar its reporters from City Hall and make an example of them. Let the other reporters learn not to offend His Honor. And if they don’t learn, he can stop taking all questions. Then the mayor will be free to do his business in peace and quiet, his message unfiltered, his administration shown only in its best light, through news releases and photo ops. That is the absurd logic of Mr. de Blasio’s eruption at a news conference on Thursday. He snapped at reporters’ questions as unfit to be answered. And he refused to respond to Yoav Gonen, City Hall bureau chief of The Post, which he belittled as a “right-wing rag.”

Q. Mr. Mayor, Mr. Mayor —
A. You can keep calling all you want. Go ahead.
Q. Are you going to call on me today? Hey, are you — ?
A. I’m calling on real media outlets.
Spiro de Blasio

This was an extreme reaction for a mayor who is already unusually aloof from the press. His predecessors, notably Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani, took questions nearly every day. Mr. de Blasio deigns to answer reporters’ “off topic” questions — those not related to his chosen issue of the day — generally once a week.  The Post does not hide its anti-de Blasio feelings and is quick to ridicule. It can also be rather vulnerable to ridicule itself. But the article that set off Mr. de Blasio’s meltdown seemed straightforward, if pointed: It was about the hiring by the mayor’s office of 264 “special assistants,” outside the civil service, who looked to the paper like a “farm team” of political appointees. If Mr. de Blasio had specific complaints about the article’s veracity, he did not reveal them at the news conference.  New York has a long tradition of outspoken mayors who have used and abused the media, who have belittled and ranted at reporters, while aides smirked and fawned. But the mayors have always talked. Mr. de Blasio says he is not playing that game, at least not with The Post. But it’s not just The Post — Mr. de Blasio got petulant when pressed by a reporter from Newsday for information about an inquiry into the Administration for Children’s Services and the death of a 6-year-old boy. “Come on — try and ask a real question,” he snapped. Then came this exchange with a Wall Street Journal reporter: Q. I’m just curious — taking questions once a week, and you know, insulting newspapers, media outlets — how do you think it’s helping you? How is it helping you? A. It doesn’t have to help. It doesn’t have to help. It’s the — well, I’m saying what I think is the truth. And by the way, I think the people share a lot of my view.
de Blasio and the NY Times

Beyond Spin: de Blasio's Campaign Embeds A Media Network Inside City Hall  
Tax Payer Funded Campaign Ads Where is the CFB
Slick City Hallvideos touting Mayor de Blasio’s agenda strike some as taxpayer-funded campaignads (NYDN) After struggling with bad headlines all year, Mayor de Blasio is cutting out the middleman in an effort to get his message out.  De Blasio, who has over the past year limited the number of times he takes questions from the press corps, has amassed an in-house communications team whose job involves pushing the mayor’s agenda on social media — often through highly produced, soft focus videos that in many cases resemble campaign ads.  The number of people working on his digital crew — part of a newly formed team known as “creative communications” — now numbers at 15.  That’s more than the 10 traditional press shop flacks, who deal with print, radio, and TV journalists. That office also has two graphic designers, a videographer, and photographers.  One video produced earlier this month — a one-minute, 18-second clip set to music that features de Blasio lauding a Muslim cop who was allegedly harassed by bigots — was viewed more one million times.* De Blasio releases video touting 2016"accomplishments" 

How Team de Blasio Plans to Bypass A Weak Press Who Mostly Support Him, to Win Re-Election 
City Hall spokeswoman Andrea Hagelgans said the videos touting the mayor’s accomplishments are a “more modern way of getting the message out."  John Kaehny, the executive director of the good government group Reinvent Albany, took particular issue with two videos released last month by City Hall that show the mayor denouncing President-elect Donald Trump.  Both videos feature de Blasio speaking over instrumental music, shots of audience members clapping for him, and closeups of cute kids — all hallmarks of campaign commercials.  “They really look like campaign ads for the mayor that are produced by city agencies,” said Kaehny.  The Campaign Finance Board prohibits elected officials from appearing in any “advertisement or commercial” funded by the taxpayers in an election year, which for de Blasio starts in 2017.  But City Hall said they have no plans to stop. Prior mayors had press briefings several times a week.  De Blasio tends to host open press conferences once a week in which reporters can ask any question they like, although he does appear on WNYC and NY1 once a week for in-depth questioning. City Hall, however, insists that they are building up an apparatus that will be used by future mayors to talk directly to the people** De Blasio, who limits how often he takes questions from the press, has hired a team to promote his agenda on social media with videos that, in many cases, resemble campaign ads, the Daily News reports.


4 Years Later the Media is Weaker and Social Media Stronger
de Blasio Lack of Promised Transparency, FOILS, Special Agents and Controlling the Press   
NY Post

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio accused New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer of teaming up with the New York Post to create “fake news,” in the form of a story accusing the city’s child welfare agency of failing to follow its own protocols, Politico New York reports.

Stringer Finds More ACS Deaths of At-Risk Kids

STRINGER HITS DE BLASIO ON ACS DEATHS -- Comptroller's report, already on Post front page, being released today
ACS on the hook for deaths of 10 at-risk kids in 3 months: probe (NYP) Ten kids died despite each being the subject of at least four abuse or maltreatment complaints to the city’s troubled child-welfare agency in the weeks leading up to the slaying of little Zymere Perkins, a probe by Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office has found. The tragedies were among 38 deaths involving vulnerable children flagged for high-priority investigations by the Administration for Children’s Services, Stringer found in the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Post. In a letter to outgoing ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrion — who announced she was stepping down last week amid scrutiny of her handling of the agency — Stringer said his findings “starkly illustrate ACS’ persistent lack of progress in meeting its own targets for how those investigations are conducted, supervised and managed.” Without reform, Stringer warned, the bungling “will continue to prove fatal for an unknown number of children who will forseeably need to rely on ACS for protection from abusive individuals in their own households.”* Stringer’s related report found that the New York City Administration for Children’s Services flouted its own protocols in roughly 2,360 high-priority investigations that the agency conducted between July and September, the Observer reports.  * City Fires Back at Comptroller's Letter Slamming the Administration for Children's Services (NY1)
Child Abuse ACS Connects to the City's Unregulated Homeless Bad Landlord, Non Profit Connect
NY Post

PA and Councilman de Blasio Spoke Out Against ACS Under Mayor Bloomberg Every Time A Child Died Under Their Care
De Blasio and the city’s Administration for Children’s Services stand silent on the three deaths of infants in the last three months at the hands of their mothers and should swiftly account for, and end, the deadly “epidemic,” the Daily News writes:   de Blasio Was Not Silent About Child Abuse Before He Became Mayor “That says we are missing an opportunity to intervene asearly as possible,” the public advocate, Bill de Blasio, said in an interview. (2012, NYT) * PUBLIC ADVOCATE BILL DE BLASIO CRITICIZES THE CITY FORCRITICIZING HIS REPORT ON CHILD DEATHS (2012, Village Voice) * There was a City Council hearing on the ACS in September 2007, announced by then-Councilman Bill de Blasio, the chairman of the General Welfare Committee, which has jurisdiction over the ACS. De Blasio cited the death of 21-month-old Hailey Gonzalez after she was allegedly beaten by her mother's boyfriend and the death of a 2-month-old after the child was allegedly shaken by his mother in a homeless shelter. The Councilman said that ACS has made some progress but noted that children were still being lost. * Following Reports of Abuse at PS 87, De Blasio Calls onChancellor to Explain Lack of Discipline for Prior Incident *   De Blasio: Six Years After Nixzmary, Children Still Lostin Preventable Deaths (Brooklyn Eagle) *  De Blasio's Past as ACS Watchdog in Spotlight After MylsDobson's Death (DNAINFO)

More On Child Abuse ACS


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 

More Prof That Feds Are Going After de Blasio NYCLASS Leaders Jump Ship 
Animal rights group NYCLASS bossesleave amid carriage drivers’ harassment suit, mayor fund-raising probe (NYDN) Three higher-ups at the animal rights group that helped elect Mayor de Blasio and unsuccessfully tried to ban horse-drawn carriages are leaving their posts, just weeks after the carriage industry filed a lawsuit against the group alleging harassment.  Allie Feldman, the executive director at NYCLASS, and organizers Chelsie Schadt and Julie Cappiello announced their departure in a letter to the group’s members.  She did not respond when asked if the departures had anything to do with the lawsuit carriage drivers filed against NYCLASS and other animal rights groups, or the law enforcement probes into the group for its work on the 2013 City Hall race with de Blasio. As (True) News previously reported, the FBI is looking at donations NYCLASS made in the 2013 mayoral race.  Steve Nislick and Wendy Neu released a statement praising the outgoing staffers and promised the group would keep fighting to ban horse-drawn carriages. The statement added NYCLASS will hold its former ally de Blasio “accountable” for breaking his campaign promise to curtail the business.
Horse Carriage Politics

The UFT Coup d'é·tat Of NYC Election System and Democracy 
How the Advance Group Conspired to Steal the 2009 and 2013 Election

Another de Blasio Fund Raiser Arrested In Williamsburg 
As Feds Look for Info On the Mayor's Pay to Play Operation 

FBI busts Hasidic leader who raised campaign funds for deBlasio (NYP)  A prominent Hasidic leader raised campaign funds for Mayor de Blasio while allegedly defrauding the food stamp program for $30,000.  Yitzchok (Isaac) Sofer hosted a de Blasio fund-raiser in October 2013 and is a leader in the Satmar group that backed the mayor just before the September 2013 primary.  In a complaint unsealed in Brooklyn Federal Court Thursday, Sofer was charged with unlawfully collecting Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) funds from late 2013 through June of this year.  A source said Sofer has told people he was questioned a few weeks ago by the feds about his fund-raising and his contacts with Avi Fink, a top de Blasio aide  Sofer is identified as a governmental relations contact for the Central United Talmudic Academy, which operates religious schools in Brooklyn. Records show that in 2015 the academy hired lobbyists to press City Hall on issues related to development. Among those lobbied in January and February 2015 was Fink, the mayor’s liaison to the Jewish community.Fink was questioned earlier this year by the city controller about his meeting with a de Blasio donor who wanted a deed restriction lifted on a nursing home. The restriction was lifted and the owner sold the building to become luxury condos.  The academy also lobbied the de Blasio agencies that grant zoning changes and building permits.  In a complaint filed by Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers, Sofer was charged with lying about his income to fraudulently get more than $30,000 in food stamps over four years. He claimed on a life insurance application he was making $100,000 a year and owned $600,000 in assets, but told the city he was earning $13,000 a year and had no other financial assets. In a complaint filed by Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers, Sofer was charged with lying about his income to fraudulently get more than $30,000 in food stamps over four years. Two other de Blasio fund-raisers have already been arrested in an unrelated bribery scandal. A Brooklyn businessman, Jona Rechnitz, who gave $100,000 to de Blasio’s nonprofit, Campaign for One New York, is cooperating with Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office. Jeremy Reichberg held a fund-raiser for de Blasio a week after Sofer hosted his. Reichberg has pleaded not guilty to charges of bribing cops for favors.* Conservative group sues city, de Blasio over the mayor'sinteractions with South Africa ambassador (NYDN) *  De Blasio fundraisers Jona Rechnitz, an investor who secretly pleaded guilty to fraud related to police bribery, and Harendra Singh, a restaurateur arrested for allegedly bribing a Long Island official, are both reportedly cooperating in investigations into the de Blasio administration's fundraising and possible quid-pro-quo arrangements with donors.* The Daily News reports that Sofer may have been questioned about his 2015 lobbying to mayoral Jewish liaison Avi Fink about development issues. Fink was reportedly questioned this year by the city comptroller about his meeting with a de Blasio donor who wanted, and got, a deed restriction lifted on the Rivington House nursing home, which the developer immediately turned around and sold to become luxury condos.  In a statement to reporters, Michael Tobman, consultant to the Aroni Satmar, said that Sofer's alleged fraud has no bearing on the community, and probably isn't a crime.

FBI grills de Blasio’s Satmar pals in fundraising probe (NYP) Federal investigators are questioning leaders in Williamsburg’s Hasidic community in their expanding inquiry into Mayor de Blasio’s fund-raising practices, multiple sources told The Post. Rabbi and political fund-raiser Moishe Indig was questioned by FBI agents on Wednesday. Indig referred them to his attorney but agents seized one of his cellphones, the sources said. “They told him, ‘It’s all about Bill,’ and they want more information from him,” said one source close to Indig, a de Blasio ally. “They have an interest in Moishe because they’re digging into de Blasio’s fund-raising tactics and they want to know what favors they [Hasidic community members] are getting back from the mayor,” the source added.  Agents visited Rabbi David Niederman on Thursday, but Niederman referred them to his lawyers, two sources said. Niederman told The Post federal agents did not visit him.  Federal authorities on Thursday arrested Williamsburg political operative Yitzchok “Isaac” Sofer on charges he lied about his income to obtain $30,000 in food stamps.   The FBI interviewed Sofer two weeks ago about mayoral fund-raising and influence peddling, but he refused to rat on his friends at City Hall, the sources said. The sources believe the FBI brought the food-stamp charge to squeeze information from him.  “They know Sofer is a progressive Hasidic Jew who is friendly with all these guys in the administration including [top de Blasio aides] Avi Fink and Emma Wolfe,” a City Hall source said. “People in the community come to him to fix their problems and he has amassed his influence.”  Indig, Niederman and Sofer are influential leaders in the Satmar community, one of the city’s largest Hasidic sects. De Blasio ­aggressively courted the Satmars in his 2013 mayoral campaign. It was Indig who convinced leaders of the Satmars’ Aroni faction to shift their support from Christine Quinn to de Blasio two weeks before the contentious 2013 Democratic primary, sources said. Sofer said at the time that de Blasio’s support for private religious schools was a main reason for the endorsement. Sofer and Indig were the hosts of an Oct. 3, 2013, fund-raising event for de Blasio, according to the mayor’s campaign Web site.  Indig, who landed on de Blasio’s “Worst Landlords” list back when the mayor was public advocate, has attended at least two meetings at City Hall with Niederman and other religious leaders, according to the mayor’s official schedule.  But Indig has never registered as a lobbyist despite advocating on issues important to the Orthodox community, sources said.  “Developers go to Indig with issues with their properties, hoping to get permits expedited or rezonings approved by the city,” said one Williamsburg source. “People hire him privately to get things done.” Sofer, 39, works in government relations for the Central United Talmudical Academy, which is tied to the Aroni faction. The yeshiva’s lobbyist, Capalino+Company, pressed Fink and other City Hall officials in early 2015 to open a universal-pre-K program at the site.  The FBI raided the academy’s offices in March, possibly as part of a probe into the use of federal school-lunch funds, reports said.  CUTA spokesman Michael Tobman called Sofer’s arrest a “personal matter having nothing to do with the larger community or its institutions.” Sofer did not return a message seeking comment.  State and federal grand juries are reportedly hearing evidence about de Blasio administration fund-raising. The city’s Campaign Finance Board fined de Blasio $47,778 on Dec. 15 for improperly spending taxpayer-matching funds on personal expenses.

Now That the U.S. Attorney is Going After Team de Blasio the Press is Trying to End Its Cover-Up, Playing Catch Up With the Scandal But Missing Ground Zero of His Corruption the Campaigns Designed to Go Around the Public Finance Election Law 
We Already Know About the Rat Bags,  $3 million of the $4.3 million CONY Coming From Companies Doing Business With the City, Money That Went to Senate Candidates Washed Through CONY

How the Advance Group Conspired to Steal the 2009 and 2013 Election
Berlin Rosen and de Blasio One NY PAC Slush Fund 
Lobbyists Berlin Rosen Takes Over NYC Government
de Blasio Transparency, FOILS and Special Agent Lobbyists Emails
The NYCLASS PAC Caper to Steal the 2013 Mayoral Electionis Now Being Put to Sleep

True News Wags NYP That the U.S. Attorney Will End the Silly Cuomo vs. de Blasio War That is All About Them and Not the People They Serve  
Cuomo’s campaign to ‘bigfoot’ de Blasio is starting to backfire (NYP Ed) Cuomo seems determined to end the year with a nonstop series of moves to “bigfoot” Mayor de Blasio. If he keeps it up, he’ll wind up making even the mayor’s harshest critics feel sorry for the guy.  Round One, the Battle of Lefty the Deer, arguably worked out OK for the gov (though not for the deer): Cuomo scored points with lovers of innocent furry creatures by demanding Lefty’s rescue, even though the city’s “put it to sleep” approach was simply complying with state policy.  But the governor’s looking a bit silly with his posturing on the Second Avenue Subway.   Fine, he controls the MTA, so he can order it to officially open the new line on New Year’s Day for a fine photo op. But it’s far too late to have the new trains actually running a full schedule that day, no matter how many press releases he issues — and straphangers will notice.  As for Cuomo’s order doubling the deployment of state troopers to the city, well: Keeping the streets safe is one thing de Blasio has managed fairly well, by avoiding too much political interference with the NYPD, the best police force in America.  Indeed, de Blasio at last came up with a decent zing at Cuomo on the trooper invasion — by suggesting the state cops pitch in on the security detail at Trump Tower.   Feuding between New York’s mayor and governor is a decades-old story, for a host of reasons. It often makes for entertainment, at least for political obsessives — and the coming competition to see who wins top status as The Anti-Trump promises to be quite the show (assuming US Attorney Preet Bharara doesn’t sideline either contestant).   But the feud stops being amusing if it looks like it’s interfering with no good purpose.

OH DEER HIGH NOON: State Troopers Now Pawns in the Cuomo vs de Blasio War Will A U.S Attorney End the War So Our Elected Leaders Can Serve Us?
‘It’s a pissing match’: Cuomo defies de Blasio — again (NYP) Cuomo plans to double the number of state troopers in New York City, with a law-enforcement source saying the move is part of “a pissing match” between the governor and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
De Blasio fires back at Cuomo over state trooper expansion plan (NYP) Mayor de Blasio’s ongoing sparring match with Gov. Cuomo heated up Monday night with Hizzoner getting territorial and saying the NYPD doesn’t need state troopers crossing into its jurisdiction.  “The NYPD is doing an extraordinary job keeping New York City safe … 2016 is about to be one of the greatest years of crime fighting in this city,” said de Blasio in a NY1 interview responding to a Post story about Cuomo planning to double the number of state troopers in the Big Apple.  “I assume, and we all believe, certainly [NYPD Commissioner James [O’Neill] believes, there’s a division of labor where the state police work all around the state, including on MTA facilities, for example, owned by the state. Great. And let the NYPD do what it does best.” * De Blasio also continued his sparring match with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying the NYPD doesn’t need state troopers crossing into its jurisdiction after reports emerged that Cuomo is planning to double the number of state troopers in New York City, the Post reports.  * New Yorkers don’t want Cuomo to run for president (NYP) * In year NY legalizes MMA, UFC parent company gives bigmoney to Cuomo, pols Update Cuomo pledges 150 additional state troopers to patrol city (NYP)

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."

Escape From NYS (Population Loss) Means the Loss of More Than One Congressman in 2022  
New York state sees population loss for first time in 10 years (NYP) The state has lost more than 191,000 residents to other states since last year, for a net loss of 1,894 people, newly released census data show.  It’s the first time the state’s population has dropped since 2006, the Empire Center for Public Policy reports.  The dip means New York has fallen even further behind Florida, the third-largest state, in population.* New York State population drops forthe first time in a decade (NYDN) The state’s outmigration continues to worsen while the overall population in 2015-16 dropped for the first time in a decade, a new study released Tuesday revealed.  Overall, New York’s population as of July was 19.75 million, down 1,894 from a year ago. Meanwhile, the state lost 191,367 residents more residents to other states than it gained during the 12-month period ending in July — a number equal to the total population of Yonkers, New York’s third largest city.  And it brought the total outmigration over the past six years to 846,669, said the report, which is based on U.S. Census data. That’s the most of any state during that time.  “Domestic migration is really probably the clearest indicator we have of whether state and local policy are working and making New York more attractive as a place to live and do business,” said Empire Center research director E.J. McMahon, who wrote the report. “It would seem it’s not yet.”  And it brought the total outmigration over the past six years to 846,669, said the report, which is based on U.S. Census data. That’s the most of any state during that time.  New York’s population loss the last year was offset in part by an influx of foreign immigrants and the fact there were more births than deaths. New York added 118,748 foreign immigrants over the 12-month period ending in July, which trailed only California and Florida. McMahon said that while the outmigration from New York has increased to its highest levels in nine years, the influx of foreign immigration has slowed over the past decade compared to previous decades.* Here’s why New York is shrinking (NYP Ed) And it’s not hard to understand why: A government rife with corruption, sky-high taxes, exorbitant spending and over-regulation — which has choked off most economic hope outside New York City.  The latest Quinnipiac poll found that 39 percent of voters would leave New York if they could. Asked to name the the most important problem now facing the state, 22 percent of voters say the economy, while 20 percent list taxes and 10 percent cite “politicians/political corruption.” The Post writes that New York state’s population is shrinking and “it’s obvious” the driver is native New Yorkers who leave because the government is rife with corruption, taxes are sky-high taxes and there is exorbitant over-regulation.

Income Inequality Worsens Under de Blasio 
He Was Planning to Lower It By Pushing All the Poor Out  
New York City’s income inequality worsens under watch of‘tale of two cities’ Mayor de Blasio (NYDN)  The tale of two cities lives. Income inequality has actually gone up in New York City since Mayor de Blasio took office vowing to tackle the problem, according to a new report by the Manhattan Institute. Researchers found that two different metrics measuring income inequality increased moderately between 2013, when de Blasio was elected in part on his “tale of two cities” platform, and 2015. One gauge of household income inequality, known as the Gini coefficient and measured on a scale of 0 to 1, went up from 0.547 to 0.551, continuing an upward trend ongoing since the end of the Great Recession. Another stat that focuses only on earned income, known as the Theil index, increased from 0.261 to 0.269. “Obviously inequality is not going down under his mayoralty,” said author Alex Armlovich.  The report by the conservative-leaning group, set to be released Tuesday, finds that earned income inequality in the city is driven largely by sky-high wages in the financial sector, which employs 4% of the labor force but accounts for 19% of city wages. They say that truly cutting income inequality would require either harming the city’s most profitable industry, or pushing low-income residents out of the city.

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

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)

Not Only Are NYers Block from Early Voting Albany Does All It Can to Suppress Voter Turn-Out to Protect Incumbents
N.Y.’s fakedemocracy: End vote-suppressing primary election proliferation (NYDN) Federal courts have ruled that several state legislatures have enacted rules impermissibly designed to suppress voter turnout. New York lawmakers are champions at the game. While there is no evidence that legislators have made voting inconvenient in order to drive black voters away from the polls, as happened elsewhere, the Legislature has stunningly succeeded in discouraging participating by voters of every stripe. An abysmal 9% of the city’s eligible registered voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s primaries. Even in the district with the hardest fought race — the contest to succeed Sheldon Silver in the Assembly — fewer than one in five voters went to the polls. Yes, the responsibility for the franchise falls on voters. But the Legislature has a duty to maximize ease and interest in the political process. The elections this week were, absurdly, the third block of primaries this year. Once, New York held all primaries, from the presidential race on down, on a single day. But in 1972 insurgent voting in a polarized presidential race led to losses for the Democratic machine in contests lower on the ballot. To avoid a repeat, the Legislature separated presidential primaries from all the others. Over the years, changes in federal law and court cases fractured the electoral calendar — with legislative Democrats and Republicans unable to agree on how to repair it, each party seeking dates for best political advantage. As a result, candidates win and lose spots in the Legislature with fewer votes than are cast in student body elections. One example: Challenger Brian Barnwell defeated nine-term Queens Democratic incumbent Margaret Markey by energizing just 1,600 voters, less than 5% of the district’s Democrats, to back him because of his opposition to a homeless shelter. He won fair, square and pathetically small. Clearly, voters should not have to go to the polls three times in a matter of a few months. The primaries should be unified, ideally in June, which the Democrats prefer. As the Republicans insist on an August date, the schedule should alternate between June and August every other year until the parties agree on a permanently fixed month. Politicians who minimize the vote for maximum advantage betray democracy.* 2016 Again Highlights New York ‘Incumbency Protection Machine’

Shady Nursing Home Partner Pulls Out of Bedford Armory Deal
Firm involved in shady nursing home deal pulls out of major project(NYP) The company that riled City Hall by hushing up its purchase of a Lower East Side nursing home has pulled out of a major project under pressure from the administration, sources said Wednesday.The Slate Property Group sold its interest in the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights to its collaborator on the project, BFC Partners, just two weeks after Mayor de Blasio said he was taking a “hard look” at its role. Slate and BFC in December were awarded a long-term lease to build 330 units of housing along with recreational and office space on the city-owned site. But the mayor ordered a review after two investigations found that Slate officials had instructed subordinates to keep quiet about the firm’s interest in purchasing the decades-old Rivington House nursing home on the Lower East Side.
The seller, the Allure Group, at the time was still working to get the city to lift deed restrictions governing the use of the property. “Guys, please make sure we do not discuss this deal with anyone on the outside right now,” Slate founder Matt Nussbaum wrote in an e-mail to 10 company officials in May 2015.“The seller is very concerned that the city and [the nursing-home] union will find out that he is in contract to sell at the price that we are buying it, which will directly  impact his ability to have the deed restriction removed,” the e-mail continued. “Once he has it removed, we can do whatever we want.” Armory skirmish shows it's time to think bigger in CrownHeights (CrainsNY)  Protesters are trying to kill a project backed by community leaders if it is not 100% affordable What makes this scenario different is that the plan to redevelop the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights already has the backing of community leaders and elected officials. And those opposed are not the usual activists bent on beating back any development at any cost.  Despite that rare level of support, activists rallied opposition, including from state legislators who have no formal role in the matter, around the notion that the development should be 100% affordable, with none of the market-rate apartments that make it possible to pay for the rec center in the first place. Critics cynically argue that by the time the rec center is completed there won’t be any poor people left in the neighborhood to use it.* ElectedOfficials Op-Ed: Public Owned Bedford Armory Should Be 100% Affordable  * Op-Ed:Recreational Facilities at the Bedford Armory will be a Win for Crown Heights By Geoffrey Davis, Frank Johnson, Carlton Screen, Ty Grant and Dario Trujillo

Now Carmelo Anthony Drops Out of Bedford-Union Armory Development Deal
Carmelo Anthony Drops Support for Bedford-Union Armory Redevelopment   |  DNAInfo Reports The team behind the controversial Bedford-Union Armory redevelopment has lost its star player Following pressure from local activists, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony has dropped all affiliation with the Crown Heights project, a representative of the athlete said Wednesday. But the move follows pressure from housing advocates (in the form of a rallyopen letter and online petition) calling for the basketball player to drop a plan that “will further exacerbate the gentrification” of Crown Heights, the petition by New York Communities for Change read. NYCC, working with the Crown Heights Tenant Union and others, also called for the removal of developer Slate Property Group from the project for their involvement with the controversial sale and conversion of the Rivington House, a Lower East Side nursing home, into luxury housing. Soon afterwards, Slate backed out of the redevelopment following pressure from the mayor’s office, sources told DNAinfo New York. “Carmelo is our hero,” said Bertha Lewis, the former CEO of NYCC when it was known as ACORN, in a first report about Anthony’s decision in the New York Daily News. Currently, the redevelopment project will continue with BFC Partners, the real estate group chosen by the New York City Economic Development Corp. to co-develop with Slate. But NYCC is pushing to start from square one on the project.
SHIELDING THE COPS: NYPD suddenly stops sharing actions taken against disciplined officers, citing obscure law; watchdogs call new secrecy move a blow to transparency
New York Police Dept., Citing Law, Stops Sharing Personnel Data (NYT) Some criticized the department’s decision to shield information from journalists as a step away from transparency. * Citing a clause in a 40-year-old law, the NYPD has suddenly decided to keep records regarding the discipline of officers under lock and key — and will no longer release the information to the public, the Daily News reports.* Mayor de Blasio has no problem with keeping cops’ disciplinary records sealed, but once blasted NYPD’s lack of transparency (NYDN) * Think again, commish about hiding NYPD personnel info(NYDN)