Thursday, February 5, 2015

Federal Prosecutor Forcing Albany's Ethics Reform

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

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

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

Heastie Took Away Indicted Scarborough Committee Chairmanship . . .  Keeps Silver's Leadership Team
Indicted assemblymantemporarily loses committee chairman post(NYDN) New Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has removed indicted Assemblyman William Scarborough as chairman of the chamber's small business committee. Scarborough was replaced on a temporary basis by Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. If Scarborough his cleared of state charges that the he used more than $38,000 in campaign funds for his own personal benefit. The stipend for the committee chairmanship is $12,500. Thiele will not get the stipend since he already has another leadership post. * Heastie’s Assembly lists leadership posts (Capital). Heastie retained Herman Farrell (D-Manhattan) to run the Assembly’s Budget Committee and Majority Leader Joe Morelle (D-Rochester) to run the day-to-day operations of the Assembly, jobs that come with $34,000 stipends. Heastie also kept Assembly members Joe Lentol (D-Brooklyn), Cathy Nolan (D-Queens), and Keith Wright (D-Manhattan) in place as heads of the Codes, Education and Housing committees, even though they ran against him.*Only one member (temporarily) lost his committee chairmanship, which came with a $12,500 stipend: Assemblyman William Scarborough, who has been indicted on state and federal corruption charges, no longer heads the Small Business Committee.

Crime and the NYPD Updates 
Murder Shooting Up, Cop Indicted, Bratton Boost Penalties Resisting Arrest, 
Bratton urges boost in penalties for resisting arrest(NYP) NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton on Wednesday urged state lawmakers to boost the punishment for resisting arrest and make it a crime to reveal personal information about cops as a means of intimidation. Bratton said that “too many people still resist arrest” because the offense rarely gets prosecuted, and he called for it to be upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony. * New Challenges to Secrecy That Protects Police Files(NYT) Few states currently give the police more legal protection from scrutiny than New York, home to both the nation’s largest municipal police department and a huge news media presence. *NYPD Commissioner Bratton opposes Cuomo's proposal for independent monitor when grand jury fails to indict cop(NYDN)* NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton expressed concern over Cuomo’s call to have an independent monitor investigate when unarmed civilians are killed by police and his proposal to create statewide minimum standards for police use of force. A case headed for a Staten Island courtroom today that seeks to unlock grand jury evidence in the police killing of Eric Garner is part of a national push to pry from law enforcement information long kept secret. Two lawyers from a city-funded nonprofit group have been forced to resign over their appearance in a rap video that endorsed murderous retribution for Garner’s death. Staten Island DA Dan Donovan said at a state Senate hearing that he favors a number of proposed reforms to the state’s grand jury proceedings, even as he said he was unable to provide any additional details about the grand jury that considered the Garner case.* The Cuomo administration had to send help to a state agency commissioner who came under fire from a state Senate committee yesterday about the governor’s proposed criminal justice reforms, dispatching two senior aides to help answer questions. * Bratton said he opposes Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to impose an independent monitor when a grand jury fails to indict a cop who has killed an unarmed citizen, the Daily News reports:  * Cop Unions Call forState to Bar City Regulations on Police (NYO)

DEB pressured 2 lawyers from Bronx Defend office to resign 4 participating in anti cop video but has staffer who tweeted violence vs cops

NY Gambling Market Saturated Still Building 3 Casinos  
Gambling sales down2% in New Yorkstate (NYDN)  EXCLUSIVE: New York's overall gambling sales dropped from $9.3 billion in 2013 to $9 billion in 2014, according to the New York State Lottery. The dip affected both lottery tickets and racetrack casinos. New York’s gambling sales in 2014 dropped for the first time in years — potentially signaling a saturated market just as three upstate casinos are in development. “People have been predicting this for a long time,” said Stephen Shafer, chairman of the Coalition Against Gambling in New York. “Whether this foretells another year like it, I don’t know.” The dip affected traditional lottery games like Mega Millions, Powerball and Lotto as well as most of the state’s racetrack casinos, according to state lottery data obtained by the Daily News. Overall gambling sales last year totaled a still-hefty $9 billion, a 2% drop from the record $9.3 billion in 2013, the figures show. Traditional games saw sales dip 2.2%, down to $7.2 billion. Sales of multistate big-jackpot games Powerball and Mega Millions dropped 43.5% and 11.8%, respectively.

de Blasio's Madness, Fantasy, Wish List, Delusional State of the City Speech
de Blasio has changed the State of the City Speech to A PR Acid Wish List Trip
From the NYT: He made no mention of last year’s bitter struggle with the Police Department, or the spike in shootings and homicides in January that runs counter to the crime statistics he cites so proudly and often. There was little talk of street homelessness, but he mentioned an effort to house homeless veterans. Also left unsaid was how he was going to enlist help from state government. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who seems to love cutting the mayor down to size, wasted no time in declaring on Tuesday that the Sunnyside Yards plan was unworkable because the state has other plans for the property. Housing fantasies: The hole in de Blasio‘s ‘big idea’(NYP) *Address: Full of Ambition, but Light on Details (NYT)  Mayors often use their annual speech to outline a raft of proposals, but Bill de Blasio spoke mostly about a plan that would transform neighborhoods from Staten Island to Brooklyn.* De Blasio’s speech focused mainly on housing. It was big on ambition and light on details.*Activists Trash Billde Blasio for Neglecting NYPD Issues in State of the City Speech (NYO)* Mayor de Blasio on his ferry plan: ‘If you build it, they will come’(NYDN)

Homeless Increase, Shooting Up, Long Time Crown Heights Residences Being Pushed Out By Developers the Real State of the Union

Mayor de Blasio Moves to Expand Ferry Service in New York City  (NYT) In one of the best-received proposals in his State of the City address, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans for a citywide ferry service with stops in, among other places, Astoria and the Rockaways. 
Home, sweet — nope (NYP Ed) Bad news: Mayor de Blasio wants to manage the city’s housing supply. Good news: He offered few new, concrete ideas about how he would do it in a State of the City Address devoted mostly to housing. So maybe he won’t do too much more damage than is already being done. Builders, for instance, will put up fewer units if they can’t get market rates for some of them. Nor will government-discounted apartments alleviate the shortage much — because the subsidies will just attract more tenants and fuel demand. The mayor himself inadvertently offeredproof his plan will do little to ease the crunch when he claimed former Mayor Ed Koch’s 1985 plan for massive new subsidized housing worked “beautifully.” If it had, de Blasio wouldn’t have had to devote his speech to finding ways to fix the housing problem.

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

Daily News and NYT Does Not Question Mayor's Programs But Sell It  

Bill de Blasio’s Big Plans for New York (NYT Ed) Mayor Bill de Blasio came out fighting for affordable housing, envisioning a city able to retain the working- and middle-class families that call it home. *GONZALEZ: For Mayor de Blasio's, affordable housing visions are really shooting for the stars (NYDN) * WEINER: Hizzoner's proposed city ferry network could bring economic benefits (NYDN) *'My grandmother's story was not a fairy tale': Hizzoner reflects on the struggles of his Italian immigrant grandmother and uses it as a symbol to keep NYC affordable (NYDN) * 'WE'RE THE ULTIMATE COASTAL CITY': De Blasio proposes city ferry system to connect all five boroughs (NYDN)* Sunnyside up for de Blasio (NYDN Ed) Mayor's State of the City speech offers big, ambitious plans for much-needed housing construction* Bill the Builder on Tuesday unfurled housing plans faster than the forces of gentrification, more powerful than not-in-my-backyard naysayers, and able to leap ultra-luxury towers in a single bound. Kudos to Mayor de Blasio for displaying superheroic ambitions in his State of the City address. With New York in desperate need of affordable housing, the mayor says he’ll deliver big-time through targeted rezonings, mandates on real estate developers and some major building projects. The biggest of de Blasio’s big deals called for creating 11,250 units of affordable housing on a deck to be built over the 200-acre Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak railyards in Queens. Let’s hope his other ideas get off to a surer start.* for his push to expand housing for low-income New Yorkers and lauded his proposed development at Sunnyside Yards *  The Daily News offered kudos to “Bill the Builder” de BlasioIn his second State of the City address, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a rousing call for more ferry service in the city. Transit advocate greeted this idea tepidly, but former Congressman – and onetime mayoral hopeful – Anthony Weiner is a fan. * Sunnyside up for deBlasio (NYDN)  Mayor's State of the City speech offers big, ambitious plans for much-needed housing construction

As Housing Prices In NYC Reach New Highs the Mayor Holds A State of the City Speech 
In 2nd Year, Mayor de Blasio Will Focus on Making Housing Denser and More Affordable (NYT)  In his State of the City address on Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio will try to convince New Yorkers that his plan to build more, and build higher, can improve residents’ lives.Mayor Bill de Blasio will make housing a focal point in his State of the City address, including denser yet more affordable neighborhoods and rezoning of East Harlem and Stapleton on Staten Island * De Blasio is also expected to announce that the city has begun work on six new community health centers, part of a larger push to reduce health inequalities in certain neighborhoods, Capital New York writes:  * De Blasio will unveil plan to end veteran homelessness(NYDN)Mayor Bill de Blasio said he will mandate affordable housing in developments in rezoned areas City & State reports: 

de Blasio Continues the Policy of Weakening Neighborhoods 
In his State of the City address today, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to declare housing as the focal point of his second year in office, unveiling a vision for an even denser yet more affordable New York City that will transform neighborhoods from East Harlem in Manhattan to Staten Island’s North Shore.* Scoop on state ofcity announcement:  (Capital) * Luxury City no more? "New York risks taking on the qualities of a gated community, a place defined by exclusivity, rather than opportunity."De Blasio's warning: "New York risks taking on the qualities of a gated community, a place defined by exclusivity rather than opportunity."*Mayor: Time to Work Toward a More Affordable New York (NY1)

Cuomo SunnySide Yards Are Not Available
Cuomo shuts down de Blasio‘s ‘game-changing’ plan (NYP) “The [Metropolitan Transportation Authority] uses Sunnyside Yards as an important facility for our transportation system, and it is not available for any other use in the near term,” Cuomo’s spokeswoman, Melissa DeRosa, said in a statement. Cuomo also hit back at de Blasio’s call for the minimum wage to be set at $13 per hour in New York City, just weeks after the governor himself called for the rate to be hiked to a lower $10.50 statewide, and $11.50 in New York City.

Neighborhoods that will be rezoned for more housing: East New York, Long Island City, Flushing West, East Harlem, downtown SI, Jerome Ave Bx*De Blasio wants to rezone East NYLong Island City, Flushing West, East Harlem, Downtown Staten Island & Jerome Ave. Corridor in the Bronx City will supply tenants in rezoned area with free legal protections from harassment #OurCity  * De Blasio HeraldsSunnyside Yards as Next Stuy-Town, Unveils Housing Plan Details (NYO) * Housing fantasies: The hole in de Blasio‘s ‘big idea(NYP) * Obstacle to Mayor deBlasio’s Affordable Housing Plan: Neighborhood Resistance (NYT) * New York's next greatpolitical battle will be a railyard in Queens: (NY Mag) * De Blasio HeraldsSunnyside Yards as Next Stuy-Town, Unveils Other Housing Details (NYO) * 'WE'RE THE ULTIMATE COASTAL CITY': Mayor de Blasio proposes city ferry system that would connect all five boroughs (NYDN) Cuomo said the Sunnyside Yards are not available for development shortly after de Blasio unveiled plans for an 11,250-unit affordable housing complex on the site* De Blasio Thinks There’s ‘A Way Forward’ forSunnyside Yards Proposal (NYO)* Cuomo Calls Mayor's Sunnyside Yards Plan 'Problematic'(NY1)*Three years after he proposed replacing the Javits Center on the Far West Side with a best-in-nation convention center in Queens, and two and a half years after that proposal fell to pieces, Cuomo is once again talking up a Queens convention center proposal.

6 Million Uses Subways and Buses, 100,000 Ferries 
De Blasio said the hole in the MTA’s budget is an “Albany question.”

Where is the Money to Pay for Any of the Mayor's Proposals
 An Obstacle to Mayor de Blasio’s Affordable Housing Plan: Neighborhood Resistance(NYT) * Mayor de Blasio, in State of the City, Focuses on His Housing Plan(NYT) Mayors often use their annual speech to outline a raft of proposals, but Bill de Blasio spoke mostly about a plan that would transform neighborhoods from Staten Island to Brooklyn.* Mayor Bill de Blasio focused on housing in his State of the City address, calling for the construction of thousands of new units with the goal of creating more economically diverse neighborhoods, The New York Times writes:  

de Blasio Answers Increased Homelessness and Gentrification Pushing the Poor and Middle Class Out of the City With Fantasy
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was quick to split with de Blasio’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $13 per hour for New York City, instead promoting his plan to increase the wage to $11.50 in the five boroughs, State of Politics writes: * In his address, de Blasio also promised a new city-wide ferry service to be up and running by 2017, which will help connect historically isolated neighborhoods and will cost the same as a subway fare, the Post reports:  *Cuomo And de Blasio Part On Minimum Wage (Updated) (YNN) * City-wide ferry service planned for 2017(NYP)* NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio focused most of his second State of the City address on housing – including a proposal to develop Sunnyside Yards. …that suggestion was shot down by the Cuomo administration, which called Sunnyside Yards “an important facility for our transportation system” that is not available for any other use in the “near term.”

Why Not Demand That the Mayor Stop Crown Heights Residence From Being Push Out Before He Promises to Stopping Gentrification in Other Neighborhoods? 

Some See Risk in de Blasio’s Bid to Add Housing (NYT) Many New York residents, especially in Brooklyn, say the influx of market-rate apartments called for in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plans could gut neighborhoods, not preserve themState of City 

. Bharara the 4th Man in the Room Puts On the Pressure to Change Will They Resist?
It’s the same-old relay at the New York Assembly(NYP) Banish any nagging doubts that new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie isn’t up to the job. He assumes his thronebearing an endorsement from none other than the disgraced Sheldon Silver, who declares Heastie “a good man.” Well, then, off we go into the brave new world of Albany make-believe. Out with the old, in with the old. Heastie, of The Bronx, is a creature of the crooked system Silver created. From rewarding donors to skirting the rules on per-diem claims and spending campaign cash for personal use, the new boss followed the lead of the old boss. He got ahead by going along. Still fearful of him, or perhaps having something to hide, most lawmakers remained silent over the corruption charges, saying only that Silver’s predicament is a “distraction.” They pass no judgment because . . . why? In a speech on Silver’s last day as speaker, Cuomo rolled out proposed ethics changes that were greeted with polite yawns. And his threat not to sign a budget unless legislators approved those changes echoed his flawed approach to the Moreland Commission. 

He huffed and puffed for four years about invoking the Moreland Act’s subpoena power before he actually did it, then abruptly pulled the plug in a deal with the Legislature. That trade-off is one of the things federal prosecutors are examining, in part because the Moreland panel was on to a number of crooked lawmakers when Cuomo disbanded it. But Cuomo said all this many times before, going back to his 2010 campaign. Last year, he told me he was as “serious as a heart attack” about using Moreland to “follow the money” and connect the dots, yet punted just as investigators got close to pay dirt. Worse, he has refused to explain fully why he backed down, or admit it was a mistake. Remember, absent federal prosecutor Preet Bharara, Silver still would be speaker and three-men-in-a-room negotiations over a budget still would be accepted as the way Albany works. Whether Cuomo realizes it or not, Bharara changed the equation, first with his charges against Silver, and second by mocking the idea that the state should be treated like a fiefdom. 

“When did 20 million New Yorkers agree to be ruled like a triumvirate in Roman times?” the prosecutor asked in a subsequent speech.* New Speaker in Albany: A Skilled Operator, Embracing Change(NYT) Carl E. Heastie says he hopes to reform the almost czarlike system in which the Assembly is ruled by its speaker, though his political career would seem to make him better suited to thrive in that environment.* Excerpts From Carl Heastie's Speech (NYT) * Will A Tammany Hall Boss Be Able to Clean Up Albany Corruption, INC,  Will He Try beyond PR Spin? Stay Tuned?* Speaker Carl Heastie: ‘Three Men in a Room’ Is ‘Overstated’(NYO)* In-depth on the background of the new speaker, Carl Heastie.The speaker from Baychester  via @capitalnewyork * Assemblyman Carl Heastie was officially elected the first black speaker in the chamber’s more than 200-year history. He spoke for almost eight minutes after his formal ascension, and said that was the longest speech he had ever given. * He kicked off his tenure in the leadership post by angering reporters with an unusually short press conference. The new speaker returned to take more questions after LCA members protested that two minutes was too short a period in which to ask him anything significant. * Heastie’s first word after becoming speaker was: “Wow.” (Actually, he said that twice). He followed that up with a pledge to reform the chamber and also to push for pay raises for its member. * The new speaker pledged to bring a more inclusive leadership style to the chamber, insisting that even as Bronx Democratic chairman he “didn’t just give out marching orders.” * Michael Goodwin is not impressed by Heastie, and he calls the governor a reform of “last resort.”* The TU says Cuomo’s ethics plan is “incomplete,” and suggests lawmakers one up him by making it better, instead of complaining about his hardball tactics.* Testifying before a joint legislative budget hearing, NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina criticized Cuomo’s teacher evaluation plan, which relies more heavily on test results than before.Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday doubled down on his “all or nothing” demand of the Legislature when it comes to ethics reform, saying he needs lawmakers to approve the“whole loaf” of what he’s proposing, or risk a late budget – the first since he took office in January 2011.Wow  A 1995 Daily News story describes Heastie as a “bright newcomer” among Seabrook’s Bronx entourage, a group that included Al Sharpton, future City Council candidate Larry Warden, district leader Al DeCastro, and members of the nonprofit Seabrook controlled, the Northeast Bronx Redevelopment Corporation (NEBRC). Heastie is described in the article as Seabrook’s campaign treasurer, and the bookkeeper for the NEBRC. The speaker from Baychester(Capital)In 1996, Carl's mother Helene suffered a stroke that left her partly paralyzed, a spokesman said. Shortly afterward, Carl R. Heastie fell ill, and suddenly died. In 1997, Helene, then working as an executive director of the nonprofit neighborhood advocacy group the Southeast Bronx Neighborhood Center, was arrested by the Bronx District Attorney’s Office on charges she’d pocketed $197,000 of the organization’s funds. She pled guilty and was ordered to pay restitution, but died soon after. In 2000, Heastie made his own, successful bid for Assembly. Wednesday PM  Newly elected Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is vowing to make a clean break from his predecessor and is pushing ethics legislation, including a cap on outside income and scaling back per diems, State of Politics reports: * As Cuomo seeks a new teacher evaluation law and a strengthening of charter schools, the governor said today in Rochester that he respects teachers and their work, State of Politicsreports * Heastie received 102 votes to replace Sheldon Silver as speaker, while 40 Republican lawmakers backed Minority Leader Brian Kolb and three were listed as having voted for “neither” choice, State of Politics reports * The Assembly Democrats who either didn’t vote for Carl Heastie for speaker or weren’t present for the vote explain themselves, (with the exception of Assemblywoman Deborah Glick).*There’s a Sheldon Silver cameo in David Axelrod’s memoir.* When a group of Assembly members met last month to consider the fate of Sheldon Silver, they turned to a new member from Long Island to assess the strength of federal corruption charges against their longtime leader: former Eastern District prosecutor Todd Kaminsky.

WHAT ABOUT THETHREE MEN IN A ROOM? By State Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz * Diaz: What’s good for the ethics goose … * Newly-minted Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie more or less shrugged off Cuomo’s ultimatum. The Bronx Democrat said he has no problem discussing ethics reform in the context of the budget, and does not expect the Legislature to miss the mandated April 1 deadline because of it. But some of Heastie’s members are not so sanguine. Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, (who had questioned the speed with which Heastie rose to power), said on CapTon two nights ago that Cuomo is not an “emperor” and should not be stuffing so much policy into the budget, where state lawmakers have little power to impact it.* With Silver Out, Ethics Legislation Pushed To Front Burner(YNN)

Mr. Heastie will now be one of the three most powerful politicians in NYS
This speech from Heastie is in part a rebuke of Silver's leadership: calls for reform, outside income caps, devolving of power from speaker * Heastie said among immediate priorities:min wage hike,Dream Act,Women's Equality Act,crimin justice reforms,on-time budget. * Carl Heastie becomes first African-American State Assembly Speaker(NYP) * Heastie Is Elected Speaker of New York Assembly (NYT) * Cuomo Congratulates Heastie(YNN)* New Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie brought his daughter, Taylor, to Albany to witness today’s historic vote.* Heastie got a celebratory cake. * Speaker Vote Set For 11 A.M.(YNN) The die for Heastie’s election as speaker was cast when Queens Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan this afternoon acknowledged she did not have the votes to defeat Heastie’s bid and withdrew from consideration. Nolan insisted she was not dropping out of the race, but conceded defeat. Lawmakers emerged from a closed-door meeting after support had coalesced around Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, to replace outgoing speaker Sheldon Silver, who faces five counts of corruption charges. “We cast a unanimous ballot,” Morelle said. “It was for Carl Heastie. Morelle insisted Heastie had been properly vetted over the last several days ahead of the vote. Initially, Democrats planned for a vote on Feb. 10, but with support rapidly building around Heastie, lawmakers moved for an accelerated time frame. “People had an opportunity to talk to him and answer questions and we’re prepared to move forward,” Morelle said. * Carl Heastie, Legislator From Bronx, Is Poised to Become New York Assembly Speaker (NYT)  After the last of four challengers dropped out, Mr. Heastie, whose ascent has not been stopped by reports that his campaign spending was once under scrutiny, became the sole candidate for the post. * Meet Carl Heastie, the Flawed Politician Who Might Lead the N.Y. Assembly (NYT) He has a thin legislative record and racked up $23,440 in per diem and travel expenses in 2014.* BREAKING: Carl Heastie Is Elected the First African-AmericanSpeaker of the State Assembly * 'WE WILL CHANGE THE CYNICISM INTO TRUST': Bronx Democrat Carl Heastie formally selected as Assembly speaker, officially replacing embattled Sheldon Silver(NYDN)

The Silver Goodbye Part 1
Sheldon Silver’s 21-year reign as speaker comes to an end(NYP) Sheldon Silver ended his 21-year reign as Assembly speaker at 11:59 p,.m. Monday, forced by colleagues to give up the powerful post while facing federal corruption charges. Silver, 70, said he had a “a great run” and described his soon-to-be-successor, Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie, as “a good man.” But it was a sad and humbling day for the Lower East Side Democrat, who was elected to the Assembly in 1976 and elevated to speaker in 1994, making him one of the most influential officials in the state. In his heyday, Silver frequently traveled to Albany in a chauffeur-driven state vehicle. For one final time, Silver walked from his spacious office on the ninth floor of the Legislative Office Building through the concourse connecting to the state Capitol building. 

He was accompanied by his press secretary, Michael Whyland, and his chief of staff, Judy Rapfogel, whose husband was convicted last year of stealing from the charity he ran.* Sheldon Silver ended two decades as speaker with a quiet day spent largely behind closed doors, saying, “There are no thoughts,” in an emotionless tone as he left the Assembly chamber just after 5 p.m., the Daily News writes: * Judy Rapfogel IsWoman in the Middle of Two N.Y. Scandals (Forward) Depends What You Mean by Productive January Not A Productive Month In Albany(YNN) * Silver, to the amazement of some lawmakers, not only came to the Capitol yesterday, but also attended the private meeting among Democrats in which they embraced a new speaker. Lawmakers said Silver, who has insisted he will remain on as a member of the Assembly, also voted in private for Heastie. * The corruption charges brought against Silver may raise questions about the efficacy of attorney referral fee rules and the of counsel role, legal ethics experts said, but don’t expect rule changes any time soon. * Alexis Grenell calls Silver the “Bill Cosby of Albany,” saying his legacy “is inextricably linked to his callous disregard for the women who needed his protection.”* Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver slipped out of the chamber and past reporters after casting his vote for Carl Heastie, the Observer reports: * Silver may still receive a salary from his law firm Weitz and Luxenberg because several of the asbestos cases he referred to the practice are still unresolved, the Daily Newsreports:  *Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver cast his vote for Heastie from his new desk at the back of the chamber, then slipped away without speaking to reporters.* Silver a Shel of his former self in Assembly’s last row(NYP)* Now relegated to a position of a rank-and-file member at the back of the chamber (albeit one with considerably seniority), Assemblyman Sheldon Silver cast his vote for his successor. Heastie didn’t mention Silver during his brief victory speech. Rapfogel's Met Council Corruption An insurance company executive who conspired with the former head of a leading Jewish charity to fleece it of nearly $7 million renegotiated his plea deal so he could serve his sentence in city jail instead of state prison.

Daily News New King Heastie Same As the Old King Silver
Heastie’s inability to recognize that the Assembly and the rest of Albany need fundamental change makes Cuomo insistence that he won’t sign the budget without key reforms
Assembly Democrats:They've learned nothing from Sheldon Silver scandal (NYDN Ed) The new boss in Albany, Carl Heastie, settles all too comfortably into his predecessor's secrecy. The new boss in Albany sees no evil and hears no evil. New Yorkers can only pray that, with Carl Heastie as speaker, members of the state Assembly will do no evil. Count on dashed hopes. Heastie has not the slightest interest in, nor an instinct for, transparent governance. His inability to recognize that the Assembly and the rest of Albany need fundamental change makes it all the more welcome that Gov. Cuomo has drawn a line in the sand, declaring that he won’t sign the budget without key reforms. Topping Cuomo’s list is full disclosure of members’ outside income, including who’s paying and for what work. * Neither snow nor rain, nor gloom spread by prosecutors stopped the Assembly from business as usual—abandoning even the facade of a vetting process for its new leader, Heastie, Newsday writes * Process For Speaker Conducted Behind The Scenes (YNN)

Will A Tammany Hall Boss Be Able to Clean Up Albany Corruption, INC . . . Will He Try?
He put Heastie to shame. When the trauma of Silver’s arrest was fresh, the Assembly’s ruling Democrats set a vote on a successor for Feb. 10 to give candidates a chance to make their cases and to allow the Assembly to check into their backgrounds. Regardless, Heastie, who serves as Bronx Democratic boss, joined forces with the Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan party leaders in pummeling Assembly members to back him. Now that he has them sewn up, he wanted an immediate coronation and he is going to get it. So much for an open, rules-based process. Most shocking, in an era when lawmakers have been arrested at the rate of one every five months, and at a time when Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has warned New Yorkers to “stay tuned” for more, Heastie sees no culture of corruption in the capital. “I think it’s isolated to a few bad apples,” he said, offering an assessment all the more frightening because Heastie is no boob. It now falls to Cuomo to take charge. In addition to full disclosure of outside income, he would amend the state constitution to strip government pensions from convicted officials; crack down on expense padding; ban the use of campaign funds for personal expenses; and enact the strongest campaign-finance disclosure in the nation.* Errol Louis: Carl Heastie’s shady associates (NYDN) Start with Heastie’s home political club, the Northeast Bronx Community Democrats, which was founded and run by Larry Seabrook, a mentor and predecessor of Heastie’s who served in the Assembly, state Senate and City Council before ending up in federal prison, where he is currently serving a five-year sentence for steering millions in public funds to friends, family members and nonprofit groups that did little or no good for the Bronx. * Heastie’s rapid rise to the speaker’s post suffered an unforeseen bump in the last several days when a number of news stories called attention to his campaign spending and the amount of money he has taken from the government to cover work-related travel and expenses. But initial indications were that the reports had had little impact on his popularity among the Assembly’s rank and file.* Cuomo unveils ethics reforms for pols, threatens to block budget until they’re in place (NYDN)  The Bronx Democrat told the Daily News Editorial Board that he thinks 'it’s isolated to a few bad apples.' Assembly Democrats formally made Heastie their choice for speaker on Monday.* Uber lobbyist/consultant Roberto Ramirez, a former assemblyman from the Bronx, is on hand for the @CarlHeastie coronation.

Will Schlein, Vargas and Other Join Forces With Albany Corruption, INC?
An even more urgent question surrounds Heastie’s newer pals. As News columnist Juan Gonzalez recently noted of Heastie: “He’s surrounded himself over the years with some advisers for whom the word ‘sleazy’ would be a compliment.” One close ally, Stanley Schlein — who Heastie says he speaks to every day — was fined $15,000 by the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board after admitting to using his position as chairman of the city’s Civil Service Commission to illegally force public employees to run parts of his private law practice. Another crony, Howard Vargas — a Heastie staff member who doubles as the lawyer for the Bronx Democratic Party — runs a lucrative side business as a court-appointed receiver who’s supposed to take over distressed multifamily properties when landlords fall down on the job. But as a blistering Riverdale Press editorial pointed out in 2013: “With Mr. Vargas as the receiver, five buildings have been added to the city’s list of most distressed properties . . . while Mr. Vargas collects up to 5% of their rent. Despite his troubling performance, 

What Roll Will the Private Tammany Play With Heastie?
Eric Soufer who works for Risa Heller Communications who represents companies like Airbnb was listed as spokesperson for Heastie in a news story this week.  Heller guests on Louis's NY1 show was not part of his article today in the Daily News
Mr. Vargas never seems to have trouble landing more appointments.” And why should he? Like other county Democratic bosses, Heastie largely controls who gets the party’s nod for judgeships, and those judges hand out receiverships to favored insiders like Vargas. In 2009, reporter Tom Robbins noted, the Bronx judicial convention, where candidates get selected, was run by none other than Schlein. It could be that Heastie is an honest man who happens not to inquire too deeply into the ethics and behavior of the people around him.But the leader of a scandal-scarred institution has to create — and enforce — a much higher standard. And members should ask questions and demand that Heastie raise the ethical bar. They should heed the words of Joseph Lentol, the 72-year-old Brooklyn Assembly veteran in his 22nd term who hoped to become speaker, but dropped out when he realized his colleagues wouldn’t support his bid. “I thought I was the clean candidate, but that didn’t seem to matter,” Lentol said in a rueful radio interview, reported on by The New York Observer. It does matter. If the Assembly Dems haven’t figured that out by now, our state is in much more trouble than we think.* Worst illegal hotels in city to be revealed in report(NYDN)

Cuomo de Blasio Education War Escalates 
New York City Schools Chancellor Objects to Cuomo’s Plan for Grading Teachers(NYT) Chancellor Carmen Fariña told state legislators that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wanted to base too much of a teacher’s score on the state’s student test results.* New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña disagreed with some of Cuomo’s education proposals, including the calibration half of a teacher’s grade based on state test results if they teach the subject tested. Fariña knocks Cuomo’s plan to overhaul teacher evaluations(NYP)* State education officials and the statewide teachers union asked legislators for at least $2 billion more in aid next year, which is roughly twice the increase proposed by Cuomo, The Wall Street Journal reports: * City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña criticizes Cuomo's education plans(NYDN) * Testifying before a joint legislative budget hearing, NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina criticized Cuomo’s teacher evaluation plan, which relies more heavily on test results than before.* Charlie Rose Actually Asks Andrew Cuomo Why He'sSo Irritating to People * Cuomo: ‘I Fully Respect Teachers’(YNN) * Cuomo said school should plan for a 1.7 percent increase after he tied a 4.8 percent increase to his education reforms proposed during his 2015 State of the State/budget address, Gannett Albany reports:  * Civic groups and education advocates called on Cuomo to ditch a proposed tax credit that would benefit donors to education entities or charities, claiming it would funnel public dollars to private education, theTimes Union writes: * SUNY may close failing charter school founded by de Blasio pal (NYP)  A state charter panel recommended that a failing Brooklyn charter school founded by Mayor de Blasio’s controversial pal Bishop Orlando Findlayter should close at the end of the school year. The SUNY Charter Schools Institute chose to deny renewing the charter of the New Hope Academy Charter School because student test scores were on a “downward trajectory,” teachers and staff have fled in droves, and school leaders struggled to design a plan to improve it, as first reported by Chalkbeat New York.

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

Smith Jury Sick Delay 
Jury deliberations in the corruption trial of former Sen. Malcolm Smith were delayed once again today, after the foreman of the jury was hospitalized with flu-like symptoms.* Juror illness delays deliberations in Malcolm Smith trial(Capital)* The federal trial of state Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous will wait until after New York’s legislative session is scheduled to end.

Cuomo Pass My Reforms or the Government Closes Down
SpeakerCandidate Carl Heastie Backs ‘First Steps’ Toward Albany Reform(NYO) If he’s elected by his colleagues to be the next speaker, Mr. Heastie vowed he would earn no outside income and would step down as Bronx County Democratic Chairman. He would also require a new dislcosure to account for “every dollar legislators earn outside of public service,” his press release said. And he’d consider making the legislature full-time—and as a result banning outside work. Mr. Heastie, in what a press release said were “first steps” to larger reforms, also promised to create an Office of Ethics and Compliance and to reform the Assmebly’s use of per diem reimbursements, which are meant to cover travel costs. 

Cuomo and Heastie Dancing to Different Reform Tunes
Mr. Heastie’s proposed Office of Ethics and Compliance would be organized by a three-member team of Assembly members who would find its first Executive Director, a person who would not be a lawmaker. As for per diem reform, Mr. Heastie vowed to “introduced new accountability and transparency measures” to the lax reimbursement system. That would include working with state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to beef up reporting requirements and oversight.* nNew York Governor Cuomo says he will not sign a budget without ethics reform. * Nolan says she could support term limits for the speaker's office.* Pushing Ethics Reforms, Cuomo Wants Lawmakers to Reveal Income or Lose It (NYT) Declaring that New York’s government faces a crisis of public trust, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposals include requiring lawmakers to fully disclose their outside income and public financing of campaigns.* Glick On Cuomo: We Didn’t Elect an Emperor(YNN) * UFT Targets Cuomo in New Ad (YNN) * JCOPE released a report detailing suggested changes to the state’s ethics and lobbying laws.* Cuomo’s effort to change teacher tenure rules got some positive attention…in California. *Pushing Ethics Reforms, Cuomo Wants Lawmakers to Reveal Income or Lose It (NYT)

Cuomo using state budget to push ethics reforms
Andrew Cuomo was'totally shocked' by Sheldon Silver's arrest (NYO) Cuomo To Legislature: Pass Ethics Reform In Budget Or Shut Down Gov’t(YNN)Cuomo is proposing a five-point plan that starts with what he said would be the strongest campaign disclosure rules in the nation – including revealing client lists from outside businesses, which he said are not protected, as lawmakers have claimed in court. The governor also called for a constitutional amendment that would end public pensions for elected officials found guilty of wrongdoing, an overhaul of the legislative per diem system, strict new rules prohibiting the personal use of political funds , (including, presumably, using this cash to pay for legal representation, which the governor himself is going), and enactment of a host of campaign finance fixes like closing the LLC loophole, (which he himself has used to great effect), lower contribution limits and creation of a publicly financed campaign system. * Andrew Cuomo was'totally shocked' by Sheldon Silver's arrest (NYO) * Shaken by corruption charges against Silver and other high-profile arrests in recent years, many lawmakers have become critical of JCOPE, questioning whether it has been effective or independent, the Journal reports:  * The delay caused by the Silver scandal could take its toll in the long term this session.* Cuomo’s ex-brother-in-law, Douglas Kennedy: “Does anybody need to tell (the governor) that he’s, you know, finished with national politics right now? He knows it. I mean – it’s just something you know.”* Cuomo Seeks Ethics Reform After Assembly Speaker’s Arrest(NYT)* Cuomo's "scolding tone signaled an abrupt shift for(gov) long known for his accommodating relationship" w lawmakers (NYT) * Cuomo using state budget to push ethics reforms(NYP)* Cuomo: Ethics Reform ‘More Important Than Anything Else’(YNN) * Cuomo said ethics reform is “more important than anything else” this legislative session, and suggested that his push to clean up Albany has nothing to do with his scuttling of the Moreland Commission, State of Politics reports * Reform hypocrites (NYP Ed) With Sheldon Silver out, the Albany air is now full of talk of “reform.” But let’s put this in context: Even after the news that Shelly was under federal investigation, only two people out of 150 in the Assembly spoke out against his continuing as speaker during a roll call vote re-electing him that was itself followed by a standing ovation. Then there’s Gov. Cuomo, now vowing to shut down the government if lawmakers don’t pass his reforms, which include requiring legislators to disclose their outside pay. This wasn’t his stand a year ago, when he shut down the Moreland Commission as part of a budget deal. The commission was knee-capped as lawmakers were fighting its demands they disclose their outside income and clients. The governor closed it in exchange for a tepid array of ethics “reforms” that didn’t go nearly as far as what the governor now tells us is necessary. Yet at the time he pronounced it a “satisfactory conclusion.” Remember, too, that the same governor pitching reform is part of the “three men in a room” culture that circumvents democratic debate and process.* Joint Commission on Public Ethics commissioners want to change rules that prohibit them from releasing investigative findings when no legal violation is found or when they opt not to probe a situation, The Times Union writes * The Times Union editorial board writes that Cuomo will encounter resistance to ethics reforms in the Legislature, but they do not have sympathy for him because New York has long been waiting in vain for Albany to clean up its act:

NY Corruption, INC

Bharara's Trifecta: Investigating the Lawmakers, Courts and Governor Same Time 
At least three judges at 60 Centre St. are connected to Silver from the Lower East Side.  Judge Martin Shulman is a former president of Silver’s synagogue, and the two are neighbors in a Grand Street co-op complex. In 1999, the judge was appointed an acting Supreme Court justice by Lippman, then the state’s chief administrative judge.  Shulman has been handling tax-reduction claims at the Centre Street courthouse for at least a dozen years and now presides over most of these cases. Many of these cases were filed by the Goldberg & Iryami law firm.* Shelly’s court (NYP Ed) As The Post reported Sunday, US Attorney Preet Bharara is now investigating the state Supreme Court’s civil division in lower Manhattan. Its courtrooms handled many of the asbestos and real-estate claims that provided Silver with much of his outside income. The stink here is that it isn’t just the plaintiffs Speaker Silver had ties to. He was pals with the judges as well. The most prominent is Jonathan Lippman, whom Shelly has known since childhood. Shelly helped engineer Lippman’s appointment as chief judge of the state Court of Appeals. In that post, Lippman appointed Arthur Luxenberg — yes, of the same Weitz & Luxenberg that was paying Silver — to a committee that helped decide which judges are appointed to the division handling the asbestos cases that are among Weitz & Luxenberg’s specialties. There are also the two landlords who are being represented in the same courtrooms by Silver’s other law firm, Goldberg & Iryami. Their case is being heard by Judge Martin Shulman. Not only does Silver live in the same building and go to the same synagogue as Shulman, Silver helped get Shulman his appointment. No one besides Silver has yet been charged with any wrong-doing. But with a state court now under federal investigation along with the governor’s office and the Legislature, Bharara now has all three branches of New York government in his crosshairs.* Bharara: New York's Honey Badger (Daily Public) The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara has the ability and willingness to do what no elected official in New York can or will.  In fact, we should be thankful that Governor Cuomo disbanded his Moreland Commission on Public Corruption, enabling its investigatory files to be picked up by Bharara’s team of federal prosecutors and the FBI. The US Attorney, after all, is an appointed federal law enforcement official, unbeholden to any of the parties, factions, personalities, or pressure groups that maintain a corrupt chokehold on New York’s body politic.  Preet Bharara is New York’s honey badger, completely unconcerned with the toes on which his investigations might be treading. *If there is indeed an investigation of his outside income – and he’s not saying there is – Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos will cooperate.

Wills Indicted Again Failing to Disclose His Financial Dealing on Disclosure Reports
Councilman Ruben wills indicted again by @AGSchneiderman -- this time for allegedly filing false conflict of interest forms #breaking * Wills indicted on five counts of filing false disclosures (Capital)Wills allegedly filed five different statements with the board between 2011 and 2013 that each failed to disclose “certain financial dealings,” Schneiderman’s office said in a statement. If convicted, Wills would face between 16 months and four years in prison, the statement said. Wills served as an aide to former state senator Shirley Huntley, who was arrested on corruption charges by Schneiderman in 2012, before joining the City Council in 2011.Wills was indicted in May of last year by Schneiderman’s office for allegedly using roughly $30,000 of campaign money and grant funding for his own personal use, including spending some of it on a $750 Louis Vuitton handbag, before he joined the City Council in 2010. Read the full indictment here: City Councilman Ruben Wills arrested again(NYP) * City Councilman Ruben Wills arrested again (NYDN) * New York City Councilman Arrested on Corruption Charges(NYT)Councilman Ruben W. Wills, who represents southeastern Queens, is charged with five felony counts of failing to disclose financial dealings.

AG Failure to Disclose Information on Disclosure Forms Crime for Wills Not for Others
Why one pol's wrist-slap is another's felony (CrainsNY)  Attorney General Eric Schneiderman arrested Queens Councilman Ruben Wills on felony charges Tuesday—but a Schneiderman spokesman is refusing to say exactly what Mr. Wills did to warrant counts carrying up to four years in prison. Other officials, including City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James and former City Hall aide Rachel Noerdlinger, have failed to disclose financial information to the Conflicts of Interest Board and were allowed to amend their filings without even a fine, let alone criminal charges. But Mr. Schneiderman's office says Mr. Wills' case is different because the omission is tied to an as-yet-unspecified crime. State law allowed Mr. Schneiderman to charge Mr. Wills with a Class E felony because the councilman submitted a false financial disclosure to the Conflicts of Interest Board "in the course of committing a crime," a Schneiderman spokesman said. But he would not say what Mr. Wills omitted from his disclosure form, nor what the related crime was. Capital New York obtained a copy of Mr. Wills' recent financial disclosure reports and wrote that Mr. Wills had "corrected information pertaining to outside income gains for documents filed in the years 2010 through 2014" from "two separate building and contracting businesses." It's not clear whether that is related to other charges filed in 2014 that Mr. Wills is facing from Mr. Schneiderman, which center on the alleged misuse of taxpayer money by a nonprofit and of public campaign funds.

District Leader Baldeo Comes Out of the Hospital and Goes to Jail
Queens pol gets 18 months for illegal campaign contributions(NYP) Albert Baldeo won’t be running for City Council again anytime soon. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison Monday for funneling illegal campaign contributions into his unsuccessful bid for a Queens council seat. In the fall of 2010, Baldeo, who was a district leader at the time, received illegal contributions through intermediaries, also known as straw donors. Manhattan federal prosecutors charged the crooked pol with seven counts of obstructing justice last August. Baldeo, 54, was also found guilty of tampering with witnesses by instructing them to lie to the feds. Baldeo’s lawyer, Christina Corcoran, pleaded with the judge not to imprison the “already broken man.”But federal Judge Paul Crotty wasn’t buying it. “What Mr. Baldeo did over an extended period of time was pollute the administration of justice. It’s even worse because Mr. Baldeo is a lawyer. His sentence demands incarceration,” Crotty said. Baldeo also has to pay $15,700, do 300 hours of community service and spend three months on house arrest following his prison time. He must report to prison by March 23.

de Blasio Says He Won Cop PR Battle By Keeping His Mouth Shut
De Blasio believes he won public relations battle with NYPD(NYDN) Hizzoner faced the biggest challenge of his administration when cops turned their backs on him at the funerals of slain officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. But a Jan. 15 Quinnipiac poll showed New Yorkers rejected the act of protest. * De Blasio reveals strategy in dealing with war on cops(NYP) Mayor de Blasio’s strategy for winning the war on cops after two officers were assassinated: Keep quiet and maybe it will go away. De Blasio revealed his crisis-management playbook in an interview with The Associated Press. The day after cops turned their backs on the mayor after two officers were murdered, de Blasio and his top advisers organized a plan to handle the strained ties with police. First, the mayor focused on the slain officers’ distraught families. Second, Timothy Cardinal Dolan and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton were dispatched as peace delegates. Third, de Blasio decided to wait it out and not engage in a war of words.Activists preparingto push back against NYPD unit responsible for policing protests (NYDN) Sharpton Amid tensions, Sharpton lashes out at younger activists (Capital)* The mayor who slandered the #police. (Manhattan Institute)* The NYPD’s “broken windows” policing approach burdens law enforcement with policing minor offenses while creating resentment from citizens, New York City Councilman Rory Lancmanwrites in the Daily News: 

The Press Gives the Mayor A Free Pass On Cleaning Up His Own Law Department
Lawyer up, Mayor deBlasio, to combat frivolous lawsuits against the NYPD (NYDN) A new vow to close the city's coffers to plaintiffs seeking easy cash must result in a downward curve of out-of-control payouts. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton spewed righteous and rightful outrage Thursday at a report that the city paid $5,000 to a machete-wielding fool who was shot as he menaced NYPD officers. The knifeman had the chutzpah to sue for the injuries he suffered — because he and his lawyers correctly recognized that city lawyers have been all too ready to write settlement checks to make even absurd cases go away. No más, Bratton and Mayor de Blasio say: No longer will a case that “utterly lacks merit,” in the mayor’s words, go to a speedy cash settlement instead of a trial.

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

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

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

BdB undecided on extending 'affordable' housing tax break (NYP)   * The Association for Neighborhood and Housing DevelopmentInc. released a report that tracks and maps the number of market-rate and affordable housing units created through the 421a tax break: * Mayor Bill de Blasio named Leonard Litwin, a developer tied to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s alleged misdeeds, to the committee spearheading the push to host the Democratic National Convention in Brooklyn, the Post reports:  * Brooklyn's gentrification profiteers are expanding theirboundaries to East New York: (NY Mag) * "Crown Heights is the new Manhattan," says rent-gouging propertymanager  * Sad how many of these stories we've heard: Brooklynlandlords pushing black tenants out for whites: (NYP) * The homeless population has risen to an all-time high, forcing the de Blasio administration to house desperate families in decrepit tenements red-flagged by its own inspectors as hazardous. Since he arrived at City Hall pledging to turn things around, the mayor has struggled to confront a long-intractable problem that has only gotten worse.* Homeless populationhits record highs, up 10% since de Blasio took office.(NYDN)

Bharara Investigating Luxury Real Estate 421-a Tax Break Corruption 
Bharara probing tax deals given to luxury condo building(NYP) US Attorney Preet Bharara is investigating the massive tax breaks granted to Midtown’s luxury One57 condo building, where a mystery buyer just paid a record $100 million-plus for the duplex penthouse, sources told The Post on Sunday. The now-disbanded Moreland Commission panel on public corruption was reported to have been investigating the sweetheart tax abatements scored by developer Gary Barnett of Extell Development. Bharara took over that probe when he subpoenaed the firm’s records after Gov. Cuomo unexpectedly shut down the commission last year, sources said. The One57 tax abatements are estimated to be worth at least $35 million. One57’s tax abatements were granted under the “421-a” program, which was highlighted in last week’s criminal complaint against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who is charged in a $4 million corruption scheme. He was accused of using his power over development incentives to steer business to a law firm run by his former Assembly counsel.

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

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

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

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

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

Silver Hanging On to Make A Deal With the Feds?  
What Happens If Silver Tells the Feds What he Knows About Albany to Reduce Jail Time?
Why Sheldon Silver can’t resign as Assembly speaker — yet(NYP) Soon-to-be-ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is holding on to his Assembly seat, despite the humiliation of losing power, because he thinks it will help him in his federal corruption trial, sources have told The Post. “If he resigned now, that would be an implicit admission of wrongdoing, something he denies and, besides, can’t afford to make,’’ a senior Assembly staff member said. All the sources predicted the near-40-year lawmaker, who announced Friday that he would leave the speakership Monday night after his arrest on five federal corruption charges, would either: 1. . . . Resign on his own from the Assembly after being acquitted at trial rather than face the humiliation of serving as a mere member of the Legislature’s lower house, or 2. Be automatically ousted upon conviction on any of the federal felony charges at the trial, likely to be held this year. “This is it for Shelly being in the Assembly, one way or another,’’ said a senior state Democrat who first met Silver in the late 1970s. “He’ll hold on to office through his trial, and then, one way or another, he’ll be out.”* Shelly’s gift to taxpayers (NYP) Say this for Sheldon Silver, who steps down today after more than two decades as state Assembly speaker: He’s doing New York taxpayers an unexpected favor. 

The Post writes that Silver is doing taxpayers a favor by retaining his district seat, which comes with a less expensive salary than his pension, and this drives home the need for public pension reform
Not only will Silver be saving taxpayers nearly $10,000 a year by not giving up his Assembly seat, he’s driving home a much-needed lesson about the urgent need for public-pension reform.That’s because, as the Empire Center for Public Policy notes, the 70-year-old Silver will cost taxpayers less as a sitting assemblyman than he would if he retired and started collecting his pension. As an assemblyman for the Lower East Side, Silver’s salary is $79,500 a year. But if he were to simply retire, his annual pension would come to $87,120 — and possibly even more, if his prior job as a Civil Court clerk gives him more credits. But hang on: Silver may not be so lucky after all. If found guilty on corruption charges, he not only faces up to 20 years in prison, he could lose his retirement nest egg. That’s because US Attorney Preet Bharara uses fines and forfeitures to deny New York pols convicted of corruption their public pensions.* How we can start disinfecting Albany (NYP) First, we should cut the legislative session from six months to three and reduce legislator compensation accordingly. * Silver's resignationleaves him just short of Schenectady'sHeck (TU)

Fake Sheldon Silver Unmasked - The New Yorker  Several hours after the news broke, last Tuesday night, that Sheldon Silver would be relinquishing his post as the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, an e-mail arrived in these offices from someone calling himself Fake Sheldon Silver. “We’ve made a determination that it would be acceptable to meet with you at this time,” the note read. Its author proposed a meal at Zafis Luncheonette, on Grand Street, down the block from the real Silver’s apartment. We can get the budget done and deal with any other major issues in that time. Second, we need to limit the terms of state lawmakers. One-third of legislative races in 2014 were uncontested. Elections are supposed to ensure officials are accountable, but this most basic check on power has been eliminated in much of New York thanks to gerrymandering and one-party rule. There should also be term limits on top leadership positions and committee chairmanships to further dilute the concentration of power. Silver represents 130,000 people, just like each of the other 149 members of the Assembly. But over two decades as speaker, he amassed power that rivaled the governor, who represents 19 million New Yorkers. This is remarkably undemocratic.* Today is Shelly Silver's last day of being speaker of thestate Assembly * Tom Precious: “Seemingly by design, Heastie has not been a visible and loud force in the Albany power structure.” The speaker-in-waiting called himself “an average guy who in my spare time likes sports and spending time with my daughter.”* Heastie has steered hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to his campaign contributors, according to an analysis by Capital New York. Additionally, his donors include individuals with business before the committee he chairs and supporters of bills that he has introduced. His campaign expenditures include international plane tickets and over $60,000 in unitemized expenses.* Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan of Queens said she is still in the race to be the next speaker of the Assembly, and called for the vote to be held on the initial Feb. 10 deadline, Gannett Albany writes:  * Heastie pledged that if elected Assembly speaker he would not take any paid outside jobs, tried to explain the 174 votes he missed last year, and said he is not under investigation, Gannett Albany writes: 

New Health Care Tax, Con Ed Increase and Government Waste  
Patient advocates are growing ill over a plan by Cuomo to scrap a state website that provides health-care consumers with detailed information — including malpractice awards — about doctors.* Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget includes a $69 million tax on health insurance policies to pay for the administrative costs of New York’s exchange now that federal funds are not available, the Post says:  * Patient advocates are questioning Cuomo’s plan to scrap a state website that provides detailed information about doctors, including malpractice awards, the Daily Newsreports:  *Academic studies, fiscal analysts and even a recent study commissioned by Cuomoquestion whether the millions of dollars the state doles out in tax breaks and incentives are worth the cost to taxpayers – or even work at all. Con Ed Increase Also NYC Public Advocate Letitia James scolded Con Edison after the utility giant filed a rate case with the state on Friday requesting a 7.2 percent average increase in customers’ delivery charge. * Newsday endorses Cuomo’s push for increased state oversight of local IDAs that grant lucrative tax exemptions to businesses.

The Groundhog Hires Heat
Does Staten Island Chuck see the shadow of his mortality today?

De Blasio and the Groundhog (WSJ) For decades, Groundhog Day at the Staten Island Zoo has given the borough a moment in the sun. This year, no one seems to want to talk about it. Last year, the ceremonial rodent died not long after being dropped by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Update Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, so 6 more weeks of winter. But Staten Island's Chuck didn't see his, so spring is coming. Your pick.* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated Groundhog Day at the Staten Island Zoo, and took new precautions after dropping a groundhog a year ago that later died, TheWall Street Journal writes: * De Blasio was on hand when Chuck the Staten Island groundhog predicted an early spring (!), but there was no inter-species contact. * Actual NYT headline: “Mayor Bill de Blasio Did Not Kill the Groundhog This Year.” * New Rule for Mayor de Blasio and Staten Island Chuck: Hands Off (NYT)* Mayor Bill de Blasio Did Not Kill the Groundhog This Year

Silver's Court Under Fed Investigation
Feds probe civil court following Silver’s arrest(NYP) The country’s most important civil court is under federal investigation, an insider says. The probe is focusing on the state Supreme Court’s civil division at 60 Centre St. in lower Manhattan, where many tentacles reach to disgraced Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the court source said. Silver was arrested last month on corruption charges, and Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara warned the public to “stay tuned” for more developments. The case against Silver centers on his freelance legal “work” and the millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks he hauled in from real-estate and asbestos claims, the feds say. Many of these cases landed in the courtrooms at 60 Centre St., presided over by judges with ties to Silver and his lifelong pal, Jonathan Lippman, the chief judge of the state Court of Appeals. Both men grew up on the Lower East Side, and Silver has been Lippman’s political godfather, pushing him to reach New York’s top judicial post. “The appointment of Sheldon Silver’s childhood friend, Jonathan Lippman, as the state’s chief judge based on his administrative experience made about as much sense as the Yankees making their accountant the manager of the team,” said Charles Compton, former president of the Supreme Court Officers Association. He added that Lippman was appointed “to protect and promote Silver’s interests.”  

NY Corruption, INC

Bharara Trifecta: Investigating the Lawmakers, Courts and Governor Same Time 
At least three judges at 60 Centre St. are connected to Silver from the Lower East Side.  Judge Martin Shulman is a former president of Silver’s synagogue, and the two are neighbors in a Grand Street co-op complex. In 1999, the judge was appointed an acting Supreme Court justice by Lippman, then the state’s chief administrative judge.  Shulman has been handling tax-reduction claims at the Centre Street courthouse for at least a dozen years and now presides over most of these cases. Many of these cases were filed by the Goldberg & Iryami law firm.* Shelly’s court (NYP Ed) As The Post reported Sunday, US Attorney Preet Bharara is now investigating the state Supreme Court’s civil division in lower Manhattan. Its courtrooms handled many of the asbestos and real-estate claims that provided Silver with much of his outside income. The stink here is that it isn’t just the plaintiffs Speaker Silver had ties to. He was pals with the judges as well. The most prominent is Jonathan Lippman, whom Shelly has known since childhood. Shelly helped engineer Lippman’s appointment as chief judge of the state Court of Appeals. In that post, Lippman appointed Arthur Luxenberg — yes, of the same Weitz & Luxenberg that was paying Silver — to a committee that helped decide which judges are appointed to the division handling the asbestos cases that are among Weitz & Luxenberg’s specialties. There are also the two landlords who are being represented in the same courtrooms by Silver’s other law firm, Goldberg & Iryami. Their case is being heard by Judge Martin Shulman. Not only does Silver live in the same building and go to the same synagogue as Shulman, Silver helped get Shulman his appointment. No one besides Silver has yet been charged with any wrong-doing. But with a state court now under federal investigation along with the governor’s office and the Legislature, Bharara now has all three branches of New York government in his crosshairs.

How Real Estate Scam Worked in the Court
The indictment accuses Silver of steering billionaire developer Leonard Litwin, the state’s largest political donor, to the firm, along with another unnamed developer. In exchange, Silver reaped referral fees. The Goldberg firm handled tax appeals for 15 buildings owned by Litwin’s organization, Glenwood Management, and its limited liability companies, prosecutors said. Court records show that in one case that landed in Shulman’s court — involving a high-rise building on York Avenue — Glenwood won a $3.4 million reduction in the building’s assessment, which is used to determine its taxes.

Even as he ruled a vast state, it was always Grand Street that was his capital. And it was the clan he met there whose code he embodies
Litwin owns a rental building, The Fairmont — the same high-rise where Lippman and his wife rented a one-bedroom apartment between 2007 and 2010, The Post found. And Lippman’s son, Russell, a Harvard-educated lawyer, rented an apartment there between 2003 and 2005, public records show. Lippman, who earned $156,000 in 2010, moved into the rent-stabilized building in 2007 shortly after he was appointed presiding justice of the Appellate Division in Manhattan and was required to live in The Bronx or Manhattan. He had lived in Westchester. Bookstaver said Lippman paid market-rate rent of $3,195 for the apartment. He said Lippman rented at the Fairmont because he needed to move quickly and knew of the building because his son had lived there. He said Lippman did not know Litwin owned the property.

Weitz & Luxenberg, the law firm where Silver was “of counsel” until he was dumped last week, practically rules a special section of the court dealing with complex asbestos litigation. Critics say the firm gets the “red-carpet treatment” including a fast track, “better judges” and first dibs on jurors to hear its cases. Sherry Klein Heitler, the chief asbestos judge, as well as the top administrative judge at 60 Centre St., has handled dozens of the firm’s cases in what is called New York City Asbestos Litigation or NYCAL. Last year, at Weitz & Luxenberg’s request, Heitler reversed a 20-year rule barring punitive damages in asbestos cases, paving the way for much bigger jury awards. Of 15 mesothelioma verdicts in the last four years, Silver’s firm won $273.5 million of $313.5 million awarded by NYCAL juries. The average award for an NYCAL asbestos case — nearly $16 million per plaintiff between 2010 and 2014 — is reportedly two to three times larger than those in other courts nationwide. * Wayne Barrett: How Shelly Silver Made His Pal Chief Judge (Village Voice)* Four Charged in a Bribery Scheme to Gain Clients in Arraignment Court(NYT)  A worker who interviewed defendants was paid as much as $1,000 per client that he steered to three lawyers and a paralegal, prosecutors said.* The corruption charges against Silver reveal the rot that has plagued Albany and deserve more national attention for exposing the links between politicians and the asbestos-plaintiffs bar, the Journal writes:

astie would be the next speaker of the state Assembly.”
The American Tort Reform Association last year called the asbestos court the nation’s top “judicial hellhole” where plaintiffs’ lawyers are “brazenly favored by the judges.” Silver has been blocking tort-reform bills for decades in Albany.* Time to cut New York’s sky-high litigation costs(NYP Ed) Silver’s indictment alleges that the former speaker worked to funnel $500,000 in state money to a prominent New York doctor who specializes in asbestos-related lung ailments. The doctor, in turn, funneled patients to Silver’s law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg. Those patients turned into clients with lawsuits worth ­millions. Asbestos litigation is the nation’s longest-running mass tort, going on 50 years, and law firms heavily advertise to find new “victims.” In 2008, 20 of the 30 most-expensive paid Google search terms involved asbestos. The Weitz firm is one of the nation’s most prominent asbestos-litigation firms. Silver was a paid “counsel” to the firm, earning more than $5 million over the years, according to the indictment. * Flashback 2006 State Bars a Bronx Lawyer From Receiving Court Appointments (NYT) Stanley K. Schlein, the politically influential Bronx lawyer who is the chairman of the city's Civil Service Commission, has been barred indefinitely by state court officials from accepting guardianships and other potentially lucrative judicial appointments.* The MorelandCommission was looking at Heastie for $60,000 in unitemized campaignexpenditures (Capital) More Carl Heastie questions, via @mahoneyw: He steered $383,400 in member items to campaign donors or their group Heastie Ethics Reform Heastie Outlines Ethics Rules Proposals(YNN) * Potential speaker CarlHeastie promises per diem, income reforms (LoHud) * Influential Businessand Civic Group Backs Carl Heastie for Speaker (NYO)* Morelle: There’s Been A ‘Public Airing’ On Speakers Race (NYO)* Despite calls for transparency, it looks like the next speaker of the state Assembly could be picked in the same “sleazy and secretive style that has long characterized Albany politics,” theTimes’ Eleanor Randolph writes:
How active has Carl Heastie been in Albany affairs? "I've actually barely talked to the man." Veteran WNYC legislature reporter @kdewitt7

You Got to Love It When Those With No Morals Under Silver Get Ethics Now
Glick: ‘Troubling Questions’ Should Push Back SpeakerVote (YNN) In an email newsletter released to constituents on Monday, Manhattan Assemblywoman Deborah Glick called for a vote on the next speaker to be pushed back to Feb. 10, the originally scheduled election date, after “troubling questions” have been raised over the process. Glick appears to be alluding to scrutiny that has been placed on the front runner to replace Sheldon Silver as speaker: Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie. Veteran Assemblywoman Wants to Keep Speaker Voteon February 10 (NYO)* The Assn. for a Better New York, composed of real estate and business machers in NYC, just blessed Carl Heastie's #nyassembly speaker bid.

Queens Boss Crowley is Doing to the Surrogate Court What Silver is Accused to Doing to the  NY Civil Court
In 1998 Newfield reported that Frank Bolz III, chairman of the Queens Democratic Party's law committee, is the single biggest recipient of assignments from Nahman - collecting $178,050 for 47 paid guardianship appointments since 1992.  Bolz is the law partner of Queens Assemblyman Joseph Crowley's father and brother. Gerard Sweeney, Manton's former law partner and campaign treasurer, is the current counsel to the public administrator - appointed by Nahman. Sweeney's law partner, Michael Reich, is executive secretary of the Queens Democ-ratic organization and has received 27 real-estate receiverships from nine differ-ent Queens judges. In 2000 Newfield wrote "The law firm of Queens Democratic Party leader Tom Manton has received more than $400,000 in court patronage since 1997. One partner -- Frank Bolz -- heads the party's law committee. Another, Gerard Sweeney, is counsel to the public adminis-trator. A third, Mike Reich, is executive secretary of the Queens party organiza-tion. They should apply antitrust laws to Manton's Monopoly." The rule is that a lawyer can get only one assignment of more than $5,000 during any 12-month period. Records show that lawyers like Batra, Bolz and Harvey Green-berg get a lot of assignments for $4,800 each. Queens Surrogate Court  A Court, Not Votes, Sustains a Political Machine in Queens (Powell, NYT, 11/28/11) *Were Have All the Journalist Gone After Newfield (True News, 7/14/11) Bronx Surrogate Court  Bronx Surrogate Judge, Facing Discipline (NYT)  Judge Holzman, the Bronx surrogate since 1988, is in the midst of a disciplinary hearing in which he is charged with allowing his staff to run amok and to take fees that were excessive and unearned from estates that it was handling. Judge Holzman could lose his job as a result of the hearing.

Like Silver County Bosses Make Judges
Judicial Convention Sausage Factory Continues, Almost Nobody Noticed “For a glimpse into the odious nature of how the political bosses make judges in New York, we direct your attention to a letter in Friday's Voice of the People by veteran court watcher Alan Flacks. On Tuesday, Flacks dropped in on the Brooklyn Democratic Party's ceremony for elevating faithful lawyers to the bench. The party calls it a convention. It's not. It's a charade, currently directed by boss Vito Lopez.” – September 19, 2008.Manhattan: I attended the Kings County Democratic judicial nominating convention Tuesday. It was orchestrated "Soviet-style." Short, sweet, lady- and gentleman-like, the script called for the eight candidates to be designated or redesignated without opposition, even for supposed "open" seats. Before adjournment, each judge candidate got up and gave a short thank-you speech. Every one of them expressed gratitude to the party district leaders for their support, and they also expressed effusive thanks to and praise of County Leader Vito Lopez (photo). One "re-up," John Leventhal of the Appellate Division, Second Department (after inquiring if the press was present) thanked now-imprisoned county leader Clarence Norman as well, and another called Lopez "the greatest county leader ever." After adjournment, I spoke with a number of delegates who voted "automatically" and didn't seem to know for whom they were voting. They didn't know, and were just told for whom to vote.  - Alan Flacks *Lombardi On ElectingManhattanJudges The Old-Fashioned Way:Before Election Day (NYDN 2011) * How a Brooklyn Democratic functionary becomes a judge ...(NY World) * Brooklyn Dem'sJudicial Convention is a Much More Serious Sham * A better way to pick New York judges - NY Daily News * New York State Board of Elections v. Lopez Torres - Wikipedia * CITY POLITICS. - Tammany Judicial Convention ...(NYT 1860)

Wayne Barrett Blows Up Silver's Gand Street Gang
Sheldon Silver'sgang (Wayne Barrett, NYDN) How the disgraced speaker put a tight network, including lifelong Lower East Side friends, in powerful places. Rudy Giuliani used to tell a story about a mob hit-man who blessed himself before each murder. It could be a metaphor for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who for two decades presented himself as the personally devout, politically principled leader of the most progressive slice of New York political life. Even if he eludes jail, as have previous indicted Albany kingpins, the criminal complaint filed against Silver marks the end of his era. When Shelly Silver met the man that the government says became his meal ticket, Dr. Robert Taub, in November of 2003, he was already looking for a new hook. Taub, who ran a Columbia University center for asbestos victims, would prove to be the perfect partner for Silver, whose personal injury law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, was the biggest asbestos litigator in New York. Silver needed a new partner because his brother, Dr. Joseph Silver, the orthopedic chief at Brooklyn's Methodist Hospital who'd been steering patients (albeit ones less lucrative than asbestos victims) to him, got cancer in 2003. After Joseph died in August 2004, the speaker began hosting a lecture in his brother's name at the hospital. * Silver, the outgoing Assembly speaker, was forced to leave the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, but that doesn’t mean his financial relationship with the firm is over, the Daily News reports: 

Unlike Today's Stenographer Journalism Barrett Reporting Always Added to the Story 
Over the years, that grew; his referral fees now total $3.2 million atop his annual base. Without ever practicing law, Silver made far more, from this firm and another, than any actual working attorney in the Legislature. Incredibly, neither doctors' patients ever even met Silver. The deal that the state's most powerful legislator cut with Taub was all the more brazen because Manhattan prosecutors were at that very moment convicting a half-dozen lawyers for paying under-the-table fees to a so-called "runner" to get injury cases. The "runner" was prying medical records on car-accident victims out of emergency-room workers and selling them to the lawyers. The judge hearing the cases was Jim Yates, who is now Silver's chief counsel, as he was to Mel Miller, the last assembly speaker to face federal charges. According to the complaint, for his part in the Taub arrangement, Silver simultaneously sent a half-million dollars in state support to Taub's clinic, another grant to a nonprofit associated with Taub's wife, and helped Taub's son get a job at OHEL Children's Home & Family Services. OHEL is so tied to Silver it bought a camp in upstate Wurtsboro, just a few miles from his vacation house, located on what OHEL called the Dr. Joe Silver Campus. The advisory board chair for the camp is Martin "Elly" Kleinman, whose home health-care company, Americare, was fined $15 million for bogus Medicaid claims by two attorney generals, including Andrew Cuomo. Silver, who worked with Kleinman on the camp and attends an annual Silver Day there, has delivered millions in state subsidies to OHEL, which gave him its leadership award last year. 

OHEL's co-president, introduced with great fanfare by Silver at a 2012 gala, is another Lower East Side buddy, Mel Zachter, a board member for the camp who owns a summer home in the same upstate village as Silver and remained a member of Silver's synagogue after moving to Staten Island. Until recently, Zachter was also the chief financial officer at a scandal-consumed Silver affiliate, the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, which has become a headline hog all its own. It was the Met Council that caused these layers of insular overlap to blow up even before the Silver bust. The council's longtime CEO, Willie Rapfogel, took his fall in 2013, having squeezed $9 million out of his state subsidies for the poor, pocketing $3 million of it himself. 

Rapfogel and his wife Judy, who remains Silver's chief of staff and joined Yates at the recent members-only conference, live in the same building as Silver. Incredibly, Shelly and Judy insist that they did not know anything about Rapfogel's nest-egg — which included $420,000 in cash that investigators found in his homes and $350,000 he gave his son to help finance a new house. Sentenced to three-and-a-third to 10 years in July, Rapfogel raised $3 million from undisclosed "friends" to pay court-mandated restitution. The council's board was another who's who of Friends of Shelly. It included Richard Runes, the chief lobbyist for 100-year-old billionaire Leonard Litwin, whose Glenwood Management real estate empire is also at the center of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's charges against Silver. Runes represents Litwin — the state's single largest political contributor, who's dropped $10 million in various campaign kitties since 2005 — in negotiations over state laws affecting rent regulations and tax subsidies. 

The complaint alleges that unidentified Glenwood lobbyists met Silver to discuss pivotal real-estate legislation in 2011, when the Goldberg firm's payments to Silver soon soared from a mere $800 one year to $240,994. Silver then suddenly became "considerably more favorable" to real-estate interests on the bill "than expected," according to the Bharara complaint. (Runes was listed on Cuomo's schedule as one of the two Glenwood lobbyists that met with him to talk about the same legislation at that time.)   Growing up on or near Grand Street, the Rapfogels, Goldberg, Zachter, Lippman, and Silver were virtual Little Rascals, with Silver playing the ringleader in "Our Gang" then and as its members made their way in the world. . Silver magically moved Lippman from chief administrative judge, where he merely managed court operations, to the top judicial post atop the Court of Appeals in 2009.  Silver also blocked affordable housing on a barren, city-owned, 20-acre development site close to the coops for nearly 40 years, preferring, as one critic put it, rats to minorities. Silver and Rapfogel wound up favoring a Costco on the site after the developer hired Rapfogel's son, gave a million to Met Council and picked the council as its community partner.

A Well Attended Albany Reunion? 

NYP: From 3 Men In A Room to 3 Men In A Jail Cell . . .  Nice to See You Guys Again
 Shel-Skel hell(NYP Ed) So that’s why Dean Skelos never asked Shelly Silver to step down as Assembly speaker: According to new reports, the Senate majority leader is himself under federal investigation. These reports say US Attorney Preet Bharara is probing the Republican leader’s real-estate ties and outside income. Skelos works for the Long Island law firm Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, which does real-estate litigation. In 2013, Ruskin paid him between $150,000 and $250,000. When Bharara had Silver arrested, he decried Albany’s “three men in a room” culture — i.e., the way Albany’s top three pols (Gov. Cuomo, Speaker Silver and Senate Major Leader Skelos) made all the key decisions behind closed doors and then had them rubber-stamped by the rest of the Legislature. Now, it seems, three men in a room may turn out to be three men in a jail cell.

Getting to Know Heastie Governing Style 
Bronx AssemblymanCarl Heastie, set to become the next speaker, is similar to Sheldon Silver(NYDN)  While of different generations, boroughs and backgrounds, Heastie and Silver are both career politicians who rose up the ranks of local city Democratic clubs through behind-the-scenes maneuvering and alliance building to become major players in state politics. “It’s sort of like Shelly (Silver),” said a veteran state lawmaker from the city, referring to the recently arrested and often-inscrutable current speaker who isstepping down Monday. “(Heastie) has a quiet, self-effacing attitude that makes it hard to read him.” Yet, at a time when corruption in Albany has become the only story in the state’s capital — and lawmakers and officials remain squarely in the sights of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara — Heastie hardly stands out as a reformer, a change agent. 

Just the opposite, in fact. Heastie, who also heads the Democratic County Committee in the notoriously corrupt Bronx, comes to the new position with some baggage. Four Bronx lawmakers have been arrested on corruption charges since he became chairman in 2008. When he did vote, Heastie sided with Silver 98.9% of the time. He introduced a relatively modest 51 bills during the 2014 session, only five of which were approved by the Assembly, according to NYPIRG. Critics have suggested Heastie’s personality, including his aversion to the press, could be problematic as he takes on the high-profile post of Assembly speaker. “I find him to be thin-skinned,” said one veteran Bronx political operative. 

Supporters are confident, however, he will grow into the role. Unlike other lawmakers who have lucrative nonlegislative jobs or financial investments, Heastie’s outside interests are limited largely to a job as an adjunct professor at Monroe College, where he reported earnings of between $5,000 and $20,000 in 2013. Heastie’s most recent financial disclosure statement also showed modest investments worth less than $10,000 — a far cry from Silver’s stock portfolio of up to $2.5 million — up to $50,000 in credit card debts and $20,000 in debt consolidation liabilities. Heastie, however, is perhaps best known in political circles for leading a multiethnic coalition — dubbed the Rainbow Rebels — that ousted Assemblyman Jose Rivera as leader of the Bronx Democratic Party in 2008, ending what had been years of tumult within the organization. “After he was elected as county leader, he could have taken the point of view that he should push out the losing side, but he thought the wiser thing was to bring all the factions together,” said Dinowitz, who, along with Diaz, was a member of the Rainbow Rebels.* Heastie: Speakerwould be ‘my only job’  *Heastie steered hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to campaign contributors, including those with business before the committee he chairs, Capital New Yorkreports: * * The Assembly’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus is backing Assemblyman Carl Heastie in his bid to succeed Sheldon Silver and become the first speaker of color, the Times Union writes: Heastie's Trial Lawyers Connect  Business advocates are worried trial lawyers may have sway with Silver’s likely successor, Heastie, because his political adviser and friend is a lobbyist for the state Trial Lawyers Association, the Post reports:  * A top Heastie political adviser and college pal, Patrick Jenkins, is a lobbyist for the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. Jenkins pulls in $8,000 a month fighting for trial lawyers in the halls of Albany — which often means killing any legislation that could cut fat jury payouts to lawyers and litigation costs for local governments and businesses. Heastie pays Jenkins $4,000 a month as his political consultant through the Bronx Democratic Party’s housekeeping account, state Board of Elections show. Heastie is the county’s Democratic leader. Heastie has received $26,300 in campaign contributions from trial lawyer groups since 2000, more than any of the other candidates that have sought to become Assembly speaker, according to the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York.* Bronx’s Heastie Gains Early Support To Be Speaker(WSJ) Bronx power broker Carl Heastie has emerged as the front-runner to succeed Sheldon Silver, who departs Monday as speaker of the New York state Assembly.

Heastie Unlike Silver Did Not Use Government to Become A Rich
Heastie Has No Skin In the Silver Game to Use Government to Make Money for Himself and His Developer Friends NY Times vets Bronx Democratic Assemblyman @CarlHeastie, who's poised to become next Speaker of the State Assembly
Speaker Candidate Drew Ethics Panel’s Notice(NYT) Carl E. Heastie, a lawmaker from the Bronx who has emerged as the favorite to succeed Sheldon Silver, attracted the attention of the now-defunct Moreland Commission on corruption in Albany.Over $10,000 for car repairs. Hundreds of dollars in interest and finance charges on credit-card balances. Thousands of dollars in expenses for which no explanation was given. Moreland subpoenaed his campaign’s bank records to see whether he was using political donations for personal expenses, records show.Assemblyman Heastie has been accused of no wrongdoing, federal prosecutors have signaled no interest in him, and the potential violations of campaign spending rules flagged by Moreland investigators — who were halted before they could finish their work — were a far cry from out-and-out graft.

Heastie Will Be Pressured By the Permanent Government to Continue Their VIP Service
Mr. Heastie’s spokesman has said he believed the campaign was in compliance.In a statement on Friday, Mr. Heastie said: “I am eager to work with my colleagues to develop and enact reforms that will bring more transparency, openness, and accountability to the Assembly. It is time for us to move forward.”  An internal memorandum prepared by the Moreland staff cited Mr. Heastie among 28 lawmakers — out of the 213-seat Legislature — whose campaign reports from 2008 to 2013 showed more than $10,000 in spending that was not detailed. The memo said the failure to identify recipients or itemize credit-card payments “raises questions about whether campaign funds are being used for personal expenses instead of permissible election purposes.

”Mr. Heastie’s campaign bank account at HSBC was subpoenaed by investigators, the memo said. But the commission’s work was not completed when the panel was closed last year in a deal between lawmakers and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat.The review of Mr. Heastie’s filings also showed that he has been somewhat lax in his accounting. His campaign paid more than $900 for parking and traffic tickets. The elections board prohibits lawmakers from billing parking tickets to their campaign accounts. “It was the committee’s understanding that this was an allowable expense under existing law,” Mr. Soufer said. “However, if that is not the case, we will address the issue immediately.” His campaign has also paid over $10,000 in charges at an auto body shop in the Bronx. He pays for his own car, but Mr. Soufer said he used it to campaign. The campaign also covered more than $1,500 in interest charges on the campaign’s own American Express card.* N.Y. Ethics Agency Faces Questions (WSJ) After a series of high-profile arrests and corruption scandals in Albany, some are questioning the effectiveness of an ethics agency that Gov. Andrew Cuomo created to clean up the Capitol.

Daily News Called Heastie An Empty Suit . . . A Puppet of the Party Boss Fixers
Bronx's Carl Heastie Rises from Obscurity to Likely Speaker Successor(NY1) Daily News says Assembly Democratsare being too hasty about Carl Heastie (NYDN Ed)  It’s an open secret that many legislators milk the Assembly’s loosey-goosey expense accounts to pad their paychecks — by making extraneous trips to Albany to collect “per diems” for meals and lodging that are currently worth $182 a day. Heastie stands out for claiming the third-largest expense haul of any Assembly member in 2014 — collecting mileage and per diems exceeding $22,000. (That’s on top of a salary of $93,500.) A call to Heastie’s office seeking an explanation got us nowhere, no doubt because any attempt to portray him as a legislative dynamo would not fly. Heastie missed votes on 173 bills — or 15% of the legislation the Assembly passed in 2014, according to an analysis by the New York Public Interest Research Group. Only 13 other members skipped more. When Heastie was present in the chamber, NYPIRG found that he spoke during debate on only four of the 1,138 bills that he didn’t sponsor. And the Labor Committee that he chairs — for a stipend of $14,000 — held just one announced hearing all year. Still more, Heastie’s campaign committee has reimbursed him for thousands of dollars in credit-card charges without giving details as required. And the Bronx Democratic Committee that he heads has yet to file financial disclosure reports that were due on Jan. 15.
Memo to NYT CityDesk: This is just one of Carl Heastie's other bad dogs. Neither are namedSpot. (Riverdale Press) What's left unsaid is that the judges owe their jobs to Heastie and Schlein

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

The Real Corruption In NY the Lobbyists and Party Machines That Elect Pols
The NYT Spends No Times Looking At the Machines That Include Lobbyist Like Stanley Schlein That Allow Pols to Get Elected
In theory, the Democrats who control the Assembly should be able to pick a successor who is committed to good governance and ethics reform, but already the signs of back-room dealing and meddling from party hacks are not encouraging. “Maybe it’s time for us to do something about the election law that allows such a liberal view of what we’re able to spend money on,” Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol, a Brooklyn Democrat, told an Albany radio interviewer on Friday, a day after he withdrew from the speaker’s race.* U.S.Attorney: New YorkPolitics a ‘Cauldron of Corruption’ - WSJ 

 NYT Silent On Local Impact of Citizens United on Public Financing in the 2013 Elections
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)

Silver's Leaving Only Offers the Opportunity of Change 
Sheldon Silver and New York’s ‘Caldron of Corruption’(NYT)  The arrest of the Assembly speaker doesn’t let the governor and lawmakers off the hook. Here’s how they can start the cleanup.Without real change, New York’s lawmakers could simply continue to rob the public of more than money, as the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, said recently. These lawmakers cheat New Yorkers of the honest and productive representation they need and deserve. Lawmakers have a chokehold on taxes, development, traffic and even education in New York City.Over the last decade, more than 30 state officials have gone to prison or been accused of sexual or civic wrongdoing ranging from bribery to stealing state money and extortion. The group of 30 includes several lawmakers accused of sexual harassment. One governor resigned in scandal, a comptroller — the watchdog of the public purse — was jailed for fraud. Of Albany’s many ethical problems, here are the three most urgent. In each case, we offer an ideal, long-term solution and a short-term “until then” fix. 1. Outside Income 2. Campaign Finance 3. Oversight * New York’sReal Scandal (NYT) “The scandal isn’t what’s illegal,” goes one of Michael Kinsley’s best-known sayings. “The scandal is what’s legal.” 

Smith Trial Jury Still Out Update

Dismissed juror says she would’ve voted to convict Malcolm Smith(NYP)An alternate juror in the corruption trial of former state Sen. Malcolm Smith says she believes the disgraced Queens Democrat spearheaded a failed $200,000 bribery scheme to get the Republican line in the 2013 mayoral election. Susan Liller, 56, of White Plains, says she sides with the government and would have voted to convict both Smith and former Queens Republican Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone on corruption charges if she had become a “regular” juror. “I went in there thinking that each was guilty by association, then flipped back and forth, but with the final summation … my personal opinion is ‘yes,’ they are guilty of each and every charge,” Liller told The Post on Friday. * Jury Deliberations Underway in Malcolm Smith Bribery Trial (NY1)

Assembly Swamp Replaces Corrupt Silver With Corrupt Party Bosses 
 Party bosses circlethe Assembly like vultures over carrion (NYDN)  Installing Carl Heastie as speaker would crown New York City Democratic leaders as kings of Albany. New York City’s Democratic bosses are about to steal their biggest prize in decades: control of the state Assembly. And you thought corruption ran rampant under Sheldon Silver. Well, you ain’t seen nothing yet. If Frank Seddio of the Brooklyn machine, Joe Crowley of the Queens machine, Keith Wright of Manhattan’s barely-a-machine and Carl Heastie of the Bronx machine succeed in installing Heastie as speaker without so much as a public look-see. The four overlords are driving Democratic Assembly members from each of their boroughs into voting for Heastie, never mind that, in deposing Silver, everyone in Albany swore that the Corruption Caucus was dead. * Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie appears close to securing the 76 votes needed to win the Assembly speakership, with support from the Queens delegation and a bloc of 10 suburban members Speakers Race Updates The New York Times reports * Suburban Lawmakers Back Heastie(YNN) * Morelle Withdraws From Race For Speaker(YNN) Heastie asks joe morelle to stay on as majority leader * Assembly StronglyConsidering Making Speaker Vote One Week Earlier: Sources(NYO)* Lentol LamentsAssembly ‘Culture’ That Made Him Drop Speaker Bid (NYO) NY Assem Dem still on fence: calls coming yesterday from women's groups pushing Nolan -incl Eleanor's Legacy - have stopped today.* Speaker Vote Likely Next Week(YNN)* Under Heastie, Committee Chairs May Stay Put For Now(YNN) * Heastie Picks Up Five More Votes For Speaker(YNN)* Sheldon Silver has submitted a letter resigning his post as Assembly speaker effective 11:59 p.m. Monday, his spokesman says.* As Heastie appears poised to take over the Assembly’s top post, Democratic lawmakers and their aides expect a vote for speaker could come as soon as Tuesday, Gannett Albany reports:  *Assemblyman Joseph Lentol blasted the “culture” of the Assembly and the influence of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the borough Democratic bosses that he says forced him to abandon his bid for speaker, the Observer reports: * Assemblyman Carl Heastie, who now has the support of almost all of the New York City delegation in his bid for Assembly speaker, would be the first black lawmaker in New York’s history to assume the chamber’s top leadership role, Bloomberg reports:

Who Replaces Heastie As Bronx County Leader
 So if Carl Heastie becomes speaker, he won't be county leader in the Bronxanymore. Who will replace him? Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, a Riverdale lawmaker, and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, a South Bronx lawmaker, are the top two contenders for the influential post if Mr. Heastie is elected speaker, which could happen as early as this Tuesday. Mr. Heastie has chaired the Bronx Democratic Party since he helped orchestrate a coup of the old leader, Assemblyman José Rivera, in 2008. Like county organizations elsewhere, the Bronx Democratic Party does not have the same ability to turn out voters and repel challengers like it did three or four decades ago. Mr. Heastie endorsed Adriano Espaillat for Congress and Bill Thompson for mayor, only to watch both candidates lose in wrenching fashion to Congressman Charles Rangel and Bill de Blasio, now the mayor of New York, respectively. But a county leader is still influential in other ways. The parties pick civil court judges and continue to have an outsized influence on the local legal system

The deal to make Heastie the new speaker is “about done,” according to a source involved in the negotiations. * The fact that Heastie is on the verge of becoming one of the most powerful men in New York politics is “an astonishing feat for a guy most New Yorkers never heard of,” Juan Gonzalez says. Heastie isn’t ready to claim victory as he wants to “personally ask” each of his colleagues for his or her vote. * So far, Assemblymen Keith Wright and Joe Lentol have quit the speaker’s race and announced their support for Heastie. Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle and Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan remain contenders, though Nolan didn’t get the support of most of her own Queens delegation. About Nolan: “there are few in public life who can, like her, reel off complete, properly punctuated sentences with dependent clauses at 60 miles per hour.”

Silver Supports Heastie
Speaker hopeful Heastie has the support of Sheldon Silver(NYP) Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie could be sworn in as speaker as early as Tuesday, and he can count on the vote of the accused crook he’ll be replacing — Sheldon Silver. “I think it’s a great choice, I think he’s a wonderful man,” the disgraced speaker told The Post Friday as he entered his office at 250 Broadway.* SILVER EXIT: Embattled Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver officially submits resignation letter, will step down effective Monday night(NYDN) * Heastie in line to replace Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (NYDN) * Silver to Resign as Speaker on Monday(NY1) * Silver Submits Resignation Letter(WSJ)* Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s forced leave of absence from Weitz & Luxenbergdoesn’t mean his financial relationship with the powerhouse firm is done.

Putting the County Bosses In Charge of the Assembly  . . .  Will Make Assembly Function Like the Board Of Elections Which They Always Controlled 

Silver Golden Age of Good Government?
If Frank Seddio of the Brooklyn machine, Joe Crowley of the Queens machine, Keith Wright of Manhattan’s barely-a-machine and Carl Heastie of the Bronx machine succeed in installing Heastie as speaker without so much as a public look-see, New Yorkers may one day look back on Silver’s reign as a golden age of good government.* The DN calls Heastie a “man with blemishes,” noting his name appeared in the files of the Moreland Commission for having failed to properly account for $25,000 in campaign spending. He also claimed almost $21,000 from the Assembly’s notoriously lax travel expense account during just the first six months of 2014 — more than any other member.* Carl Heastie aide"Howard Vargas has built a lucrative side business in court-appointed realestate receiverships". (NYDN)


If You Looking for Reform of Our Broken Election System Forgetaboutit
The Kinds of Reforms that are Likely to Pass are Making It Easier to Get Bill Heard on the Floor.   Reforms That Will Give More Power to the Member Not the Voters
Declaring that, above all, they wanted to restore trust, the Democrats said that Silver would depart by Monday and that candidates for speaker would have until Feb. 10 to campaign for the post. But now the bosses are short-circuiting the process. Heastie doesn’t dare. While his paid public relations people spout about trust and openness, he is granting very limited press interviews. He favored the Daily News’ Juan Gonzalez but shuns extensive probing, including by this Editorial Board. Heastie Moreland Problem No surprise there, because Heastie is a man with blemishes. He happens to be a featured name in the files of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, for having failed to properly account for $25,000 in campaign spending. No Comment Heastie Many have pointed out that Heastie’s favorite phrase is “no comment.”  Does this mean New Yorkers will continue to have no idea what is going on in Albany when he is Speaker?* Heastie Solidifies Support For Speaker (YNN) Closer to speakership, Carl Heastie has high per diems andcredit card debt; missed 173 votes last year

Heastie Solidifies Support in 1 Day  . . .  County Leads See They Opportunity and They Are Taking It  
The Election for Speaker is Ending So Fast, Where are The Reform Demands?
As for the progressive paragon’s Assembly record, Heastie sponsored a 2013 bill that would have allowed check-cashing outlets to make loans to low-income New Yorkers at interest rates up to 200%. The check cashers had dumped $10,000 into his party accounts.The Democratic bosses went into eclipse when Rudy Giuliani was elected mayor. Mostly, they had to be satisfied with plundering Surrogate’s Court for patronage, as Heastie has done. For a brief time, Seddio even took a seat on the Surrogate’s bench, only to be driven out by the Commission on Judicial Conduct for ethical breaches.Now, with Mayor de Blasio’s assistance, the bosses have sugar-plum dreams of holding sway over the Assembly, dispenser of billions of dollars and granter of an infinite number of legislative benefits. In Heastie, they would have one of their own. * Sheldon Silver is not the only one who had off-budget fundsat the state Health Department(WNYC) * The quicker-than-expected succession process has drawn concern from Assembly Republicans and various good-government groups, who had called for a more open proceeding, Gannett Albany writes:  * Heastie will meet with the Assembly’s newly minted “Reform Caucus”, a group of at least 30 lawmakers who are pushing for reforms in the wake of Silver’s arrest, Gannett Albany reports: * Following Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s demise, restoring the public trust in government through a robust reform agenda should be Cuomo’s top priority, the NYT says.

How Albany Became So Corrupt
And, having crowned him king, they would own the place. Heastie’s rapid mobilization of Democratic lawmakers, mostly from New York City, left some lawmakers openly grumbling that the Bronx lawmaker and his supporters had not adhered to a process that Assembly Democrats publicly insisted, after outgoing Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s fall from power this week, would be more deliberative.* Support for Heastie's speaker bid coming together fast |Capital New York (Capital) * 5 points on how New York state got so damn corrupt:(TMP) 1.People in power have little interest in changing that 2.Just three people make the biggest decisions 3. Ethics laws are kinda blurry 4. The state lacks anti-corruption forces 5. Albany has a culture of insiders where it feels like nobody's watching* In 2014, Heastie received $20,706 in per-diem expenses, more than any other Assembly member. In recent years his campaign accrued more than $25,000 in unitemized credit card expenditures, among the highest amounts in the Assembly. When asked by a reporter, he replied “I’m not concerned whatsoever.”* In 2010, he stayed neutral in the State Senate race between Gustavo Rivera and Pedro Espada, one of the most corrupt members of the legislature in recent years (and that says a lot)* As chair of the Bronx Democratic Party, Heastie makes appointments to the City’s completely dysfunctional Board of Elections. The Board of Election’s problemsare legion, as most New York City voters are aware. What has Heastie done to improve the Board of Elections, especially since his choice for executive director in 2010 was fired after two months on the job for ballot tampering? What will he do to improve the State Board of Elections as Speaker? * JCOPE filings reveal (sort of) income data for Speakercandidates * Editorial: Fix thecauses of corruption in NY state(CrainsNY)* Friends Of Democracy Pushes Speaker Candidates On Public Financing(YNN)

Shadow Government Lobbyists Schlein Tied to Heastie at the Hip
“The only constant in Bronx politics for the past 35 years has been Stanley Schlein,” said Michael Benjamin, a former Bronx assemblyman. “He is the last man standing. He is the institutional memory.”

Stanley Schlein, a City Island attorney and lobbyist who speaks daily with Assemblyman Carl Heastie, will amass more influence if Heastie is vaulted to Assembly speaker
A Seasoned Bronx PowerBroker Looks to Rise With Carl Heastie (NYO) Mr. Schlein, 67, is not an elected official or the leader of the Bronx machine, like Mr. Heastie. Rather, the canny attorney and lobbyist is the unseen architect of much of what does or doesn’t happen in Bronx politics, orchestrating coups when the Democratic elite ignores him or ensuring his well-heeled clients, like the New York Yankees, extract the best deal from an intransigent, or sometimes pliant, bureaucracy.

Schlein is de Blasio's Election Lawyer
Along the way, he’s faced his share of scandals, including his ouster as chairman of the city’s Civil Service Commission.A Heastie speakership would be a boon to Mr. Schlein and the many clients—the Rent Stabilization Association, the New York Hall of Science, Dominion Voting Systems and the Yankees, to name a few—he has represented before the city and state government. Having friends in power is nothing new to Mr. Schlein. Regarded as a masterful election lawyer and maker of judges,

Flack Lobbyists Arzt Represented Lobbyist Schlein When he was Fired From the NYC Civil Service Commission

When the The New York City Conflicts of Interest Board has fined Stanley K. Schlein, a prominent political lawyer, lobbyist and former chairman of the New York City Civil Service Commission, $15,000 for misusing city resources and personnel to perform work for his private law practice, Flack George Arzt represented Schlein.   Mr. Schlein did not respond to messages left on his cellphone. But a spokesman, George Arzt, said, “Mr. Schlein decided to settle this matter on an expeditious basis and has agreed to the stipulated payment called for in the settlement.”
Mr. Schlein has cultivated ties in every single mayoral administration from Abraham Beame in the tumultuous 1970s to Bill de Blasio today. Mr. Schlein was one of Mr. de Blasio’s election lawyers during his campaigns for mayor and public advocate, bailing out the future mayor in 2009 when he was initially booted off the ballot. When ex-State Senator Pedro Espada Jr. and his Democratic renegade allies initially refused to help give the Democratic Conference their long-sought-after majority unless they were properly rewarded in their share of the spoils, there was Mr. Schlein, representing the Espada faction in their negotiations with Gov. David Paterson and the Senate. Mr. Espada would briefly become majority leader before the legislative chaos, and his own legal troubles, ended his political career.Mr. Schlein, of course, survived. 
More About Schlein's Corruption

And for his ability to negotiate deals, drive insurgents off the ballot and protect those that pay for his services, the Bronx attorney is revered Mr. Schlein also served as a court-appointed fiduciary, a choice reward for Democratic loyalists, and this too did not end well. In 2006, the Office of Court Administration barred him from taking new assignments after he mishandled the finances of the infirm and the elderly. Whether it was successfully pushing for taxpayers to finance a new Yankee Stadium, defending the Bronx machine or bungling his fiduciary duties, Mr. Schlein has attracted plenty of prominent critics. Tom Robbins, a CUNY Graduate Center journalism professor and former Village Voice investigative journalist, was never enamored with the Bronx power broker he often covered. “Look, the lovable political rascal part of Stanley Schlein fades pretty quickly when you take a close look at how he’s used his clout over the years,” Mr. Robbins said.  Here Comes the Mud Carl Heastie made campaign payments to ex for work she didn’t do (NYP) The Bronx Democrat on the verge of becoming the next Assembly speaker paid his baby mama $2,500 from his campaign treasury — raising ethical concerns following disgraced Sheldon Silver’s corruption bust, The Post has learned. Assemblyman Carl Heast­ie’s campaign made two payments of $1,250 in 2011 to aspiring model Alvita “Lan” Robertson, the mother of his 5-year-old daughter, to design a campaign Web site. Robertson subcontracted the work to someone else — and still got paid.

Board of Election Reforms Forgetaboutit
In October, 2010, the Board of Elections booted executive director George Gonzalez after revelations that he had incorrectly placed Wills on the Republican ballot line beneath GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, rather than beneath Democrat Andrew Cuomo, among other mistakes. The error would likely have cost Wills votes in the heavily Democratic district, but ballots were eventually fixed. A number of people close to the situation suspected the ballot placement was politically motivated, given Gonzalez’s close connections with election lawyer Stanley Schlein, who was serving as the attorney for Nicole Paultre-Bell, Wills’ chief rival in the Council race. * Election Board's "Bungle George" Gonzalez Was Mayor Bloomberg's Baby

Skelos the Third Amigo Under Fed Investigation . . .  Shocking Feds Looking at Ties to Real Estate Industry 
Senate leader Dean Skelos is Preet’s new target(NYP) In the latest probe of a high-ranking state legislator, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is being investigated by federal authorities over his sources of income, ­according to a new report. Skelos’ connections to real-estate deals were being looked into by US Attorney Preet Bharara, who last week jolted Albany with the arrest of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, WNBC/Channel 4 reported Thursday. Skelos, the highest ranking Republican in state government, has not been charged with a crime and could not be reached for comment Thursday. The Nassau County, LI, politician serves as a counsel for the law firm Ruskin, Moscou Faltischek, which is engaged in ­real-estate litigation.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigators are examining state Sen. Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ outside income and ties to the real estate industry, but the legal firm employing Skelos said it was not itself being probed, NBC New York reports: * YOU'RE NEXT, PAL! After targeting shady Sheldon Silver, Preet Bharara shifts attention to state Senate boss Dean Skelos and his questionable outside income(NYDN) * Feds investigating NY Senate leader Dean Skelos, sourcestell (WNBC) * Skelos Comes Under Scrutiny(YNN) * NY Senate MajorityLeader Skelos called a report that he's under investigation 'irresponsible'(Newsday) * Skelos Denies Being Contacted By Feds (YNN) * State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos being investigatednext by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara: report(WNBC)* Just wanted to remindeveryone that Dean Skelos sent $711K of our tax money to fight subpoenas to hisprivate lawfirm (YNN)

In huge boost forCarl Heastie, Joseph Morelle abandons campaign for speaker. Cathy Nolan says she'sstill in it (NYDN)* A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos pushed back against a report that the Long Island Republican is under federal investigation after Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested last week, State of Politics reports: * Dean Skelos laughs off reports he’s being investigated(NYP)  Sources told The Post that US Attorney Preet Bharara, who brought charges against Silver and has vowed to clean up Albany, is looking at Skelos’ connections to various real-estate deals. He serves as a counsel for the law firm Ruskin Moscou Faltischek in Uniondale, which specializes in ­real-estate litigation. In 2013, Skelos ­reported being paid between $150,000 and $250,000 by the firm, which did not respond to a request for comment. “People over the years have raised the question, ‘What does Dean do for that firm?’ People are nervous,” an Albany insider said.* Shel-Skel hell (NYP Ed)  So that’s why Dean Skelos never asked Shelly Silver to step down as Assembly speaker: According to new reports, the Senate majority leader is himself under federal investigation. * No word from feds on probe of state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, spokeswoman says(NYDN)

NYP's Peyser Does Not Name or Interview the Lawmakers in the Cover-Up

A few days ago the Daily News caused panic when they asked individual lawmakers where they stood on keeping Silver as the speaker . . .  Peyser Should Ask Lawmakers Why Albany Remains A Sexual Sewer and Print Their Answers

Sheldon Silver gave horndogs free rein(NYP) In the end, it was money, not sex, that brought down New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. And that’s a giant slap in the faces of women who’ve toiled long and hard in the state capital in Albany. “Don’t our lives matter?’’ one female Albany veteran asked me. Of course not! Over the decades, Silver, who plans to step down from his powerful post as speaker, likely on Monday, orchestrated payoffs to four women who accused his pals and cronies of sexual ­harassment or egregious intimate abuse. But this series of scandals (Silver has been accused of enabling, not committing, sexual offenses) had nothing to do with his fall from grace. This proves that our Legislature remains a sexual sewer. I’ve been writing about ­Albany’s naked shenanigans for more than two decades. I’ve detailed the antics prevalent in a swamp that nearly swallowed me whole when I, as an ambitious college intern in the 1980s, was hit on by my married, elected boss, pushed him away — then was fired the next day.Andrea Peyser is outraged Silver’s going down on alleged corruption charges and not for allowing sexual harassment to prevail in the Assembly for years: “I’ve been writing about Albany’s naked shenanigans for more than two decades. I’ve detailed the antics prevalent in a swamp that nearly swallowed me whole when I, as an ambitious college intern in the 1980s, was hit on by my married, elected boss, pushed him away — then was fired the next day.Glass Ceiling and Heastie Heastie: Someone Who ‘Breaks The Glass Ceiling’  Nolan Has Been Silent About the Hush Fund  One of Heastie opponents, Cathy Nolan (Queens), has insinuated that the Assembly’s deplorable record on handling sexual harassment under Sheldon Silver calls for a female Speaker to replace him.
Cathy Nolan's chance of becoming Speaker may be dwindling, but at least we have the Women's Equality Party #progress

Daily News Moves Out of the Neighborhoods
The end of an era: There are plans at the Daily News to close down the Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens bureaus in the coming weeks.In New York's tabloid war, the Daily News has generally been the combatant with an army on the ground in the outer boroughs, while the New York Post has consolidated power around its Manhattan-centric base. That's about to change: There are plans at the News to close down the Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens bureaus in the coming weeks, sources with knowledge of the matter told Capital, in a move that one insider described as the "end of an era."* New York CityTabloid Warrior’s Job Prospects Are Murderous (Bloomberg Business)

NYPD Seals

NYPD to launch a beefed-up counterterrorism squad(NYP)  The NYPD will launch a unit of 350 cops to handle both counterterrorism and protests — riding vehicles equipped with machine guns and riot gear — under a re-engineering plan to be rolled out over the coming months. The Strategic Response Group, or SRG, will be devoted to “advanced disorder control and counterterrorism protection,” responding to the sort of demonstrations that erupted after the Eric Garner grand-jury decision and also events like the recent Paris terror attacks.* The NYPD will create a unit of 350 specially trained officers dedicated to counterterrorism efforts, and the cadre will be equipped with long rifles, machine guns and protective gear, The Wall Street Journal reports: * The future of the NYPD will include patrol officers with more time to visit with community members and learn their concerns. It will also include more high-powered weapons for a new unit of specially trained officers focused on patrolling terrorist targets and protests.* NYPD Anti-terrorismunit will NOT handle large-scale demonstrations: Police (NYDN) A day after backlash caused when NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said a new elite 350-member anti-terrorism unit would handle future large-scale demonstrations, police walked back the statement, saying a separate squad would handle protests.* Separate NYPD unit will handle large-scale protests. (NYDN) A day after backlash caused when NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said a new elite 350-member anti-terrorism unit would handle future large-scale demonstrations, police walked back the statement.

Anti-NYPD Lack of Common Sense Rules
The Post writes that NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton stoodup for rank and file officers by asking the mayor and the city’s corporation counsel about settling a case brought by a machete-wielding man shot in the leg by police: * De Blasio said the city would stop settling “frivolous” lawsuits with the NYPD after it paid $5,000 to a man shot in the leg by cops after he threatened them with a machete and pleaded guilty to menacing an officer, the Observer says:  City None Profit Anti-Cop Video De Blasio said the city will take legal and contractual actions against the Bronx Defenders unless the nonprofit can address concerns stemming from its purported role in creating a music video depicting a cop getting shot, the Times writes:

de Blasio and DOI Slam Anti-Cop Video
2 Lawyers in Anti-Police Video Knew of Its Violent Message, Report Says(NYT) The public defenders were aware that a music video they agreed to appear in encouraged retribution for the death of Eric Garner, according to New York City’s Department of Investigation. * NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized his own Law Department for a “broken policy” that allowed for a $5,000 settlement to a machete-wielding man who attacked police officers, and he promised to change the culture of giving in to “frivolous lawsuits.” * De Blasio and the NYC Department of Investigation are reprimanding a publicly funded agency for taking part in a music video made by Brooklyn rappers called “Hands Up.” Morehere. * Stringer demands overhaul at Bronx Defenders amid cop-killing video(NYP) * No defending this rap(NYP Ed) The de Blasio administration at last may be realizing the importance of having theNYPD’s back. This week, a Department of Investigation probe slammed the Bronx Defenders legal-aid group. According to the DOI, the Defenders get most of their funding from the city, which works out to about $20 million per year. The DOI came down hard on members for having knowingly participated in a rap video that celebrated cop-killing — and then lying about it.* De Blasio forming legal team to fight ‘frivolous’ cop suits (NYP)

Democratic Convention Closing Argument
Real Estate Player in the Silver Scandal On the Convention Host Committee
DNC head coming to city for 2016 convention push(NYDN) Democratic National Committee boss Debbie Wasserman Schultz will huddle privately with Bill de Blasio and other top officials, said a source familiar with the city’s bid. They're giving her the grand tour — and a closing argument. * De Blasio named a group of high-powered business leaders to serve as committee co-chairs in his bid to bring the 2016 Democratic National Convention to Brooklyn. One of the committee members is developer Leonard Litwin, a major campaign contributor in New York who is also a player in the Silver corruption scandal.* De Blasio InsistsPolice Union Tensions Not a Concern in DNC Bid (NYO) * Mayor Welcomes DNC Chair to Barclays Center as City Makes Final Pitch to Host Convention(NY1)

Why Did Silver Pay A Consultant $750,000 and Spend Almost $2 Million When He Had No Challengers?
From 2010 to 2014 Friends of Silver paid Berlin Rosen over $750,000.  During that three election cycles Silver one had one weak GOP opponent Maureen Koetz in 2014 who received less than 20% of the vote against the speaker.  Why was Berlin Rosen paid so much money when Silver faced no challengers? Was the speaker trying to hide his involvement in other races that Berlin Rosen was running like de Blasio for mayor in 2013? Or was the speaker trying to get over the spending limit by paying the consultant Berlin Rosen directly for candidates he was supporting?  Developer number one in the Silver indictment used LLC as a “loophole corporations,” to get around the election law to funnel more money to political candidates, to buy influence. Was Silver trying to buy with the $750,000 payment to Berlin Rosen? For What? Besides his own campaign account Friends of Silver, the speaker controls the Assembly Campaign Committee account and an Speakers PAC which has Trump, James Dolan and Meryl Tisch among its individual donors.  Other than a handful of individuals with less colorful names (Schedule A) SpeakerPAC is mostly a destination for corporate and PAC money (Scheds B, C).  At its beginning, in 2000-02, SpeakerPac spends over $100,000 on entertainment (MARTEL’S RESTAURANT, THE GRAND DELI, RICK ANGERAMI-D.J., ALBANY PARTY WAREHOUSE, RADIO CITY ENTERTAINMENT, SODEXHO, and so on) and nothing else.  In October of ’02,SpeakerPAC hires SAM WIETSCHNER, CPA and begins candidate disbursements.  From then on,  SpeakerPAC pays SAM, makes it rain like crazy on the Assembly, and occasionally writes out fat checks to DACC. 

Although Berlin Rosen Does Not Register As A Lobbyist When It Comes to Real Estate the Firm Has A Sugar Addiction

Berlin Rosen who is not for some reason not listed as registered lobbyist work for a lot of real estate developers.   Berlin Rosen’s current and recent clients include Two Trees Management Negotiations between Mr. de Blasio’s team and 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. Berlin Rosen served as a consultant to de Blasio campaign and runs he slush fund PAC NY1 which pushes the mayor’s agenda. The NYT Michael Powell – “A couple 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.”  Berlin Rosen worked all the candidates that hired the WFP’s Data and Field in 2009 that is still being investigated by a SI special prosecutor.  Both partners in New York One’s letter lobbyist Berlin Rosen, Jonathan Rosen and Valerie Berlin worked for Schneiderman.  Berlin was his chief of staff when he was a NYS Senator.

Did Silver Pay the Berlin Rosen and the WFP to Keep the Albany DA Away? 
A capital veteran describes a telling dimension of Silver’s destructive stranglehold on government. The story begins in 2003, when Silver’s chief counsel was charged with rape and marched out of Assembly offices in handcuffs. Although District Attorney Paul Clyne was a fellow Democrat, Silver was furious at being embarrassed.  “He was fuming,” the Albany vet says, “and swore he would get a DA in there he could control and who would never embarrass him.”  Silver found his candidate for the 2004 election, little-known lawyer David Soares, and engineered the support of the upstart Working Families Party, a union front which went to work for Soares.  Against heavy odds, Soares upset Clyne in the primary and triumphed again in the general election. To this day, Soares remains the Albany DA, yet never finds anything amiss in the Legislature. Soares paid Berlin Rosen $30,000 in 2012.  Berlin Rosen's Alex Navarro-McKay as a WFP operative helped Soares get elected as Albany's DA * Rx for cleaner pols: Body cameras and stings (NYP)
Berlin Rosen Works for the Mayor, AG, Comptroller and dozens of State and City lawmakers
More on Lobbyist Berlin Rosen 

New Speaker's Race Wraping Up . . .  Wright Out . . .  Brooklyn for Heastie? 

Next Speaker?
Inbox: @Wright4Harlem drops out of Assembly speaker race, throws his support to @CarlHeastie
Rangel's congressional district extends into the Bronx, where Heastie is the Democratic leader. Wright's base is in Manhattan, in Harlem.*Wright Withdraws From Speaker Race, Backs Heastie (YNN) @CTLizB @Wright4Harlem March to 76 just got easier for @CarlHeastie.  Brooklyn Democratic Party to Back Heastie Brooklyn Democratic Party to back Carl Heastie for Assembly speaker(NYP) * Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, a Brooklyn Democrat, has dropped out of the race for Assembly speaker, throwing his support behind Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie, Gannett Albanyreports: * Albany’s male-dominated culture makes it difficult for women to rise to power, according to Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, the lone woman seeking to replace Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver,Gannett Albany reports:  * The Times Uniondetails the JCOPE filings of the four proclaimed candidates for Assembly speaker, but the filings reveal less than one might hope: * Brooklyn AssemblymanJoe Lentol abandons bid for speaker, endorses Heastie (NYDN) * Lentol Withdraws From Speaker’s Race, Backs Carl Heastie(YNN) Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan said she’s continuing with her speaker bid even though support is consolidating behind Assemblyman Carl Heastie.*Heastie’s potential hurdles to locking up the speakership: The reformers and women.* Eight Questions forCarl Heastie * Heastie would be the first black speaker in history if he’s elected by his colleagues to succeed Silver. He told NY1′s Zack Fink that he “loves being a person who breaks the glass ceiling.Here’s what Assembly Speaker-in-Waiting Carl Heastie looked like in 1985.

The Assembly Democrats' belated "Reform Coalition" looks more like the "Coalition of the Left Out" as Carl Heastie locks up the vote.

UNDER PRESSURE,KEITH WRIGHT LEAVES ASSEMBLY SPEAKER RACE (CS) With Mayor Bill de Blasio supporting Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie behind the scenes and Gov. Andrew Cuomo actively pushing for Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, who will serve as interim speaker until a Feb. 10 vote, Wright struggled to gain traction, a knowledgeable source told City & State. Both Wright and Heastie are African American, which played a role in the pressure on Wright to step aside, the source added.  "The city people are listening to Cuomo and de Blasio—two white guys are telling us what to do,” said the source, who had supported Wright's candidacy.* The Assembly may be getting its first African-American speaker(NYP) * 6 Days That Felled Sheldon Silver, the Speaker Who Ruled Albany for Decades(NYT) Mr. Silver’s staggering fall from grace as Assembly speaker played out over a week of secret deliberations and shifting alliances. * Sheldon Silver Taking Leave of Absence From Law Firm(NYT) * Morelle Says He’s A Candidate For Speaker(YNN) *Reform Caucus Pressures Speaker Candidates(YNN) * Lentol Claims Brooklyn Support (Updated) (YNN) * Nolan: A Female Speaker Will Bring ‘Collaborative Style’(YNN) * Lentol, In Letter To Reform Caucus, Backs Term Limits For Speaker (YNN) * Brooklyn DemocraticParty Will Back Carl Heastie for Assembly Speaker: Sources (NYO)* Source: Queens Dem meeting on Asmbly speaker race over. No consensus on a favorite yet. Delegation agreed to stick together.
If Heastie Becomes Speaker Get Used to Reading About Bronx Lobbyists StanleySchlein

Idealistic new wave of Assembly members who helped galvanize opposition to Silver, prodded a loyal old guard and cleared the way for an election of a new speaker 
Sheldon Silver Should Resign Already(NYT)  Political etiquette, what there is of it, decrees that after getting arrested, a politician should step down. * ONE DOWN: Manhattan Assemblyman Keith Wright quits race to replace Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, leaving four candidates vying for the spot(NYDN) * Assemblyman Carl Heastie’s chances of succeeding embattled Speaker Sheldon Silvergot a boost on when a key rival – Assemblyman Keith Wright – dropped out and backed the Bronx Democrat’s bid. Heastie’s team called Wright’s endorsement a “game changer.” * Heastie, who would be the first black speaker in Assembly history, has promised reformsif he’s elected. He also revealed his favorite term when it comes to the press: “No comment.” * Calls, meetings, texts, promises and head fakes were the rage as the competitors for Silver’s speakership raced to put together a coalition ahead of their competition.

Ruben Diaz Jr. Pushes for Carl Heastie to Replace Sheldon Silver
Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle Morelle, who is trying to defy history by becoming the first upstate speaker in decades, is in New York City to meet with colleagues over the next several days and will continue to press his case for the job across the state. He said he should not be discounted by New York City leaders because he’s from upstate. Bronx Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda said he and more than a dozen other members are drafting a list of policy demands they want the next speaker to abide by. Among them are term limits on the speaker job and on committee chairmanships. Until the candidates respond, the group isn’t committing their votes. Interviews with more than a dozen legislators indicate that it was an idealistic new wave of Assembly members who helped galvanize opposition to Silver, prodded a loyal old guard and cleared the way for an election of a new speaker and, they hoped, a new start.* Ruben Diaz Jr. Pushes for Carl Heastie toReplace Sheldon Silver (NYO)

Without Silver's iron Fist . . .  Poor Leadership and Chaos?
Albany ripe for chaos after Preet’s capital crackdown(NYP) For Bharara doesn’t seem to be missing much on his long march through the swamps of Albany — and this could have a direct bearing on the most pressing question in New York politics today: Après Shelly, what? Short answer: Too soon to say with certainty, but look for chaos. For when it came to management style, Sheldon Silver never bothered with the velvet glove; with him, it was all iron fist, all the time. Initiative? Not in Shelly’s shop. Just a glance at potential Silver successors — Carl Heastie of The Bronx, Catherine Nolan of Queens and Joseph Lentol of Brooklyn — reveals no proven leadership skills, precious little imagination and virtually no independence from the interests that have been issuing marching orders to Shelly Silver for two decades. But neither is there an apparent willingness to use the iron fist — or, more to the point, the cleverness needed to get away that sort of a managerial style. But these aren’t tranquil times. These are Preet Bharara’s times. He said “stay tuned” last week, with one eye presumably on Cuomo and one on . . . how many others, especially in the Assembly? Until he lifts that alert, there will be no business as usual in Albany.
Instead, there will be a vacuum. They never last, but when they collapse, the effects can be spectacular. History will record Silver as having ruled his 105-person conference with an iron fist, quashing coup attempts and marginalizing potential enemies. But his ability to remain in power for two decades, until he was forced to step down this week, stemmed as much from his careful consideration of the conference’s needs as from his occasional ruthlessness.”* Bob McManus expects “chaos” in the post-Silver era.

Over A Year Before the Charges Against Silver The U.S. Attorney Bharara Ask the Press to Do More Investigative Reporting
The Press Missed the Speaker Silver Corruption Story 

Bharara to Journalist
Investigate Stop Copying My Press Releases 
Preet challenges journos to do investigative reporting (CrainsNY) "Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," Bharara said. "Groundbreaking corruption coverage is not just good copy, it's a path to good government." Bharara. The press has a role to play. "Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," he said 

de Blasio and Cuomo Pay Not Attention To What Were Doing to Elect the Next Speaker

Flashback Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio denies back-room deals inmaneuver to make Melissa Mark-Viverito CityCouncil speaker   (12/13/2013, NYDN)

De Blasio staying out of fight for Assembly speaker(NYP) The city isn’t meddling in Albany’s closed-door power scramble to anoint a new speaker of the Assembly, Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday. During a chat with reporters, the mayor said. “I’m not talking to Assembly members at all,” said de Blasio, dispelling claims by some Albany insiders that he’s been promoting Carl Heastie of The Bronx to replace Silver.“The mayor desperately needs to have a friend in 
Albany,” said one lobbyist who works extensively in the capital. * Phil Reisman: “Twenty-nine days into January and already 2015 is shaping up as an annus horribilis for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. That’s Latin for a bad year.”

Where Are the Reforms? 

The New Mob Boss Speaker Will Be As Corrupt As the Mob Boss Silver

The bottom line is that Silver wasn’t the cause of Albany’s dysfunction – but merely its biggest symptom. There’s nothing stopping the next Speaker from launching a law practice or a political consulting firm and then covering his client list with a legal veil of secrecy that might only be lifted if an investigator with subpoena powers comes along. Albany needs lobbying reform before the new speaker is picked.
“He’s angered the Republicans in the Senate [by supporting Democrats in last year’s elections], and you know he can’t count on [Gov.] Cuomo.” Silver was pivotal in helping the city secure hundreds of millions of dollars for expanding pre-kindergarten in 2014.* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he still supported Silver as Assembly speaker and denied his staff was pushing any replacement in Albany, but he said any new leader should be from the city, the Daily News says: 

You Do Not Fix the Speaker's Corrupt by Electing A New Mob Head Speaker
To elect a less corrupt speaker you need to change the players that elected the members that elect the speaker lobbyist, party leaders
"I hope Silver's removal will lead to many necessary changes so Assembly can operate as true democracy & better serve all people across NY."

True News Question: Why did not a single lawmaker ever saw something that led him to say something. It is not humanly possible that none ever suspected that, as Bharara charged, Silver “monetized public office.”After all, Silver disclosed most of the outside income at the heart of the charges and the lawmakers had to notice how the Speaker doled out cash to favorite people and organizations.  If nobody suspected something amiss, Albany is the dumbest place in America. More likely, lawmakers of both parties were fine with the obvious corruption; as Bharara’s record proves, some elected crooks saw Silver as a role model and got on gravy train of their own.

Cup Cake to change the system you have to change reform lobbyists and party leaders who elect the bums electing the New Speaker
Assembly Democrats must make sure the new boss is nothing like the oldboss 

After Past GroundhogWoes, de Blasio Vows ‘No Harm Will Befall’ Him or Rodent (NYO)

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

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

A Coalition of County Leader Puppets and Silver Changes Nothing

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

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

The Corrupt Speaker Replaced By Corrupt Tammany Hall County Party Leaders
Sheldon Silver stepping down to fight charges (NYP)Sheldon Silver agreed on Sunday to step down temporarily as Speaker of the Assembly as he fights federal corruption charges, according to sources. “Shelly will withdraw as speaker,” one source said. A coalition of up to five assembly Democratic will take over his duties. Two of them — Herman “Denny” Farrell of Harlem and Joseph Morelle of Rochester — will handle the budget negotiation with the governor and state senate.Sheldon * The quintet of leaders includes Farrell, Morelle, Heastie, Nolan and Lentol. RACE TO REPLACE: Democrats jockeying behind the scenes to replace Speaker Sheldon Silver in New York Assembly, source says(NYDN)
Silver Replace by Morelle Temp Feb10 Election
Dems have to either have Silver's resignation in hand, or have him ousted by Monday, next session day. Either way, Morelle interim speaker
Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle in news conference says there will be a "vacancy" in the office of the speaker come Monday.
With Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver expected to relinquish his leadership, Assemblymen Carl Heastie, Joseph Morelle and Keith Wright are the top candidates to replace him * Sheldon Silver to Be Replaced as Speaker of New York State Assembly(NYT) * Morelle may have a head start in the race to replace Silver, but he could face several downstate rivals, including Carl Heastie, Joseph Lentol, Catherine Nolan and Keith Wright, The New York Times writes: * The Post says“good riddance” to Silver, but writes that Albany officials responded as if they were in a “banana republic” by letting him maintain his position for a week following his arrest: *Interim #SheldonSilverreplacement has more business-friendly agenda (Capital) Law Firm Cuts Ties With Silver Also Disgraced SpeakerSheldon Silver cuts ties with law firm Weitz & Luxenberg (NYDN)  Silver, who previously reported earning up to $750,000 from the law firm, will cut ties with it after a federal criminal complaint accused him of referring a Columbia University doctor’s cases to Weitz & Luxenberg.*Silver To Take Leave Of Absence From Weitz & Luxenberg(YNN)Assembly SpeakerCathy Nolan? She's campaigning for it(Capital) * Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan running to replace Sheldon Silver(NYP) * Assembly Dems Look To Turn The Page(YNN) * Silver out: CanMorelle defy 100 years of history? (Lohud) * Heastie Declares Speaker Candidacy(YNN)  * Lentol Jumps Into Speaker’s Race(YNN) * The Observer’s Ross Barkan assesses the five Democratic Assembly members vying to replace Silver as speaker of the chamber: Joseph Morelle, Joseph Lentol, Carl Heastie, Catherine Nolan and Keith Wright:  * If Silver remains a rank-and-file lawmaker rather than retiring after stepping down as speaker, he will miss out on pension benefits that would exceed his salary, the Empire Center’s Kenneth Girardin writes:  Reforms The Empire Center’s Tim Hoefer writes in the Post that term limits in state government would have ended Silver’s career years ago, and would generally curb career lawmakers who seekto preserve their positions: * ‘Shocked’ law firm gives Sheldon Silver the boot(NYP) * ‘Shocked’ law firm gives Sheldon Silver the boot(NYP)* The AssemblyDemocrats' Shel game  (NYDN Ed)
Why are they waiting until Monday to dump corruption-tainted Sheldon Silver as speaker?

Assemblyman Dilan Pays Fine for Getting An Apartment from A Developer
Ex-New York CityCouncilman Erik Dilan to pay $9000 over relationship with developer who gavehim apartment (NYDN)  Now a state Assemblyman, Erik Dilan broke the conflicts of interest law by failing to disclose his financial relationship with his landlord — developer Sergio Benitez, who illegally gave Dilan an apartment for which made too much money — when he voted to approve three of Benitez’s projects before the City Council, the Conflicts of Interest Board found. Ex-City Councilman Erik Dilan was slapped with a $9000 fine for taking an affordable apartment for which he didn’t qualify from a crooked developer with business before the New York City Council. Dilan’s sweet deal was first revealed by the Daily News in 2011, and the Conflicts of Interest Board launched a probe. Dilan (D-Brooklyn) — now a state Assemblyman — broke city conflicts of interest law by failing to disclose his financial relationship with his landlord, developer Sergio Benitez, when he voted to approve three of Benitez’s projects before the City Council, the board found.* Pol living in low-income apartment hit with $9,000 fine(NYP)

The Shelly Silver era in New York state government is Over
 Heastie, Morelle, Wright moving quickly to be next speaker(LoHud) * Renewed Jockeying Underway To Replace Silver(YNN)  * Gibson ‘Digusted’ By Silver Scandal, Touts Term Limits, Dings Cuomo(YNN) * Assembly Republicans Want Public Vote On Speaker(YNN) * Lentol Backs Silver, Would Step In If Needed (YNN)* @BilldeBlasio says he want Assembly speaker to be from city. "It's been tough enough to get our fair share even with the speaker from NYC." * Upstate-downstatedivide grows in Silver succession  * Sheldon Silver and theLawyers of New York(New Yorker) * de Blasio point person Emma Wolfe is pushing hard for Carl Heastie to replace Shelly as speaker * Sheldon Silver says "I'm a member of this house and I will be a member" @wnyt * WATCH: SheldonSilver Not Saying Whether He Plans to Resign (NY1)

Goo-Goos Want Open Speaker Selection (YNN) * Assembly Democrats Consider Long-Term Versus Interim Silver Replacement(YNN) * An Unassuming Bronx Democrat Jockeys to Replace Sheldon Silver(YNN) * De Blasio: ‘Crucially Important’ Assembly Leadership ‘Fair’ To NYC(YNN) * De Blasio: Decisionon Silver is up to the Assembly (Capital) * The New York Timeswrites that Heastie and Morelle are the frontrunners, but Wright, Joseph Lentol and Catherine Nolan are all still potential contenders to be the next Assembly speaker:  * Assembly Republicans called for a public vote on the next speaker of the chamber in order to make clear where Democrats stand on keeping Silver as speaker and to remove outside influences, State of Politicswrites:

TIME TO GO: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will be out by Monday following corruption charges as Dems eye successor (NYDN) * Republican Rep. Chris Gibson, who is stepping down in two years and could run for a statewide office, said he was “disgusted” but not surprised by Silver’s arrest, State of Politics reports: * Several Democratic Assembly members expressed doubt that Silver would resign willingly, even after the conference said it had lost confidence in his ability to lead, CapitalNew York reports: * If Assembly Democrats have to wrest the speakership from Silver they will be in uncharted territory, and the chamber’s rules provide little guidance if he steps down, other than naming an acting speaker, the Times Union reports * Not unexpected.Downstate dominates. Idea of a bipartisan coalition is interesting, though: (Democrat and Chronicle) * Meanwhile, in Albany, that Assembly Dems just broke into applause - about taking a food break * @JimmyVielkind So rumor has it Peter (among others) was backing Keith Wright, but Brooklyn County wants Heastie...* Crains: @BilldeBlasio "has not lined up behind any candidate but is thought to favor Mr.Heastie" via @CrainsNewYork   * When Assembly returns for session Mon, Dems will either have Silver resignation in hand or vote him out, whichever comes first. * Source confirms @YanceyRoy report Assembly Dems will vote to shorten time frame for interim speaker @JoeMorelle 'til Feb. 10 or 90 days.* Battle Over a Successor as Sheldon Silver Faces Calls toQuit as Speaker (NYT)* "Now that Silver is out, can (Bharara) turn him? CouldSilver become a cooperator?" #nightmarescenario * Morelle says Silver will not impede transition * Sheldon Silver to resign as Assembly speaker(NYP)* Silver: "I willbe a member of this house. I am elected by my constituents and I do not intendto resign my seat"(LoHud)* Assembly Republicans: Silver's Arrest, Aftermath a Distraction(NY1)* save those checks RT @nahmias: Silver scraps Albany fundraiser: 

Bharara: The Man Who Got Silver, What is Next? 

Saturday Night Massacre Destroyed Nixon, Killing Moreland Took Down Silver

Stranger Cuomo insisted again that his Moreland Commission was a success, despite the fact that he disbanded it and would have let Silver off the hook.
Federal case againstSilver has something Bruno case lacked: cooperating witnesses. * The bribery case against Silver raises questions about whether he pulled his punches in 2011 negotiations on rent regulations at the expense of New Yorkers in rent stabilized apartments, ProPublica’s Justin Elliott: * Former AG Vacco takes twitter shot at current AG Schneiderman:"Was big wig on Moreland but despite all his rhetoric-he takes no action."

Preet nabs state senator’s son on tax cheating(NYP) Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara has carved another notch on his belt in his ongoing quest to weed corruption out of Albany politics. Matthew Libous, son of state Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous (R-Binghamton), was found guilty at a bench trial Monday by White Plains federal Judge Vincent Briccetti of underreporting $69,950 of his income on federal tax returns for 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Some staff members who work for Silver, who faces corruption charges, have been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors, a source told Newsday, but it wasn’t clear how many Silver’s decision to quit — amid calls from fellow Democrats to do so — came less than a week after being busted by the feds for allegedly using his public office to amass millions of dollars in kickbacks and no-show jobs.

Cuomo Does A Subway Snow Job on de Blasio Latest Battle In Ongoing War
De Blasio: I was frozen out of decision to shut down subways(NYP) Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday said his administration was frozen out of the decision by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the MTA to shut the city’s subways. “We found out just as it was being announced,” de Blasio told reporters. “We did not get a lot of advance notice.” He defended authorities’ handling of the expected massive snowstorm — including shutting down all roads, schools and mass transit hours before the predicted blizzard — insisting that New Yorkers merely “got lucky” when the accumulation barely topped 6 inches. * Economists say that virtually shutting down the entire New York City metropolitan for the recent blizzard was costly, but should not have a lasting effect on the region,the Times reports: * The Daily Newswrites that Cuomo was wrong to give de Blasio only half an hour’s notice before publicly announcing the subways would shut down ahead of the blizzard:  * The Postcalls the transit shutdown “scandalous” and notes that the underground subway system was built in response to the blizzard of 1888 and has since served as a lifeblood during inclement weather: 

Has NY Become A City of Snow Wimps or Do Pols Know Their Poll Numbers Go Up When They Are Seen Taking Charge in A Snow Storm?
New York politicians and transit officials were under fire for closing the city’s subways and banning travel after a snowstorm dumped far less snow than expected, The Wall Street Journal reports: * New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio found out about the subways being shut down “as it was being announced,” but defended the governor’s decision to halt operations of the state-run MTA, the Observer reports:  * New York weathermen apologise for blizzard overkill,politicians duck for cover | The Australian

Politicians went overboard with Snowmageddon precautions(NYP) * 'WE DID NOT GET A LOT OF ADVANCE NOTICE': Order to shut down subway, rails was sprung on de Blasio just 30 MINUTES before Cuomo announced it on live TV(NYDN) *  Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio fall victim to the Great White Hype — the storm that never was in NYC * MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast defended the decision to shut down the subway system while the commuter advocacy group The Straphangers Campaign called for a review of its storm response, The Wall Street Journal reports: * After less snow fell than predicted, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reiterated plans for a state-run weather detection system that he said will be more accurate, to be funded by Hurricane Sandy relief money, the Daily News reports:  * Cuomo and Blasio heard the same forecasts as everyone else and braced for the worst, which is better than hoping for the best, the Times’ Frank Bruni writes:  * New York City discovered that a scary forecast can act as kryptonite for the transit system that has “superpowered” the boroughs through heavy storms, the Times’ Jim Dwyer writes:  * Editorial: The cold truth (NYDN Ed) Prepare for the worst but hope for the best — yes, indeed. But Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and weather forecasters must get their acts together before the subways are shut down again in the face of a climate-related emergency. * LISTEN: Bill de Blasio dramatically reads The Onion 'story' lampooning his blizzard warnings(NYDN) * Public Advocate Callsfor Council Hearings on Governor’s Subway Storm Closure (NYO) * Snowstorm Leaves Lasting Chill on City's Economy(NY1) * Gov. Cuomo's $23.6 million forecasting system wouldn't havepredicted this week's storm any better, experts say. (WSJ)* NYC Public Advocate Letitia James will call for the City Council to hold hearings Cuomo’s controversial decision to shut down the subway system – with little notice to City Hall – ahead of a forecasted blizzard Monday night. * The blizzard that was supposed to be the “biggest snowstorm in the history of New York City” didn’t even crack the top 25.* A Transport Workersunion official wants a plan to keep at least part of NYC’s subway running in ablizzard (WSJ) Cost of the Snow A report from NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer shows the city spent more than $660 million on snow removal over the past 12 years. That’s money for manpower, plows, salt , overtime and contract workers. The highest was 2012 when the city spent $4.4 million an inch to remove a total of seven inches of snow.

The King is Dead Long Live Whatever is Next
Silver being pushed out as Assembly Speaker (NYP) Scandal-scarred Sheldon Silver is being pushed out as the New York State Assembly Speaker after a 20-year Albany reign. Following a tense five hour meeting that ended Monday night, members of the 105-member Democratic conferences recommended that Silver resign in light of the shocking federal criminal charges filed against him by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Discussions centered on having Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D-Rochester) take over as the Assembly leader in the interim, and eventually electing a new speaker. *  
Assembly Democratsto meet at noon today after calling on Sheldon Silver to step down as speaker (C&S) * * Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle went into Silver’s office to inform him Democratic members would give him until Tuesday to step down or risk being ousted from his position, The New York Times reports * Although Assembly Democrats gave Silver the option of resigning as speaker immediately or stepping aside and returning if acquitted, no one believed he could ever return once gone, The Buffalo News writes:  

Vinny the Chin Baldeo? 
Albert Baldeo has checked himself in a hospital before he was to be sentence in his federal conviction for threading witness in his trial that had to do with filing false matching fund documents with the city’s Campaign Finance Board.  The original sentencing was scheduled for January 21.  Approximately three hours prior to the proceeding, a fax was sent to the defense counsel from Nima Tagipour, MD, of Flushing Hospital medical center, stating “Albert Baldeo was admitted to the emergency room for chest pain on 1/21/15.  The patient will remain in the hospital till cardiac evaluation is completed.

That same afternoon, a conference was held, in lieu of sentencing, at which defense counsel represented that, test performed on the defendant has not indicated there to be any problems, and that, accordingly, he was expected to be discharged the following day.   The following day, the defense counsel reported to the court that the defendant remained in the hospital; a different kind of test had been ordered for the next day, which was believed to be standard procedure for someone of the defendant’s age who has self-reported chest pains.  If the new tests did not report any problems Baldeo was to be released the next day.  However, defense council also reported that the defendant has announced that he has a new medicinal issue. – Weakness on his left side.

The court then ordered sentencing to proceed January 26th approximately three hours later, without informing the court or his council, the defendant Baldeo requested his then-current hospital to transport him, by ambulance to Long Island Jewish Medical Center.  The defendant’s request was affected at approximately midnight.  The next day Dr. Lee stated to the defense councils that the defendant “had an angiogram and cardio catheterization procedure to clear two blockages, and that two stents were inserted. He was to be released the next day. .  As of three days ago Baldeo was still in the hospital, being held for unknown reasons.   Dr. The same day Dr. Jauhar, the cardiologist who preformed the procedure recommended that the court delay the sentencing for a week.  The court refused.  The prosecutors think Baldeo is faking or exaggerating his medical problems and has demand that the court order Baldeo lawyers to come up with proof of Baldeo’s condition  * BALDEO SENTENCING DELAYED BY ‘CONTINUED SELF-HOSPITALIZATION’(Forum) 

Members of Silvers Staff Subpoenaed by Federal Prosecutors
The push to ease Silver out came after Gov. Cuomo and other Democrats blasted as unworkable the speaker’s plan to keep his title and have a committee of five loyalists run the Assembly while he focused on his legal defense. The idea was scrapped. * Assembly Democrats Call on Sheldon Silver to Step Down as Speaker(NYT)  “He’s lost the confidence of the majority of our conference,” one lawmaker said of Mr. Silver, who is accused of corruption. * 'HE MUST RESIGN': Democrats demand Silver remove himself as speaker, but the defiant politician trying to keep his title(NYDN) * * It may be coincidence, but a founder of the law firm that employed Sheldon Silver once worked at another firm at the center of one of the state’s “most notorious (proven) scams,” writes The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin:  

 Betrayal of the public trust is at the heart of the #SheldonSilver thief of honest svcs charges; pall on legislation. (Propublica) * Conundrum at the Capitol  (TU) The conference meeting served as the agonizingly drawn-out climax to the most tumultuous day in the state Legislature since the June 2009 onset of the Senate coup, which heralded five weeks of...* Assembly Democrats Ponder Next Step (YNN) Wanted: Leader for a 150-member state-level legislative body. Budget experience a plus. Candidates under investigation need not apply. That’s the situation Assembly Democrats find themselves in as they seek to end the tenure of embattled Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a move that only a week ago before his arrest on corruption charges seemed unthinkable. Silver is yet to signal that he plans to officially step down as speaker, a post he’s held since 1994. “I am the speaker,” Silver declared last night as he was leaving the Capitol.* Silver’s-Gotta-Go Predict-O-Mat™(TU) * Cracks in the armor: Steck, Santabarbara, McDonald, Fahy, and Worner all calling for Silver to resign.* Silver remained aliberal bulwark despite Bragman coup, scandals over Boxley, Lopez: * Bill Hammond: After Silver, a new speaker and speakership(NYDN) * With Sheldon Silverout, watch for scaffold law reform and legalization of MMA. 

Stringer, James and Wright Dream A Dream . . . 
 THE NEWS SAYS: Enough finally was enough for Democratic leaders who stood up to Silver(NYDN) Enough finally wasenough (NYDN) The Assembly’s Democratic leaders have resolved to dump Sheldon Silver as speaker. Bravo to them.Initially, at his urging, five allies broached a plan to let Silver delegate leadership to them.  Denny Farrell of Manhattan, Carl Heastie of the Bronx, Joseph Lentol of Brooklyn, Joseph Morelle of Rochester and Catherine Nolan of Queens will forever be known as Silver’s partners in crime for doing his bidding. Gov. Cuomo pointed out the impossibility of managing negotiations with a five-member team while also saying that a replacement speaker would be “a good thing.” * Assembly Democrats ask Sheldon Silver to resign(Capital)* Controller Scott Stringer speaks out on Sheldon Silver: 'It's not time to step aside, it's actually time to step down'(NYDN)The Daily News writes that politicians’ portrayal of Silver as a champion for New York City overlooks his role in repealing the commuter tax in 1999, which has cost the city $10 billion to date * Assmb Keith Wright supporters say he has over 30 Dem votes sewn up for Speaker bid.

All the Machines Men and All the Lobbyists Horses Could Not Put Shelly Together Again
He should have been stronger: Dump Silver. Compared with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Controller Tom DiNapoli, Cuomo was a profile in courage. Neither said boo. To their credit, city Controller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Tish James also called for Silver to step down. As did only a handful of Assembly Democrats: Charles Barron of Brooklyn, Luis Sepulveda of the Bronx, Mickey Kearns of western New York, Carrie Woerner of Saratoga Springs, Al Stirpe of the Syracuse area and, in a major break, Keith Wright of Manhattan, who also serves as the county Democratic boss.

Silver Hurt NYC By Killing Commuter Tax  Sheldon Silver vs. NYC (NYDN Ed) Dispense with the myth that the speaker has been a tireless advocate for New York City's interests In 1999, he committed a dastardly crime against the 8 million people who live in the five boroughs — and they are still suffering the consequence. Republican George Pataki was governor. Republican Joe Bruno was Senate majority leader. Competing for suburban votes, they sought repeal of the so-called commuter tax, a minuscule 0.45% levy on income for out-of-towners working in the city.The tax was a farsighted legacy from the Rockefeller years that recognized that the city was essential to the economic health of the region. * @JeffreyToobin on Sheldon Silverand the lawyers of New York:

The Longest Serving Assemblyman Pimps for Silver
The Democratic-controlled Assembly, dominated by city members, had always been the bulwark against repeal. Betraying his constituents and pandering to the suburbs, Silver this time said yes. And the accumulated losses to the city treasury now top $10 billion. He screwed the city, and the screwing gets worse year by year. That alone should have been enough to throw the bum out.* * The Post asks if there are enough honest DemocraticAssembly members—32—to join with Republicans and vote Silver out of his speakership, instead of negotiating behind closed doors: * Silver has frequently protected his members during his tenure, but Queens AssemblymanAndrew Hevesi said that “this time he has to protect his members by resigning,” adding: “There’s an element of courageousness to it.” “We think it’s a great difficulty for him to continue to operate,” said Assemblyman Jeff Aubry, also of Queens. I think he recognizes that it’s a great difficulty for him to continue to operate…It’s not a time that anybody is feeling good about.” *  Gov. Andrew Cuomo panned Silver’s five-member management plan, saying: “Management by committee I’ve never been a fan of, and I’ve never seen it work well.” * The Syracuse Post-Standard: “The stage is set for Silver to be gone. Once that happens, the Legislature needs to get to work repairing its tattered reputation and enacting ethics reforms that actually will stop unethical conduct.” * Sheldon Silver’sarmy of enablers (NYDN)

A Rebellion In the Puppet Assembly
Assembly Democrats ask Sheldon Silver to resign (Capital) Assemblyman Abbate says no decision tonight. Assembly Dems will meet tomorrow at noon.* Assemblyman Kavanagh said it's being conveyed by conference that Silver should step down. Doesn't expect new speaker vote tomorrow * Sounds like there's no consensus on who comes next. "I have no idea," Brian Kavanagh says. #nyassembly * Charles Barron says he continues to call for Sheldon Silver to resign and "I expect that to happen." * BREAKING: LI Assemb. Thiele: No support for #SheldonSilver to continue. But not certain who will succeed.* More Democrats, Including Cuomo, Want Silver to Step Down as Speaker (NYT) Over 20 Assembly Democrats called for Sheldon Silver to step down or appeared poised to do so; Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said it would be “good thing” if someone else took charge of the Assembly * With Leadership Fight Underway, Session Is Cancelled(YNN) As Democratic members of the state Assembly continue to discuss the future of Sheldon Silver as speaker, the chamber’s session days were cancelled for tonight and Tuesday, officials in the chamber said. Assemblyman Mickey Kearns, a Buffalo Democrat who does not conference with the majority, called the decision to cancel this evening’s planned session as well as Tuesday “a waste of taxpayer money.” The state Senate also cancelled its Tuesday session due to the blizzard now impact most of downstate and eastern New York.  The Kavanagh group is a coalition of youngish Assembly Democrats elected in last few years. Not the strongest ties to Silver * Assmb Kavanaugh abruptly cancels 5 pm press Conf of members critical of Silver Keith Wright Silver Resign a senior member from Harlem and Manhattan Dem chair, has called for Sheldon Silver to resign. Most prominent Dem to do so.  City ComptrollerStringer Calls On Silver To Give Up Speakership  Stringer calls on Silver to step down as speaker(NYP) * Remix: Dems fear, RNC cheers as Sheldon Silver's arrestclouds NY's DNC 2016 bid (NYDN)* Assemblyman Ryan calls Silver plan for running Assembly with 5 Dems "unworkable.'' Stringer New Leadership Comptroller Calls for ‘New Leadership’ in Albany AfterSheldon Silver Steps Aside (NYO) Keith Wright Calls On Silver To Resign(YNN) * Stringer To Silver: ‘Step Down’ Not ‘Step Aside’ (YNN) 

Shame in Albany. Capitol police ejecting reporters from state Assembly where lawmakers debating Sheldon Silver. 

Silver To Retain Speaker’s Stipend (YNN) * Manhattan DemocraticLeader Calls on Silver to Quit Post(NYT)  * Silver has not responded to a state ethics committee inquiry into why he did not publicly reveal about a decade’s worth of income from a small law firm on annual financial disclosure forms, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett says: Push Back Sheldon Silver faces pushback from fellow Dems over title (NYDN) * Assemblyman Charles Barron says Silver's plan to share some power 'an insult to our intelligence' * Assemblyman Jeff Aubry recently left Silver's office, saying he wasn't going to caucus. #nyassembly * Rapidly eroding Silver support: Cuomo critical, Wright & Stringer seek resignation, suburbanites & scattering of others revolt.* Assemblyman Mickey Kearns, a Democrat from Buffalo, said #nyassembly session tonight and Tuesday are canceled. He left in a huff.  Tom Libous Son Convicted  A federal court on Monday convicted the son of New YorkState Senate Deputy GOP Leader Tom Libous. He's next to go.  * Disappointed to see so many brand-new Assembly members inSheldon Silver's corruption caucus. (NYDN)* You have to go back to 1911 to find a Democratic Assembly Speaker who wasn't from New York City.* Silver is now in the crosshairs of the media, prosecutors and ambitious members." - @SquarePegDem, Sept. 2013 * Speaker Sheldon Silver faces pushback from fellow New York Democrats as he fights to keep title(NYDN)

Daily News: Five Democrats Working With Silver Are His Partners In Crime . . .  
Silver Must Go
Sheldon Silver's'stepping back' is a cynical stunt; Assembly Democrats must bounce him from thespeakership entirely (NYDN)  The five Democrats working with Silver are now his partners in crime. Their names must be memorialized on a roll call of shame: Denny Farrell of Manhattan, Carl Heastie of the Bronx,  Joseph Lentol of Brooklyn,  Joseph Morelle of Rochester, Catherine Nolan of Queens. New York's chief executive needs to definitely demand Silver's departure. So, too, must the state’s top law enforcement official, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Ditto Controller Tom DiNapoli, a Silver acolyte who owes his current job to the speaker, and owes it to taxpayers to stand up to him now. Scott Stringer set the example for the mayor Monday, when the city controller became NYC's first prominent Democrat to buck his craven colleagues, and say Silver must go. "I do think it's not time to step aside, it's actually time to step down," he said. "We need one leader in the Assembly, someone who can guide these budget negotiations."

Glick Vs Freedom of the Press
Public Advocate Letitita James, too, said Monday that Silver must go. The Democrats have now had four days to read the complaint. Yet only five of the 105 Democrats in the Assembly majority have publicly demanded that Silver step down.   Those are Charles Barron of Brooklyn, Luis Sepulveda of the Bronx, Mickey Kearns of western New York, Carrie Woerner of Saratoga Springs, Al Stirpe of the Syracuse area and, in a major break, Keith Wright of Manhattan, who also serves as the county Democratic boss. “We are supportive of our speaker, as always,” echoed Jeff Aubry of Corona. Michael Benedetto of the Bronx and David Weprin of Fresh Meadows saw no cause for forcing Silver out. Manhattan Assemblywoman Deborah Glick declined to commit either way: "That's for us to have a full conversation over." Also weaseling out was Brooklyn's Nick Perry: "I'm still in the process of digesting all that happened." Ditto Manhattan's Brian Kavanagh. Four NYC members weaseled out by declining to comment: Helene Weinstein and Karim Camara of Brooklyn, and Dan Quart and Rebecca Seawright of Manhattan. Twenty-two more, as of this writing, have so far lacked the courage to return our calls: Carmen Arroyo, Michael Blake, Victor Pichardo and Jose Rivera of the Bronx; Peter Abbate, Rodneyse Bichotte, James Brennan, Alec Brook-Krasny, Roxanne Persaud, Annette Robinson and Latrice Walker of Brooklyn; Robert Rodriguez, Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan; Edward Braunstein, Phillip Goldfeder, Nily Rozic, William Scarborough, Michael Simanowitz, Aravella Simotas and Michele Titus of Queens; and Matthew Titone of Staten Island.

Silver to Step Down to Fight Federal Charges
Sheldon Silver agrees to step down as NYS Assembly speaker while he fights federal corruption charges. 5 members to run chamber
Updated: The Spinning Speaker Figure Head
Sheldon Silver "is not stepping down," his spokesman e-mails, but "appointing a senior grp of members to undertake various responsibilities" * Sheldon Silver to give up Assembly Speaker power(NYP)  Facing intense pressure to step down, Sheldon Silver has agreed to relinquish his enormous powers as Assembly Speaker to a 5-man committee.Under a deal being finalized last night, Silver will become a virtual figure head on Monday, as he cedes the iron control he has held over legislative matters in the State Capitol for the past 21 years. It is not clear if he will actually give up the title of Speaker, and sources said the deal to cede control will be declared “temporary,” meant to only last while he fights charges of kickbacks and corruption filed last week.
Dicker Cuomo Freaked Out Sources tell Fred Dicker the governor is “freaked-out and furious” over the bombshell criminal charges dropped on Silver, and also “obsessed with fear” because of the ongoing federal corruption probe. The governor is also angry with US Attorney Preet Bharara for stepping on his 2015 Opportunity Agenda headlines.

The Speaker is Not Stepping Down . . . 
“The Speaker is not stepping down,” Whyland said. “He is appointing a group of senior members to undertake various responsibilities such as budget negotiations to ensure a timely spending plan for the state. This will give him the flexibility he needs so that he can defend himself against these charges, and he is confident that he will be found innocent.” Sources told The Post that — instead of Silver — budget negotiations would likely be overseen by Herman (Denny) Farrell of Harlem and Joe Morelle of Rochester. The other members of the five-man group were identified by sources as: Joseph Lentol of Brooklyn, Cathy Nolan of Queens And Carl Heastie of The Bronx. Even Silver does quit the top post, he is not expected to quit his office as assemblyman for the Lower East SideMeanwhile, the disgraced politician is scheduled to vote this week on handing out nearly $95 million in state grants and loans — despite allegations he funneled taxpayer money to a leading cancer doctor as part of a long-running kickback scheme. The agenda for Wednesday’s meeting of the Public Authorities Control Board — where Silver is one of just three voting members — also includes a residential real-estate project in his district. * NO SILVER LINING: Sheldon to step aside as NYS Assembly speaker while battling federal corruption charges — 'appoints' five members to jointly run chamber(NYDN) Sheldon Silver will temporarily cede power as he fightsfederal corruption charges.(WNYC) * Silver still voting on public matters after corruption charges(NYP) * Halloran defends Silver amid corruption charges(NYP) GOP Push Silver Out "Republicansmay get some Democratic support if they push a resolution to oust Silverentirely." (NYDN) * Silver plans todelegate some power to five senior members. He doesn't plan to step down. @J__Velasquez & I explain:
Speaker Silver still running the show. He "appointed" the 5 Assemblymembers to the committee.

Silver Could Be Fined Up to Half A Million for False Disclosure Filings
Silver could face $520,000 in disclosure fines(NYP)  Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, facing federal corruption charges, could also be hit with state fines of up to $520,000 if probers determine he violated New York’s ethics disclosure law, The Post has learned. The state Joint Commission on Public Ethics has opened probes into the outside income of state lawmakers — particularly Silver and other lawyer-legislators — to see whether they properly reported the sources for all outside income. Under the ethics law, public officials who “knowingly and willfully” file a “false statement” with “the intent to deceive” face a maximum fine of $40,000 per violation.* Sheldon Silver is also on hook in state probe(NYDN) Sheldon Silverignores JCOPE inquiry, could face probe, source says (NYDN)
If Shelly Silver isn't performing speaker duties, shouldn't he give up his $41,500 speaker stipend? He has stripped others of stipends

Yes. Our job's to shame you as needed, like now. MT @DeborahJGlick: It's for elected Assembly members, not press, to to determine our future

Lobbyists Working for Glenwood Management
Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin Llc $150,000
Carl Andrews & Associates, Inc. $ 144,000
Empire Strategic Planning, Inc. $ 144,000
Meara, Brian R. Public Relations, Inc. $120,000
Lieberman, Mark L. $90,000
Sanzillo, Francis J. & Associates $90,000
Runes, Richard $60,000

Park Strategies $20,000

Silver as speaker would make New York’s government the national symbol of corruption
New York Democrats Ask Whether Silver Should Remain Leader (NYT) Many Assembly Democrats feel a deep loyalty to Speaker Sheldon Silver, but his arrest on federal corruption charges have left many wondering if he can carry out his job.
Sheldon Silver agrees to step down as NYS Assembly speaker while he battles federal corruption charges — 5 members to run chamber: source(NYDN)  The embattled Democrat was discussing with top Dems in the Assembly about possibly leaving as leader. But on Sunday, he admitted he had to step down while facing federal corruption charges. Earlier, an assemblyman said he had received calls from Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle and surrogates of Assemblyman Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and Keith Wright (D-Manhattan) gauging his feelings on the uncertainty in the chamber.Updated: Cathy Nolan in the mix: Sheldon Silver in talks to potentially step down as Assembly speaker * The Fab Five: Silverto empower five senior members (Capital)* Sheldon Silver toTemporarily Relinquish Speaker Duties(NYT)

Silver is set to spare New York the shame of having the gavel of the state Assembly in the hand of a naked extortionist. But Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and the Assembly Democrat must sever all ties with him.*  Developer Who Keeps Low Profile Is Embroiled in Silver Scandal(NYT)  Unlike many New York builders, Leonard Litwin has never sought the limelight. Now, though, he is caught up in a case that is rocking the real estate and political establishments.

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

The Silver Lobbyists Rat's Assemblyman Nephew Supports Silver  
Nephew of lobbyist who turned on Sheldon Silver supportedkeeping Silver as speaker (NYP) In an only-in-Albany moment, Brian Meara, a veteran lobbyist and longtime friend of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was publicly revealed to be cooperating in Bharara’s case against the speaker a day after his nephew, Assemblyman Edward Braunstein of Queens,attended a news conference of Assembly Democrats supporting Silver.

Silver and His Firm Weitz & Luxenberg Run the Courts and Judges Also
Silver’s law firm rakes in millions from judges he controls(NYP) His law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, gets its asbestos cases — and paydays — moved more quickly than those of other attorneys, and reaps a fortune from favorable rulings by friendly judges, charge lawyers and tort-reform advocates. Silver’s East Village firm handles more than half the cases in a special section of Manhattan Supreme Court called NYCAL (New York City Asbestos Litigation). So dominant is the firm, the court’s Web site refers to cases as “Weitz” or “non-Weitz.” The chief asbestos judge, Sherry Klein Heitler — also Manhattan’s chief civil judge — has handled dozens of Weitz & Luxenberg cases. “They’ve taken over a section of the courthouse, and the people in charge of the courthouse run it for them,” said a disgusted lawyer who files personal-injury cases in Manhattan. “It pours money into the firm.” Another judge, Joan Madden, consolidated unrelated asbestos cases. 

“Imagine you’re a judge and you know the person in front of you litigating in asbestos court is also responsible in some way for your career”
Joining up to seven plaintiffs has resulted in huge increases in NYCAL jury verdicts — from an average of $7 million to $24 million per plaintiff between 2010 and 2014, data collected by Bates White Economic Consulting show. Of 15 mesothelioma verdicts in the last four years, Silver’s firm won $273.5 million of $313.5 million awarded by NYCAL juries. Law firms usually take a third. Last month, the American Tort Reform Association branded NYCAL the nation’s top “judicial hellhole,” saying it’s rife with plaintiff attorneys “brazenly favored by the judges.” The group largely blames Silver, who not only has killed any tort reform, such as efforts to limit claims and cap damages, in Albany, but wields enormous power over the judiciary. “Imagine you’re a judge and you know the person in front of you litigating in asbestos court is also responsible in some way for your career,” said Tom Stebbins, a spokesman for the New York Lawsuit Reform Alliance, which also faults Silver.

As Assembly speaker since 1994, Silver names one of 13 members to a state judicial screening committee. The panel recommends candidates for the governor’s appointment to the Court of Claims and Appellate Division and other judge vacancies. In 2008, Silver named his law partner and another Weitz & Luxenberg founder, Arthur Luxenberg, to the committee, ignoring the blatant conflict of interest. Silver also plays a key role, along with Gov. Cuomo and the state Senate majority leader, in negotiating the judiciary’s budget. In 2011, Silver’s appointee to a seven-member state commission cast the deciding vote to give all state judges a 27 percent pay hike. As one of the state’s most powerful Democrats, Silver also strongly influences his party’s nomination of candidates for judgeships in Manhattan and elsewhere. Heitler and Madden are both Democrats, and both first ran for the bench during Silver’s tenure as speaker.* Silver’s betrayal — explointing the fears of his constituents(NYP) Problem: You’re a powerful public official, and you want to make “real private-sector money,” as the politicians call it, without (horrors!) doing any actual work. You consider it below your pay grade to take a fistful of cash from a lobbyist. Solution: The worst terror attack on US soil has just killed 2,753 people at the World Trade Center — and now hundreds of thousands of survivors fear for their health. And it all happened right in your district! What terrific luck. Federal officials accuse Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver of exactly that line of thinking: scheming to profit from 9/11 and its victims.* Nicole Gelinas:"The 9/11 attacks, though, presented a new opportunity" for SpeakerSilver to profit illicitly...  * MEET THE DOC: Oncologist who allegedly helped Silver with 9/11 scam is lauded by cancer patients, peers(NYDN) * Sheldon Silver Is So Crooked That He Even Corrupted The Courts (Albany Project )

Corrupt county leaders are organizing to replace corrupt Silver Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
“He has a hand in judicial appointments, and judges know not to bite the hand that feeds them,” said Mark Behrens, a DC attorney who advocates for asbestos-litigation reform for defendants. To top all that, Silver and New York’s Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman are boyhood chums from the Lower East Side. Lippman, who has been the chief administrative judge for all New York state courts since 2009, can assign judges to top administrative positions and plum posts. Heitler was promoted to Manhattan’s chief administrative judge in 2009, a post she holds in addition to running asbestos court. ources say Weitz & Luxenberg gets the “red-carpet treatment” in Manhattan, including “more experienced and better judges” in the asbestos court. 

State courts spokesman David Bookstaver said Friday that he could not reach anyone to explain the alleged jury hogging. Weitz & Luxenberg filed 53 percent of the NYCAL mesothelioma cases and 74 percent of the lung-cancer cases from 2011 to 2013, Bates White found. Besides the landmark $190 million award, the firm last June won $25 million for two workers exposed to asbestos insulation, and $20 million for the family of a former ship fitter who died. The indictment says Silver pocketed $5.3 million from Weitz & Luxenberg without ever doing legal work — as he was paid a yearly salary of $120,000 (for a total $1.4 million since 2002) and $3.9 million in “referral fees.” Silver allegedly drummed up plaintiffs — and referral fees — by having Columbia University Medical Center cancer researcher Dr. Robert Taub funnel mesothelioma patients to the firm. In return, Silver allegedly steered $500,000 in taxpayer-funded grants to Taub and $25,000 in state funds to a nonprofit employing Taub’s wife and a helped find a job for Taub’s son at a different nonprofit.

A Court, Not Votes, Sustains a Political Machine in Queens
A Court, Not Votes, Sustains a Political Machine in Queens((NYT) Queens machine lives off the Queens Surrogate Court * True News Corruption and the Surrogate Court *Stealing From the Dead Court  DA Vance announced the trial conviction of Richard Paul, the former bookkeeper for the Kings County Public Administrator’s Office, for stealing more than $2.6 million from the estates of individuals who died without a will by manipulating the agency’s check writing system. Paul was found guilty by a jury in New York State Supreme Court of Grand Larceny in the First Degree and Defrauding the Government. Taryn Miller was convicted by the same jury of Grand Larceny in the First Degree for helping facilitate the scheme, and receiving stolen funds. Both defendants are expected to be sentenced on December 5, 2013. *Corruption and the Surrogate Court (True News) * Surrogate's Court And Why It Should Go (True News)

Wayne Barrett: How Shelly Silver Made His Pal Chief Judge  
Justice is Blindsided Shelly Silver games Governor Paterson to get hischildhood pal the state's top courts job By Wayne Barrett (Village Voice) Jonathan Lippman and Sheldon Silver grew up together on the Lower East Side in the 1950s, living next door in the insular Grand Street projects and sitting near each other's family in the neighborhood's Orthodox shul. After both graduated from law school in 1968 and drifted into low-level courthouse gigs in Manhattan in their early careers, one went on to become the longest-serving Democratic legislative leader in modern New York history, master of an unprecedented 107 to 43 majority in the State Assembly. The other remained largely unknown, except inside the state's vast court system. Below the political radar, the black-hatted, still religious, and gravel-toned Silver, who is celebrating his 65th birthday and 15th year as speaker this month, has been quietly boosting the more secular Lippman for years. Now, he's finally pushed Lippman from the series of back-office management posts where he's labored for years to the job of top gavel in the State Judiciary. * Lawyers say this is the worst judge in New York City(NYP) Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Richard Braun’s courtroom is the worst-case scenario, with civil lawsuits dragging on for years because of endless adjournments, attorneys charge. If a lawyer is one minute late, Braun will adjourn the case for three months, lawyers claim. When lawyers fail to include room numbers on addresses, submit motions more than 25 pages long or don’t use proper margins in papers, their cases are adjourned.
Blog That Exposes NY Court Corruption
The Crimes of Lippman

Democrats defend Silver because they profit from his corrupt system(NYP) The ink was scarcely dry on the federal fingerprint pad last week when the usual suspects began lining up behind the biggest fish US Attorney Preet Bharara has hauled in to date: New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “I’ve always known Shelly Silver to be a man of integrity,” announced Mayor de Blasio, without an atom of irony. “There is no one in public life in New York who has fought more effectively, for decades, for almost everything I care about in public policy than Sheldon Silver,” Richard Gottfried of Manhattan, one of the Assembly’s longest-tenured members proclaimed with a straight face. “I want to see the facts before I have an opinion,” said Gov. Cuomo — ominously for him, also an object of curiosity to the feds. For Silver’s day gig — Assembly speaker — has him in the catbird seat regarding the disposition of billions upon billions of tax dollars every year. The special interests understand this, and boost the campaign accounts and electoral prospects of Silver’s allies, while damaging his adversaries, accordingly. Reasonably strong governors (George Pataki and Andrew Cuomo), a weak governor (David Paterson) and an insane governor (Eliot Spitzer) only rarely made waves on Silver’s pond — and when the turbulence settled the speaker was always stronger than ever. Fundamentally, they involve corrupt payments for work not performed — and greasing the skids for lawyers involved in New York’s notoriously seamy practice of adjusting commercial property-tax assessments. It’s a big-bucks business — and Silver certainly isn’t the only one stained by the skid-greasing. The real-estate industry generally is a cash-pump for politicians. (Cuomo himself last year collected as much as $1 million in campaign cash sifted through several limited-liability corporations by a single contributor, real-estate titan Leonard Litwin.)

By virtue of his status as top Democrat in the Albany Legislature, Silver:

  • Controls appointments to the state Board of Regents, which sets policy for New York’s multibillion-dollar education establishment; not for nothing did Silver put a lifelong friend, Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, in charge of the whole enterprise. And not for nothing do the teachers unions — and their lavishly funded political action committees — love Shelly Silver.
  • Put Jonathan Lippman, another boyhood buddy and a fellow trial lawyer, in command of New York’s courts — from the lofty Court of Appeals down to the lowest justice of the peace. So no wonder New York is one of the most aggressive anti-tort-reform jurisdictions in America; no wonder that Silver’s association with one of the state’s most prominent trial-law firms, Weitz & Luxenberg, is integral to the indictments handed up against him on Wednesday.

Albany's Corruption Hall Of Shame Forced to Expand With New Wing
Will Sheldon Silver's arrest finally spur ethics reforms in Albany  ( * Assemblywoman uses nonprofit to turn taxpayer-bought land into private parking lot(NYP) Assemblywoman Vivian Cook has resurrected her defunct nonprofit in order to turn an empty plot— purchased by the shady group with taxpayer money — into a private parking lot.The Queens Democrat said the Rockaway Boulevard Local Development Corp. is renting the parcel to a New Jersey contractor who has stashed trucks and construction equipment behind a locked chain-link gate. Cook said she can’t remember how much rent the group is charging the contractor, what his name is, or when exactly he signed the lease. Cook is best known for sending taxpayer money to another nonprofit — an education concern run by her pal, former state Sen. Shirley Huntley. Huntley pleaded guilty in 2013 to taking $87,000 from the group, admitting that she and a fellow lawmaker — later identified as Cook — would use the taxpayer cash to go on shopping trips. 

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

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

R.I.P. Joe, You Were A Class Act


Secret Government Lobbyists Partner With Silver in Corruption Rats on Speaker

Close friend, top lobbyist helped feds take down Sheldon Silver(NYP) Brian Meara, 63, is the person referred to in court papers as “the Lobbyist” who revealed that Silver told him “there was nothing to worry about” regarding the speaker secretly sharing in legal fees paid by Meara’s client, billionaire developer Leonard Litwin, the sources said. * Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's arrest aided by closefriend, Albanylobbyist(NYDN) Brian Meara has been cooperating as a 'fact witness' as part of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's investigation, sources told The News. The criminal complaint against Silver references an unnamed lobbyist who the sources say was Meara. According to the criminal complaint, the lobbyist represented a developer who was using a law firm that paid Silver for bringing in business. The developer, sources say, was politically connected Leonard Litwin, who Meara repped at the time. “The fact that Meara is the witness is not a good sign for Shelly,” said one Albany insider, alluding to how much Meara knows about his pal. In addition to the state court officers union and other labor groups, Meara represents a host of big-bucks industries, including casino operators, insurance companies and soft-drink makers. His clients also include the Yankees owners and the Silvercup Studios production facility in Queens.

Meara is one of the state’s most powerful lobbyists . . .  Part of the Silver, Queens Boss Crowley and Speaker Quinn Crime Families 
The Bayside resident is also close to Queens Democratic boss and US Rep. Joe Crowley, while his brother, Chuck, was chief of staff to former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. In addition to the state court officers union and other labor groups, Meara represents a host of big-bucks industries, including casino operators, insurance companies and soft-drink makers. His clients also include the Yankees owners and the Silvercup Studios production facility in Queens. The Bayside resident is also close to Queens Democratic boss and US Rep. Joe Crowley, while his brother, Chuck, was chief of staff to former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. According to Thursday’s criminal complaint against Silver, Meara got a non-prosecution deal from the feds in exchange for agreeing to serve as a “fact witness” against the Manhattan Democrat. The complaint says Silver got two developers — including “Developer-1,” identified by sources as 100-year-old Litwin — to hire the law firm run by Silver’s former counsel, identified by sources as Jay Arthur Goldberg. Silver allegedly pocketed at least $700,000 by splitting the fees generated by the lucrative property-tax challenges, without notifying either developer or disclosing the payments. 

Companies That Brian Meara Has Been A Lobby For
NRG Energy, Inc. , Motorola Solutions Inc., New York Black Operator's Injury Compensation Fund, Inc., PepsiCo, Inc., Dominion Voting Systems, Inc, New York Black Car Operators' Injury Compensation Fund, Inc., MANHOLE BARRIER SECURITY SYSTEMS, INC., COMMISSION ON INDEPENDENT COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES,  empire racing associates llc, ABC, INC. CBS Corporation, NBC Universal, Harter, Secrest & Emery LLP, Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance, Covanta Energy Corporation (formerly American Ref-Fuel Co.), American Ref-Fuel Company, Essex Enterprises LLC, Power, Crane & Company. LLC, Power, Crane & Company. LLC

Queens Boss Crowley Tied Into Silver By Corrupt Lobbyists 
When the other partner at Goldberg’s firm, identified by sources as Dara Iryami, got worried that new legislative rules would require Silver to disclose the payments, the firm drafted new retainer agreements outlining the fee-sharing arrangement with Silver, the complaint says. But in December 2011, shortly before the new retainer agreements were sent out, Silver phoned Meara, the complaint states. Silver allegedly asked Meara if his lobbying of Silver on real estate issues was based on his representation of Litwin or the limited-liability companies, or LLCs, “that nominally owned the buildings ultimately owned by” Litwin. “The Lobbyist replied that he represented Developer-1,” court papers say. “In response, Silver indicated, in sum and substance, that there was nothing to worry about, because he (i.e., Silver) was only representing the LLCs.

LOSING CONFIDENCE: Embattled Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver may be losing support as he also could face tax problems(NYDN) Behind the scenes on Friday, as the severity of the charges sunk in and calls for Silver’s ouster were splashed in newspapers across the state, many members started to waffle, sources said. “The members are losing confidence,” said an Assembly source. “They are expressing a lot of concerns.” Hours after Silver’s arrest on federal corruption charges 
indictment * Even before #SheldonSilver's arrest, state defense costs pile up @JimmyVielkind reports (Capital)

In Silver Case, U.S. Cites Link to Asbestos Litigation(NYT) A doctor’s obsession with raising money for research on a rare form of cancer helped set off a chain of events that culminated in the arrest of Sheldon Silver, the New York State Assembly Speaker.* Sheldon Silver declines synagogue’s prayer offer(NYP) * A play-by-play of Shelly Silver inside his Orthodox synagogue at sabbath services - by two women reporters:(nyp) * "I couldn't get a pay raise for my people .. or anextra computer or anything without going through the speaker." (NYDN) * Angelo Falcón, @TheNiLPnetwork, questionswhether Latino pols are positioned to gain from the Silver scandal.

After Bharara's Coup d'etat Daily News Assigned to Clean Up   

Daily News Hunger Games  Hunting Down Each Member of the Assembly And Ask Them If They Support the Speaker
Sheldon Silver's corruption caucus(NYDN)  As a service to their constituents, the Daily News Editorial Board is going to reveal where each of New York City's 62's Assembly members stands on the extortionist in their midst. Silver plans to walk into the Assembly on Monday to resume the rule that empowered him to pull down millions of dollars disguised as legal fees — for which he did no work. This must not happen. New York cannot be so demeaned. Nor can Silver’s colleagues give him their proxy to negotiate with Gov. Cuomo, who would have every cause to refuse talks. Sixty-two of Silver’s Democratic members represent New York City. At this juncture, they appear poised not only to meet with Silver in secret but also to carry him triumphantly to the podium on their shoulders. 

As a service to their constituents, the Daily News Editorial Board is going to reveal where each of the New York City 62 stands regarding the extortionist in their midst. We will do so as we are able to ferret them out. Today’s installment covers 11 members, 10 of whom have joined the Corruption Caucus. Richard Gottfried of Manhattan told City & State that support in the conference for Silver is not just “steadfast” but “enthusiastic.” “We are supportive of our speaker, as always,” proclaimed from Jeff Aubry of Corona“I hate to think about stepping on somebody’s body who is dying before the body is even cold,” Brooklyn’s Joe Lentol awkwardly told the Brooklyn Paper. Michael Benedetto of the Bronx said he sees no reason for Silver to resign now, saying, “I want things to play out.” Asked whether he thought Silver should go, David Weprin of Fresh Meadows said, “I do not.” Four members opted for a cowardly refusal to comment: Helene Weinstein and Karim Camara of Brooklyn, and Dan Quart and Rebecca Seawright of Manhattan. Only Charles Barron of Brooklyn, who has longstanding differences with Silver, called for his head.

Monday Morning Albany Explodes  
Silver Striped Boyland, Lopez, Kellner of their Committee Chairmanships After Indictment . . . 
How Does Silver Remain Speaker?
Thursday, the Democratic conference met without their leader for 90 minutes before coming out mostly unified in their stated public support for Silver staying on as speaker. But behind the scenes on Friday, as the severity of the charges sunk in and calls for Silver’s ouster were splashed in newspapers across the state, many members started to waffle, sources said. “There’s a heightened spirit as people are trying to figure out where it’s going,” said a prominent Democratic leader. “This probably has a ways to go before it plays out.” Silver is set to return Monday to the Capitol for the first time since his arrest on federal corruption charges. 

His fate could become clearer when he meets behind closed doors that day with his Democratic conference. The Assembly source said those who have spoken with Silver say that even as support from members begins to evaporate he seems intent on holding on to his leasdership post, possibly as leverage in talks with the feds. “He also seemed confident he has a real chance to beat this thing, though many of the members are less optimistic,” he said. Silver, who was charged this week with bribery and extortion, could also face tax evasion charges in the coming months, legal experts told the Daily News.

Organize Crime Politics: Albany Crooks Stand By Their Don
Silver has been dirty for decades. Tammany revisited. "If" guilty he should go? Like asking if Boss Tweed was guilty...come on
Assembly Democratsrally behind Silver after arrest(Newsday) Democratic Assembly members came out strongly Thursday in defense of #SheldonSilver, their longtime leader:(NY1) * Silver has a well-documented history of coming down hard on many of his colleagues who have been ousted from their offices on similarly unsavory charges, the Daily News reports:  * State Assembly Democrats back Sheldon Silver amid calls foraccused speaker's resignation(NYDN) * Silver, a powerful negotiator, should remain in power given the high-stakes debates over schools and spending because constituents *Democrats in the Assembly insist they are standing bySpeaker Silver (TWC) * Assembly Democratssupport Sheldon Silver despite arrest  * Bruno on lawmakers receiving outside income: "They can select anyone of those people and prosecute them under the federal law."* ASSEMBLY DEMS STICK WITH SILVER: Assemblyman Richard Gottfried told City & State that support for Speaker Sheldon Silver among Assembly Democrats is “enthusiastic” and the allegations against him are “flimsy”:* Assemblyman Richard Gottfried insists support from his conference for embattled Speaker Sheldon Silver is not only steadfast, but “enthusiastic.” He’d be “astonished” if Silver resigns.

de Blasio Ties to Walk Back Silver's Integrity Statement 

'I SPOKE ABOUT MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE': De Blasio tries to explain defense of Silver as 'man of integrity'(NYDN)  * Mayor de Blasio Maintains His Support for Speaker Silver(NYT) Silver's Cancer Doctor Removed Doctor linked toAssembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's arrest removed from head of cancer researchcenter position (NYDN)  Dr. Robert Taub still remains on the payroll but is no longer overseeing the Mesothelioma Research Center, officials said.* Silver must stepaside so N.Y. can focus on its future (Press Connect) *Charges Against Silver Cause Concern that CityCould Lose Out During Budget Talks (NY1) * Preet Bharara's warning sends chill through state Capitol (NYDN)* "After seeing.. Silver arrested, those under investigation might be quicker to come in andcooperate" 
.@GeraldoRivera: DN is trying to save Bill de Blasio “from himself”; Post wants him to “jump” off a bridge 

Sheldon Silver’s Arrest Leaves Cuomo in a Tough Spot(NYT) The arrest of the New York State Assembly speaker is threatening to upend the order that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo spent his first term in the capital working to restore. * In Silver’s Backyard, Views of the Case Against Him Are Split (NYT)  Sheldon Silver is an outsize presence on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, which he has represented in the State Assembly for nearly 40 years and where he is also a polarizing figure. * Long Led by Silver, Assembly Democrats Face Uncertainty on a Successor(NYT) Sheldon Silver, who has served as Assembly speaker for more than two decades, has given no indication that he plans to resign. But as Democrats look for a potential heir, they are finding few options.

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

All Daily Editorials Tell Silver to Get Out
The Times Editorial Board called on Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to step down in the wake of his arrest on corruption charges, and says that reforming rules governing legislators’ outside pay should now be at the top of Albany’s priority list: 
 * Daily News editorial board says: Sheldon Silver must go. (NYDN)
Presumption of innocence granted, it was a pleasure to see Sheldon Silver in handcuffs, for his offenses against New Yorkers have long been criminal
The Speaker must go (NYP Ed) Cuomo  Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the Daily News editorial board thearrest of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was "a bad reflection on government," but would not say if he believes Silver should resign his leadership post * Silver’s arrest puts the heat on Cuomo for Moreland disbanding(NYP) * Silver did all he could to derail and undermine the Moreland Commission panel established by Cuomo, and his arrest on federal corruption charges may explain why, The New York Times reports:  * Following Silver’s arrest, the Legislature must end the secrecy surrounding outside income, Cuomo must say what he knew about the Moreland Commission’s investigation and Silver must resign, the Times Unionwrites:

High Noon The Sheriff Rounds Up the Dark Master of NY Politics 

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

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

 Bharara: when we made the decision to bring charges against the Speaker of the NY Assembly, we had far more than three people in the room. * "Is that really how government should be run? When did 20 million New Yorkers" agree to this? Bharara asks of "3 men in a room" * Bharara: "three men in a room" w so much power major problem, "why three? can there be a woman? Do they have to be white? Is it a closet?" * "Whenever corruption is on the rise that means democracy is on the decline" Bharara says @CityLandNYC event "The people of New York should be disappointed...should be angry" & asking serious Qs, Bharara says @CityLandNYC * Bharara recounting major public corruption cases v Halloran, Stevenson  @CityLandNYCAlbanyPower Dynamics Allow Immense Power, Little Reform (Gotham Gazette) * U.S. AttorneyCriticizes Albany’s ‘Three Men in a Room’ Culture (NYT) * Charges againstAssembly Speaker Sheldon Silver may mark turning point in political corruptionbattle: prosecutor (NYDN)  U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office is accusing Silver of corrupt activity dating back to 2000, slammed the situation in Albany as 'a cauldron of corruption.'* * U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara lashed out at the “three men in a room” arrangement that controls New York state government, claiming it is to blame for Albany’s “cauldron of corruption”, theObserver reports:

Preet remains New York’s only hope(NYP Ed) *Silver and top cancer doc worked together in ‘kickback scheme’(NYP) * Dark Master of New York Politics Accused of Taking Millions in Bribes(Daily Beast) * After taking down Wall Street, Preet sets his sights on Albany(NYP) * U.S. District Attorney Preet Bharara remains the best and only hope for uprooting corruption in politics and business in New York, formerAssemblyman Michael Benjamin writes in the Post: * 'STAY TUNED': U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara rips accused Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, creating buzz around the prosecutor's possible political future (NYDN) * BAD TO THE BONE: U.S. Attorney nails the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver dead to rights — and it's about time (NYDN Ed) * Prosecutors claim Speaker Silver dodged being caught with alleged bribes using every trick in book(NYDN) * A renowned Columbia University Medical Center oncologist, Dr. Robert Taub, is the key witness in the multi-million dollar bribery and kickback case against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, DNAinfo reports: * * Weitz & Luxenberg, the law firm where Silver was “of counsel,” insisted that it was unaware of the Manhattan Democrat’s practice of “referrals” scrutinized by federal prosecutors, State of Politics reports: 

Assembly Democrats aggressively defended Silver, but Queens Democratic officials are positioning for Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan to possibly take over as speaker in a post-Silver Albany, the Observer reports: * * The Working Families Party issued a statement of support for Silver, with executive director Bill Lipton saying, “Our justice system is based on the presumption of innocence,” Capital New Yorkreports * * Joe Lhota, the 2013 Republican mayoral nominee, slammed Mayor Bill de Blasio for backing Silver, despite previously calling for the resignations of pols like former Gov. David Paterson for their indiscretions,the Observer reports * * Asked to explain his belief in the integrity of Silver, de Blasio continued to stand by him, characterizing him as a staunch ally and insisting he would be able to continue doing his job, The New York Times reports: * * What sets the stunning charges against Silver apart from other Albany scandals is the breathtaking cynicism and hypocrisy of his alleged schemes,Bill Hammond writes in the Daily News: * When Silver blocked a budget with bizarre objections in 2004, Gov. George Pataki demanded to know who his client was, demonstrating that Silver’s shady dealings were common knowledge, the Post’s Michael Goodwinwrites * Working Families Party issues statement of support for Silver(Capital)* Pataki: Silver’s Arrest Part Of An Expanding Government(YNN)

Weitz & Luxenberg Gave $600,000 to Federal Candidates
Employees of Weitz & Luxenberg have given at least $600,000 to federal candidates—nearly all Democrats—over the last two cycles, including Rep. Kathleen Rice, a former Moreland co-chair, the Observer reports:

Accused AssemblySpeaker Sheldon Silver's lawyer has experience defending corrupt pols(NYDN)  Silver lawyer Joel Cohen represented former state Controller Alan Hevesi when he was accused of helping himself to taxpayer money for personal expenses. *  An Albany Powerhouseon the Edge of a Volcano, via @nytimes  *  Sheldon Silver’s wealth a well-kept secret(NYP)* Silver’s thrifty spending habits and low-key, modestlifestyle might be why federal authorities were able to seize millions of dollars in bribes in kickbacks from eight of his accounts at six separate banks, the Post writes: * Former City & State editor Morgan Pehme outlines in the Gotham Gazette five immediate impacts Silver’s arrest will have on Albany, including potential reform, a major power shift and a signal of more arrests to come: * Assembly Speaker Silver's arrest marks stunning career turn(NYDN) * Assembly Speaker Silver can stay in power despite arrest(NYDN) * Editorial: Sheldon Silver is bad to the bone(NYDN Ed) * Feds sought evidenceof Silver's actual legal work. Got 1 file. One. And it was pro bono. Um... Aboutthose fees...? (NYT)* Silver’s Law Firm Disavows Referrals(YNN) * Columbia Doctor, Player in Sheldon Silver Investigation, Is Leaving Post(NYT) * Sheldon Silver, Assembly Speaker, Took Millions in Payoffs, U.S. Says(NYT) *Complaint Details How Silver Earned Millions From Obscure Legal Work(NYT)

Here Comes the Mud in the PBA Elections
PBA president contender faced gender-discrimination suit(NYP)  PBA presidential candidate Brian Fusco, who has two running mates under criminal indictment, was a defendant in a federal gender-discrimination lawsuit that was settled in 2009, The Post has learned.  Officer Cathy Caban filed the $15 million suit against the city, the NYPD, ex-Commissioner Ray Kelly, Fusco and three other cops in Brooklyn’s 72nd Precinct in August 2008, claiming her civil rights were violated because she’s a woman. The suit was settled by the city for an undisclosed amount in November 2009, court records show.Police union presidential candidate Brian Fusco has two running mates under criminal indictment and was a defendant in a federal gender-discrimination lawsuit settled in 2009

How the Crime Wave At NYCHA is Being Kept Secret 

Shooting Up 20% at Public Housing 

Assembly Speaker Silver Arrested 

Sheldon Silver, New York Assembly Speaker, Faces Arrest on CorruptionCharges(NYT)  Federal authorities are expected to arrest Sheldon Silver, the powerful speaker of the New York State Assembly, on corruption charges on Thursday, people with knowledge of the matter said. The case is likely to throw Albany into disarray at the beginning of a new session. The investigation that led to the expected charges against Mr. Silver, a Democrat from the Lower East Side of Manhattan who has served as speaker for more than two decades, began after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in March abruptly shut down an anti-corruption commission he had created in 2013.

 Bharara added-ominously-that his office had a # of publiccorruption investigations that were continuing-“stay tuned" (NYT) * Sheldon Silver, New York Assembly Leader, Is Arrested on Graft Charges(NYT) * Silver’s Case May Have Vast Impact and Alter Entrenched Way of Governance(NYT) The corruption charges for Sheldon Silver, the State Assembly leader, are expected to be a major disruption in a capital that has long believed he was untouchable. * Complaint Offers Motive for Silver’s Fight Against Corruption Panel (NYT)A federal prosecutor said the death of the Moreland Commission came as “a great relief” to the Assembly speaker, who actively fought its creation.* Gonzalez: SheldonSilver can help New Yorkby resigning(NYDN)

Update Silver was being held Thursday at 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan, lawenforcement sources said. 
Mr. Silver, before entering 26 Federal Plaza, said, “I hope I’ll be vindicated.”Buffalo-area Assemblyman @Mickey_Kearns — one of two Dems who opposed Silver's reelection as speaker — calls for him to step down.* Assemblyman Jeff Aubry; "We are supportive of our speaker, as always."* Lawmakers on both sides of aisle call on Sheldon Silverto quit in bombshell corruption case(NYDN)

Times Tells Silver to Step Down

Here's the federalcomplaint against @ShellySilver Silver allegedly obtained $4M in payments from Weitz &Luxenberg "solely through the corrupt use of his official position." US Attorney accuses Assembly Speaker Silver of taking millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks, complaint says.Correction: Silver steered $500K to doctor who referred asbestos cases to his law firm Got the Bastard  New York Daily News really takes Speaker Silver to task withan editorial that begins with "They got the bastard"...  (NYDN) * Sheldon Silver arrested, accused of taking $4M in bribes, kickbacks(NYP)  * Released on Bail, Sheldon Silver Says He ‘WillBe Vindicated’(NYO) * De Blasio Calls Sheldon Silver a 'Man of Integrity' (DNAINFO) *After SpeakerSilver’s Arrest, Predicting ‘Chaos’ in AlbanyPower Balance (NYT) * Bharara lays out case against Silver, hints at more arrests(CrainsNY)

de Blasio Man of Integrity Blocked Affordable Housing for 30 Years  
Silver Blocks Housing for the Poor and PRs and de Blasio Calls Him a Man of Integrity

.@yoruba69 Exactly. If there was any doubt he's a full blown IDIOT, it's gone. Silver was caught blocking housing for poor PRs already.
de Blasio Silver Man of Integrity .@BilldeBlasio: Sheldon Silver a'man of integrity' (NYDN)  *A Swaggering PreetBharara Charges Sheldon Silver With Public Corruption(NYO) * De Blasio: Sheldon Silver is a ‘man of integrity(NYP) Flashback

 Silver Released On $200K Bond(YNN) * Bharara: Silver Case Goes To The ‘Core’ Of Albany’s Problem(YNN) * Assembly Democrats Back Silver Staying On As Speaker(YNN)  “I’m continuing to support the speaker and I would say the members are overwhelmingly from the conversation that we just had are continuing their support,” said Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, who was joined by dozens of Silver’s 106-member Democratic conference in the Assembly. Two Democrats — Assemblymen Charles Barron and Mickey Kearns — reiterated their calls for Silver to step down today, but neither lawmaker had initially supported him in the first place. * The Moreland Connection(YNN)* Republicans Pile On Silver (Updated)(YNN) * US Attorney Bharara used several graphic charts to illustrate the flow of money and influence in the speaker’s alleged schemes, State of Politics reports:  * Since 2000 Silver has engaged in the scheme to defraud the public and used his position to obtain at least $6 million from two outside law firms. You can read the full federal complaint here:  * By default or by design, there are few Democratic successors to succeed Silver, who basically ruled the Assembly with unquestioned authority since 1994, save for a 2000 coup brought by Assemblyman Michael Bragman, State of Politicsreports: * Shelly Silver’sArrest: 5 Immediate Impacts on Albany * @GregDavidonNY asks: How much did Cuomo know about the Silver case? via @CrainsNewYork

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a swaggering press conference at his offices in Manhattan slammed Silver with a five-count complaint that portrayed the Democratic lawmaker as greedy and secretive
Federal charges appear to cite state's top political donorThe 100-year-old Litwin spent the most money on political donations during that time, as The Real Deal reported. Crain’s also made a connection between Litwin and the $900,000 Developer 1 paid to eight lobbying firms. The complaint also calls out another developer,* An unnamed firm described in the federal charges against Silver appears to be Glenwood Management, a Manhattan apartment developer owned by Leonard Litwin—the state’s largest political donor in the past decade,Crain’s reports:

Pitta Bishop Del Giorno Lobbyists for Litwin "Develper 1" in the Silver Indictment 
“Developer 2,” though this developer’s identity was not immediately clear. Together, 19 buildings owned by the two developers brought in more than 31 percent of Goldberg & Iryami’s revenue in 2011, according to the complaint. - See more at: * Skelos Won’t Weigh In On Whether Silver Should Resign(YNN) * Silver Charged On Five Counts(YNN) * Aubry: Conference Remains ‘Supportive’ Of Silver(YNN) * Successors Few And Far Between For Silver(YNN) * Silver Turns Himself In(YNN) * De Blasio: Sheldon Silver is a ‘man of integrity’(NYP)* * Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested on federal corruption charges and accused of using his power to secure millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks for over a decade, The New York Times reports:
de Blasio Harder Albany Times The fallout of the Sheldon Silver arrest: a rougher time in Albany for @billdeblasio  * * Silver’s arrest could potentially cause a seismic shift in power with reverberations felt from the speaker’s home district on the Lower East Side to the grounds of the State Capitol, the Times reports: * Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty may disband, hand offservices to other groups: sources (NYDN)

Albany Is Shocked About the Charges Against Silver
Sen. Jeffrey Klein is "shocked" about the serious allegations against Sheldon Silver.Pols standing by Silver: @DavidWeprin @billdeblasio @wright4harlem @aubry_jeff @DeborahJGlick @CarlHeastie @SandyGalef @dennyfarrell
Silver under pressure to resign(NYP)* Hochul: Silver’s Arrest Won’t Be A ‘Distraction’(YNN)  *Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle said Assembly Democrats continue to overwhelmingly support Silver following a party caucus this morning, the Post-Standard reports:  * Republicans around the state are calling on Silver to step down in the wake of his arrest on corruption charges, but Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos would not weigh in on whether Silver should resign, State ofPoliticsreports:
“I am happy the issue is being aired in a legal process,” Silver told reporters. “I am confident that when all the answers are aired I will be vindicated.” Silver

Albany Crooks In A Panic
Details of the specific charges to be brought against Mr. Silver were unclear on Wednesday night, but one of the people with knowledge of the matter said they stemmed from payments that Mr. Silver received from a small law firm that specializes in seeking reductions of New York City real estate taxes. The total amount of the payments was unclear, but another person has said they were substantial and were made over several years. Mr. Silver failed to list the payments from the firm, Goldberg & Iryami, on his annual financial disclosure filings with the state, as required. Several months ago, federal prosecutors in the office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, subpoenaed documents from a personal injury firm that also paid Mr. Silver, income that he did disclose, one person with the knowledge of the matter said. Like others, he spoke on the condition of anonymity because the charges had not been announced. Moreland Shutdown The investigation involving Mr. Silver picked up where the anticorruption panel that Mr. Cuomo shut down, the Moreland Commission, had left off. The inquiry focused on the outside income earned by New York State legislators, who are allowed to hold part-time jobs in addition to their legislative duties. * Sheldon Silver to be arrested on corruption charges: report (NYP) * Cuomo says Silver's arrest on corruption charges is 'bad reflection on government'(NYDN)

The Most Dangerous Man In American Politics

Preet Bharara Goes to War
The probe came after an investigation by Cuomo’s Moreland Commission panel, which was looking into corruption in Albany when the governor shut it down. One of the issues that the panel was looking into was how state lawmakers earn income from their non-government jobs. Silver is a personal-injury lawyer associated with the high-profile law firm Weitz and Luxenberg. Goldberg & Iryami specializes in an arcane form of law known as “tax certiorari,’’ according to the Times. That involves challenging real-estate tax assessments and seeking reductions for developers who own residential or commercial property. The firm appears to have only two lawyers, according to the Times. The newspaper said, that since 2001, the firm and its principals have made six donations to Silver, totaling $7,600. 

Why say this is a sad day for NY? If you were robbed, & they finally caught the thief, would you be sad or happy?
The most recent was in February, when it gave him $1,800, according to the report. The Times added that the law firm has sought tax reductions for many properties on the Lower East Side, which is the area Silver represents. In addition the financial controversies, Silver also became entangled in the Vito Lopez sex-harassment case when it became public that the speaker had hired two firms to defend the disgraced former assemblyman, spending nearly $700,000 in public funds. * Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to be arrested Thursday on corruption charges: report(NYDN) Blogger asks Speaker Silver if he is corrupt last year (Video)

Shame On NY Reporters Who Need Prosecutors to Uncover Political Corruption
 Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to be arrested Thursday on corruption charges: report (NYDN)  The arrest of Silver, who has been one of most powerful men in Albany for more than two decades, was reported overnight by The New York Times. An arrest would create a power vacuum in the Assembly, where there is no clear heir apparent. Assemblymen Keith Wright (D-Manhattan), Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn) are potential successors.* The Most Dangerous Man In American Politics (Buzzfeed) Preet Bharara goes to war.* HI-YO SILVER! AWAY! NYS Assembly Speaker taken into federal custody in Manhattan, will face corruption charges( NYDN)

Daily News Editorial Spanks the Speaker for Watergate Level Corruption of Her Election As Speaker and the Entire 2013 Election

Speaking of speakers (NYDN Ed)  Gifts of service to Melissa Mark-Viverito must not go unpunished. When, after the 2013 elections, then-Councilwoman Mark-Viverito was angling, with Mayor de Blasio’s enthusiastic backing, to become Speaker Mark-Viverito, she relied on the help of a well-connected political consulting and lobbying firm called the Advance Group. The pros helped her prepare for debates, network with county leaders, court fellow Council members — and win the second-most powerful job in city government. She got those usually high-priced services for the low, low price of zero dollars and zero cents. In other words, Mark-Viverito received a highly valuable in-kind campaign contribution from a company with lots of business before the city — including representing dozens of clients who regularly lobby the Council. This column urged the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board to take up the matter. The City Charter, after all, states: “No public servant shall accept any valuable gift . . . from any person or firm” who “is or intends to become engaged in business dealings with the city.” To its credit, the board has now opened up a case; the speaker has filed campaign finance statements that she has spent $20,000 on lawyers to represent her. What could her defense possibly be? Neither the facts of her accepting freebies nor the rules against it are in dispute. She should be fined the max possible, $25,000. Even still, she’ll end up getting away with having violated the charter in order to be one of the top officials sworn to uphold it.

Conflict of Interests Board Investigates the Speaker Where Are the Prosecutors?
Ethics probe targets City Council speaker, consultant(CrainsNY)New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and one of her former political consultants are subjects of a city ethics probe, Crain's has learned. The noncriminal investigation, which is being conducted by the city's Conflicts of Interest Board, centers around Ms. Mark-Viverito's acceptance of free assistance during her 2013 race for council speaker, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter. In the midst of the competition to succeed Christine Quinn as speaker, the Daily News reportedthat Ms. Mark-Viverito's acceptance of pro bono help from the Advance Group—a prominent Manhattan lobbying and campaign consulting shop—could run afoul of a city ethics regulation. Good-government group Citizens Union called for the Conflicts of Interest Board to investigate * Mark-Viverito probed over ‘freebie’ from lobby firm(NYP)
How Can Robbing New Yorkers of Their Voting Rights, Their Democracy Be Considered None Criminal?
The Advance Group had helped Ms. Mark-Viverito prepare for debates and to network with council members and county leaders, who behind closed doors helped decide the internal leadership race.  The ethics question arose because as a public servant, Ms. Mark-Viverito is prohibited by the City Charter from taking a "valuable gift" from a firm that intends to do business with the city. Lobbyists are also prohibited from providing such gifts. 

The Advance Group has extensive lobbying business before city government, including the powerful speaker. A public official found to have violated the rule can be fined up to $25,000, and someone providing improper assistance up to $5,000.In light of the scrutiny of Advance Group's pro bono work, Ms. Mark-Viverito said in December 2013 that she would stop accepting free help from the firm during her speaker bid. The New York Observer later reported, however, that an Advance Group employee had later played a role in brokering the deal that made Ms. Mark-Viverito speaker. After the split with the Advance Group, Ms. Mark-Viverito indeed made hefty payments to a number of other consultants (including lobbying and compliance firm Pitta Bishop) that aided her speaker bid. In a novel move, Pitta Bishop set up a 2017 campaign account for an unspecified city office, and Ms. Mark-Viverito raised more than $100,000, despite only needing the votes of 26 council colleagues to win the early 2014 leadership race. Speaker Hires A Lawyer The speaker recently paid $20,000 in campaign cash to a law firm to represent her in the investigation. In November 2014 and again this month, Ms. Mark-Viverito's campaign fund made $10,000 payments to Ballard Spahr Stillman & Friedman. The Conflicts of Interest Board has been deposing figures in the investigation.* Sources: The city's Conflict of Interest Board is conductingan ethics probe of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (NY1)

Advance Also Did Mailings for the Speaker During Her Campaign Through Their PAC

Mark-Viverito Received Mailings From NYCLASS . . . Two Council Members Were Fined Because Advance Worked for Them and Gave Them NYCLASS PAC $$$ 
One ambiguity is that Ms. Mark-Viverito was not running in an election regulated by the city Campaign Finance Board, but rather in a leadership race within the council. City council members fined over money from anti-horse carriage group(NYP)Two city council members were slapped with hefty fines for accepting prohibited campaign contributions from a group at the center of the Central Park horse carriage brouhaha. Freshman member Laurie Cumbo (D-Brooklyn) was fined $7,868, and newbie Mark Levine (D-Manhattan) was fined $8,686 by the city’s Campaign Finance Board for accepting over-the-limit funding from a “prohibited source.” The board found that the funding source for both campaigns – New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Street (NYCLASS) – was too intertwined with the candidates’ consultant, The Advance Group (TAG).Campaigns are prohibited from coordinating with third-party groups that make “independent” expenditures. Yet TAG president and lobbyist Scott Levenson was political director for NYCLASS, and both groups shared the same office space.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is the Manhattan DA Not Investigating Advance Because of A Conflict of Interests?
Manhattan DA Vance Consultant Red Horse Broke the Law Along With Advance Working for the UFT PACs United for the Future that did mailings for the same  Council Clients that both firms represented  
The Advance Group is also facing scrutiny for campaign activities in 2013, including from the Campaign Finance Board, which recently fined former Advance Group client and animal-rights group NYCLASS $26,000 for illicitly coordinating campaign activities with Advance Group. The FBI has reportedly been looking into Advance Group's efforts to bring down Ms. Quinn during the mayoral election through a well-funded super PAC. The Advance Group maintains that it followed the rules and denies that the FBI ever investigated it.

Other Shadow Government Lobbyists That Help Mark-Viverito Become Speaker

The MirRam Group
The Advance Group was not the only lobbying firm to help. Early in Ms. Mark-Viverito's speaker bid, an employee from another lobby firm close to Ms. Mark-Viverito, the MirRam Group, handled an inquiry from Crain's for a story about her past refusal to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. MirRam also was not paid for work on the speaker race. But MirRam maintains the work was merely related to Ms. Mark-Viverito's 2013 City Council bid—for which MirRam was paid—though that campaign had ended weeks before the Crain's inquiry. MirRam has since successfully lobbied Ms. Mark-Viverito on behalf of other clients. 

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

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

Cuomo's Plans

Cuomo's Education War With de Blasio and UFT
Impose stricter teacher evaluations, extend the period to earn tenure, expand charter schools and boost state oversight of failing public schools.

The UFT is holding a series of “emergency meetings” for educators, parents and clergy today in response to Cuomo’s fiery declaration of war on the union in the aftermath of his State of the State speech.
.@BilldeBlasio on charter cap "I think the cap we have now is sufficient." Cuomo just announced he plans to raise it by 100 schools. * Cuomo’s Education Policy: Expand Charters, Reform Teacher Tenure(YNN) * Cuomo Dangles ExtraSchools Funding in Exchange for Education Reform(YNN) * Republican-Led Senate Passes Controversial Education Tax Credit(NYO) * Cuomo proposes sweeping education reforms (NYP)Half of a teacher’s rating should be tied to how their students perform on state standardized exams, up from the current 20 percent, Cuomo said in his State of the State Address.Classroom observations by school officials and an independent educator would account for the other 50 percent. The Cuomo plan also seeks to prevent school districts from inflating the scores of teachers. Any instructor who is rated ineffective based on student test scores or observations would be barred from receiving an overall rating of effective. The governor also recommended that teachers not be awarded tenure until they got five years of effective ratings, up from three years. Cuomo also called for an increase in the number of charter schools allowed statewide to 560 from 460.An education tax credit would give New Yorkers a tax break for donating funds to public schools or scholarship funds that aid students in parochial schools. The plan is a top priority of Cardinal Timothy Dolan. The Cuomo education plan, which requires legislative approval, also would authorize the state education commissioner to appoint receivers to try to turn around chronically failing public schools — modeled after a Massachusetts program. Cuomo on state's 178 failing schools: When a school fails for 3 years a not profit, another district or turnaround takes over * The governor proposed sweeping education reforms, including stricter teacher evaluations, a longer period to earn tenure, more charter schools and greater state oversight of failing public schools, the Post reports: * NYSUT, the state teachers union, ripped Cuomo’s education proposals, blasting him for his “intellectually hollow rhetoric that misrepresents the state of teaching and learning,” Gannett Albany writes: * The Republican state Senate approved a bill that would that would provide a tax credit for donations to aid public and private schools, setting up a battle with Assembly Democrats, the Observer writes:  *Cuomo unveils big education plan, budget proposal in annual ‘State of the State’ address(NYDN) * School Aid Runs Will Have To Wait For A Budget Deal(YNN) * The Cuomo administration is breaking a long-standing tradition by refusing to release school aid runs until the Legislature acts on the governor’s education reform agenda, which is tied to education aid. * Tom Precious: “Perhaps showing the signs of a fifth year in office, many of the Cuomo proposals are either old or re-shaped from previous years.” * To wit: Many of Cuomo’s government reform proposals aren’t new. * Andrew Cuomo's bold education agenda faces a tough battle(NYDN) *   Campbell Brown: Cuomo's gutsy call for New York educationchanges deserve support (NYDN)  The reforms he wants would help so many students who have waited for so long.* Cuomo has rightly characterized the state’s education system as a failing public monopoly, and his agenda is the right prescription—more accountability and more alternatives, rather than just more money, the Postwrites  * Cuomo made a convincing argument that public education in much of New York continues to fail students, particularly poor and minority students, and it is to his credit that he keeps trying to improve the system, Newsday writes: * New York’s schoolchildren—many from poor and minority families—found a champion as Cuomo launched a war on Wednesday to end the culture of failure that afflicts too many of the state’s schools, the DailyNews writes * Cuomo’s push to make it easier to fire failing teachers and to require instructors to perform well for five rather than three years before qualifying for tenure deserves praise, Campbell Brown writes in theDaily News: Gov. Cuomo Takes On Education(NYT)  The governor’s undertaking for his second term is overdue and laudable, but he will face resistance from the state’s powerful teachers’ unions.

Who is the Boss More gently this time, @NYGovCuomo shows @BilldeBlasio who's boss, @SallyGold reports

Cuomo Proposes $141.6B Spending Plan(YNN)* Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave his State of the State address, calling on lawmakers to control taxes and spending while addressing income inequality, education reforms and upstate fiscal woes, The New York Times reports:  * Cuomo unveiled a $141.6 billion budget proposal that projects a $1.8 billion surplus and lifts state operating expenses by 1.7 percent, including a potential 4.8 percent education spending increase, State of Politicsreports:  * * The Cuomo administration’s released a presentation and the full “2015 Opportunity Agenda” policy book, the basis of today’s joint State of the State and budget address:  * Cuomo has adopted a “voodoo budgeting” approach, relying on projected surpluses that may not materialize in order to pay for new initiatives today, Greg David of Crain’s writes: * Cuomo: $850M to federal gov for past discrepancies, $1.5B on upstate revitalization, $3B on infrastructure and other invest. Dream Act Connected to Education Tax Supporters of a state DREAM Act and Senate Republicans are not happy that Cuomo is tying the issue to passage of an education investment tax credit—but for different reasons, the Daily News reports:   * 'NEW YORK STATE IS BACK:' Gov. Cuomo unveils big education plan, budget proposal in annual ‘State of the State’ address(NYDN) * Get all the reactions you could possible want to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s big speech todayhere. * Chris Smith says the governor has demonstrated that he very much wants to remain part of the “national conversation,” even if he doesn’t get the chance to run for president in 2016.* Wrong fix for Albany: Why ‘public financing’ fails(NYP Ed) * Gov. Cuomo unveils education plan, proposal to hike minimum wage in ‘State of the State’(NYDN)* The governor’s State of the State was heavy on infrastructure proposals but also laid out an ambitious social agenda of criminal justice and education reforms and addressing lower economic mobility,the Times reports:  * State Republican leaders questioned the agenda Cuomo outlined in his State of the State address, saying it was too broad to be effective and more budget details were needed, the Times Union reports:  * The governor’s efforts to reform the education system is a laudable undertaking, but it will put him at odds with the teachers unions and it is unclear if he’s getting to the heart of the problem, the Times writes:

Grand Jury Reform
DA Assoc Prez Frank Sedita says group "accepts the concept of statutory changes to increase the transparency of the grand jury process" Fairness for All': Cuomo Seeks Criminal Justice and Prison Reform (NYO) * Garner prosecutor: I would oppose any law that alters grand jury decisions(NYP) * Cuomo also called for a commission on police and community relations, recruiting of minority police officers, greater grand jury transparency and an independent monitor to review police killings, the Observer reports: * Skelos: Don’t ‘Tinker’ With Grand Jury Process(YNN)* Cuomo to name ‘independent monitor’ to review cop-related grand jury decisions(NYP)

Terrorism And Kelly
Cuomo announced that he is naming New York City’s former city police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, to conduct a terrorism “preparedness audit” of state agencies, the Post reports: 

Why Don't The Progressives On the Council Try to Pass A Bill Banning Lulu?
Daily News Gives Credit to A Few Council Members for Returning Their Lulu, But Never Asked the Councilmember Why No Bill
He’s no lulu lemon (NYDN Ed) Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer refuses legal graft
Before every election, good-government groups and the Daily News Editorial Board poll candidates on the question of accepting lulus. Van Bramer brings to 12 the cadre who have signed documents renouncing the extra cash. The others who had already done so are: Brad Lander, Alan Maisel, Carlos Menchaca and Mark Treyger of Brooklyn; Andy Cohen of the Bronx; Dan Garodnick, Ben Kallos, Mark Levine and Helen Rosenthal of Manhattan; Rory Lancman of Queens; and Steve Matteo of Staten Island. Garodnick and Lander said no to $15,000 lulus. Matteo’s was $5,000 and the rest declined $8,000. Bravo to all. An additional 18 members accept lulus and say they donate the money to charity, though they show no proof of their gifts.

The Taxis Uber Fight  
New York City Council Discusses Cap on Prices Charged by Car-Service Apps During Peak Times (NYT)  The pricing policies of Uber and other car-service apps, like Lyft, were at issue at a transportation committee hearing, where legislation to cap “surge pricing” was introduced. * Uber says surge pricing benefits customers(NYP)* * Rather than tussle with Uber over peripheral issues like surge pricing, New York’s political leaders should ensure the company pays the same fees as regular taxis do to help fund mass transit, the Daily News writes:  * Editorial: Tax Uber(NYDN Ed) App system isn’t paying 50¢ a ride like yellow taxis must. Adding cars-for-hire at a rate of 1,000 per month, the high-tech company Uber is on the verge of becoming the dominant force in New York’s taxi industry. The firm’s fleet of 12,700 cars — summoned by smartphone app and paid by credit card account — puts it within weeks of eclipsing the city’s 13,587 venerable yellow cabs. The trend is pitting the global, multi-billion operation against regulators, who are accustomed to dictating minutiae for the yellows. City Council members have skirmished with Uber over its so-called surge pricing, which raises rates at times of high demand. And the Taxi & Limousine Commission has demanded that Uber turn over data showing the driver, vehicle and address where each trip starts. Uber is refusing to provide the information, instead offering the ZIP code where travel began. That’s not Uber’s call to make.

James, Stringer and Council Blast Airbnb Before City Council Hearing
Controller Scott Stringer voices concerns over Airbnbahead of City Council hearing(NYDN) “This growing trend [of short-term rentals] poses concerns for the City of New York -- in particular, for our affordable housing stock and public safety,” Stringer writes in testimony he is submitting before the City Council.* New York City Councilwoman Margaret Chin is introducing a bill Wednesday that will require landlords to notify tenants about the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program, the Post writes: *In his first comments on the debate surrounding the apartment-sharing website, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer is raising concerns over how short-term rentals affect life in the Big Apple.* Pro- and anti-Airbnbrallies are happening this morning: (NYT) * Airbnb’s threat toaffordabted data-crunching software New York City has beenusing to find illegal Airbnbs:   le housing (NYDN)  The website is taking thousands of units off the market * @Airbnb is a profit-making company, not acommunity of "individuals legally sharing rooms in their apartments"   * This is the sophistica

Wednesday Update Neighbors’ complaints to 311 over Airbnb are on the rise(NYP) *  A New York City Council hearing pitted affordable housing advocates against proponents of sites like Airbnb, with lawmakers bashing short-term rentals they say hurt low-income residents, The New York Timesreports: *City Council blastsAirbnb executives in contentious hearing (NYDN) Council members accused the company of helping landlords transform affordable housing units into illegal hotels. But Airbnb executive David Hantman said the company doesn’t support illegal hotels and tries to remove abusers from the site. The eight-hour hearing was Tuesday before a packed audience.* Council Slams Airbnbfor Having No Idea How Many Listings Are Illegal | New York Observer  * NYC Council members ripped into executives at a contentious hearing, accusing the company of helping landlords transform affordable housing units into illegal hotels.* Complaints about short-term apartment-rental services such as Airbnb soared in the past year — but there were only 12 inspectors to act on them, a city official said.* Public Advocate Letitia James blasts Airbnb for making Brooklyn "least affordable" housing market in nation(NYDN)* Council Slams Airbnbfor Having No Idea How Many Listings Are Illegal (NYO)* Airbnb’s affordable housing(NYP Ed)

Airbnb Buys News Organization and Starts It Media Blitz to Brainwash New Yorkers That They Are Not Wearhousing Apartments 

Airbnb Contributes Max to de Blasio, Other Pols and Online News Blogs

Lobbyists Bolton St Johns
Airbnb works directly with its own lobbyist, Bolton-St. Johns, and indirectly as "an industry stakeholder"  * Lobbyist for Airbnb in NYC is Bulton St Johns 

Airbnb Ads Help Support the New Online News Blogs Capital, City and State and Local TV
The Capital News and City and State Blogs mix an advertising spin message from Airbnb at the same time when the day after the AG forced the company to release info to expose apartment bundlers who turned NYC apartments into hotels. Everytime bad news about Airbnb is printed these publication and the local TV stations get more ads.*according to New York state senator Liz Krueger, one of Airbnb's lobbying arms has started a misinformation campaign about the law to put more pressure on elected officials. Krueger is referring to Peers, a non-profit industry mouthpiece that presents itself as a grassroots organization for folks who just wanna make a little money on the side—and what kind of monster would object to that? Except that Peers was cofounded by Airbnb's "head of community" and has investment from the Omidyar Network, the foundation of eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar—connections that are glossed over in order to make campaigns look more authentic, and less like a pre-IPO necessity. * New York Senator Accuses Airbnb Lobbyist Of Misinformation Campaign

Lower East Side Without Bagles How Much of the Blame Goes to Airbnb? 

Landlord"Pushes Out" Gramercy's Ess-A-Bagel After 39 Years(Gothamist) The original Gramercy location of bagel and spread emporium Ess-A-Bagel has only a few weeks left in business before they're unceremoniously tossed out of their 39-year-old home. The schmear shop—along with neighboring businesses Grill 21 and Rose Restaurant—are being forced out after the landlord declined to renew their leases, reports Town & Village. "It's endemic of the city; they’re pushing out independent businesses," declared Ess-A-Bagel owner David Wilpon. And how.  * Gentrification May BeComplicated, But It’s Not a Myth and Neither Is Displacement(NYO) * Shuttered Brooklyn White CastleRenamed "White Hassle" (Gothamist)

Homeless #'s Up 6% Under DeBlasio 52% Over Last 5 Years . . .  Warehousing for Airbnb is A Cause  
The Daily News Leaves Out the Most Reasons for the Increase In Homelessness and the Pushing Out of the Middle Class Out of the City, Tax Breaks to Luxury Developers and Airbnb 
DE BLASIO'S HOMELESSNESS CRISIS: Number of homeless peoplespikes 52% in last five years — grows 6% under de Blasio(NYDN)The city has seen a 6% increase in homelessness since the mayor took office in January. In response, Mayor de Blasio added several new shelters to the city, sparking protests from affected neighborhoods.The city says it housed an average of 54,754 people a night in August, including 23,000 children — up from an average of 51,470 in January. The number is 10% higher than in August 2013. Overall, in the last five years, the city’s homeless population has soared by a stunning 52%.

Big Secret: As Taxes Rise NYC's Middle Class Escapes 
New York City legislators distressed at increases in property taxes are going to propose a rebate of about $500 a year for small homeowners, the Post reports:   * A report from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found the state collected $474.2 million more than expected in tax revenue last month, while collections over the last three quarters are $716.4 million more than anticipated, State of Politics reports

Escape From New York Increase As State Falls to 4th Biggist . . . . Weaking Clout In Congress
A new NY? "Outflow of New Yorkers Rose in 2014": As expectedFlorida has officially surpassed New York as the nation’s third most populous state, according to newly released Census data, State of Politics reports: By adding an average of 803 new residents each day between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014, Florida passed New York to become the nation’s third most populous state, according to US Census Bureau.  The outflow of New Yorkers to other states increased as the national economy improved, surging back to pre-recession levels.* Ceding to Florida, New York Falls to No. 4 in Population(NYT)  With 19.7 million residents, New York now ranks behind CaliforniaTexas and Florida, according to new figures released by the United States Census Bureau.* The U.S. Census Bureau confirmed that, as predicted, Florida has surpassed New York’s population with 19.9 million people, compared with 19.7 million in the Empire State.
NYC's Economic Problems

Farina Rearranges Deckchairs on the Education Titanic  


Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña is expected to announce today principals will once again report to superintendents and regional centers, a shift from the prior administration’s management philosophy, the Times reports: * Veteran civil servant Christopher Caruso will lead the charge to create 128 new community schools with expanded services under a new division in the New York City Education Department, the Daily News reports: 


The city’s school support networks, which provide services such as teacher training and school budget consulting, had no impact on academic performance, according to a study by Brown University’s Annenberg Institute. Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña plans to announce that she will dismantle the city’s 55 school support networks. ** Ahead of an announcement by New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña on overhauling citywide school support networks, a report finds the system fails to boost student achievement, the Daily News reports:  *new report says the NYC Education Department’s support networks for public schools fail to boost student achievement, just days ahead of an announcement by city Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña to overhaul the massive, citywide system. * Voters trust education professionals over politicians to set policy, according to a new Siena College poll.

Queens lawyer joins legal fight to overhaul teacher tenure for his kids(NYDN)* Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos has issued a statement urging @NYGovCuomo to include an education tax credit in his #nybudget proposal* Icahn Charter Schools sue city over space to expand(NYP)

Sunday Update

Friday Update
The de Blasio administration managed to boost enrollment in after-school programs for middle school children this year, but still fell short of its lofty goals, the New York Post writes:  * Because CarmenFariña says so (NYDN)  New York’s schools chancellor continues her troubling history of ignoring educational evidence

Thursday Update 
New York City Education Department to Add or Expand 40 Dual-Language Programs(NYT) Carmen Fariña, the schools chancellor, said the programs for elementary, middle and high school levels would be created or expanded for the 2015-16 school year.De Blasio and Fariña plan to shift power from principals to superintendents (NYP) Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña plan to undo the school governance system put in place by the Bloomberg administration and shift power from principals to district superintendents, The Post has learned. * It’s a terrible idea to allow cellphones in schools(NYP) * DOE names accused racist to ‘school improvement’ post(NYP)  The de Blasio administration promoted a disgraced principal to a top Department of Education post despite multiple charges that she’s racist, The Post has learned.

The UFT Used Its $$$ To Buy the City Government Does Not Own the Governor

The teachers unions are used to funneling cash and warm bodies into elections and then reaping the political rewards, but Cuomo understands that New York should be getting much better results for all its spending, the Post writes: Elif Gure-Perez, who was named in June as an executive director in the DOE’s Office of School Improvement, created a “hostile, race-based work environment,” a Manhattan federal court found months before her appointment. Gure-Perez, the former principal of PS 316 in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, called one staffer the N-word to her face; referred to an African-American teacher as “Shining,” an insulting term for a shoe shiner; and spoke of buying a bright orange blouse to wear to school “since I know black people like loud colors,” witnesses testified.* RICH SCHOOLS, POOR SCHOOLS: Funding gap between NYC schools and state's wealthy districts rise 43% under Cuomo(NYDN) Teacher Ratings Associated Press queries to districts around the staterevealed that few parents have asked for their child's teacher's rating since New York began requiring teachers to be classified every year:* A coalition of charter school supporters is planning a charter advocacy day in Albany on Feb. 3, shortly after Cuomo proposes his budget for the next year, to rally for charter-related legislative priorities.* * Education advocates accused Cuomo of trying to punish the state’s teachers because unions representing them did not endorse his re-election campaign in 2014, the Daily News writes:  * Here are 4 pressingissues that will shape Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina’s second year.(DNAINFO)* Hearing Set on Challenge to Teacher Tenure Law(WSJ)* Skelos Open To Gubernatorial Control On Education(YNN) Charter Rights in Public Schools Charters have right to share space with public schools: court *Sheldon Silverquestions need to raise charter school cap * Silver: No Reason To Change Regents Appointments(YNN)* Skelos continued to support Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push to reform the state’s education policy by taking away the Assembly’s controlling power over how members of the Board of Regents are appointed, State of Politicsreports: * The state Education Department agreed to improve school safety enforcement after an audit from state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found that seven New York schools failed to report cases of violence and bullying, Gannett Albany reports  * Protesters at the state Capitol this week called for pouring $2.2 billion more into the state’s education budget, but lawmakers should rather be focused on spending the billions already in the system better, Bill Hammond writes in the Daily News: * The state Conservative Party supports Cuomo education reform push.* Cuomo pledged to have a “full agenda” of proposed reforms to the state’s education policy in his State of the State, due to be given next Wednesday, State of Politics reports: * Challenged broadly by @NYGovCuomo, teacher unionsticks to funding issue(Capital)

Education Arms Race: UFT vs Charters

Wednesday Cuomo’s Plans Set Up a Clash With Teachers(NYT)  Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is expected to seek changes to teacher evaluations and charter school limits, reforms that, uncharacteristically for a Democrat, will put him in conflict with the unions.* More than 80 state lawmakers have joined a long list of advocates urging Cuomo to include a big boost in spending among any education proposals he lays out in his address today.* Cuomo has been laying the groundwork for an aggressive education agenda as he begins his second term, signaling that he will seek several major changes that, atypically for a Democrat, will put him in direct conflict with teachers’ unions. * The governor reportedly will propose tying together two education initiatives that have split the left and right — creation of a state DREAM Act and an education tax credit. This is the first time he’s including the DREAM Act in his budget, which is something advocates have been pushing.
“It’s an education arms race,” said Basil Smikle, a former state Senate candidate. “Education has become the dominant policy issue in New York City . . . Everyone is sort of playing defense now. The union is using all the resources it can muster to counter the school-choice movement. And school-choice advocates are marshalling significant resources to protect their charter schools.” One pro-charter group, Families for Excellent Schools, spent $5.95 million on Albany lobbying last year. And the campaign arm of StudentsFirstNY, another school-choice group, spent $4.4 million to help Republicans secure control of the Senate. * Cuomo faces a lot of pressure to propose education reforms that address the social and cultural issues that hobble urban public schools while challenging the status quo of teachers unions, the Post’s Bob McManuswrites:  * Poll: Nearly half of voters oppose Common Core (Capital) Cuomo’s job approval stands at 47 percent, but 60 percent have a favorable view of him* Education group ripsGov. Cuomo in a new video a day before he proposes school reforms (NYDN) *Poll: Nearly half ofNY voters oppose Common Core but more trust State Ed Dept than Cuomo  via @capitalnewyork * “The most sophisticated lobbying, politicking is done around the education budget,”Cuomo said. “And the answer to education has always been the same: more money, more money, more money.” * nAQE released a video ripping the governor’s policies and calling on him to address funding inequities between poor and rich school districts. * A group of state and city politicians are mounting a legislative push to tighten laws surrounding the locations of new charter schools in New York City. * * Gov. Andrew Cuomo will propose tying together two hot-button education initiatives that have split the left and right—creation of a state DREAM Act and an education tax credit, the Daily News reports:  *All Education, All the Time(YNN)

Elections Over So Fare Takes A Hike . . . . Fares Up

MTA board approves fare and toll hikes(NYP) The base fare will be raised from $2.50 to $2.75 on March 22, but bonuses for loading money on the cards will also be increased from 5 to 11 percent. The weekly MetroCard will go up from $30 to $31, and the monthly card will be increased from $112 to $116.50. Express bus fare will go up from $6 to $6.50. Commuter rail tickets will go up about 4 percent on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, depending on the line. Tolls will also increase about 4 percent on nine MTA bridges and tunnels, including the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Queens Midtown Tunnel, and RFK Bridge. The Verrazano will go from $15 to $16 on the cash toll rate, and from $10.66 to $11.08 for E-ZPass.* 'UNBELIEVABLE': Straphangers upset with latest MTA fare hike, which will increase base fare from $2.50 to $2.75 in March(NYDN)*M.T.A. Is Raising Fares and Tolls; One Subway or Bus Ride Will Cost $2.75(NYT)   MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast approved a 25-cent raise of the base subway fare to $2.75, a monthly card hike to $116.50 from $112 and a weekly card increase of one dollar to $31, along with a 25-cent EZ Pass increase for drivers, PIX11 reports: * A study from New York City’s Independent Budget Office found that the city's contribution to the MTA's capital budget has barely moved in the past 15 years, averaging about $100 million a year since 2000, the Daily News reports:
The MetroCard will be phased out in 2022, not in 2016 or 2017 as initially forecasted, while paying for New York City subways or buses with smart phones or bank cards could come by 2020, the Postwrites: MTA delays new payment system, extending life of MetroCards(NYP)  Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials support hiking of the MetroCard’s base fare from $2.50 to $2.75 and increasing the bonuses on pay-per-ride cards in March, rather than keeping the same fare and ditching the bonuses, the Post reports: 

MTA Unfunded Capital Plan
 Port Authority won’t cancel overnight PATH service(NYP) * Late-night PATH service between New Jersey and Manhattan will not be cut soon, as the proposal has not been presented to the Port Authority board and would require detailed study if it were, The New York Times reports:  * The MTA board on Thursday is expected to hit riders with a fare hike that will go into effect this March. Board members must approve one of two options MTA officials presented in order to raise revenue from fares and tolls 4 percent over two years. Riders will see fares go up 4 percent again in 2017.
 Wretched Souls Who Rely on Late-Night PATH Train Don’t Haveto Find a New Wayto Commute Just Yet (NY Mag)* No Imminent Plans to Cut PATH Service, Port Authority Says(NYT)The chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told legislators that rail service would not be cut in the near term, and if cuts were made, they would follow a public review. *  Wretched Souls Who Rely on Late-Night PATH Train Don’t Haveto Find a New Wayto Commute Just Yet 
The cost of building a transit link to LaGuardia Airport could be nearly twice the $450 million the governor estimated, MTA chief Tom Prendergast told lawmakers in Albany.* The M.T.A.’s recently announced subway, bus, and bridge fare hikes will help the agency close the $15.2 billion gap in its capital funding plan, according to Moody’s Credit Outlook.

More About the MTA

LGA AirTrain to the 7 No One Seat to the City . . .  Tappan Zee Bridge, Thruway  
Cuomo Wants Elevated Train Link Built to Ill-Served La Guardia Airport(NYT) The train, which would connect with the No. 7 subway line and the Long Island Rail Road, would be the first mass transit link to the Queens airport.* State lawmakers may study the potential merger of the state Thruway Authority into the Bridge Authority should a bill backed by state Sen. David Carlucci be approved, Stateof Politics reports: Cuomo promises to fix an ‘inexcusable’ LaGuardia problem(Capital) During a broad-gauge speech that he said was about downstate "infrastructure transportation," but was mostly about airports, Governor Andrew Cuomo promised to build a train to LaGuardia. "We will construct an AirTrain that will connect with the route 7 subway line and the Long Island Rail Road at Willets Point and will take you into LaGuardia," he told members of the New York establishment at an Association for a Better New York breakfast at a hotel near Grand Central Terminal. Cuomo called the lack of train access to LaGuardia "inexcusable."* Cuomo Pitches Infrastructure Plan To Business Leaders(YNN)* LaGuardia Airport to get train for commuters(NYP) * * Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed the construction of a $450 million elevated AirTrain link connecting LaGuardia Airport to the No. 7 subway and the Long Island Rail RoadThe New York Times reports:* The Cuomo administration also said it would use state bank settlements to invest $1.3 billion in the Thruway and a new Tappan Zee Bridge and $750 million in state roads and bridges, Gannett Albany writes: * The six-pointinfrastructure portion of Cuomo’s “2015 Opportunity Agenda” includes airport upgrades, expanded mass transit, design-build legislation, broadband and more: * Under a plan unveiled by Cuomo, New Yorkers will finally be able to take the train to LaGuardia. He wants to build a new $450 million AirTrain to connect the Queens airport to the subway.* Cuomo wants the state to send $1.3 billion to the Thruway Authority to prevent toll increases and help pay for the $3.9 billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project. The monday would come from $5 billion the state has received from financial settlements with banks and insurers. It’s not clear how much would go toward the bridge and how much would go toward the Thruway’s day-to-day operations. * Another $750 million will be earmarked for other Department of Transportation-managed roads and bridges, but what exactly that entails also will remain a mystery until Cuomo’s budget is unveiled.
@nickconfessore Not a "hater," but the MTA has a $15bn gap in its existing capital plan. Crazy to add project wo addressing that first!

Challenge to Lynch UFT Leadership
Can Your Imagine the Media Access and Money Team de Blasio Will Give Lynch's Opponents 

PBA dissidents out to challenge Pat Lynch for control of union (NYP) A group of dissident police officers is prepared to challenge PBA President Pat Lynch and the rest of his leadership team for control of the police union, one week after they blasted Lynch during a union meeting, sources said Monday night. The insurgent cops, who are currently members of the board of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, will make their announcement during a press conference in Brooklyn on Tuesday, according to the sources. The announcement will come amid tension in the department over Lynch’s crusade against Mayor de Blasio following the murders of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in December.* Commish Bill Bratton: Rhetoric and tension reached new heights after madman killed two NYPD officers(NYDN) * Female NYPD cop attacked while heading to work in Harlem — suspected attacker nabbed(NYDN) * In a season of protest — of cops and by cops — the mayor and his commissioner move New York forward(NYDN)*  Taxi kingpin brokers ceasefire between City Hall, NYPD sergeants union head (NYDN)  Evgeny (Gene) Freidman hosted the mayor and NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins at his ritzy Upper East Side home on Jan. 10, less than a month after the labor leader branded Hizzoner a 'total nincompoop,' sources told the Daily News.

The Strengthen the Shield Slate Against Lynch
NYPD vet to challenge Pat Lynch for PBA president (NYP) PBA trustee Brian Fusco will challenge Pat Lynch this spring in a bid for PBA president, a group of union insurgents announced Tuesday. The 27-year NYPD veteran is one of several police officers, who call themselves the Strengthen the Shield slate, seeking to supplant Lynch and the rest of his leadership team for control of the police union“It’s time we take over control and get the members the representation they deserve,” Fusco told The Post on Tuesday, adding that Lynch and his cohorts are “failing” them. He charged Lynch with delivering fiery speeches, only to disappear after the microphone’s turned off. Lynch has been a vocal critic of Mayor Bill de Blasio, accusing Hizzoner of not supporting cops in the wake of the Eric Garner grand jury decision. The strains within the union date back to when some cops believe Lynch did not have their backs during a Bronx ticket-fixing scandal that came to light in 2011. The slate of candidates includes Joe Anthony and Mike Hernandez, union trustees in The Bronx who are currently under indictment in the scandal, sources said. Other candidates include financial sectary John Giangrosso, of Brooklyn North, and trustee Brian Fusco, of Brooklyn South.* Black and Latinoofficers have their own concerns about the mayor and are feeling left out ofthe conversation. (WNYC) * PBA Boss Patrick LynchFaces Challenge From Brooklyn Cop (NYO) * BA President PatrickLynch faces leadership challenge from unhappy cops (NYDN)  Brian Fusco, a trustee of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, plans to run for president of the union with a slate of candidates calling itself ‘Strengthen the Shield.’ Lynch, who has led the group for 16 years, is ‘not listening to the membership,’ Fusco said, and his leadership has been scrutinized in recent weeks due to a slowdown in summonses issued and his repeated speaking out against Mayor de Blasio. * Challengers Look ToUnseat Patrick Lynch As NYPD Union Head (CBS)***PEF President Susan Lent was heckled by her own members at the People’s State of the State.* Police union challenger runs against contract, away fromrhetoric(Capital) * President of New York Police Union Will Face Election Challenge(NYT) Patrick J. Lynch, who has openly clashed with Mayor Bill de Blasio in recent weeks, is facing rare opposition to his leadership from within his own union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. * campaign web site for guy challenging police union leaderPat Lynch, registered 11/28/14. context:  #NYPD #labor  * A LIVING HEIL: Former NYPD officer called 'dirty Jew' in anti-Semitic attack by fellow cops at WTC post files lawsuit after being forced to quit(NYDN) * PBA President Patrick Lynch faces leadership challenge from unhappy cops who say he’s not listening (NYDN) * Outraged and IndictedOfficers Declare War on Patrick Lynch (NYO)

As Europe Hunts Down Muslim Terror Sleeper Cells de Blasio Visits 

de Blasio Who Also Needs the Jewish Vote for 2017 Heads to Paris
Mayor Bill De BlasioGoes To Paris To Honor Victims Of Terror Attacks(CBS)* Mayor de Blasio heading to Paris to honor slain Charlie Hebdojournalists (NYDN)* De Blasio to Spend One Day in Paris (NY Mag) * De Blasio traveling to Paris to show support after massacre (NYP)* NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is leaving for Paris tonight for a whirlwind, seven-event visit to honor the journalists murdered in the terror attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.* De Blasio visiting Paris to honor victims of recent terror attacks(SI Advance) * De Blasio travels to Paris to show support after massacre(NYP)* 'It was an attack on freedom of expression': De Blasio will visit Paris to honor victims of terror attacks(NYDN)* De Blasio VisitsParis to Honor Terror Victims (NY Mag) * De Blasio addresses'cancer of anti-Semitism' in Paris (Capital) * De Blasio pays respects to Charlie Hebdo victims in Paris(NYP) * New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio paid his respects to the victims of the recent terrorist attacks at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in Paris in a show of solidarity, the Times writes:  

 Mayor Pays His Respects During a Day Trip to Paris (NYT)  After a meeting with Jewish leaders in the French capital, Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City and Paris both “understand what it is to fight back” against terror.* NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio traveled through Paris yesterday, laying wreaths at the sites of the recent terror attacks, meeting with dignitaries and Jewish community leaders and, as the mayor of a city with a prominent Jewish population, speaking about “the cancer of anti-Semitism” throughout the world.* NYC Mayor Bill deBlasio took a surprise trip to Parisfollowing the Charlie Hebdo attacks.  * The de Blasio Diaries,Chapter 9: Parisin the wintertime (Vanity Fair)* De Blasio ‘moved’ by visit to sites of Paris terror attacks — but was troubled to see the fear in Jewish community(NYDN)

More on de Blasio's 2017 Re-Election Efforts

Will the Mayor Ask the French What They Think About Targeting Muslim Terrorists?
All against all: NYC’s policing war(NYP, Thomas A. Reppetto) Are the people who run the NYPD — headquarters brass, union officials, the mayor’s office, city lawyers — ever going to get on the same page, or will it take another disaster to wake them up? The latest news is that the NYPD may cut back on its investigations of self-radicalized potential domestic terrorists who happen to be Muslims. Supposedly, this will be done to pacify critics who’ve been suing the city. The notion that authorities can’t target particular groups for investigation is ridiculous. It’s like telling the cops who blanketed mafia hangouts a generation ago that they shouldn’t have paid attention to such places.Right now, city authorities seem to be spending more time in a war of all against all than in doing their jobs.* * The bloody attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery store in Paris leave a lesson for New York: Jihad no longer comes exclusively from abroad, as radicalized Muslims within our midst can be just as lethal, the Post writes:
 Remember, the present turmoil is most likely being watched carefully by people who’d like nothing more than to exploit our weaknesses to carry out a successful terror attack. The current crisis of police morale and performance is almost an invitation to a terrorist strike at the world’s most important city. That’s one key reason for the governor to ensure that New York law enforcement presents a strong and united front. No leader need ever apologize for fighting crime and terrorism. The recent polls confirm this: City residents want an end to the name-calling and infighting, and vigorous action against all threats to safety. Thomas A. Reppetto is past president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City and a former commander of detectives in the Chicago Police Department.

DA's Transparency OK But No Special Prosecutors 
The state's local district attorneys say they can support measures to make the grand jury process more transparent, but are “diametrically opposed” to automatically requiring special prosecutors in police brutality cases, the Daily News reportsUnapologetic Lynch defends his war of words with de Blasio(NYP)  Embattled PBA President Patrick Lynch defended his war of words with Mayor de Blasio — despite a poll showing he was even less popular than cop-bashing Rev. Al Sharpton. “I don’t do my job to make myself popular,” Lynch told The Post Friday. “I do my job to get the best policies in the Police Department that protects our members and helps us do our job with the public that we serve.* Mayor Bill de Blasio will spend part of Martin Luther King Jr. Day with the Rev. Al Sharpton, which Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins says undermines the mayors credibility with cops, the Daily News reports: * Brooklyn man who claims NYPD officer put him in chokehole screams 'Can't breathe' — but lived and will now collect $75K(NYDN)  Cuomo is considering proposing automatic state reviews when grand juries fail to indict in police brutality cases, but he might not call for sending such cases to special prosecutors, the Daily News reports:

Tickets and Arrests Up But Not Up To Last Years Levels 

Arrests and tickets have yet to reach the same levels as in past years, but the rebound further indicates that a slowdown is over.
Tawana Brawley-Sharpton hoax portrayed in new novel(NYP) * Dozens join candlelight walk to remember Eric Garner on 6-month anniversary of his death (SI Advance)* Families of slain NYPD Officers Ramos and Liu attend benefit on Staten Island (SI Advance) * News Closeup: Staten Island DA Dan Donovan weighs in on Eric Garner grand jury(WPIX) * NYC College Students Ponder Post-Garner Activism(Village Voice) * NYPD Being Investigated by Brooklyn DA for Planting Guns onInnocent People  * The Dark Side of 'Broken Windows' Policing (NYT)* NYC politicians, protesters to be out in force on MLK Day(NYP)* Ex-CCRB official caught lying at murder trial of beau(NYP) *Schumer Rails AgainstAlleged Efforts to Suppress Minority Turnout (NYO) * Brooklyn streets renamed in honor of murdered cops(NYP)

Cuomo Looks At Criminal Justice Changes 
The 11th preview from the Opportunity Agenda came in the form of a 176-page report from the governor’s Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice, appointed as part of a Cuomo initiative from his 2014 State of the State address to examine how the state treats 16 and 17-year-old offenders. * The commission recommended, and Cuomo supported, ending the state’s policy of treating minors in the criminal justice system as adults. New York is one of just two states – the other being North Carolina – that does this. *  Cuomo is considering requiring automatic state reviews when grand juries fail to indict in police brutality cases. Under a scenario being discussed with interested parties, once a grand jury decides not to indict, the DA would be required to transmit all records from the case — including grand jury transcripts — to the state entity doing the review.

So Much for Connecting Albany Pay Raises to Ethic Reform
Cuomo this week will propose a commission to consider a pay raise for state lawmakers and agency heads, the Daily News reports: *  Cuomo will urge panel on salary raises for state legislators(NYDN)A source says Gov. Cuomo's plan would set up a two-tier pay structure — one amount for lawmakers who don’t have outside income and a lower amount for those who do.* Cuomo wants commission to set lawmaker pay (Capital)  Two-tiered structure recommended depending on whether legislators have other jobs * Cuomo Unveils Pay Hike Panel For Lawmakers, Commissioners(YNN) * Gov. Cuomo sees no need to cap outside income forstatewide officials (NYDN) * The governor said the two-tier system would be tied to reforms he has been seeking, including “total disclosure” of where outside income is coming from. “You are making hundreds of thousands of dollars. Is it a conflict? Tell me who paid you,” he said. “The disclosure makes it better for everybody.”* The commission would also consider salary increases for other statewide elected officials and state agency commissioners.
Flashback  Cuomo: Pass Ethics Bill or No Raises(WSJ) * Cuomo Plans Panel on Legislative Pay and Restricting Outside Income (NYT)  The commission proposed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo would be charged with creating a cap on the amount of income a New York State legislator could earn and greater disclosure on how it is earned. * Cuomo Questions Limits On Outside Income For Statewide Officials (YNN)

$20 Million for New Summons Court In the Municipal Building 

City will spend $20million to renovate space in Municipal Building to house Summons Court:officials (NYDN)  The city sold the building where Summons Court was located to a developer. Now, the Summons Court will be housed in the 16th-floor of the landmark Municipal Building.

Cuomo Good Minimum Wage Cop, Senate Bad Minimum Wage Cop 
State Senate Republicans pose a significant roadblock to the governor’s plan to again hike the minimum wage, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds most of the cards in the negotiation because of the budget powers he wields, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett writes:  Cuomo vows to boost city’s minimum wage to $11.50(NYP) * Cuomo called for investing millions of dollars inanti-poverty programs and increasing the minimum wage.(WNYC) STAKES GO HIGHER: Gov. Cuomo pushes 30% hike, raising minimum wage to $11.50 in NYC and $10.50 in rest of state(NYDN) * Gov. Cuomo holds most of the cards in plan to increase minimum wage: analysis(NYDN)* Cuomo, BY PHONE, telling @TheRevAl audience about his plan to create the "highest minimum wage in America.” cc @JimmyVielkind. #MLKDay * Wage advocates callGov. Cuomo's plan to boost New York'sminimum wage "seriously inadequate" (NYDN)* Cuomo's proposed minimum wage hike would take effect at endof 2016, not 2015 as he said during press conference. (LoHud) * Conservative Party Reiterates Minimum Wage Hike Opposition(YNN) * IDC Agenda: Local Control For Minimum Wage, Paid Family Leave(YNN)* Cuomo On Minimum Wage, Then And Now(YNN)* Cuomo said his minimum wage proposal—$11.50 in New York City and $10.50 elsewhere—is not inconsistent, although he had backed allowing local governments to raise it above the state’s, State of Politics reports:  * * With the state’s minimum wage having lost almost 25 percent in purchasing power since 1970, and CEOs enjoying compensation that is 300 times the pay of their workers, now is the time for a wage hike, the Daily News writes: * Cuomo’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour in the city would offer workers less compensation than other urban areas and reneges on a campaign promise, the Daily News’ Juan Gonzalez writes: * The DN’s Juan Gonzalez calls the minimum wage hike Cuomo is proposing “half a loaf.”* OMCE likes Cuomo call for a legislative/executive pay commission, but notes such a panel could also look at salaries of thousands of non-union state employees in management/confidential state jobs. *  Silver Questions Legality Of Two-Tiered Pay Hike(YNN)

Trade Mission to Cuba?  Why Cuomo is Really Going to the Communist Nation 
The state’s top Republican contends Cuomo’s upcoming “trade mission” to Cuba should convince him to back off his efforts to have the government control New York’s economy, the New York Post’s Fred Dicker reports * Ed Cox thinks Cuomo has a lot to learn during Cuba visit(NYP) * New York Gov. AndrewCuomo is planning trade mission to #Cuba  @WSJ * Cuomo says he will not push Cuba on human rights, says he doesn't want to get involved in American diplomacy as relations are normalized *n Cuomo says state is researching now what it can do to trade with Cuba before upcoming trade mission.* Cuomo: "There are issues that concern me about Cuba" but says trip is not conducive to raising human rights issues.* Cuomo says he'lltalk business, not human rights, while visiting Cuba (Capital)

Sinatra is the Chairman of the Board(Walk) Not Plastic  

Critics ripped de Blasio Sunday for going along with a $10 million scheme to replace the wood on Coney Island’s iconic Riegelmann Boardwalk with concrete and plastic, the Post writes:

Does the City Understand History . . .  It Started In Europe Last Time Also
City may yank terrorism report to appease mosque ‘spying’ critics(NYP) In top-secret talks to settle federal lawsuits against the NYPD for monitoring mosques, the city is weighing a demand that it scrub from its Web site a report on Islamic terrorists, The Post has learned. The groundbreaking, 92-page report, titled “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat,” angers critics who say it promotes “religious profiling” and discrimination against Muslims. But law-enforcement sources say removing the report now would come at the worst time — after mounting terror attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris, Boston, Sydney and Ottawa. Here in New York, Zale Thompson, a man who heeded online calls by ISIS for jihad, attacked two NYPD officers with a hatchet in October. “The harm is that it sends the message that the NYPD is ­going to back down on its counterterrorism effort in the name of political correctness,” said a former NYPD official. “Shame on the NYPD if they do.” 

for whom the bell tolls (Europe) it tolls for thee (America)
Sources familiar with the case confirmed that removal of the NYPD report is one of the major sticking points in settlement negotiations. Also on the table are demands that the NYPD halt any ongoing surveillance in the Muslim community and that records of prior monitoring be expunged, sources said. With what seems today like a crystal ball, the 2007 NYPD report identified an “emerging threat” — al Qaeda-inspired jihadists in the United States and abroad, hell-bent on attacking their host countries. Under former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the report served as a blueprint for the NYPD’s “demographic unit,” which sent plainclothes detectives into Muslim cafes, stores and mosques to detect potential terrorists. After the initiative was exposed by The Associated Press, Muslim leaders and groups filed two lawsuits in Brooklyn federal court claiming they were subjected to unwarranted surveillance. The suits complain the radicalization report puts virtually all Muslims under suspicion. Last April, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton disbanded the intelligence-gathering unit. A spokesman for the city Law Department said, “Discussions are ongoing, and nothing is final.” * They shavedregularly. Wore jeans and sneakers. They blended into Paris. Then they carried out their murderousplot. (NYT) * Perpetuating Guantánamo’s Travesty(NYT Ed) * German anti-Islam rally canceled after warning of"concrete" terrorist threat to organizer - * Making Distinctions: Islam Is Not Islamism (Jewish Week) * 5 killed in Nigeras anti-Charlie Hebdo protesters burn churches in capital *Hebdo Editor to Chuck Todd: When You Blur Our Cover, 'YouBlur out Democracy'  (VIDEO)

Community Watch-Groups Abandoned the Neighborhoods 
A City Which One Hosted Neighborhood Watch-Groups Moves Towards Religious and Ethnic Watch Groups
Muslim preacher starts neighborhood-watch group(NYP) Don’t trust the cops? Call the “peace” patrol. A Muslim preacher in The Bronx is behind the Community Peace Patrol Officers — a neighborhood-watch group that helps teenagers who don’t want to listen to police. “There are lots of times where kids don’t like law enforcement because they were born and raised in a situation where ­[police] are their enemies,” said Sheikh Moussa Drammeh. The imam’s crew is part of a number of citizen patrols launching citywide. Some private groups — including Sunset Park’s Brooklyn Asian Safety ­Patrol — are sanctioned by the NYPD and even have their own patrol cars.

Gray Mommy NYT Protects Her Mayor From Bully Cuomo 
Cuomo could help ease tensions between the NYPD and City Hall if he acted as a partner, instead of barging in as a competitor to the mayor, intent on muscling through a negotiated peace, The Times writes:    It won’t help if he comes barging in as a competitor to the mayor, intent on muscling through a negotiated peace. He could help a great deal if he acts as a partner instead. Cuomo should resist efforts by the police unions to undermine parts of a crucial pension reform approved in 2012.  Now the unions are using their unhappiness with Mr. de Blasio to curry favor with Mr. Cuomo, and to persuade him to reopen the pension law and increase disability pensions for newer employees. This would not only undermine the 2012 reforms but would wind up costing the city about $6 billion over 30 years for all uniformed employees. Mr. Cuomo, who once called the reforms “bold and transformational,” should not retreat now. * Cuomo ribs de Blasio over money pledged to Buffalo(NYDN)

NYT Does Not Want PO Healey Who Was Attacked With An Ax to Only Get A Pension of $27 Dollar-A-Day, But Took $100 Million from A Mexican Billionaire for Themselves
He cannot claim to make peace in the city if his changes in state law stick the city with that kind of tab.  He should veto a sneaky little bill that passed without notice last year and would vastly undermine the authority of the city’s police commissioner in disciplinary matters. Instead of allowing the commissioner to mete out proper punishment to wayward officers, it would leave the choices to collective bargaining, giving the police union far too much control over important personnel decisions. Mr. Cuomo has lamented that recent shootings and protests have left people “confused, disappointed and angry” about the justice system. He has the power to help heal those wounds if he treads very carefully. NYT Takes More Cash From Sims Mexican billionaire Sims more than doubles New York Times stake * Cop in NYPD ax attack takes his first steps in a week (NYP) NYPD Officer Attacked With Hatchet Only Eligible for $27a Day in Pension (DNAINFO)

After the Death of Two Cops and A Police Crisis Council Finds $$$ to Buy New Effective Bullet-Proof Vests
NYPD finally getting new bullet-proof vests(NYP) Rank-and-file cops finally got some good news from city government — they’re getting more than 12,000 new protective vests to replace equipment that’s been outdated for years. * The move, announced Thursday by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, came just three days after The Post reported that many cops are wearing body armor with expired warranties and a month after two cops were shot to death execution-style in Brooklyn. * City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-ViveritoPhoto: Brigitte Stelzer “It’s sad that it takes this long and a tragedy to make them realize there are more important things to spend money on,” said a law-enforcement source.

Boyland is A Toxic Mess
Former assemblyman sued by office manager(NYP)  It’s gone from bad to worse for disgraced former Brooklyn politico William Boyland Jr. The ​former assemblyman – who was convicted of corruption last March – is being sued by his ​one-time office manager for wrongfully canning him because he cooperated with the federal investigation​, according to a Brooklyn federal lawsuit. Michael Caver, who testified at Boyland’s trial, claims his former boss caught wind that he had discussed his case with FBI agents and that “he was going to to something about it,” according to court papers.
More On Boyland Going to Jail

Vito Lopez Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Goes Forward
Victims of disgraced Rep. Lopez can sue state: judge(NYP) The two young women who toppled the career of Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez​ when they accused him of sexual harassment can pursue a lawsuit against the state of New York for allowing the behavior​ to go on​, a judge ruled. In a decision released Thursday Justice Paul Wooten writes that before the women in his case, Victoria Burhans and Chloe Rivera​,​ went public with their boss, two previous Lopez staffers had complained to legislative staff about his inappropriate conduct. Yet the state officials never forwarded the complaints to the Ethics Committee or investigated the alleged incidents, Wooten notes.* Judge allows VitoLopez accusers to pursue sexual harassment claims against the state (NYDN) State Supreme Court Judge Paul Wooten rejected arguments by the state that former Lopez staffers Victoria Burhans and Chloe Rivera were not state employees and that the state – specifically Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver – was unaware of Lopez’s actions and could not be held responsible for his harassment.

A Speaker Cou d'e'tat Derailed By Silver GOP loyalist on the Member Item Tit   
Assembly Republican blocks coup effort against Sheldon Silver(NYP) A bold plan to launch a “coup’’ against embattled Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver through a coalition of Democrats and Republicans has been rejected by Assembly GOP leader Brian Kolb — who many lawmakers insist is actually in league with Silver, The Post has learned. The plan, which some in the Legislature contend could have enlisted the support of Gov. Cuomo, a Democrat, would have had the Assembly’s 44 Republicans vote as a bloc with a minimum of 32 of the Assembly’s 106 Democrats to cast the 76 votes needed to elect someone other than Silver, the Manhattan Democrat now being probed by US Attorney Preet Bharara. Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R-Rensselaer), an increasingly outspoken critic of Kolb, has secretly pushed the plan to oust Silver for two years and accelerated it in recent weeks in the wake of new revelations involving Bharara’s investigation of Silver, who was just re-elected as speaker last week. Back to 3 Men in the Room With Republicans having won an outright majority of the state Senate, Sen. Jeff Klein is expected to be bounced from the negotiating table with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, where decisions are made behind outside the view of the public, the Daily News’ KenLovett writes: 
Blow to Klein  New Republican Senate majority is a blow to breakawayDemocrats, especially Sen. Jeffrey Klein (NYDN) * Respected Assembly sergeant-at-arms hits 40 years in chamber (NYDN) Women's Rights Bill Portions of the Women’s Equality Act will be among the first bills passed by the state Senate in 2015, but the chamber won’t be taking up a provision that would bolster the state’s abortion law, Gannett Albanyreports: *Silver: No WEA Vote Without Abortion Provision(YNN) *Senate To Vote On Eight Women’s Agenda Bills(YNN) * Our view: SheldonSilver's repugnant re-election as speaker( * Moderate Republicans Oppose Immigration Vote(YNN)* On Policy, Stewart-Cousins Sees Common Ground With IDC(YNN)* Under federal investigation, new records show Sheldon Silver spent another $30,000 from campaign account on legal fees.* With a federal investigation looming over outside income he’s received, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver last month spent $30,000 on attorneys fees, State of Politics reports * The IDC released its 15-point policy agenda today - two days ahead of the full release of Cuomo’s Opportunity Agenda

After Galante Fall Queens Library Cleaning House 
GONZALEZ: Four Queens Library officials, pals of ex-chief Thomas Galante, resign in reshuffling (NYDN) Four top aides to former Queens Library chief executive Thomas Galante resigned this week after a reshuffling of the library’s management by interim executive director Bridget Quinn-Carey

Cuomo's 100,000 So Far Legal Bill to Shut Down Moreland
 Cuomo’s spent $100,000 last month on the law firm representing him and the executive chamber in the federal probe into his administration’s handling of the governor’s anti-corruption commission
Andrew Cuomo's campaign pays $100K fighting federal probe(NYDN)Gov. Cuomo’s campaign shelled out another $100,000 to the law firm representing him and the executive chamber against a federal probe into his administration’s handling of his anti-corruption commission. Cuomo’s campaign sent the $100,000 to Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello on Dec. 29, according to his latest campaign disclosure filing. Cuomo previously had paid the firm $10,000. The Daily News reported in August that prominent white-collar criminal attorney Elkan Abramowitz, a longtime Cuomo pal, had been hired. He had been advising Cuomo since May.* Andrew Cuomo's Top Aide Lobbied For Firms With StateBusiness  ( state personal income break.” Plus it treats the “symptom” and not the “disease” of high taxes. * The late former Gov. Mario Cuomo had a history of failing to support fellow NY Dems – a criticism some have also directed at his son. * You could say a lot of things about how Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s second term is shaping up, but “out of gas” is not one of them. * A community college dean muses on Cuomo’s college loan forgiveness proposal, giving it a mixed review. * Skelos Urges Cuomo To Include Education Tax Credit In Budget * A Sienapoll found Cuomo’s favorability rating has improved to 60 percent, its highest level since July, while jobs and education are the top two issues voters want him to prioritize this year:* Testing Andrew: Teacher unions on attack(NYP)* Bob McManus on what he hopes to hear from Cuomo regarding education reform: “Any proposal that lacks meaningful mechanisms for ridding the schools of incompetent teachers — that is, for cracking the union hold on the process — is also fraudulent.”* The first signal of Cuomo’s second-term approach(Capital)* Klein ‘optimistic’ about ability to affect agenda (Capital) Independent Democratic Conference has big plans, even with Republican majority* The Republican Prebuttal Focuses On Cuomo’s Promises(YNN)* After years of protesting Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State addresses, anti-fracking activists will be throwing parties tomorrow to toast the governor instead. * Alexis Grenell thinks Cuomo should let the Women’s Equality Party die. *The state Democratic Committee’s housekeeping account brought in nearly $770,000 in receipts and spent more than $1.2 million over the past six months.

Black Team Cuomo Taking Shape to Take On Who? Another Rev? Flake, Camara
Rev. Floyd Flake, who Cuomo nominated to the state Public Service Commission, is has a record as a “Cuomo back-scratcher” who will do the governor’s bidding, regardless of the merit, the Post writes:  * Brooklyn Assemblyman Will Join the Cuomo Administration(NYO)  Assemblyman Karim Camara, a Brooklyn Democrat and ordained minister, will lead a new faith-based community development program, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today.* Cuomo announces $50M nonprofit program headed by Karim Camara(Capital)
Shifting State Tax to Local Taxes  Gov. Unserious(NYP Ed)  Certainly, the plan can provide minor relief for some taxpayers. But does it address New York’s overall tax problems — or even just its high property taxes — for the long term? Not even close.As E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center notes, this isn’t a tax cut so much as a subsidy whose cost ultimately will be borne by all taxpayers. In other words, it’s merely a shift (think: three-card Monte) from state taxpayers to local taxpayers.* Editorial: Cuomo's property tax plan is right on the money(NYDN) Eduction  Governor May Push to Weaken State Board of Regents(NY1) Sunday Update  Cuomo to Offer Plan to Cut College Graduates’ Debt(NYT) *  U.S. Lawmakers in Cuba for 3-Day Visit(NYT) * Ex-Speaker of New York Council Becomes an Adviser to Cuomo(NYT) * Cuomo Announces Plans to Go to Cuba(NY1) * NYConservative Party against Cuomo property tax circuit breaker:"Subsidies do not resolve the problems; they create winners and losers...''* Andrew Cuomo proposing to expand 'yes means yes' rulesagainst sexual assault to private colleges(NYDN) * Cuomo Calls ForSmall-Business Tax Cut, Student Loan Forgiveness(CBS)

Scripted Government With Media Enablers 

On the Same Day the Mayor's Media Bullies Work Over Lynch de Blasio Appeals Over His Head Directly to His Men

A Campaign Manager Mayor
De Blasio reveling in union dissent directed toward Lynch(NYP) Mayor de Blasio took obvious delight Wednesday in the labor discord that could topple a major nemesis, longtime NYPD union chief Pat Lynch. Hizzoner’s pleasure was plain when asked about the raucous union meeting at which a cop openly chastised Lynch for demanding an apology from the mayor instead of focusing on the rank and file’s safety. “It’s a big, diverse police force with lots of different viewpoints,” de Blasio said during a news conference in The Bronx. “It doesn’t surprise me at all that more and more officers would offer different views of what needs to be done.” 

De Blasio also took a clear shot at Lynch’s heated rhetoric, which has included accusing the mayor of throwing cops “under the bus” and having “blood on the hands” in the Dec. 20 assassination of two cops in Brooklyn. “I think I’ve separated, a long time ago, some of the specific things some of the union leaders have said from what is felt by the rank and file. This wouldn’t be the first case where that is true,” de Blasio said. Lynch has insisted the mayor apologize for a lack of support in the aftermath of the Eric Garner grand-jury decision. While de Blasio also insisted that he did not owe anyone an apology Wednesday, he did denounce planned Thursday demonstrations by virulent anti-cop protesters who, he said “say really inappropriate, reprehensible things about our police officers.* Mayor Bill de Blasio said he could improve his communications on law enforcement matters, a remark that came a day after Cuomo met with police union officials, The Wall Street Journal reports:  * De Blasio appeared to take delight in the labor discord that could topple a major nemesis, longtime NYPD union chief Patrick Lynch, theNew York Post writes:  * De Blasio also said NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton has a right to speak his mind, even when he’s linking police-City Hall tension to Chirlane McCray's former aide Rachel Noerdlinger, the Daily News writes: * De Blasio's sorry performance heats up his war with theNYPD (NYDN)  Mayor de Blasio has gone to war with the NYPD, risking consequences that could be disastrous for New York. Mistaking stubbornness for strength, the mayor ruled out expressing any regret for the words and deeds that have cost him command of the police force. 

Mayor's 180 on Protests Blame His unsolicited slam of the protest groups was a departure from the tone he’s taken in the past, when he’s bristled at being asked about inflammatory chants and blamed the media for bringing them up. It followed another nod to cop concerns—his pledge Tuesday to veto a bill to make chokeholds a crime, which he reiterated Wednesday.”  News editorial page: “Now, by refusing to acknowledge even the possibility that the cops have valid complaints, by ruling out even the chance that he gave unwarranted offense to individual officers, the mayor confirmed for the rank-and-file that his attempts to praise his way into the good graces of the Finest are hollow.* * The New York City Council proposed spending $7.3 million on new bulletproof vests for cops, which would fund 10,000 vests at $600 each during the fiscal year that starts in June, the Daily News reports: *"de Blasio’s efforts to end a bitter rift with parts of the police force could be complicated by his liberal allies”(WSJ) * De Blasio’s next lesson: He still hasn’t learned last year’s(NYP) * 'It sounds like a temper tantrum': Rank and file rip PBA boss Lynch for recent tirade, accuse him of neglecting safety of officers(NYDN)* At New York City Police Meetings, Officers Offer Varying Opinions on Slowdown, Police Unions(WSJ)* Bratton defends broken windows policing: "Quality-of-lifeenforcement is what saved this city back in the ’90s."(Brooklyn Paper)* Everyday New Yorkers and NYPD officers both fear violence and demand respect, and both sides—cops and their allies on the one hand, and protesters and City Hall on the other—will have to acknowledge their biases before New York City can move forward, writes Richard Aborn in AM New York: * NYPD to host benefit for families of slain officers(NYP)

Affordable Housing is Only A Numbers Game
By Highlighting Housing Gains, de Blasio Raises a Counting Question(NYT)  Mayor Bill de Blasio said that his administration was on pace to meet his 10-year affordable housing goals, but his predecessor might take issue with his first-year tally. Mr. Bloomberg, who had his own affordable housing goal of 165,000 units, said before he left office that 160,000 of the homes would be completed by the time his final term ended in 2013, with the rest on track to be finished by June 2014 — the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year. According to the Independent Budget Office, about 8,700 units were included in either new construction or preservation projects that received financing — the point at which they are counted toward the city’s housing goals — from January 2014 to June 2014. That means they spanned both the 2013-14 fiscal year, which began under Mr. Bloomberg, and the 2014 calendar year, Mr. de Blasio’s first 12 months in City Hall.* No affordable housing is going up south of 96th St.(NYDN) More Numbers Games from the Mayor:Trafic De Blasio said 2014was the safest year in traffic on record. But a WNYC analysis finds that’s notexactly clear.
I agree with Senator Jesse Hamilton, 421A tax breaks should not apply to market rate developments. #WeNeedAffordableHousing

Airbnb Offers the City Some Sugar
Days before the New York City Council’s scheduled hearing on short-term rentals, Airbnb says it could send $65 million to city and state coffers in 2015 if the law was changed to allow it to collect and remit certain taxes, the Daily News reports:

Another Kind of Ticket Fixing Cop Pleas Guilty to Conspiring to Kill A Witness  
Former Officer Admits Crimes in Bronx Ticket-Fixing Scandal(NYT)  Jose Ramos, previously sentenced to more than 12 years in prison, received an additional three to nine years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to kill a witness.* José Ramos, the disgraced former Bronx cop at the center of a massive NYPD ticket-fixing scandal, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a slew of charges—including conspiring to kill a witness, the Post reports:   * Ticket-fix cop pleads guilty to conspiring to kill a witness(NYP)

Conflict Of Interests On Fire In the Cover-Up of Death of 4 Year Old Ariel Russo 
1. A Reporters for CrainsNY Blocks Ariel's Mother From Asking Manhattan DA A Question About Her Daughter Death.  2. Ariel Russo Mother Lawyer is Sanford Rubenstein in Their $40 Million Lawsuit for Wrongful Death Against the City's Often Failed 911 System 3. Lobbyist Mercury Represent HP A Major Contractor of the City's Failed 911 System  4.  de Blasio Appointed HP Lobbyist's Mercury Jonathan Greenspun Who Worked for A Koch Brothers PAC in 2013 Pushing Joe Lhota to the City's Human Rights Commission, A Move Designed to Win Mercury's Support for His 2017 Re-Election.  5. Was Mercury Hiring of Sharpton's Rachel Noerdlinger An Attempt to Influence Rubinstein in Ariel lawsuit? 6. Does DA Vance Decision Not  to Send Rubenstein Rape Case to A Grand Jury Call for A Special Prosecutor in the Ariel Russo Case?

Update No Trial No Record For Parents Lawsuit Against the City. . .  Judge Block Manhattan DA Cover-Up of 4 Year Olds Death
Teen terror's momexplodes in court after judge yanks plea deal for driver in killing of ArielRusso (NYDN)  Franklin Reyes has been arrested three times since the June 2013 incident, including once for assaulting a police officer, and the judge ruled he no longer should be offered youthful offender status. Lilia Reyes was barred from the remaining proceedings after her outburst.
Manhattan Judge Offers Deal to Driver Who Killed Girl, 4(NYT)  Justice Gregory Carro offered Franklin Reyes Jr., accused of killing Ariel Russo last year while fleeing the police on the Upper West Side, a lighter sentence in exchange for a guilty plea.GROW UP! Judge pulls ‘youthful offender’ plea deal after teen gets arrested THREE times since mowing down Ariel Russo, 4 (NYDN)  Franklin Reyes has been arrested three since the June 2013 incident, including once for assaulting a police officer. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro said that while he would not give Reyes — who was 17 and speeding without a license when he killed Russo — the "youthful offender" deal originally offered, he was still weighing his age as a factor. "I am still considering the defendant's age and if the defendant wishes to take responsibility for each one of these cases [he'll get] what would amount to 3-to-9 years as an adult," Carro said at an afternoon hearing. Prosecutors had wanted up to 15 years behind bars for the reckless teenager, who is being held at Rikers Island without bail because of his repeated run-ins with the law.

Who is Protecting Ariel Russo? DA, Media, Pols or Her Lawyer
Slain toddler’s mom silenced by panel discussing her daughter(NYP) The heartbroken mom of Ariel Russo — the 4-year-old girl killed by an underage driver on the Upper West Side in 2013 as he raced away from cops — was stopped in her tracks Tuesday when she tried to ask Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. about traffic deaths during a panel that included a discussion of her daughter’s case. Sofia Russo, 28, interrupted the 90-minute event hosted by Crain’s New York Business by asking the top prosecutor if he’d meet with her and Families for Safe Streets, an advocacy group. “I lost my daughter and I just want to ask . . . Mr. Vance, if you would,” Russo said before being cut off by moderator Erik Engquist, who reminded her, “There are no questions from the audience!” Franklin Reyes, who is charged with manslaughter in Ariel’s death, is due back in court Wednesday.

Lobbyist Mercury Represent HP A Major Contractor of the City's Failed 911 System  
No Human Rights for Ariel Russo Who Counted On the 911 Emergency Phone System to Live

de Blasio Names 911 Failed System Lobbyists Greenspun to the Human Rights Commission
Bill de Blasio nameschair for city's Commission on Human Rights, eight new commissioners(NYDN)  de Blasio named a chair for the city’s Commission on Human Rights and eight new commissioners to the agency’s board Friday – including a deep-pocketed lobbyist who donated heavily to the mayor in 2013. Brazil native and president of the New York Women’s Foundation, Catherine Albisa, a constitutional and human rights lawyer of Cuban heritage, and East Harlem native Arnaldo Segarra, who is of Puerto Rican descent. .” Liu’s audit said that Hewlett Packard shouldn’t have been hired for the 911 work because it failed to meet the city’s technical requirements. Among the lobbyists to get paid by the city’s broken 911 system contractors wLiu also claimed that the city and HP hired unqualified project consultants and overbilled the city by another $50 George Arzt, Mercury Public Affairs, LLC, Jennifer Carlson, Peter Barden, Jonathan Greenspun, Michael McKeon, Kasirer Consulting LLC. More on Corrupt Lobbyists More on Dark Pool Corrupt Lobbyists
Newly appointed Jonathan Greenspun, a Mercury Public Affairs Managing Director and registered lobbyist, bundled $4,075 for de Blasio’s 2013 City Hall campaign, and donated another $23,000 towards his transition, according to campaign finance records. Greenspun, a former community affairs commissioner for ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was apparently hedging his bets during the campaign. He also raised $5,000 for mayoral candidate Bill Thompson – who lost to de Blasio in the primary – and another $400 for failed Republican candidate Joseph Lhota. The mayor, who has been criticized for failing to appoint Hispanics to high-ranking positions, also tapped three Latinos to serve on the board alongside Greenspun. Those three are Ana Oliveira, a 

Sharpton's Sanford Rubenstein Represents Ariel's Family in 40 Million Dollar Lawsuit Against the City's 911 System  
Family of ArielRusso, tot killed by driver fleeing police, will stand by lawyer Sanford Rubenstein (NYDN, October 16, 2014)  Allen and Sofia Russo said they don’t believe Rubenstein is guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in his apartment after the Rev. Al Sharpton’s birthday party last week. Rubenstein is suing the city and driver Franklin Reyes in the death of 4-year-old Ariel. Rubenstein is suing the city and driver Franklin Reyes for wrongful death, and has accompanied the parents to every hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court for the child’s killer.Family of ArielRusso, killed in crash, prepares $40 million suit against city over 911 delay (NYDN June 11, 2013)  
More on Rubinstein

It took emergency responders more than 4 minutes to arrive to the scene of the motor vehicle accident that killed Russo. The driver of the SUV was unlicensed. The family of a 4-year-old girl whose death followed the bungling of a 911 call will file a $40 million lawsuit against the city and emergency responders, the Daily News has learned.  The complaint by the parents of little Ariel Russo charges the defendants — including the unlicensed driver in the fatal wreck — were careless and negligent in the child’s heartbreaking death on June 4. “It took too long for them to get there,” devastated mom Sofia Russo told The News, referring to a four-minute delay in getting an ambulance to the scene. “No other child should die because it takes too long. The ambulance system has to be fixed for the children of New York.” Notices of claim will be filed Wednesday — two days after innocent Ariel was buried in her ballerina dress, alongside her favorite doll and teddy bear. Family attorneys Sanford Rubenstein and Ira Newman cited the city’s failure to quickly transport the mortally injured girl and her grandmother to a hospital after the crash.

McCray and Sharpton's Noerdlinger Is A GOP Mercury Lobbyist  
Was Mercury Hiring of Sharpton's Rachel Noerdlinger An Attempt to Influence Rubinstein in the Ariel lawsuit? 

The Shadow Government Grows
Rachel Noerdlingerstarts new job at Mercury Public Affairs(NYDN) Rachel Noerdlinger, the controversial ex-aide to first lady Chirlane McCray, has landed a new gig at prominent PR firm Mercury Public Affairs. “I'm elated to start the new year as Managing Director at #Mercury! I'm thrilled to join one of the best firms in the country!” Noerdlinger tweeted Monday, her first day at the new job.* 
The controversialformer chief of staff to the city's first lady has landed a new job. (NY1)* Rachel Noerdlinger, the former chief of staff to New York City's first lady, announced that she has a new job at Mercury Public Affairs, theAssociated Press reports Update  Former New York state Democratic Party executive director/Cuomo running mate Charlie King joins Mercury LLC

Six Degrees of Sanford 
Partner of AkaiGurley, the man killed by rookie NYPD cop in Brooklynstairwell, hires law associate of Sanford Rubenstein (NYDN) EXCLUSIVE: Kimberly Ballinger, the mother of Gurley’s 2-year-old daughter, dumped lawyer Jonathan Moore and hired Scott Rynecki. She said Rynecki’s experience handling wrongful shootings by NYPD cops was the reason she switched lawyers. Rynecki is the law partner of Rubenstein.

de Blasio is Trying to Line Up GOP Mercury for His 2017 
ECTP lobbyist namedby de Blasio to city's Commission on Human Rights (Progress Queens) Jonathan Greenspun, a registered lobbyist and managing director atMercury Public Affairs LLC, has been named by Mayor Bill de Blasio(D-New York City) to serve on the New York City Commission on Human Rights, City Hall announced on Friday.

The Sharpton de Blasio Koch Brothers Mercury Connect
More Shadow Government Abusive Conflict Of Interest
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

Grimm Update . . . Malliotakis Out . . . de Blasio Sends Peace Message to NYPD in Praising Donovan  


Donovan Calls for de Blasio to Apologize, Give ‘Recognition’to NYPD  (NYO) * Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, a candidate for former Rep. Michael Grimm’s seat, said Grimm had a “very successful” career despite pleading guilty to a felony tax evasion charge, the Observer reports: 
De Blasio unexpectedly praises Dan Donovan(NYP)* While ultimately pledging to endorse the Democratic nominee in the race to fill the congressional seat vacated by Michael Grimm, de Blasio also praised Republican candidate Dan Donovan, saying he is respectful and professional, the Post writes:No Congressional Run For Malliotakis (YNN)* NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio says he’ll support the Democratic candidate in NY-11, but believes Donovan “would certainly be an improvement” over ex-Rep. Michael Grimm. Republican congressional hopeful and Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan warned Democrats not to make a political issue out of the grand jury’s decision in the Eric Garner chokehold case, the NewYork Post reports:  *  Assemblywoman @NMalliotakis is backing Donovanfor Congress #NY11(Capital)* News Closeup: Staten Island DA Dan Donovan weighs in on Eric Garner grand jury(WPIX) *  News Closeup: Staten Island DA Dan Donovan discusses run for congress (WPIX)* Lawrence Gilder, a Democrat critical of the Staten Island Democratic leadership, has expressed interest in running for the House seat left open by Michael Grimm, the Staten Island Advance writes: * Staten Island DA and congressional candidate Dan Donovan recused his office from cases far more often than any other NYC district attorney in the past two years - largely because he or his staff had personal ties to defendants.

The Reform Party Is Born  
The “Stop Common Core” ballot line that received enough votes in the Nov. 4 elections for permanent ballot status is changing its name to the “Reform Party” and will broaden its focus to include an array of issues, Gannett Albany reports

DOI Not Arresting Corrupt City Workers . . . A Political Operation?
Arrests by Department of Investigation drop 74 percent in 2014(NYP) Arrests and referrals for criminal prosecution dropped dramatically at the city Department of Investigation under a new commissioner who previously served as Mayor de Blasio’s campaign treasurer. Records show that from July through November 2014 — the first five months of the current fiscal year — arrests by the agency’s investigators fell 74 percent, from 374 to 96, compared with the same period a year earlier during the Bloomberg administration. Similarly, the number of referrals for criminal prosecution over the same period tanked from 301 to 105 — a decline of 65 percent. Referrals for less serious charges also dropped, falling by 37 percent. At the same time, the agency is taking 30 percent longer to close cases, 178 days compared with 137 a year before. Corrections Dept The city’s Department of Investigation found dozens of corrections officer hires had questionable backgrounds, including gang affiliations, criminal histories and psychological problems, the Times writes:

Team de Blasio Shuts Down A Boss Tweed Crime Fighter 
 See-no-evil department (NYP Ed)  Is Team de Blasio trying to cover up some shenanigans among its staff? If not, then why does its internal watchdog — the Department of Investigation, now run by Mayor de Blasio’s former campaign treasurer, Mark Peters — seem to have gone on permanent vacation when it comes to rooting out municipal corruption? Formed in the 1870s after William “Boss” Tweed stole millions from the city’s coffers, DOI’s job is to investigate potential ethics violations, embezzlement, bribery and other corruption among city employees and contractors. Yet as The Post reported this week, the agency’s arrests plunged a whopping 74 percent over the first five months of this fiscal year, versus the same period in 2013. Referrals for criminal prosecutions fell 65 percent; other referrals dropped 37 percent. The agency is also taking 30 percent longer to close cases, and — for the first time in years — didn’t publish a statistical report on its accomplishments for 2014.* * The New York City Department of Investigation, now run by de Blasio’s former campaign treasurer Mark Peters, seem to have gone on permanent vacation when it comes to rooting out municipal corruption, the Post writes: 
Arrests by Department of Investigation drop 74 percent in 2014  via @nypost appears office just a political operation

Daily News de Blasio must call an end to this insulting lunacy by announcing that he would veto any such measure
May I Search You De Blasio's duty to veto NYPD handcuffs (NYDN Ed) Asking permission is no way to police. A bill requiring permission from suspects for police searches failed the laugh test when Councilmen Antonio Reynoso and Ritchie Torres offered it in November. The bill provides powerful evidence that the Council is filled with members who believe the NYPD cannot be trusted to constitutionally carry out its duties. That’s what they are saying by proposing to force cops to get documentary proof from suspects that they have consented to be searched. Searchees would even get receipts. Call it the “mother, may I?” school of policing. Mayor de Blasio must call an end to this insulting lunacy by announcing that he would veto any such measure. Doing so while also canning a bill criminalizing chokeholds would dampen City Hall’s anti-police fanaticism.

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

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

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

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


Council Drone Crap  Rather than wait for feds with the expertise and authority to work out regulations on drones, the New York City Council is pushing forward two “half-baked” bills to either ban or regulate them, the Daily News writes:  * The New York CityCouncil is over its head on drone ban (NYDN Ed) Local lawmakers should let the FAA do its job. Rather than wait for feds with the expertise and authority to work out details of this fast-emerging technology, a bill sponsored by Manhattan’s Daniel Garodnick, and with 14 cosponsors, would outright ban their use in the city. Even the NYPD would need to apply for a warrant each time it wanted to use one. It would also destroy “the decades-old, family-oriented and community-based recreational activity” of model airplaning, a hobbyist group has warned Garodnick in a letter.

Why Silver Helped Kill Moreland  New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, now under federal investigation, was also under scrutiny this year by the Moreland Commission looking into the sources of his six-figure outside income, The WallStreet Journal reports: 

Preet is literally going where no man has gone before here
Federal authorities are investigating substantial payments made to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver by a small law firm that seeks real estate tax reductions for commercial and residential properties in New York City U.S.Said to Investigate Sheldon Silver, New York Assembly Speaker, OverPay(NYT) Federal authorities are investigating substantial payments made to the State Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, by a small law firm that seeks real estate tax reductions for commercial and residential properties in New York City, according to people with knowledge of the matter. *Silver, donor under investigation are longtime friends(NYP)A lawyer whose firm made unexplained payments to Sheldon Silver is so close to the Assembly speaker that the attorney attended a young Shel’s bar mitzvah nearly 60 years ago, The Post has learned.In addition to the payments, Goldberg has donated $7,600 to Silver’s campaigns since 2001, including $1,800 in February of this year, according to campaign-finance records. * The End Of Shelly Silver? Mother Of All Albany Scandals Brewing In NY Tonight(Daily Kos) * Sheldon Silver’s latest storm(Capital) The speaker came under fire for his handling of sexual misconduct by a former aide, Michael Boxley, as well as senior member from Brooklyn, Vito Lopez. The husband of Silver's chief of staff pleaded guilty to skimming money from a charity that was fueled by state grants. And Silver fired one of his lawyers after a report that he sat on accusations of sexual harassment concerning Assemblyman Micah Kellner, a Manhattan Democrat.

Prosecutors from the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York and agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have found that the law firm,Goldberg & Iryami, P.C., has paid Mr. Silver the sums over roughly a decade, but that he did not list that income on his financial disclosure forms, as required, the people said.  Silver is "not known to have any expertise in the complex and highly specialized area of the law in which Goldberg & Iryami practices"* "properties on the Lower East Side 4 which Goldberg has sought real estate tax reductions include Silver’s own co-op"Asked if the federal investigation would hinder the speaker’s legislative abilities, Whyland replied: “Absolutely not.”* Before the focus of US Attorney Preet Bharara’s probe emerged this week, Moreland Commission members said they had considered the speaker’s outside income a high priority up until the point that the panel was disbanded by Cuomo in a budget deal with Silver and the state Senate. The probe into Silver’s outside income sheds a rare spotlight on a small group of lawyers who specialize in challenging tax assessments in New York City’s complex property tax system.

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

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

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

Corrupt Albany Pigs Make Fun Jeer Reso to Seat Reporters on the Day Journalists Were Murdered in France
Sheldon Silver elected to 11th term as speaker, despite probe(NYP)* Scared sheep in theNew York Assembly keep Sheldon Silver as their speaker(NYDN) Democrats turn a blind eye to leader's secret payments from a landlord law firm. Who cares that Sheldon Silver opened the door to wholesale legal bribery in the Legislature? Not his Assembly Democrats, who reelected him speaker without a whiff of concern. Silver has secretly taken substantial payments, for at least a decade, from a small law firm specializing in helping New York City building owners lower tax bills. Its clients include big landlords, many with interests in legislative action. While state law requires Silver to disclose the sources of private income, he never included the name of the landlord law firm, Goldberg & Iryami, in his disclosure forms. If that’s acceptable practice, Silver has given big-spending concerns a clear path for clandestinely putting lawyer-legislators on their payrolls.* Sheldon Silver says he has not heard from the feds as part of probe into law firm pay(NYDN)

Arrest Down Update 
Life in New York City, Where Arrests Are Down and Tickets Are Rarities(NYT)A drastic slowdown in policing minor offenses has not appeared to translate to a spike in crime so much as in a fading, for good or ill, of the blue line that keeps the city’s streets in order.Graphic: How Much Arrests and Tickets Have Declined(NYT) * Have You Noticed the Decline in Arrests and Tickets in New York City? We’re looking for stories of how the drop in police activity has affected the people and neighborhoods of New York City. If you’ve noticed the decline, please share your stories.* In New York City, where cops arrested or ticketed just 22people for jumping the turnstile in the metro last week, compared to nearly 1,400 a year ago, The Times compiled reports of police officers blatantly declining to make stops:

Fugitive Jason Polanco was captured Tuesday at Tremont and Westchester Ave. in the Bronx following a massive manhunt for the gunman who opened fire on NYPD Officers Andrew Dossi and Aliro Pellerano. Both cops were wounded and remain in the hospital.* Three people were taken into custody in connection withshootout where two NYPD officers were wounded in the Bronx. (WSJ)* NYPD received tipsleading to arrest of man suspected of shooting two cops who responded to Bronx robbery
The police received tips from 10 people after releasing a photo of Jason Polanco. Cops also busted his criminal colleague, Joshua Kemp. Polanco was charged with five counts of attempted murder of a police officer. Officers Andrew Dossi and Aliro Pellerano were wounded and remain in the hospital.

Two police officers were shot by an armed robber who fled the scene and is at large in the Bronx Monday night, sources said. The officers from the 46th precinct pulled over a car in the in the Tremont section of The Bronx at around 10:30 p.m. but the suspect sped away and crashed, according to law enforcement sources. The gunman then got out of the car and opened fire on the officers. One cop was struck one in the arm and another in the back.The suspect then fled on foot sparking a huge police manhunt. Both officers were both taken to St. Barnabas Hospital and are expected to survive.One suspect is in custody in regards to the shooting of two #NYPD police officers in the @NYPD46Pct tonight. NYPD officers shot were not targeted. They were investigating a robbery. One shot in back (was wearing vest) other grazed elbow.* Two New York City police officers were shot Monday night while responding to an apparent robbery in the Bronx, a day after the burial of an officer slain in the line of duty, The Wall StreetJournal reports:

de Blasio Blasts Cops After two weeks of cautious, sometimes halting remarks, Mayor Bill de Blasio blasted the language of police unions and those who turned their backs on him at two officers’ funerals, the Times reports: * 'DISRESPECTFUL': Angry de Blasio denounces NYPD cops who turned their backs to him during fallen officer's funeral(NYDN) * Manhunt launched for 2 armed thugs who opened fire on pair of NYPD cops responding to Bronx robbery; both wounded but alive — SEE THE VIDEO(NYDN) * THE NEWS SAYS: Real leadership wanted from police unions and de Blasio to ensure city doesn't slide backward on crime(NYDN)* WATCH: Police havereleased surveillance footage of 1 of 2 suspects who shot NYPD officers latelast night * Gunman who shot cops robbed grocery store minutes before(NYP) * Both NYPD anti-crime cops wounded last night were not happy to see @BilldeBlasio, one more than the other.(DNAINFO)

Daily New NYC Needs "Mature Leaderhip"

If he simply misspoke in the heat of the moment, he must similarly set the record straight.Unyielding mayoral spine must give way to mature leadership. De Blasio will emerge a stronger chief executive for it. Across the divide, Lynch and Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins must recognize that their wildly heated rhetoric and not-so-veiled calls for a slowdown are imperiling New Yorkers and their members. They have taken the public hostage and need to release it with statements that their members will rise above disputes with the mayor — and no one should think that they have done otherwise. Bratton must play the trucemaker, particularly by helping de Blasio understand the long-term benefits of a mayoral acknowledgment of ill-chosen words.*After two more police officers were shot, the feud continuesbetween City Hall and the NYPD(Atlantic)

Daily News 180 Blamed the Cops On Monday 

The Corruption Progressive Coalition
Blasio praised the speaker, now under federal investigation, with a phrase usually reserved for line-of-duty cops

Wed Silver Re-Elected

De Blasio's man in 'blue' is Silver
De Blasio’s man in ‘blue’ is Sheldon Silver (NYP) Turns out Mayor de Blasio has shown his unwavering support for “the thin blue line” — just not the one most people are familiar with. The embattled mayor uttered the colloquial term for police to heap support on the unlikeliest of public protectors: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. At a closed-door meeting of Silver’s Democratic conference last year, the then-mayor-elect praised the speaker, who is currently under investigation by federal prosecutors, by using a phrase usually reserved for line-of-duty cops.

Silver's Secret Law Firm Is the Nexus For Albany's Real Estate Corruption and Brooklyn Gentrification
 “I have very strong feelings about Speaker Silver,” de Blasio told the assembled. In times when the ideas of our party, the ideas of the Democratic Party, the progressive ideals for what New York is historically known for, were under attack, Shelly stood firm and was often, in my view, the thin blue line that kept a rollback of our progressive ideals from happening.”* Chirlane McCray Misperceptions On My Roll, looking ahead to her second year as New York City's first lady, said there are public misperceptions about her role as de Blasio's policy partner, and she intends to fix that, Newsday writes:'  

Will Progressives Accept Corruption for Results? "AssemblySpeaker Sheldon Silver has opened the door to a Legislature of kept men andconcubines." * At least 27 clients of Silver’s recently revealed second law firm received state-authorized real estate tax breaks, a Capital New York analysis has found. That they could even take advantage of the tax abatements in question is due in no small part to Silver, who has provided crucial support as speaker for the program that made those breaks available. * Clients of law firm eyed in Silver investigation got state tax breaks(NYP)* The ongoing investigation into Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s outside income should show lawmakers that they need to do more to clean up their own act and to treat their constituents with something approaching respect, the Buffalo News writes:

The downtown law firm eyed for making shadowy payments for a decade to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver represents more than two dozen clients that got state-backed tax breaks. The revelation comes a week after it was disclosed that federal agents are investigating Silver’s ties to the firm, Goldberg & Iryami, which prompted good-government groups and tenant advocates to slam the veteran lawmaker for an apparent conflict of interest. “The speaker has some explaining to do,” said Dick Dadey, director of Citizens Union. “This increasingly doesn’t look good. It’s one thing to not disclose income. It’s quite another to profit from your legislative service.” Goldberg & Iryami works for clients who have nearly 1,300 real-estate tax appeals pending, and at least 27 received some sort of state-authorized tax relief, Capital New York reported Monday. Another 3,500 petitions are being pushed by Jay Arthur Goldberg, the firm’s head, Silver, a Lower East Side Democrat who’s helmed the state Assembly since 1994, has been instrumental in pushing lower taxes for developers and reportedly made sure tax breaks for five luxury developments remained in a 2013 bill that later became law.* The odor of Albany(NYP Ed) Capital New York this week reports that at least 27 Goldberg & Iryami clients received state-authorized tax breaks, thanks to a program that was quietly inserted in a 2013 legislative housing bill by — who else? — Sheldon Silver.

Assmbly Dem just said on @CapitalTonight that this means we need "more disclosure" Y? If a certn someone doesnt follow the rules we now have
Top Albany Issues 2015 The new year'spolitical noisemakers (CrainsNY)* Legislature Returns To Altered Landscape(YNN) * Senate IDC And Mainline Dems Trade Blows(YNN) * Silver Cancels Annual Reception, Assembly To Honor Mario Cuomo(YNN)* The Daily News’Ken Lovett reports that while the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference will remain a caucus with funding and staff, it will no longer have a formal say on what bills can come to the floor for a vote: * State Sen. Martin Golden is backing Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan for Grimm’s seat despite a close working relationship with Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, another Republican who may run, the Observer reports:  *  State senators and Assembly members are returning to new political terrain in Albany this week—Republicans hold their first numerical majority since 2012, calling into question their power-sharing alliance with IDC, State of Politics reports * Sen. David Carlucci said working with Senate Republicans in the majority would be the best way to move the state forward and help his constituents in the Hudson Valley.

Albany's Tax Policies Pushing Blacks Out of Brooklyn Increasing Homelessness
 Silver’s actions aid clients of second firm(Capital) An examination of Silver’s record reveals he has regularly used his position as Speaker to help lower taxes for developers, several of whom have also employed his second law firm, Goldberg & Iryami, to secure lower city property tax assessments. Silver reportedly was the “anonymous benefactor who tucked” into a housing bill controversial 421a tax breaks for five luxury developments in 2013 despite fervent opposition from tenant-advocacy groups, according to the Daily News. The 421a program is meant to provide incentives for development on underused or unused land. The preliminary (and ultimately final) report of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption agreed with the Daily News' assessment, finding that the “waiver was the result of negotiations between real estate interests and the Assembly. Silver A Fake Tenant Hero ”When Silver’s Assembly has passed bills that have gained the support of tenants groups, they have often been symbolic one-house pieces of legislation that stood little chance of actual enactment. So, for example, when rent control came up for renewal in 2011, the Assembly passed a bill expanding tenant protections, even though the companion bill in the Republican-controlled Senate had little chance of passage since it was sponsored by a Democrat.

The Daily News Left Out the Role the Unions Played In de Blasio's 2013 Election
The Communication Workers Of America Family 
The Lobbyist for the Family is the Advance Group

The Advance Group is under investigation for breaking the law this election in 2013 by working for both candidates as well as independent expenditures PACs they controlled backing them, which is barred by federal law, and allowing staffers with the firm to provide unpaid assistance to Melissa Mark-Viverito’s successful campaign for City Council Speaker–allegedly breaking city ethics rules to gain leverage for future lobbyist clients.* Complaint Filed Against Advance Group for Election Work(NYO) * De Blasio accused of coordinating with anti-Quinn Super PAC(NYP) 

Feds Investigate AdvanceGate and NYCLASS

The Daily News Outlines the Corruption of the 2013 Campaign But Does Not Call for the Prosecution of This Crime

Bill at the trough (NYDN Ed) De Blasio's conversion on horse carriages coincided with a rush of campaign cash. This is the curious story of how a self-described skeptic of the ban in 2007 became, by March 2013, a man who pledged to “ban the horse carriages in Central Park within the first week on the job.” In 2007, then-City Councilman de Blasio declared himself “skeptical” of a bill seeking to ban the carriages. In January 2008, the checks began arriving — and, presumably, the reeducation of the politician got underway. Wendy Neu, a longtime animal rights advocate who would later become a NYCLASS board member, gave $1,000 to de Blasio’s campaign for public advocate.Before long, more checks from Neu, NYCLASS co-founder Stephen Nislick and others started rolling in.Conversion complete? Not quite.

EXCLUSIVE: FBI investigating claim Christine Quinn was threatened for refusing to support carriage horse ban during the mayoral race (NYDN) In the past few weeks, FBI agents have been asking questions about the campaign by the animal rights group NYCLASS to get Christine Quinn to support a ban on the iconic carriages, two sources familiar with the matter told The Daily News. The FBI wants to know if the nature of the threat became extortion. When Quinn refused to support a ban on the carriages, an ad blitz began, and she later lost the race. A political consultant hired by NYCLASS, Scott Levenson, twice approached aides to Quinn and allegedly told them that if she didn’t back the proposed ban on carriage horses, they would spend big money on a political campaign attacking her. Top de Blasio supporters funded anti-Quinn group(CrainsNY)  The newly disclosed donations to NYCLASS include $50,000 from Jay Eisenhofer, an attorney who is Mr. de Blasio's largest campaign bundler, having separately raised nearly $85,000 for the candidate. The group also got $175,000 from the international labor union UNITE HERE, whose former president is John Wilhelm, Mr. de Blasio's cousin. UNITE HERE Local 100 backed Mr. de Blasio's candidacy in June, and Mr. Wilhelm bundled $17,000 in donations for his cousin. Ms. Quinn's campaign had accused NYCLASS of of being supportive of Mr. de Blasio, a charge the nonprofit has denied. Another major union funder of the anti-Quinn efforts, CWA Local 1180, backed the mayoral candidacy of city Comptroller John Liu. NYCLASS disclosed the donations to the city Campaign Finance Board Wednesday after The Insider reported last week that the group had not done so, in violation of city regulations.* Powell Also Reported That A Couple of de Blasio Big Bucks Guys Backed NYCLASS Attacks on Quinn "Her opponents knew this. Jay Eisenhofer, a backer of Mr. de Blasio, gave $50,000 to a group that ostensibly wanted to ban carriage horses. And John Wilhelm, Mr. de Blasio’s cousin, is a powerful figure in Unite Here, the hotel workers’ union. That union also gave $175,000 to the horse group.  Perhaps Mr. Eisenhofer and Mr. Wilhelm are horse lovers. What’s clear is that the so-called horse group ran ads attacking Ms. Quinn on many fronts.)

Who is Investigating the Horse-Carriages

UFT Advance Secret Relationship Secret Illegal Relationship During the 2013 Campaign
 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.United Federation of Teachers' super PAC had paid more than $370,000 to a fictitious political consulting firm "Strategic Consultants Inc.," which was actually the well-known Manhattan consulting firm the Advance Group. Advance Group puts logo on phony firm's invoice( CrainsNY)* The advance group got paid $28,000 by gay city council candidate Yetta Kurland at the same time the firm work for the City Action Coalition PAC, which on its website touts itself as supporting candidates who oppose gay marriage and abortion rights.Advance was on both side of the Kurland race.  The firm also secretly worked to have been promot Johnson’s candidacy through an IE paid for by the UFT via a company called Strategic Consultants—apparently a dummy shell corporation set up to obscure the Advance Group’s double-dealing.  "Questions Raised Over U.F.T. Campaign Filing" [Beth Fertig]* * UFT under fire for apparently trying to hide identity of consulting firm(NYDN) *UFT paid $370,000 to fake consultant (CrainsNY)* Advance Group puts logo on phony firm's invoice( CrainsNY)

Daily News Charges Against Advance and Mark-Viverto
EXCLUSIVE: City Council Speaker candidate Melissa Mark-Viverito may have violated city ethics rules(NYDN) Mark-Viverito, an East Harlem councilwoman, accepted unpaid assistance from the Advance Group, a prominent lobbying firm working to further her candidacy (Daily News 11/27/2013)

Restaurant Health Code Violation Down
New York City eateries received 32,392 health-code violations from January through November of 2014, a drop of 13 percent from 36,804 during the same period in 2013, records show, the Post reports: 
Health Dept. Records Show Dip in City Restaurant Violations

More on Restaurant Ratings

de Blasio At Year One
 Mayor Bill de Blasio fought to fulfill his promise to advance liberal policies after Democrats’ two-decade exile from the west wing of City Hall, but many of his accomplishments during a stormy first year were ultimately eclipsed by the imbroglio over this month’s police killings, theJournal writes: * The Mayor at Year 1(NYP) Mayor de Blasio and the police unions are finally talking, and that’s a good thing. But it underscores the most terrible development New York City has seen over the past year: a police force that believes the mayor regards it as the enemy.* Year One: A Bill de Blasio paradox (Capital) * WILD RIDE: Mayor deBlasio's first year in office, as reported by the Daily News. An interactivetimeline(NYDN) * JibJab 2014 Year inReview: "2014, You Are History!" * The Daily News chronicles 23 key moments in de Blasio’sfirst year, from when the mayor ate pizza with a fork and knife to the recent eulogy he delivered at the funeral of NYPD officers Liu and Rafael Ramos * An Eventful Rookie Year (WSJ)  Mayor Bill de Blasio fought to fulfill his promise to advance liberal policies after Democrats’ two-decade exile from the west wing of City Hall, but many of his accomplishments during a stormy first year were ultimately eclipsed by the imbroglio over this month’s police killings.

NYC Elected Officials No Opinion On Cops Turning Their Back to the Mayor

Elected Officials and A Lot of the Media Off Facebook and Twitter Has Kim Hacked Their Accounts?

 Top elected officials, including City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, have declined to say whether it was appropriate for police to turn their backs on de Blasio during an officer’s funeral, the Daily News reports: 

Everyone Thinks Lawmakers Are Bums
A Quinnipiac poll found just 8 percent of New York voters would be interested in spending New Year’s Eve with either de Blasio or Cuomo, while 37 percent would toast champagne with Hillary Clinton, the Observer reports:

SI Special Prosecutor WFP Grand Jury Extended

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

The Style Over Substance Mayor Floats Calmly In His Own Reality and Imaginary Majority  
Mayor de BlasioConfronts Crisis With a Practiced Calm(NYT) Mayor Bill de Blasio, confronting the gravest crisis of his young administration, has been by turns composed and defiant, empathetic and indignant, urging calm in one moment and lashing out in frustration the next. In other words, he has acted like himself: a confident but mercurial leader whose singular political style has not wavered, even in the face of a potentially career-defining flash point over the police and race.  He is turning to stagecraft, arranging for landmarks of the Manhattan skyline to dim their lights on Tuesday evening in tribute.  The mayor’s approach will be tested in the coming days. Mr. de Blasio and his aides hope the Christmas holiday will ease tensions and allow them to seek a more civil and tempered discussion. Aides to the mayor say that they are intent on de-escalating the conflict, and that they have been effective at it.

New York is A Colony Again . . . 
Norman Oder ‏@AYReport  At #AtlanticYards groundbreaking, ForestCity exec hails Com. Benefit Agreement partners.Another's called'em "snakes"  * FCR, De Blasio BreaksGround On ‘100 Affordable’ Complex at Atlantic Yards(NYO)* Chinese investors can 'buy' a green card to help pay fornew TZ bridge ?!?!  More developers turn to in-house EB-5 centers(Real Deal)* The dark, disturbing world of the visa-for-sale program (fortune)* Anatomy of a Green Card Pitch: In China, Atlantic Yards ... Second Apartment Tower Near Barclays Center Breaks Ground(WSJ) All of Building’s 298 Units to Be Considered Affordable * The Chinese government is building affordable housing in Brooklyn (QZ)

"The Chinese Government Is Building Affordable Housing in Brooklyn." (Oh, really?)(AYR)  It's all about the frame, right? So the article from Quartz, The Chinese Government Is Building Affordable Housing in Brooklyn (repurposed on fellow Atlantic site CityLab), was a particularly sheep-like framing of a building that includes below-market housing that's not affordable to most Brooklynites, and is accompanied by the construction of a luxury condo tower. “We are committed to doing everything we can to keep this neighborhood diverse, affordable and accessible for all New Yorkers,” I-Fei Chang, head of Greenland Holdings Group’s US expansion, was quoted as saying.  Relying on an imprecise description in a DNAinfo article, the Quart article states:  

Half of the 298 units are supposed to be for families that make as low as 40% of the median income for the area—that’s about $33,560 for a family of four. Thankfully, Quartz offers the opportunity to post an annotation on each paragraph. Here's one I posted: Chang's quote is pure p.r. , surely fed by (unmentioned) partner Forest City Ratner, part of Greenland Forest City Partners. Poor phrasing: only 5% of total units are for households @ 40% of AMI--most "affordable" units are for households far better off then average Brooklynites. AYR  linked both to my analysis of affordability and my coverage of the groundbreaking.

Foreign Ownership of NYC Real Estate is Increasing At AFast Pace

After A Billion Dollars In Tax Payer Money Ratner's $3500 Affordable Housing FU  
"Insane" says NYDN commenter on "De Blasio hails 'affordable' complex with $3,500 apartments" 
De Blasio hails 'affordable housing' complex in Brooklynwith $3,500 apartments (NYDN)  The mayor broke ground on a housing complex near Barclays Center where most units will run between $2,500 and $3,500 a month. The tenants at Pacific Park, formerly Atlantic Yards, will pay 30% of their income for rent, the standard for all affordable housing.* Year of the Sheep: at groundbreaking for new tower, de Blasio and supporters hail "100% affordable housing," avoid pesky details about cost(AYR)

 Bertha Lewis, former head of New York ACORN, now leader of The Black Institute, and the person who helped devise the affordable housing deal, bowed to de Blasio and to Zhang when she got on stage.. "To the People's Republic of China," she said in something of a Charlie Chan accent, "welcome to the People's Republic of Brooklyn."* Borough President Eric Adams laid on the rhetoric about affordable housing: "A unit [sic] of 100% affordable housing is sending a clear signal to countless numbers of Brooklynites who are asking the question, Would Brooklyn, and is Brooklyn, going to remain affordable? This building is an exclamation point: yes it is."* In campaign, de Blasio touted affordable housing at $1,000-$1,500 a month; that's not the case with next Atlantic Yards towers(AYR)