Friday, February 14, 2014

True News Update

 Losing Al Roker A Bad Week
Bill de Blasio -  An unhappy recap of de Blasio’s no good, very bad week: First, Republican Senate Co-Leader Dean Skelos rained on the mayor’s universal pre-K parade by firmly stating his intention to block a floor vote on the mayor’s tax hike proposal to pay for the program. Skelos’ Democratic counterpart Jeff Klein then swelled up with courage to vigorously defend de Blasio’s proposal, only to play the shrinking violet less than 24 hours later by walking back his commitment to stall the budget if the tax hike did not receive a vote. If only it ended there, but de Blasio also displayed the downside to his micromanaging personality by reportedly personally calling to check on the arrest of a clergy member who happened to be on his transition team.
The mayor was pilloried for what may have been an inappropriate phone call, with few coming to his defense, save for Rudy Giuliani. Rule of thumb, Bill: when Rudy, who can hardly be called an ally, is the only one patting you on the back, it might be a good idea to think twice about “inquiring” into police arrests no matter how “appropriate” you claim your actions were. Lastly, Mr. Mayor, when you’ve lost Al Roker, you’re in trouble.

Trending in the Media Now
School Rage Opening the Schools and de Blasio Call to NYPD on Friends Arrest Warrant

New York City School's Chancellor, "It is absolutely a beautiful day... (Video)

Mayor's Bad Week Gov Great One
Andrew Cuomo - From ABCs to pre-K to Q, Cuomo tops the list this week. First he slapped down the Board of Regents’ Common Core proposals as too little, too late, asserting himself on another election-year issue. Next a Quinnipiac poll showed state residents like his no-tax pre-kindergarten plan, and then he rubbed de Blasio’s nose in it, again offering to do whatever it takes to give kids pre-K. And for a back end of the week finale, Quinnipiac showed that he’d stroll into another term as governor, and President Obama gave him the $8 billion Medicaid waiver the state desperately needed. All together it’s no Sexiest Man Alive list mention week, but it was certainly a politically sexy one.

Three Struggling Brooklyn Hospitals Saved
But Downsized . . .  Love to Know Real Deal
The federal government has agreed in principle to grant an $8 billion Medicaid adjustment waiver for New York state, which, though it is $2 billion less than requested, the money could help stabilize cash-strapped Brooklyn hospitals Feds Sign Off On $8 Billion Waiver That Will Allow NYS To Spare 3 Brooklyn Hospitals, is set to announce(NYDN) Brookdale Hospital, Interfaith Medical Center and Wyckoff Hospital will now have the cash to change and survive, though in a different way, Cuomo aides said.* Feds give NY $8B for health care overhaul (CrainsNY) * State reaches deal for $8 billion Medicaid waiver(Capital) * Struggling City Hospitals May Be Saved After Cuomo Announces Re-Investment of Medicaid Funds (NY1) * Federal Agency and New York State Are in Accord Over $8 Billion Medicaid Waiver(NYT) * NY to Receive $8 Billion in Federal Healthcare Funds(WNYC)

People leaving NY in droves 

Voting With Their Feet Not At the Polls
From Forbes:
More people are moving out of New Jersey than are moving in. The same is true for Illinois and New York. Those three states top the “outbound” list compiled by United Van Lines, the big St. Louis-based moving company that has put together an annual survey of where Americans are moving for the last 37 years. The company analyzed a total of 125,000 moves across the 48 continental states and the District of Columbia in 2013 and came up with a picture of migration patterns across the U.S.

According to Professor Michael Stoll, chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a consultant to United Van Lines who studies American migration, the moves reflect long-term shifts in the U.S. economy and the hit to employment in many states resulting from the slow recovery.

Of the top nine states where more people moved out than moved in, four are in the Northeast: In addition to New Jersey and New York, Connecticut (No. 5) and Massachusetts (No. 8) make the list. The list also reflects Americans’ desire to leave the frigid states in the north for warmer climes. “Over the last 20-30 years there has been a general shift of the population from the Midwest and Northeast to the South and West, which we think of as a move from the frost belt to the sun belt,” says Stoll.

How Come Berlin Rosen Is Not Registered As A NYC Lobbyist?
Berlin Rosen Operates In the Dark Pools of Power and NYC Lobbyist
NYT Michael Powell - A couple of weeks back, I called the mayor’s press office and asked about Mr. de Blasio’s perhaps too-optimistic cost projections for prekindergarten.  Twenty minutes later, I heard from Dan Levitan of Berlin Rosen, which is the “it” P.R. firm of the city’s left and a close adviser to the mayor. He advised that I should study the mayor’s proposals carefully if I presumed to take “a skeptical look” at prekindergarten. I asked if Berlin Rosen had a contract to handle queries placed with the mayor’s office. He replied that he handled the “campaign” for pre-K. Lobbyists Search for Berlin Rosen * When Campaign Aides Are Lobbyists, Questions Mount - City Limits(City Limits) * 8 Lobbyists Consultants and Citizen United  * True News (The Bund): Dark Pools
* City Hall's new 'in' crowd of lobbyists (CrainsNY) Lobbyists behind the campaigns of ascendant power brokers are now poised to cash in.*  The Perma-Campaign: For Bill de Blasio, the Race Never Ends(NYO)

UFT Why Are the Schools Open?
Union prez Mulgrew: "Having students, parents & staff traveling in these conditions was unwarranted. It was a mistake to open schools today"  * All City Council hearings are canceled. Schools? Open.
Teachers’ Union and Elected Officials Blast de Blasio’s School Day Call(NYO) * Parents blast mayor's decision to keep NYC schools open, worry about road conditions for school buses (NBC) *City schools see dismal 45% attendance during snowstorm; De Blasio defends ...(NYDN)
* For Mayor, Keeping Schools Open Brings Another Headache(NYT) * Student’s Facebook page mocks NYC schools chief, goes viral(NYP) * IS IT REALLY A ‘BEAUTIFUL DAY’? New schools chancellor scowls for cameras after city gets a foot of snow, leading to record low school attendance

Farina Does Mr.Rogers Beautiful Day
 De Blasio defends decision to leave schools open. ‘It's absolutely a beautiful day out there,’ schools chancellor .*Clueless schools chancellor defends opening classrooms: ‘It’s a beautiful day out’(NYP)
* Public Advocate Letitia James: "Re-Evaluation" Needed Of When NYC Schools Close After Storms(NYDN) * Fariña defends open schools, says it’s a ‘beautiful day’(Capital) * De Blasio must get used to tough questions on snowy schooldays, pal's(NYDN)

The Hometown Paper (Daily News) Won't Even Take A Stand On School Closing
Do They Ever Wonder Why Voters Don't Follow Their Endorsements of  Quinn, Squadron or Reforming the BOE?
The Daily News writes that it won’t second guess the decision to keep New York City schools open Thursday, though late-arriving or absent students shouldn’t receive demerits and schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña should choose her words more carefully next time:

My Cousin Farina How Many Fingers?
School Attendance
Preliminary data shows NYC Public School attendance for Thursday, February 13, 2014 is 44.65%.” Parents, not the Mayor, made final call on .

de Blasio Throws Al Roker Under the Bus
Weatherman Bill
 Bill de Blasio Has Lost Al Roker(NRO) “Why are schools all around NYC closed?” Mr. Roker asked, calling the snow policy “ridiculous.” “It’s going to take some kid or kids getting hurt before this goofball policy gets changed.” Retweeted by
How dare throw NWS under the school bus. Forecast was on time and on the money * So now my daughter's NYC public school is being let out early. @NYCMayorsOffice @NYCSchools Is it worth putting kids' safety at risk? * I knew this am @NYCMayorsOffice @NYCSchools would close schools. Talk about a bad prediction. Long range DiBlasio forecast: 1 term* 'Is there no one there with any common sense?' Al Roker slams de Blasio for not closing schools as storm drops up to a foot of snow; Mayor hits back with icy response(NYDN) * Al Roker hits Bill de Blasio on NWS remarks (Politico) Update says he regrets one of his tweets about NYC Mayor * Al Roker's Sorry For 1 Tweet, But Not For Blasting De Blasio(NPR)

de Blasio Losing His MoJo After 6 Weeks?
* . "appeared stiff and nervous as he answered repeated questions about the issue”"Mr. de Blasio, who is normally relaxed and often makes jokes in news conferences, appeared stiff and nervous." (NYDN)Al Roker blasts Mayor de Blasio on Twitter for not cancelling school.(NYDN) * School bus crashes into car in Brooklyn, injures more than a dozen(NYDN) * Al Roker calls Bill de Blasio a one-term mayor for not closing NYC schools today(Newsweek) * New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, a close ally of de Blasio, said closing city schools would have been “warranted,” Capital New York writes: * De Blasio defends phone call to NYPD about jailed supporter (SI Advance)

More on the Boyland Tapes

Boyland Aid Corruption Corrupt $$$ Made Me Hot
The Girlfriend Turns
Assemblyman’s ex-lover turns on him in bribery trial(NYP) Brooklyn Assemblyman William Boyland Jr.’s former chief of staff and ex-lover took aim at the embattled politico at his federal corruption trial Thursday and squarely accused him of sniffing for payola. She also pilloried her former boss and lover for his slovenly accounting skills and a penchant for extravagance. Recordings played during the trial revealed that Hermon also sought out bribes behind Boyland’s back and lampooned him repeatedly to undercover agents as inept. When an undercover agent in 2011 agreed to hand over a $1,000 bribe during a dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan, the Cognac-sipping Hermon said: “You just, like, made me hot.” Boyland backed out of a 9-year plea deal and now faces the prospect of 30 years behind bars if convicted.* TAKE DOWN: Ex-aide buries Assemblyman Boylan fighting bribery charges by former mistress and chief of staff(NYDN)  * Assemblyman William Boyland Jr.’s former chief of staff said during the assemblyman’s trial that she accepted bribes and helped her former boss receive bribes, the Journal writes: 

Undercover F.B.I. Agent Testifies in Legislator’s Bribery Case(NYT)
Mr. Boyland responded that money could be funneled to him through a nonprofit agency that he controlled.
In the meetings, Mr. Boyland bragged about his access to powerful people, tossing off cliché after cliché, finishing most sentences with a big laugh. “I have relationships with everybody already,” he said. Throughout the trial, Mr. Boyland has appeared generally relaxed. But on Monday, after prosecutors showed video of him in an Atlantic City hotel room, slouching in a chair after a few glasses of wine and asking for the $250,000, he sank deeper in his chair at the defense table and has since appeared exhausted. His parents have attended the trial every day, watching from the hard benches in the gallery. Mr. Boyland, who came within minutes of pleading guilty to the charges in exchange for a nine-year sentence, could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted on all charges. As the agent’s testimony concluded on Wednesday, Mr. Boyland’s former chief of staff, Ry-Ann Hermon, who has pleaded guilty to corruption charges and is cooperating with the government, walked into the courtroom’s vestibule to await her turn on the witness stand. She is expected to testify when court resumes on Thursday. 

Rotten to the core: Already indicted, corrupt pol William Boyland asked for $250K bribe, video shows
Corrupt payments made assemblyman's mistress 'hot'(NYP)

Video in bribe trial shows Brooklyn assemblyman's dad allegedly taking cash(Newsweek)
Assemblyman Boyland's father played role in corruption case(NYDN)

More on Boyland Corruption

Week 8 Tuff For de Blasio Tough

Favoritism de Blasio and the Bench Warrant
Arrest Inquiry by de Blasio Stirs Some Debate(NYT) The mayor is facing questions about favoritism and undue influence after he called a high-ranking police official to inquire about the arrest of a Brooklyn bishop, a key political supporter. * Comptroller to de Blasio: Don’t get involved in arrests(NYP) *Friends of Bill(NYP) * FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES: Bishop sprung from jail by Mayor de Blasio also has connections to President Obama(NYDN) * FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES: Bishop sprung from jail by Mayor de Blasio als... * Critics blast de Blasio over police call to help free political ally(NYP) de Blasio is known for taking a hands-on approach to governing, but his call to the NYPD about an arrested clergyman to whom the mayor has connections is stirring some debate * LIONEL COMMENTARY: If you‘re arrested on two warrants you’re held until you went before a judge. No*De Blasio’s reverend can’t pay bills, keep roof over congregation(NYP)

Both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal provided a detailed tick-tock of what happened the night Bill de Blasio placed a controversial phone call to inquire about the arrest of his ally, Bishop Orlando Findlayter. “When the mayor is inquiring in this personal manner, a deputy chief knows what this means,” political historian Fred Siegel told the Times.* De Blasio Insists He Did Nothing Wrong After Pastor’s Arrest(NYO) * De Blasio speaks on bishop's release: 'I made an inquiry,' did not ask for him to be let go (NYDN) * De Blasio defended his decision to call a top police official to ask about the arrest of Bishop Orlando Findlayter, a member of his inaugural committee, saying it was “appropriate,” the Wall Street Journal reports:  * Cuomo: Pre-K Bill That ‘Divides’ Won’t Pass(YNN) * Will de Blasio make another call to NYPD on behalf of a friend? "I wld make my decisions on a case by case basis." * Bill de Blasio and the NYPD Are Off to a Rocky Start(The Atlantic) * Shaken, red-faced de Blasio sheds light on bishop friend's release: 'I made an inquiry,' did not ask for him to be let go from jail(NYDN)

 Pre K Poll Supports Cuomo
Survey Suggests Voters Prefer Cuomo’s Proposal for Pre-K(NYT) * Cuomo’s pre-K funding plan gains support: poll(NYP) * The New York Post writes that de Blasio isn’t the only Democrat making a case for pre-kindergarten funding based on attacking inequality, and Cuomo seems to be the one with the better argument * Gov. Cuomo: de Blasio's pre-K tax scheme will hurt state(NYDN) * Gov. Cuomo Says Mayor de Blasio's Pre-K Tax Plan 'Repugnant' to Income Inequality Argument(NYDN)
* De Blasio and Sharpton take aim at Skelos (Capital)* Senate Republicans Blast de Blasio Pre-K Plan, Stick Up For Cuomo(YNN) * De Blasio Demands That State Lawmakers Put His Pre-K Plan Up for a Vote(NY1) * Cuomo Steps Up Rhetoric in Universal Pre-K Funding Battle (NY1) * Upstate lawmakers are banding together against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s universal pre-kindergarten funding plan to raise taxes on the rich; instead, many of them support Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s stance, The Wall Street Journal reports:  * While there is agreement from some across the state on the goal of universal pre-kindergarten, there seems to be little agreement statewide about how to fund it either on a local or statewide level, The New York Times’ Jim Dwyer writes: * De Blasio Wants to Enroll More Pre-K Students Than NJ Has in 15 Years(WNYC)

Budget Dance to End With Council But Continue With Union Negotiations
Mayor de Blasio proposes $74B budget without pay hikes(NYDN) * Council Members Hail Promised End to “Budget Dance” (City and State) * De Blasio’s budget plan relies less on smoke and mirrors, and he delivered an address that would be expected from a freshly elected executive, Newsday’s Dan Janison writes * Mayor de Blasio proposes $74B — without pay hikes(NYDN) * Greenman: De Blasio avoiding big bills in budget(NYDN) * De Blasio sets aside $52.5M for NYCHA * For once, de Blasio paints a conservative picture(Capital) Mayor conveys need while reserving cash * Bill de Bloomy * Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, just about.(NYDN Ed) Rhetoric aside, that could have been Mayor Bloomberg who laid out the city’s finances on Wednesday rather than Mayor de Blasio. This is meant as a compliment to Hizzoner the Progressive.* A First Stab at a Prudent City Budget(NYT Ed)Although months of negotiations lie ahead before a final budget, Mr. de Blasio pointedly rejected what he called the annual “Kabuki” ritual between the mayor and City Council over proposed cuts that always loom but never happen. And he reminded his listeners that he had inherited the unresolved contracts from his predecessor. So he did. But they are his contracts now. His early budget plan puts him in a good position heading into challenging negotiations with the unions, whose cooperation he will need to make the budget work, for real.

de Blasio 180 On Rainy-day-fund
Mayor’s budget has a $1 billion rainy day fund(NYP) Six years after attacking Mike Bloomberg for socking away $4.5 billion in a rainy-day fund, Mayor de Blasio did the same thing — setting aside an extra $1 billion as he released.  De Blasio’s first budget also contained $600 million in a general reserve fund — double the amount in Bloomberg’s last budget — with $465 million to cover increased union-contract costs. On Wednesday, de Blasio claimed he couldn’t recall the specifics of his criticisms back then, and insisted times have changed. * Union Raises  De Blasio Squirrels Away Money Ahead of Contract Negotiations(NYO)

More Money for PA and BPs
De Blasio also gave his old Public Advocate’s Office a nice parting gift — an extra $700,000 in the 2015 fiscal year, which starts July 1. Borough presidents are also poised to get more cash, with de  Blasio’s home borough of Brooklyn set to rake in the most — $2 million in new funds.* Nearly Doubles Budget for His Old Office:(Politico)

NYCHA More Money for Repairs
The New York City Housing Authority will be relieved of $52.5 million owed to the NYPD for the rest of the 2014 fiscal year, with the city providing the department with funds to make up the difference, The Wall Street Journal writes:

Big Unknowns
— federal budget, state budget and labor contracts — and associated things like the [Superstorm] Sandy costs,” said the mayor.

Cuomo Trumps in Latest Poll
According to a Quinnipiac poll, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a 59 percent favorability rating—a four point gain from November—and would beat either Rob Astorino or Donald Trump by a margin of more than 2:1 in the race for governor: * Q poll: Cuomo dusts Astorino, Trump better than 2-to-1(TU)

Dumbing Down Teacher Testing
College students studying to be teachers and their professors say a new portfolio-style exam needed to obtain a teaching certificate should be delayed like the Common Core test, claiming they’ve been inadequately prepared for the exam, the Times Union reports: