Sunday, March 30, 2014

True News Sunday Morning Edition:

Daily News: de Blasio Blames Slow Start On Communications Team
Message Trumps Policies, Actions and Decisions
Democratic Operatives to the Rescue of New Mayor
EXCLUSIVE: Mayor de Blasio is expanding communications team adding director, speech writers and digital aides(NYDN) At least two Democratic press operatives have been contacted to interview for a communications director position with the New York City mayor, sources have confirmed to the Daily News. Three months after taking office, Mayor de Blasio is retooling and expanding his communications team, hiring speech writers, additional digital press aides — and a director to oversee the entire operation. Yhe moves come as supporters say de Blasio has lost too many public relations battles during a string of brutal snowstorms, fights over charter school closings and a fight with Gov. Cuomo over funding universal pre-K in New York City. Some Democrats expressed surprise that the team had so many senior aides and that another one was coming on board to help direct the messaging operation. Senior aides acknowledged the start has been rocky, and that they’ve been actively trying to change course, reaching out to reporters and attempting to make the mayor more accessible. “Boy, lots of chiefs,” said a veteran Dem. Press secretary Phil Walzak declined to comment about the retooling of the communications team.

Rising Rents and Changing Demographics Rubbing Out Little Italy
Changing times pushing Little Italy to brink of extinction(NYP) Rising rents and changing demographics have driven Little Italy to the verge of extinction. Once a teeming neighborhood stretching 50 square blocks, it now barely covers three blocks of Mulberry Street — and even that strip is under threat.  “You can’t rebuild Little Italy,” said Robert Ianniello Jr., owner of the famed Umbertos Clam House. “If we go away, it will never be here again. You can’t build an Olive Garden and say it’s Little Italy.”Ianniello is battling a rent increase from a new landlord who bought the building last month for $17.5 million. He recently got a rent bill for $34,000 a month — more than double what he used to pay. “It’s a landlord problem,” said Ianniello, who heads the Little Italy Merchants Association. “They think this is Fifth Avenue.” Italian immigration surged in the late 19th century. By the early 1900s, nearly 10,000 Italians lived in the neighborhood, which once spanned roughly from Lafayette Street to the Bowery and from Kenmare to Canal streets. Many residents flocked to the outer boroughs after World War II, and an influx of Chinese immigrants moved in, blurring the lines between Chinatown and Little Italy. Today Little Italy’s heart is three blocks of Mulberry Street between Canal and Broome streets.

City’s high school grads at CUNY needing remedial education(NYP) A stunning 77.6 percent of NYC public-high-school graduates who entered CUNY community colleges as freshmen last fall needed remediation in math, reading or writing. The abundance of ill-prepared grads is cited as evidence that city schools have handed out credits like candy to push kids along and out. “The remediation rate is way too high because the Bloomberg administration put graduation over proficiency with an epidemic of online credit recovery and other strategies that shortchanged students,” said Brooklyn College education professor David Bloomfield. “They give press conferences touting the graduation rate, then offload the costs — money, time and effort — onto CUNY and these students.” New York has adopted the Common Core standards, a set of skills kids should learn from kindergarten to 12th grade, to prepare for college. But the Board of Regents says it won’t require college-ready test scores until 2022.* Students’ suicides on the rise, as number of counsellors dips(NYP)

Saturday Budget Agreement Reached
Nobody even complains about 3 or 4 men in the room making all the decisions and deal, not even the goo goos

Sunday Budget Update State legislature to fund charter schools, pre-kindergarten(NYP)

State Budget Deal Reached; $300 Million for New York City Pre-K(NYT)

Update Budget Agreement Details State leaders announce budget agreement * Budget calls for a public financing system for comptroller's race, but negotiations under way to make it broader(CS) * Cuomo on charters: "It was a tricky issue, no doubt about that."* State Budget Deal Reached; $300 Million for New York City Pre-K(NYT) * said $100M in HUD $ will be reallocated for Hurricane Sandy repair and rebuilding work.

  1. Since Comp. DiNapoli can't raise many $$, Dems put "public financing reform'' in state budget for his campaign! Only in NY kids, only in NY! * If NY state really cared about donor influence on comptroller it would lower contribution cap for those who do biz w/pension fund.
    1. . unprecendentally absurd 2 change rules in election year & then apply to 1 of 3 st races. Cuomoistic or juz dysfunctional?
Friday Budget Updates
Clock is Ticking as State Budget Deadline Nears(NY1)* Lawmakers closing in on state budget(NYP) * Public campaign finance limited to comptroller(Capital) * Sources: Albany Lawmakers Reach State Budget Deal (NY1) nys budget creates a compliance unit within board of elections to campaign finance statements * . says no agreement on campaign finance reform. Negotiations continue. Can be done as stand alone bill next week outside budget * Budget deal comes together quietly(Capital) A plan that would have given tax breaks to donors who give to private schools is reportedly out of state budget talks, though lawmakers said the final budget deal will increase funding for state-mandated services in Catholic schools, the Buffalo News reports: * The Post writes that as state leaders consider funding expanded prekindergarten in New York City, Department of Education data for some districts that already have pre-K show reason for skepticism of the effectiveness of the city’s program: * The Times Union writes that the state budget should include appropriate funding for education instead of programs that lawmakers hope get them re-elected: * Lots of Talk in Albany, but No Budget Deal Yet(WSJ) * Teachers’ union ‘pushing to steer state pre-K funds from private to public schools’(NYP)

Thursday  Budget Updates
Deal close on $142B state budget(NYP) * Union pushes for delay of new teacher certification exams (Capital) * Gov. Cuomo Continues Talks With Unions(NYDN) * Senate Co-Leader Dean Skelos and Sen. Marty Golden rejected expanding a proposed education investment tax credit to help fund scholarships for the college kids of illegal immigrants.* What does Cuomo have against more speed cameras in NYC, which the de Blasio administration now wants. * A Budget Announcement Tomorrow, Lawmakers Say(YNN) * With The Latest Whiff Of Corruption, Ethics Eyed In Budget(YNN) * Proposal for pilot program for public financing of elections gets cold reaction in Albany (NYDN) * Silver: Budget provides space, funding increase for charters(Capital) * Gov. Cuomo boosts charter schools in tentative deal(NYP) * Charter school protections in new state deal(NYDN) * NY State Budget Deal Expected Friday(WNYC)

Wednesday Budget Updates Albany Budget Process Pulls Governor Toward Left(WSJ)
In closed-door negotiations over this year's state budget, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo may be finding himself forced to push back more than usual against legislative leaders, who have come to the table with armfuls of liberal agenda items. * Cuomo, who has built a centrist reputation, may be forced to push back more than usual against legislative leaders during state budget talks because of the liberal agenda items they have brought to the table, the Journal writes:  * The governor and state Legislature should approve a New York City Council proposal to lower the age threshold for joining community boards from 18 to 16 years old, Rachel Figueroa-Levin writes in amNewYork:  *Cuomo’s moment(NYP Ed) * State legislative leaders say they are close to a final budget deal with statewide funding for pre-kindergarten, apart from a $300 million goal for New York City, a key sticking point, the Daily News reports: * Skelos and Silver commit to eliminating bank tax(Capital)

New York Third Party Racket
3rd Parties Benefit Insiders who control them, elected officials
Party favors(NYP)   New York’s near-unique system, which allows cross-endorsements.  The history of third-party candidates in America, of course, suggests they triumph rarely and in highly exceptional circumstances. Then again, they are not primarily about winning. Primarily they are about pushing Democrats or Republicans in a certain direction — or punishing them when they have strayed too far from principles important to a significant number of their supporters.  In New York, a third party that runs its own candidate takes a risk. That’s because a party must draw 50,000 votes in the gubernatorial race to keep its automatic line. The less well-known a third-party candidate, the less likely he or she will meet that threshold — and enable the party to keep its coveted line on the ballot. Which is why New York’s minor parties have largely devolved from movements of principle into often-corrupt ­patronage mills. Reviving the Liberal line, which has been off the ballot since 2002, would be convenient for Cuomo. But it serves no pressing need and offers no alternative. It’s a reminder that when politicians can get more than one line on a ballot, they are the ones who benefit, not the voter.

The left-leaning, union-backed Working Families Party, which let itself be shanghaied four years ago into backing Andrew Cuomo for governor, is now signaling it may run a candidate against him. Meanwhile, John Catsimatidis, the supermarket mogul who lost last year’s GOP mayoral primary to Joe Lhota, is offering to bankroll a revival of the long-dead Liberal Party — and give Gov. Cuomo the Liberal line on the state ballot. As our readers know, The Post has little common ground with the WFP, which acts as another political arm for the unions. But in seeking to to run its own candidate against an incumbent Democratic governor, the WFP is doing exactly what a third party should be doing: offering an alternative. That’s in sharp contrast to the Catsimatis effort over at the Liberal Party, which far from giving voters more choice only gives the Democratic incumbent an extra line on the ballot.

No Investigative Journalism Allows Corruption to Grow U.S. Attorney Bharara (Update)

NY's Media Gang Ignores Bharara
As the media goes after every detail of Gov Christie defense of closing a bridge, not a Preet is heard about Albany Speaker Silver and the rest of the crooks cutting Moreland's investigation funds.  New York City's media seems to have an on and off switch on investigative journalism or who they go after.  Ask Liu or Spitzer. Every elected official and the flacks, media barrons and prosecutors who protect them understand that only media attention to government scandals can cause enough public pressure to an demand investigation. Over 90% of media coverage are press releases or tipped stories from lobbyists, flacks or elected officials. Today's new generation of journalists think publishing information first is more important than independent analysis to inform the public what is really going on. They have become dependent on the lobbyists, flacks to get them their fix of breaking news which usually is limited to who an elected officials will appoint, new programs and the spin of the day coming from people payed to cover up the truth. Helps create batzarro politics where pols take credit for what they promise not how well they deliver services or make proper decisions.

Cuomo Moreland Will End If Albany Approves His Ethics Plan
Cuomo: Moreland panel will shut down(TU)  In a 45-minute conference call with reporters, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his Moreland Commission panel on public corruption will be mothballed if the state Legislature approves the ethics reform components including in the just-struck $138 billion budget deal. Cuomo said the panel had helped bring legislative leaders to the point where they’d agree to the package of reforms, which creates an independent enforcement unit within the state Board of Elections, new public corruption felonies and tougher bribery laws, and steps up lobbying disclosure.

NY's Media Barrons More Interested in Controlling Politics Than Cleaning Up Corruption
So when the U.S. Attorney Bharara made a plea 7 months ago (Sept. 18, 2013 for more investigative reporting he did not expect the media to ignore his plea to root out corruption in government. Since Bharara's plea for investigative journalism help Assembly Stevenson and  Assemblyman Boyland have gone to jail. Malcolm Smith Trial is to state in June (before his election). If the former majority leader of the state senate talks half the elected officials in Queens could go to jail.  Assemblyman Bill Scarborough office and home were raided by the FBI this week over abuse of travel vouchers and who else know what Assemblywoman Earlene Hooper is so made at the press for. John Sampson waiting for tail for ripping off money from the courts and spying on the US Attorney's Office. Joe Bruno going for a new trial soon for horse play

"The Media Reports Indictments Or Corruption Trials, Does Not Investigate to Root Out Wrong Doing In Government" - U.S. Attorney Bharara
Bharara to Journalist
Investigate Stop Copying My Press Releases
"Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," Bharara said. "Groundbreaking corruption coverage is not just good copy, it's a path to good government." Bharara Preet Bharara hopes for more muckraking in ... - Capital Sept 18, 2013

Preet challenges journos to do investigative reporting (CrainsNY)The press has a role to play, Mr. Bharara said, noting that he is saddened by recent reports of newspaper closings and staff downsizing. "Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," he said. "Groundbreaking corruption * Robert Addolorato, the new chief of investigations for the Moreland Commission, worked as an investigator for Cuomo while he was attorney general, then started work in the Inspector General’s office in 2011, the Times Union reports: 
More On Corruption Fighter US Attorney Preet Bharara 
More on Albany Corruption

de Blasio Appoints NYPD IG
New York City officials named an independent investigator to oversee the police department, appointing a former federal prosecutor who most recently monitored the police department in Washington, D.C.
Inspector General for New York Police Department Is Named

New NYPD IG 3rd agency to oversee NYC cops, but new IG sez it "will not be redundant. It will, however, fill a void."(NYDN)
Philip Eure Named NYPD’s First Inspector General(NYO)
New York Police Department’s Oversight Office, Fought by Bloomberg, Gets First Leader(NYT) * Philip Eure named first inspector general for NYPD (NYDN) * NYPD Inspector General Says Role Will Not Be Redundant(NY1) * NY1 Online: Jumaane Williams Discusses Appointment of NYPD Inspector General * NYPD Gets Independent Investigator(WSJ)
More on the Scheindlin's Stop and Frisk Decision
More on NYPD Bratton

ABC Ray Kelly

ABC News Hires Former New York Police Commissioner(NYT)
More on Ray Kelly

NYPD Tweet
NYPD to have Twitter accounts for all precincts(NYP) The NYPD hopes it will help precincts forge closer connections with their communities using social media, sources said* Extra, Extra: You Will Soon Be Able To Complain To NYPD Precincts Via Twitter(Gothamist)


Mr. Snow Storm Well Done
After a half-century of working for the Sanitation Department, John Doherty works his final day as Commissioner. Bagpipe band played as he walked out the door for the last time. New York Sanitation Chief Closes a 54-Year Career(NYT) John J. Doherty, New York’s longest-serving sanitation commissioner, ended his final day on the job with reflections on his decades of serving the city.* "IT WAS A GOOD RUN:" Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty serves final day after 50 years(NYDN) * Sanitation Commissioner Says Goodbye After 51-Year Stint(NY1) * De Blasio toasts city’s Sanitation legend Doherty * Retired Sanitation Commissioner looks back on long career(NYDN)

Finally A Head Role At the PA WTC

Security Official in Charge at World Trade Center Resigns(NYT)

  • Embarrassing lapse of security exposed again at One World Trade Center
  • Half-blind security guard caught sleeping on the job in the lobby
  • Abdul Basher, 65, claims he was not asleep - but was 'exercising' his eyes
  • Security at the Freedom Tower has been called into question after a series of high-profile breaches
  • Two BASE jumpers were arrested and charged this week for a September jump from top of the 1,776ft tall spire of the building
  • New Jersey teen, Justin Casquejo, evaded security on Sunday to reach the top of the spire
  • Two CNN producers were arrested attempting to breach security to expose lapses

  • True News From Last Week

    Besides the Christie Scandal What Does It Take to Fire the Hacks At the PA

    Towering lapses at world’s top terror target

    "It’s simultaneously unnerving and reassuring to learn that President Obama worries about “a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan.” But it’s downright scary that security is tighter at ordinary office buildings than it is at the Freedom Tower.Twice in recent months, people sneaked into the world’s greatest terror target without being stopped. A teenager climbed up to the 1,776-foot spire last week, and three men parachuted from the building last fall. One of the jumpers worked on construction there and knew how to evade security. But that wasn’t hard, according to an alleged accomplice, who said they sneaked through a hole in the fence that was covered with a tarp. He said it took “no effort whatsoever,” adding, “God forbid it was somebody else getting in there with intentions to harm New Yorkers.” Yes, God forbid. Because apparently, security doesn’t." Goodwin, NYP) Video: One World Trade Center Parachuters Arrested(WSJ)

    Vito Lopez Lawsuit Filed in Manhattan
    Women who accused Vito Lopez of sexual file updated lawsuit in Manhattan court (NYDN)* Vito Lopez sex-harass accusers sue state(NYP)




    Court Rules to Protect Silver's From Sexual Abuser Lopez

    From Hush Funds to Court Media Cover-Ups
    Silver’s robed protector (NYDN Ed) In an ridiculous ruling, a judge shields the Assembly speaker. The Daily News writes that a judge’s decision to toss a lawsuit accusing Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver of failing to protect two women from sexual harassment by Vito Lopez is preposterous: The undeserved breaks keep coming for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. In a preposterous ruling, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Joan Kenney dismissed a lawsuit that accused Silver of failing to protect two young women from sexual harassment by former Assemblyman Vito Lopez. There’s no question that Silver exposed the women to Lopez’ predations by conspiring to cover up previous misconduct. But Kenney let Silver off on the ground that the Assembly was, somehow, not the women’s employer.Never mind that Silver’s sexual harassment policy stated that state and federal laws imposed “legal responsibilities upon every Assembly employee as well as the Assembly itself as employer.”Several elected judges stepped aside from handling a case involving Silver, one of Manhattan’s most powerful Democrats. Kenney should have done the same. More on the Albany Hush Fund Cover Up, Press Containment Timeline 

    Silver Pushes Legal Moreland Cover-Up As Hush Fund Fades
    As the media loses interested of the Albany's Hush Fund Scandal with the resignation of Assemblyman Gabryszak and the decision of Assemblyman Kellner not to seek re-election.  With the expected guilty plea of Met Council's Rapfogel with no investigation of Silver or the pay to play elected officials who funded Rapfogel's none-profit in exchange for campaign contributions, another speakers scandal will soon fade from the media attention. More on the Albany Hush Fund Cover Up, Press Containment Timeline 
     More on Kellner and Albany's Sexual Abuse
    More on Speaker Silvers Corruption

    Gelman Sexual Abuse Friend is No Problem for Ratner Flack SKD Knickerbocker

    SKDKnickerbocker back in the news; chief-of-staff in NYC office was FCR flack; firm produced misleading Atlantic Yards brochures(AYR)

    Photo Gelman and Terry Richardson
    Audrey Gelman, real-life best friend to Lena Dunham and ex-girlfriend of infamous fashion photographer Terry Richardson, has officially weighed in on the recent debate over whether female celebrities should vow not to work with men who are known to mistreat women. On December 21st, Gelman, who is a political consultant and spokesperson for incoming Comptroller Scott Stringer, and the real-life inspiration for "Girls" character Marnie Michaels, took to Twitter to address the criticism Dunham had received for her 2013 V Magazine shoot with Richardson. In addition to working with some of today's biggest female stars -- Dunham and Beyoncé included -- the photographer has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault over the years.

    News that Audrey Gelman, spokesperson for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer (and occasional actress on Girls) is going to the consulting firm SKDKnickerbocker reminded me to take a look at the firm (previously known as Knickerbocker SKD) and its multiple Atlantic Yards connections, producing propaganda on behalf of the project and hiring a former Forest City Ratner flack..The Chief-of-Staff in the New York City office is Loren Riegelhaupt, famously known for saying:, on behalf of Forest City, "When it comes to sharing information with the public and governmental bodies, there’s no such thing as too much, as far as we are concerned." DDDB went to town on the developer's consistent violation of that pledge.

    SKD Creates Fiction for Ratner and NYT
    Previous coverage
    As I wrote 5/10/06, Forest City Ratner's recent reality-bending brochure was the equivalent ofs a political campaign, produced by Knickerbocker SKD, which has worked on political campaigns and strategic communciations for major players, including Mayor Bloomberg. After all, why would the third page of the flier (right) offer a distorted fisheye photo, implying that the 8.5 acres of railyards constitute the majority of the 22-acre site.

    And just as newspapers like the Times regularly evaluate political commercials (including those by this firm) for accuracy, they should do the same for such developer p.r.. They didn't, and they haven't.

    The only previous acknowledgement of the consultant's role was a 10/14/05 article by the New York Times, headlined To Build Arena, Developer First Builds Bridges, which stated:

    Forest City Ratner also contracted with Knickerbocker SKD, a media consultant, to produce two promotional mailings, each going to more than 300,000 households in Brooklyn.
    That's strategy, not analysis.

    The NYT Pimps for SKD and Ratner Who Built Their HQ
    There was no attempt by the Times to evaluate the content of those mailings, though the first one, especially, was deeply deceptive. For example, the flier (right) quoted gushing praise for the plan attributed to the New York Times, as if it were the newspaper's editorial voice, rather than identifying it as a statement from then-architectural critic Herbert Muschamp.

    Firm history
    In a 1/7/02 New York Observer article headlined "Cuomo Gets Young Turks For 2002," WNYC's Andrea Bernstein reported that Josh Isay had formed a firm with Dan Klores--founder of the dkc firm handlings p.r. for Forest City Ratner.
    KnickerbockerSKD emerged later, and an April 201 merger produced the new firm.
    The 2/22/11 profile in Capital NY, How former liberal operative Josh Isay became the default paid-media guy to the New York establishment,stated:
    Both the corporate and the political clients ostensibly benefit from the same essential asset: Isay’s knowledge of how reporters, politicians and regulators process information.
    Here's the bottom line regarding Isay's choice of political clients, which likely applies to corporate clients, as well:  Certainly, he will not feel constrained by any sense of partisan duty. (As one of Isay's consultant friends put it, "Josh is highly motivated by making profit, which is fine.")
    SKD Ratner Used A Boyland to Go After A Political Opponent
    Atlantic Yards wrote 10/16/06, there was another connection: Belated Boyland filings show she outraised Montgomery, used same firm as Ratner.

    Overdue campaign finance filings from 18th Senatorial District candidate Tracy Boyland, who unsuccessfully challenged incumbent (and Atlantic Yards opponent) Velmanette Montgomery, show that the former City Council member, despite a candidacy launched two months before the September primary, indeed raised more than the $100 she reported at election time. Was Boyland, in fact, the "Ratner candidate," as some charged? Not exactly, but there were some signficant intersections. As predicted by a source in the Crain's Insider, Boyland indeed used the same consulting firm--Knickerbocker SKD--that FCR uses for its deceptiveAtlantic Yards mailers. (As noted, Boyland told the Brooklyn Papers that she's friends with FCR's Bruce Bender, a former top City Council aide.) Boyland spent $37,000 on Knickerbocker SKD's services. The candidate, who made virtually no publicly scheduled campaign appearances and avoided questions from reporters and newspaper editorial boards, inundated voters with mailings and also had campaign workers put up numerous posters and hand out literature outside polling places.

    It is Not Our Brooklyn Anymore 
    Whose Brooklyn Is It, Anyway?(NYT) Tracing Urban Change in Brooklyn From ‘Kotter’ to ‘Girls’ "The old Bkln was a place ambitious young people set out from, not one they flocked toward"-Smart on changes

    Mayor Looks for Ways to Show He is Engaged In Fixing Sandy's Housing Repair Program
    City Department of Investigations monitoring Build it Back, Hurricane Sandy housing recovery program(SI Advance) "DOI has worked successfully with integrity monitors on large-scale city construction projects, instilling safeguards that close corruption gaps and identify areas of concern on the front end," a spokesman for the department said. Now, the same monitoring is being used to keep an eye on Build it Back, the housing recovery program that has been allocated hundreds of millions of dollars but has yet to hand any of it to homeowners -- much to the homeowners' frustration.*  Appoints His Sandy Recovery Team | New York Observer * NYC mayor appoints Sandy rebuilding team: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is announcing a new team to lead ...(Fox 5) *De Blasio Announces Push for Hurricane Recovery(NYT) Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed three officials to lead the effort and said New York City would allocate $100 million in funds to assist homeowners. * SUPERSTORM SAVE: Homeowners hit by Sandy to receive $100 million in repair funds(NYDN)

    Daily News Tell Cuomo to Hang Tough to Protect Charter Schools
    Win one for the kids (NYPD Ed) Protecting good schools  As budget negotiations came down to the wire in Albany, New York’s charter schools appeared on the verge of breakthroughs that would bring fairer funding and fairer access to classroom space. This is a rebuff to Mayor de Blasio’s early anti-charter moves — and promising news for these privately managed, publicly funded schools, which by and large offer high-quality options to low-income families and innovative examples to the school system. Gov. Cuomo promised to rescue charters from the mayor’s plans to charge rent and otherwise constrain their growth, and the early signs suggest that he is delivering. He must hang tough against last-minute pushback by the teachers unions and others perversely claiming that equity for charter kids is an attack on other children.

    Deal: Charters Protected In New State Budget

    What Does A Connected Lobbyists Do After He Loses the Charter Tax War to Cuomo 
    Pre-k agreement is proof of power of advancing big bold ideas, ignoring chorus who say it's dead on arrival and fighting until you win.
    The State of Charter
    State leaders reached a tentative deal to put in the state budget charter school protections, including increased per pupil spending and rent money. A tentative budget agreement would guarantee space for charter schools that have been approved for co-locations and increase per-pupil funding for charters across the state  Silver: Budget provides space, funding increase for charters(Capital) * Gov. Cuomo boosts charter schools in tentative deal(NYP) * Charter school protections in new state deal(NYDN) * To finishing the charter revolution(NYP Ed) Half as many kids are waiting to get into a charter as are actually in charter schools. It’s time Albany finally takes action to address the infrastructure needs of all charters. It’s time for lawmakers in Albany to take the next step forward and finally provide charters access to building aid.*The NYP Questions, Will Pre-K Improve the Schools?  Pre-K math doesn’t add up(NYP Ed) At the 13 elementary schools that offer pre-K in District 5 (Central Harlem), seven out of eight third-graders cannot read proficiently.  At the 16 schools where pre-K is available in District 7 (the South Bronx), nearly nine out of 10 kids don’t make the grade. In District 16 (Bed-Stuy), 86 percent of the kids at the 15 pre-K schools flunked.* State reaches tentative deal to protect charter schools(NYDN) As part of the deal, the city would be barred from charging rent to charters co-located in traditional public school buildings–a major slap against Mayor Bill de Blasio, if it comes to pass. “There is a complete ban on rent,” one source was quoted saying. (That proposal was not mentioned by other major outlets that reported on the deal.) * Education Advocates Push Back Against Two-Tier Reimbursement(YNN) * Teachers’ union ‘pushing to steer state pre-K funds from private to public schools’(NYP)

    de Blasio's Ed 180 Respect to the Godfather

    Bill: It is Not Personal It's Business
    On charter re-set, de Blasio heard from Bill Clinton(Capital) Before delivering a conciliatory speech on charter schools last Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio chatted with Bill Clinton about the issue, according to three soures familiar with the phone call. During the conversation, Clinton told the mayor he understood his perspective on charters, but cautioned him to be careful not to give the impression that a substantive debate was becoming personal, the sources said.

    The Mandate That Never Was

    De Blasio’s out of touch with New York(NYP) He ran full-tilt away from another potentially titanic confrontation with Gov. Cuomo last week — this one about housing subsidies — after absorbing an astonishing public thrashing from the governor in February over gouge-the-rich taxation and charter schools, among other things. Clearly de Blasio had learned an important lesson: If you’re going to tug on Superman’s cape, bring kryptonite — which, too bad for the mayor, is in short supply in Metropolis these days.
     Which is to say that the towering tsunami of a mandate that de Blasio insists carried him into office was in fact something much less — a tidal surge, maybe. There were, in fact, two elections last year, and de Blasio underperformed in both: The first was the pratfall-filled Democratic primary (lookin’ at you, Carlos Danger!) de Blasio won it by default, having made fewer mistakes than his opponents — much like the speed-skater who grabs Olympic gold after all the other skaters fall down in the final turn. Then there was the general election, which de Blasio won handily — but with the backing of a minuscule 18% of New York’s registered voters. The remaining 83% either voted for somebody else — or, overwhelmingly, simply didn’t vote at all. The Q-poll pegged de Blasio’s own job approval at an embarrassing 45% — a sharp drop from 53% in January. Disapproval, on the other hand, leapt from 13% in January to 34% in the current account. Support for chartered public schools is real and growing, and this is reflected both in the polls themselves, and in increased backing from acutely poll-conscious politicians like Cuomo. That seemingly began to change this month — right after Quinnipiac reported that 79% of city voters essentially approve of charters, at least in principle. De Blasio’s willingness to respond to public opinion in so dramatic a fashion suggests that — when it comes to mandates — he finally understands that he ain’t got one. 

    de Blasio Rents 2 High, But No Rent Freeze
    New Rent Board Members
    De Blasio Announces New Rent Board Members Morning of First Meeting(NYO)The mayor has yet to select a chair for the nine-member rent board
    New members of Rent Guidelines Board named(CrainsNY)
    De Blasio Picks 5 Members for Rent Board(NYT)
    De Blasio names four to rent board(NYP) de Blasio said Thursday that he’s “very sensitive” to the needs of tenants, but stopped short of endorsing the rent freeze he called for when running for City Hall

    Queens Library Head 2 Role?
    Saturday Update
    GONZALEZ: Chapter could be ending for embattled Queens library head(NYDN)

    Slush Fund Book Him
    Queens Public Library President Thomas Galante billed the Elmont School District an average of 26 hours per week for consulting work, documents show; but he also claims he worked 70 to 80 hours per week at the library, the Daily News’s Juan Gonzalez writes: Thomas Galate, who is the focus of an FBI probe into construction contracts, held a consulting gig with the Elmont School District that averaged 26 hours a week of his time, while during the same time period he claimed to have worked more 12 hours a day for Queens Public Library. He has denied that his moonlighting hampers his ability to run the $120 million-a-year Queens Library system. - In addition to his $392,000 salary, Galante received a $37,000 car allowance from the city that enabled him to drive between his library job and his home in Wilton, Conn., in a 2011 Nissan 370Z sports car.  - The head a of construction firm that has been awarded 15 contracts to work on various Queens library renovations, Frank Marino of Advanced Consulting Corp., has ties to the same Elmont School District where Galante is a business consultant. Following those revelations, City Controller Scott Stringer announced an audit of the Queens Library and City Council convened emergency oversight hearings. Those hearings have been spearheaded by Council Majority Leader James Van Bramer, who was a top aide to Galante before being elected to the Council. “It seems Mr. Galante either does not sleep or eat — which is hard to believe,” Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said.
    If they think Queens Library is corrupt wait until they audit Brooklyn !

    Why Does the Council Ignore the Corrupt 911 Contractors, Lobbyists Who Push Them?
    "THE RESPONSE TIMES ARE TOO HIGH:" Longer 911 ambulance times stir City Council(NYDN)  Since changing timing methods, longer ambulance response times shake up Thursday's City Council meeting. Newer times better reflect how long it takes for units to show up, Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano said. City ambulances are taking nine and a half minutes to get to the scene of life-threatening emergencies, new data show.

    Council Ignores Comptrollers 911 Contract Investigation
    Until last June, response time was calculated from the moment a 911 call was transferred to the appropriate dispatcher. Under that method, ambulance response time was 6 minutes 47 seconds, according to city stats. The city’s new 911 system — which routes all calls through a central set of dispatchers — has drawn fire from critics who say it increases response times and experiences frequent glitches.

    Stringer Goes After 911 IT Corruption
    Stringer Holding 911 Hewlett-Packer Feet to the Fire New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer rejected a proposed $6 million Bloomberg administration settlement with Hewlett-Packard for the company’s overcharging of the city for modernizing its Gonzalez: Controller Scott Stringer rejects $6M settlement with Hewlett-Packard for 911 overcharging(NYDN) * NYC Rejects $6 Million Settlement With HP Over 911 System Upgrade

    4 Year Old Ariel Russo and 911 Lobbyists
    Council Names A Street for Ariel But Does Not Hold A Hearing to Find Out the Cause of Her Death the Corrupt 911 Contrats
    'It’s been a really emotional day': Manhattan street corner named after 4-year-old Ariel Russo who died in car crash; family reveals they haven't revisited area since tragic day(NYDN)On what should have been Ariel Russo's fifth birthday, the tot's family helped unveil a street sign Monday on the Upper West Side corner where she died last summer. Little Ariel was struck and killed by a teen fleeing police in his parents' SUV on June 4.

    Is the Power of the 911 Lobbyist Over the Council the Reason It Names Street and Does Not Investigate Contractors?
    The Russo family has filed a wrongful death suit, and criminal charges are still pending against 17-year-old driver Franklin Reyes, who had taken the SUV without his parents’ permission. A report found a series of blunders led to delays in responding to the accident in Manhattan that killed 4-year-old Ariel Russo * City wants $40 million suit launched by Ariel Russo’s family tossed on technicality -- victims did not call 911 (NYDN) The city wants a $40 million negligence lawsuit filed by the family of Ariel Russo, the 4-year-old who was killed by an unlicensed driver last year, tossed because neither she nor her critically injured grandmother personally called 911. The city insists that a “special relationship,” which calls for the victim or a blood relative to call 911, must exist in order to support a negligence claim. RELATED: ARIEL RUSSO CAR CRASH PROBE FAULTS WIDESPEAD HUMAN ERROR, NOT 911 WOES * RELATED: GONZALEZ: ARIEL RUSSO PROBE FINDS ENOUGH BLAME TO FILL A CALL CENTER

    Media Never Names the Lobbyist Who Made Money on the Broken 911 System
    Both Mercury and George Artz have been lobbyists for Hewlett-Packard which was the main contractor of the city's 911 emergency system that crashes a lot. The city 911 system is now being sued by the parents of 4-year-old Ariel Russo who claim she died because an ambulance to take the little girl to the hospital was delayed by a 911 crash.  Among the lobbyists to get paid by the city’s broken 911 system contractors was George Arzt, Mercury Public Affairs, LLC, Jennifer Carlson, Peter Barden, Jonathan Greenspun, Michael McKeon, Kasirer Consulting LLC. More on Corrupt Lobbyists More on Dark Pool Corrupt Lobbyists

    Dead Girl and Lobbyist Still Rake In 911

    Last June 4th year old Ariel Russo died shortly aftergetting hit by an SUV.  There had been a four-minute delay in dispatching the ambulance to take the little girl to the hospital. The city is blaming 911 operation human errors for the delay.  The union leader of the 911 operators is blaming the new troubled $2 billion dollars upgrade that the city is installing. The city’s upgrade of the 911 system has not gone very well.  It has been hunted by system crashes, wrong addresses and over a billion and a half dollar cost overrun.  It is now up to a jury to find out who is really at fault for the girls death.

    Lobbyist Are So Protected That Can Rake In $$$ While People Get Hurt By Their Handy Work

    Audit: HP overbilled city for 911 upgrade | Crain's New York Business

    Even though the press says HP was replaced on the 911 project John Liu’s report said that HP was still working on the project and got paid over $300 million in 2012 for their work.  In 2010 thru 2011 when the city council was going after problems in the 911 system, HP hired Kasirer Consulting LLC and paid them over $200,000 to lobby city hall for the company.  Mercury Public Affairs public affairs have been working on the project for Intergraph Corp since 2007.  Before Intergraph hired Sal Salamone as a lobbyist in 2006 to 2008 ($100,000) Salamone worked for the city on the Citytime project until he was let go after the corruption and cost overruns become know on that project, in which Liz Holtzman was one of the lobbyists that cashed in.  It had to get through the fog surrounding the 911 contracts.  Last month Bloomberg lauded Comptroller 911 audit he once called 'stupid.’  He even said there was nothing wrong with the Hewlett-Packard contract and the city paid those most of the money they requested.  The mayor changed him mind on Comptroller budget to stop a federal audit requested by DC 37’s Lillian Roberts.* CM to lobbyist: "You're not really focused on safety, but on the perspective of drivers is that fair? Lobbyist: Yes.(WNYC) * In 2013  Mercury Public Affairs, which was running an independent spending campaign funded by billionaire David Koch and others boosting Mr. de Blasio's general-election opponent, Republican Joseph Lhota.
    More on the 911 System Failure Lobbyists the New Permanent GovernmentCorrupt lobbyist  Corrupt Lobbyists Hank Sheinkopf  Corrupt Lobbyists Stanley Schlein How Corrupt Parkside Get Away With It 

    Citi-Bike General Manager Resigns

    Some experts say that if Citi Bike wants to stay afloat without public funding, it should consider raising annual membership fees and improving tourist and infrequent user ridership, The Wall Street Journal reports: * * If London’s bike-share program is a model, New Yorkers should stick with Citi Bike, but they should also be cognizant of the fact that the program could cost taxpayers money in the end, London Evening Standard transport editor Matthew Beard writes in the Daily News: General Manager of city's bike share program resigns(NYDN)Citi Bike General Manager Justin Ginsburgh submitted his resignation as city officials have grown increasingly frustrated with the company that runs the bike-share program, The Wall Street Journal writes: * Citi Bike System Successful, but Wobbly From the Start(NYT) * Citi Bike Manager Resigns(WSJ) * RIDING INTO THE SUNSET: Citi Bike boss resigns as programs fails to meet monthly standards(NYDN) *Citi Bike racks sit unused in Brooklyn boondocks * Blue bikes, red ink(NYP Ed) * Experts Bullish on Citi Bike(WSJ) * Experts Bullish on Citi Bike(WSJ)

    More on City Bikes 

    Yes, I now that you feel you are not strong enough. That’s what the enemy thinks too. But we’re gonna fool them. — Knute Rockne
    Win One 4 the de Blasio
    New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James, eight City Council members, parents and advocacy groups all filed suit against Mayor Bill de Blasio to overturn his decision to open 14 charter schools in city-owned buildings, the Post reports:  * De Blasio is creating a task force to recommend ways to relieve overcrowding and improve the charter school co-location process, and hre is including charter supporters on the panel, the Post reports: 

    “The governor has gone ‘Lord of the Flies’ on the mayor as of late, nearly demanding subservience,” added columnist Michael Powell. “Just this week, he administered a slap, suggesting the mayor’s request to excise a few regulatory phrases was akin to asking to alter the wording in Magna Carta.” * De Blasio puts charter-school leaders on co-location panel(NYP) * Stand and deliver(NYP Ed) As the denizens of Albany work out the final details of the state budget in their usual fashion — in secret, in their backrooms — we urge them to seize the opportunity before them to put a decent education within reach of more children. This opportunity takes the form of two measures. The first fixes a gap in the law that makes charters the only public schools not guaranteed space or the funds to get it themselves. The second provides tax credits for donations to support either programs at public schools or scholarships giving more children the chance to attend a good private or parochial school their families otherwise could not afford.* Families for Excellent Schools mount $1M charter school assault against Mayor de Blasio (NYDN) The charter school advocacy group is investing a lot in TV ads slamming Mayor de Blasio that will end during the week ending March 31.*  11TH HOUR CHARTER CLASH: At a rally against the influence of the charter school movement on state politics, some City Council members were wary of criticizing Mayor Bill de Blasio of striking a more conciliatory tone with charter schools in New York City, City & State reports * Bill de Blasio Hires Top Christine Quinn Aide for Pre-K Push(NYO)Mayor Bill de Blasio has hired Michaela Daniel, a senior City Council policy analyst, to assist in the roll-out of his prekindergarten and after-school expansion, the mayor’s office confirmed to the Observer today.* Cuomo, leaders discuss two-tiered reimbursement for pre-K(Capital) Pre-K programs using certified teachers would get more money per pupil

    Child Welfare Tale of Two Cities Widens 
    De Blasio's child welfare reforms falling flat, officials say: (DNAINFO) A key component of the mayor's child-safety reforms — implemented in January in the wake of 4-year-old Myls Dobson's death — has been stymied by child welfare workers who don't file required paperwork and often fail to show up for court hearings, officials said.

    How Political Consultant Lobbyists Don't Have to Register With the City As Lobbyists
    Nonprofit that organized charter school rally in Albany insists it did not count as lobbying (CrainsNY)
    n early March, charter school supporters held a huge rally at the state Capitol featuring Gov. Andrew Cuomo and hundreds of students it had bused to Albany for the protest. But the nonprofit that organized the charter rally is declining to disclose any of its spending on the event, maintaining none of it was actually lobbying—a view that doesn't fly with good-government group Citizens Union. In an initial email to Crain’s, Stu Loeser, the spokesman for Families For Excellent Schools, said that at the time of the March 4 rally, “there was no resolution, legislation, executive order, or bill to lobby the state Legislature on,” and therefore the rally was not lobbying. Nine days after the rally, the state Senate passed a budget resolution containing several pro-charter provisions.
    A day after that, Families For Excellent Schools submitted a lobbying disclosure with the state ethics panel, JCOPE, stating that it was now in fact lobbying, specifically on the “state Senate budget.” Yet in 2011, an ethics reform package pushed by Mr. Cuomo expanded the definition of lobbying to include not just “any attempt to influence” bills, but also any attempt to influence “the introduction or intended introduction of such legislation.” In a follow-up statement Tuesday after Crain's pointed out that aspect of the law, Mr. Loeser argued further that lobbying is defined as not "merely intending to influence general government policy" but rather intending to influence specific legislation. He added, "There were a variety of things Albany could do. At the time of the rally—before the Senate budget was introduced—we were not trying to get legislation introduced, or an executive order or regulation adopted." Capital New York reported on Feb. 24, well before the rally was held, that charter supporters were "looking to Assembly members from [New York City] districts to push for state funding to help co-located charters."

    Lawmakers Live Cheap To Pocket $$$
    State lawmakers receive a $172 per day per diem while in Albany, which has left some looking for ways to pad their paychecks by legally pocketing the leftover money for food, lodging and expenses tax-free
    But do lawmakers use their allowance for the poker games?
    Perk for Albany Lawmakers: A Stipend, No Receipts Needed(NYT) New York Legislators Economize to Stretch Their Per Diem Pay. They come for the special nightly rate of $64.95 – which includes an Internet connection, parking and a breakfast buffet piled high each morning with pastries, cereal, bacon and turkey sausage. They come back for other reasons, too: The breakfast room often turns into a poker den after the State Capitol empties out. On a recent Monday night, a group of legislators could be glimpsed through a closed door, deep into a game.* The not-so-glamorous side of Albany life, as told (in video!) by Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, a Glenmont Comfort Inn regular.

    Ghost of A Forgotten Tribe of New Yorkers Still Matters
    Andrew Cuomo rebuilt a battered reputation in late '80s by pressing for more aid to city homeless. Gov's response to city today? Buzz off.
    Cuomo 180 Flip Flop On Homeless $$$ 
    Great Activists Journalist of Past Generations and A More Open Media Turn Coal Pols Into Diamond Distributors . . . And Went After Government Corruption

    Kirk's Generation
    Did we do it? 
    Did we make a difference? 
    Thursday - Every year there is little or no discussion about lucrative budget items, but this year Albany lawmakers are dancing around a voucher program for working homeless families championed in New York City, The New York Times’ Michael Powell writes: * Cuomo: I will help de Blasio fix homeless problem(NYP) * Cuomo Seeking Resolution to City Homelessness Funding Impasse (WSJ)* Cuomo, de Blasio seek accord to aid homeless(NYDN)

    Cuomo Compromise 
    Wednesday  Update. reopens door on 's homeless aid request Cuomo Working on Compromise to Get Assistance for Homeless Families (NY1) *Mark-Viverito, gingerly, on Cuomo hold-up of homeless subsidy(Capital)

    Cuomo de Blasio Clash Again Over Homeless
    Cuomo and de Blasio Clash Again, This Time Over Homelessness(NYT)Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo told Mayor Bill de Blasio it is “too late” to restore a rent subsidy to the state budget to help homeless families stay out of shelters. * Cuomo refuses city’s homeless rental subsidy request(NYP) * De Blasio: 'Miscommunication' on Homelessness With Cuomo(WSJ)New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said there has been a "miscommunication" with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration regarding a proposal to launch a new program to combat homelessness, vowing Tuesday to fix the matter quickly since the deadline for a state budget looms. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to combat homelessness has run into problems at the state level, with Cuomo administration officials suggesting that the city ran out of time to get state money for a new program* Governor, Mayor Clash on Homeless(WSJ) * Homeless man found dead on NYC subway tracks  * Cuomo admin on de Blasio homeless request: ‘Too late’(Capital) De Blasio's administration is requesting a change in the budgetary language that prevents New York City from using state funds to subsidize rents for homeless families leaving city-run shelters. "As everyone knows, the budget is due in less than a week so we can assume the city's proposal will be for next year, because at this point it's too late to take up anything significant this year," said Melissa DeRosa, a spokeswoman for Cuomo.* . cites 'miscommunication' on homeless request(Capital) * Cuomo: de Blasio Missed The ‘Budget Train’ On Homeless Request(YNN)
    A Muscle flexing Gov, a Mayor w not ready for prime time lobbyists? Cuomo/de Blasio Clash Again Over Homelessness $$(NYT)

    DN Albany's Culture of Corruption
    The Daily News writes that Assemblyman William Scarborough, who is accused of padding his expense account, is part of a culture in which grabbing for what you can is business as usual * On the pad
    More Albany garbage

    Silver, Skelso and Klein Close Down the Investigation

    Cut Moreland's Funds
    And what are Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate co-leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein doing? The Daily News reports that they’re demanding Gov. Cuomo shut down his investigative commission as their condition for passing even watered-down ethics reforms.

    Scarborough on FBI: "They raided my office, they raided my home, they took my smart phone." 
     Another Assemblyman Office Raided by FBI
    Politicians caught collecting Albany per diems when they’re not there(NYP) In one case, Queens Assemblyman Bill Scarborough submitted vouchers claiming $825 for spending five nights in a row in Albany: Sunday, March 13 to Thursday, March 17, 2011. That Thursday, he attended a town meeting from 6 to 9 p.m. at York College in Jamaica, Queens, according to news accounts. Jamaica is three hours from Albany by car. FBI agents searched his office today. He said they are investigating his per diem claims, but he proclaims innocence.*Scarborough Blames the NY Post  FBI raids NYC politician, he blames ‘tabloid hit job’(NYP) Scarborough claimed he was the victim of a “tabloid hit job” — meaning a 2012 story in The Post about his official reimbursements — and insisted he did nothing wrong.* Queens Assemblyman's Office Raided(WSJ)
    The New York Post frequently makes me steal. I read then I go shoplift at CVS just because.

    Assemblywomen Hooper No Questions About Scarborough
    Assemblywoman Earlene Hooper flips out on floor of chamber(NYDN)  Assemblywoman Earlene Hooper (D-Nassau County) really didn't want to be asked about the FBI's investigation Assemblyman William Scarborough's per diems. I approached her twice on the floor of the Assembly Wednesday afternoon and never got past introducing myself. "Why are you talking to me?" she shouted at the top of her lungs at the back of the chamber. "Why are you talking to me on the floor?"* Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on the FBI raid of Assemblyman William Scarborough’s offices: “It’s always disappointing when things happen, but I believe in the criminal justice system.”

    The Jury Did Not Believe that Boyland's  Was Using His Travel Vouchers Properly
    The interest in Mr. Scarborough follows the conviction of a Brooklyn assemblyman, William F. Boyland Jr., a Democrat, on corruption charges after prosecutors said he bilked the state out of more than $70,000 in fake travel expenses. He was said to have solicited bribes from F.B.I. agents in New York City on days he claimed he was in Albany on official business.
      “I don’t think I have to give you proof,” Scarborough said when we asked him to provide hotel receipts.(NYP) * member William Scarborough submitted 25 travel vouchers for a total of $18,030 from April 1, 2012 until Sept 30, 2012. Assemblyman Scarborough says FBI raided his home, hotel and office investigating per Diem abuse* Asm. William Scarborough says FBI raided his Albany/Queens office today and busted in on him at the Albany hote * Scarborough, speaking to reporters, says his next step is to hire a lawyer. Most people do it the other way around.*

    NY Legislature has 3 branches: Assemb, Senate, FBI RT Just an ordinary day in your state legislature
    Here’s 2013 story about lawmakers’ high per diem claims in ’12, when Scarborough collected nearly $34K:   * FBI raids Assemblyman Bill Scarborough's office (TU) * Scarborough ranked No. 2 on ' 2012 list of per diem collectors in the NYS Legislature. (NYDN) * Ed Cox says Scarborough raid "further demonstrates that Andrew Cuomo has failed to clean up Albany Democrats' Culture of Corruption."* Scarborough Insists He’s Innocent Of Voucher Abuse(YNN)

    What About the Others Pols Vouchers
    Politicians caught collecting Albany per diems when they’re not there(NYP)
    Claiming she spent a marathon 12 consecutive days in Albany on “legislative business,” Queens Assemblywoman Vivian Cook pocketed $171 for each reported overnight stay — a total $2,197 in taxpayer money from March 21 to April 1, 2010. The Legislature was in session just three of those days — and Cook was absent for all three, records show. “Me? You’re kidding! No! I didn’t do that,” she told The Post.

    Bronx Petition Fraud Arrests
    Three former campaign workers for New York City Councilwoman Maria de Carmen Arroyo were charged with forgery for submitting nominating petitions with fake signatures for last year’s Democratic primary
    EXCLUSIVE: Former campaign workers for Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo charged with fraud(NYDN) Betty Julien, Elbin Lopez and Luis Vargas quietly arrested Tuesday night for forging Derek Jeter and Kate Moss' name on reelection petitions The trio of hired staffers were fingered by the Councilwoman after volunteers for her primary challenger, Julio Pabon, noticed names such as Derek Jeter and Kate Moss on the rolls. Lopez testified before the Board of Elections that he was paid $1 per signature and that he reported directly to Arroyo’s nephew. …this came the same day Citizens Union accused the state Board of Elections of dropping an investigation into Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo (the councilwoman’s mother).

    CM Feel Left Out By Speaker Mark-Viverito

    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” 
     ― George Orwell, Animal Farm 
    Complaints mount in Council about Mark-Viverito(Capital) The burgeoning discontent has been prompted, most recently, by the speaker's appointments to the body's "budget negotiating team," or BNT. Several members, including some of her allies in the Progressive Caucus, are furious they were left out of the group, and rec "There is a huge problem with communication now," said a member who was appointed to the BNT. "That's what a lot of members are upset about, finding things out at the last minute. They don't feel informed." “Several members … are furious they were left out of the group, and recently held a conference call to air their concerns,” sources told the outlet. Others are angry about how they found out.

    City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito

    Sandy Help
    De Blasio Taps Former Construction Aide to Lead Sandy Rebuilding Efforts via * Amy Peterson, president of Nontraditional Employment for Women, is expected to be named to lead New York City’s Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, the Times reports: * Ex-Development Official to Direct Hurricane Sandy Recovery(NYT)

    Hidden Taxi Payoff Takes NYers 4 A Ride

    Killing Middle Class Pt 30
    The News says de Blasio's 30-cent surcharge on cab fares is a huge gift to a prosperous industry. The Daily News writes that the proposed 30-cent surcharge for taxi trips would create roughly $53 million per year in revenue—a huge amount of money to give to a prosperous industry: Flashback De Blasio Reaps Big Donations From Taxi Industry(NYT)De Blasio, a taxi-industry ally, will start by ditching Yassky(Capital*   Analysis: Cab industry donors going strong for de Blasio(Newsday) * Behind the Wheel of an Accessible Cab(WSJ)

    Taxi Increase to Pay for Handicapped Cabs 
    The de Blasio administration is proposing a 30-cent surcharge on all yellow and street-hail taxi rides to help pay for conversions of half of the city’s taxi fleet to make them wheelchair-accessible
    De Blasio plans a taxi-accessibility surcharge(Capital) * New York City cab ride prices could increase by 30 cents next year(NYDN) * De Blasio proposes fare hike to fund handicap-friendly cabs(NYP) * Plan Would Add 30¢ Per Ride to Pay for Accessible Taxis(NYT) * More cabbies testing positive for cocaine and marijuana(NYP)

    More on Taxis and Their Lobbyists

    Daily News and the Mayor Should Get A Room
    “Excuse me, but so far de Blasio has taken the city exactly where he promised he’d take it,” Daily News columnist Denis Hamill wrote today in response to an earlier Giuliani attack. “Sometimes democracy is as messy as … Giuliani’s ghoulish post-9/11 posturing. And sometimes democracy means keeping your campaign promises.” Former Congressman Anthony Weiner on the dispute between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio: “Anyone with political antennae can tell that Cuomo has, frankly, been a bit of a jerk — while de Blasio seems to have remained respectful and deferential in his dealings with the governor.”* Who's who in ? Handy chart via

    NYC Population Up
    Population Growth in New York City Is Reversing Decades-Old Trend, Estimates Show(NYT)
    For the third consecutive year, the city last year gained more people than it lost, turning around a course that stretched to the mid-20th century, the Census Bureau said. NYC's population grew a 3rd straight year, to 8.4 million people * Brooklyn's population is up 3.5% over three years: Census(NYDN)

    Unemployment Up in NYC to 7.9%
    NYC Elected Officials Have Done Nothing to Reduce the City's High Unemployment Rate 
    State Unemployment Stays At 6.8 Percent(YNN) * New York City’s Jobless Rate Rises(NYT) New York City’s unemployment rate rose in February to 7.9 percent. Wall Street, which traditionally had led the city out of recessions with robust hiring, shrank again last month and employs fewer people than it did a year ago, the figures show. The city also has about 140,000 more unemployed residents than it had six years ago, before the financial crisis struck.The number of people collecting regular unemployment benefits in New York State rose last month. A large number of New Yorkers — more than 663,000 state residents –— counted as officially unemployed last month, which means that they tried but failed to find jobs.

     But fewer than 200,000 of them collected regular unemployment benefits in February. More than 100,000 other unemployed state residents who had been out of work for more than half a year lost their benefits because Congress did not extend an emergency benefits program at the end of 2013.* So long, pound cake. Entemanns is closing its Long Island facility after more than a century in Bay Shore (WNBC)
    More on NYC's Elected Officials Have Not Created Jobs

    A three-block swath of Park Avenue South centered on East 22nd Street was once known as Charity Row. Now, one of the last of the venerable charitable headquarters buildings has gone on the market.

    Obama: Duck and Cover Manhattan

    "IT'S DRACONIAN:" President Obama admitting nuclear fear but cutting NYPD's radiation-detection funding confuses pols(NYDN)

    Obama’s top fear is Manhattan getting nuked(NYP) President Obama dissed Russia as a “regional power” on Tuesday and said his bigger worry is a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan* Obama "said he continued to be more concerned about 'the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan.'”(NYT)

    OBAMA'S BOMB WARNING: President says his biggest concern is the possibility of a 'nuclear weapon going off' in the Big Apple — not Putin and his 'regional power' Russia  * Nuking New York(NYP Ed *President strange love(NYDN Ed) Now New Yorkers know what President Obama means when he talks about a nuclear freeze: It’s the blood-chilling sensation that he inflicted by expressing worry about an atomic attack here. We could have done without visions that loomed — a mushroom cloud over Rockefeller Center, a radiation-poisoned Times Square — out of the President’s attempt to defend his policy toward Russia by saying, in effect, that Putin is no Bin Laden.

     de Blasion 2.0
    The Post writes that with state budget talks wrapping up, it’s time for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to deliver on his vow to save charter schools
    Charter school executive Eva Moskowitz praised New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s softened tone on charters, though she said she still wants permanent state protection for charters, the Daily News reports: 
    The Daily News writes that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new rhetoric on charter schools delivered Sunday  should be a milestone for his young mayoralty, and he must apply the lessons of pragmatism to his entire administration “It may not feel like spring yet, but the atmosphere in the New York City Council chambers, where members are discussing Mayor Bill de Blasio’s preliminary budget, is warmer than it has been in years.”*Moskowitz: Charters need state-level protection(NYDN)*Charter school head plans giant rally before state exams(NYP) *Applicants flood city for pre-k teaching positions(NYP) *Mayor de Blasio wants pre-K teachers to get fair pay(NYDN *

    "The Italian Stallion" Will There Be A Rematch?
    Former Cuomo aide Steve Cohen compares BdB to failed heroes of 70s cinema--Rocky, Butch & Sundance, Cool Hand Luke *Sandy De Blasio faces few more dramatic governing challenges than helping Hurricane Sandy victims still struggling 17 months after the storm to recover, the Times’ Michael Powell writes: continuing hardship of Sandy victims storm that state & local govs were warned of 10 years ago* An unnamed adviser to Mayor Bill de Blasio also does not appear to be a Cuomo fan. “You can’t deny that Andrew is a genius of opportunism,” the de Blasio adviser told New York about the pre-K and charter school back-and-forth between the mayor and the governor. “But it’s also why I hate him at times.”*Pre-K . asks whether there will be 2-tier system for pre-K teachers since CBOs pay less. Predictably, says no.* De Blasio is keeping the focus on teacher retention. The statistics are more mixed than he and the union imply:* Asked how attracting teachers affects . He says pre-K includes public, religious schools & CBOs & morale as imp as salary*First Lady Activist First Lady Chirlane McCray says "activist blood" runs in her family(NYDN)

    The NYP Exposes de Blasio Pre-K PAC  
    But Say Nothing About the Corrupt Election PACs Involved in 2013 Local NYC Elections
    NYT Silent On Local Impact of Citizens United on Public Financing

    NYT's + Media's Blind Side The NYT has written several times on the national impact of Citizens United but never on the impact of that  special interests big money supreme court decision on the 2013 NYC election. The press is focused on  a preacher and 4-year-olds, while not reporting on how our city government was mugged by special interests Citizen United PACs and the lobbyists political consultants who do their bidding in the last election. Have these PACs made NYC government worse (if that is possible)? Have these PACs and lobbyist consultants committed crimes? stay tuned.Bill’s secret donors(NYP Ed) Are the “evil” Koch brothers funding Bill de Blasio’s pre-K lobbying group?It’s impossible to tell, because UPKNYC won’t disclose its donors. And the mayor — once a champion of transparency for political donations — has gone radio silent. Most likely, it’s the city’s public unions that are forking over the big bucks here. If so, New Yorkers ought to know — because these same unions are now negotiating contracts with the mayor. The United Federation of Teachers, for one, might also stand to gain if Albany funds a pre-K expansion that requires hiring more teachers.  How different de Blasio’s silence today is from 2010, when he blasted the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling: “Removing transparency, and the accountability that comes with it, have clearly made it easier for special interests to fund negative campaign ads without repercussion,” he said. “This unprecedented anonymous spending threatens voters and investors alike.”He could have been talking about his own group. Run by many of de Blasio’s campaign aides, UPKNYC has reportedly spent more than $250,000 on the mayor’s behalf. In February, it said it would voluntarily disclose its donors in the coming weeks, but never did. Campaign Reform and Media Cover Up of Citizens United On Local 2013 Election

    Rudy Giuliani Looking to Attack de Blasio
    “Giuliani: de Blasio taking city ‘in the wrong direction’”

    Rudy's Daily Press Attacks
    "The city was on a very good course.. and he's kind of turned it around." Watch Greg and with Rudy Giuliani he dishes on Charters, Carriage Horses and * Rudy Giuliani Weighs In On Carriage Horses, de Blasio's Job Performance | New York Daily News * * Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani pushed back against the de Blasio proposal to ban horse and carriage rides, saying that when horses bred to work are put on farms, they die, the Daily News reports:

    Like to Know What They Think Of Mayor de Blasio, Not Where Are They Now
    Mayoral Candidates: Where Are They Now?  (NYO)Since her loss, former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has been laying low—very low—spending time with her family while plotting her next move. She declined an interview request and has not been spotted at a single known political event, including the recent St. Pat’s for All Parade, where the city’s first openly LGBT and proudly Irish speaker had long been a staple.

    Albany Working on Common Core Delay Changes in Tax Credits for Ed
    A deal is reportedly being negotiated to put a two-year moratorium on the use of Common Core tests for grade promotion, with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver saying discussions are pointing toward something Common Core-related possibly being in the budget, Newsday reports  * Lawmakers Weigh Funding for Pre-K(WSJ) * A moratorium on the implementation of Common Core standards is being discussed as part of a final budget deal so that testing in April will be less traumatic for students, State of Politics reports: 

    To the Moon in the 60's, But in 2014 We Cannot Find AS Way to Teach Common Core

    A Culture Out of Gas
    On September 12, 1962 President Kennedy Said America Would Go to the Moon By the End of the Century. Yet we can't find a way to teach common core until the next decade, 2022?

    Left Turns Against Common Core
    Common Core Curriculum Now Has Critics on the Left(NYT) The newest chorus of complaints about the common learning standards is coming from one of their earliest champions: New York State. * New York State Regents Delay Full Implementation of the Common Core Until 2022

    Krueger Attack Daily News Support for Education Tax Credits
     The Daily News writes that state Sen. Liz Krueger jumped to conclusions by claiming that the paper was hoodwinked and not the first to be bamboozled after endorsing a bill offering tax credits to people who donate to schools: A cardinal sin (NYDN Ed) A state senator's cheap attack on an education tax credit. Timothy Cardinal Dolan will be chagrined to learn that he is aiding and abetting a “tax-avoidance scam” designed to help wealthy people turn charitable contributions into huge profits. The Daily News endorsed the bill as “a promising and creative way to boost charitable giving for a critically important cause,” Krueger said that we had been “hoodwinked” and were “hardly the first to be bamboozled.” Krueger denounced the plan as both a get-rich-quick scheme by the wealthy and as a cushy source of funding for their big private-school tuition bills.

    Cuomo's Works the State's Tax Problem
    Cuomo’s Tax Foundation consult(Capital) ALBANY—A top aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo has been consulting with the Tax Foundation—a Washington-based organization the administration once denounced as a “right-wing think tank”—as lawmakers consider a number of tax cuts in the state budget. Cuomo's secretary, Larry Schwartz, called Joe Henchman, the Tax Foundation's vice president for state projects, within the last week.*Council Speaker Quiet on Cuomo Mark-Viverito Won’t Criticize Governor But Other Council Liberals Will(NYO) * NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was asked if Gov. Andrew Cuomo is a good progressive. “I’m not going to answer that question,” she replied. …other liberal NYC Council members were far less pragmatic in their comments about Cuomo. * LG Bob Duffy says Cuomo has never asked him to “step away” from the ticket this fall. An announcement about his future will be made in May.* GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino’s latest anti-Cuomo video is in Spanish. * Tucked into the budgets submitted by the Assembly and Cuomo is a proposal that would give a salary boost to workers affiliated with New York’s most powerful health-care union: SEIU 1199.* GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino was “upbeat” at his campaign kickoff fundraiser that netted him at least six figures. * The Democratic anti-Astorino “truth squad” created a Google map to keep track of the Westchester County executive.

    1. Is Paterson Attacking de Blasio For Trying to Dump Rangel? 2. Wright vs Camara
    Consultant quits Melissa Mark-Viverito's political club over Adriano Espaillat endorsement; jumps to Team Charlie Rangel(NYDN) “When the Democratic Club of El Barrio/East Harlem endorsed another candidate, I had to speak my mind and take action. It was a difficult decision to resign from the organization that I had spent so much time and energy building up, but in my heart, I know it is the right thing to do," Clark Pena, who said he recently quit as the club's vice president, explained in a Rangel campaign statement.

    And despite going as far as drafting a letter calling for Assemblyman Karim Camara’s resignation as chair of the state’s minority caucus, Assemblyman Keith Wright insists his beef over Mr. Camara’s endorsement of State Senator Adriano Espaillat over Congressman Charles Rangel “is now yesterday’s news” according to City & State. “We’re good, we’re good,” he told the paper. “You know, at the end of the day we all serve the same communities … Everything’s fine.”
    Rep. Charles Rangel distances himself from dig his own campaign took at Sen. Adriano Espaillat(NYDN)Gillibrand For Rangel, Cites 9/11 First-Responders Legislation(YNN)
    The primary race between state Sen. Adriano Espaillat and Rep. Charles Rangel has created a rift between state Democratic Party Co-chair Assemblyman Keith Wright and the Legislature’s Black, Hispanic and Asian Caucus Chairman Assemblyman Karim Camara
    Rangel, Espaillat faceoff causes rift among minority legislators(NYP)Harlem Assemblyman Keith Wright accused Brooklyn Assemblyman Karim Camara — this year’s chairman of the New York State Legislature’s Black, Hispanic and Asian Caucus — of personal betrayal for endorsing Espaillat. “I talked to Karim and he said he wasn’t endorsing anyone. Then I turn around to find out he endorsed Espaillat,” Wright fumed. Wright said it was inappropriate for Camara, as chairman of the minority caucus, to take sides in the primary. He said the endorsement gave the mistaken “perception” that the minority caucus — originally founded by Rangel when he was a state assemblyman — was backing Espaillat over the veteran congressman.
     “And I don’t understand why someone in Brooklyn would get involved in a Manhattan congressional primary,” added Wright. Camara, who also is a church minister, declined requests for comment. “Camara is telling legislators to pray for him,” a source said of the friction. In the Espaillat campaign’s March 10 press release announcing Camara’s endorsement, it said that that Camara praised Espaillat for being a unifying force who kept the NYS Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian intact.

    Harlem's Old vs New Guard
    David Paterson Says Bill de Blasio Is ‘Intellectually Dishonest’ on Tax Hike(NYO) Former Gov. David Paterson has an unusual take on the recent power plays between his successor and the new mayor. In an interview on Geraldo Rivera’s 77 WABC Radio show this morning, Mr. Paterson argued that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was actually doing Mayor Bill de Blasio a favor when he offered to pay for universal pre-K using state money instead of endorsing Mr. de Blasio’s plan to raise taxes–and accused Mr. de Blasio of being “intellectually dishonest” in arguing a new tax was necessary to fund the programs. * Espaillat Brings Beefed-Up Campaign Machine to Second Rangel Fight (NYO) * Crowley for Rangel(YNN)

    "Whoever wins is going to have to deal with N.A.N. and me,”Rev Sharpton (The New Guard)
    The Harlem Take Over Again, Adam Clayton Powell Knock Out by Rangel 1971
    Sharpton: ‘No sacred seat’ for Rangel(Capital) The Rev. Al Sharpton rejected on Sunday the idea that Rep. Charlie Rangel should be accorded one final term, as a graceful exit for the longtime congressman. "Rangel's been in office 44 years," Sharpton said at a church in Harlem.  "I remember as a kid Rangel ran against Adam Clayton Powell. And won. ... And now, all of a sudden people are going to tell us ‘Well, let Rangel retire in office.’ He didn’t let Adam retire in office."
    More on Rangel Re-Election

    Boyland's Judge Denies Bail

    A federal judge called former Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. “a self-centered individual who lacks integrity” and denied his release on a $1 million bond

    Assemblyman-turned-convict Boyland denied bail(NYP) Former Brooklyn Assemblyman-turned-convict William Boyland Jr. must remain behind bars until his June sentencing on corruption raps, a judge ruled Tuesday in Brooklyn federal court. A blistering Judge Sandra Townes denied Boyland’s bid for a bail package, citing his disrespect for the law and his potential for flight. Boyland appeared disoriented and detached in a blue prison suit and could only manage a feeble wave to his father and mother in the court gallery as he left the courtroom after his bid was denied. Townes initially remanded Boyland after his March 5 conviction because he texted a witness during the trial and drove with a suspended license each day of the proceeding. She repeated those reasons in denying his bail package Tuesday. “The defendant has failed — based on all of this — to convince this court by clear and convincing evidence that he won’t flee.”“The evidence presented at trial portrays Mr. Boyland as a self-centered individual who lacks integrity,” Townes seethed. “It is simply more proof that the defendant is unlikely to honor the conditions set for him.”New York’s powerful labor unions steered millions of dollars in members’ dues into campaign coffers. Health Care Workers Union Local 1199 East-SEIU donated $733,500. The fifth-largest contributor was the New York State United Teachers union, which distributed $717,343, while the city teachers union kicked in additional $347,800. * Moreland Commission Update Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Commission on Public Corruption convened quietly earlier this month in a private meeting held on March 10. City & State had reported in February that the commission had yet to meet in 2014 and that Cuomo had not committed to replacing Kathleen Rice, a commission co-chair and the Nassau County District Attorney. A Moreland spokeswoman said that the commission discussed investigations during its March meeting. (City and State)

    Are we beating Illinois yet? RT : 35 NYS state-level pols have now been caught up in a scandal in the past 8 years
    What Happen to the Moreland Commission Investigation of Housekeeping Accounts?
    Another Investigation into Campaign Funding Abuse
    Donors funnel $28M to state politicians and parties(NYP) Fat-cat contributors exploited New York’s porous election law to shovel $28 million in campaign contributions to statewide candidates and to political parties last year, according to a report released Tuesday. The top 170 contributors gave more to statewide election accounts — 51.4 percent of the total — than the rest of New York’s 19.7 million residents combined, an analysis by the New York Public Interest Research Group found. The biggest beneficiaries were Gov. Cuomo’s re-election campaign and the state Democratic Party.The donors showered Cuomo with $5.2 million and the state Democratic Campaign Committee with $6.1 million. Hedge-fund king James Simon and his wife, Marilyn, led the list with donations of nearly $1.2 million — with $1 million going to the Democratic Party’s “housekeeping account.”* Real-estate tycoon Leonard Litwin was the second-biggest donor. Exploiting loopholes to get around spending limitations, he used an assortment of corporate subsidiaries to donate $1 million — including $375,000 to Cuomo’s re-election campaign. Billionaire George Soros grabbed the No. 3 spot on the top donor list by giving $750,000 to the Democratic Party. That doesn’t count his contributions to so-called “super PACs.”

    Flashback Moreland Looking At Housekeepting Accounts

    Party housekeeping accounts have come under major scrutiny because of a loophole in state campaign finance law that allows companies to funnel unlimited amounts through them. The cash is only supposed to be used for party-related issues but groups have managed to find ways to provide the cash to candidates to boost their campaigns. In February, Cuomo began raising funds through the Democratic committee to finance ads to back his budget proposal and other policies. Bill Samuels of The New Roosevelt Institute said that looking into housekeeping accounts was vitally important to the Moreland Commission. Earlier this summer,the Moreland Commission issued subpoenas to five real estate firms — including Extell Development, a group that donated $100,000 to Cuomo’s campaign days before he signed a bill that included tax breaks for their properties. The other firms that were subpoenaed are Thor Equity, Silverstein Properties, Fischer Brothers and Ann/Nassau Realty.  Common Cause recently issued a report on real estate lobbying in New York and found that since 2005 REBNY and its affiliates have given $43.9 million to local and statewide candidates. Cuomo has benefited to the tune of $1.99 million in donations from REBNY.* More Moreland: Anti-corruption panel says it’s targeting ALL housekeeping accounts(LoHud) * "MorelandMonday" analysis of soft money housekeeping accounts is ripe for review byCommission(Common Cause Aug 16, 2013)
    "Moreland Monday" analysis of soft money housekeeping accounts is ripe for review by Commission - See more at:
    Moreland Investigation Updates or Media Cover-Up

    Board of Election More Like Area 51
    BOE Corrupt, Dumb and Now Nuts

    “While the board has been a convenient foil for public criticism, it has at the same time been the victim of a funding scheme that seems to have been intentionally designed to cash starve the agency to accomplish some unknown and ultimately inconceivable goal,”   
         BOE ex. director Michael Ryan 

    Pooling their ignorance the BOE responds to a damming DOI report, Tries to BS the Council. BOE director Michael Ryan made the conspiracy-laden accusation as part of a pitch to secure a whopping $55 million in additional funding from the city’s coffers, even as his agency remains under investigation by the city. 

    A Tammany Hall Fixer Tries to Save the BOE for the Bad Guys

    Michael Ryan is the latest secret agent sent into BOE by the political machines and incumbent politicians in power to fight off democracy.  To clueless reporters he looks like a professional knowledgeable man who knows what is wrong with the BOE and knows how to fix it.  Ryan was the first to testify this week at the City Council on what is wrong with the BOE.  His real secret mission is to rescue the BOE from its incompetent corrupt self and preserve it gatekeeper function of weeding out challengers to those in power.  The county leaders who really run the BOE, who would not as easily fool the media and public as Ryan, were not called to testify at the council hearing.
    A recent Department of Investigation probe identified a host of failings at the agency — including nepotism, voter roll deficiencies and poor training of poll workers.Council member David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn), who asked Ryan to elaborate on the “grand conspiracy” targeting the BOE, called the claim “a bit out there.” NYC Board Of Elections Pitches Pricey Voter Kiosks To Skeptical City Council(NYDN) Board of Election Pitches Pricey Voter Kiosks To Skeptical City Council* The NYC Board of Elections has formally responded to a damning report by the Department of Investigation by calling much of the probe outdated, vague and maybe illegal. Kallos said he was reluctant to sink more cash into the perpetually problem-plagued agency.

    Remember Long Lines Than in 2012 Election 
    “It is hard for me to want to invest more when we’re still dealing with allegations of nepotism and a commitment on the part of the organization to your constitutional right to patronage,” he said.  The board also submitted a formal response to a scathing Department of Investigation probe ahead of Tuesday's hearing. * B.O.E director: Council trying to ‘cash starve’ us(Capital)"While the board has historically been a convenient foil for public criticism, it has at the same time been the victim of a funding scheme that seems to have been intentionally designed to 'cash starve' the agency." Ryan's comments came the same day the board responded to a blistering Department of Investigations report, in which the board said the report's recommendations are inconsistent with how the B.O.E is required to operate under state law. The last time Ryan testified before the Council it was during an oversight hearing where D.O.I. commissioner Mark Peters detailed numerous B.O.E. operation illegalities and mismanagement. * Elections Board head claims agency deliberately underfunded(NYP)

    Cuomo Clever Maneuvering His Opponents 
    Dances to 2014 Re-Election and Messes With GOP
    Cuomo leads GOP challenger Rob Astorino 61 to 26 percent, down slightly from last month, and 64 percent of voters say Cuomo has been effective, while few see improvement on various issues, according to a Siena poll: * New York Gov. Cuomo Holds Large Lead Over GOP Rival Astorino: Poll * Former state Democratic Party Chair John Sullivan is calling for Cuomo to reject Independence Party support, while Working Families Party activists are threatening to back someone else besides Cuomo, the New York Post’s Fred Dicker writes:  * A poll commissioned by EffectiveNY’s Bill Samuels shows that while Cuomo is still popular and would win a three-way race for governor, his margin of victory could be lower than what those close to him say he’s looking for, the Daily News’s Ken Lovett writes:   * A review of bills passed by the Legislature during Cuomo’s tenure shows that while he is currently calling for tax relief and a reduction of local government layers, the governor has rarely vetoed bills that increase local governments, the Buffalo News reports: * LOVETT: Third-party leftist candidate bad for Cuomo — poll(NYDN) Flashback LIZ BENJAMIN goes inside Governor Cuomo’s GOP-outreach strategy:  *Rob Astorino Says Gov. Cuomo's Using Start-Up NY Ad Campaign As A Popularity Booster (NYDN) * Cuomo Says He Hasn’t Discussed Mahoney Joining The Ticket(YNN) * Cuomo met privately on Monday with several influential labor unions, including 1199 SEIU and 32BJ, amid signs that progressives are frustrated with the governor, Newsday reports: * Gubernatorial candidate and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino will join Donald Trump and Carl Paladino at a pro-gun rally in Albany on April 1, State of Politics writes:  Wednesday * Gov. Andrew Cuomo tiptoed around a question about if he’ll pick Republican Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney to be his lieutenant governor running mate instead of Robert Duffy, saying the conversation hasn’t happened, the Post-Standard writes: 
    More on the 2014 Gov Race and  Cuomo 
    War: de Blasio vs Cuomo

    Progressive Machine Lost  Sharpton, Rev. Already On Team Cuomo 
    The Rev. Al Sharpton called on Astorino to focus on settling a lawsuit against the Department of Housing and Urban Development before he looks for a “promotion” to governor, the Journal News writes:

    WFP: When You Need 50,000 Votes To Remain An Active Party With A Ballot Line, Your Heart and Minds Follows
    The Working Families Party’s Cuomo dilemma(Capital) “Can a party whose rationale for existing is to grow progressive economic movements throughout the country “where politicians are held accountable to working people, instead of big-money backers” really work for, endorse, and host on its line one of the greatest threats to its agenda within the Democratic Party

    Cuomo Dances With the Liberal Party to

    Pressure WFP! Could Have Killed Party in 2010

    Why For Cuomo the Liberal Bell Tolls

    Liberal Party buries the hatchet, eyes Cuomo re-election(NYP)

    WFP Treating to Work With the Mayor to Elect A Democratic State Senate If the Gov Does Not Support the Tax Increase

    WFP Needs Cuomo to Get 50,000 Vote to Keep Its Ballot Line. Cuomo Could Boycott the Party Which Only Has .03% of the registered voters in NYC less in the state

    Cuomo Gave the WFP Life in 2010, Second Thoughs? Given the resistance the Working Families Party and its allies are mounting against Governor Cuomo and his agenda, should the governor regret not having killed the party when he had the chance? City State’s Morgan Pehme
    Catsimatidis the Liberal Meanwhile, Republican businessman John Catsimatidis is thinking about bankrolling an effort to revive the defunct Liberal Party and boost Mr. Cuomo’s re-election bid. “Catsimatidis will help us. We are on the same page,” Liberal Party Executive Director Martin Hassner told the Post.* WFP to honor Mark-Viverito and Ben Jealous(Capital)
    Cuomo met privately Monday with several influential labor unions that have ties to the Working Families Party, amid signs that some progressives are frustrated with the governor.

    WFP Needs Cuomo Trying to Save Face?

    Charter Dividends
    Game Over
    Looks like no WTF Progressive war against Skelos and Klein's Coalition Leadership
    De Blasio to offer truce with Cuomo over charter schools(NYP)After weeks of warring with Gov. Cuomo and education advocates over the contentious topic of charter schools, Mayor de Blasio plans to extend an olive branch in a speech Sunday morning, sources have told The Post. “It’s an effort to stop the bleeding,” one source said of the ongoing war, in which the mayor took a severe public relations beating after blocking the opening of three charters this fall. The mayor also got heat for eliminating $210 million construction funds for the popular privately-managed, publicly-funded schools. “He hopes to re-establish a dialogue” another source said. * State Senator Jeff Klein isn’t sure what to make of Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s recent comments about ex-Councilman Oliver Koppell‘s potential primary challenge. “I have a master’s degree and a law degree,” Mr. Klein told the Times. “And sometimes I can’t always figure out Cuomo-speak.”* Gubernatorial candidate and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino continued to hammer the governor for the millions of dollars spent on START-UP NY television *George Marlin says Astorino should not be counted out in the governor’s race, despite his lack of resources and low name, Gannett Albany reports: * Interesting if WFP leverages Cuomo endorse for public financing, but feels like Cuomo holds most of the cards here. *Astorino: Where Did The Businesses Go? (YNN)
    More on the War: de Blasio vs Cuomo 
    More on the IDC GOP Senate Coalition 
    More on the WFP, New Progressives 
    Another CW Follow the $ Tweet: Former US senator turned lobbyist, Alfonse D’Amato backs Cuomo's 
     re-election campaign(NYP) * Mayor de Blasio First 3 Months 

    The Sad State of Good Government
    Cuomo Unveils Wilson-Pakula Repeal, Electoral Reform (YNN) Cuomo released his second program Gov. Andrew bill in as many days with a measure designed to repeal the Wilson-Pakula Law of 1947, a new oversight counsel at the Board of Elections and an expedited process for registering in a political party. Cuomo’s Wilson-Pakula repeal is in direct response to the arrest of Democratic Sen. Malcolm Smith on charges that he sought to bribe his way onto the New York City mayoral ballot on the Republican line through the waiver process. Though he’s seeking an end to Wilson-Pakula, Cuomo is not abolishing fusion voting.
    Goo Goos: Reforms Have Their Press Conferences . . .  And Nothing Happens

    The NY Media Covers Putin's Corrupt Election in Crimeans and is Silent About Selling the Mayor's Ballot Line in A NYC

    Will Putin Take Over NYC Next?
     In two weeks it will be one year since Senator Malcolm Smith, Councilman Dan Halloran, Bronx Republican Chairman Jay Savino and Queens GOP VP Vince Tabone. The media has not done one investigative story about the Smith attempt to buy the mayor's seat. As U.S. Attorney Bharara pointedly asked: “What can we expect when transgressions seem to be tolerated and nothing ever seems to change?” “Putting dirty politicians in prison may be necessary, but is not sufficient. Hard as it is to believe, New York’s public-corruption crisis is getting worse.

    The press has a role to play, Mr. Bharara said, noting that he is saddened by recent reports of newspaper closings and staff downsizing. "Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," he said. "Groundbreaking corruption coverage is not just good copy, it's a path to good government." Bharara Preet Bharara hopes for more muckraking in ... - Capital Sept 18, 2013 As Queens City Councilman Dan Halloran, who was also arrested, put it in an FBI transcript, “Money is what greases the wheels.” Politics is “all about how much.”
     ‘Bribing’ his way onto the ballot: State Sen., city Councilman Halloran face fed rap today(NYP) State Sen. Malcolm Smith and city Councilman Dan Halloran will be slapped with federal charges today in a stunning bribery scheme to rig this year’s mayoral election.* The king of Queens graft(NYP Ed) Smith has been linked to so many dubious schemes the FBI must have had an entire branch on his tail: Bid-rigging for the Aqueduct racino. Co-founding a Katrina charity that saw nearly $30,000 vanish. Diverting campaign funds for lavish personal trips and meals. Even opening (and then ruining) a Queens charter school in what appears to be a plot to boost home sales for a developer and big-time donor.

    Should Smith Hire Body Guards?

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

    The Russians Are Coming

    Cold War Returns to Brooklyn- Nyets
    Brooklyn Nets owner says plans to bring NBA club under Russian jurisdiction(Yahoo News) MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian billionaire said on Monday he planned to relocate his company that runs the Brooklyn Nets basketball team to Russia, in keeping with the Kremlin's call on Russian businessmen to repatriate their assets to help combat new U.S. sanctions.* Geopolitical pickle: Nets owner Prokhorov pursues unprecedented effort to move team under a Russian company(AYR)

    Will Obama Impose A Red Line Over Changing Nyets Cheerleaders?
    Mikhail Prokhorov plans to move Nets ownership to Russian company(NYDN) * NBA Denies Clearing Nets to Become 'Russian'(NYT) * Moscow Nyets? Brooklyn Nets Owner to Relocate Parent Com(Fox)* Tycoon Prokhorov denies sanctions link to US basketball club ... *Brooklyn Nets Ownership Moves to Russia, Amid Crimea Sanction Fears(TIME) 
    Breaking News Russian Troops Surrounding Brighton Beach

    Ratner Giving a bad name to sucking up?
    Ratner and Gilmartin surely aren't preservationists, having demolished renovated and renovation-worthy industrial buildings for Atlantic Yards
    Municipal Art Society For $ale
    What would Jackie think? MAS to honor Forest City's Ratner and Gilmartin with highest award, the Onassis Medal(AYR) Following on its myopic (juried) award to the Barclays Center as "Best Neighborhood Catalyst," the Municipal Art Society (MAS), that venerable urbanist organization, is giving its highest honor, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal, to Bruce Ratner and MaryAnne Gilmartin of Forest City Ratner at a fundraising gala June 11. The Times Tower in Midtown was where Forest City, with notable chutzpah, tried to wrangle triple tax-free Liberty Bonds aimed to rebuild Lower Manhattan. So the question should be asked: What would Jackie think? What about Jane Jacobs?

    Court upholds 2 NY pols corruption convictions(WSJ) YONKERS, N.Y. — The U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld the corruption convictions of two former Yonkers politicians. The three-judge panel on Tuesday rejected the appeals of former City Councilwoman Sandy Annabi and Yonkers Republican Chairman Zerhy Hereis (JEHR'-ish).

     City Council de Blasio Doormat

    Absence of Contention at Council Hearing Helps Reinforce the de Blasio Effect(NYT)
    Nothing better illustrates the new relationship between the fiercely liberal City Council and the fiercely liberal mayoral administration than the tone of preliminary budget hearings. Showing off a good relationship between the liberal Council and the liberal de Blasio administration* Council forms budget negotiating team(Capital) * With much of the NYC Council ideologically aligned with the new de Blasio administration, the previously contentious budget hearings have at times turned into something like a love-in.

    A Tale of Two Plastic Bags

    Here's an idea: let's punish the neediest New Yorkers by taxing them when they buy groceries  Proposal would levy 10-cent fee on paper, plastic shopping bags

    300 Million for Pre-K
     NYS Leaders Set To Give Mayor de Blasio $300M For Pre-K, Sources Say (NYDN) “New York City has been very aggressive in saying they want to move quickly and they would need about $300 million to bring it online,” he said. “We’ll have the money available, but the actual result is going to be up to the local governments.” Sources close to the talks say additional money would also be given to the city that can be used for after-school programs,  though it woulnd't be specifically earmarked for that purpose.

    Seven days to go. Lawmakers return to Albany Monday with just a week left until a new state budget is due. Aides to Gov. Cuomo and the legislative leaders spent the weekend in intense negotiations. The leaders themselves are expected to meet (at least once) at some point Monday in hopes of finalizing a deal over the next few days so a fourth straight on-time budget can be adopted later in the week. * Albany Update A plan that would link the Dream Act to an education tax credit is not viable, Silver says  * Senate moves toward budget without Dream Act(Capital) * State Senate majority coalition leaders met with Gov. Andrew Cuomo for about an hour this morning and said they made tremendous progress, but Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver did not join them, State of Politics writes: * Silver also met privately with the governor and the two discussed the DREAM Act, but Silver said he is not sure that linking an education tax credit to the legislation is viable, State of Politics reports: 

    Did These Guy Win A Fight of Survival With the Progressives?
    ICYMI: Creepy clown spotted roaming streets of Staten Island(DNAINFO) *‘That’s a Clown Question, Bro’: Staten Island Pols React to Creepy Clown Sightings(NYO) Clowns 'scare the hell' out of Diane Savino. Angry Senate Dems? * This clown is creeping out New Yorkers (WNBC) * Creepy viral clown may be linked to film company(NYP)
    Tuesday* State Senate leaders say college for cons plan is DOA(NYP) * amNewYork writes that mass transit ridership has continued to grow despite years of MTA-inflicted hardship, so with Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposing a $40 million raid of MTA funds, riders should be shown respect:* Cuomo’s college for inmates plan appears dead in the state Senate after Senate Co-leader Jeff Klein called the issue a nonstarter and Co-Leader Dean Skelos said it wasn’t part of the discussions at Monday’s leaders meetings, the New York Post writes:

    As legislative leadership continues to meet about the new budget plan, education advocates are making a last minute press on issues like a $1.3 billion bump in education funding and a proposed tax credit for those who donate to schools, the Times Union reports:  * State legislative leaders were all smiles after a morning budget meeting, with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver saying a budget deal won’t come today but that they are working towards one, State of Politics reports:  * Legislative leaders also gave a vague updates on discussions of the Dream Act, college classes for prisoners, full-day prekindergarten, charter schools, public financing of campaigns and more in a video posted by the Times Union:

    (from ): “Look how much I love Shelly!" *New York voters oppose DREAM Act in state budget: poll(NYDN) * Despite optimism expressed by the legislative leaders, there was no budget deal reached yesterday. Deputy Senate GOP Leader Tom Libous said the situation is “fluid,” though there are agreements on “what needs to get done.”* Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver shot down a compromise proposal to put both a tax credit sought by Catholic leaders and the Dream Act into the state budget. The co-leaders of the Senate – Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein – called Cuomo’s college-for-convicts plan a “non-starter” in the budget talks.* Mayor Clashes With Albany Over Rental Assistance Program for Homeless(NY1) * State Lawmakers Work on Budget Agreement as Deadline Approaches(NY1) * Gov. Andrew Cuomo said addressing New York’s high property taxes is the most important part of this year’s state budget negotiations. * Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said today for the first time that he is open to providing facilities funds to privately housed charter schools “all over the state.”

    Bratton Meets the Bishop

    Orlando Findlayter, the bishop at the center of a de Blasio administration controversy, appeared at a Monday night event featuring NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. “I said hello, how are you?” Mr. Findlayter told Capital New York of his interaction with Mr. Bratton. The commissioner replied, “Bishop, good to see you.”

    de Blasio Walks Back Charter Fight
    Anti-de Blasio Charter Ads and the Poll Dive Cause 180 Turn
    First Reset  With Eye Toward Polls, de Blasio Softens Tone on Charter Schools (NYT) de Blasio tried to mend fences on the charter school issue by emphasizing common ground while being clear that he won’t drop his agenda of focusing on traditional public schools through pre-K and after-school program expansion* De Blasio takes blame for charter-school impasse(NYP) * De Blasio says pre-K expansion will curb student suicides(NYP)  * The Post writes that a gap in law that leaves charter schools without space makes them vulnerable to political vindictiveness. But these words mean nothing without a permanent fix on space. The solution is to provide charters either co-located space in other public-school buildings they find acceptable — or the funding to rent or buy their own facilities. To channel Mayor Bill, these public-school students require a “dedicated stream of funding.” Plainly, the charter parents need it. But there are other kids who need those fixes, too — not least, the 50,000 New York City schoolchildren on charter waiting lists.* Charter School Decision Wasn't Clear, Mayor Says(WSJ) * De Blasio tries to ‘right the ship’ on charters(Capital)
    Sought to clarify his stance on the issue, which has tripped him up during his time in office

    Miranda's Patronage: Wife Get A Job in the City
    Christine Marinoni, the wife of actress Cynthia Nixon, has landed a job with the de Blasio administration as a special adviser for community partnerships in the Department of EducationCASH IN THE CITY: Cynthia Nixon’s wife lands $120K job as advisor for community partnerships in de Blasio administration(NYDN) A $120,000-a-year gig in the de Blasio administration. Nixon was in Albany yesterday to lobby for more public education aid. * Cynthia Nixon doesn’t appear interested in pursuing her own career in politics. “I do not think I will run for office,” the actress said on Capital Tonight last night when asked about the possibility of running for governor. “I do not think so. It is very flattering that peple would think I would but no.” Ms. Nixon nevertheless had harsh words for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “I want that Andrew Cuomo back. I want that Andrew Cuomo who knows that the overall price tag on education may be really high, but the money’s that’s being spent on kids in the lower income districts is just worse and worse,” she said.
     BdB says Bloomberg administration was rushing and was willing to cut some corners on co-locations. BdB re-approved vast majority of them.* Mayor de Blasio On Charter Schools, Storified(NYDN) * Bill de Blasio paves the way for more charter co-locations(NYO) * Why Mayor de Blasio Is Softening His Talk on Charter Schools (NY Mag) * Mayor expands on his comments about charters and co-locations in yesterday's education speech.  * De Blasio Gets a Laugh and Defends His Choices on Charters | The Nation *Mayor de Blasio Says He'll Allow More Charter School Co-Locations After Rules Are Revamped(NYDN) * Tuesday De Blasio: I will open more charter schools(NYP) * De Blasio needs to extend olive branch in charter school war(NYP Ed) * Shake it up, baby(NYP Ed)In the course of admitting he didn’t have a good reason for taking a good school away from kids in Harlem, Mayor de Blasio said that to fix a “broken” city school system, we have to “shake the foundations.” Today, some 1,500 students and teachers from Success Academy charter schools will be doing that at the Armory on the Hudson. They are holding a giant pep rally as they head into next week’s tests. It’s called “Slam the Exam!” And it’s a terrific example of how to “shake the foundations” of a public-school system mired in low expectations and even lower performance.* Mayor de Blasio says charter schools can share district space(NYDN)

    Who Killed Mayor Robin Hood?
    de Blasio Also Backing Away From Park Redistribution

    Bill's Makeover
    De Blasio backs away from a parks redistribution idea(Capital) "We're looking for smart methodology to help parks that are less advantaged," said de Blasio this morning on the Brian Lehrer Show. "That's one option. And we're going to talk with all the stakeholders about it." "So no commitment to fight for that particular system?" said Lehrer, referring to the redistribution proposal. "It's something I think is a valuable proposal, but we're looking at every possibility to get fairness for parks that aren't doing as well," said the mayor.

    De Blasio didn’t mention Eva Moskowitz by name
    .: "students in traditional schools, charter schools and religious schools are all our children and we have to care for them." * The notion that children are "lucky enough to escape" district schools "speaks volumes," BdB says * : root causes: poverty, hunger, joblessness. System is only working if "every child has opportunity." * on improving ALL schools RT : From Inner Circle to inner sanctum:Mayor speaks at Riverside Church* In ref to Harlem, BdB says city will find "a good home" for the 194 students, but not "at the expense" of special ed kids* says he's going to right the shop when it comes to dialogue about Charters.* Private money, public gain(NYDN Ed)

    De Blasio so far: attempted charter school reset, blunter assessment of system than he and Fariña generally give. And of course, pre-K.* "we will make sure 194 students have a good place in sept but not at the expense of children w disabilities" * de Blasio @ Riverside Cathedral: 6% of children in charter schools, 94% in traditional schools. All need to succeed * . on blocking charters: "I didn’t measure up when it came to explaining those decisions to the people of this city" * De Blasio On Charter School Students: ‘We Need Them To Succeed’ « CBS New York * De Blasio softens rhetoric: I will reach out to all of the children, in traditional public schools, in charter schools, in religious schools * De Blasio Discusses Inequality in City's Education System During Church Visit(NY1)Mayor de Blasio changes tone on charter schools, says he will find 'great' place for Success Academy students (NYDN) The mayor admitted Sunday that he could have done a better job of explaining some of his controversial decisions, including yanking free classroom space from 194 Success Academy charter school students. In a dramatic retreat, de Blasio said he was working with Success Academy head Eva Moskowitz — his longtime political foe — to find another space for the students.
    Just saw a new Families for Excellent Schools ad vs. de Blasio's charter school co-location decision, this one with a teary mom * Charter parents blast Bill: Give our kids same chance as Dante (NYP)
    UFT Fights Back Hires New Progressive Machine for $2.5 Million
    The United Federation of Teachers and New York State United Teachers unions gave a collective $2.5 million to education groups that have attacked Cuomo’s support for charter schools and opposition to tax hikes, the Post writes: The rebranded ACORN — New York Communities for Change — received a total of $1.3 million from the United Federation of Teachers and New York State United Teachers from 2010 to 2013. The unions also pumped $1.2 million into a group called Alliance for Quality Education. Both issued statements accusing the governor of “pay-to-play politics” for backing charter schools because of campaign contributions he received from charter-supporting “Wall Street billionaires.” They also supported tax hikes on the rich opposed by Cuomo. Cuomo blamed the attacks on “a big bureaucracy with a system that is entrenched.”* DN Education Tax Credits * The Daily News writes that the education tax credit being proposed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan—among others—is a promising way to boost charitable giving to public and private schools: * Leaders rush on Common Core adjustments, not teacher evaluations(Capital)

    The UFT Advance Connection * UFT under fire for apparently trying to hide identity of consulting firm(NYDN)The city’s powerful teachers union is under fire from good-government groups for apparently trying to hide the identity of a consulting firm it was using to boost union-backed candidates.  "The listing of the phony firm, 'Strategic Consultants, Inc.,' in campaign filings, obscured that Advance Group was being paid both to promote candidates for the United Federation of Teachers' independent political action committee, and working as the main campaign consultant for several of those same candidates."Teachers union paid $370K to fake consultant
    More on the WFP, Acorn 2.0 and the New Progressive Machine 
    More on the Advance Group

    How Do You Give the UFT A 9 Year Contract?

    When the Mayor Says Parents Want to Shake Unacceptable Status Quo of Our Public Schools?   

    : "People in traditional schools, charter schools want to shake foundation of unacceptable status quo"
    "The notion that children are "lucky enough to escape" district schools "speaks volumes," BdB says"
    De Blasio Pushing for Unusual, 9-Year Contract With Teachers’ Union(NYT) The de Blasio administration, seeking to be generous to its allies in labor without jeopardizing New York City’s finances, is pushing for what would be the longest-ever contract with the teachers’ union: a nine-year deal that would let the city stretch out potentially huge retroactive pay increases.* De Blasio's Labor Team(City and State) * De Blasio eyes record 9-year deal with (NYP) teachers union * De Blasio Pushes a 9-Year Contract for Teachers(NYT) * De Blasio Proposes Nine-Year Contract for City Teachers(NY1) * Teacher back-pay math is tough, even on a nine-year timeline(Capital) Goodwin NYP On Proposed Contract "News flash: With City Hall and the teachers union negotiating a new contract, union boss Michael Mulgrew asked for the sun and the moon, then promised, “We’re not trying to bankrupt the city.” Whew — glad he cleared that up." More On Education and the new Chancellor, Charter Schools

    In NY We Kill the Corruption Investigators

    Is Liu Leading the Fight To Block A CFB Investigation of the Role Citizens United PACs, Lobbyiss Played in the 2013 Campaign?

    NY is so corrupt the DAs look the other way and investigations of political corruption are stopped in the political system with the media looking the other way

    "Despite the CFB’s accolades, [former city Controller John] Liu’s lawsuit brings to the fore a larger question that has been quietly debated by campaign finance experts and candidates for some time now: whether the weight of carrying the campaign finance reform banner has become too heavy a burden for the agency," C&S reports. * * William Fitzpatrick, a co-chair of the Moreland Commission, said the panel would refer criminal findings to other agencies and eventually make them public if the Legislature shuts it down, the Syracuse Post-Standard reports: *DA Bill Fiztpatrick called Speaker Sheldon Silver’s condemnation of the Moreland Commission as a fishing expedition “the dumbest thing I’ve heard in four decades of public service.”* New NYPIRG analysis shows hedge fund founder James Simons legally gave $1 million to State Dem Housekeeping account in 2013.*NYPIRG: Cuomo Biggest Beneficiary of NY’s Mega Donors(YNN) * Document Drop: NY's Biggest Donors Of 2013 | New York Daily News More on Simons' Cuomo connection here:* A big part of the Cuomo legacy is tied to the fate of the Moreland Commission, will he agree to kill it?(NYDN)
    Scott Levenson, NY-CLASS, Citizens United Super PAC Investigation (Updated) 
    Campaign Reform and Media Cover Up of Citizens United On Local 2013 Election
    Lobbyists the New Permanent Government 

     Biggest NYC Employer is the Government
    New York City’s biggest employer is the City of New York(nyp) New York city is its own biggest employer. The top five employers in the Metropolitan area belong to the public sector with the City of New York topping the list, according to data released by Crain’s New York Business. In addition to city, state and federal government job, the 2013 list of the 25 largest employers in the city, shows that health system jobs are on the rise helping to round out the top ten employers in the city. City Hall and the city’s Department of Education were the top two employers on the list — with City Hall employing more than 150,000 people and the Department of Education employing more than 119,000. Federal and New York state governments rank 3rd and 4th on the list, with about 89,000 and 69,000 employees respectively. The Metropolitan Transit Authority rounded out the top five with 67,000 employees, an increase of nearly 3 percent since the year before. Also in the top ten of employers were health care systems such as North Shore-LIJ Health System, which recently acquired Lenox Hill Hospital, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation — the public system which runs Kings County Hospital, Bellevue Hospital, Elmhurst Hospital and Jacobi Medical Center — as well as the Montefiore Health System and New York Presbyterian Hospital.

    New York's 100 Year Old Gas Pipes
    Beneath Cities, a Decaying Tangle of Gas Pipes(NYT) Leaks in pipes transporting natural gas are startlingly common, federal records show, but replacing the network is a daunting task for New York City, which has one of the oldest systems in the country. Graphic: The Network of Pipes Under Manhattan’s Streets "It is a danger hidden beneath the streets of New York City, unseen and rarely noticed: 6,302 miles of pipes transporting natural gasLeaks, like the one that is believed to have led to the explosion that killed eight people in East Harlem this month, are startlingly common, numbering in the thousands every year, federal records show."* PSC has ordered faster repairs to NYC's "decaying tangle of gas pipes" -- but also has frozen ConEd rates.

    Harlem Private Business Development
    Rejuvenated Harlem Building Becomes a Business Incubator for Biotechnology(NYT)Harlem Biospace, a business incubator aided by the city, provides start-up lab space for scientists and entrepreneurs and is near both Columbia and City College.

    Corrupt Albany Cuts Moreland's Budget
    Some of the district attorneys serving on Gov. Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission are not happy their work may be cut short if any ethics reform package is included in the upcoming state budget.


    9 Bids to Save LICH
    SUNY announces nine bidders now vying for LICH(Capital) SUNY officials announced this morning that they had received nine bids to take over Long Island College Hospital.The bids, which include five new bidders, were submitted to SUNY on Wednesday and are now being reviewed.The new bids come one month after SUNY agreed to rewrite its request for proposals, and they more provide far more options than had been available to SUNY in the past. For months, the discussion revolved around bids submitted by the Fortis Property Group, Peebles  In addition to those four bidders, who had originally proposed to take over the troubled Cobble Hill hospital, five new players have now joined the fray: Brooklyn Health Partners, Lana Acquisitions, Prime Healthcare Services, Trindade Value Partners, and The Chetrit Group.* Brooklyn’s Interfaith Medical Center has tentatively restructured its leadership as part of its bankruptcy plan, naming Melany Cyganowski chief restructuring officer and Steve Korf interim CEO, City & State reports: 
    * Optimism and confusion over LICH proposals(Capital) Uncertainty over whether an out-of-state bidder could be licensed quickly * Truce after LICH activists claim bid rigging(Brooklyn Paper) * State takes over Interfaith, promises bailout(Brooklyn Paper) The state has installed its own management at the beleaguered Bedford-Stuyvesant hospital and offered up $20-30-million to keep it afloat, a hospital spokeswoman said.* Prognosis negative: LICH advocates slam Related, Fortis overhaul plans(Brooklyn Paper)
    More about hospital closings

    Mayor Tired of Some Special Interests

    Bill de Blasio wasn’t on hand to accept an award from the Council of Jewish Organizations breakfast yesterday, choosing instead to give an education school speech in Morningside Heights. “The mayor is sick and tired of how each and every organization plays as if they are the most important organization on the horizon,” a “source close to the mayor” told Yeshiva World News.

    The Gentrification Train
    For Subway Line, Reputation Lags Reality(NYT)

    Few transit topics can inspire the passion of a review of the L train, which is considered at turns the creative id of a new Brooklyn and a rumbling monument to gentrification’s curse.

    de Blasio Found His Honeymoon With the Press, At Least For One Night
    De Blasio plays ‘Honeymooners’ at Inner Circle roast(NYP) Mayor de Blasio hammed it up as a “Honeymooner” — dipping and kissing wife Chirlane McCray — at the Inner Circle showcase to spoof media and politics Saturday night. McCray rocked an apron to channel her inner Alice Kramden, and “Boardwalk Empire” star Steve Buscemi joined the fun at the Hilton in Midtown as Ralph’s sewer-worker best friend, Ed Norton.* THE FRO: Mayor de Blasio pokes fun at himself during Inner Circle dinner(NYDN) * Mayor De Blasio Pokes Fun At Himself At Annual ‘Inner Circle’ Show(WINS) * Mayor turns comedian, delivers laughs at 'Inner Circle'(WABC) * Bill de Blasio enlists celebs to poke fun at himself at show(Newsday) *NYC mayor turned into Robin Hood at annual show * Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered a solid comedic performance at the annual Inner Circle show Saturday night(WNBC * Video: Bill de Blasio Dons Afro for Inner Circle Comedy Act(NYO)
    --SEATING CHART: Table 18: Valerie Berlin, Ashley Cotton, Micah Lasher, Elizabeth Mann, Christine Mann, Christine Marinoni, Cynthia Nixon, Deb Rosen, Jonathan Rosen, Amy Rutkin … Table 37: Bill de Blasio, Zack Carter, David Dinkins, Nancy Hollander, Chirlane McCray, Peter Ragone, Ken Sunshine, Al Sharpton, Anthony Shorris  

    Increasing Narcissism Inner Circle

    Whoring Journalism
    As journalism and politics disconnect from the average Joe, more and more reporters cover themselves much more.  It not only the growing narcissism in the journalism trade it is connected to a shocking lack of knowledge about the topics being covered and no shame or morals on protecting pols and the hired lobbyists who work for them.  It is no accident that a lot of the members of the reporters inner circle are ex reporters working for lobbyists.
    Lobbyists Andrew Kirtzman is lone done with his NY1 Days
    Now the lobbyists gets a puff piece in an article in an online blog that takes ads from lobbyist. The 60-second interview: Andrew Kirtzman, VP at Global Strategy Group(Capital)

    Who's Who in City Hall(CrainsNY) A chart connecting City Hall agencies to their bosses
    So what if de Blasio is slow on appointments? A former deputy mayor weighs in.(CrainsNY)The mayor is right in taking his time: Quality is better than speed * Daily News editorial: What Mayor de Blasio must bring home from contract talks with the teachers (NYDN Ed)
    Rudy Giuliani on Mayor de Blasio: He's 'moving the city in the wrong direction'(NYP) Giuliani said de Blasio's policies represent an "emphasis on dependency" and on "big-city government"


    Daily News Tell Cuomo to Dump the Independence Party
    Frankly speaking (NYDN Ed) Gov. Cuomo, it's time to return the Independence Party to the obscurity it deserves.  Frank MacKay, chairman of the New York State Independence Party, bristles at being called the leader of a political organization built on fraud, and at the call for gubernatorial candidates to make him a pariah. Astorino is boycotting. Cuomo must, too. In a series of editorials in 2012, the Daily News documented that the Independence Party is populated largely by voters who registered intending to be independENT of political organizations but mistakenly checked a box next to the IndependENCE name. The editorials also revealed that the New York City branch had stocked its legally mandated governing committees with many voters who have no idea that they serve on these panels, with many disavowing any knowledge of even being a member of the party. No one has disputed these facts. Actually, MacKay confirms their truth in his letter by suggesting that the Board of Elections should come to the rescue by clarifying its registration form to protect members of the public from unwittingly signing up.

    Daily News Does Not Understand # of Registered Voters in A Party is Not Longer Important
    WFP Only has .03% of NY Registered Voters in NYC, Elected Their Speaker & Mayor
     The New Republic profiled the Working Families Party’s role in Melissa Mark-Viverito‘s victory in the council speaker’s race. “It only happened because there was two years or six years of sitting at a table, working, week after week, deliberatively developing a strategy, building a level of trust that is not a normal political way of operating,” said one participant in the process. *New Yorkers for Growth Presents "Prince Andrew" More on the WFP

    As for portraying the party as “corrupt” — to use MacKay’s word — we have reported that he laundered for former Mayor Bloomberg and state Senate Republicans hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions, while also granting his ballot line to candidates who tossed money the party’s way — from which MacKay derived income.

    A Cult + Corruption Lets Have A Party
     Daily News Tells Cuomo to Dump IP
    * The tempest over the Independence Party is remarkable, if only for the disarray it has created in other political parties, Newsday’s Dan Janison writes: 

    Astorino's Independence move puts onus on Cuomo(Newsday) Suddenly the true value of an Independence Party endorsement for statewide office faces its most serious public questioning in years. Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive and a Republican candidate for governor, said Thursday that he "can't see any scenario" where he'd accept the third party's cross-endorsement for the November election.* Independence Party Is Really A Cult With Lots of Corruption * End the sham, gov(NYDN Ed) It now falls to Gov. Cuomo to end the fraud against voters known as New York’s Independence Party. The governor must — because the Independence Party stands for nothing, is controlled by wheeling-and-dealing insiders and thrives by deceiving voters. A party’s gubernatorial candidate must get at least 50,000 votes in order to win that privilege. The Independence Party rolls are stocked largely by people who intended to register as indepenDENTs with no party affiliation but who instead checked the IndepenDENCE Party box.In the city, followers of the late Fred Newman, known for kooky psychotherapy practices and anti-Semitic outbursts, hold tight sway. Elsewhere, Chairman Frank MacKay, a former Long Island nightclub owner, is in charge.

    Monday Update A former state Democratic chairman called for Cuomo and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino to decline Independence Party support, making Cuomo “furious”, the Post’s Fred Dicker reports In column, Fred Dicker () sez Jay Jacobs' challenge to Cuomo about I-line motivated by anger he's close to GOP* The Post writes that while gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino has taken the first step by saying he won’t accept an Independence Party endorsement, there is still a wait for a candidate who refuses to accept any second ballot line:* Gov. Andrew Cuomo is reportedly stunned and “furious” with former state Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs call for gubernatorial candidates to reject the state Independence Party line. Astorino has pledged to do so, Cuomo hasn’t yet responded. * The governor deflected questions about the Independence Party, which gubernatorial challenger Rob Astorino has attacked, as Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano rebuffed the criticism, the Daily News writes: * Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano defended the Independence Party, calling Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs “a failed leader who likes to bully people.”

    Will Gary Melius Shooting End the IP?
    He has used his power over ballot lines to leverage political contributions and has laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign spending by former Mayor Bloomberg and state Senate Republicans. Recently, the Independence Party has gotten tangled in two scandals on Long Island involving Gary Melius, the businessman and MacKay associate who survived an assassination attempt outside his Oheka Castle hotel and catering hall. In one, Melius was accused of using the Nassau County police to intimidate a witness in a political court fight. In another, an Independence Party-backed judge issued a ruling in a lawsuit that suspiciously favored Melius, and is now apparently the subject of a criminal investigation. Independence Party corruption is different and disqualifying. Lacking a philosophical core and composed of phantom voters, the party boils down to a group of confederates who wield undeserved power based on voter error. Cuomo aides responded by pointing out that Astorino tried to hijack the Independence Party nod for county executive last year by having allies register in the party and sign petitions. While the criticism was well targeted, it made the case for why Cuomo must reject the Independence ballot line: The party is such a hollow shell that a small group could take it over to steer an election.
    Hard History Lesson for Mr. Green
    . History Lesson: 2001 Dem mayoral nominee refuses Indep Pty while Bloomy grabs it - gets 50k on line & wins by 35k. Juz sayin'.

    Independence Party Is Really A Cult, Corrupt Party


    NYT Silent On Local Impact of Citizens United on Public Financing

    NYT's + Media's Blind Side The NYT has written several times on the national impact of Citizens United but never on the impact of that  special interests big money supreme court decision on the 2013 NYC election. The press is focused on  a preacher and 4-year-olds, while not reporting on how our city government was mugged by special interests Citizen United PACs and the lobbyists political consultants who do their bidding in the last election. Have these PACs made NYC government worse (if that is possible)? Have these PACs and lobbyist consultants committed crimes? stay tuned. The Line at the ‘Super PAC’ Trough(NYT) An unlimited source of cash is now a requirement for contested congressional races * Change the Rules on Secret Money(NYT Ed) * Liberal Donors Pollute Politics, Too(NYT Ed) * Campaign finance reformers take a hard line(TU)
    More on Campaign Reform and Citizens United


    The Long Goodbye Of Speaker Silver Begins

    Wednesday Update
    Camara Stands by Silver Following Report on Blocked Affordable Housing (NYO)

    Amazing look at New York power brokers ensuring...inertia 
    Sunday Update -  "Mr. Silver and Mr. Rapfogel steadfastly opposed any mention of affordable housing ..." They Kept a Lower East Side Lot Vacant for 47 Years. The long-ago walk was the first public display of an alliance that became central to the lives and careers of both Mr. Rapfogel and Mr. Silver. They worked together across the decades while climbing parallel ladders: Mr. Silver to Assembly speaker and Mr. Rapfogel to leadership of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a large, publicly financed charity. But their long affiliation came to an abrupt end last year when Mr. Rapfogel, 59, was arrested and charged in a scheme that had allegedly looted more than $7 million in kickbacks from Met Council’s insurance broker over the years.

    He is due back in court in April. Mr. Rapfogel made clear that the goal was to maintain the area’s Jewish identity, seemingly at the expense of other communities. Mr. Silver and Mr. Rapfogel steadfastly opposed any mention of affordable housing, which would have altered the demographics of the neighborhood and put Mr. Silver’s political base in question.
    A primary focus of their alliance had been a struggle to preserve the Jewish identity of the neighborhood they delivered for Mr. Koch all those years ago. Their battleground was some 20 barren acres along the southern side of Delancey Street, where, in 1967, the city leveled blocks of rundown apartment buildings.

    More than 1,800 low-income families, largely Puerto Rican, were sent packing and promised a chance to return to new apartments someday. Now, nearly 50 years later, the land is still a fallow stretch of weed- and rat-ridden parking lots, though in the waning days of the Bloomberg administration, the city announced that the land would finally be developed into a complex called Essex Crossing, to include retail markets, restaurants, office and cultural space. And new apartments.“They’re the reason that this site has been empty for 50 years,” said Edward Delgado, known as Tito, who was a teenager when the city cleared the blocks and his family was evicted. He has been advocating for affordable homes at the site in the decades since.* The unseemly Ratner alliance with Silver and Rapfogel gets aired in Times's long look at stagnant Seward Park renewal area(AYR) * Assemblyman Kieran Lalor accused Silver of “the levers of bureaucracy and political favors to pursue segregation.”

    Silver Lobbyists Team
    Loeser has been consulting for the speaker for the past year along with Silver’s chief political adviser Jonathan Rosen; the Times and others noted the arrangement after Loeser came on board.  “My role for Shelly is not to speak for him, but to offer advice,” Loeser said. But “in this case it seemed clear that someone had to speak for Judy.” Judy Rapfogel remains a personal friend, Loeser noted. Mr. Loeser’s wife, Jessica, once ran Mr. Silver’s district office and is now a district leader in Mr. Silver’s Assembly district. Jessica is a lobbyists "zoning, economic development incentives, real estate transactions, landmarks preservation, and government relations.* Ex-Mayoral Aide to Help Assembly Speaker in Harassment Case (NYT) He will work closely with Mr. Silver’s main political consultant, Jonathan Rosen.

    The Silver Ratner Rapfogel Atlantic Yards Joined At the Hip
    But months later, he and Mr. Rapfogel quietly put their weight behind yet another new plan, from a handpicked developer who included no housing. According to official memos, Mr. Silver asked city officials to approve a “big box” store, like Costco, on the site. The developer, Bruce Ratner, would build it. The sponsor would be the South Manhattan Development Corporation, which Mr. Rapfogel then headed. The Rapfogels’ eldest son, Michael, finished law school in 2005 and soon went to work for Mr. Ratner. The job was seen internally as a way to please Mr. Silver, say people familiar with the son’s work; Mr. Ratner’s company rejects the notion. In 2006, the Public Authorities Control Board, over which Mr. Silver has significant control, approved Mr. Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn. Intervention by Mr. Silver and others enabled the project to retain a lucrative tax break, even as that break was actually being phased out.  In 2008, Forest City Ratner, which compared to other developers makes few political contributions, gave $58,420 to the Democratic Assembly Housekeeping Committee, which is controlled by Mr. Silver. That same year, Mr. Ratner helped raise $1 million for Met Council and was honored at a luncheon given by Mr. Rapfogel and Mr. Silver. “Bruce is responsible for much of the development and growth that’s gone on in Brooklyn and in Manhattan,” Mr. Silver said at the event. “He is a major force in New York City for the good.”* How Bruce Ratner Wins Approval for his Projects  * New Met Council Head Steering Group Away From Politics(Jewish Week) * Speaker Silver allegedly kept SPURA empty for decades (Real Deal) Together Silver and William Rapfogel sought to preserve the area's Jewish character

    Illegal Petitions UJC?
    Officials from the United Jewish Council of the East Side were involved in the signature-gathering effort for Gerson and a host of other candidates - including Silver himself, who is running to be a delegate to the Democratic judicial nominating convention - an effort that threatens the group's tax-exempt status.

    Buzz: Rapfogel Sentence Fight
    The call has gone out to friends of Willie Rapfogel to write letters describing how the indicted former Met Council leader help the community. The word on the street is that the prosecutors want Rapfogel to rat on Silver and his other pay to play political friends. No word yet if the elected offices who sent member items funds to the Met Council in return for cash will face legal charges or even be named.

    Albany Update
    A budget meeting with legislative leaders ended in frustration with state Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos leaving early and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver calling the Senate's proposal fiction, Capital New York writes:  * There is momentum for a paid family leave bill in the state Legislature, on the heels of the passage of the paid sick leave bill in New York City, though it is unclear where Cuomo stands on the issue, Crain’s writes:  * Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos Storms Out Of Budget Talks In Dispute Over Pre-K Funds(NYDN)

    How the Hell Does A Attacking Central Park Help the Mayor's Image or Tourism?

    Fight Over Park Conservancies Funds

    Ideology War
    Mark-Viverito at odds with de Blasio on parks funds(NYP) City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito expressed reservations Friday about a proposal to force well-funded park conservancies to share their donations with small or neglected parks. Mayor wants to tshare 20 percent of their funds with smaller parks. De Blasio, who backed the controversial money-sharing proposal during last year’s mayoral campaign, called it “promising” when asked about it again Friday.*New Parks Dept. Leader Shares de Blasio’s Goal of Addressing Inequities(NYT)In naming Mitchell J. Silver, an urban planner with broad national experience, to lead the parks department, Mr. de Blasio said the agency would do more to “work for all our people.” * Parks commissioner wants to redistribute money to parks in poor areas(NYDN) *   Mayor de Blasio to Appoint Mitchell Silver Parks Commissioner: Sources(NYO)  Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to announce tomorrow that Mitchell Silver will be the new parks commissioner in his slowly-growing administration, source say. Mr. Silver is the former president of the American Planning Association, and is currently the  head of planning at Raleigh, North Carolina, according to an online bio.
    de Blasio to name parks commissioner | Crain's New York Business  North Carolina Planner Named to Head New York City Parks Dept.(NYT) The new parks commissioner, Mitchell J. Silver, has extensive New York experience, with degrees from Pratt Institute and Hunter College.* Mitchell Silver tapped to be new Parks commissioner: sources(NYDN) * De Blasio to tap parks commissioner(NYP) * New Parks Head With Urban Cred(WSJ) * De Blasio Appoints Mitchell Silver New Parks Commissioner(NYO) BdB reiterates openness to redistributing money from wealthy (private) parks groups, to fund less-maintained parks.* Leave green parks alone (NYDN Ed)  Don’t rob some to fund others
    Flashback De Blasio Picks More Liberal Activists Than Managers for City Posts(NYT) * Stasi: Dear mayor, you're right about the carriage horse ban — when you love animals as much as we do the livelihood of those carriage drivers takes a backseat(NYDN)

    Mayor de Blasio First 3 Months 
    More on the City's Parks 
    More on Horse Carriage Politics 
    Bill de Blasio's son attends a school with a healthy private endowment. Tax it and spread the wealth around?
    de Blasio Flip Flops on A Restaurant Ploy?
    Giving Restaurants Something Back After Sick Pay Law Passes 
    City to revamp Bloomberg’s restaurant grades(Capital) City Hall and Council to make system less punitive* New York City reportedly plans to revamp its restaurant grading system to ease fines on business owners who have long lamented the penalty structure.* De Blasio has ‘change of heart’ on health fines(Capital)Mayor Bill de Blasio, who last year accused Christine Quinn of a "cynical ploy" to lower restaurant fines, embraced those same changes after they were announced on Friday.

     City to revamp restaurant grades(Capital) De Blasio and Council promise to make a Bloomberg system less punitive* In Reprieve for Restaurant Industry, City Is Proposing Changes to Grading System(NYT) * New restaurant grade guidelines to ease penalties(NYP) * In Reprieve for Restaurant Industry, New York Proposes Changes to Grading System(NYT) Officials proposed tweaks to the current rating system so that restaurants would have more chances to appeal — and in some cases, avoid — financial penalties for many violations.* New Rules Aim to Reduce Restaurant Fines(WSJ) * City will dish out lower fines for sanitary violations, keeping the letter-grade systems for restaurants(NYDN)  * The Post writes that Mayor Bill de Blasio has taken a step in the right direction by overhauling New York City’s restaurant inspection rules: 

    Lobbyist  JOSHUA GOLD Hotel, Restaurant & Club Employees & Bartenders Union Local 6 * UPKNYC is run, in part, by the mayor's former campaign aides. Its lobbyist works for the city's massive hotel workers' union, JOSHUA GOLD and his contract allows him to work for both groups at the same time * NYC.Hospitality Alliance  Yoswein New York

    NYT Ignores NY Anti-Voting Laws
    Today's NYT   Suppressing the Vote(NYT Ed) A misguided federal court ruling opens the door to more anti-voting laws.

    How About Passing A Special Election Reform Law to Included Primaries Called the Boyland Law?
    NY's Anti-Voting Laws
    NY State has 12 senate and assembly districts without representation because the governor does not want to allow the party leaders to pick elected officials. The NYT and the Goo Goos have been silent on this problem of almost 1 million New Yorkers not having a representative during this budget year.  Former Assemblyman Boyland who not sits in jail was picked by party leaders and elected in a special election where less than 1200 people voted.

    Boyland Wants Bail William Boyland’s ex stands by cheating man(NYDN)* Convicted ex-Assemblyman desperate to make bail(NYP)

    More on Boyland's Corruptio

    12 State Vacancies: 
    Blame Silver and Skelos for the Special Election Law
    The Boss Elections
    A dozen districts left in lurch by Boyland conviction(NYP) The conviction of greedy Brooklyn payola pol William Boyland Jr. means there are now 12 districts across the state that don’t have representation in ­Albany — and might not all year. A spokesman for Gov. Cuomo said nothing has changed since January, when the governor told reporters “we are looking at” the possibility of calling special elections, even though they are “very expensive.” “But these special elections aren’t really elections — they’re coronations by party leaders,” Dadey said, noting that party bosses choose the candidates, who then, without the public scrutiny of a primary campaign, almost invariably win.  Once “coronated,” these special-elected pols are almost inevitably re-elected, Dadey said. New York state incumbents are re-elected at an astounding 94-percent rate. Boyland himself was installed in the district covering Flatbush, Brownsville, Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights via a special election in 2003, Dadey noted. * Common Cause, Citizens Union call for Borough Presidents to follow Stringer's reforms in selecting Community Board members; Markowitz's AY purge cited(AYR)

    NYT Calls NY's Special Elections Scams and Undemocratic

    In Special Elections Tammany Hall Rules

    In the passed True News point out that if the governor called a special election to fill the Weiner seat one man corrupt Queens boss Joe Crowley would pick the next congressman from the 9th district.  Today the NYT & Daily News called the party rules which go back to boss Tweed  that allow one man rule undemocratic.  The NYT did not get into why Albany does not want to change the party rules.  Incumbents get help when challengers pop up from Board of Elections which is controlled by the county leaders.  Most time those the BOE makes sure challengers cannot make it passed what the NYT called "not great" NY political parties ballot access rules. The NYT also did not talk about how the same party rules give the party leaders control who become a Supreme Court Judge in the state. Or about all the corrupt coming out of party leaders selling access to their ballot lines. 

    True News Wags NYT
    The NYT did say: "This scam is even worse in state races in New York. Citizens Union reported recently that a third of the Legislature was first anointed as candidates in these back-room, special-election deals. Mr. Cuomo didn’t have to hand those six open seats to the bosses. State law says that the governor can call a special election to fill open seats in the Legislature or wait until the next election. He can now start making amends to New Yorkers by pushing to change the state’s special election laws, so the voters, not party bigwigs, get to choose who represents them"  The Daily News says: " Long term, Cuomo aides say there's another solution: to persuade legislators to rewrite the law under which they were, in effect, appointed to office so the governor would be required to call for open primaries whenever possible.  As if Lopez and Crowley would sit still as their power was voted away. Right. Sure. Dream on."

    For Democracy Can the NYT, Daily News  Act Like Harper's Weekly
    For the NYT Own Good They Should Put As Much Energy Into Cleaning Up NY's Elections From Boss Run Scams as the Paper Put Into the Passage of NY's Gay Marrage. New York’s Especially Undemocratic Elections  (NYT Ed) * Campaign against the Tweed Ring

    Goo Goos: Reforms Have Their Press Conferences . . . And Nothing Happens

    By Running the Council de Blasio Finds Success in Liberal Agenda

    De Blasio has found ways to pursue his liberal agenda, with his efforts now turning to dropping a campaign begun under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg to block legislation that guarantees higher pay for development project workers
    Despite Critics, de Blasio Finds Success in Pursuit of Liberal Agenda(NYT) In fits and starts, the mayor has steadily found ways to impose his liberalism onto New York City.
    Sit happens! Kid can’t ‘stand’ wait for chronically-late de Blasio(NYP) Chronically tardy Mayor de Blasio met his match Thursday in little Jael Jesus Ramirez. Oblivious to protocol, the 4-year-old plunked himself down on the floor for a breather after the mayor arrived 45 minutes late to his very first bill signing * First Lady Chirlane McCray writes in the Amsterdam News that there is a moral obligation to provide all children with high-quality early education and after-school programs, which her husband, Bill de Blasio, is committed to delivering:

    EAT IT UP!: Mayor de Blasio signs paid sick-leave bill at ice cream shop(NYDN) * NOW THAT'S RICH: Bernie Madoff says Mayor de Blasio has backwards financial vision for the city: ‘I’m not a great fan of redistribution of wealth’(NYDN) * Get a grip, Bill(NYDN) With high hopes, New Yorkers look forward to watching a new mayor rise to the challenge of running America’s largest city. Their message as Bill de Blasio finishes a third month in office: Uh-oh. Throwing 194 predominantly African-American and Hispanic children out of a charter school — one of the state’s highest performing middle schools of any kind — without a credible explanation took a toll. The public recoiled from de Blasio’s willingness to sacrifice kids to a “progressive” anti-charter stance and animosity toward charter network leader Eva Moskowitz.* The Daily News editorial board argues Mr. de Blasio “should reset his compass to the true north of pragmatism, come to grips with having graduated from carping public advocate and applause-seeking candidate to chief executive, and find a wise adviser capable of saying, ‘That’s just nuts, Mr. Mayor.’”* ‘Chronically Tardy’ de Blasio Dismisses Lateness Complaints as ‘Noise’(NYO) * Mayor de Blasio blames lateness on ‘unexpected things’(NYDN)

    How Economic Development Metastasis into A Re-Election Campaign

    The Cuomo administration spent $15.2M on ads touting its tax-free zone program (Capital)
    For three months beginning in December, the state spent $8.9 million in out-of-state markets, $4.2 million in New York City and $2.2 million in Upstate markets. Capital first asked the administration for information about the ads on January 19, and has reiterated its request more than three dozen times over two months. It also filed a Freedom of Information Law request for records about the advertising that has been extended twice. Empire State Development, the state authority in charge of economic development in New York, released the data to Capital (and other outlets) after Capital asserted it would write an article about ESD officials refusal to fulfill requests.* Rob Astorino Says Gov. Cuomo's Using Start-Up NY Ad Campaign As A Popularity Booster(NYO)

    The Rent is Too Damn High
    57% of renters in the , 's poorest boro, pay over 50% of their incomes in rent via

    NYP Goes to the Districts Where Students Sit on Charter Wait Lists
    Members of the Assembly who haven’t challenged attempts to limit charter schools have children in their district who are on waiting lists to get into the schools
    Pols silent as thousands await charter spots in their districts(NYP)The waiting lists to get into charter schools are around the block in the districts of state Assembly members who haven’t challenged attempts to limit the alternative schools, according to data obtained by The Post. In Harlem, where Keith Wright presides over a neighborhood with 15 charters, 3,975 kids are clamoring for seats. But Wright told The Post he still opposes giving charters the right to share space in public school buildings, a practice known as “co-location. But the union-friendly, Democratic-run Assembly is resisting, Albany insiders said.” There are 15 charters in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn represented by Annette Robinson, with 2,323 students pleading to get in. Gabriela Rosa of northern Manhattan has 2,196 students waiting for openings. Another 1,583 students are similarly situated in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn led by Nick Perry. And James Brennan, who represents part of Mayor de Blasio’s home turf in brownstone Brooklyn, has 1,379 stranded charter students. None of the four legislators responded to requests for comment about their positions. *Democrats as far-flung as Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu and Colorado Congressman Jared Polis are now jumping on the anti-de Blasio bandwagon. Democrats against de Blasio(NYP) “We urge Mayor Bill de Blasio to reconsider his course of action to close and stop the expansion of high-performing charter schools in New York City. . . — Two Democrats, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu and Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, in a letter to The Wall Street Journal bashing Mayor de Blasio for the hostility he has shown charters  * Gov. Andrew Cuomo is reportedly pressing de Blasio to resolve charter school controversies before the state needs to step in, the Daily News reports: * Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña hopes to fix problems in co-located schools(NYDN)

    Murder On A Bus
    Boy, 14, Is Charged With Murder in Stray Shooting on Brooklyn Bus(NYT) * Brooklyn 14-Year-Old Held by Police in Fatal Bus Shooting(WSJ) * B15 victim's widow: How did teen suspect get deadly gun?(NYDN)* Family Of Man Shot, Killed On MTA Bus Gets Financial Help From National Bodega Association *Family says goodbye to man killed in bus shooting(NYP) * Multiple gunmen on bus when dad was slain(NYP)*'A hello — and then nothing': Distraught mother was on phone with her son the moment he was gunned down by teen gangbanger on Brooklyn bus(NYDN)

    MURDER ON THE BUS: 14-YEAR-OLD fiend firing wildly at rivals shoots dead innocent Brooklyn dad on his way home from work(NYDN)
    B15 Among Most Dangerous Bus Lines in City (NY1) * Heartbroken wife of man gunned down on bus ‘hopes gunman pays’(NYP)

    Lower Water Rate Promise?
    Some lawmakers and residents are demanding that de Blasio follow through on a campaign promise to lower water bills, which have surged as of late, CBS New York reports: 

    Cuomo Strong Arms de Blasio Pre-K Gang
    Cuomo camp to de Blasio supporters: Back off(Capital) Cuomo's office has pressured elected officials and others to pull support from Mayor Bill de Blasio's universal pre-kindergarten plan, several sources confirmed to Capital. One New York politician, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of antagonizing Cuomo, discussed receiving a call earlier this year from a top Cuomo aide, Joe Percoco, after publicly endorsing de Blasio's proposal, which calls for a tax increase on wealthy city residents to fund a pre-K expansion.* Karim Camara Says More Charter Support Unlikely in Budget Deal(NYO)

    True News Wags the NYT on Team de Blasio Lobbyists Political Consultants

    Lobbyist Campaign Consultants the New Universal Soldier
    SKDK for Charters Berlin Rosen for Pre-K
    In 2013 Both SKDK and Berlin Rosen Worked Together to Defeat Spitzer and Elect Controller Stringer
    Kerry Lyons, a SKDKnickerbocker consultant who works for Moskowitz's schools, sent reporters a snapshot of the three schools, saying the displaced students are "left homeless next year." The loss of space for the two new schools, she said, will mean 420 kids in the kindergarten and first grades lose their enrollment.* I still find it a bit funny when group sends out release praising , who of course is a client. The group, UPKNYC, is a coalition of citizens asking Albany to raise taxes on the wealthy in order to fund the mayor’s education initiatives.

    The group was established by Bill Hyers, the mayor’s former campaign manager. Its treasurer, Ross Offinger, is the mayor’s former campaign-finance director. De Blasio’s former campaign consultant Stephanie Yazgi serves as its secretary. Hilltop Public Solutions, the p.r. firm that formerly employed de Blasio senior adviser Rebecca Katz, is doing strategy for the ­UPKNYC campaign out of its Brooklyn office. Dan Levitan, a spokesman at p.r. firm BerlinRosen, which is handling press, said, “UPKNYC is supported by thousands of grass-roots New Yorkers.“Dozens of leaders from business, civil rights, academia, advocacy and the arts have joined our growing campaign committee.” BerlinRosen is also handled communications for de Blasio’s campaign.

     How Does Stu Loeser Get Away With Not Registering As A Lobbyist in NYC?

    Charter school group spends $3.6m on TV ads attacking de Blasio(NYDN) For the last three weeks, Families for Excellent Schools has run ads to blast Mayor de Blasio over his decision to stop three Success schools from using space inside public school buildings. The teachers union has given millions to groups that oppose charters, said Stu Loeser, spokesman for Families for Excellent Schools.* Bloomberg’s former chief spokesman, Stu Loeser, is now representing Uber as well. * Loeser is also the spokesman for NY Jobs Now, the coalition set up to push for passage of the casino-expansion amendment.

    While Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders were meeting behind closed doors on the budget, protestors were getting arrested at the state Capitol. *Dozens arrested at permitless 'Governor One Percent' rally
    Classic Sheldon Silver budget quote: " “We’re not close on anything until we’re close on everything.”

    de Blasio's Sugar Fix/ Will the Council Demand Its Cut? What Role Did Berlin Rosen Play?

    City Hall's Inhouse Lobbyist Political Consultant
    Real Estate developers now understand if you want to get an OK for your housing plan hire Berlin Rosen
    City Hall Gatekeeper
    BerlinRosen's current and recent clients include Two Trees Management Negotiations between Mr. de Blasio’s team and Mr. Walentas’s firm took place over the last few days. The two men share a mutual adviser: Jonathan Rosen, one of the mayor’s top political hands and the chief executive of a public affairs firm, Berlin Rosen, that counts Mr. Walentas’s company as a client. SPIN CITY -- Times’ 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. … 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.”

    One Part NYC, No Check and Balances, No Separation of Powers

    Orwellian NYC
    Democrats All Around Atop New York City Government(WSJ) Mayor's Watchdogs are Also His Allies. New York City Public Advocate Letitia James walked away from reporters inquiring about a controversy dogging Mayor Bill de Blasio. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito left a budget oversight hearing lauding a new era of collaboration with the administration.

    And both officials, along with city Comptroller Scott Stringer, attended a campaign-style rally to support the mayor's plans to require more employers to pay workers for sick time. For the first time in two decades, the city's top officials are Democrats and, broadly speaking, they have been supportive of Mr. de Blasio and his agenda.


    Sanitation Out of Money

    Frigid winter blows $75 million hole in city’s sanitation department(NYDN)

    City controller Scott Stringer rejects another technology contract awarded under Michael Bloomberg(NYDN) Controller Scott Stringer dumps the $30 million contract that the city Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication had awarded Computer Aid Inc.Last month, Stringer refused to approve a contract pushed through during the final hours of Bloomberg’s term to problem-plagued company CGI. The company, which had been fired by the feds for the botched rollout of the Obamacare website, would have overhauled the city’s 311 information hotline.* Stringer Rejects $30 Million Information Technology Contract OK’d By Bloomberg(WCBS)

    Marie Antoinette Fariña Tin Education Ear
    De Blasio Brushes Off Report of Cuomo Trying to Thwart His Pre-K Plans(NYO)
    Punish success, reward failure(NYP)
    Amid all Bill de Blasio’s woes, let’s acknowledge he’s doing his darndest to make good on one campaign promise: to keep bad public schools open and close down good ones. * Some elected officials are being pressured by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s staff to pull their support from de Blasio’s universal prekindergarten plan, Capital New York writes:  * Assemblyman Karim Camara said that despite his appearance at a recent charter school rally, charters should not be expanded at the expense of traditional public schools, Politicker writes: * Fariña hints at conflict with U.F.T. over reserve teachers(Capital) Chancellor won’t force sidelined teachers into schools Wednesday‘School of No’ teachers confront schools chancellor(NYP) Frustrated “School of No” teachers pressed Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña for a real leader Tuesday after complaints that a handpicked crony was running the show for the embattled Queens principal booted last month after years of alleged mismanagement.* Fariña, scripted, defends co-location decisions(Capital) And reiterates the D.O.E.'s pledge to find alternative space for Success students

    IRE IN THE EMPIRE (STATE): New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign pledges at an education forum last year serve as a checklist for how well he keeps his promises, writes Michael Benjamin in City & State:Big education questions in budget talks(Capital) Pre-K, charter schools and Common Core changes to be front and center in negotiations
    Tuesday Update
    The mayor’s schools chancellor, Carmen Fariñaasked by NY1 what she’s learned so far on the job, quoted a hard-right Oklahoma senator. “I was reading in yesterday’s Times that Tom Coburn said, ‘Sometimes it’s better to lose doing the right thing than to win doing something that’s reprehensible.’ And so I think that’s a really good statement,” she said. Sunday Update Civil Rights LawsuitA civil rights education(NYP) On Monday, representatives for 19 parents and 21 children will head to the US District Court for the Southern District of New York to file a civil-rights suit. * Kids count after all (NYDN Ed) Progress in Albany toward fairer treatment of charter schools and state-funded universal pre-K The children are black and Latino. Each had plans to attend an excellent public school, Harlem Central, until they had their school yanked out from under them by Mayor de Blasio and his schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña. So 60 years after the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education, these children will make an argument that New York City is violating their own civil rights.

    Nobody Likes de Blasio's Policies
    Quinnipiac Poll: Most New Yorkers Don’t Support De Blasio’s Policies(WCBS)  Only 14 percent of New York City voters said the mayor should cut the number of charter schools. Forty percent said the city should add more charters while 39 percent supported the number staying the same. Meanwhile, 64 percent of those surveyed said de Blasio should not ban carriage horses, compared 24 percent who said he should. De Blasio has vowed to shut down the industry, saying it’s inhumane to keep horses in modern-day Manhattan. The Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday says voters prefer Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to pay for prekindergarten from the state budget over de Blasio’s plan to raise taxes on the rich by a margin of 54 percent to 35 percent.

     Dumb Press and Broken Election System is How de Blasio Got Elected

    The Shame of New York: The Advance Group Joins Top NY Journalists to Review the 2013 Campaign
    After the Worse Covered Election in Recent Memory A Elite Group of Journalists Are Going On A Panel Tuesday to Tell Us All What A Great Job They Did.  And That  is Not Worse of It.  Mayoral candidate Sal Albanese said her got more press coverage when he demanded Weiner leave the race than the the whole campaign when he talked about issues the other candidates were not talking about. How the Media Lost the Race for Mayor(City Limits)They Will Share the Stage With the Advance's Group's Scott Levenson who gamed the election process and manipulated campaigns and the so called reporters coverage in ways they will never understand or care to learn about.

    Group Think Masterbation Journalist Dumb Down the Public and Tell Each Other What A Great Job They Did
    This generation  of journalist do not understand that fair elections and an informed public are  important to the well being of every New Yorker.   Participants will include: Kate Taylor, The New York Times; Maggie Haberman, Politico; Brian Lehrer, WNYC; Scott Levenson, The Advance Group; Stu Loeser, political strategist; Errol Louis, NY 1; and Joel Siegel, New York Daily News. Moderator: Greg David, Crain’s New York Business columnist and director of the Business & Economics Reporting Program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
    A Quinnipiac poll shows that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s approval rating dropped nearly 10 percent since January to 45 percent, while his disapproval rating more than doubled to 34 percent

    Clouds return and the mayor’s ratings slide
    Mayor Bill De Blasio’s Approval Rating Takes Hit, Quinnipiac Poll Shows(WCBS) A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday says that 45 percent of New Yorkers approve of the job de Blasio is doing. Thirty-four percent disapprove. De Blasio’s rating is down from Quinnipiac’s last poll, which was released Jan. 16 — a little more than two weeks after he took office. In that poll, 53 percent approved of the job he was doing, and only 13 percent did not. The numbers are slightly better than a Marist College poll earlier this month that showed 39 percent of registered New York City voters believe the mayor is doing a “good” or “excellent” job. White voters most strongly disapprove of the job de Blasio is doing (45 percent) while black voters (60 percent) overwhelmingly approve.* Mayor de Blasio's approval ratings drop in new poll(NYDN) . approval rating lower than those of , finds * De Blasio’s approval rating continues to sink(NYP) * De Blasio’s Approval Slips, a Poll Shows(NYT) * Poll: Mayor's Approval Rating at 45 Percent (NY1) * De Blasio aides tout polls, without getting ‘too fixated’(Capital) Q Poll blow for Blas tax hike mandate: voters prefer Cuomo plan 54 – 35 percent***Full Poll


    Cuomo’s grasp of public opinion leaves de Blasio looking dumb(NYP)
    Cuomo and Bloomberg to attend Crowley fund-raiser(Capital)
    Asked about businessman Ken Langone comparing the mayor’s populist rhetoric to Nazi Germany, Mr. de Blasio rhetorically shrugged. ”At a certain point some comments are just hard to take on face value,” he said yesterday. “Let’s face it– if you’re focused on fighting inequality, some people are not going to like that.”

    Tuition Aid to Illegal Immigrants Defeat Blame Game Connected to Control of State Senate
    The state Dream Act, which would have granted state tuition aid to undocumented immigrants, failed in the Senate after a 30-29 vote, leaving the legislation two votes shy of passage

    State Senate Rejects Bill Granting Tuition Aid to Illegal Immigrants(NYT) The legislation would have allowed students without proper immigration status to receive financial aid through state programs, if they met certain conditions.* DREAM Act killed in New York state Senate(NYDN) * Senate Republicans, united, defeat DREAM Act(Capital) * Senate narrowly votes Dream Act down(NYP) * Undocumented Students Denied Tuition Aid in Vote(WSJ) * A day after the state Senate failed to pass the Dream Act, Sen. Jeff Klein of the IDC and Democratic Sen. Liz Kreuger lobbed blame at each other’s conferences for the failed vote, the Daily News reports: * Klein: A Dream Act Vote Is What Advocates Wanted(YNN) *Wednesday Update Some sponsors of the DREAM Act are looking for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to include the measure in the state budget after it failed to gain enough votes to pass in the state Senate After DREAM defeat, state senators look to Cuomo(NYDN) * Gonzalez: Gov. Cuomo still has a lot to prove on immigration(NYDN) * Blame Begins After Dream Act Fails(WSJ) * Gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino plans to attend the Somos spring conference in Albany despite calls from DREAM Act sponsors for him to be dis-invited after he came out against the legislation, the Daily News reports:  * It’s only a matter of time before the DREAM Act, which failed in the state Senate 30-29 Monday, is passed in New York, state Sen. Jose Peralta writes in the Daily News: * Senate Dems To Cuomo: Dream Act Will Pass If It’s In The Budget (YNN)  * State Senate Majority Coalition Leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein say the DREAM Act is not being discussed as part of the budget days after it failed in the Senate by a close margin, the Daily News reports: *Dream Act Revived In Assembly Budget Negotiations(WSJ) * Cuomo And Dream Act Supporters Meet(YNN) * Mayor Touts Support for Municipal IDs, DREAM Act at Albany Conference(NY1) * De Blasio, Mark-Viverito Back N.Y. State Dream Act(WCBS) * DREAM Act Dominates Discussion at Somos el Futuro Conference * State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is calling for the DREAM Act to be included in the state budget following its failure to pass through the Senate last week,the Daily News reportsMark-Viverito hires immigration and labor specialist(Capital)  

    What About CUNY SUNY Tuition Increases?
    For SUNY and CUNY, Top Lawmakers Support Plan to Raise Tuition $300 a Year(2011, NYT) Set a fixed rate for tuition increases: $300 annually for the next five years.* * A Cuomo-proposed initiative to offer college courses to state prison inmates would expand on programs that have offered inmates better opportunities upon their release, the Journal News writes:

    Cuomo's Transparent Closed Doors
    Cuomo: “Just because something is done behind closed doors doesn’t mean the process isn’t transparent”(LoHud)* * Cuomo also defended the behind-the-scenes negotiations of the state budget process, arguing that it is transparent because the positions of key elected leaders are public, Bloomberg News reports: * State lawmakers say they aren’t far apart on the budget proposals facing the Legislature, though what happens behind closed doors—not at public hearings—is likely to be important to the final product, the Buffalo News reports:* Letting the Sun In: The State of New York 
    Government Transparency(Gotham Gazette)

     Controlling the Council
     Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the Council’s 10-person leadership team is working out the details of a new policy working group that would set the agenda and discuss new legislation 

    New ‘Working Group’ Being Built to Steer City Council Legislation(NYO) “It sounds ominous. Every layer of council bureaucracy that reinforces that certain council members are more ‘in’ than others threatens to become a tool that those members and the speaker can use to restrict the flow of legislation and the democratic process itself,” said Queens Councilman Rory Lancman, a lawmaker not originally aligned with Ms. Mark-Viverito during the  speaker’s race. “I’m still trying to figure out what role all of these deputy leaders have in the legislative process.”  

     2.5 Million in Housing Bribes
    Ex-NYC housing honcho: I raked in $2.5M in bribes(NYP)A former city housing honcho said Monday he raked in $2.5 million in bribes from developers and contractors looking to access affordable housing contracts. The stunning admission from former Housing Preservation and Development Department assistant commissioner Wendell Walters came as he testified in the Brooklyn federal court bribery trial of developer Steve Dunn and his lawyer partners Lee Hymowitz and Michael Freeman.* Ex-Housing Official Tells of Bribes(WSJ)

    de Blasio Fund Raiser Lobbyists Get City's Largest Residential Building

    City’s largest residential building gets green light(NYP) The green light for development at 606 W. 57th St. was tied to the developer’s commitment to maximize affordable housing at the site and reveals Mayor de Blasio’s housing-policy priorities. The complex will sit on 1.9 acres. Developer TF Cornerstone agreed to create 237 units of affordable housing out of 1,189 units total. James Capalino (left), lobbied for Rudin Management, developers of high-end condos near the old St. Vincent’s Hospital, and Suri Kasirer (right), who met with Bill de Blasio on Brooklyn’s contentious Atlantic Yards project, are part of de Blasio's host committee for $1 million fund-raiser. Bill de Blasio fund-raisers are big time lobbyists(NYDN) The host committee included James Capalino, who has lobbied for Rudin Management, developers of high-end condos near the old St. Vincent’s Hospital, and lobbyist Suri Kasirer, who met with de Blasio on Brooklyn’s contentious Atlantic Yards project. * * An expert warns that a super PAC trying to repeal the state’s $150,000 annual contribution limit for individuals poses a big risk of corruption and could lead to “an explosion” of large contributions by wealthy donors, the Daily News writes:

    NY's Evil Rich

    Report ranks N.Y. as worst state to be a taxpayer
    New York City’s rich get blasted for doing good(NYP Ed) Consider what passes for a scandal in New York City these days: The rich, conservative Koch family funding a wing of a city hospital. Wall Street types financing charter schools for poor kids in the South Bronx and Harlem. Non-union Walmart trying to open a store in a low-income neighborhood, which would deliver both cheaper goods and jobs to the locals.
    Public Advocate pushes legislation to fight wage theft(NYDN)

    FDNY Settlement of Racial Discrimination Lawsuit
    City Officials Cheer $98 Million F.D.N.Y. Settlement(NYO) * A black firefighters’ group has settled with New York City a discrimination suit that will allow some 1,500 minority fire department applicants to be eligible to receive $98 million worth of back pay, the Associated Press writes:  * Fire sale(NYP Ed) In a deal announced Tuesday, the city agreed to shell out $98 million in back pay, medical benefits and interest to the suing firefighters. The payout comes in the wake of two other decisions in similar lawsuits: the city’s decision to drop an appeal of another federal court’s ruling against the NYPD on stop-and-frisk, and its move to settle the $250 million lawsuit brought by the five men who had their convictions for raping a Central Park jogger in 1989 overturned. The Post writes that following New York City’s settlement with a black firefighters group, it’s apparent the new team at City Hall consists of activists setting policy for uniformed services and a Law Department that is an ATM for giving public funds to plaintiffs* New York City Settles Lawsuit Accusing Fire Dept. of Racial Bias(NYT) As part of the settlement, which came after more than seven years of litigation, the city agreed to pay nearly $100 million in back pay and benefits.* It shoudn’t have taken so long(NYDN Ed) * A Fire Department for the 21st Century(NYT Ed) This week’s settlement ends a long, bitter battle, but more fixes are needed for a firehouse culture still rooted in the past.

    NYT Don't Cut MTA Budget Gov
    The New York Times writes that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to take $40 million worth of MTA funds to pay down state debt comes at a time when commuters can least afford to have the struggling agency’s money cut *Shortchanging New York City’s Commuters(NYT) * New York Today: The MetroCard’s Future(NYT) a swipeless city transportation system envisioned* Connecting to the Nations RR Not Scofflaw governors(NYDN Ed) At its founding in the early 1920s by acts of Congress and the New York and New Jersey legislatures, the Port Authority was assigned the mission of linking Brooklyn and Queens to the railroads of the American heartland via a cross-harbor tunnel. That tunnel, still vital today, was long ago dropped. And, down through the decades, the PA drifted into all manner of projects as the toll-collecting plaything of the governors of the two states.
    More on the MTA

    Dolan Pushes 4 Education Tax Credits
    Cardinal Dolan to Lobby for Tax Credit That Rewards Donations to Education(NYT)
    A proposal to create a state tax credit for donations to public and private schools is gathering steam and turning the archbishop of New York into something of a lobbyist.* Catholic leaders, including Cardinal Dolan, are heading to Albany today

    A Tale of Two Harlems
    ONE BLOCK, TWO WORLDS: Central Harlem residents line up at food pantry just steps from upscale eateries, beer garden — a sign of the nabe's immense disparity(NYDN) * BUSINESS IS STARVING: Food stamp cuts devastate NYC groceries' bottom line as customers can't even afford the basics(NYDN)
    More on Gentrification

    Related Sued for Handicapped Discrimination
    Bharara sues Related for ‘discriminatory conduct’(Capital) U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara today filed suit against Related Companies, one of Manhattan's most prominent developers, and two of its star architects, for violating the Fair Housing Act by designing buildings that are inaccessible to the disabled.

    Sick Pay Bill A Secret to Opponents
    Mayor Holds Public Hearing on Paid Sick Leave Bill (NY1) * De Blasio plans to sign paid-sick leave bill this week(NYP) * Sick-pay opponents say they weren't notified about hearing(NYDN)

    Sandy Repairs and Beach Access
    A New Jersey Senate panel took a step Monday toward ensuring that state taxpayers whose money is used to repair beaches can actually use them.

    Another Brooklyn BP None Profit Problem

    The New York City Conflicts of Interest Board is reviewing the relationship between Valerie Oliver-Durrah’s job for Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams as a senior adviser for strategic alliances and her position as a nonprofit executive, the New York Post writes: * Activist for the poor Michael Kink, the executive director of the Strong Economy for All Coalition, makes more per year than Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whom the group has assailed on the issue of income inequality, the Daily News’s Ken Lovett reports:

    Media Covers the Fight for Control of the Schools Ignores the Effect On Education
    Tuesday Update
    Charter Lawsuit Filed
    Parents sue over de Blasio’s call to shut out Harlem charter(NYP)* Nineteen Harlem charter school parents filed a federal lawsuit against New York City that claims Mayor Bill de Blasio “repeatedly and publicly expressed targeted animosity” toward Eva Moskowitz, which they argue hurt their children, the Daily News reports: 
    * “[I]n a signal that officials are feeling confident about likelihood of funding for the program from Albany,” the Daily News reports Mr. de Blasio yesterday “called a meeting of more than a dozen city agencies that will work together on the roll-out of his ambitious universal prekindergarten program.” * More than 50 parents and union activists joined a lawsuit filed by Public Advocate Letitia James and Mark-Viverito to overturn charter school co-locations in city-owned buildings approved last month, the Post writes:

    De Blasio, Moskowitz rivalry goes beyond charter schools(NYDN) The two figures share a heated, political rivalry that goes much deeper than the charter school issue they are currently fighting over. She loathes the teachers union, while he views the union as a progressive ally. "She always said she wanted to be mayor," said a source with close ties to City Hall. "He sees her as an ideological antithesis, but also as a rival politically." Moskowitz, 50, a Democrat who did not endorse any candidate in last year's mayoral race, was elected to the City Council in 1999, representing the Upper East Side, two years before de Blasio was elected to represent Park Slope. She was a close ally of then-Council Speaker Gifford Miller and chair of the Council's education committee, a position that de Blasio - a former school board member - coveted, sources recalled. * What's missing from de Blasio's analysis: School quality(NYDN) The mayor and Chancellor Fariña are missing the crucial point that student learning matters most*Tuesday Update Cuomo Says He Doesn’t Want To Micromanage Charter Schools(YNN) * NYC Agencies Brainstorm Implementation Of Universal Full-Day Pre-Kindergarten(NYDN)

    Cuomo the Education Establishment Disruptor

    Cuomo embraces his ‘disruptive’ charter stance(Capital) Cuomo cast himself as a "disruptive" force in support of charter schools, in a congratulatory appearance on the first episode of John Catsimatidis' new radio show. "We have a big bureaucracy with a system that is entrenched, and it funds public education," Cuomo said. "They have their lobbyists and they have their little public relations teams, and they have their front groups and their advocates, and this is disruptive to that entire system, which is a multi-billion dollar system, so you get a lot of pressure against charter schools." “Ninety three percent of the kids in charter schools are minorities that finally got a chance to succeed, and we shouldn’t be kicking them in the butt, pardon my language,” he said.* Govs. Cuomo, Pataki Hit Airwaves With John Catsimatidis To Defend Charter Schools(NYDN)

    Cuomo bemoans "24-hour blogs": "You have this constant chatter that is not necessarily the most credible"

    Dumbing Down News

    24-Hour News Cycle Makes Governing More Difficult, Gov. Cuomo Says(NYDN) Gov. Cuomo, media observer: "They have to get it up first. They have to get it up fast." “I don’t believe it raises the quality,” he added. “As a matter of fact, I think it lowers the quality, but it increases the frequency. So you have this constant chatter, that is not necessarily the most credible, the most insightful. But it’s constant and that dictates a rhythm to the governmental dialogue, which again is fast, and quick and facile, but not necessarily intellectual or correct.”

    Ocean Hill-Brownsville Fight With UFT for Community Control 1960's

     De Blasio and Moskowitz first clashed in 2003 during Council hearings she held about teachers union contracts. In a heated back and forth, Moskowitz grilled then United Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten about seniority rights and work rules. "I think I hear a lot of clear concern for the common goal of improving the system and helping kids," de Blasio told Weingarten, according to a hearing transcript. Moskowitz later disparaged de Blasio's "softball questions" in a Village Voice interview. Moskowitz and her husband Eric Grannis, a lawyer who runs Tapestry, a pro-charter organization, moved from the Upper East Side to a Harlem condo near her schools.* New York City teachers' strike of 1968

    Media Covers the Special Interests Fighting Not the Children
    They send the middle of their three children to one of the Success charters. In 2010, the city placed Moskowitz' new Success Academy on the Upper West Side at the Brandeis High School campus, where four high schools already shared space. De Blasio, then public advocate, backed a parents' lawsuit against the plan, which was dismissed. In 2011, de Blasio was outspoken about a city plan to close Wadleigh's middle school in Morningside Heights to make more room for Success Academy middle school students. "De Blasio was a strong leader," recalled Noah Gotbaum, vice-president of Community Education Council District 3 in Manhattan. The city ultimately backed off. The same year, de Blasio's office released a 32-page glossy report that focused on Success Academy as an example of the "flawed processes" of co-locating charters within regular public schools.

    The Press Covers CM Dromm' Joe McCarthy Attacks . . . Does Not Hold Him Accountable for the Educations Systems Failure
    With No Evidence of Corruption in A City Full of It, Progressive CM Drumm Wants to Asked Charter School Leader Moskowitz if She is Corrupt
    Council’s education head: Ask charter network boss about corruption(NYP)  The head of the City Council’s Education Committee said Tuesday he intends to call charter chief Eva Moskowitz to a hearing just in case “corruption were to exist” in the ­finances of her 22-school network. “We need accountability, we need transparency, and we need to know who is giving them the money and what they’re doing with that money,” Dromm said. “This is an opportunity, if corruption were to exist . . . I can’t just let it go.

     Last July, during the mayoral race, he wrote to Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott to oppose a Success co-location expansion, saying: "These changes appear to be a part of a sustained pattern to privilege Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy schools with space and resources at the expense of the traditional public schools with which they share buildings." Education observers said de Blasio turned the fight personal partly to score political points. "The vast majority of public school parents detest Eva Moskowitz," said Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters. "Every time he said something about her at a debate, hundreds of parents would applaud." But Moskowitz's admirers are equally intense. Jacob Mnookin, executive director of Coney Island Prep, a Brooklyn charter, said Moskowitz is a target for the mayor because "she's a tireless advocate for her students and families."

    Ocean Hill-Brownsville Panel Discussion at Museum of the City of New York - See more at:
    Ocean Hill-Brownsville Panel Discussion at Museum of the City of New York - See more at:
    No Fault Education Failure, Tefon Pols
    Media Does Not Focus On Education Results Mayor Reason Public Does Not Hold Elected Officials Accountable for the City's Education Failure . . .

    NY No Bang for the Education Buck 
    Media Does Not Ask Why?

    90% of Bronx Students Not Ready for College
    90 percent of high school students in five Bronx neighborhoods not ready for college-level work, new analysis finds(NYDN) Annenberg Institute for School Reform study shows shocking disparities in city. Findings run contrary to Mayor Bloomberg's claims, reveal students from poor areas struggled regardless of where they went to school. If you're a kid in the South Bronx, you may graduate from high school — but, odds are, you’ll flunk out of college. A stunning 90% or more of high school students in five Bronx neighborhoods are not ready for college-level work by the end of four years of high school, a new analysis finds.

    Black & Hispanic pass rates drop in elite high school exams Where is the UFT's Explanation?

    Black & Hispanic pass rates drop in elite high school exams(NYP) More black and Hispanic students took the entrance exam to get into the city’s elite high schools this year, but their pass rates were as dismal as ever, officials said Tuesday. Of the 5,096 students accepted by eight specialized schools, just 5  percent were black and 7 percent were Hispanic. Nationally recognized Staten Island Tech won’t have a single black student among its incoming class of 344 freshmen.

    Last year, it had five. Even Brooklyn Tech, which Mayor de Blasio’s son, Dante, attends, will welcome just 127 black students and 130 Hispanics among 1,844 in its freshman class of ’14. Of 27,817 students who took the entrance test last October, 46 percent were black or Hispanic. That’s up from 43 percent in 2012. * * Data shows that the racial demographics for incoming students at some New York City specialized schools remained stagnant, prompting Mayor Bill de Blasio to call for increased diversity at schools, The New York Times writes: * At Top City Schools, Lack of Diversity Persists(NYT 2010)

    Latest Deals In Albany
    Senate rejects Cuomo's push for renters tax credit(NYDN) The state Senate’s budget proposal would nix a tax credit pushed for by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that would benefit mostly New York City renters and cost the state $200 million to start and $400 million annually in future years* Mayor De Blasio's Administration Has Filed Just One Memo On Legislation In Albany So Far(NYDN) * Lawmakers de-fund Cuomo's Moreland Commission (Capital)

     PACS and the AG Race
    Prominent Businessmen Planning Independent Expenditure Campaign Against Eric Schneiderman(NYDN)
    recently reported (3rd item) that those close to Schneiderman told one potential opponent, John Cahill, the former chief of staff to ex-Gov. George Pataki, that unions and others supporting the AG are prepared to back their own independent expenditure campaigns.

    FOI Lapses
    Editorial: Public records should not be treasure hunt (pressconnects)
    Report uncovers FOI lapses

    Great Moments In Journalism: "Day 7--The Latest on MH730! Breaking News: We Don't Know What Happened! Team Coverage!"

    Nobody Calls After Smelling Gas?
    Tuesday Update
    Memories Of ’87 Blast Jarred Loose By Explosion(NYT)
    Con Ed being probed in Harlem gas blast(NYP) A Harlem woman has become the first to file suit against Con Edison and one of the property owners of the building involved in the East Harlem explosion, and a high school student has filed paper work that could lead to a suit against the city

    Only man to call Con Ed before blast regrets delay(NYP) The only East Harlem resident to pick up a phone and warn Con Ed when he smelled a gas leak first noticed an odor the night before the deadly explosion — and is devastated that he waited too long to call. “I never thought it could end up like this,” said Corey Louire, 32, one of several area residents to admit smelling the leak but the only one who took action.* Video shows moment Harlem building exploded(NYP) * Amid Rubble, a Bloody Face Spied in Time(NYT)  Officers at the scene of the explosion in East Harlem saw a 15-year-old’s face and hand poking out of the debris. Moments after saving the boy, the rescuers were forced to retreat as the fire intensified. * Search for Bodies Yields to Hunt for a Cause of East Harlem Explosion(NYT) * ConEd Faced Scrutiny in 2009 Blast(WSJ) * The Day the Drills Paid Off(WSJ) Dr. Maurice Wright was certain Wednesday morning that the television footage of a building collapse he had just seen was from a tragedy unfolding in some other part of the world.* Basement could hold clues in deadly NYC blast(WSJ) * Bible survives Harlem building explosion(NYP)

    District Leader Too Old?

    Staten Island Democrat Claims He Lost Party Post Because Of His Age(DNAINFO) PORT RICHMOND — A Democrat from Staten Island claims he lost his party post because of his age and has started to rally support for the chairman to resign. Robert Castro, 62, of Port Richmond, said he was asked to step down as North Shore district leader for the Staten Island Democratic Party and was offered a position as the Hispanic Outreach coordinator for the party — but the promised spot never was given to him, the Staten Island Advance first reported.

    GOP Senate to Protect NYC Charter Schools, Albany Moves on Pre-K Funding

    Friday Update
    Charter schools are here to stay: Cuomo(NYP)
    Thank you, Mr. Mayor(NYP)New York owes Bill de Blasio a thank you. In trying to squash charter schools, he might just have made them stronger.* Senate Moving Away From Tax for Pre-K Boost(WSJ) * State comptroller cannot audit charter schools: judge(NYDN) * State Senate proposes $540 million pre-K plan(NYDN) * Cuomo Wants More State Control Over Charter Schools(YNN) * Cuomo Doesn’t Want to Earmark Pre-K Cash for New York City(NYO) * Cuomo hedges on mayoral control(Capital) * At an ABNY luncheon, Cuomo continued to defend charter schools, his funding plan for universal prekindergarten and his plans to address the controversial Common Core standards, City & State reports: * Cuomo, who proposed $1.5 billion over five years for prekindergarten expansion, now faces calls for more spending in the Legislature but would not put a price on how much to spend, Gannett Albany writes:  *Cuomo Tweaks de Blasio on Charters at ABNY Luncheon (City and Staste) “The way we’ve now written the law, we give tremendous power to the mayor, and it’s possible for a mayor [to say], ‘I don’t like charter schools, I’m not going to…fund any new charter schools,' and it’s possible that the whole movement would dry up," Cuomo said. "I think that would be bad for the city and bad for the state.” * Cuomo Seeks More State Control to 'Protect' Charter Schools(WNYC) * Scott Stringer Wants To Audit Charter Schools: "Evicting 194 Kids Was Not A Smart Move"(NYDN) * Mayor’s Pre-K Tax Drive: Views Vary on Its Success as Widely as on Its Merits (NYT) * Success Academy parents officially filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the city Department of Education, alleging, among other things, that founder and C.E.O. Eva Moskowitz was targeted by de Blasio.
    More on de Blasio vs Cuomo


     Bloomberg Speaks

    In his first major interview since leaving office, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg talked charter schools, climate change, gun control, the St Patrick’s Day Parade and more, Yahoo reports: Former Mayor Bloomberg granted his first post-office interview to Katie Couric and revealed he’s at odds with his successor on a number of issues – not that he’s being critical or anything.* Bloomberg takes aim at de Blasio in Couric interview(NYP) * Mike Bloomberg still doesn't agree with Bill de Blasio -- and still won't be a critic, he tells Katie Couric(NYDN) * Bloomberg Says He Won’t, but Still Criticizes de Blasio(NYT) In a Katie Couric interview, former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg differed with Bill de Blasio on issues like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and charter schools.* Ex-Mayor Bloomberg won't blast de Blasio but does go after his charter school, minimum wage policies(NYDN) *Bloomberg Defends Mayoral Policies, Legacy in New Interview(NY1)

    Clearly Cuomo Has Won the Education Battle in Albany
    HOW CUOMO AND DE BLASIO WIND IT DOWN -- New York’s Chris Smith: De Blasio would take a short-term political loss by punting on a tax increase for the city’s wealthiest, but his side would be able to claim a big victory for little kids. Cuomo would win by appearing to follow through on his vow to “save” charters and to have held the line on taxes. But is this the first step toward eroding mayoral control of the city’s public schools?(NY Mag) DE BLASIO’S TAX-FREE VICTORY: Bill de Blasio is welcoming news that leaders in the State Senate passed a one-house budget bill with more money for pre-kindergarten and after-school programs than the mayor said was needed. But the budget resolution comes with two major caveats: it won’t come in the form of a tax, which the mayor initially wanted. And second, the Senate is moving to protect charter schools from some of de Blasio’s decision-making, altering the balance of power that Albany had previously given to City Hall. For de Blasio, it’s a victory on his key proposal, coming at a cost he appears willing to accept. * De Blasio Closes In on Pre-K Funding, but Not From a Higher Tax(NYT) * A Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled that state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli doesn’t have the authority to audit New York charter schools because they aren’t technically units of the state, the Daily News reports:  * The Daily News questions the process for choosing a new member of the state Board of Regents, writing that the way education policy is made in the state is pathetic: Just appoint anyone What an abysmal process for choosing a new member of the state Board of Regents * The unexpected election of new Regent Josephine Finn has raised questions about how members of the Board of Regents are selected by lawmakers, the Times Union reports: 5.  The state Education Department is standing behind the new portfolio-style exam for new teachers, which critics say has been rushed in New York—one of two states to currently require it for teaching certification, Gannett Albany writes:  * The Post writes that if a state Senate bill that would provide additional funding for charter schools becomes law, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s overreach in trying to curb charters will be to thank: * Even if a funding stream for universal prekindergarten is found, finding space for more than 20,000 4-year-olds meets the problems of a state rule limiting the number of youngsters per classroom and outfitting the spaces to their size requirements, the Times’ Jim Dwyer writes: 

    NYS's Structural Economic Problems Ignored By  Cuomo's Campaign Budget 

    Tricks of a phony parent advocate(NYP Ed)‘Etc., etc., etc.”: So did noted United Federation of Teachers shill Zakiyah Ansari respond to a question about why her child still attends the UFT’s failing, co-located charter school in Brooklyn. Ansari was on NY1 this week in an effort to prop up Mayor de Blasio’s rescinding of previously approved co-locations for three Success Academy charter schools. Viewers were given the impression that the co-location of the UFT charter school was happily accepted by the JHS 292 school community. It wasn’t. Parents at JHS 292 vehemently opposed that co-location, especially since the SUNY Charter Institute nearly revoked the UFT school’s charter in 2013.* The Senate resolution also included $540 million a year for five years for New York City prekindergarten and after-school programs – exactly the amount NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio sought – but without a tax increase. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose one-house resolution gave de Blasio the power to tax the rich, said he’s fine with the Senate’s plan – as long as the money is provided “without conditions, without attachments, without strings.”* De Blasio is declaring victory, even though the budget is far from a done deal and it looks like he might lose some control over charter schools.* The Senate’s charter proposals were a rebuke to de Blasio, but would directly benefit his political nemesis, Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz.* In response to a lawsuit filed by Eva Moskowitz, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Thomas Breslin ruled state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli does not have the authority to audit any New York charter because the schools are not technically “units of the state.”* Now that the smoke has cleared, state lawmakers are asking themselves what happened during the overheated Regents vote.* The state Education Department is standing behind a new portfolio-style exam for prospective teachers, despite pleas from labor unions and some college faculty members to delay the requirement.* The Nation took a critical eye towards Eva Moskowitz and the charter school movement. “Since the Brooklyn Bridge rally I find myself in fundamental opposition to what they’re doing,” said one Success Academy teacher. “It’s never been as political as it been now. If this continues going this way it will be very hard for me to stay,” said another.

    Team de Blasio Spins Win on Pre-K
    READ --> Daily News: "giant step forward for Mayor de Blasio's pre-k plan":
    The New York Post editorial board “thanked” Mayor Bill de Blasio for working against charter schools, which the paper says only emboldened Albany charter advocates to save them: “New York owes Bill de Blasio a thank you. In trying to squash charter schools, he might just have made them stronger.”

    Will the Progressive Left Elect A Right Wing President in 2016?

    Arne Duncan just doesn’t get it: How the media and phony reformers hurt your kids(Salon)
    Defenders of charter schools and Common Core cast critics as ignorant skeptics. It could cost Democrats elections* Is Eva running for mayor of NYC? * 4m
    Also interesting that people who resisted mayoral control are invoking it as a principle now. * 14m
    People can't argue they favor mayoral control of schools on principle when they oppose it if they disagree with mayor * Later today, education advocates are set to rally against Mr. Cuomo and the State Senate for wanting to take co-location decisions away from the mayor. “This is a clear Quid Pro Cuomo with charter school lobbyists who are bankrolling the Governor’s re-election campaign,” said Zakiyah Ansari, Advocacy Director of the Alliance for Quality Education. In the Post, former Assemblyman Michael Benjamin railed against Ms. Ansari, arguing Mr. de Blasio “should close the rhetoric gap and focus on cooperative ways to improve educational outcomes for all New York City students. Students and parents are ill-served by an education debate beset by adult gamesmanship, hidden relationships and misinformation.”
     State senate makes bid to undo anti-charter school moves(NYP) The state Senate will propose sweeping measures in its budget bill to undo Mayor de Blasio’s ­moves against charter schools, sources familiar with the plan said. The recommendations — to be released as early as Thursday — include overriding the mayor’s decision to block three of Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy charter schools from opening in city buildings. “We’re going to fix this problem,” said Sen. Martin Golden ­(R-Brooklyn). “We agreed for the first time to provide ‘facilities’ aid as well as operating aid to charter schools.”* Moskowitz: Charter school booted from ‘not overcrowded’ building(NYP) The Harlem public school that critics and the de Blasio administration say is too crowded to accommodate a Success Academy charter school has 15 percent fewer students than anticipated * Senate budget may not include ‘specific number’ for pre-K(capital) * Cuomo Says Charters, Not Pre-K, Will ‘Be the Main Educational Issue’ in Budget(NYO) * Cuomo to make co-locations part of budget talks(Capital) * MT NY Senate may weaken mayoral control over schools, increase guv Regents control. * Cuomo, In Statement, Renews Call For Charter Schools Protection(YNN) * Silver: No Pre-K Tax? Fine * New pre-K teachers in New York won't be unionized, necessarily(Capital)

    What About Parks?
    Anxiety Builds as New York City Parks Await a Leader(NYT) The de Blasio administration has not yet hired a chief for the department, leaving some to wonder what the effect will be on longer-term policy issues.

    Weak Ethic Panel
    New York Bar Association Urges Steps to Improve Ethics Panel(NYT)
    A report criticizes the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics as lacking independence from the politicians it is supposed to oversee.* The New York City Bar Association and Common Cause are expected to release a report that criticizes JCOPE and calls on the panel to adopt a series of measures that the two organizations feel will help restore public confidence in the commission* "JCOPE needs gumption." -- Evan Davis, former counsel to Governor M. Cuomo & member of the NYC Bar on Joint Commission on Public Ethics.
    It's past time to revisit deeply flawed ethics watchdogs, not just JCOPE, but Legislative Ethics Csmn and SBOE too
    More on the Moreland Commission and JCOPE

    Board of Regents
    The unexpected election of new Regent Josephine Finn has raised questions about how members of the Board of Regents are selected by lawmakers, the Times Union reports:

    NYC Tax Cuts
    Cuomo: No Budget Deal Without NYC Tax Breaks(YNN) * Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he will not accept a state budget lacking tax breaks for New York City residents after the state Senate left out a tax credit for renters and a property tax “circuit-breaker,” State of Politics writes:

    Mayor Fights for Some Co-Locations

     A tale of two co-locations(NYP Ed) If Bill de Blasio stands for one thing, it’s the notion that co-location is unfair, because it means people who aren’t as well off having to share space with those who have more resources. Or does he? But it’s also true that when it comes to affordable housing, he applies the opposite principle. That’s one of the less-noticed takeaways from the mayor’s intervention in the Domino Sugar development. Under the agreement reached during the Bloomberg years, the developer was to reserve 660 of the 2,300 units for “affordable housing.” After pressure from de Blasio, the developer agreed to build 700 of these units.

    Two LICH Bids Offer Few Emergency Room Beds and Bays: Sources and Officials(DnaInfo)
    The Brooklyn Hospital Center is proposing some 15 emergency room bays for both adult and pediatric cases and about 10 “observational” beds in its 24-hour freestanding emergency department, officials told a community meeting in Red Hook on Tuesday night that was organized by the hospital. Another proposal from Fortis Property Group, which is partnering with NYU Langone Medical Center, would have four “observational” beds and 10 to 12 ER bays, according to sources familiar with the plan.

    Queens District Leader Joins de Blasio Administration

    Bill de Blasio Taps Queens District Leader to Join His Administration(NYO) Rebecca Lynch, a district leader in eastern Queens and a registered lobbyist for the teamsters union, recently joined Mr. de Blasio’s community affairs unit. While her exact role is not immediately clear, Ms. Lynch will likely assist Mr. de Blasio’s outreach efforts to Queens’ civic groups, nonprofits and community organizations.

    Albany Update
    NY Senate agrees on state budget measure(WSJ) * Boehner accuses N.Y. of 'cheating' food stamp rules(NYDN)* Senate Budget Resolution Blocks Funding For Gov. Cuomo's Prison Education Plan - UPDATED(NYDN) * The Senate approved its one-house budget measure – essentially a wish list heading into three-way negotiations – at 2:19 a.m. The vote was 36-19.* The resolution is “purposely vague in many areas to give lawmakers in the Senate room to negotiate with the Assembly and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in the next couple of weeks.”
    Thursday - State Senate leaders are considering including in their budget proposal a provision that would allow the state to use the money it receives from legal settlements to fund a campaign public financing system, rather than use direct taxpayer money, the Daily News reports: * Advocates for medical marijuana spoke to Senate lawmakers as support bills for the program * Senate ‘Modify’ Cuomo’s Campaign Finance Proposal(YNN) * Senate Cuts Moreland, Health Exchange Funding(YNN) * New York's dangerously old public infrastructures: (Guardian) * What Klein delivered for progressives, and what he didn’t(Capital)

    . Please tell your readers that one-house budget bills are gauntlets, bargaining chips, political chits; nothing real.

    CM Dromm' Joe McCarthy Hearing
    With No Evidence of Corruption in A City Full of It, Progressive CM Drumm Wants to Asked Charter School Leader Moskowitz if She is Corrupt

    Where is Murrow?
    Council’s education head: Ask charter network boss about corruption(NYP)  The head of the City Council’s Education Committee said Tuesday he intends to call charter chief Eva Moskowitz to a hearing just in case “corruption were to exist” in the ­finances of her 22-school network. “We need accountability, we need transparency, and we need to know who is giving them the money and what they’re doing with that money,” Dromm said. “This is an opportunity, if corruption were to exist . . . I can’t just let it go.” Moskowitz, a former council member, has never been accused of corruption even by her harshest critics. It’s not clear if Dromm has jurisdiction over Moskowitz, who is not a city employee. Moskowitz has not received an invitation to testify, said a spokeswoman who would not comment further.  McCarthy-Welch Exchange: “Have You No Sense of Decency” Councilman Dromm? * NYC Councilman Danny Dromm, the chairman of the Education Committee, asked the city’s top investigator whether he has the power to probe the political activities of charter schools.

    1954 Journalist Murrow Attacks McCarthyism
    As We Mark the 60th Anniversary Edward R. Murrow Attack on Joe McCarthy With All the Corruption Going On In New York Where Are this Generation of Journalist? Edward R Murrow vs Joe McCarthy - YouTube

    2014 As Mayor Limits Access Press Warms to Him With Selfie

    de Blasio dramatically limits the press's access to him. The liberal media says nothing * De Blasio Talks With Press on City Hall Steps(NY1)
    De Blasio talks getting 'out of the bubble,' snaps selfie with press corps(SI Advance) * De Blasio clowns with press, takes selfie on City Hall steps * De Blasio has a message problem, but who’s to blame? (Nation)

    Local TV News Has Become Wires and Lights in A Box

    This instrument (television) can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference.”Edward R. Murrow 1958 speech * Good Night, and Good Luck: Edward Murrow Speech


    Mercury Public Affairs Works for the Right Wing Koch Brothers PAC and For Progressive Council Member Margaret Chin And they Bag Millions from City Contracts

    Chin Campaign paid Mercury over 100,000
    In 2013  Mercury Public Affairs, which was running an independent spending campaign funded by billionaire David Koch and others boosting Mr. de Blasio's general-election opponent, Republican Joseph Lhota. 


    The McGoven Primary Lesson Still Rules

    40 Years Ago George McGovern Pull Out Thousands of New Voters in A Primary, A Lot of Albany Incumbents Lost - Schumer and Holtzman and Others Entered

    By not consolidating state and federal primaries into one day, taxpayer money is wasted and incentives are created for politicians to run for multiple offices at once without any real consequences, former New York City Councilman Adam Clayton Powell 4th writes in the Daily News: 
    Why 2 Primaries in Presidential Election Years
    An Expensive and Unnecessary Election(NYT Ed) The extra New York State primary will cost state taxpayers $50 million for their trouble. New York State is poised to put voters through another needlessly expensive election year. Instead of taking the sensible route — one primary to pick party candidates and one general election to pick ultimate winners — New York is scheduled to have an extra primary. That means three elections when two are enough. The extra primary will cost state taxpayers $50 million for their trouble. The Assembly was right to challenge this scenario with a bill providing for federal, state and local primaries on the fourth Tuesday in June (the 24th this year). That gives officials plenty of time to count ballots and announce nominees for the November general election. It also allows the state to comply with federal law that requires primaries to be held early enough so that troops overseas can get ballots and mail them back in time to be counted. The Senate, however, has yet to agree to a single June primary. Its members want a federal primary in June and a separate state and local primary (which would include their own primary elections) in September. It’s been that way for 40 years, and the Senate, which is now almost evenly divided between the two major parties, seems intent on resisting change.

    Pay to Play Affordable Housing
    Former Bloomberg official will testify in court against housing developer in corruption case (NYDN)
    Wendell Walters, a former assistant commissioner at the city Housing Preservation and Development Department, will testify in federal court that developer Stevenson Dunn paid him for contracts to build affordable housing. Walters was the highest-ranking member of former Mayor Bloomberg's administration to be arrested on corruption charges. He could receive leniency for cooperating with authorities.***City Official Accused of Taking Bribes, Left in Boxes and Cups(NYT) Six developers, two of them lawyers, were also charged. One, Stevenson Dunn, 50, a high school friend of Mr. Walters, was also charged with racketeering conspiracy. The others were charged with bribery, extortion, wire fraud and money laundering: Lee Hymowitz, 60, and Michael Freeman, 64, the lawyers; and Sergio Benitez, 51, Robert Morales, 52, and Angel Villalona, 52. All seven defendants pleaded not guilty and were granted bail ranging from $300,000 to $500,000.

    Housing Costs Rise, Goodbye Middle Class

    Chase or Impossible Spin? Affordable Housing
    New York State Reports Steep Rise in Housing Costs(NYP) More than three million New York households — over half the state’s renters and one-third of homeowners — cannot afford their homes, the state comptroller’s office disclosed.* Housing becoming more expensive for NYers: comptroller(NYP) * New York City continues chasing affordable housing(NYP)If your rent is too damn high, blame city government for trying to be Matthew McConaughey. Accepting his Oscar for Best Actor this month, McConaughey said one of the things he needs daily is “someone to chase” — so he chases himself, 10 years down the road. He knows he’ll never “catch” himself, of course. But at least he has someone to chase. When it comes to housing, the city is
    also chasing something it will never catch — indeed, something that will never exist: the fantasy of affordable apartments for all who need them. And this chase only deepens Gotham’s never-ending apartment squeeze.* Half of New York residents can’t afford the rent: study(Real Deal) Since 2000, the share of renters in the state who put more than 30 percent of their income towards housing costs has increased sharply, from 40.5 percent to 50.6 percent, according to a report by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, released earlier this week.
    How NYC is Losing the Middle Class
    A new report by the Coalition for the Homeless shows that the number of people staying overnight in New York City shelters has hit a record of 53,615, with a 12 percent increase in the number of newly homeless families in the system, the Times writes: * Report: Number of Homeless in City Hits Record High (NY1) * NYC homelessness reaches all-time high, according to report(AMNY)
    More on Affordable Housing

    The McDonald's City Council Economy

    City Council Fights for Higher Minimum Wages Not High Paying Jobs

    New York State’s low-pay employment growth soars(NYP) New York is in a slow economic meltdown, analysts say. The city and state face a future of low-wage job growth, killer taxes and regulations — and a hostile business climate forcing firms out. One in 10 workers in New York City — 400,000 in all — are now in low-wage jobs, with 37 percent of all wage earners paid less than $15 an hour, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Eight of the 10 occupations reckoned to add the most net jobs in the Big Apple over the next 10 years have median annual wages of below $30,000, according to another analysis.* NYC Pols Take Minimum Wage Challenge | New York Daily News * Council Members Rally for Higher Minimum Wage NYC | (NYO)Tax policies hurt hiring in New York(NYP) These hindrances include scheduled increases in the state minimum wage, new city paid sick leave rules for small businesses, high construction costs and burdensome taxes.* The Working Life: Among de Blasio’s Priorities, Minimum Wage Waits Behind Pre-K (NYT)

    Malcolm Smith Trial Starts June 5th

    No Delay in Smith Trial
    Judge Refuses to Delay Sen. Malcolm Smith's Trial - Hamodia WHITE PLAINS - A New York state senator accused of corruption won’t be able to delay his trial until after his primary, a federal judge said Monday, setting the trial for Malcolm Smith, a Queens Democrat, to June 2
    Legislator Up for Re-election Wants to Delay Bribery Trial
    (NYT) Senator Malcolm A. Smith, who has been charged in a plot to bribe his way onto the ballot to run for mayor of New York, says his trial would interfere with his re-election campaign. * No delay on Smith trial - Queens Chronicle: Editorials * Judge refuses to delay Malcolm Smith's NY trial -

    More on the Malcolm Smith Investigations
    More on the AEG Cover-Up

    New Taxi Boss Another Insider

    Mayor de Blasio to tap former lawyer to run Taxi and Limousine Commission(NYDN)
    Meera Joshi, a former lawyer for the agency, is to be tapped by Mayor de Blasio on Saturday, the Daily News has learned. Joshi, who called the appointment an 'honor,' will be the second woman to head the commission. * De Blasio, Critic of Taxi Commission, Picks Its Ex-Counsel to Lead It(NYT)Meera Joshi was nominated by Mayor Bill de Blasio despite her role in expanding street hail service and the Taxi of Tomorrow, has often criticized.* Bill de Blasio Names Meera Joshi to Lead TLC(NYO) * Why doesn’t the TLC fire dangerous cab drivers?(NYP Ed) "de Blasio’s transition team floated possible posts to Liu, including Taxi & Limousine cmsnr & finance commissioner"
    More on NYC Taxis 

    Why Does the Press Cover-Up the Levension Investigation? Is Fixing Elections and Destroying Democratic Elections Important in NYC?

     Path to Banning Horse Carriages in City Seen as Product of Po litical Developments(NY1) One of last's year's biggest ads targeted Christine Quinn, then the front-runner. Those behind it didn't like Quinn's support for horse carriages, but there's a hitch: the ad didn't mention banning horse carriages.* De Blasio Whipped by Horse Lobby(Daily Beast) NY1 reporter Josh Robin's did mention Levinson name in his Daily Beast article but only in one sentence.  He said nothing about the possible criminal actions that Levension is being investigated for.* Parents and children get caught between charter school feud with teachers union and pro-charter forces

    Parents and children of charter schools are caught between two well-funded interests. (NYDN) As of last week, the political action committees of the United Federation of Teachers and the four major charter backers were fairly evenly matched financially, a Daily News review found.* .* Mayor's ally being paid to fight him (CrainsNY) Instead of opposing the heavily favored Mr. de Blasio in the general election, however, Pledge 2 Protect hired the Advance Group, a Manhattan-based Democratic consulting firm that had just run a $1 million campaign to sink de Blasio rival Christine Quinn. Pledge 2 Protect also hired Ms. Lewis, who shares an office with the Advance Group and whose nonprofit is a client of it.

    de Blasio Makes Cuomo Appealing Centrist
     Cuomo’s rift with de Blasio could benefit the governor’s bid for reelection by making him more appealing to centrist voters in the suburbs, Greg David of Crain’s writes:

    Lobbyist Campaign Consultants the New Universal Soldier
    SKDK for Charters Berlin Rosen for Pre-K

    In 2013 Both SKDK and Berlin Rosen Worked Together to Defeat Spitzer and Elect Controller Stringer
    Kerry Lyons, a SKDKnickerbocker consultant who works for Moskowitz's schools, sent reporters a snapshot of the three schools, saying the displaced students are "left homeless next year." The loss of space for the two new schools, she said, will mean 420 kids in the kindergarten and first grades lose their enrollment.* I still find it a bit funny when group sends out release praising , who of course is a client.
    The group, UPKNYC, is a coalition of citizens asking Albany to raise taxes on the wealthy in order to fund the mayor’s education initiatives. The group was established by Bill Hyers, the mayor’s former campaign manager. Its treasurer, Ross Offinger, is the mayor’s former campaign-finance director. De Blasio’s former campaign consultant Stephanie Yazgi serves as its secretary. Hilltop Public Solutions, the p.r. firm that formerly employed de Blasio senior adviser Rebecca Katz, is doing strategy for the ­UPKNYC campaign out of its Brooklyn office. Dan Levitan, a spokesman at p.r. firm BerlinRosen, which is handling press, said, “UPKNYC is supported by thousands of grass-roots New Yorkers.“Dozens of leaders from business, civil rights, academia, advocacy and the arts have joined our growing campaign committee.” BerlinRosen is also handled communications for de Blasio’s campaign.

    de Blasio's Sugar Fix/ Will the Council Demand Its Cut? What Role Did Berlin Rosen Play?

    City Hall's Inhouse Lobbyist Political Consultant
    Real Estate developers now understand if you want to get an OK for your housing plan hire Berlin Rosen
    City Hall Gatekeeper
    BerlinRosen's current and recent clients include Two Trees Management Negotiations between Mr. de Blasio’s team and Mr. Walentas’s firm took place over the last few days. The two men share a mutual adviser: Jonathan Rosen, one of the mayor’s top political hands and the chief executive of a public affairs firm, Berlin Rosen, that counts Mr. Walentas’s company as a client. SPIN CITY -- Times’ 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. … 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.”
    Setting Up a Better Domino Plan(NYT) In a good start, Mayor Bill de Blasio closed a deal with developers that would add more affordable housing in Brooklyn.* Affordable Housing Advocates Demand More from Mayor * Politicians, unions leave ‘Domino’ deal far from done(NYP Ed) The touted “compromise” to build apartment towers, offices, stores and a park at the Domino Sugar site in Brooklyn is anything but a done deal, despite absurd claims the city has “approved” it. Far from it: The City Council, not the Planning Commission, which OK’d it Wednesday, will have the final say. And construction unions and “affordable housing” agitators are ganging up on the agreement Mayor de Blasio reached this week with developer Two Trees Management. They could easily derail it in the council, which stands even farther to the left than de Blasio.** A coalition of tenant groups, anti-poverty advocates and unions, which includes some of de Blasio’s liberal allies, is poised to begin a campaign to call for more homes for the city’s poorest residents, the Journal writes * Meanwhile, Mr. de Blasio is about to face his first major lobbying effort from the left.  “Real Affordability for All,” a new coalition of tenant groups, anti-poverty advocates and unions, is set to launch a campaign today to create more affordable housing for very low-income residents, “posing an additional challenge for the administration as it develops its own housing plan,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The group “could make it more difficult for the mayor to meet his target of building or preserving 200,000 units of low-cost housing,” the paper reports.

    Lobbyist Berlin Rosen Works for Domino's Developer and the Mayor

    Labor unions are demanding that the redevelopment project at the Domino Sugar factory in Brooklyn be done using union construction workers, with leaders arguing that City Council members should withhold approval of the project unless workers receive union wagesUnions demand all workers at Domino factory be organized(NYDN) * VIDEO: Inside the Williamsburg Domino Sugar project's affordable housing plan *Mayor de Blasio's plans to go big on housing is building worries over quality of life(NYDN) * BerlinRosen founders say "mission-driven company" turns away clients who don't share ideals (so, what about Ratner?)

    Update 2  Deal on Domino between and - developer will build 700 affordable units, 40 more than in previous plan. * Deal Is Reached on Redevelopment of Brooklyn Sugar Refinery(NYT)The compromise on the redevelopment of the former Domino Sugar plant includes more units of affordable housing and taller buildings. From 660 to 700 Affordable Units.
    Monday Update The developer of the apartment project at the Domino Sugar refinery in Brooklyn is threatening to sell if the de Blasio administration keeps pushing for bigger affordable housing units than originally proposed, the Daily News reportsThe Domino effect(NYP Ed) Now the city has announced a deal that will produce 700 of the units de Blasio wants. That may be good news for those who end up in these apartments. What the mayor doesn’t seem to appreciate is that building by threats and decree only makes it more expensive for people to build housing non-millionaires can afford. * de Blasio notches an early real-estate win(Capital) Mayor Affordable Housing Goals* Key members of de Blasio’s administration charged with implementing his plan to create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing met with advocates behind closed doors for a strategy session, Crain’s reports:

    Plan to Redevelop Brooklyn Sugar Factory Hits Snag: De Blasio(NYT) A $1.5 billion proposal to redevelop Brooklyn’s Domino Sugar plant is in jeopardy as officials ask for a higher quota of affordable housing Blasio administration, which wants him to add additional affordable housing units in exchange for the required zoning changes* Bill’s sugar rush(NYDN Ed) A dangerous approach to a laudable ideal. 
    In an attempt to squeeze out more affordable housing, Mayor de Blasio has touched off a tug-of-war over a 3-million square foot development at the old Domino sugar refinery on the Williamsburg waterfront. While the mayor’s goals are laudable, his timing is bad — and the eleventh-hour action risks upending a delicate deal struck, after exhaustive negotiations, during the previous administration. The iconic Domino site, which has been vacant since 1994, has attracted potentially sweet development schemes, only to see them go sour with turns of the economy and the screws of the city’s arduous community approval process.News * New York Post lies about Greater Harlem Housing Development Corp (Amasterdam News)

    1-800-GOPREET The Pension Killer 

    Public Service Announcement: NYS Assembly/Senate members—If you suspect you're a thief—turn yourself in now—save your pension. 1800GOPREET* * All freshman members of the Assembly have signed on to a bill that would cut the pensions of public officials convicted of felony corruption, though that support doesn’t necessarily mean the legislation will become law, the Times Union reports:

    Corrupt Surrogate Court

    Another Conviction from the Corrupt Surrogate Court

    Stealing From the Dead Court
    ‘Sorry’ estate robber off to jail(NYP) A crooked Brooklyn bookkeeper convicted of stealing $2.6 million from the estates of people who died without wills expressed remorse Thursday for his crime before a judge sentenced him to 6 to 18 years in prison. A crooked Brooklyn bookkeeper convicted of stealing $2.6 million from the estates of people who died without wills expressed remorse Thursday for his crime before a judge sentenced him to six to 18 years in prison. Crooked bookkeeper Richard Paul * Manhattan DA Statement

    More About Corruption in the Surrogate Court

    de Blasio's DOI Unexpectedly Going After BOE Corruption On Day One
    BOE Surprise Attack

    Board to investigate duplicate voters

    NYC Department Of Investigation Chief: Board Of Elections "Hostile" To Reform Recommendations (NYDN) The new head of the city Department of Investigation testIfied Friday that his staff has encountered "outright hostility" at the highest levels of the Board of Elections while trying to get the embattled agency to clean up its act.  The Board has not been “anywhere near as cooperative” as necessary in responding to a 2013 DOI investigation that detailed nepotism, incompetence, inefficiency -- and even possible crimes, DOI Commissioner Mark Peters (pictured center) told a joint hearing of the City Council Government Operations and Oversight and Investigations Committees. Peters said DOI has referred several issues for possible civil prosecution, and said criminal charges are still possible. In describing "illegal" activity at the Board, Peters told the lawmakers, “I use the word deliberately. This is an ongoing investigation, so there are aspects of it I am not prepared to discuss."* Department of Investigation, Board of Elections Face Off at City Council (NY1) * Investigations chief briefs the Council on B.O.E. problems(Capital) * D.O.I. Report  The report listed nepotism, violations of voter privacy, and a staff of untrained workers among B.O.E.'s most glaring systemic problems. D.O.I. released a list of 40 recommended changes to the agency, but according to Peters, the agency has been less than cooperative in implementing changes. Peters went onto say that nepotism at the agency was rampant and that in one case, a B.O.E. commissioner admitted to hiring his wife in order to obtain health benefits he was not entitled to receive on his own. According to Peters, close to 10 percent of the staff at B.O.E. is related to other employees of the board.

    Political Analysis: New Guard Beginning to Evict the Old Tammany Guard From the BOE

    As True News reported last December if the old machine led by Queens Boss Crowley lost the speaker's race that would be there last Hurrah in power.  Well as they say elections have consequences and the newly empowered new guard has begun the process of pushing what is left of the old Tammany Hall out of their 100 year old home the Board of Elections.  The new machine led by the mayor, speaker, WFP, Sharpton and election consultant lobbyists, the Advance Group, Berlin Rosen and Pitta Bishop Del Giorno as their elections victories for mayor, speaker and council races indicate have not only beaten the old machine but understand how to use and gain power. 
     Now besides going after the old gang of 4 power base in Harlem they are looking to take over one of the last remaining power bases of the old Tammany machine the BOE. And who is going to stop them. Crowley army the Parkside Group lived fat off of the Queens machine protection for years, not their ability to win races. The GOP machine has turn into bottom feeders who are trying to stay out of jail for selling ballot lines and contracts at the BOE, not win elections. Brooklyn Boss Seddio who joined with the new guard when he could not control his councilmember is considered untrustworthy by the very group he helped gain power. 

    It is a Family Affair At the BOE
    BOE NepotismGate
    Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan tangled -- protractedly -- with Councilman Ritchie Torres of the Bronx about the definition of "nepotism," saying that just because members of the same family work at the same agency doesn't indicate de facto corruption. Torres countered that the agency -- which gives limited notice of job openings when it gives them at all and hires many of its full- and part-time workers through a patronage system linked to the county parties -- has an inarguably high degree of family relationships in its ranks.* BOE exec dir: "W/ respect to multiple family members working for the , that does not necessarily bespeak of quote unquote nepotism."* * Board of Incompetence: Elections hacks botch introduction of new voting machines (DN Ed)

    DOI's Peters told councilmembers, adding that his agency had been received with "outright hostility"
    BoE's Ryan re DOI: "I believe that that report does not accurately reflect the reality when it comes to come certain of the recommendations" * Peters has a close relationship with DEB He should urge him to create an independent non partisan BOE we created an Ind Budget off years ago * CM Ulrich argues 4 nonpartisan . Ulrich argues 4 prohibiting employees from doing paid political consultant work. * The problem is that political class benefits from dysfunctional BOE & has for years given lip service to change * not rocket science remove party bosses from hiring process & you professionalize agency & fund it, ex IBO * Is Peters kidding? He's rehashing what everyone knows He should urge the pol class to create an indep non partisan BOE * It's hysterical listening to CM criticize BOE You would never think THEY have oversight & funding responsibility for agency * City report outlines millions wasted by Board of Elections for overstaffing 2011 elections  * Tammany Hall Board of Election Control Goes On and On (True News)

    Council Has Oversight Powers Over BOE They Have Never Used to Demand Reform
    SalAlbanese @SalAlbaneseNYC: @DNDailyPolitics It's hysterical listening to CM criticize BOE You would never think THEY have oversight & funding responsibility for agency 

    The Council Could Use Their Power to Confirm Board of Election Commissioner to Demand Reforms of That Corruption Institution.  Quinn and a gang of 4 GOP councilmember used  the power to confirm BOE commissioners to throw out GOP commissioner in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx. The result is that GOP party leaders patronage appoints to the BOE are being replaced by people from the councilmembers and their friends. Why is the media not demand that the next council speaker clean out the BOE and restore Democracy to New York City?* GOP Councilmen seize opportunity to appoint election commissioners in Queens, Brooklyn, overruling county party leadership (NYDN) More on the Panic Over the Council Illegal Appointed Commissioners * Ulrich campaign accuses BOE of obstruction (CrainsNY)* The City Council Is Responsible for the Corruption - True News
    DOI Got to Be Kidding About the BOE
    "We have made several referrals to civil authorities for violations of the law, that is ongoing," Department of Investigations commissioner Mark Peters told City Council friday. "There are aspects of this ongoing investigation that could lead us to criminal referrals, it's too early to tell at this stage."

    10 Areas Where de Blasio's DOI Can Start Criminal Investigations
    1. Head of Board of Elections Fired One Week Before Election (WNYC)Sources at the Board of Elections say Gonzalez was fired over irregularities that initially appeared on the ballot of a special election in Queens for the City Council seat in the 28th district.*Election Board's "Bungle George" Gonzalez Was Mayor Bloomberg's Baby(Village Voice)*  Gonzalez Firing, DOI Investigation, Could Ease Awaited Bloomberg BoE Power Play(CHN)  (No Action by Bloomberg's DOI)

    2. Why Did the City Spend $95 Million on Scanner That Don't Work? Bloomberg said the board’s real problem lay with the paper ballot and electronic scanner voting system it rolled out three years ago *Moving mayoral primary since scanners can’t handle a runoff does not compute(NYDN) * A Week Later, No End in Sight for Primary Vote Count(NYT) In 2010 Feds probing how Board of Elections choose flawed electronic voting(NYP) * Board Of Elections Pushes New Plan For Old Voting Machines During September Elections * Madness of the machines(NYDN Ed) * New York City Elections Are Becoming Ever More Costly(NYT)

    3. The Daily News' Errol Louis reports today, the behind-the-scenes battle between Election Systems & Software and Dominion Voting Sytems(a/k/a Sequoia Voting) is being carried on by highly-paid proxies, namely the city's most politically wired lobbyists. Dominion/Sequoia's bid is being led by the estimable Stanley Schlein, who was Mayor Bloomberg's pick as chairman of the Civil Service Commission until he was found to be using the place and staff as his private law office. Not to be outdone, ES&S has its own congressional brother on its team, John "Sean" Crowley of Davidoff Malito law firm and brother of Joe Crowley, who is not only a congressman but also head of the Queens Democratic Party (a major plus, since Queens Dems have their own commissioner on the board) * The Village Voice, Tom Robbins delves into Stanley Schlein's record* Ballot Fixing involving a queens ballot by a Bronx power broker who is also the lobbyist on the losing vendor of the boards voting machines. (No Action by DOI) (No Action by Bloomberg's DOI)

    4.  The NYC Board of Elections suspended an employee who’s also a top Queens GOP official, Stephen Graves, after he was caught on tape soliciting a “finder’s fee” from a voting machine contractor in exchange for recommending a particular lobbyist. Qns. elections official under fire for soliciting money from a contractor (NYP) *  Qns. elections official under fire for soliciting money from a contractor (NYP)(No Action by Bloomberg's DOI)

    5. True News Has Confirmed From A Current Top Executive That BOE warehouse employee Phil Ragusa the nephew of the Queens GOP leader is on the payroll of ESS as A Paid Consultant.  More  * NYC Board Of Elections: Inquests & Invoices(NYDN) According to True News tipster Phil Ragusa nephew has been paid over 50,000 from ES&S last year in a two month period.  That means that nephew Ragusa was paid from the same voting machine vendor that his grandfather's BOE commission approved after a battle of the lobbyists for which voting machine the BOE would buy. Nephew Ragusa was paid $1800 by a day by ES&S at the same time we was on the BOE payroll. On one 4 day pay period nephew Ragusa was paid over $9000 for 4 days work on and hourly rate that would have taken two weeks to reach the $9000 bill. NYC Board Of Elections: Inquests & Invoices(NYDN)  * From the NY Daily News: The name would naturally jump out at anyone who's interested in Queens politics: Not only is Phil Ragusa the Queens GOP chairman, but his nephew -- also named Phil Ragusa -- works for the Board as a supervisor dealing with voting machines in the Queens warehouse. *Biagio Ragusa, the brother of Queens Republican boss Phil Ragusa. He worked in a board warehouse for 20 years before retiring recently. The job is now held by his son, also named Phil Ragusa. (No Action by Bloomberg's DOI)     

    6. A few years back, the Westchester lawyer Anthony J. Mangone, who shared an office with Jay Savino, the Bronx Republican leader, earned a cool $100,000 lobbying the board on behalf of a voting machine company, Election Systems and Software. Former Bronx GOP Chairman Jay Savino pleaded guilty on corruption charges related to a failed scheme to let Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith run in the Republican primary for mayor. *Guilty Westchester attorney Anthony Mangone will help feds in two seperate probes * But his sentence is expected to be a fraction of that in exchange for his cooperation in two ongoing probes in which he is involved, sources confirmed yesterday. In addition to the Westchester case where Yonkers City Councilwoman Sandy Annabi and former Yonkers Republican chief Zehy Jereis also charged, there is a second into the selection of voting machines by New York City's Board of Elections. Mangone represented the winning bidder, Election Systems&Software, of Omaha, Neb. Political Parties for Sale: BallotCorruption 2009 Election Probe Emerges Again(WSJ)  * Bronx GOP boss adds to list of corruption(NYDN)  (No Action by Bloomberg's DOI)

    7. The Feds are also investigating a Board Of Election (the cesspool of political corruption) contract for new machines that Hank Sheinkopf was a lobbyist for. Feds investigate switch by Board of Elections ... - New York PostVoting Machine Smack-Down: Lobbyists Brawl(Village Voice) Also pitching hard for ES&S is the team of Hank Sheinkopf and Norman Levy (No Action by Bloomberg's DOI) 8. Not to be outdone, ES&S has its own congressional brother on its team, John "Sean" Crowley of Davidoff Malito law firm and brother of Joe Crowley, who is not only a congressman but also head of the Queens Democratic Party * Sheinkopf took the 5th when asked questions by the NY former state Inspector General Joseph Fisch about the AEG scandal 

    9.   Queens GOP Chair Drops Case To Get Ousted Board Of Elections Commissioner Back To Work(NYDN) Robert Hornak the director of machines for the Board of Election testified in sworn statements to the court that  the Queens leadership executive committee members met and voted Nov. 1 to reappoint Stupp, and that on Nov. 3, Ragusa signed a certificate saying so. That information was to have been mailed to the City Clerk and City Council on Nov. 19 -- although apparently neither envelope ever arrived * GOP Councilmen seize opportunity to appoint election commissioners in Queens, Brooklyn, overruling county party leadership (NYDN) More on the Panic Over the Council Illegal Appointed Commissioners * Tabone steps down as Queens GOP honcho amid corruption probe ...(NYP) * Queens GOP Chair Drops Case To Get Ousted Board Of Elections Commissioner Back To Work(NYDN)BOE Head of Machines Illegally Paid by Halloran
    Robert Hornak who at the same time he was working at the Board of Elections was illegally getting paid by Councilman Dan Halloran through his consultant company Lexington Public Affairs. It is illegal for BOE employees to run a consultant company.  Hornak is Executive director of Queens County GOP.  His former boss and pal in the Queens GOP party was Vincent Tabone until he quit yesterday after getting arrested the day before.** Citizens Union sticks up for two GOP commissioners(CrainsNY) * rue News Told You On July 16th that the City Council Controls the Appointment of  BOE Commissioner.  

    10.   Board of Elections does nothing as hundreds of Bronx votes go missing(NYDN Ed) Ignores warnings of busted ballot scanner  VOTE COUNTING in the fierce congressional battle between incumbent Charlie Rangel and his insurgent challenger Adriano Espaillat Board of Elections does nothing as hundreds of Bronx votes go missing(NYDN Ed) Ignores warnings of busted ballot scanner Why were the poll watchers reassigned in the Adriano Espaillat race to help Rangel?  (No Action by Bloomberg's DOI)

    Spiderman, Hulk and Emma Frost Get A Tax Break From Cuomo
    Super Hero Spin
    Four Marvel TV Shows to Film in New York(NYT) Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that Walt Disney and Marvel Studios would spend about $200 million shooting the live-action series in New York City. All of the shows will debut on Netflix. * TV series featuring Marvel superheroes will film in NYC(NYT)

    Cuomo vs de Blasio
    De Blasio, Cuomo Clash on Local Control of Minimum Wage(NY1)
    * Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is expected to decide some time next week whether he will run for governor against Cuomo, NY1 reports:
    Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is expected to announce this coming week whether he will challenge Cuomo, but he already sounds like a candidate. 
    Cuomo 2014 Attacks Astortino to Hold GOP Senate
    The Gang of Four (L to R – Dinkins, Paterson, Sutton, Rangel)  - See more at:
    Cuomo is advising Republicans not to back Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino as his challenger, perhaps to muddle the race—or, some say, to help state Senate Republicans (NYT) According to the New York Times. One possible explanation: That Mr. Cuomo wants to ensure his opponent is not too far to the right on social issues, potentially alienating moderate voters and costing Republicans control of the chamber.Mr. Cuomo has reportedly warned that, if Mr. Astorino is the nominee, he will receive a pounding. “He’s told me that if Astorino runs, he is going to pound the hell out of him and talk about guns and gays, and it won’t be pretty and will hurt all of us,” one Republican senator told the paper. But party backers aren’t buying it: “Andrew Cuomo is being a bully,” Republican Chair Ed Cox was quoted saying. “His attempts to derail Rob Astorino’s candidacy show just how worried he must be.”* Republicans backing Cuomo, such as Ken Langone and Mike McKeon, are “selling out cheap” in supporting a man with “a long history of defending big government,” Charles Gasparino writes in the Post: *In Web Video, Astorino Pitches Hydrofracking(YNN) * NY Times has page one story on Cuomo and NY GOP race for Guv-never mentions





    Subpoenas Have Been Confirmed By A 2013 Advance Group Client - There She Blows
    Under scrutiny, animal-rights group goes it alone(CrainsNY)Many of New York's top election lawyers have one client or another wrapped up in the probe, according to sources, with various players retaining separate counsel. NYCLASS has hired Martin Connor, the former state Senate minority leader, to represent the nonprofit, while the Advance Group has hired well-known attorney Lawrence Mandelker. Messrs. Connor and Mandelker did not return requests for comment Monday. Others involved in the probe, such as individual City Council candidates, are also expected to separately hire attorneys if necessary. Other recent changes in NYCLASS are also apparent. Advance Group President Scott Levenson is no longer listed as the NYCLASS political director on the firm's website, and nor are any other Advance Group staffers. As noted Monday by City & State, the Bertha Lewis-led nonprofit the Black Institute continues to operate out of the Advance Group offices, unlike NYCLASS. Ms. Lewis is close to Mayor Bill de Blasio, but there's no indication she was involved in the Advance Group's 2013 electoral efforts, including a super PAC funded in part by NYCLASS that targeted Mr. de Blasio's mayoral rival, Christine Quinn. Other top de Blasio supporters did help fund the group. The Advance Group also faces a CFB probe into an outside-spending campaign the firm ran on behalf of the United Federation of Teachers under the name "Strategic Consultants, Inc.," and separately, NYCLASS gave donations to the anti-Quinn efforts far above state-imposed limits.

    The Commission That Elects

    The first, best way to clean up Albany (NYDN Ed)
    Use tax dollars to help fund elections

    Why Are Goo Goos Calling for public financing of state campaigns without calling for an investigation of the impact of Citizen United PACs on the 2013 NYC local elections public financing?

    Eight campaign consultants all but one are also lobbyists, have monopolized NYC elections system that only the Justice Department using the Sherman Antitrust Act can bust.  These consultants run every important campaign in New York.  The campaign monopoly is only part of a conspiracy that is not only about who gets elected.  It is also part of a second conspiracy to make money off of government as lobbyist or insiders. There is serious evidence of illegal coordination between the Independent Expenditure PACs and consultants

    In this monopoly consultants work with each other at the same time they are oppose them in other races.  Some consultants help other consultant’s candidates often at the expense of their own clients. Two Consultant Lobbyists the Advance Group and the Parkside Group were involved in every competitive council race and even some that did not have races through Independent Expenditure PACs they control. These IE PACS have muscled their way in to having seats at the table along the Democratic Party bosses that will pick the next council speaker.  The big 8 along with the special interests whose millions fund PACs, have sabotage the whole idea of local representation and local elections. The pols are more loyal to the centralized campaign consultants and their money backers, the new ruling class, than they are to the voters in their districts. The consultants work like Wall Street investors who trade in dark pools beyond the control of regulators. In NY's dark pool campaign consultants/lobbyists, special interests and elected officials make deals with each other hidden from public view. To understand the reasons for the takeover you must also be aware that the business opportunities for consultants don’t end on primary or election day. In an excellent investigation of the dangers the newly elected Cuomo would face from lobbyist, Wayne Barrett wrote in  the Village Voice in 2010. that campaign consultant lobbyist "Sheinkopf one of the worse consultant lobbyist, makes kings so he can then make deals with the kings he’s made."


    Coming Media War:  
    Old Journalism vs Elected Officials Media
    Pols are increasing creating interests group and using twitter and facebook to reach the public going around old media

    One Party NY Presidential Bypass

    Albany could vault New York into a powerful and lucrative position on the national stage by doing away with the winner-take-all apportionment of the state's votes in the Electoral College, writes James Coll of in City & State:


    Schumer's Conflict of Interest Comcast Deal 

    The BrotherHood
    Schumer recuses himself from Comcast-Time Warner deal(Capital)  Sen. Chuck Schumer will recuse himself from congressional consideration of Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable, because his brother, Robert, was a lead attorney on the deal. "As Senator Schumer and his brother had never discussed the matter before, the piece in American Lawyer was the first Senator Schumer learned that his brother had worked on the deal," said Max Young, a spokesman for Schumer, in a statement. "Now that he’s aware of his brother’s involvement, Senator Schumer will recuse himself from Congressional consideration of the matter to avoid any appearance of bias." Schumer had previously praised the deal, saying Comcast had told him they expected to increase Time Warner's operation in New York, planned to keep New York 1, and were committed to increasing jobs in Buffalo.  “While we still need to review the details, it seems like the Time Warner Cable acquisition will be a good deal for New York," Schumer said in a statement on Feb. 13, shortly after the deal was announced.* REPORT: Chuck Schumer's Brother Tied To Comcast Deal He Supports(Huff Posy) * Reality check: Comcast & FB deals are not entirely in cash. Billion$ in borrowed money will eventually cost consumers & small investors.* . looks at how Comcast-owned MSNBC has covered the Comcast-TWC merger news.

    In 1961 Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. broke with Tammany Hall leader Carmine De Sapio and ran a campaign against the Bosses. This poster shows how a Wagner victory will defeat Tammany Hall and De Sapio. Wagner won re-election easily in an upset victory.
    Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos has emerged as Cuomo’s chief political ally at the Capitol, backing the governor in his showdown with de Blasio even as all Democratic leaders, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, refuse to do so. The influential Democrats, who won’t speak out publicly against Cuomo for fear of retaliation by the governor and because they believe his campaign strategy can’t be stopped, predicted de Blasio would fail in his effort to take on the governor. * NY State suspends driver’s license of 7,850 tax deadbeats(NYP) A majority of those six-month suspensions coming in the New York City area

    Special Elections and June Primaries

    NYS Senate Dems To Push For June Primaries But Senate GOP and Independent Dems Oppose It
    Gov. Cuomo Doesn't Have 'Any Plans as of Now' to Call Special Elections(NYO)
    Board of Elections Seeks to Move Federal Primaries to June, Reducing Voters' Trips to the Polls 
    Cuomo said that the state Legislature may look to reform the controversial Common Core standards, but added that while he is monitoring the issue it is not something he can control, Gannett Albany writes: * The state Board of Elections agreed to propose the final Tuesday in June as the date for federal, state, and local primary elections to U.S. District Court Judge Gary Sharpe, who oversees the state’s compliance with absentee ballot laws, the Times Union writes:
    Federal Judge Approves June Primary Date(YNN) As expected, U.S. District Court Judge Gary Sharpe on Thursday designated the fourth Tuesday in June as the date to hold Congressional primaries in New York.* * State Senate Democrats introduced a bill moving state primaries from September to June to coincide with federal primaries for Congress, saying it would save the state at least $50 million and increase turnout, the Times Union writes:  . * Nine spots in the state legislature are set to be vacant when the legislative session begins Wednesday, and there isn’t an indication if special elections will be called to fill the seats, Gannett Albany reports:   * The Times Union writes that moving state and local primaries to June would save money, encourage better turnout and be an all-around win for democracy. 

    Special Elections
    QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I would advise him that we should. The problem is that by law we would miss the budget enactment and once the budget is enacted there isn’t a lot that would be considered between now and the end of the year.” – Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision of when to call special elections for vacant legislative seats, via State of Politics.  * Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver called for special elections for vacant seats in the Legislature but added that the budget timeline should play a factor in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s timing on calling elections, State of Politics writes:

    The Bronx is News Starved

    The Bronx the Most News Deprived Borough Only 10.7% of the Voters Followed the 3 Papers Endorsements of Quinn

    The Bronx's Newspapers Disconnect
    In the borough of New York which received the most newspaper coverage 22.5% of the voters supported Quinn. Quinn received 15.6% citywide. Only 17.5% of the Bronx Democrats Voted. Citywide Turnout was 24%
    Why Big Newspapers Skip the Bronx(City Limits) For Metro, there's a simple explanation: Fewer Bronxites have full-time jobs, the Bronx is the borough with the highest unemployment 12.2% wrote Wilf Maunoir, Metro's director of marketing, in an email. “Metro is 100 percent advertising funded,” he said. “As any advertising business, the demographic matters.” As a result, Metro distributes about 3,000 copies of its paper in the Bronx out of about 300,000 citywide. New York Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy would not say how many papers it sells in the Bronx, but suggested that stores there might not stock the paper “if there is no reader demand.”  “This is a problem with advertiser funded media,” said Jim Naureckas, the editor of Extra!, which is published by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a progressive media watchdog group. “It puts a skew in your media system towards people with more money and away from people with less money.” The median household income in the Bronx is about $35,000, compared to about $51,000 for all five boroughs, according to census data. The poor, meanwhile, are tuning out: people who make less than $30,000 a year read, watch, and listen to the news about 30 percent less than people who make at least $75,000, according to the Pew Research Center
    More on NY's Journalism Disconnect


    Charting the years-long decline of local news reporting(Wash Post)

    Jon Stewart Rips CNN's MH370 Coverage: 'F*ck It, Let's Go Nuts!'

      1. 1 of the things journalists are absolutely horrible at: separating what *they* are interested in from what the public is interested in.

    Today's comedians make poop jokes instead of challenging authority. Where's their nerve? 
    Week in Playback: Sochi games ends, Arizona veto, Twitter typos
    Don Singleton, Reporter Whose Articles Delved Into Corruption, Dies at 77(NYT)Mr. Singleton, who worked for The Daily News in New York for four decades, wrote about gamblers and tax evaders as well as corruption in the Fire Department and its unions.
    Via : The right loses its hero at CBS:(Politico)

    Recent News On the Media


    A Milestone, and Miles to Go, for Obamacare - Ronald Brownstein, Natl Jrnl
    The More We Learn, the Worse It Gets - Ed Rogers, Washington Post
    A Chris Christie Life Primer - Gail Collins, New York Times
    Putin Is Living in a Fantasy World - Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post
    It's Time to Reset to Reality on Russia - Andrew McCarthy, National Review
    Dems Struggle to Find a Winning Formula - Tumulty & Kane, Wash Post
    Why Democrats Must Embrace Obamacare - Joe Conason, National Memo
    Mark Udall Didn't Get the Memo - Ross Kaminsky, The American Spectator
    Say a Prayer for Hobby Lobby's Employees - Margaret Carlson, Bloomberg
    How Left & Right Flipped on Religious Freedom - James Antle, Natl Interest
    The Split of the Ages - Charles Blow, New York Times
    Caught in the Political Grinder - Collin Levy, Wall Street Journal
    Does Florida Have Any Shame? - Ana Marie Cox, The Guardian
    The Astounding Story of Leland Yee - James Taranto, Wall Street Journal
    Under the Banner of Women - Barry Strauss, City Journal
    Why Waco Went Wrong - Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker
    How a Protection Specialist Keeps Clients Safe - Seth Stevenson, WSJ
    Election 2014: Senate Map, Latest Polls | Governors Map, Latest Polls
    Latest Delay Simply More of the Same With Obamacare - The Oklahoman
    A Christie Appointee Quits, Finally - New York Times
    Christie and the Bridge - Wall Street Journal
    Braley Missed the Real Reason to Fear Grassley - Des Moines Register

    Last 30 Days in Washington Coverage

    Law and Order

    Barber charged in fatal stabbing says it was in self-defense(NYP)

    Jaywalker killed on Grand Central Parkway(NYP)
    Tragedy on Staten Island: 82-year-old man kills daughter-in-law & shoots son before turning gun on himself 
    Speed cameras lead to almost 12,000 tickets near city schools(NYP)

    Man and Woman Shot to Death in Queens(NYT)
    Man and woman found shot dead in Queens(NYP)
    The death of a Rikers Island inmate was the centerpiece of a New York City Council hearing Thursday, during which Department of Corrections Commissioner Mark Cranston apologized to the man’s family and explained the circumstances surrounding his death, NY1 reports:
    2 found shot dead inside Ridgewood, Queens apartment
    Ray Kelly joins ABC News
    Fugitive Apprehended After Placed on FBI 'Most Wanted' List(WSJ)
    A New York man who was added to the FBI's "10 Most Wanted Fugitives" list on Wednesday has been apprehended in Nicaragua, said an law enforcement official with knowledge of the case.
    Jury Rejects Insanity Defense in ’08 Killing of Manhattan Therapist(NYT)
    Man Who Shot Officer in Manhattan Gunfight Is Sentenced to Prison(NYT)
    Old man, 82, kills daughter-in-law, shoots his son then kills himself(NYP)
    String Of Brazen Burglaries Leaves Howard Beach, Queens On Edge(WSBS)
    Woman dead in triple shooting in Staten Island's Rosebank section (photos)(SI Advance)


    Conviction of Bin Laden’s Son-in-Law Doesn’t Halt Debate Over Terror Trials’ Venue(NYT)
     Bin Laden son-in-law who served as al-Qaida spokesman after 9/11 convicted at NYC terror trial
    Bin Laden’s Son-in-Law Is Convicted in Terror Trial(NYT)

    So-Called "Lone Wolf" Gets 16 Years in Manhattan Bomb Plot v
    Judge Imposes 16-Year Term for Manhattan Man in Pipe Bomb Case(NYT)
    Terror Case Against Aide to Bin Laden Goes to Jury(NYT)
    The jury is weighing terrorism charges against Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who was a top adviser to Osama bin Laden.
    More on Terrorism 

    * Opening the Port Authority’s records to the same public review required of other levels of government is a logical and necessary first step toward restoring the public’s faith in the agency, a trio of lawmakers from New York and New Jersey write in the Daily News: