Sunday, January 17, 2016

True News: With Feds Going After Luxury Housing Dirty Money and the Renewal of 421-a in Doubt Will Their Be A Slow Down In Building and Gentrification?

Back to the Teacher Rubber Rooms
City pays exiled teachers to snooze as ‘rubber rooms’ return (NYP) In one of the “reassignment centers,” 16 exiled educators sit in a city Department of Education building in Long Island City, Queens, including a dozen packed into one room — where they do virtually no work. They listen to music, do crossword puzzles, chat — and as this exclusive Post photo reveals, doze on the taxpayer’s dime. The rules forbid beach chairs and air mattresses, but not nap time. The teacher sprawled on the floor, pulled a wool hat over his eyes to shut out the fluorescent lights and slept. Others prop up two chairs to recline or just lay their heads on the table. “It’s gone right back to the way it was in the old days, an old-fashioned rubber room,” one banished teacher said.  The rubber room deal is routinely violated. “No one pays any attention to the agreement,” said Betsy Combier, a veteran paralegal who helps defend teachers. While the city promised to keep removed educators busy, the Queens exiles say they only occasionally oblige requests to do menial tasks like stuffing folders or making copies. Others refuse to do such work, calling it “demeaning.”

A Book By A Teacher in A Failing School Who Was Broken By the Students 
My year of terror and abuse teaching ata NYC high school (NYP)  n 2008, Ed Boland, a well-off New Yorker who had spent 20 years as an executive at a nonprofit, had a midlife epiphany: He should leave his white-glove world, the galas at the Waldorf and drinks at the Yale Club, and go work with the city’s neediest children. “The Battle for Room 314: My Year of Hope and Despair in a New York City High School” (Grand Central Publishing) is Boland’s memoir of his brief, harrowing tenure as a public-schoolteacher, and it’s riveting. There’s nothing dry or academic here. It’s tragedy and farce, an economic and societal indictment of a system that seems broken beyond repair. Names and identifying details have been changed, but the school Boland calls Union Street is, according to clues and public records, the Henry Street School of International Studies on the Lower East Side. “Chantay,” he says, louder, “sit down immediately, or there will be serious consequences.” The classroom freezes. Then, as Boland writes, “she laughed and cocked her head up at the ceiling. Then she slid her hand down the outside of her jeans to her upper thigh, formed a long cylinder between her thumb and forefinger, and shook it . . . She looked me right in the eye and screamed, ‘SUCK MY F–KIN’ D–K, MISTER.’ ” “I was ready to change lives as a teacher,” he writes. How wrong he was.  “Oh, yeah, he’s brutal,” one colleague said. Turned out Kameron had thrown a heavy electric sharpener at a teacher’s head the year before, but the principal — whom the teachers sarcastically called their “fearless leader” — refused to expel any student for any reason. Two weeks in and Boland was crying in the bathroom. Kids were tossing $110 textbooks out the window. They overturned desks and stormed out of classrooms. There were seventh-grade girls with tattoos and T-shirts that read, “I’m Not Easy But We Can Negotiate.” Their self-care toggled in the extreme, from girls who gave themselves pedicures in class to kids who went days without showering. Angry and humiliated, Boland relayed this latest heartbreak to a veteran teacher. “As crazy as sounds,” the teacher said, “that ­father may be trying to teach his son how to survive in a hostile ­environment the only way he knows how.” Boland didn’t know what to ­believe anymore. At the end of the school year, he quit.*  New York City school safety declines as assaults are on rise (NYDN) 

A Symbol From the 421-a Era the Poor Door Building Opens
‘Poor door’ tenants reveal luxury tower’s financial ‘apartheid’ (NYP) The controversial “poor door” at a luxury Lincoln Square tower is finally open — and creating New York-style financial apartheid. Tenants who were chosen to live in one of the 55 low-income units in Extell’s ritzy 33-story building recently started trickling in through the poor door — and many are disturbed by the glaring disparities. A tenant from the “rich” side took no issue with the separate and unequal residences, claiming, “It’s unfortunate to make it into a class warfare,” and, “It’s not us against them.”The luxury building’s “poor door” is at 40 Riverside Blvd. The main entrance is around the corner.Photo: Helayne Seidman However, the resident, who requested anonymity, admitted he had never mingled with his less-fortunate neighbors.To qualify for an “affordable” rental, a family of four must earn less than $50,000 per year, and an individual no more than $35,000. About 90,000 people applied for the 55 units.

The Daily News Ignoring the Gentrification Push Out Damage 421-a Has Done Pushes for Albany to Renew the Program 
The Daily News Also Ignores the Corruption of Silver and Silver by 421-a Developer Glenwood and their Lobbyists
Unaffordable mess:What to do now that a 421-a prevailing wage deal has fallen to pieces (NYDN Ed) With a tick of the clock Friday, a foundation of Mayor de Blasio’s affordable-housing plans imploded, jeopardizing upwards of 20,000 of the 80,000 affordable apartments he aspires to build. Now the Legislature that set the stage for this debacle must swiftly restore what too-casual deal-making destroyed. Namely, a decades-old New York City program, called 421-a, that greatly reduces property taxes for new housing development, thereby encouraging new construction that in many cases would otherwise be infeasible.

421-a Has Expired Another Death Nail for de Blasio's Affordable Housing and Zoning Plan
It’s official, the 421-a tax break meant to encourage the construction of affordable housing in NYC has expired. * Wage stalemate ruining de Blasio’s affordable-housing plan (NYP) Mayor de Blasio’s plan to preserve and build 200,000 affordable-housing units suffered a setback as labor leaders and developers failed to agree on wages for construction workers by Friday’s deadline. “Despite a good-faith effort by all parties, the Real Estate Board of New York and the [unions] were unable to come to a final agreement on the renewal of [a program] that would provide good wages to construction workers across the city,” said Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council. It’s unclear what, if anything, Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature plan to do to ­extend the program. * 421-a Tax Break Expires as Deal Between Developersand Labor Falls Apart (DNAINFO) * The Developer-Friendly 421-A Tax Abatement Program IsDead (Gothamist)

NYP Bangs Cuomo and Avella Again to Return the Glenwood Money 
 Ex-Senate Ethics Committee Chairman Tony Avella (D-Queens) evendefended So there’s no money to give back.” keeping his $40,000 in tainted cash: “That money was spent on my re-election. [Glenwood wasn’t] indicted at the time. . . Huh? 

New York’s politicians & the world’s oldest profession (NYP Ed) Glenwood, recall, was deeply involved in corrupt payoffs that resulted in the criminal convictions of ex-legislative bosses Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos. The Post has been asking pols — who got a total of over $10 million in donations from the firm — to return the cash. Their answers seem to depend on how much they got. Mayor de Blasio was first to agree to hand back Glenwood cash, but it totaled just $20,000 — a drop in his campaign bucket.  And after The Post reported that no one on the Legislature’s Ethics Committees planned to return any money, Assemblyman Michael Montesano (R-I-C, Glen Head) became the first state lawmaker to heed our call. Montesano’s move is certainly the right one: As a member of the Assembly Ethics Committee, he should be setting an example. But he only had to give back $250. Gov. Cuomo, by contrast, raked in $1.2 million from Glenwood — far too much, apparently, to part with. Similarly, the Senate’s Republican committees won’t return a cent of the $1.5 million they raked in. On Monday, ex-Senate Ethics Committee Chairman Tony Avella (D-Queens) evendefended So there’s no money to give back.” keeping his $40,000 in tainted cash: “That money was spent on my re-election. [Glenwood wasn’t] indicted at the time. . . Huh? The firm’s owner was an unindicted co-conspirator; its leaders avoided charges thanks to deals with prosectors. Avella says he spent the cash, but he knows money is fungible: Returning it from the $60,000 he has on hand wouldn’t cheat other donors, as he claims. Mind you, Avella’s typically seen as one of Albany’s “cleaner” pols — yet he won’t pay a token price to offer a clear “no” to the culture of corruption. That suggests most state leaders are all too happy to say “yes.”

The Feds Just Blew Up NYC's Luxury Housing Market Bubble Feds: 421-a Luxury Buildings Hiding Dirty Money 
Feds To Track Secret Buyers of Luxury Real Estate..(NYT) * Feds crack down on rich foreigners’ favorite money-laundering scheme (NYP)* Millionaire, show thyself: What does the Treasury Dept.’smove mean for NYC real estate? (Raw Deal)* The 421-a property-tax exemption program that has played a central role for decades in the construction of apartment buildings across New York City appeared headed for trouble as negotiations bogged down between developers and construction unions. under the terms of a deal hashed out in last year’s state budget, the deadline for a deal is tomorrow.*  Cuomo Distances Himself From 421a Talks (YNN) * The feds just blew up the allure of New York City's high-end-condo market:anonymity 

As 421-a Dies So Does the Mayor's Affordable Housing Plan
Death of Tax-Break Program Could Hamper Mayor de Blasio’s Housing Push (NYT) Mr. de Blasio said on Monday that his administration was creating housing affordable to poor and working-class New Yorkers faster than any of his predecessors. That drive may soon hit a speed bump.* On Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing agenda may encounter a roadblock because it’s unlikely construction unions and real estate developers will agree on wages in time to renew the 421-a tax break, the Times reports: * In the latest sign of New York City’s booming real estate market, the total market value for all property has crossed the trillion-dollar mark for the first time in history.

Andrew's 2016 SOS Sounds A Lot Like Mario 1988 SOS 
Which Governor Cuomo said this? Both, 28 years apart (Buffalo News) Despite time passing, little change seen in Albany So went then-Gov. Mario Cuomo’s State of the State message 28 years ago on Jan. 6, 1988. He entitled it “Building the 21st Century.” In his 1988 message, Mario Cuomo thanked lawmakers in both parties for working with him the previous five years, and he declared a “new fiscal foundation” in which soaring deficits of the past had been closed, earning “a new reputation for fiscal integrity” and entry into an “era of economic resurgence in New York.” Andrew Cuomo, last week, said much the same, as he talked of state government going from a deficit of $10 billion when he took office in 2011 to a $5 billion surplus today. Both governors went out of their way to applaud a bipartisan, cooperative spirit that has enabled the state to focus new attention on specific problems facing New York. Lawmakers, one Cuomo said, have shown how the concept of a “family of New York” has worked in Albany “when you called upon the rest of the state to helped a troubled Western New York, when you asked New Yorkers who had homes to come to the assistance of the homeless.” Which Cuomo said that? Mario Cuomo, although his son is better known for more recently pouring hundreds of millions of dollars in special aid to the Buffalo area.

Did the Silver and Skelos Arrests Dry Up Real Estate Money for de Blasio's Slush Fund PAC Campaign for One NY? 
Just 4 Groups Contributed $485 to the PAC
De Blasio committee raises $485K from just 4 donors (PoliticoNY) The Campaign For One New York, the political advocacy group Mayor Bill de Blasio created in December 2013 to advance his political agenda, has raised $485,009 from just four donors since July of 2015, according to disclosures voluntarily released to reporters.  The single largest donor to the group over the last six months was the Fund For Policy Reform, Inc., a nonprofit founded by Democratic mega-donor George Soros. The Campaign for One New York also took in $200,000 from UNITE HERE, a national labor union representing hotel workers and textile industry employees, which made its donation on November 23 of 2015.

Pay to Play Union Gets Deal On the Same Day It Contributes $200,000 to Mayor's Slush Fund
De Blasio nonprofitnets $200K from union on same day as Council boost (NYP) Mayor de Blasio’s nonprofit took in $200,000 from a food-service union on the same day a mayoral ally in the City Council submitted legislation to protect the union workers’ jobs, new financial filings show. Unite Here, a union formerly run by Hizzoner’s cousin that has given more than $900,000 to de Blasio causes, made its latest donation to the nonprofit Campaign for One New York on Nov. 23, 2015. That was the same day Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) introduced a bill requiring venues such as universities or sports stadiums to retain unionized food-service workers for at least 90 days after ownership changes.

Most of the Contributors In Past Cycles Had Business Before the City 
The 501(c)4’s fundraising over the past six month period is dramatically less than during the previous six month period, from January of 2015 to July 2015. During that time period, the Campaign took in $1.71 million from dozens of donors including real estate developers and unions, some of whom had business before City Hall. In contrast to the previous fundraising cycle, when the Campaign took in money from dozens of real estate developers, the nonprofit received just two donations from real estate development companies — $10,000 from DDG Development Partners, LLC and $25,000 from TF Cornerstone Inc., in the last six months. Between January 2015 and July 2015, by contrast, a slew of real estate developersdonated to de Blasio, while they were also 

Campaign for One NY Used the Same Law Firm As Advance Group Used for Their Sweet Heart Deal From the CFB
The Campaign For One New York also paid $215,000 in consulting fees to AKPD, the consulting firm that employs one of de Blasio's most trusted outside political advisors, John Del Cecato.   The group spent $45,000 on expenses related to "communications consulting" at Berlin Rosen,$86,627 over the six-month period to Kantor Davidoff Mandelker for legal expenses, and $104,705 to Hilltop Public Solutions for "General Consulting and Expenses." 

Over A Million Dollars of the Mayor's PAC Was For His Failed Iowa Presidential Forum
The mayor’s group, the Campaign for One New York, spent $1,222,091 in the second half of 2015, more than half of which went toward establishing the Progressive Agenda Committee, the liberal coalition that Mr. de Blasio founded. The mayor, a Democrat, had hoped to hold a presidential forum in Iowa, but the event was canceled because no candidates agreed to attend.

A Tale of Two Cities: de Blasio's Lobbyists and His Contributor Friends the 1% 
Two New Yorks: De Blasio’s friends — and everyone else (NYP) Say this much for Mayor de Blasio: He looks out for friends and donors. Stephen Nislick was the force behind the anti-horse-carriage group NYCLASS, which was a huge help in winning de Blasio the Democratic nomination. (The general election was a walk.) Now the deal will move the horses out of their West Side stables, so Nislick can finally acquire that property. Losers include the animal-rights nuts who wanted the industry banned, and the taxpayers who may have to pay some drivers to retire and for the renovation of the stables in the park. This comes on top of Rich Calder’s Post story Tuesday that Team de Blasio has green-lighted plans for a major, multiday music festival on Randall’s Island. Sponsoring the event is AEG Live — which paid Hizzoner’s old pal, Harold Ickes, $150,000 to lobby for it. As part of de Blasio’s transition team, Ickes even played a role in hiring Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver — who OKs permits like the one for AEG’s July 24-26 event. A slam-dunk for AEG. But two other concert promoters — who, like AEG Live, sought to hold multiday festivals — were shut out completely. And while all three applied to use Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, the site was moved to Randall’s Island, even though the AEG event may steal business from another music shindig there slated for a month earlier, Governors Ball. What a sleazy way to do city business — and what an awful message to send to cultural and business groups looking to operate here: If you don’t hire someone with personal ties to the mayor, you’re out of luck. Of course, the mayor can’t always deliver — the City Council’s rejecting his bid to crush Uber. So the taxi industry will have to collect some other favor for its generous donations to de Blasio’s campaign. De Blasio campaigned on the theme of New York’s “tale of two cities.” By treating friends and allies better than everyone else, he’s making that image true+

First Electric Cars Now Moving and Reducing Number of Carriages House in Stables in the Park, Another Idiot Idea Says the Daily News
Buck this bad dealand leave the carriage horses be (NYDN Ed) The odor of a rank sellout — of man and beast — emanates from negotiations between the union representing carriage horse drivers and City Hall. In the process, he would destroy the livelihoods of an undetermined number of drivers and support personnel, sharply cut the number of working horses and invest money in renovating a stable in the park. The Teamsters, who have much other and much larger business with City Hall, should have rejected all of this out of hand. About 220 horses pull 68 carriages. With their services spread out over the course of the day, that enables them to have rest periods. They also get at least five weeks of vacation a year. The new stables would likely accommodate 75 horses, while demand on the industry may well remain unchanged. If a reduced number of horses were to pull the same number of carriages as are operating now — a big if, but a possibility — that would mean at least double the labor for each animal. nd were to get the funds for new Central Park stables? Not from taxpayers, because de Blasio is engaged in a vanity project as payback to NYCLASS, the animal activists who financed advertising that crippled former Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s mayoral bid. Although the complexities are overwhelming, de Blasio and the Council appear to believe they can surmount any obstacle while brushing past sure legal challenges. More likely, their ideas will go into oblivion, just like de Blasio’s scheme to have carriage drivers tool around Central Park in electric Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang cars..* Sources: City offering to pay for Central Park horse stables (PoliticoNY) Upgrade could cost millions in taxpayer dollars* City Study Thwarts Pols' Accusation That Uber Causes Traffic Congestion (DNAINFO) The report recommends more regulation for the for-hire vehicle industry. 
A Tale of Two CFBs: Albanese vs Campaign PAC NYCLASS,UFT's United for the Future

True News Wags the Daily News On the Kid Gloves Fine The Speaker Was Hit With By the Ethic Board
The Daily News Left Out the Name of the Lobbyists Advance Group and Its Interlocking-Directorates to the Mayor Who Picks the Ethics Board
The watchdogs did it (NYDN) The guilty must be identified. By whom we mean the city ethics watchdogs who make sport of severely punishing low-level city workers while giving the powerful a pass. These three members of the Conflicts of Interest Board mete out unequal justice: Andrew Irving, Fernando Bohorquez and Erika Thomas-Yuille. The trio sit on a panel that investigates and punishes violations by municipal employees. The board’s record includes fining parks and sanitation workers thousands of dollars and forcing them off the payroll for accepting a box of chocolates or tips as low as $5. But when Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito broke the same law by accepting $4,000 worth of free services from a lobbying firm that does business with the Council, the board went easy. Mark-Viverito faced a maximum fine of $25,000. The board let her off with a $7,000 penalty — and let her dip into campaign funds for the money. We pounded the board when it released the ruling this month, naming Chairman Richard Briffault as chief toady. Since then, more has come to light in regard to the inner workings of this secretive outfit. In fact, Briffault, a Columbia law professor, and fellow board member Anthony Crowell, dean of New York Law School, took no part in the Mark-Viverito matter. They stepped aside because they also serve as board members of Citizens Union, the good-government group that filed the complaint against Mark-Viverito. All the dirty work was done by three little pigs Irving, Bohorquez and Thomas-Yuille.

Ethics Board Also Ignores Lobbyists Working to Elect Candidates to Help Them Make $$$ Off of City Contracts 
A gift for MelissaMark-Viverito: Ethics watchdogs let the City Council speaker off easy forconflicts of interest (NYDN Ed)  By all rights, were justice equal in New York government, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito would be out of her job today. The city’s ethics regulations bar public employees from accepting gifts — but the Conflicts of Interest Board comes down hard, in fact, unforgivingly hard, only on the little guy or gal for even trivial rule violations. Consider 24-year veteran sanitation worker Lenworth Dixon, who accepted a $20 tip from a grateful homeowner for whom he had carted off yard waste. In 2014, the board forced Dixon to retire and fined him $1,500. Or consider 20-plus-year sanitation workers Robert Bracone and Rene Torres, who had each accepted a $5 tip. The board drove both men to retire and pay $2,000 fines. Now, consider Mark-Viverito. In 2013, she accepted freebie services from a lobbyist as she campaigned among her colleagues to be speaker. Still worse, the firm represented clients who would need the speaker’s backing for legislation. According to the conflicts board, the gifted services had a value of $3,796. Despite the fact that the amount was more than 700 times larger than a $5 tip, and despite the fact that Mark-Viverito had undermined the integrity of her office, the board imposed a fine of only $7,000 Which was $18,000 less than the top penalty. Which Mark-Viverito can pay out of her campaign funds, rather than out of the city salary she’ll continue to receive. Parks Department manager Cristina Badillo never got a break like that. The board last year fined her personally $1,000 for accepting a $15 gift of chocolate liqueur and an $8 box of Whitman’s chocolates. Still worse, the board ordered Mark-Viverito to pay $4,000 to the lobbying firm of Scott Levenson, who was her partner in crime. She will take that money, too, from a campaign account. Still worse, Levenson can take that $4,000 and pay his fine, in that exact amount. Still worse, Mark-Viverito admitted guilt only after waging a long battle against the board, running up legal bills of $123,313, with more to come. Again, she’ll

Another Slap of the Wrist for Lobbyists Advance Group This Time Illegally Working for Mark-Viverito Speakers Campaign 

An Interlocking-Directorate of Lobbyists That Controls the Council Speaker
Setting precedent, Conflict of Interest Board settles with Mark-Viverito (CapitalNY) Lawyers for City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito have reached a settlement with the city’s Conflict of Interest Board following an investigation into free political consulting services that Mark-Viverito accepted during the race for speaker in 2013. As part of the settlement, the speaker has agreed to pay a $7,000 fine for accepting the services, a small fraction of the $25,000 statutory maximum she faced when the inquiry was first launched. The ethics board launched the non-criminal investigation in January of last year, alleging she acted improperly by accepting help from the Advance Group — a lobbying firm which has business dealings with the city. Elected officials are barred from accepting anything of value from registered lobbyists including a gift in the form of a service. The settlement decision was strengthened by the fact that the structure of Mark-Viverito’s undeclared campaign account is different because the race was not subject to regular campaign finance rules. Normally, elected officials are barred from using campaign money to run for another office, or to spend money from transition committees which typically only help pay for inauguration events. During the race, The Advance group helped Mark-Viverito prepare for the race, which included several community forums and debates as well as behind-the-scenes politicking with council members and county party leaders who helped collect votes in her favor. * Melissa Mark-Viverito Drops Advance Group for Speaker Bid(NYO) Ms. Mark-Viverito insisted today that this was not the case but out of an “abundance of caution,” the relationship would end. Melissa Mark-Viverito Drops Advance Group for Speaker Bid - Blogs(TU) * An operative with the controversial Advance Group, Jonathan Yedin, who has been working in Brooklyn Democratic Party politics for more than a decade and belongs to Mr. Seddio’s political club. Though Ms. Mark-Viverito eventually stopped taking free advice from the Advance Group, Mr. Yedin remained a crucial player in the brokering of the deal, sources said.  Inside Melissa Mark-Viverito’s Road to Victory(NYO) * Nailed! @MMViverito must pay $7K fine for accepting free help from lobbyists in bid for job (NYDN) In addition to the $7,000 fine, which Mark-Viverito can use campaign funds to pay, she’ll pay the Advance Group $3,796.44 for its work.
How the Advance Group Conspired to Steal the 2009 and 2013 Election
Who Watchers the Watchman, Lobbyists 
City Council 2014, Fake Progressives, Puppets

A Look At the Political Groups That Fund FAKE! Good Government Groups
Goo Goos Have Ignored the Damage Done by PAC Controlled By Lobbyists and Contributors to the City's Public Financing
Who funds New York's watchdogs at Capitol? (CrainsNY) Good government advocates not always clear about sources of their donations. The sources of funding behind these good-government groups' own work can be murky. Tax and other records that are available show occasional connections to donors that might bring questions from the watchdogs if different players were involved, or if the same fact-pattern concerned a state lawmaker's campaign donations. The state's best-respected, most established and widely quoted groups are generally thought to be NYPIRG, the state League of Women VotersCommon Cause and Citizens Union. The bulk of their funds come from small grassroots donations and foundations, but that's not always the case. The state League of Women Voters has taken five-figure sums from the State Teachers Union, and also fought for its causes. Citizens Union and Common Cause both took grants from a key faction of the labor-backed Working Families Party that funded studies meant to promote publicly funded elections, a top labor priority. NYPIRG has been accused by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration of being a "mouthpiece" for the Trial Lawyers' Lobby, and did give a grant to an anti-tort reform group in 2011, records show. Some of NYPIRG's donors are unknown because of a sudden shift in the group's lobbying spending in 2012 as a new disclosure law came into being — timing that Horner said is a coincidence. Indeed, not much information is available concerning the good-government groups' backers on the website of the state's lobbying regulator, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics(JCOPE). 

Federal Department of Labor filings, however, show in 2014 the state League of Women Voters received more than $18,000 from the New York State United Teachers, a powerful labor union, and has received other five-figure donations from the union in the past.  The league has supported NYSUT issues before the Legislature.

The Goo Goos Never Go After the DAs Who Never Go After Corrupt Pols and Lobbyists Who Help Them Get Elected
The league's legislative director Barbara Bartoletti organized a news conference in 2014, and participated in another in 2015, slamming a private education tax credit opposed by the teachers union. Two other New York good-government groups, Common Cause (a national organization based in Washington D.C.) and Citizens Union (which started as a New York political party that once fought Tammany Hall), have taken money from a group closely within the orbit of NYSUT. Tax records from 2013 show Common Cause got $50,000 and Citizens Union received $15,000 in "sub-grants" from an Albany nonprofit called Public Policy Education Fund of New York. Instead of going to their more political arms, the money benefited their charitable, educational arms, and therefore did not have to be disclosed to JCOPE. The Education Fund is the nonprofit research and public education affiliate of Citizen Action, which has a political action committee that works to support Democratic takeover of the state Senate, and is a key player in the labor-backed Working Families Party. According to Scharff, the grant money raised by the Education Fund came from a number of foundations as well as from Jonathan Soros, the son of the hedge fund billionaireGeorge Soros, one of the nation's biggest liberal political spenders. NYSUT's 2015 filing with the federal Department of Labor says it gave $210,000 last year alone to the Education Fund. Karen Scharff, one of the state Capitol's most ubiquitous liberal activists, runs both the Education Fund and Citizen Action.

Big Drop in Burglaries Suggests Fixing the Books to Lower Crime Rate
Experts question drop in burglaries that helped lower city crime rate (NYP) T he much-heralded 2 percent decline in the city’s overall crime rate last year would never have happened if it wasn’t for an 11 percent plummet in burglaries. In fact, the steep burglary decline accounted for 86 percent of the city’s overall crime dip in 2015. But some criminologists question the numbers, saying cops could be re-labeling felony burglaries as lesser misdemeanors, like trespassing or petty larceny, or filing fewer burglaries by consolidating multiple break-ins in the same building into a single reported burglary. Such cooking of the books was “commonplace” in the Bloomberg era, according to Molloy College associate dean John Eterno, a retired NYPD captain. “The question is have these practices stopped,” he said. “If [Police Commissioner Bill] Bratton is doing the same thing that [predecessor Ray] Kelly did, then I have no doubt that creative accounting is taking place.”

de Blasio Uber Retreat After Getting the Crap Beaten Out of Him By the Uber Gang Political Consultants   
After coming under attack last summer from the ride-hailing app Uber, the de Blasio administration shelved a proposal to cap the number of Uber vehicles and undertook a study of the service’s effect on New York City traffic. The study was due by the end of November. But over six weeks after the deadline, the findings have yet to be made public.* This summer, de Blasio admin said Uber's rise could make NYC"impassable." A look at why City Hall changed its tune:  * Uber wouldn’t face regulations or limits on its so-called surge pricing from the New York City Council, according to legislation introduced Friday by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, marking a political win for the company.* City issues low-impact report on car-hail apps (Politico) * New Bill Would Let Prospective Cabbies Skip English Test (Gothamist)

Silver's Legal Costs So Far $2.9 Million Skelos $762,145
Silver spent $2.9 million on legal defense (PoliticoNY) * Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos spent $762,145 of his campaign funds on legal defense, and has $1.58 million remaining in his account.

Pols Rase Millions this Quarter
Cuomo Takes $900,000 From LLCs At the Same Time He is Fighting to End That Loophole
Schneiderman To Report Raising $1.6M (YNN) * Cuomo Raises $5M, Has $16M In The Bank (YNN)  * Candidate For Silver’s Seat Raises $133K Democratic Assembly hopeful Yuh-Line Niou will file $133,186 in her effort to fill the seat vacated by former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. * Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie raised $298,000 over the past six months.* Mark-Viverito raises $150,000 (PoliticoNY)* Being Assembly speaker pays off for Heastie - City &Region - The BuffaloNews  (Buffalo News) *Hollywood bigs, Walmart heiress boost Cuomo’s$16M war chest (NYP) * Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo also disclosed records on Friday showing he had raised nearly $900,000 from limited-liability companies, or L.L.C.s, whose influence he is now seeking to curb.* Mr. Cuomo’s campaign reported raising about $5.5 million over the last six months, with just over $16 million in cash on hand, according to documents filed with the State Board of Elections. The governor’s disclosure of $900,000 in contributions from L.L.C.s came after he called for eliminating the so-called L.L.C. loophole in his State of the State address on Wednesday. These companies can contribute up to $60,800 to a statewide candidate per election cycle — far beyond the regular corporate limit. Government watchdogs have long criticized the maneuver as a way for companies to make donations by funneling them through multiple L.L.C.s. Asked to address the apparent discrepancy, a spokesman for the Cuomo campaign said in a statement that while the “campaign follows all finance laws and will continue to do so,” the governor had been a “vocal supporter of closing the L.L.C. loophole.” The filing also showed that Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, paid $300,000 over the last six months to the law firm that represented his office while it was being investigated by Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, over the governor’s shutdown of an anticorruption panel in 2014. Mr. Bharara said on Monday that prosecutors had not found enough evidence to bring a criminal case against the governor or his aides.

Pro Cuomo Ads Return to TV  
UFT Airs Common Core Ad (YNN) Remember last year, when Cuomo was in full-on war mode against the teachers unions, and trying to force education reform down the Legislature’s throat by inserting it into his budget language and tying his proposals to a boost in school aid? This year’s budget is nothing like that, though education advocates are not thrilled with the governor’s aid proposal, which falls about $1 billion short of what they were seeking. That said, there has been an about 180-degree about-face on the governor’s part when it comes to the controversial Common Core curriculum, the opt-out movement and linking test results to teacher performance evaluations. And instead of going on the offensive against Cuomo, one teachers union – the NYC-based UFT – is hitting the airwaves with $1.4 million ad campaign that urges New Yorkers to support the recommendations of the governor’s Common Core task force.* UFT spends $1M thanking Cuomo for Common Core backtrack (NYP) The city teachers union is spending $1.4 million on TV ads to thank Gov. Cuomo for retreating from plans to use student Common Core test results to evaluate teachers. 

de Blasio Defends His Record On Failing Schools   
De Blasio pushes back against principals’ complaints over failing schools (NYP) Mayor de Blasio pushed back Thursday agaiDenst complaints by principals-union President Ernie Logan over how the city is running its lowest-performing schools, arguing he was elected to implement a “different vision” than his predecessor. In a public letter to his members this week, Logan complained that there were too many bureaucratic cooks in the kitchen at the 94 so-called Renewal Schools, and that principals don’t have nearly as much autonomy as they did under former Mayor Mike Bloomberg. But de Blasio fired back that he was picked for mayor because of his education platform. “If anyone says they would prefer the previous administration’s model, well, they should have voted for that. We have a different vision,” de Blasio said at the high-performing HS for Arts & Business in Queens. * De Blasio pushed back against complaints by principals-union President Ernie Logan over how the city is running its lowest-performing schools, arguing he was elected to implement a “different vision” than his predecessor.

de Blasio Caught At Making Nice to Flanagan At the Same Time He is Trying to Defeat Him- Meeting Off   
Mayor School Control On the Table
Mayor deBlasio’s plans to make nice with state Legislature foiled again (NYDN) New Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan was set to meet face-to-face with the mayor a week after Christmas. But Flanagan is said to have abruptly canceled the sit-down after it was reported that de Blasio was still working behind the scenes to help the Democrats claim control of the Senate in the upcoming November elections. De Blasio had previously stated he would be taking a more low-key approach to the races after he gambled big on the Democrats in 2014 and lost, leaving the Senate GOP even more hostile to his agenda. "The mayor doesn't get it and he probably never will," a state government source said. "He has no allies in Albany, he is toxic in most parts of the state and on top of all that he shows that he can't be trusted. Why would anyone want to work with him? "* Flanagan’s selection of Sen. Catherine Young to head the powerful Finance Committeehas raised eyebrows among fellow Republicans due to the fact that she plans to also continue in her role as head of the Senate GOP’s fundraising arm. * With control of the Senate up for grabs, Senate GOP officials are doing all they can to convince Nassau County Sen. Jack Martins to skip a run for retiring Rep. State Israel’s seat and seek re-election instead.* Mayoral control of Schools?-- POLITICO New York's Less than a year after the New York State Legislature extended mayoral control over New York City schools for just a single year, Mayor Bill de Blasio is preparing to return to Albany to ask for a longer renewal. But this year, the dynamics in Albany indicate that it may be a less contentious process. ... De Blasio is starting this year off on a less acrimonious footing with Senate Republicans, as unlike last year, when de Blasio unsuccessfully intervened in Senate re-election races, the mayor recently vowed to stay out of this year's Senate election cycle. ... But de Blasio's own education record may be his greatest obstacle to securing a longer mayoral control extension. *-- WSJ headline: "New York City's Bill de Blasio Faces Another Slog in Albany":  *   On mayoral control, @BilldeBlasio isn't interested inbeing held accountable & expects a rubber stamp from Albany:  * Assembly Dems Have Preliminary Talks On Outside Income (YNN) * Senate Revives Education Tax Credit Push (YNN) * Kaminsky Forms Campaign Committee For Skelos Seat (YNN)
"We have a list of rules reforms that Assembly Democrats voted down. Term limits for legislative leaders. Term limits for committee chairs.


Team de Blasio Fights Back to What Cuomo Calls One of the Strongest Budget for NYC

Cuomo’s Budget Opens New Chapter in Rivalry With de Blasio (NYT) Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed on Thursday to use “any means necessary” to reverse cuts outlined in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s budget plan, which the mayor praised on Wednesday.* Cuomo to Continue Shrinking State’s Share of CUNY’s Costs (NYT)Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s new budget would shift one-third of the City University’s costs to the city from the state, displeasing Mayor Bill de Blasio.*Gov. Cuomo on the State of New York (NYT) The governor lays out ambitious plans for 2016, including a big boost in the minimum wage.*CUTTER NONSENSE: Cuomo backs off costly budget proposal for city, hints threat was ploy to get sides talking (NYDN)*WFP Sides With de Blasio in Budget Battle (YNN)*De Blasio To Fight Budget Plan ‘By Any Means Necessary (YNN)*.@NYGovCuomo tells @cherylwillsny1 this is one of the strongest budgets ever for NYC*Workers’ to help pay for Cuomo’s paidfamily leave plan (NYP) Workers are going to end up helping pay for Gov. Cuomo’s plan to provide 12 weeks of paid family leave. Budget documents show that the governor’s proposal would require employers to impose a payroll deduction on employees to offer the expanded coverage — no more than 60 cents a week. Workers would get only 35 percent of their salaries when the program begins in 2018, increasing to a maximum 50 percent by 2021. Employers are not happy about the new requirement.*De Blasio to fight Cuomo’s budget cuts ‘by any means necessary’ (NYP)* * Cuomo, who received an advance worth about $700,000 for his 2014 memoir, included language in his budget bill that would rein in state legislators’ abilities to similarly land lucrative book advances from publishers, the Times Union reports:  *The absence of Cuomo’s carrot/stick approach during his State of the State may signal a more amicable plan for achieving his lofty goals with the Legislature's help - or it could mean that he's saving it for the negotiating table, the Times Union writes
 Mayor de Blasio vows to fight Gov. Cuomo’s budget cuts ‘by any means necessary’ (NYDN)* Cuomo: "At the end of the day, there will be no cut to CUNY. I want to see more funding for CUNY. But we have to find efficiencies"*Cuomo: No Cuts, But ‘Efficiencies’ Need To Be Found (YNN)*Cuomo cuts $485 million from CUNY budget, says it's"steamlining" things  Cuomo now says his budget ‘won’t cost New York City a penny’ (CapitalNY)* In his second attempt to recast a media narrative that his proposed budget hurts New York City, Cuomo told NY1 his proposals to shift costs to de Blasio’s books are actually a joint effort to reduce the “cost of bureaucracy” at CUNY and in the city’s Medicaid program.* .@BilldeBlasio says he'll fight @NYGovCuomo's cuts to city "by any means necessary"Mayor Bill de Blasio sternly rebuked Gov. Andrew Cuomo for placing new financial strains on New York City, saying he would use “any means necessary” to restore hundreds of millions of dollars in state financing, The New YorkTimes reports: 

Both de Blasio Defenders the Daily News and Times Blasts the Cuts to the City in Cuomo's Budget

Hours after de Blasio vowed to do whatever it takes to scuttle up to $800 million in costs Cuomo wanted to force the city to cough up, the governor began to backpedal on the costly proposal*By day’s end, Cuomo said his budget changes, in fact, “won’t cost New York City a penny,” while Blasio, who on Wednesday had said the state budget represented “real progress” for New Yorkers, described the governor’s cuts a day later as “unprecedented” and “unfair to our city.” * Cuomo aides insisted that trying to offload the bulk of CUNY costs onto the city is an eminently reasonable thing to do, given the city’s one-third representation on the university system’s board of trustees. * The New York Times sides with de Blasio in this budget battle, saying if the governor’s proposals are as “needlessly punishing” as experts fear,” then he “must not get away with it.” * Cuomo’s push for a 12-week paid family leave law would only cover 35 percent of a person’s salary in the first year, because it will take time to build up the payroll contribution fund to pay more, the Daily News writes: * Cuomo did not mention during his State of the State a half billion dollars in cuts to the City University of New York from the state budget, part of a broader effort to shift costs from the state to New York City, the Times writes: 

The governor received an “advance” worth some $700,000 to produce his 2014 memoir, “All Things Possible,” before he ever sold a single copy. Now, his administration has introduced language in his 2016 budget that would rein in state legislators’ abilities to similarly land lucrative book advances from publishers. It would not impact Cuomo – a member of the executive branch.* THINK BIG, BILL: Mayor must rise to Cuomo's budget challenge(NYDN Ed) The governor of Wednesday was not the governor of Thursday. Who will Andrew Cuomo be tomorrow and beyond? Roughly 24 hours after presenting a budget plan that would tap New York City’s treasury for as much as $800 million with changes in funding for Medicaid and the City University, the governor said, well, he really didn’t mean it. “At the end of the day, what you’ll see is it won’t cost New York City a penny,” Cuomo declared, perhaps motivated by a Daily News headline that captured the essence of his proposal in four words: “IT’S SCREW YORK CITY.” Cuomo said that, actually, he was interested in working with Mayor de Blasio to find “streamlining efficiency changes” at CUNY and in Medicaid administration. All else had been a matter of budget negotiations, he said. Stretching to find money for new programs like a drive to expand breast cancer screening, Cuomo called for billing de Blasio by reneging on Medicaid and CUNY commitments. Cuomo called for requiring the city to support CUNY, largely because its workforce has been without a contract since 2010 and a huge retroactive payment will come due with any settlement.*  The Times calls Cuomo’s budget “a gut punch” at New York City, arguing that if the budget is as needlessly punishing as experts fear, given the ongoing feud between de Blasio and the governor, Cuomo must not get away with it:* * Cuomo seemingly learned his lesson that failing schools are not the fault of teachers and administrators, but his proposed $150 million in tax credits for wealthy private schools should go to public schools that need it more, the Times Union writes * Cuomo and de Blasio should finally truly work together to hold down expenses at CUNY, which would confirm that achieving the progressive aims de Blasio shares with Cuomo can be done with fiscal responsibility, theDaily News writes:

Cuomo has unveiled several “signature proposals” ahead of his State of the State, which will allow him to focus on whatever he chooses today, after dropping hints about major Ethics Pushes, The New York Timesreports:  * Good government groups met with the governor’s staff yesterday and attempted to pitch ideas about potential ethics reform proposals, but NYPIRG’s Blair Horner said they have no sense of which were viable, theTimes Union reports:  The governor floated many reform proposals, some of them decades-old retreads, some of them new ideas. His most notable new proposal was to limit the outside income of legislators to 15 percent of their base pay. * Cuomo plans for the state to play a larger role in overseeing New York City Homeless programs, but the city and some advocates maintain the state’s reluctance to financially help have contributed to the problem, the Times reports:  * Part of Cuomo’s Penn Station proposal includes reviving a 15-year-old lease proposal with the Port Authority, but a former executive director said the plan would have shortchanged the authority, The Wall StreetJournal reports: *  Governor Expected to Address Ethics Crisis in Albany in Wednesday'sState of the State Address (NY1) * Gov. Cuomo says his big transit proposals will upstage hisState of the State speech. (NYT)

The Man Who is Scaring the Hell Out of Albany Gets No Credit
Cuomo has largely spooled out the biggest items such as infrastructure projects and a boost in the minimum wage in events ahead of the State of the State address, which the governor has called a “boring speech.”* The remaining headline-grabbing issue for Cuomo to touch on is ethics reform, which lawmakers expect him to address in the speech later today.* A source told Newsday Cuomo will call for a Ban on outside income by state lawmakers and knock the Legislature in the address.*The Buffalo News’s editorial board writes that its imperative Cuomo push hard for real ethics reform as U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara continues to keep his eye on the Capitol.*  As Cuomo prepares to unveil specifics of his plan to combat homelessness, de Blasioholds out hope for a city and state partnership. * Assembly Democrats on Tuesday rejected a package of reform proposals made by Republican lawmakers, but pledged to enact their own measures this session. Transcript of Cuomo SOS * Just weeks after a pair of deposed legislative leaderswere found guilty in separate corruption trials, Gov. Andrew Cuomo rolled out an ambitious set of proposals aimed at finally following through on a pledge to clean up Albany:
More on the Cuomo Budget

Cuomo Goes After Berlin Rosen and the Rest of de Blasio Team Who Run 1NY PAC and Campaigns  Don't Just Make Them Register As Lobbyists, Put Them In Jail for Fixing Elections 
New York'sethics rule could infringe on free speech, experts say (CrainsNY) Revised proposal would vastly broaden definition of lobbying, but watchdogs say the transparency is needed. Public relations firms challenged a proposal from the state’s ethics watchdog as too vague last month, but it backfired: The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has updated its advisory opinion to say that communication between public relations consultants and the press on public policy should count as lobbying. “A public relations consultant who contacts a reporter or editorial board in an attempt to get the media outlet to advance the client’s message would also be delivering a message,” the revision says.* An advisory opinion that would expand the scope of individuals regulated by JCOPE has gained support and inspired opposition from those already registered with the commission and those who might be.

Cuomo Wants de Blasio Campaign Consultants Army to Register As Lobbyists 
If a consultant has input into the content of such a message and helps to deliver it, that consultant would apparently be a lobbyist under the new rules.   The ethics commission's proposal in November sought to compel more consultants to register as lobbyists. Taken aback, four PR firms in the city had civil rights law firm Emery Celli write to JCOPE in December that the opinion was too vague and could be construed to apply to conversations with the press.  “We put the spotlight on this issue exactly and we basically said, 'You can’t possibly mean that talking to an editorial board or a reporter was lobbying, you can’t possibly mean that,' ” attorney Andrew Celli said. “So the staff looked at our letter and I believe they said, 'No, no, that’s exactly what we mean.' ”

de Blasio's Election Fixes
 The New York Civil Liberties Union agrees with the PR firms, saying that conversations with the press fall outside the legal definition of lobbying. “Writing an op-ed piece urging law reform cannot be regarded as lobbying, unless it further urges individuals to contact public officials,” NYCLU legal director Arthur Eisenberg said. “When we read most op-eds, we understand that that’s not lobbying, that’s public education and entitled to free speech protections of the First Amendment.” But the good-government group Citizens Union said that consultants use the media to influence lawmakers, and that such activity should be reported. 
The advisory opinion also includes provisions that would require consultants who connect clients with lawmakers to register as lobbyists. Celli’s letter called that move “good public policy.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed for that reform in his State of the State address Wednesday, in a possible reaction to newspaper stories about the relationship between strategic communications firm BerlinRosen and the de Blasio administration. The firm has a slew of clients with business before City Hall. “Political consultants who advise elected officials while also representing clients before the government do not currently register as lobbyists either—and they should also,” Cuomo told state legislators. “I am going to send you that bill, and that’s a bill that you should sign.”

Berlin Rosen Interlocking-Directorates Helps Their Clients Get A City Pay Raise
@BilldeBlasio backs commission's recommendations to raise pay for pols - 23% for Council, 15% for mayor, at least 12% for everyone else * Mayor OKs recommended raise of $26G for City Council members, but he’ll pass on his own salary bump (NYDN) NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio gave his stamp of approval to a city commission’s plan to raise the salary of elected officials, and to make the City Council a full-time job with strict limits on outside income, but said he personally won’t accept a raise in his first term.

Mayor's Lobbyists Berlin Rosen Working to Give de Blasio and Other Pols A Raise

FAO Schwarz to chair Mayor's Quadrennial Advisory Commission for the review of compensation levels of elected officials.  Schwarz is the Chief Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University.  Berlin Rosen is a Lobbyists for the Brennnan Center * De Blasio moves to give himself — and others at City Hall — a raise  (NYP) Mayor de Blasio is paving the way for hefty raises for himself and other elected officials. Hizzoner on Friday announced the formation of three-member advisory commission that will determine whether all city elected officials merit getting pay hikes for the first time in more than eight years. The commission will report its recommendations in November.* Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the formation of a three-member advisory commission that will determine whether all city elected officials merit getting pay hikes for the first time in more than eight years, the New York Post reports:  * Mayor de Blasio wantsto give himself a raise (NYP)Unregistered Lobbyists Berlin Rosen Bag Men to the Pols

Give City Hall and Albany A Raise for Their Wonderful Work on the Homeless and the Schools?
The Quadrennial Advisory Commission said mayor and other elected officials deserve a 15 percent raise.*  Legislative Pay Commission Expected to Increase Salaries, Ban Outside Income for State Assembly, Senate After Election Next Year (NY1)

Albany Whores Rush to Put Lipstick On Their Pig Ahead of Cuomo's Speech 
Assembly Republicans Push Term Limits, Invite Bharara To Albany (YNN)* IDC Signs On To ‘Clean Conscious’ Pledge (YNN) * Senate To Consider Term Limits, Spending Cap (YNN)* Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to include ethics and anti-corruption proposals in his 2016-17 budget, which could make it easier for the governor to get them passed, State of Politicswrites: * During a perennial call for term limits in the Assembly, Republican lawmakers extended an informal invitation for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to provide an ethics lesson to their colleagues, State of Politics reports:  * Republican state Sen. John Bonacic has introduced a constitutional amendment that would block state lawmakers from receiving outside income through private employment, State of Politics reports:  * The five members of the state Senate Independent Democratic Conference have signed a “Clean Conscience Pledge” proposed by good-government groups to close the LLC loophole and ban or limit outside income, the Times Union writes: Asked if Assemblyman Charles Barron would face any sort of sanctions for heckling @NYGovCuomo, Speaker Heastie said: "Charles is Charles." * Brooklyn Assemblyman Charles Barron stood up during Cuomo’s speech and heckled him over his economic and poverty policies, which Barron said was planned to draw attention to a “hypocrite,” The Wall StreetJournal reports:

Cuomo Names City Comptroller, de Blasio Foe, to Oversee City Homeless Shelters 
Good-Government Groups Huddle With Cuomo Admin (YNN)* Malliotakis-backed GOP reform bills canned in Assembly - A package of 17 GOP ethics and transparency reform bil... * With Moreland Settled, Hochul Sticks To Script (YNN)  Sucking Up de Blasio Extra $$$ * Cuomo: $90 million proposal for early detection of #breastcancer in #NYS   Advocates push Cuomo to add 15,000 supportive housing units to ease homelessness (NYDN) * Cuomo proposes 12 weeks of paid family leave / gets standing O Ethics Cuomo mentions public campaign financing, urges NYSLEG to pass it, citing need to encourage participation.* Cuomo: “It is indefensible” to exclude legislature from FOIL. Cuomo just vetoed new FOIL bills * @NYGovCuomo says state contractors, pol consultants should register as lobbyists; take state pensions from convicted pols * Cuomo is supportive of a constitutional convention * De Blasio: "I think the speech today included a lot of progress on some important issues." *Cuomo Names City Comptroller, de Blasio Foe, to Oversee City Homeless Shelters  (NYO) * The state could appoint a receiver to oversee Homeless shelters in NYC that are found to have systemic problems under a much anticipated plan from Cuomo to address the burgeoning crisis.

Assemblyman Charles Barron heckled @NYGovCuomo over education funding during  *Heckled at one point by Assemblyman Charles Barron, a Brooklyn Democrat, over his commitment to education funding, Cuomo proposed a one-year aid increase to the state’s 700 public school districts of $991 million – far below the $2.4 billion called for by the state Board of Regents * Barron, who was escorted out of Cuomo’s speech, said he wanted to “vomit” after watching a lengthy montage of people thanking Cuomo for activities across the state. He said he had planned a disruption to get media attention because he thinks the governor was a “hypocrite.”

 In Albany,de Blasio takes a political punch, Cuomo-style  (NYT) * Cuomo reveals $20 billion affordable-housing plan (NYP) * Gem in Cuomo budget: $590 million from bank settlementsproposed to go to affordable & homeless housing. Now posted:  *  Senate GOP Skeptical On Income Limit (YNN) * Flanagan’s Response: Senate Plans To Combat Terrorism, Heroin (YNN) * Barron Removed From State Of The State After Heckling Cuomo (YNN) * Cuomo Proposes $143.6B Budget, Challenges Lawmakers On Ethics Reform (YNN) * Andrew Cuomo Lays Out Ethics Plan for Albany in Aftermath of 2015 Scandals (NYO) *  Ex-Black Panther Assemblyman Draws Cuomo Into ShoutingMatch at State of the State (NYO) *  Assemblyman Barron said he wanted to “vomit” afterwatching a lengthy montage of people thanking the governor (WSJ) * @NYGovCuomo unveils $145.3 billion budget plan during State of the State   via @AP * Cuomo Talks Homelessness, Ethics, and Paid Leave at Stateof the State (NY Mag) *As Cuomo Acts on Homeless Problem, New York City Blames State Cuts (NYT) *  Cuomo wants convicted pols to lose pension:'perverse that taxpayers’ money would support officials found guilty ..* Cuomo budget could mean real pain for New York City (PoliticoNY) * De Blasio's ideas echoed in Cuomo speech, but mayor alsofinds himself broadsided and scrambling on budget:  (WSJ) * Cuomo, in State of State Speech, Unveils $20 Billion Housing Plan (NYT) Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo outlined an agenda touching on a range of issues, but a major emphasis of his speech lay in two pressing matters: homelessness and ethics.

Cuomo Uses His State Powers and Budget to Melts the Mayor's Power

Observers worry that the state will rely on more borrowing * * Cuomo called for rebuilding the state’s social and physical infrastructure during his State of the State address, which included a $20 billion housing initiative and plans to combat homelessness, The New YorkTimes reports:   * While saying he wished he spent more time with his Dying father, Cuomo said the state should enact a 12-week, paid family leave law that is funded with money taken out of employee paychecks, the Daily News reports:  * According to one source’s math, the governor’s $145 billion state budget plan may require New York City to pay about $800 million in new costs, which would amount to a large portion of the savings in the state budget, the DailyNews reports:  * The Times writes that Cuomo at least” included ethicsproposals in his State of the State address, even though were noted after facts about Greek yogurt and alcohol production, and calls his housing plan “promising”: * The Times Union writes that “Disingenuous doesn’t begin to describe” Cuomo’s public college funding descriptions, which amounts to $30 million more for SUNY, $245 million less for CUNY and $6 million less for community colleges:* Newsday writes that the governor put his own legacy on the line by putting so much on the table, and notes that one initiative he cannot let fall by the wayside in the next 11 weeks is ethics reform: * The Buffalo News writes that Cuomo’s plans are ambitious, but that’s what New York should be, and described ethics proposals to restrict outside income for lawmakers and limit donations from LLC as highlights:
Cuomo's costly agenda does not respect NYs hardworking taxpayers. We do not live in an imaginary utopia, where taxpayer money grows on trees

Not Being Charged By Bharara for Killing Moreland Does Not Clear Cuomo of Betrayal of His Pledge to Clean Up Albany
The Post writes that Cuomo should be ashamed of how he handled the Moreland Commission he convened to probe corruption, despite the fact that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced he won’t bring charges against the governor
‘No indictment’ hardly clears Cuomo for his betrayal of anti-corruption (NYP) Preet Bharara’s announcement Monday surely brought one big sigh of relief: The US Attorney won’t bring charges in Gov. Cuomo’s handling of the anti-corruption Moreland Commission. Such is Albany’s perpetual dysfunction that “insufficient evidence to prove a federal crime” in the “interference with the operation of the Moreland Commission and its premature closing” is good news. Still, Cuomo should be ashamed of his Moreland record. He shut the commission down even as it was developing key evidence against Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, the two leaders of the state Legislature — and it’s obvious he did it at their request, in exchange for other concessions in Albany’s endless bargaining.Bharara then swooped in, grabbed the Moreland files — and proceeded to arrest, indict and convict both men.“Stay tuned,” Bharara has said repeatedly, and by his account more cases may yet come from the Moreland evidence. Plus, his no-charges decision came with a key caveat: “absent any additional proof that may develop.” And he reportedly has an active investigation into a Buffalo construction project run by a Cuomo donor. But it’s hard to think of anything Cuomo might have done that’s more pro-corruption than his stifling of the Moreland probe. Again, the commission’s work helped Bharara land the biggest anti-Albany-corruption one-two punch in living memory. How many more heads might have rolled had the governor stood behind his investigators? Andrew Cuomo rode into office on a “clean up Albany” platform — then trampled on his best chance to deliver. * With Bharara’s Moreland investigation over, Cuomo should push for stronger ethics reforms, and it will also be to Western New York’s advantage if Bharara’s probe into the Buffalo Billion ends the same way, The Buffalo News writes: 

Pal Implicates Councilman Wills in Pass-Through Member Item Scheme 
Queens councilman implicated by pal in pass-through scheme (NYP)  A pal of Councilman Ruben Wills implicated the Queens politician in court Thursday in a scheme to steal thousands of taxpayer dollars by ordering him to deposit and withdraw funds from a sham company.Jelani Mills fingered Wills for the corruption after pleading guilty to one misdemeanor count of falsifying business records in a case brought by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The damning plea statement against Wills capped a bizarre three days that initially centered on Mills’ mysterious whereabouts. Mills said he filed the paperwork to incorporate Micro Targeting using a false address. He was the sole proprietor. “At the direction of Mr. Wills, I deposited a check in the amount of $11,500 in that account, which was drawn on an account named, `Ruben Wills for New York.’ This $11,500 was not the result of money earned by Micro Targeting,” Mills, 29, said. “I do not speak Spanish and I have never translated any campaign literature or any other documents for Micro Targeting or for Ruben Wills or his campaign committee. I have never submitted an invoice for such services to Ruben Wills or his campaign committee,” Mills said. In November 2009, he said, Wills directed him to withdraw $2,500 from the Micro Targeting account. “Mr. Wills directed me to give that cash to him, which I did,” Mills said. Later, Mills said he withdrew $2,000 from the bogus firm for his own “personal use.” But the councilman objected, he said. “Upon learning of that $2,000 withdrawal, Mr. Wills told me that the money in the Micro Targeting Chase account did not belong to me, and that I need to return $2,000 that I had withdrawn,” he said. The duo was accused of scamming the city Campaign Finance Board by accepting public matching funds to pay Micro Targeting for helping with Wills’ failed 2009 City Council bid.The indictment also alleged that Wills stole more than $30,000 in state grants sent to anonprofit he founded New York 4 Life. He is charged with using the tainted cash for a shameless shopping spree where he purchase items at Macy’s, Nordstrom’s and Century 21 — including a $750 Louis Vuitton handbag.As part of the plea settlement, Schneiderman’s office is recommending that Mills be sentenced to one year’s probation and perform 10 days of community service.

Judge Does Not Buy CM Wills Scam Witness Sick Daughter Excuse, Warrant Issued for His Arrest 
Judge doesn’t buy ‘scam’ witness’ sick daughter excuse (NYP) The Queens man who bolted from court Tuesday before he could enter a guilty plea expected to implicate City Councilman Ruben Wills in a corruption scheme got an earful Wednesday from an angry judge who didn’t take long to throw him in jail. Jelani Mills didn’t do himself any favors with his lame excuse, either, telling Judge Barry Kron that he’d skipped out because his daughter wasn’t feeling well. “He has a 9-year-old daughter and his daughter had an illness at school,” Mills’ attorney Scott Davis told the judge. “His wife is a schoolteacher who was unable to [help].” But Kron, who issued a fugitive warrant for Mills after he ducked out of court around noon Tuesday, wasn’t buying it. According to two sources, Wills is sick in a hospital and is not expected to return to the City Council for at least two weeks. He did not return calls Wednesday.

Indicted CM Wills Key Witness Disappears and the Media Does Not Ask the Councilman the Speaker WTF? 
A man expected to implicate Queens City Councilman Ruben Wills on corruption charges Tuesday bolted from the courthouse just before proceedings started, and the judge issued an arrest warrant for him
Co-defendant in corrupt councilman case goes missing from court (NYP) A Queens man who was expected to implicate a sitting city councilman on corruption charges Tuesday bolted the courthouse just before the proceeding started — leaving his lawyer in the lurch and the judge fuming. Justice Barry Kron issued an arrest warrant for Jelani Mills, who was in court to plead guilty to crimes that involved his co-defendant, Queens Councilman Ruben Wills, but fled sometime after noon. His blindsided attorney, Scott Davis, had no explanation for Kron on why Mills was a no-show when the case was called in Queens Supreme Court. “It was my understanding that the district attorney is prepared to resolve this case — and it’s not ­going to be resolved,” Kron said, referring to the charges brought by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Mills, 29, and Wills, 44, were charged in scams in which theyallegedly fleeced tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars through nonprofits. In two indictments brought over the past two years, Wills and Mills were charged with a dozen counts that include fraud, grand larceny and falsifying business records. They’re accused of defrauding the city Campaign Finance Board by accepting public funds to pay a shell company, Micro Targeting, purportedly to provide campaign-related services for Wills’ losing 2009 race for City Council. Mills allegedly filed the paperwork creating the company and billed Wills’ campaign $11,500 for work that was never performed. nstead, some of the funds allegedly were funneled to a shady nonprofit, New York 4 Life, that was founded by Wills. Wills also is charged with stealing more than $30,000 in other state taxpayer money from New York 4 Life — and using some of the cash for shopping sprees at Macy’s, Nordstrom’s and Century 21 that included the purchase of a $750 Louis Vuitton handbag. Wills received the state funding through a pork-barrel grant obtained by ex-Queens state Sen. Shirley Huntley, who was later sentenced to prison in a separate case of public corruption. Wills had served as Huntley’s chief of staff.

Wills Who Was Indicted By the AG Over A Year Ago is Still Doing Pay to Play Deal With His Lobbyists Campaign Manager
TRASHY POL: Indicted Queens Councilman slams proposal that hurts campaign donor (NYDN) An indicted Queens pol with the worst attendance record on the City Council showed up to hearings of a committee he doesn’t sit on to blast proposals that threaten to hurt a campaign donor. Councilman Ruben Wills — a Democrat who has received $3,000 from donors tied to Royal Waste and Regal Recycling — slammed a commercial trash handling proposal that would carve the city into zones, and assign each area to one chosen waste company, at a sanitation committee hearing April 29. Wills has received $3,000 from owners, managers and family members of Royal and Regal, which runs a complex of waste transfer and recycling facilities in southeast Queens outside his district. He also got $750 from the companies directly — which had to be returned because corporate contributions are banned under city rules.  Last year, he had the worst attendance rate of anyone on the 51 member Council — blowing off 27% of the meetings he was supposed to attend.

Wills is facing a slew of corruption charges — including allegations he stole public campaign funds and used them on Louis Vuitton, Nordstrom and other personal purchases; and that he took a state member item for a sham charity but pocketed most of it. A separate indictment this year charged him with filing false statements with the Conflicts of Interest Board. A political consulting firm formerly employed by Wills, Connective Strategies, has been paid $6,000 by Regal to lobby the Council against that bill. “There is no conflict,” said Connective President Tyquana Henderson, who said she has not lobbied Wills on the matter. Lobbyists Henderson Was Wills Campaign Manager  Mr. Wills was arrested as part of a separate case in May and charged in a 12-count indictment with using tens of thousands of dollars in campaign and taxpayer money to enrich himself, buying items such as a $750 Louis Vuitton handbag, authorities said. Candidates Represented by Henderson's Connective Strategies

Lobbyists Henderson Was Wills Campaign Manager 
The arrest of Queens Councilman Ruben Wills is a reality check for those who tout public financing of campaigns as the key to cleaning up Albany. Welcome to the notoriously sleazy Legislature in Albany, where gaming the campaign finance laws is an art form. A see-no-evil Board of Elections, which is party-controlled and paralyzed in the face of runaway lawbreaking. Good money after bad  (NYDN) The arrest of Ruben Wills should give public campaign finance enthusiasts pause. During his first, failed run for the City Council in 2009, Wills collected $139,818 in public money from the CFB — 79% of his total budget. According to the indictment from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Wills then secretly funneled $11,500 of his campaign funds to a nonprofit group he controlled, NY4Life, and glommed the money for strictly personal expenses — such as buying a $750 Louis Vuitton handbag. 

Wills Indicted for A Not-For-Profit Scam Was An Aide for Ex-Senator Huntley Convicted of Another Not-For-Profit Scam
Wills personally submitted a voucher with the state Office of Children and Family Services on behalf of the group in 2010. But Wills declined to answer questions and invoked his Fifth Amendment rights when he was asked about the missing funds by investigators last year. Wills, a former aide to ex-state Sen. Shirley Huntley, who was convicted in another not-for-profit scam.  The councilman is also being probe for steering funds to another non profit group, the Young Leaders Institute. Wills and a relative on his payroll, Jelani Mills, were arrested and being processed at the 112th Pct. in Forest Hills.* New York City Councilman Ruben Wills Charged in Fraud ... (May 7, 2014) * City Councilman Pleads Guilty to 1996 Misdemeanor * Indicted NYC Councilman Ruben Wills has worst attendance record among current members, records show:(NYDN) * Wills accuses AG of bias over use of image in campaign ad(NYP) State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is being accused of unfairly smearing an indicted Queens lawmaker by including him in a TV campaign ad, The Post has learned. City Councilman Ruben Wills is now trying to turn the tables, demanding that Schneiderman be removed as the prosecutor in his case for violating a court rule barring prejudicial pretrial publicity against a defendant. Schneiderman’s 30-second TV commercial shows news footage of Wills — handcuffed from behind — being “perp walked” to a vehicle by two police officers. * Schneiderman, at Columbia,laments the state of politics (Capital) “I’m proud of the fact that in the last three and half years—probably every month or so—we have done something that no one has ever done before,” Schneiderman told the gathering. “We change the way people are doing business and the way that governments are operating.”

Cuomo's Alliance for Mayor Attacks de Blasio from the Left  
Alliance of 2 de Blasio Critics Fosters Speculation About MayoralChallenge (NYT) They stood side by side, two Democratic leaders deploring the plague of gun violence. But the event, a news conference on the steps of City Hall, was notable for more than its subject matter. With their joint appearance on Monday, Representative Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn and Scott M. Stringer, the New York City comptroller, gave vivid proof of an alliance that has helped make them the most fearsome potential Democratic rivals for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s re-election in 2017. The two Democrats have publicly disavowed any active plans to run against Mr. de Blasio in a primary election, even as they have emerged as two of his most consequential critics on the left. In separate interviews, Mr. Stringer and Mr. Jeffries said they were focused on their current jobs. But in private, they have acknowledged to each other the speculation that has enveloped them during the rocky first half of Mr. de Blasio’s term.* Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, of Brooklyn, and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer have publicly disavowed any active plans to run against de Blasio in a 2017 primary election, even as they have emerged as two of his most consequential critics on the left.

Stringer and Jeffries Gun Fight With de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is slated to unveil today plans for a court in Brooklyn dedicated to handling gun crimes as well as a 200-officer police division to focus on firearm violence, The New York Times reports:   * New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries urged de Blasio to use the city’s purchasing power to push manufacturers into making safer “smart guns” by putting them on the NYPD’s approved firearm list, the Daily News reports: * Seeking to quell stubbornly persistent gun-related violence in New York City, de Blasiotoday will unveil a new system for handling such cases, creating a dedicated gun court in Brooklyn and a 200-officer police division focused on gun crime.

Cuomo Hints At State Takeover of Homeless Social Services   
Cuomo did not rule out having Albany take over social services aimed at getting homeless people off the streets and reiterated that he plans to announce a related plan in his State of the State address

People who have spoken to the Cuomo administration said he is expected to announce plans for more scrutiny of New York City homeless shelters and for new supportive housing during his State of the State speech, The Wall StreetJournal reports: * Cuomo ready to step in to fix city’s homeless crisis (NYP) Cuomo decried New York City’s burgeoning homeless population on Sunday and left the door open for a potential Albany takeover of social services aimed at cleaning up bum-filled streets. After Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem, the governor refused to rule out state intervention to solve the out-of-control homeless problem. When asked point-blank about Albany intervention, Cuomo didn’t rule it out.* In an effort to show he’s serious on New York’s homelessness epidemic, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he’s doubling the number of the city’s drop-in centers – from four to eight. * De Blasio forgot his own homeless-accountability measure (NYP Ed)  Mayor de Blasio just declared that his administration is ready to “own” the homeless problem “110 percent.” Hmm. This vow comes on top of news of yet another city fumble on the issue. As NY1 reported Thursday, the mayor announced last May he’d be sending repair squads into every city homeless shelter to issue scorecards on conditions. The shelters have been notorious for deplorable conditions and mounting safety violations — a big reason many homeless avoid them. De Blasio lauded his plan as “an accountability system.” Oops. The Department of Homeless Services Web site promised comprehensive reports “by September.” Then, “by November.” Today, eight months after the mayor’s promise, the administration’s rated just 23 out of 700 city shelters. Confronted with this embarrassment, de Blasio got stern: “Those scorecards,” he vowed Friday, “will happen by next month. If they don’t happen, a lot of people will be in trouble.” What’s next, Mr. Mayor — a strongly worded letter to . . . yourself? This, after a year when the administration effectively sat on its hands as the homeless crisis grew — and even denied it for months, though homeless-related complaints to 311 are up 127 percent since he took office. Who’s going to believe the mayor is “taking the gloves off” and “owning this issue 110 percent” — when he forgot to enact his own “accountability system”? When it comes to report cards on homelessness, he’s so far earned a big fat F. * The governor is expected to announce stricter state scrutiny of New York City’s homeless shelters and thousands of new supportive housing units during his big speech tomorrow, as he focuses on the growing problem of homelessness in city and continues to battle with Mayor Bill de Blasio.* It's got to give him a boost going into the State of theState -- because the state of Cuomo is better."  (TU) * Decisions the Cuomo administration made about how much the state would pay for NYC shelters, public assistance programs and homelessness-prevention initiatives have left the city shouldering more and more of the burden, even as that burden has swelled.*NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the formation of a task force made up of a “brain trust” of nonprofit homeless services providers to help create 15,000 units of supportive housing for the city’s homeless and mentally ill over the next 15 years. He hopes for a “partnership” with the state to address the issue.

 Cuomo's Robert Moses Economic Push As the Third Man in the Room Remains A Target of the Feds 
Andrew Cuomo pledged to bring new investment to New York City subways, including upgrades to 30 stations and enabling Wi-Fi and cell phone service in all stations, State of Politics reports:  * The price tags of all the big projects Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been announcing run into tens of billions of dollars, and the governor hasn’t been too forthcoming on where he thinks all that money will come from.* Cuomo’s Multibillion-Dollar Wish List (NYT) Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York has been busily announcing big projects, but he hasn’t exactly said where the money will come from to pay for them.* A New Old Plan for Penn Station(NYT)  Governor Cuomo’s proposal to revitalize Penn Station made New Yorkers perk up. But how much will it cost and how long will it take * "Cuomo...seems to have gone from zero to Robert Moses in 60 seconds.." A New Old Plan for Penn Station Board members of the Moynihan Station Development Corp. were not consulted on Cuomo’s plan to revamp Penn Station, and some are surprised the new station was not named after U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who championed the original project, theJournal writes:  

De Blasio is entering his third legislative session in the state capital with some especially heavy baggage due to his frosty relationship with the governor, and he must also contend with acrimony among Republicans who control the state Senate, the Journal reports: *  Cuomo said he will propose a $200 million investment competition with roughly $40 million each for five airports north of New York City in his upcoming State of the State and executive budget address, the Times Unionreports: * Try, try again on building a new Penn Station:(NYDN)* Cuomo’s infrastructure plans for the state will cost $100 billion and create more than 250,000 jobs, according to Bill Mulrow, the governor’s secretary, who declined to reveal the timeline for these projects, how the figure he floated was calculated, or – more importantly – where the money would come from. * While pundits have raised concerns that Cuomo has unveiled a slew of transportation and economic development projects without identifying all the funds to pay for them, it is musicto the ears of congestion-pricing supporters. * As part of his ongoing rollout toward the State-of-the-State and budget presentation, Cuomo yesterday called for extension of the state’s 30 percent goal for MWBE, or minority and women-owned business enterprises, to localities that get state funding.
Cuomo 2014 Pt2, 2015 And Mario Cuomo

70% High School Graduation Rate But Only 35% College Ready 
New York City’s High School Graduation Rate Tops 70% (NYT) The announcement, which also noted that just over 78 percent of state students earned a diploma, came as state officials met to consider changes in graduation requirements. While 88 percent of white students graduated on time last year, only 65 percent of black and Hispanic students did, and only about 50 percent of students with disabilities did. Nearly 7 percent of students in that class dropped out, a rate that held steady from the year before. Sixty-two percent of those students were black or Hispanic, and 64 percent of them were poor, the State Education Department said. In New York City, the four-year graduation rate also made small gains, to 70.5 percent, up 2 percentage points from the previous year.  But a double-digit gap remained in city schools: 85 percent of Asian students graduated, as did 82 percent of whites, while black and Hispanic students graduated at a rate of 65.4 percent and 64 percent. Each group did see gains, with Hispanic * Only 40% of NY State students are college-ready: report (NYP) * Only 35 Percent OfNYC Students College-Ready, DOE Says (WCBS)* * New York City’s high school graduation rate rose above 70 percent for the first time, but white students remained more likely to get a diploma than their black or Hispanic peers, and rates remained low for the disabled,the Times reports:

421-a Too Many Making Money May Get Extended to Destroy More Neighborhoods
421-A TALKS IMPROVING, THOUGH UNCERTAIN - POLITICO New York's Negotiations over the future of the 421-a development tax break are improving after they stalled for months in the fall, multiple sources involved in and familiar with the talks said. The law governing 421-a expired in June and the state Legislature passed a renewal, with some of the same reforms Mayor Bill de Blasio was pushing. But Cuomo said that any deal must include some type of prevailing wage requirement for construction workers. The governor mandated that by Jan. 15, New York's real estate lobby and building trades union must agree on a wage plan for buildings with more than 15 units. Without a deal, the state's 421-a program, which sunset on Dec. 31, would officially lapse and the new law would be moot. he two sides have been talking regularly and are scheduled to meet again on Thursday* Town Hall on Homelessness takes aim at @Billdeblasio housing plan  * Mayor Bill de Blasio says he's on track to reach hisaffordable housing goals. (NY1)

A Possible Win for Union and Loss for de Blasio and Neighborhoods
Union win would be huge blow to de Blasio’s affordable housing plan (NYP) The city would have to come up with an additional $2.8 billion for affordable housing if unions win their fight to force developers to pay “prevailing wages” on affordable-housing projects, the Independent Budget Office said Monday. The office found that the cost of each affordable unit would increase by $45,000 if the higher wages were enacted, delivering a significant blow to Mayor de Blasio’s plan to build 80,000 new apartments. The Real Estate Board of New York said the IBO’s analysis supports the board’s stance that higher wages would either boost government spending or produce fewer units.* The New York City Independent Budget Office estimated the cost of each affordable housing unit would increase $45,000 if constructed by those earning prevailing wages, as requested by unions, the Post reports: * The Daily News applauds de Blasio’s progress on buildingor preserving affordable housing, but says that the clock should  run out on the 421-a tax break and it should be taken up by the Legislature this session: *  Bill de Blasio Struggles to Sell NYCHA Residents on His Planto Save Public Housing  *  * The de Blasio administration would have to come up with an additional $2.8 billion for affordable housing if unions win their fight to force developers to pay “prevailing wages” on affordable-housing projects, the Independent Budget Office said.

“NYCHA will be two cities,” one woman lamented, recalling the egalitarian rhetoric of the mayor’s 2013 campaign
Bill de BlasioStruggles to Sell NYCHA Residents on His Plan to Save Public Housing (NYO) Tenants at a New York City Housing Authority development in Brooklyn met Mayor Bill de Blasio with disbelief as he and his team sought to convince them of the merits of his “Next Generation” plan to bring the troubled public landlord back to solvency. Residents articulated fears about increasing density on the property, about a potential decline in air quality and lack of parking for the incoming inhabitants of the new housing. But more than anything, they voiced concern that the city and real estate interests were simply looking to cash in on the growing cachet of the surrounding neighborhood, and that the current NYCHA tenants would reap few benefits from the arrangement. He assured the audience that Next Generation would in no way lead to privatization or demolition of NYCHA buildings, or to evictions or increasing rents for present tenants. Two people criticized the scheduling of the forum, one arguing that tenants had received only short notice of the event, and the other claiming it excluded those who work evenings. There were also a host of complaints about intercoms, elevators and insufficient police presence. The response from the mayor and his administration was the same: the city lacks funds to pay for the fixes, unless it leases NYCHA land for new construction.

de Blasio Supporter Lobbyists Ickes Gets OK for Massive Music Fest
Queens BP Katz Blocks Coachella Lobbyists Ickes Delivers An Island 
De Blasio OKs massive music fest for cronies’ pal after denying others (NYP) Mayor de Blasio has quietly cut a deal allowing a concert promoter linked to one his cronies to host a multi-day major music festival on Randall’s Island — only after city officials simultaneously nixed similar proposals in Queens. AEG Live — which runs the Coachella concert series in California — will now host its “Panorama Festival” on Randall’s Island July 24 to 26 through a deal confirmed by the Parks Department Monday. Madison Square Garden, Founders Entertainment and AEG had previously submitted similar applications to shut down Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens for large for-profit mega festivals. However, Borough President Melinda Katz and community leaders argued for more transparency in the city’s permit process, ultimately leading to all of the Flushing Meadows’ applications being tossed. Unlike its competitors, which were left empty handed, AEG had a politically connected ace in the hole in lobbyist Harold Ickes and that led to the Randall’s Island deal being ironed out behind closed doors, sources said. AEG Live since 2014 has shelled out $150,000 to Ickes, a longtime mentor to the mayor, to help garner support to put on a major New York show. Ickes also served on de Blasio’s transition team, so he played a role in the March 2014 hiring of Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, who signs off on all park permits.Coachella Organizers Move Festival To Randall's Island AfterParks Dept Pushes Them Out Of Queens  * Coachella won't be coming to Queensafter this rejection (NYDN)

Why Isn't the City Council Holding Hearing to Find the Reason for the Delay in Notifying the Bronsville Community On the Gang Rape?  

Failure to tell mayor among NYPD missteps in Brooklyngang rape case (NYP) * NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said “there’s no denying” he and the department should have more promptly released information about an alleged rape in a Brownsville playground, the Times reports: 
A de Blasio spokesman said he believes the Brownsville community should have been notified sooner about the alleged rape of a woman and that the he instructed the NYPD to do this more quickly in the future, the Times reports:  * The Post writes that NYPD Commissioner William Bratton can only ease fears in the wake of an alleged rape in Brooklyn with action, not words, especially ill-considered ones about women using the “buddy system” to avoid assault: * New York City police were hunting yesterday for a fifth teenager they believed took part in a gunpoint rape of an 18-year-old woman last week at a Brooklyn playground, as de Blasio said police should have informed the public sooner about the crime.* -- WSJ's  "The woman was assaulted at about 9 p.m. Thursday, and the New York Police Department issued its first news release on the matter around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, though the mayor's office said Mr. de Blasio didn't learn about the incident until Sunday." *  SHOULD'VE ACTED QUICKER: Bratton says NYPD didn't alert community fast enough to Brooklyn playground gang rape as last of five suspects is in handcuffs (NYDN)

As the 2017 Referendum on the New York State Constitutional Convention Approaches: A Look Back At the Early Accomplishment Constitutional Conventions Not Been Successful Since 1938

By James S. Kaplan

Recently, a political consultant and editor of the True News blog I have periodically written about historical subjects informed me that in the wake of the convictions of Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senate speaker Dean Skelos, the hottest topic in the political community fighting for ethic reforms of Albany is the upcoming referendum on the New York State Constitutional Convention. He thus asked me about the history of such conventions.   I was somewhat surprised to discover that the next referendum on this subject would not be held until November 7, 2017 almost two years hence,  and that the vote would only be on whether to hold such a convention (presumably only if favorable would the delegates would be selected and the convention itself would be held later). Furthermore, in the last two referenda (which by law must be held every twenty years) in 1997 and 1977 the voters of this state had declined the invitation to hold such a convention. In fact the last time a convention to revise the New York State Constitution was held was almost 50 years ago in 1967, and despite the hard work of its delegates, the revised Constitution that was put to the voters was rejected in its entirety. The last successful significant amendment to the New York State Constitution was that promulgated by the Constitutional Convention of 1938, almost eighty years ago. Nevertheless, the history of Constitutional Conventions in New York State is not as bleak as this recent history would indicate. In fact there are at least three New York State Constitutional Conventions—those of 1777, 1821 and 1938—which shaped the State’s political history in a very positive way and have had a vast impact on the state and its people.

I  New York State Constitutional Convention of 1777

NYS First Constitutional Convention Held and Past In Spite of Heavy Fighting That Forced It to Re-Locate More Than Once
Probably the most amazing and important New York State Constitutional Convention was that held in 1777. The key figures at this convention were three young lawyers—John Jay, Robert Livingston, and Gouverneur Morris, with Jay probably being the most important leader. With the  first Reading of the Declaration of Independence in New York at what today is New York City’s City Hall Park on July 9, patriotic New Yorkers immediately set about creating a mechanism to revise the Colonial Charter to create the independent State of New York. A convention with delegates from around the State was first held in New York City, but soon a problem arose. 33.000 British troops had landed in Staten Island and Brooklyn in August 1776 and the Continental army was disastrously defeated at the Battle of Brooklyn, so that New York City was occupied by the British. The Convention was moved up to White Plains, then as the British moved into Westchester County, to Fishkill and then to Kingston. Given the unsettled war time conditions in which the property of many delegates was threatened it was difficult to maintain attendance, but nevertheless the delegates carried on as the City of Kingston was particularly hospitable. By March of 1777, a preliminary draft of a full Constitution was submitted to the delegates. This Constitution, which followed plans by the French enlightenment writer Montesqieu, provided for a two house legislature—a New York State Assembly reelected every year and a New York State Senate, elected less frequently. There was an independently elected Governor whose actions were subject to review by a “Council of Appointment” It also provided that delegates to the Senate and Assembly were to be elected from districts (counties) around the state by all male property holders. There were even provisions for temporary representatives from areas like New York City that were under British occupation. Unlike virtually every constitution in the world at the time, it also provided for complete freedom of religion.

Although under the circumstances, a full vote of the state’s inhabitants ratifying the Constitution was virtually impossible, on April 20, 1777 it was read in its entirety from the steps of the Ulster County Courthouse in Kingston and declared effective as the law of New York State. This document created a blueprint for New York State to have an effective functioning government throughout the rest of the Revolutionary War and for forty years thereafter. However, there were still times of considerable difficulty shortly after its ratification.  In October of 1777, British troops under General Vaughn came up the Hudson hoping to link up with British force under General Burgoyne coming down From Canada, which was blocked by an American Army compried primarily of New York and New England militia men under General Horatio Gates at Bemis Heights near the village of Saratoga.  On October 16, 1777 General Vaughn had every building in Kingston, except for a few, burned to the ground, allegedly as punishment for the inhabitants support of the patriot cause and the New York State Constitution. However, for the patriots, the burning of Kingston (which I understand is now celebrated every other year in Kingston) was tempered by another happier event. On October 17,  1777. General Burgoyne surrendered his entire force to General Gates at Saratoga, thus creating the turning point of the American Revolution. 

On October 19 General Gates (himself a former British army officer) wrote to General Vaughn:  “With unparalleled cruelty you have reduced the fine old town of Kingston to ashes, and its inhabitants to ruin”  Pointing out that ‘the fortunes of war” had placed a number of British soldiers and officers under his control, Gates noted the possibility that Vaughn himself might some day be subject to vengeance.However, Gates’ very generous treatment of British soldiers (so much so that it was later partially repudiated by the Continental Congress) as contrasted with British atrocities like the burning of Kingston won the Americans high marks with dissidents in the English parliament.  The fact that the New York State Constitutional Convention of 1777 was able to promulgate a constitution that would allow the State to function with its major City under British occupation during the American Revolution and for more than forty years thereafter is a testament to the farsighted ability of its delegates and the viability of the convention process. It is no accident that the three key figures at that Convention—John  Jay, Robert Livingston and Gouverneur Morris would also be very important participants ten years later in 1787 at the federal Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. In fact the U.S. Constitution incorporates many significant elements of the New York State Constitution, such as a bicameral legislature, an independent executive power, and Freedom of religion. Jay would later be Governor of New York, U.S Secretary of State and the first Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Livingston would later for 24 years be the Chancellor of New York State who swore in 1789 George Washington as President, and as Ambassador to France in 1803, one of the architects  of the Louisiana Purchase, and Gouverneur Morris would be a prominent member of the federal Constituonal Convention and an important early promoter of the Erie Canal. Although not well-known today, the Constitutional Convention of 1777, the conditions under which it was held and the  First New York State Constitution which resulted from its efforts have to be considered one of the high points in New York State’s history and one which should be much more widely studied.

However, the New York State Constitutions of 1777 was not without its faults. First,there were property qualifications for voting, which greatly restricted eligibility to vote. For example, it required that all voters for representatives to the State Senate have at least $250, e. It is estimated that perhaps only 10% of the male population in places like New York City were eligible to vote in these elections. This would soon create considerably controversy, particularly when former Revolutionary War veterans were deprived of their ability to obtain forfeited land by the U.S. Constitutional provisions favoring Tories. Furthermore the veto of the Council of Appointment over a governor’s action also greatly restricted the governor’s ability to act. These problems were compounded by the fact that the 1777 Constitution did not have a specific procedure for amendment.  These were problems which would have to be faced in later Constitutional Conventions.

II New York State Constitutional Convention of 1821      
The 1821 Constitutional Convention Gave the Right On White None Property Owners to Vote
The issue of voting qualifications had long been a problem in the early history of New York State, particularly in New York City.   To some extent the problem was more severe in New York City than elsewhere because during the Revolution there were many more pro British Tories living in New York City, which was under British occupation during the War. Under the initial New York state statutes lands of these Tories were subject to forfeiture to the State, and Tories had no right to vote. However, the Treaty of Paris as implemented by the U.S Constitution overrode these state forfeiture statutes, and in the late 1780’s the restrictions against former Tories from voting were removed. Thus in theory former Tories had the right to recover their forfeited land, some of which had been distributed to Revolutionary war veterans. Meanwhile Revolutionary war veterans from New York City tended to be poorer working class people who did not own significant property (and who had fled the City during the Revolution). The new policies of the 1790’s tended to disenfranchise men who had fought on the American side, while enfranchising the Tories who had fought for the British.
More on the NYS Charter Conventions: Voting and Social Programs on Housing, Health Care and Poor Children

Santa Cuomo and His Bag of Gifts and Money Tricks On Who Will Pay  
The Post writes that “Mommy and Daddy Taxpayer” will wind up paying for all the presents on Santa Cuomo’s list because he has not articulated how the state would pay for several large gifts
Santa Cuomo left some pricey gifts for New York taxpayers (NYP Ed) In the runup to Wednesday’s State of the State Address, the governor’s been promising huge new construction projects all across the state. The big mystery: how he’s going to pay for it all. A partial list:
  •  Major expansion and improvements to the LIRR.
  •  Free Wi-Fi throughout the MTA.
  • Another overhaul plan to extend Penn Station to the post office across Eighth Avenue.
  •  A $1 billion Javits Center expansion.
  •  A $5 million “study” of building a Long Island Sound crossing.
  • A freeze on Thruway tolls — even though the Thruway Authority’s supposedly covering the $5 billion tab for the new Tappan Zee Bridge.
This, on top of the billions he’s promised for a new rail tunnel beneath the Hudson, plus billions more for various bridge and highway projects outside the metro area. Heck, there’s still no hint where the state’s getting the billion-plus needed to finish the East Side Access project to bring the LIRR into Grand Central.*  Cuomo revived a plan to bring college courses to inmates, and floated paying for it with $7.5 million in forfeiture funds from the Manhattan district attorney and an additional $7.5 million in private funds, The New YorkTimes reports:  * Port Authority Chairman John Degnan questioned the agency’s potential contribution of nearly half the public funding expected for the governor’s recently proposed overhaul of Penn Station, The Wall Street Journal reports:  * The chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is questioning his agency’s potential contribution of nearly half the public funding expected for a recently proposed overhaul of New York’s Penn Station.* Cuomo this weekend revived the idea of college courses for prison convicts at the Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem, telling churchgoers that he would continue to push for the plan as a preventative measure to ending the disproportionately high levels of incarceration among black men.*  "Cuomo will lay out his agenda for 2016during his State of the State address Wednesday, but much of it will carry little suspense. Why? Cuomo has spent the past week methodically rolling out some of his major initiatives for this week, traveling the state to highlight some of the bigger pieces of his forthcoming speech and budget proposal, which he will also lay out Wednesday. It includes everything from a promise to spend $22 billion on roads and bridges over the next five years, avow to push for a $15 minimum wage and $1 billion plan to keep tolls flat on the state Thruway system, including the Tappan Zee Bridge. How the governor plans to pay for it all, however, hasn't been made clear. And Cuomo has not yet revealed his plan to bolster ethics laws in scandal-scarred Albany, which he has said will be part of his agenda." -- De Blasio still hasn't been briefed on the speech's contents. * Cuomo’s announcement of a planned $1 billion expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s West Side promised jobs and economic activity, butneglected to mention how it will be funded. And the debt on a previous renovation is not scheduled to be retired for another 30 years. * Cuomo’s infrastructure plans will cost $100 billion and create more than 250,000 jobs, according to Bill Mulrow, the governor’s secretary, who unleashed those enormous numbers during a speech to construction industry executives at the Mandarin Oriental.* DeFran: Cuomo’s Left Turn Aimed At Out Flanking de Blasio (YNN) * Cuomo’s failure to choose a new state Democratic chairman has undermined party unity, allowed his war with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to worsen and left New York without a top cheerleader for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, anonymous party activists tell Fred Dicker. * Cuomo to announcemore scrutiny on NYC shelters, more supportive housing units and his ownhousing plan:(WSJ)

Councilman Torres Gets Hacked on Instagram 
INSTA-SCAM! Fake Instagram account set for Bronx City Councilman Ritchie Torres, puts out racial slurs in his name (NYDN) A Bronx city councilman claims a dirty digital trickster set up a bogus Instagram account in his name and used it to sling racial slurs and offensive digs at officials and constituents. Making matters worse, says City Councilman Ritchie Torres, the social media site shut down his real account after he complained, while allowing the fraudster to continue spewing hateful bilge. A Bronx city councilman claims a dirty digital trickster set up a bogus Instagram account in his name and used it to sling racial slurs and offensive digs at officials and constituents. Making matters worse, says City Councilman Ritchie Torres, the social media site shut down his real account after he complained, while allowing the fraudster to continue spewing hateful bilge.


When It Comes to Developers de Blasio is the One Redistribution Wealth Upwards  
The Daily News writes that the Blackstone Group, which is purchasing the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper apartments, is getting an overly generous deal from the de Blasio administration
Fairer deal wantedin the StuyTown plan (NYDN) As they say: The rich get richer. But as they don’t usually say: Mayor de Blasio is the one redistributing the wealth upward. That’s the bottom line, it’s increasingly evident, on the $5.5 billion purchase of Manhattan’s gigantic Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper apartment complexes by the Blackstone Group private equity firm. The 11,200 apartments in the development were thrust to the center of the battle for housing affordability in 2006 when a mega-developer took ownership at a wildly inflated price with a strategy for dramatically boosting rents. The strategy ended in a near-bankruptcy that threw residents into limbo. In October, with Blackstone moving to buy the properties, the de Blasio administration announced that the city would kick in money in order to entice the company to keep 5,000 apartments under rent stabilization for 20 years, while allowing Blackstone to rent or sell the other 6,250 units at whatever prices it can fetch. From the start, City Hall was less than clear on Blackstone’s compensation. A press release said that the city “will fund a loan of up to $144 million,” without revealing that the mayor would then forgive the loan plus add $77 million, bringing the true outlay to $221 million. That worked out to Blackstone netting a $42,000 per-unit subsidy for the affordable units. Only after the fact did it emerge that de Blasio had also bundled in a generous gift to Blackstone’s uber-wealthy investors: a pledge to help extract unused development rights, worth a fortune in Manhattan, from the project. Large as both developments are, zoning laws would allow the property owner to build much bigger — and get much greater revenue — if the land were vacant. The next best thing would be to help the owner to move those development rights elsewhere — as de Blasio pledged to do. Encompassing as much as 1 million square feet of construction, the value of the rights has been estimated to be as high as $625 million. Consider the bonanza an additional subsidy for the affordable units and the price per unit becomes astronomical.

Daily News Sunday Copies True News Saturday on de Blasio Bad Management Abilities 
"De Blasio’s can-do promises clash humiliatingly with his can’t-do record"
De Blasio’s latest announcement in his fight against homelessness and brave expressions of good intentions are theater by a panicking mayor who’s about to be shredded for ineffective management by the governor

Monday A surge in homelessness is bedeviling New York City. Dozens of homeless people interviewed by The AP this week made it clear that it will take more than the expanded outreach programs announced recently by the mayor and governor to bring them in from the cold.

Maybe panic willwork for de Blasio on homelessness (NYDN) Confronted with an embarrassing failure to deliver even a small measure of the relief he promised to the more than 58,000 New Yorkers living in homeless shelters, Mayor de Blasio retreated Friday to his comfort zone: the moral high ground. There he made extravagant new promises to vanquish homelessness in a campaign that will demand more mayoral mojo than he has ever shown — without offering a hint as to how he plans to get the job done. That’s because de Blasio’s brave expressions of good intentions were theater by a panicking mayor who’s about to be shredded for ineffective management by Gov. Cuomo. “There have been a number of times when we’ve been told it will get better but enough is enough,” said Cuomo, adding that he’ll focus on homelessness in his State of the State address this week.  Last May, to take one example, de Blasio announced that “hundreds of special SWAT teams” would swoop into shelters to keep them in habitable repair, after the Department of Investigation issued a report finding facilities rife with dangerous conditions.  The mayor also promised the creation of an online scorecard tracking every safety-code violation in every shelter. Eight months later, only 23 shelters out of almost 700 are accounted for, and those have 91 outstanding building and fire-code violations. Reviewing city inspectors’ own records, Controller Scott Stringer tallied an astonishing 18,704 health and safety code violations in 341 facilities housing children.

True News Saturday
de Deblasio Blames Everyone But Himself for His Own Bad Management of the Homeless 
A day after de Blasio was called out for failing on his commitment to have report cards for each homeless shelter the mayor blamed the past mayors for the problem.  In the past he blamed Cuomo, the press and the past mayors
De Blasio blasts predecessors for homeless crisis (NYP) de Blasio lashed out at his predecessors Friday, claiming “the needs of poor people” had been ignored for decades by previous administrations because impoverished New Yorkers don’t have clout. “I think for a long, long time in our society, the needs of poor people have been ignored. I think a lot of people’s problems were swept under the rug,” he said at a Midtown press conference (right) announcing the funding of 300 more youth-shelter beds over the next three years. “I think in the crass political world, these were people who, quote-unquote, didn’t vote and therefore they didn’t matter to some people. I think that’s sick, but I think that’s real.” While de Blasio spent his early months in office showcasing his reversals of Bloomberg policies, he has lately been making overtures to the billionaire. But on Friday, he drew a sharp distinction from his predecessors by claiming his administration was the first to take ownership of many festering issues.

“I think, honestly, a mayor should be held accountable. I feel there’s a blunt, very, very clear parallel to the reality of Rikers Island, to the reality with our public-housing developments, to the reality in our schools,” de Blasio said. Bloomberg, who committed to staying mum on city politics after leaving office in December 2013, declined to comment. But his former communications director, Bill Cunningham, invoked Shakespeare to suggest de Blasio was playing a blame game. “Methinks he doth protest too much,” said Cunningham, now a political consultant. “In 2016, people who are part of my administration will feel the lash, because if we make a commitment, we’re keeping it,” de Blasio said. “Anyone who doesn’t keep it is going to have a problem with me. And I will happily change people’s roles if I have to do that.”  In recent weeks, his deputy mayor for social services quit and the homeless-services commissioner was sidelined amid criticism of the administration’s handling of homelessness.

de Blasio Gets An F- At Education Management 
Principals’ Union Says Mayor de Blasio Has Lost Focus on Students (NYT) The union’s president blames micromanagement from the top, with conflicting orders and too many school staff members being overwhelmed with paperwork and meetings.*  * Ernest Logan, the president of New York City’s principals’ union, said he had lost confidence in de Blasio because his administration has made its school turnaround effort too political, the Timesreports:  * Ernest A. Logan, the president of the union that represents NYC’s principals and assistant principals, says he and and his members have lost confidence in NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, calling the mayor’s school turnaround effort “a political mess” that isn’t focused on kids. -- Principals union sours on De Blasio -- Times' Kate Taylor: "When Mayor Bill de Blasio took office, it seemed like the start of a bright new day in the relationship between City Hall and the people who run New York City's schools. Rather than close struggling schools, as his predecessor Michael R. Bloomberg had done, Mr. de Blasio promised to support them. In November 2014, he and his schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña,announced a program to funnel resources, training and social services into 94 of the lowest-performing schools. At the time, Ernest A. Logan, the president of the union that represents the city's principals and assistant principals, lauded Mr. de Blasio, saying that the initiative demonstrated a 'philosophy of collaboration over competition' and reflected 'the deeply held values of most of our school leaders. ... Now, however, Mr. Logan says he - and by extension, the 6,000 members of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators - has lost confidence in the de Blasio administration. In a column to be published in the union's newsletter this month, Mr. Logan writes of the Education Department, 'Sadly, in the timeworn tradition of the D.O.E., there are so many cooks running around in the kitchen, the chefs don't know what kind of dish they're concocting.'" BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I think a majority of them would say they probably had a better shot of being able to effectively do their job under the old administration." -- Ernie Logan, president of the principal's union

de Blasio Even Blamed His Own Staff As Cuomo Plans to Fix the City's Homeless Problem
None of dozens of homeless people interviewed said they’d been approached by outreach workers de Blasio said he would be dispatching to the streets to persuade this population to come indoors, The Associated Pressreports

Mayor de Blasio vowsto 'turn the tide' on homelessness as Gov. Cuomo prepares new plan (NYDN) De Blasio also said Friday that he was upset that his administration did not follow through with plans to give homeless shelters letter grades like restaurants, something he pledged to do in May.  NY1 first reported that the grades weren’t released last year as promised. “It’s unacceptable to me that those scorecards were not prepared,” he said. “We made a commitment to do it. ... The people who are part of my administration will feel the lash.”  Cuomo Attacks: Says He Will Solve the Homeless Crisis Calling it a “scandal” that’s gone on for too long, Mayor de Blasio on Friday vowed once again to “turn the tide” on homelessness — at the same time his enemy Gov. Cuomo vowed to lay out his own agenda to combat the problem.  De Blasio, speaking at a shelter for homeless young people in Hell’s Kitchen, said the problem of homelessness has gone on for decades with little attention — suggesting that previous mayors were also to blame. Earlier in the day, Cuomo said he was going to address the city’s homeless crisis in his state of the state address next week. “It is a sad, sad failure that we have people who in this day and age we leave on the streets,” said Cuomo. * In his fight against the homelessness crisis, de Blasio announced a plan to add 300 beds in shelters for older teenagers, a group advocates say is underserved, with 100 new beds a year over the next three years, the Times writes: *  My Predecessors AreAlso Reponsible For Homelessness Crisis: De Blasio (DNAINFO) * As de Blasio worried about what Cuomo will do onhomelessness, he criticizes predecessors and cultivates advocates:(WSJ)

It is Not the Message Its the Messenger
  Mayor de Blasio shuffles communications staffers(NYDM)
de Blasio Fails at Management

Both Cuomo and de Blasio Agree Their Fight Their Governing is All About Them 
Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s rift is now undisguised mutual loathing, and nearly every day the two men act out another scene in one of the most curious and entertaining political psychodramas of our time, the Post’s Kyle Smith writes in The Wall Street Journal:

Meeks Mansion Giving Him Problems Again  -No Permit
Gregory Meeks has no city permit for his Queens mansion (NYP) Rep. Gregory Meeks has been living in his 6,000-square-foot Queens mansion for nearly a decade — without city authorization. He never got a required certificate of occupancy for the custom-built Hollis home, finished in late 2006.  A temporary certificate of occupancy, which he needed to get his mortgage, expired Jan. 4, 2007, and was never renewed, city records show.  “Until recently, I had no idea that there had only been a temporary certificate of occupancy. I will be in touch with the Buildings Department and the architect to bring this into compliance,” he said in a statement.  The home has created controversy for Meeks.  He borrowed $624,000 to buy the $830,000 property and took out a $78,000 line of credit.  Then, in 2007, Meeks got a $40,000 “loan” from businessman Edul Ahmad that he said went to furnishing and other household needs. He made no payments on it and claimed to have lost the loan paperwork. It was paid only in 2010 after the FBI began probing Ahmad, later indicted in a mortgage-fraud scheme.

de Blasio Plan to Fix Homeless Shelters: Make A Historic Promise and When That Fails Make Another Promise 2.0
The mayor says it is unacceptable that his administrationfailed to create report cards for city homeless shelters: (NY1) * De Blasio Administration Months Late in Creating Scorecards for Hundreds of Homeless Shelters (NY1)  Almost eight months ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would be sending out squads of city workers to make rapid repairs on homeless shelters and promised to disclose all of that work publicly, giving every city shelter a scorecard. But NY1's Courtney Gross found out that's not yet happening. The administration's initial response was last May. It was here that the mayor promised to send repair teams into city shelters and give every single city shelter a scorecard so the public could keep tabs on all the work that was getting done. "There will be an accountability system," Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the time. "It will be a public system maintained by the Department of Homeless Services. There will be a public tracking system so you and members of the public can identify where we stand with each of the facilities. There will be a scorecard made available publicly. That will be up later this month." Eight months later, almost none of those scorecards are in. Only 23 shelters are rated when the promise encompasses nearly 700. A previous version of the Department of Homeless Services website promised reports "by September," but that never happened. Now, the website says "by November." Still, the scorecards aren't there. The tardiness comes even as criticism of shelter conditions has increased, particularly from de Blasio's chief political rival, Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

The administration's initial response was last May. It was here that the mayor promised to send repair teams into city shelters and give every single city shelter a scorecard so the public could keep tabs on all the work that was getting done. "There will be an accountability system," Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the time. "It will be a public system maintained by the Department of Homeless Services. There will be a public tracking system so you and members of the public can identify where we stand with each of the facilities. There will be a scorecard made available publicly. That will be up later this month." Eight months later, almost none of those scorecards are in. Only 23 shelters are rated when the promise encompasses nearly 700. A previous version of the Department of Homeless Services website promised reports "by September," but that never happened. Now, the website says "by November." Still, the scorecards aren't there. The tardiness comes even as criticism of shelter conditions has increased, particularly from de Blasio's chief political rival, Governor Andrew Cuomo.* De Blasio visits Manhattan homeless shelter, takes resume (NYDN)
How Team de Blasio (Berlin Rosen) Tried to Blame Homelessness and the NYCHA Mess On Cuomo  
de Blasio Blasts the Press for Claiming There is A Homeless Problem

Another de Blasio Management Promise Fix Failure: Isolation for Young Adults in Jail
New York Jail Agency Seeks to Delay Ending Isolation for Young Adults (NYT) The plan affecting inmates ages 18 to 21 was to take effect at the start of this year, but the Correction Department is seeking a postponement after assaults on guards.*  Rikers officials want to push back plans to end solitary confinement for younger inmates (NYDN) * After a series of assaults on guards at Rikers Island, the New York City Correction Department is seeking to delay a plan announced last year to eliminate the use of solitary confinement citywide for inmates ages 18 to 21, the Times reports:

Cuomo Could Delay Skelos Seat Primary to Help the Democrats
The Real Reason There May Be No Special Election on April 19 (YNN) Last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo suggested that he would call a special election on April 19, which would line up local races with New York’s presidential primary. He hasn’t officially done so yet, and he has until early February to make a final decision. That gives the governor some leeway, although not a ton. Some had suggested that Democrats on Long Island had asked him to hold off. They have selected Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky as their candidate to run for the Skelos seat, and as Jimmy Vielkind astutely pointed out, Democrats have fretted that a fluid national Republican Primary could boost Republican turnout on Strong Island  * The convictions of former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Republican, and ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, should embarrass both parties and the state Legislature should undertake a bipartisan effort to clean up this mess, the Times Union writes: 

City to Appoint Counterterrorism Monitor As NYPD Continues Surveillance of Muslims
The Daily News criticizes the NYPD’s settlement over surveillance of Muslims after the Sept. 11 attacks, saying the agreement accepted by City Hall included terms that are easily distorted to paint the NYPD as guilty
New York to Appoint Civilian to Monitor Police’s Counterterrorism Activity (NYT) An agreement, coming as the city moves to settle lawsuits over surveillance targeting Muslims, would restore some of the outside oversight that was eliminated after the Sept. 11 attacks.* NYPD will yank terror report from website to settle case over spying (NYP) * Civilian Representative to Join NYPD Counterterror Oversight Panel (NY1) *  Hamstringing the NYPD’s anti-terror efforts (NYP) Start with the mayor’s appointment of an outside lawyer to “spy” on NYPD counter­terror programs, push back when he thinks it crosses some line and complain to the commissioner, mayor or a federal judge. The department can ignore him, but the added pressure, even when he’s wrong, can’t help. The deal will also limit the time of NYPD probes and its use of undercovers.

The NYPD  settlement over surveillance of Muslims after 9/11 confirms cops were right all along in saying they did nothing wrong, but it castigates them for being right about radicalization, The Wall Street Journal writes:
 NYPD-Muslim settlement demolishes the big spy lie (NYDN Ed) Amid global fears of ISIS-inspired, home-grown radical Islamist attacks, the NYPD’s anti-terror intelligence program won vindication Thursday in a lawsuit that had alleged wholesale unconstitutional spying on Muslims. Victory, though, was not fully sweet, because the settlement accepted by City Hall included terms that are easily distorted to paint the NYPD as guilty. Six Muslim individuals, mosques and organizations asked a federal judge in 2013 to declare the NYPD filled with anti-Muslim spies, to bar the department from continuing its operations and to order the destruction of all collected information.  Critically, certifying that their case was baseless — that there was no merit to the much-trumpeted accusation of spying — the claimants came away with none of that. The NYPD paid no compensation, made no admissions of wrongdoing and escaped without paying the other side’s legal fees. Lacking proof after examining the department’s innards, the ACLU-represented accusers had no choice but to fold. Then, too, some of their backgrounds directly demolished charges of “suspicionless surveillance.” In court papers, the NYPD had revealed, for example, that it had probed individuals associated with one of the mosques “based upon information about their lengthy history of suspected criminal activity, some of it terroristic in nature,” such as illegal weapons trafficking and support for “government-designated terrorist organizations.”   So much for suspicionless surveillance. The NYPD also accepted the appointment of a civilian who will monitor compliance with the settlement for the next five years. While Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence John Miller said he welcomed the oversight as a way to put the spying accusations to rest, its introduction under these circumstances created a shadow where none should exist. Most distastefully, the NYPD agreed to stifle a landmark 2007 report that investigated for the first time the process of Islamist radicalization. After studying numerous plots, including the conspiracy to bomb the Herald Square subway station, NYPD analysts noted that many perpetrators were disaffected young men who had gravitated to radical Islamist beliefs.*  The New York Police Department must strengthen oversight of its surveillance practices as part of a settlement of two civil-rights lawsuits accusing the force of unfairly monitoring Muslims after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Gang Banger Shot Cop Last Night
Cop Shot While Responding To Large Fight In The Bronx (Gothamist) Earlier this morning, an anti-crime unit police officer was shot in the ankle in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said that Sherrod Stuart and his partner were "respond[ing] to numerous 911 calls reporting a large fight in the street with guns, bats, and knives at 2505 3rd Avenue."The incident occurred at around 2:10 a.m., and Stuart is now recovering at Lincoln Hospital. Bratton said at press conference. Bratton identified the suspect as Christopher Rice, 19, and said that the investigation so far "indicates that this subject has a criminal history of five prior arrests, including an arrest just yesterday on a charge of fare beating, a charge in which he was released from court at 11p.m. last night—three hours before the shooting."

Albany Trying to Do All It Can to Keep Its Corrupt Culture While Good People In And Out of Albany Do Nothing
New York’s leaders need to stop talking and start cleaning (NYP Ed) When it comes to ethics reform, our state’s leaders talk a good game — period. The Legislature opened its 2016 session Wednesday absent the two men who were leading it just a year ago: Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, now both convicted felons ejected from office. As US Attorney Preet Bharara told Kentucky’s legislature Wed­nesday: “If you want to prevent corruption, don’t enable it.” The Post writes that New York’s legislative leaders need to stop talking about ethics reform and actually clean up Albany to show that elected officials really mean to change the culture of corruption that plagues the state Legislature:

Which is much what he said last year. How about some immediate action? Like:
  • Vote to strip pensions from all corrupt public officials — including Silver and Skelos, who filed for benefits after their convictions — not just those recently elected.
  • Heastie vowed to approve “something” by last summer, but never did. That’s because the public unions — who call the shots in the Assembly — demanded it not cover any felonious rank-and-file union members.
  • Fire Daniel Chill, who has been counsel to successive Assembly speakers for 40 years and who hooked Silver up with the doctor on the other end of his illegal trade of state grants for law-firm referrals.
  • Give back the $14 million that pols and political committees have pocketed in tainted campaign cash from Glenwood Management, the developer deeply involved in both Silver and Skelos crimes.  That doesn’t require any legislative action, just a personal decision that no one in Albany — from Gov. Cuomo on down — is willing to make.* Ethics reform and economic development must be the top two priorities of the state Legislature this year because they are of towering significance in a state that is one of the nation’s most expensive and most corrupt, The Buffalo news writes: 

Albany is in Preet's Stay Tuned mode...frozen ... limbo in fact, not rhetoric
As lawmakers returned to the state Capitol for the first time since the convictions of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, it was Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb who perhaps best summed up what 2015 did to the term “state legislator.” “I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to be referred to as a bum,” he said in a speech from the Assembly floor.* There hasn’t been a lot of movement on ethics reform in Albany, as the legislative leaders remain at odds on key provisions like banning outside income and stripping pensions from convicted former public officials.* Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie insisted his house is “serious” about ethics reform, while Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan pledged to engage in “whatever discussions are necessary” on the subject.* @CarlEHeastieon seizing felons' pensions: "We have to take another look" (PoliticoNY) * .@CarlHeastie has no plans to change "3 men in a room" culture in albany. Says President, Speaker of House and Senate leader do it same way

Senate Dem Boss Stewart-Cousins Picks A Lobbyist As Her Chief of Staff
Senate Democrats Hire New Chief Of Staff (YNN) With the new legislative session comes a top hire for the Senate Democrats, who have brought on government relations specialist Suzy Ballantyne to become the conference’s new chief of staff. She fills the vacancy created early last year, when the conference’s top aide Jeff Pearlman departed to become chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. Ballantyne since January 2015 has worked for the consulting firm and government relations shop Bolton-St. Johns, helping work on the effort to have the Zadroga Act be reauthorized. The measure provided $8.1 billion in health care funding for emergency workers during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as well as compensation.
Buffalo Billion Investigation
Senate Democrats Have No Interest In Going After Corrupt Shadow Govt Lobbyists

Albany Bluewall of Silence: Lawmakers Have Not Pressured Hestie nor Flanagan to Pass Reforms 
Bob McManus: “(N)either Heastie nor Flanagan has said anything meaningful about reform. This is unsurprising, because neither has felt any pro-reform pressure from rank-and-file lawmakers — most of them soul-dead and virtually none possessing the skills needed to form an honest Legislature anyway.” * When it comes to outside income earned by state lawmakers, the main focus is usually on high profile jobs like attorneys and consultants, but there’s a lot of other professions, too.* New Session, New Call For Inclusion In Closed-Door Meetings (YNN)* DAY-ONE PUSH FOR ETHICS - POLITICO New York's: As the State Legislature gavels in for the year, Democrats in the State Senate are laying down a marker: don't forget ethics reforms. Leaders of the both the Assembly and Senate were ousted at the end of last year due to federal corruption charges, which were affirmed in a pair of convictions that have increased pressure on lawmakers to do something to improve public perception. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said ethics reforms will be at the "top" of his agenda in next week's State of the State presentation, and he told reporters in Rochester Tuesday that part of his plan will be to "remove the pensions of public employees who are convicted of a felony."  "Let's not bury our heads in the sand and act like nothing is wrong," Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins is expected to say, according to prepared remarks. "Every year it seems that we face more and more scandal. And every year we pay lip service to reforming our government. Well let me tell you that is not good enough! Now is a time for a major re-haul of our outdated ethics laws."* Yesterday was Day One of the 2016 legislative session, and the Democratic and Republican leaders of the state Legislature laid out starkly different agendas for the 2016 session, signaling that the coming six months will be a tricky period during an election year.
Albany and City Hall Corruption

Senate GOP Plans to Stop the $15 Hr Wage Hike 
Leaders from the New York State Business Council and other groups told a Senate panelthat the proposed statewide $15-an-hour wage hike would cost employers nearly $16 billion in added costs, far exceeding the benefit of any possible tax cut. * Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco said he does not think the Senate will pass a $15 an hour minimum wage this year because it would hurt small businesses.* One influential senator predicts NY will not pass a statewide$15 minimum wage  *  Everyone else will pay for the war between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio on the minimum wage, including the mayor’s $15 wage for city employees and Cuomo’s similar windfall for state university workers, the Post argues: 

Is Bratton Blaming the Victim?
"Bratton puts onus on women toavoid late-night sex assaults,"  "Big Apple women should think twice before getting into a late-night taxi by themselves - as sexual assaults by drivers are on the rise ... 'One of the areas of concern that we have is particularly young women coming out of clubs and bars, particularly in Manhattan and certain areas of Brooklyn,' the top cop said during an interview on WNYC Radio's 'Brian Lehrer Show.' 'They're by themselves and intoxicated getting into a cab . . . and we've seen an increase in assaults in those instances, so we're encouraging women to adopt the buddy system.'"* After wave of sexual assaults, German mayor warns women tostay away from strangers: (NY Mag) * Why women need to think twice before taking a late-night taxi (NYP)

As Many As 200,000 Apt May Be Missing From Rent Regulations
NY State Data Indicates Even More Landlords Duck Rent Limits(ProPublica) As many as 200,000 New York City apartments could be missing from rent regulation as required by law, according to figures released by the state’s housing agency.

An NYPD sergeant has been served with internal disciplinary charges for her role in the confrontation that led to the death in 2014 of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died after an officer placed him in a chokehold during an arrest on Staten Island.  * NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, locked in a feud with Cuomo, said he will go to Albany next week to hear the governor’s State of the State/budget speech and had not yet been briefed on its contents.* * New York City began its new rapid response program to more quickly address problems and repairs in homeless shelters, amid another round of one-upmanship between the mayor and the governor, the Daily News reports:  *  De Blasio’s plan to lift the minimum wage for 50,000 NYC workers to $15 an hour “establishes troubling patterns” of giving away taxpayer money with no offsetting savings or productivity gains and could require re-opening established contracts, the Citizens Budget Commission warned.* As City Hall increases spending by billions of dollars and hires thousands of new employees, some lawmakers and financial experts are pushing de Blasio to cut back and warning of possible budget troubles ahead.

Cuomo de Blasio: War PR Battles All Over On the Eve of Cuomo's Wish List Albany Speech  
Thursday Clueless mayor vs. cynical governor: NY’s homeless wars (NYP)

Mayor de Blasio will raise wages for 50,000 city employees to $15 an hour by 2018 (NYDN) * Cuomo is proposing a series of small business tax cuts as one of his top priorities in 2016. He will push to reduce the corporate tax rate for small businesses that make less than $390,000 in net income, and help those that pay the personal income tax rate by increasing and expanding a tax break now limited to sole proprietorships and farms.* But between the minimum wage increase to $15 Cuomo is pushing and other ideas like a paid family leave program, “businesses are just going to shrug their shoulders and turn away; there’s not going to be rousing applause” for the tax cut proposals, according toNFIB’s Mike Durant.* Every NYC worker will earn at least $15 an hour by the end of 2018 under pay raises Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to announce today that will cover 50,000 people and cost $200 million over the next four years or so, according to the mayor’s office.* Under the mayor’s plan, which matches a similar increase for state employees enacted by Cuomo last year, about 50,000 city workers — including crossing guards, prekindergarten teachers, custodial workers and others — would see their pay reach the $15-an-hour level by the end of 2018, making them some of the country’s highest paid municipal employees.* All the recent talk by de Blasio and Cuomo about getting homeless people off the streets of NYC when the temperatures drop dangerously low hasn’t had much impact, according to those best in a position to know.* Cuomo Drags de Blasio? (YNN) As Mayor Bill de Blasio moves to raise the minimum wage for New York City workers to $15 an hour, a Capitol observer on Tuesday noted it was Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the moderate Democrat, who dragged the liberal mayor along. Cuomo at a rally with 1199 and other labor leaders as part of his minimum wage campaign named in honor of his late father this week nudged New York City (and de Blasio’s administration) to push for a $15 minimum wage.

Cuomo Fires Back That He Will Save 50,000 Apts and the Homeless
Cuomo is seeking to return up to 50,000 illegally deregulated apartments into the rent stabilization system, alleging some building owners claim exemption from rent regulations while receiving lucrative tax breaks
Cuomo order would restore 50,000 rent-protection apartments (NYP) Cuomo is expected to announce Wednesday that he’s ordering landlords who received special tax breaks to restore 50,000 apartments in the city to the rent-protection rolls. Administration and housing officials are enforcing recent court rulings that found the apartments were illegally deregulated by landlords who received benefits under the J-51 housing program. The state’s Division of Homes and Community Renewal is sending out notices to landlords who own 4,149 buildings throughout the city that received J-51 tax abatements between 1994 and 2015 who also registered their apartments as being exempt from rent-stabilization upon vacancy. The affected buildings include 1,986 in Manhattan, 859 in Brooklyn, 741 in Queens, 547 in The Bronx, and 16 in Staten Island. * Cuomo announces revised plan to add third rail to LIRR (NYP)* Cuomo is expected to announce a plan for a major revamp of Penn Station that would jump-start a long-stalled project to relocate Amtrak’s waiting area to the Farley post office building, The Wall Street Journalreports: * * Cuomo’s Long Island Sound tunnel plans could be written off as harmless political grandstanding, if not for that proposal for a $5 million study—further indication that a few million dollars isn’t real money in Albany, the Empire Centerwrites: * New York’s Penn Station, long ridiculed as outdated, crowded and miserable for travelers, would undergo a major overhaul under a plan expected to be announced as soon as this week, according to people familiar with the matter. (Maybe even today, as Cuomo has an afternoon event scheduled at 4 Penn. Plaza in NYC).* Cuomo vowed to transform the “dark,” “bleak” and “ugly” Penn Station into a bright and beautiful hub at the center of a revitalized transportation system in the region. * Cuomo’s push to remake New York Penn Station could cost more than $3 billion and leverage air rights and retail space to attract developers that would largely pay for an overhaul, The Wall Street Journal reports:  * Cuomo’s 2017 state budget is likely to call for billions of dollars for highways and bridges, but taxpayers won’t get their money’s worth if the state continues to rig bids for public-works projects that all but guarantee the jobs go to unions, the Empire Center’s Kenneth Girardin writes inthe Post:

Main Event in the Cuomo de Blasio War it the Battle Over the Homeless 
A Real Plan Will Be to Find Out What is Causing the Homeless Increase And Fix That

Shocking De Blasio to launch plan to fix homeless shelters after damning report finds whopping 18,704 violations citywide (NYDN)

Wednesday New York Today: Empire State of Conflict (NYT)  Tuesday: A look at city politics in 2016, freezing weather, and mulching your Christmas tree.* As Temperatures Plunge, Call to Keep New York’s Homeless Off Streets Has Little Impact (NYT) Advocates said the number of people taken off the streets on a cold Monday night seemed in line with what had happened during previous cold spells.* De Blasio Names Herminia Palacio as Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services (NYT) The appointment of Dr. Palacio, 54 and a native of the Bronx, fills a key role in the city’s efforts to confront a rise in homelessness.* 'IT'S JUST LIKE RIKERS ISLAND:' These horror stories reveal why city's homeless people would rather stay outdoors in the freezing cold than go to a shelter (NYDN) * Homeless ignore Cuomo, stay outside in below freezing temps (NYP) * Out-of-towners flock to NYC’s homeless shelters (NYP) * de Blasio filled a crucial post in a depleted team at City Hall, appointing Herminia Palacio, a Bronx-born public health official, as deputy mayor for health and human services, The New York Times reports:   * New York City-run lodging for homeless families is plagued by serious code violations, according to a report by Comptroller Scott Stringer, leading de Blasio to increase efforts to quickly upgrade conditions, the Daily News writes: * Pregnant, homeless woman refuses to go to NYC shelter on frigid day — 'Shelters are worse than the street' (NYDN)

More Designer News From the NYT to Protect Their Guy de Blasio on Homeless FU
Cuomo’s executive order on homeless people was confusing and seems like a move to exploit de Blasio’s weaknesses, but to really end the problem the pair needs to cooperate to build supportive housing and improve shelters, the Times writes:
So far, neither de Blasio nor Cuomo has real answers on the homeless (NYP) Sometimes Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio truly deserve each other — as when it comes to dealing with the homeless.  Because so far neither man seems serious about getting these folks off the streets — even in the cold.  Recall that when The Post spotlighted the surge of aggressive panhandlers and vagrants using streets as bathrooms, de Blasio denied it. Half a year later, he still has no plan to fix the problem. Even now, he claims “temperature alone doesn’t necessarily constitute” a reason to take a person to a shelter. “If someone’s not in danger, the law says that they still have rights to make that decision themselves.” Huh? Who wouldn’t be “in danger” living on the streets in below-freezing temps? Yet Cuomo isn’t moving to change the law — let alone to take folks off the streets in warm weather, which is only slightly less cruel.*  Cuomo’s order to remove homeless people during frigid weather angered some living in the streets who fear it would lead to harassment, complained about shelter conditions or called for more affordable housing, the Times reports:  * Cuomo took another swipe de Blasio’s handling of the homeless, charging that people live in the streets because they’re afraid of the city’s unsafe and dirty shelters, the Post reports:  * As part of the de Blasio administration’s effort to overhaul homelessness services, the city will end its use of private apartments, known as “clusters,” to house the homeless, and convert them into low-rent housing, the Observer writes:  *  Daily News says that Cuomo’s executive order ongetting homeless people off the streets in freezing temperatures would “change lots,” writing that New York City’s response will show how in sync de Blasio and Bratton are with the governor* The city’s homeless shelters are a last resort for many New Yorkers, but they’re attractingan increasing number of people from out of town. Roughly 1 in 6 adult couples and 1 in 10 families with kids who enter the shelters gave a previous address from outside the five boroughs.* City-run lodging for homeless families has become a wretched refuge, plagued by thousands of serious code violations, a comprehensive new report by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer has found. In response, de Blasio will announce a “substantially increased” effort to identify problems and quickly upgrade shelter conditions. * Cuomo’s executive order on homelessness is drawing a mixed, muted response from municipalities across the state: Some are taking incremental actions and others aren’t doing much of anything.

Why Does the Media Cover-Up the Cause of the Homeless Increase?
Neither de Blasio nor Cuomo are serious about gettinghomeless people off the streets, the Post writes, as those living on the streets in below-freezing temperatures are in danger so the governor should move quickly to do more: * Cuomo’s executive order must be clarified, especially about who can be forced off the streets and how, amNewYork writes, as individual’s rights need to be upheld and their possessions treated properly:* What will @NYGovCuomo's executive order to move homeless people to shelters accomplish?  * Cuomo’s executive order mandating shelters bring homeless people in from the cold when temperatures sink below freezing takes effect today. It has been greeted by social service providers with praise, questions and a reality check.* As temperatures plunge, Cuomo’s and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s political talk of taking New York’s homeless off the streets has had little impact, with numbers in line with past cold spells, The New York Times reports: 

Congressman Israel Calls It A Day
Rep. Steve Israel, a Long Island Democrat, abruptly announced he won’t be seeking re-election this year, making him the third New York congressman to do so. He says he’ll bespending time writing his second novel. *  Steve Israel retiring from Congress to become a novelist (NYP) * Rep. Steve Israel won’t seek re-election to a ninth term in November in order to spend more time writing his second book, and he said he hopes high voter turnout will keep a Democrat in the Long Island seat, Newsdaywrites: * State Sen. Jack Martins has expressed interest in running for Israel’s seat, which could create yet another headache for his fellow Republicans on Long Island, which is shaping up to be a major battleground (again) in the fight for control of the majority.* Israel cited the unrelenting demands of fundraising as one of the reasons behind his decision to retire, saying: “I don’t think I can spend another day in another call room making another call begging for money. I always knew the system was dysfunctional. Now it is beyond broken.”*  Fourth NY Congressman To Forgo Re-Election Run (YNN) * --Ret. Lt. Col. David Gurfein, a longtime Marine, is the only announced candidate for the Republican nomination, and has already raised north of $240,000 for their exploratory committee. "After many years of service he left active duty to attend Harvard Business School where he was elected co-President of his class. Upon graduating David began a career on Wall Street. After the devastating attacks on 9/11, David requested a return to active duty and saw combat action in both Iraq and Afghanistan. With 25 years of combined service in the Marine Corps, David retired as a Lieutenant Colonel to focus on being a father." -- A source says DNC member Robert Zimmerman is considering a run for the seat after receiving several phone calls about the matter. -- Azi

Albany Pols Going to Jail Even Rip Off the Taxpayers for Their Chairs for $25 Dollars
Another taxpayer gift to felonious New York politicians (NYP) Felony convictions may have forced Dean Skelos, Tom Libous and John Sampson to resign their state Senate seats, but they’re keeping their chairs. Their actual chairs — plush brass-and-leather ones they enjoyed as a right of office. By tradition, ex-senators get to buy their old seats for a token $25 payment. Even corrupt liars can keep the very chairs they sat in while cheating New Yorkers. OK, it’s not as big a hit to taxpayers as the pensions that the three (along with convicted ex-Speaker Sheldon Silver and other former Assembly cons) get to collect. But the chair perk still burns: Why should the people of New York have to shell out hundreds more bucks so felons can have a prime memento? A Senate spokesman confirmed to the Albany Times Union that all three of the criminals ejected last year did, indeed, take their chairs. Not a one felt too much shame.* The beginning of the 2016 session brings the full implementation of a new swipe-card system for lawmakers who must make a digital record of their presence in Albany to collect the $172 per diem, the Times Union reports:  * Amid talk of banning outside income for lawmakers after the conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on corruption charges, some lawmakers hold unexpected outside jobs like veterinarian or dry cleaner, the Times writes: 

Democrats Pick Kaminsky for the Skelos Seate
Democrats on Long Island have picked Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, a former federal corruption prosecutor, to be the party’s candidate in an expected special election for the state Senate seat left vacant by Dean Skelos, the Times reports:  * When Kaminsky Has Knocked Silver (YNN) An early line of attack for the coming Senate campaign from Republicans leveled against Democratic Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky is that he hasn’t knocked former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for collecting his pension.

What Does Cuomo Do When He is Cut Off From His Real Estate Campaign Money?
Bundled in blankets and enduring the frigid temperatures that arrived in New York City this week, homeless people said Cuomo was missing the point with his executive order, insisting what they need is housing, not someone telling them where to sleep and eat on a temporary basis. * Cuomo took another swipe at NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s handling of the homeless, charging that people live in the streets because they’re afraid of the city’s “dangerous” shelters.* “I don’t see it changes anything in what we actually do or what we have done for 20 years,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said of Cuomo’s order.*  Speaking with reporters after an unrelated event in Manhattan, Cuomo did not tip his handas to what exactly he will propose in his Jan. 13 State of the State/executive budget address that adds to his executive order to address homelessness. But he did acknowledge the need for more supportive and affordable housing options.* In Manhattan real estate, 2015 was a year for the record books, with the median price for co-ops and condos hitting a new high of $1.15 million in the final months of the year,according to reports by major real estate firms that will be released today.* How Cuomo shifted the conversation on income inequality (PoliticoNY) .@CommissBratton on removing homeless people from streets: "I’m not going to be violating the Constitution."* Cops clear dozens of homeless people off streetsas cold sets in (NYP)

Cuomo is Lucky the Left in NY is So Dumb and Easy to Buy
You didn’t think it was an accident that the Cuomo-created Women’s Equality Party [WEP] might be mistaken for the WFP on 2014 election day, now did you? Which is not setting well with true-believing, leftward-tilting Democrats like Teachout and activist Bill Samuels, who flirted with a primary run of his own last spring. Teachout, still an enrolled Democrat, is refusing to endorse the party ticket while Samuels complains bitterly about the governor to anybody who’ll listen: “[Cuomo’s] politically reckless behavior is endangering Senate Democrats” — which, in the end, seems rather to be the point.  * Mayor de Blasio was key in scoring WFP nomination for Gov.Cuomo (NYDN) The mayor brokered a deal with the Working Families Party in which Cuomo got the nomination after publicly committing to push for Democratic control of the state Senate and a host of liberal goals. Meanwhile, Senate insiders say Cuomo will have a rough time pushing anything through the Senate this year after he called for a takeover by Dems. A self-described progressive and the first Democrat to run New York City in 20years, de Blasio persuaded the union-backed Working Families Party to support Cuomo, a centrist governor running for re-election.

The NYP Keeps Attacking in the New Year
de Blasio Reappoints Judge Who Pissed Off Law Enforcement
De Blasio rewards judge who went soft on cop-hating thugs (NYP) Mayor de Blasio has reappointed three cut-’emloose judges — including one who sparked outrage by freeing defendants accused of threatening to kill cops after the execution-style murders of two police officers. De Blasio doubled down on his support for controversial Brooklyn Criminal Court Judge Laura Johnson, rewarding her with a full, 10-year term on the bench, the mayor’s office announced Monday. Last year, Hizzoner gave Johnson a one-year interim reappointment despite fierce opposition from law-enforcement officials

Judge turns loose thug who posted gun threat against cops (NYP) * The NYPD is expanding its Juvenile Robbery Intervention Program because of the good will it fosters in minority communities, even though an internal report found it has had no effect on stopping robberies, theTimes writes:  * De Blasio has reappointed three cut-’emloose judges (as the NY Post says) — including one who sparked outrage by freeing defendants accused of threatening to kill cops after the execution – style murders of two police officers.

How the Mayor’s Zoning Plan Vote to Bypass Community Opposition Will Pass the Council Thanks to Glenwood 
Today True News continues it series on exposing the Democracy Killing Interlocking-Directorates of Campaign Contributors and Lobbyists that run NY’s Government and elections. In Part III as the mayor tries to find the votes to override the 5 borough community boards that have rejected his rezoning plan; we look at real estate control of the city council. Over have of the council received help from Glenwood’s Job for NY PAC. Another quarter goes help from their local democratic party who got donations from Glenwood. It is quite ironic that a council and mayor who pride themselves as being progressive is counting on using what the man who their movement was named was trying to eliminate, interlocking-directorates of control, to pass a rezoning that has strong opposition. One of President Theodore Roosevelt's first notable acts as president was to deliver a 20,000-word address to Congress asking it to curb the power of large corporations (called "trusts").  During the real Progressive Era Roosevelt intervened in the economy, breaking up corporate monopolies.  Roosevelt became know as the Trust-Buster when he went after corporate Interlocking-directorate which refers to the practice of members of a corporate board of directors serving on the boards of multiple corporations. Today Interlocking-directorates also refer to the monopolist’s control of campaign donors and lobbyists have over government and campaigns. In looking at the control Glenwood and the other Jobs for NY PAC contributors have over the council you to into account not only the 2013 funding but also the promises of 2017 funding or threats of running against any councilmember that votes against the mayor’s zoning plan.  In Part I of its Interlocking-Directorates True News reported how lobbyists and campaign contributors were at the center of both the Silver and Skelos corruption.  In Part II of Interlocking-Directorates True News reported how lobbyists Berlin Rosen controlled the local elected official and the developers who closed down the Brooklyn Heights Business Library. Coming Soon Part IV the Interlocking-Directorates of the UFT and Their Lobbyists Control Over the City Council.

The Interlocking-Directorates or Real Estate and Lobbyist That Control the Progressive City Council  
1. Glenwood contributed $587,000 to the real estate PAC Jobs for New York 2.  Other Real Estate REBNY members contributed another $7 Million to Jobs for New York, 3. Lobbyists Campaign Consultant Evan Stavisky’s Parkside Group Ran the Jobs for New York PAC for the REBNY Developers and Real Estate Barons.  4. Glenwood Contributed $1,146,000 to the State Senate GOP Committee and $570,000 to the GOP Senate Housekeeper Account (millions more in other Real Estate PACs like Neighborhood Preservation, Real Estate Board PAC to keep the senate in the hands of Skelos’ GOP. 5. Glenwood Contributed Thousands to Senator Jeff Klein Who Head the IDC (6) Democrats Who Support and Vote With the Senate GOP Leadership.  7. Glenwood Donated Over $100,000 to Senator Gianaris (8) Who Runs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee...  9. Glenwood Has Contributed $350,000 to Senator Michael Gianaris DSCC.  10. Parkside is the Campaign Consultant the Gianaris Keeps Hiring At Over $2 Million an Election to Run the DSCC despite the Fact that Parkside Has Failed to Deliver a Majority to the Democratic Leaders.  11. Parkside is Senator Gianaris Campaign Consultant.  12. Glenwood Contributed Tens of Thousands to Tony Avella the Senate Ethics Chair.  13.  Parkside is Avella Campaign Consultant   14... Glenwood Donated Tens of Thousands to Toby Stavisky’s Parkside Evan’s Mom.  15. Evan Works as a Campaign Consultant for His Mom. 16.  Glenwood Donated Tens of Thousands to the Queens Democratic Party.  17.  Parkside is the Campaign Consultant for the Queens Democratic Party.  18.  Parkside worked for Dromm, Van Bramer, Koslowitz, Crowley, and Lancman as Campaign Consultants.  19.  Glenwood Donated $1,089,000 to the Cuomo Campaign and Another and Another Half Million to the Committee to Save NY.  20. Glenwood Donated Over $100,000 to Both Comptroller DiNapoli AG Schneiderman * True News Investigation of Shadow Government Interlocking-DirectoratesPart III: Control the City Council by Real Estat

The Push to Buy Support for de Blasio's Zoning Plan
 Facing opposition to its sweeping zoning proposals, the de Blasio administration is slated to unveil a series of economic development initiatives for East New York, the first neighborhood expected to fall under the framework, Sarina Trangle reports: * After initially withholding support for MandatoryInclusionary Housing, the New York State Association for Affordable Housing is now getting behind the key de Blasio zoning proposal even without getting details the group wanted: 
Real Estate Developers, Tax Breakes 421-a and Zoning 

Cuomo Enters New Year in A Panic Wants to Take Down de Blasio and Uncertainty On What Bharara Will Do to Him 
Cuomo enters his sixth year in office frantically driven to increase his record-low approval ratings, obsessed with defeating de Blasio in 2017 and “edgily nervous’’ about U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s next move
Cuomo is desperate to take down de Blasio in 2017 (Dicker, NYP) Cuomo has entered his sixth year in office frantically driven to increase his record-low approval ratings, obsessed with defeating Mayor de Blasio in 2017, and “edgily nervous’’ about US Attorney Preet Bharara’s next move, sources close to the governor have told The Post. Cuomo was also described as “desperately’’ seeking allies within his own Democratic Party to be part of an anti-de Blasio coalition, after having alienated many of them by his “bullying’’ and “contemptuous’’ treatment. Cuomo, meanwhile, was described by one associate as “edgily nervous’’ about the next move to be made by federal prosecutor Bharara, whose successful prosecution of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau) and startling admonition to “stay tuned” has led to widespread speculation that the governor is his next target.

Cuomo’s Erratic Governing Behavior is Noticed by the Media and Dems
And the governor, the sources said, has begun displaying what many of his own staffers see as “peculiar’’ bursts of energy, in which he abruptly shifts gears on key public-policy positions in hopes of increasing his popularity: first battling and then embracing the teachers unions, opposing and then backing a $15-an-hour minimum wage, and refusing and then granting pardons to thousands of convicted criminals.  “Today, we are a state that is transformed and once again the progressive capital of the world,’’ Cuomo continued, failing to mention the convictions on corruption charges of the former leaders of the “progressive’’ capital’s Legislature, the state’s bottom-of-the-barrel rating as a place to do business, and the state’s massive population losses — more than 500,000 people since he took office. Quipped a prominent Democrat,: “Why’d he stop with ‘capital of the world?’ Why not the ‘progressive capital of all the galaxies?’ ”Some Democrats used words like “weird’’ and “embarrassing’’ to describe Cuomo’s relatively recent policy of issuing press releases urging the public to be careful as a routine snowstorm or other seasonally inclement weather is forecast.* Cuomo and some of the state’s most powerful unions will kick off the new year with a massive rally today to push for a $15-an-hour statewide minimum wage.* Cuomo Plans Ethics And Economic Improvement Platform (YNN) -- Cuomo aides met with advocates in December to discuss paid family leave, a sign that the governor may be pursuing the issue this legislative session.* Cuomo extends $15 minimum wage to SUNY employees (NYP)* Continuing a push for the payment of higher wages for public-sector jobs, Cuomo announced a plan to raise the minimum wage for state university workers to $15. The plan will affect a larger number of state employees — about 28,000, most of whom are upstate — and is designed to include students who use work-study jobs to pay tuition and bills while attending classes. Cuomo’s goal now is to get lawmakers in Albany to sign on to a statewide minimum of $15. To assist in that effort, he also announced at a labor union rally the launch of the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice, named after his late father, who served as governor for three terms. CUNY workers were excluded from Cuomo’s order. CUNY chancellor James B. Milliken said the university “supports Governor Cuomo’s initiative on increasing the minimum wage for public employees. We look forward to working with the administration and the Board of Trustees to ensure that CUNY’s employees receive a fair minimum wage.”
More About Cuomo

Nassau With Two Growing Federal Investigations is Ground Zero for the War to Control the State Senate, Maybe More
Nassau County Democrats, increasingly confident they’ll win an upcoming special state Senate election, dropped plans to urge Cuomo to hold off on setting April 19 — presidential primary day — as the date to fill the now-vacant Skelos seat. The Democrats had initially feared an expected heavy turnout of Republicans in the presidential primary — in contrast to the predicted light turnout for the Democratic primary, which Hillary Clinton will likely win easily — would favor the GOP candidate for the Senate. But “we’re no longer concerned about the date because we now expect that this campaign will be very well-funded and that we will win,’’ a senior Nassau Democrat told The Post. Nervous Republicans, tainted by the Skelos corruption scandal and what many believe are two widening corruption probes involving other Nassau County officials, had hoped to field Assemblyman Brian Curran, but GOP sources say he’s reluctant to enter the race.
Republicans hold a bare one-vote majority in the Senate, and a Democratic victory in Skelos’ long-under-GOP-control district would be seen as signaling a looming Democratic takeover   State BOE Fed Investigation Also While Bharara has ongoing investigations, state Board of Elections Chief Enforcement Officer Risa Sugarman has also referred a number of cases for criminal prosecution to state and local prosecutors, the Daily News’writes: * NEW YEAR, NEW ARRESTS: Board of Elections boss expects more pols to be hit with criminal charges in 2016 (NYDN)  * Former Republican U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato praised Democratic Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, who may run to replace the seat left vacant by Dean Skelos, but added he still wanted a Republican-controlled state Senate, the Daily News reports: * Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota asked to meet with then-U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in 2014 to alert her that a Suffolk detective whom the government hoped to use as a witness was leaking information, Newsdaywrites:  * The tabloid-ready case against a former Suffolk County police chief comes at the same time as a broader federal investigation of the Suffolk County political machine and its hold over the local criminal justice system, the Times writes:  * Nassau Dem Leader Expects Cuomo To Help Win Skelos Seat (YNN)
Lobbyists Al D'Amato and the Long Island Investigation

Cuomo Ends the Christmas Truce Quickly the 2016 War Has Begun  

De Blasio to defy Cuomo’s order to shelter homeless  via nypost * Homeless reject Cuomo's plan to force them into hellholeshelters (NYDN) * Cuomo’s helping hand (NYDN Ed)* City to End Use of‘Cluster’ Homeless Shelter Units (NYO) “We are taking this initiative in order to end the use of this program, which resulted in substantial sums being paid for apartments—many that were in substandard conditions,” Mr. Banks said today at a City Hall press conference. *Homeless Advocates Question Executive Order(YNN) In a statement from Coalition for the Homeless President & CEO Mary Brosnahan, the group said it has “major concerns” with the effort to force homeless people into shelters and decried “aggressive measures” pursued by Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s administration.* Bratton says Cuomo’s executive order doesn’t change anything for #NYPD officers, re: homeless * Local governments and police agencies don’t have much time to comply with Cuomo’s new homelessness mandate, which was issued Sunday and takes effect tomorrow.* De Blasio and Bratton: Cuomo’s order has little impact on NYC (PoliticoNY)  Mayor: ‘We appreciate the intent’ * NYPD stats show overall crime down, serious offenses up in ’15 (NYP)  * Cuomo Orders Homeless People to Be Taken to Shelters in Freezing Weather (NYT)  The executive order, which requires local authorities to remove homeless people from the streets when temperatures fall to 32 degrees, is likely to raise legal concerns and practical questions.  * As an arctic front headed toward New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order requiring local governments across the state to take homeless people off the streets to shelters in freezing temperatures, The New York Timesreports:  * The de Blasio administration supports the executive order, but a New York City official said Cuomo lacks the power to impose the mandate and knocked him for failing to provide more legal or financial resources to help the homeless, theDaily News reports:  * Questions Over Cuomo’s Order on Homelessness (NYT)  Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s plan to forcibly take people to shelters as temperatures drop has drawn scrutiny.

'HELL NO! I WON'T GO TO A SHELTER': Homeless New Yorkers reject Cuomo's order to vacate streets in freezing temps (NYDN) * COLD WAR: Gov. Cuomo freezes out Mayor de Blasio, issuing order to get homeless off street when temperatures hit 32 degrees (NYDN) Cuomo will sign an executive order on Sunday that will bring the homeless in out of the cold — and it’s mandatory. Citing the risks of hypothermia and possible death, Cuomo will require communities — including New York City — to take the homeless who live outside to shelters when the mercury hits the freezing mark, the Daily News has learned. If they refuse to go, the order, which goes into effect on Tuesday, calls for the involuntary taking of the homeless to shelters when the temperatures hit 32 degrees or below. A Quinnipiac poll from October found 68% of voters disapproved of how de Blasio was handling homelessness and poverty. A Cuomo aide recently said the de Blasio administration “can’t manage the homeless crisis.” The mayor has said the city’s homeless crisis got worse after Cuomo cut a $68 million rental assistance program in 2011. After talks for a joint effort failed, the mayor recently announced a $2.6 billion, 15-year city plan to create 15,000 apartments that would cater mainly to people with mental illness and substance abuse problems. The city currently has a “Code Blue” procedure in place that goes into effect when the temperature hits 32 degrees or below. The procedure calls for double the amount of vans in the field for street outreach efforts to check on homeless individuals more frequently. It also allows the homeless to access shelters without going through the usual intake process. But unlike Cuomo’s order, it does not require the automatic taking of the homeless to shelters when the weather turns frigid. Cuomo’s executive order will not just have an impact on those living on the streets. It could also affect those sleeping in cars or in structures with inadequate heat during the cold weather. The order will not necessarily affect those who take shelter in subway stations that are heated. The state order, he says, will supersede any conflicting local laws on the issue *  Gov. Cuomo signs order requiring towns & cities to takehomeless people to shelters when temperature drops to 32  * BdB spox: forcing homeless off sts requires state law & order "adds no legal or financial resources to NYC programs to assist the homeless" * Cuomo to order homeless indoors when temperatures drop(NYP) *  A cool response from @BilldeBlasio on @NYGovCuomo's order to keep thehomeless off the streets in cold weather: (NY1)
War: de Blasio vs Cuomo
The Media Reports on the Homeless, the Mayor 180 Admits Its A Problems, But Nobody Explains the Reason for the Increase
How Team de Blasio (Berlin Rosen) Tried to Blame Homelessness and the NYCHA Mess On Cuomo 

Cuomo Runs Against Himself, His First 6 Years of Governing  
In A Political Effort to Cut Himself A Piece of de Blasio's Left
STATE OF THE STATE PREVIEW - Cuomo phones NY1: "Top of my agenda is going to be ethics reform. We have done a lot in Albany, but we haven't done enough. And I'm going to push the legislature very hard to adopt more aggressive ethics legislation, more disclosure, more enforcement, etc. That's going to be right up at the top of the agenda. Economic development, which in Upstate New York means basically restoring the economy, and in downstate New York it means growing the future economy - the high tech economy, having the transportation infrastructure to do that - and making sure the economy is working for everyone, right? Back to social justice: we have very high unemployment among young minority males, black and brown, and it's just unacceptable. We have to make special economic initiatives there. "On education, we have failing schools in this state, today, where we have over 100,000 students in schools that we call "failing" schools. Failing schools are schools that don't reach the basic minimum requirement by SED, the State Education Department, and many of these failing schools have been failing for over 10 years, believe it or not. And the system, the bureaucracy, has been too tolerant, in my opinion. And we are - we're going to be focusing on the closing schools, we're going to be investing in the school system to make sure we're doing everything we can on the state side. So we're going to have a very robust agenda and then the progressive government side that is very important to me."

Daily News Albany Pols Don't Respect the High Court
Dereliction of dutyin Albany (NYDN Ed) Flagrantly violating a crystal-clear statute, Flanagan and Bonacic have led the Senate into allowing the state’s highest court to open session Monday without a chief judge. In doing so, they are depriving plaintiffs and defendants in more than 20 crucial cases of the full measure of justice that is their due. Flanagan did not respond to a message left at his office. Previously, he had ruled out calling the Senate to act on DiFiore’s nomination by saying, “I don’t see any reason why we would do that.” In other words, screw the law and screw the parties to the cases that are calendared for oral arguments in the court over the coming weeks. None will have the fullest complement of judges possible, perhaps swaying the outcome one way or the other. Still more, although only five judges will be sitting, four must still agree in order to render decisions. If judges split, a case will be frozen. Finally, the cavalier disregard for the law shown by Flanagan and Bonacic reveals they learned nothing from the convictions of Silver and Skelos. Central to both of the corruption cases was Albany’s way of doing business. Laws are written to be ignored or distorted by the top dogs. Legislators — even committee chairs like Bonacic — do as they are told, often out of fear the boss will cut the legalized bribery that flows from the legislative payroll and campaign committees. And nothing matters until someone else gets arrested.* The story of Daniel Chill, a Sheldon Silver-connected lawyerwho made millions thanks to a Court of Appeals ruling: (Barrett, City and State)

NYP Attempts to Tie de Blasio Management Abilities Into Dinkins
Lazy de Blasio is completely tone-deaf to the city’s needs (NYP) The good news is that Bill de Blasio finally concedes he has a problem. The bad news is that he thinks the problem is he isn’t spending enough time telling us how wonderful he is. “Mayor de Blasio Still Trying, Fitfully, to Promote Himself,” ran a waggish headline in The New York Times last week. (Warning to progressives: If the Times is starting to sound skeptical about you, it’s like you’re the baby whose mom says you’re not that cute.) “Facing the lowest approval ratings of his tenure, as well as questions about his re-election chances,” the Times noted, “Mr. de Blasio has said the problem is packaging, not substance. He has stood fast on his liberal policies, saying he is convinced that he is changing New Yorkers’ lives for the better.” His determination to “change the status quo?” He needs to “communicate it right,” he said last week. Homelessness? “I have not communicated sufficiently.”  His dopey “affordable housing” plan? “We’re not explaining it well enough.”

De Blasio’s excuse-making has a familiar ring for those who remember the last failed mayor. “The mayor and his aides have repeatedly contended that their actions have been perceived as inept or fumbling because they have not adequately explained what they were doing or why,” explained the Times on Feb. 14, 1991 — 13¹/ months into the disastrous David Dinkins administration. “I think we’ve said we’ve got to get our message out better,” Deputy Mayor Bill Lynch, Dinkins’ chief political aide, said at the time. “The vehicles we’ve used haven’t gotten the message out clearly, so we’re going to the people.” De Blasio’s approval rating was at 38 percent in a November Marist poll, 44 percent in a mid-November New York Times poll. De Blasio’s incessant use of the word “transcendent” to describe his policy ideas doesn’t seem to be enough.

The Making History Peoples History Press Releases Tang
Lazy B’s press releases carry that Moscow tang also. Instead of imparting information, the publicity office is busily churning out happy-talk blurb-sheets like this “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” classic from Dec. 17: “REACTIONS FROM ELECTED OFFICIALS, HOMELESS SERVICES LEADERS TO MAYOR DE BLASIO’S UNVEILING OF HOME-STAT.” That’s right, Home-Stat. Because suddenly the mayor’s office is going to start taking homelessness as seriously as it takes crime? Do whatever you want with the Home-Stat, just let us know when there is no longer a deranged half-naked man in a blanket wandering around shouting at people near the bus stop at 83rd and Broadway as has been the case for months

Will A Quote From Bratton's Book Come Back to Hurt Him?
The feeling is widespread that de Blasio, in the first significant office he has ever held, doesn’t get it. He is heading for his own “DAVE, DO SOMETHING” moment (to quote the front page headline addressed to Mayor Dinkins in the Sept. 7, 1990, Post). As one observer wrote of those days, “There was a sense of doom on the streets . . . The cops on the beat wanted to do their jobs, but the brass didn’t trust them to do it . . . The feeling behind many desks was that it was better for cops to stay away from criminals and steer clear of temptation than to chase them down and put them away.” The person who wrote those words is Bill Bratton, de Blasio’s police chief, in his memoir, “Turnaround.”* 311 complaints went up 10 percent in 2015 (NYP)Report Finds Juvenile Program Failed to Reduce Robberies, but Police Are Expanding It (NYT) Despite the lack of success shown in a 2014 report, police officials say the Juvenile Robbery Intervention Program is valuable because of the good will it creates. 

de Blasio Returns to Albany  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, bruised from a tough second year in office, must now prepare to return to Albany, the site where many of his troubles began, The Associated Press reports:

NYT Should Have Asked Quinn Why She Did Not Push to Combine HRA and Dept Homeless Services During Her 8 Years Speakership
Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn writes that New York City needs to rethink homeless shelters and to combine the Human Resources Administration and the Department of Homeless Services in a New York Times op-ed: 

The 27 Less Traffic Deaths Get A Press Release Not the 15 More Murders 
 'VISION ZERO IS SAVING LIVES': Mayor de Blasio says policy is working as traffic fatalities and pedestrian deaths fall in 2015 (NYDN) As 2015 ended, the number of traffic fatalities dropped to 230 from 257 in 2014, officials said Friday, touting Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero street safety agenda.

NYC 2015 Murder Rate Up 4.5%
Teen’s death caps off city’s murder-plagued 2015 (NYP) The murder rate in the Big Apple increased by 4.5 percent in 2015 — with the last killing unfolding in Queens just before the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve, authorities said Friday. Jihad Jackson, 16, was discovered dead late Thursday outside a building at Merrick Boulevard and 109th Avenue at 11:47 p.m., cops said.  The NYPD’s most recent CompStat figures show that there were 348 murders as of Dec. 31, up from 333 in 2014, cops said.

de Blasio's Albany Lobbying Office Clears Out As Both Sides Get Ready for the War to Control the State Senate
Not Much Point in Lobbying Someone Your Trying to Kill Off
De Blasio loses Albanylobbyists amid ongoing rift with Cuomo (NYP) de Blasio’s Albany lobbying office has been hit with a flurry of departures just as City Hall faces a tense year of negotiations with Gov. Cuomo and state lawmakers, The Post has learned. Jennifer Richardson, who served as the office’s $120,000-a-year deputy director, left last month to join the lobbying firm Ostroff Associates. Another city staffer, Jason Litwak, also is packing up for a lobbying job in the private sector. He was making $75,000 a year.  Among the changes: Ariana Caplan, already part of the legislative team, has been promoted to deputy director to fill Richardson’s spot. ‎  Jake Herring, from the lobbying firm Wilson Elser, was hired as chief of staff and counsel. City Hall also added Cheska Tolentino, who was deputy political director at the Transport Workers Union Local 100. Most recently, Cuomo’s office charged that de Blasio “can’t manage the homeless crisis”and said the governor would offer his own remedies during his State of the State speech in a couple of weeks. For his part, de Blasio over the summer accused his fellow Democrat of exacting “revenge” and carrying out a “vendetta” that thwarted the city’s agenda in Albany last year. * Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Albany lobbying office has been hit with a flurry of departures as City Hall faces a tense year of negotiations with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers, with one staffer calling it useless to stay, the Post writes: * In the likely high-stakes race to fill former state Sen. Dean Skelos’ seat, Democrats will try to tie any GOP candidate to the convicted Skelos, while Republicans will stoke fears that a Democratic Senate would be too city-focused, Newsday reports: 

Game Time: True News' Top 10 Issues to Be Answered in 2016
1. What Will U.S. Attorney Bharara Do?  Indict Cuomo? Buffalo Billion? Eastern District Long Island Officials?

2.  Cuomo vs de Blasio War: Who Will Win the Battle for the State Senate?

3.  Will de Blasio Continue at Being A Failed Manage of NYC's Govt? Will His Poll Numbers Continue to Drop? Will the Failing School Join Homelessness in Symbols of de Blasio Failed Policies? Will More Than 3 Failing Schools Be Closed

4.  Will Cuomo Continue to Turn His Back On Charter Schools to Win Back the UFT if the Senate Goes Democratic and for His 2018 Campaign?

5.  Will the Green Shoots Fighting Gentrification Developers Gown Stronger in 2016? Will de Blasio Zoning Changes Pass?

6.  What Will Happen With the Crime Rate in 2016?  The NYPD? 

7.  What Effect Will the Corruption Convictions Have On the 2016 State Campaigns and Elections?

8.  Will the Money Be Found To Avoid Cuts At the City Hospitals?  Will the State Save the Health Insurance Funds?  

9.  Will the Repairs Every Be Made for NYCHA Tenants?  Will the City Sell Off More Public Housing Land and Apts?  Will Crimes Crisis Continue At Public Housing?

10.  How Will de Blasio Hide His Help in His Main Goal this Year in Winning A Democratic State Senate Without Giving the GOP the Opportunity to Use His Failed Leadership of the City As Campaign Ads of What Will Happen to the State if They Lose Control?  (does not matter if he hides the GOP will use his mistakes and low poll numbers anyway)

More Creative Flacking and His NYT's Mini Me NYT on Vet Homelessness 
Decrease in Homeless Veterans in New York Far Outpaces National Drop (NYT) Even as homelessness has surged, the city has recorded a drop of 80 percent in the number of veterans living in shelters or on the street since 2009 — though some advocates question the counts. * De Blasio's Pride Over Ending 'ChronicHomelessness' Is Premature: Veterans (DNAINFO) But the designation excludes the approximately 600 veterans living in Department of Homeless Services shelters and the 760 remaining homeless veterans. Two hundred of those veterans in DHS shelters are slated to move out in January. There are also five homeless veterans who have been offered housing but have declined to accept.
"If you are homeless person who lives in a homeless shelter you are still homeless. Are you chronically homeless? No. But you still don't have a permanent home," said Kristen Rouse, executive director of the NYC Veterans Alliance* De Blasio can claim a victory in his battle against homelessness, as New York City succeeded in getting every U.S. military veteran struggling with mental illness, disability or addiction off the streets, the Daily News writes:

NYE Upstate ISIS Attack Broken Up
Cuomo Urges Vigilance After Rochester Terror Arrest (YNN) Cuomo urged New Yorkers to remain vigilant after federal law enforcement officers arrested a Rochester man suspected of providing material support for an Islamic State attack on New Year’s Eve.The attack was planned for an unnamed Rochester restaurant or bar that had been chosen by Emanuel Lutchman, who was reportedly radicalized while serving time in prison.* Emanuel Lutchman, a 25-year-old man in Rochester, was arrested and charged withplanning a New Year’s Eve machete attack on diners on behalf of the IslamicState, The New York Times reports: ** Gov. Andrew Cuomo cautioned New Yorkers to be vigilant after the arrest of the Rochester man linked to ISIS and praised state and federal authorities for their work, Gannett Albany reports:  * Man plotted New Year’s Eve attack in Rochester under ISIS direction: feds (NYP) * The ex-con who planned to carry out a New Year's Eve attack at an upstate bar with a machete and knives was charged with attempting to provide material support to terrorists after getting snared in an FBI sting, the Times Union writes:
NYC Terrorism 

Knocking Down Community Gardens for Affordable Housing 
 De Blasio to raze gardens for affordable housing (NYDN) In his zeal to produce more affordable housing as quickly as possible, Mayor de Blasio will raze nine neighborhood community gardens in Harlem and Brooklyn that occupy city-owned land and replace them with 800 new low- and moderate-income units.  Those gardens sprang up on vacant city lots decades ago. Many became popular local oases of flowers, trees and vegetable patches. But during the Bloomberg and Giuliani eras, many were threatened with eviction to make way for new market-rate housing.*  9 NYC community gardens to become affordable housing sites (NYDN)
Mayor Ignores Community Leaders Opposing His Zoning Plan

Campaign for Gov in 2010 for Constitutional Convention Today Ducking  
Cuomo Muted In Support Of Constitutional Convention  Bill Mahoney revisits the question of a constitutional convention in Politico NY, writing  that “while the 2017 vote on whether the state should hold a constitutional convention is likely to face much of the same opposition that caused the question to go down in a landslide in 1997, the state has so far done less to prepare for it than it had twenty years ago. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been mostly silent on the issue up to this point. While campaigning in 2010, he said he favored a convention “to rewrite the Constitution” and make changes to “clean up Albany” immediately “because we cannot wait any longer for the state legislature to act.” One advocate says Cuomo was explicit that this meant he’d push for one in his first year in office. (The question of a convention is automatically on the ballot once every twenty years, but legislative action can result in one convening in the intervening period.)”

Shameless Albany Pols Will Allow Silver and Skelos to Keep Their Pensions
They Could Be Saved From This Embarrassment by Bharara Moving in Court to Take Silver and Skelos Pensions Away
New York pols shameless in the face of corruption convictions (NYP Ed) Juries found both Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos guilty of corrupt abuse of their high offices — yet together they’ll still draw public pensions of nearly $200,000 a year for the rest of their lives. That’s the reality after Skelos, the former state Senate majority leader, filed his pension papers Tuesday. With 45 years in various public-sector jobs, he’s eligible for $95,000 in benefits.  The felons’ pensions are protected even after official misconduct. A 2011 reform allows for ending the benefit for officials who started after that year. Anything stronger requires a constitutional change — passage of an amendment in consecutive legislative sessions and by public referendum. But the Assembly this year declined to pass the necessary bill, so most felonious pols’ taxpayer-paid pensions are still safe.* Timeline of the good, the bad and the ugly at the Capitol in2015: (TN) * Denying pensions to public officials convicted of corruption gets vocal support from many state legislators, but there are at least 10 active bills with multiple sponsors languishing in committees, some for more than a decade, Newsday writes:  * Convicted lawmakers Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver getting state pensions is a disgrace, so legislators should be able to craft an intelligent law to address unions’ concerns while allowing courts some discretion, the Times Union writes: * 

NYP Pols Have No Interest In Rooting Out Corruption Fueled By Dirty Money
If 421-a Was So Good for the City Why Did Glenwood Spend 10 Million Bribing Pols?
New York lawmakers have no interest in rooting out corruption (NYP) Why should anyone expect the Legislature to root out corruption when its own official watchdogs refuse to give up their tainted campaign cash? Current and former members of the Senate and Assembly Ethics Committees have taken more than $227,000 from scandal-scarred Glenwood Management since 2012. The firm has lined the campaign pockets of pretty much every Albany power broker to the tune of $10 million over the past decade. But Cuomo refuses to give back a penny of his Glenwood money. Same for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, state Comp­troller Tom DiNapoli and city Comp­troller Scott Stringer, and campaign committees run by Republican and Democratic legislators. Yet it’s particularly disgusting that Ethics Committee members decline to send the funds back. Those contacted by The Post either didn’t respond, didn’t want to talk about it or vaguely promised to “look into it.”* Expect the spate of high-profile corruption convictions to shape Albany’s agenda in the new year — whether they want it to or not.
Senate Democrats Have No Interest In Going After Corrupt Shadow Govt Lobbyists

Two Black Candidates for Congress Look to Expand Their Base By Endorsing Sanders  
In two districts once believed to be strongholds for Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton, the state senators from Harlem and Queens — Bill Perkins and James Sanders Jr. — will endorse Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for president instead.

LOL . . . As Most Fail de Blasio on Management of the city Bloomberg Touts His Skills All Over the World  
Bloomberg and his fans have been traveling the world to spread the gospel of the former mayor’s management style and philosophy to other city governments.*  The annual overtime costs of uniformed workers in New York City hit more than $1 billion.

Citi Bike Passes 10 Million Trips A Year 
Citi Bike exceeded 10 million trips this year, an increase of 24 percent and a record the mayor attributed to improvements to the bike share program and expansion into more neighborhoods, including parts of Queens, the Daily News reports: 
More on Citi Bikes

Bratton Responds to Kelly With An Online Crime Map . . .  Is Each Administration Changing How Crime Stats Are Counted?
NYPD to launch online crime map of city neighborhoods (NYP) The NYPD on Wednesday released a trove of data about murders, rapes and other major offenses committed this year. Top cop Bill Bratton said an online spreadsheet and interactive map would let New Yorkers “increase their awareness and knowledge of crime conditions around the city and in their local neighborhoods.” A spokesman insisted the move was “not at all related” to Ray Kelly’s claims that stats were being fudged. * So far the allegations by Kelly that shooting statistics are cooked are anonymous gripes, and if Bratton can’t bear the allegations he can request a truly independent probe by an outsider, the Post writes: 

The NYPD IG Has Not Been Told What to Do?  NYPD inspector general mum on ex-top cop Raymond Kelly'sclaim that Commissioner Bill Bratton is cooking the books on crime (NYDN)  The NYPD’S inspector general wasn’t exactly champing at the bit to get into the battle between Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and his predecessor Raymond Kelly over claims that the department is fudging crime stats. “We are aware of the matter and decline further comment,” a spokeswoman for Inspector General Philip Eure said Wednesday. The spokeswoman would not say if Eure would investigate Kelly’s assertions that the department is intentionally manipulating crime reports.* The Post’s Michael Goodwin blames de Blasio’s “attacks on the NYPD” for the feud between Kelly and Bratton, and says they shouldn’t take away from each other a record of making the city safer:* Raymond Kelly hasn't ruled out run against Mayor de Blasio (NYDN) * Bill Bratton: Raymond Kelly is just plain wrong about shootings in NYC (NYDN)  *  The competing claims from the current and former police commissioners of how to count crime statistics is drawing scrutiny over how those numbers are put together.* Michael Goodwin in The New York Post blames the Ray Kelly-Bill Bratton feud on Mayor de Blasio. * Bratton dismissed Kelly’s complaints as merely “tabloid politics.” * Bratton: Kelly is just plain wrong BILL BRATTON (NYDN) -- To reporters in City Hall Wed. afternoon: "The IG is an independent entity, they can investigate anything they want, anytime." -- POLITICO New York: * Post columnist Seth Lipsky writes that the feud between NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and his predecessor Ray Kelly is a good thing for New Yorkers, as it will bring scrutiny to the de Blasio administration’s move away from aggressive policing: *NYC homicides by gun up 22 percent over last year;shootings declined by 2 percent ?; Bratton has a statistics problem, blusters to cover up.
Sal Albanese ‏@SalAlbaneseNYC   Another ex of why @NYCCouncil is considered useless! Controversy over crime stats rages & body is more concerned about boycotting @Yankees

Kelly Charges NYPD Crime Numbers Games Undercount

The feud grows between the N.Y.P.D. commissioner and hispredecessor over crime stats. (NYT) Police Leaders’ Competing Claims Draw Focus to How New York Counts Crimes (NYP) Commissioner William J. Bratton and his predecessor, Raymond W. Kelly, are sparing over the veracity of the city’s crime statistics.*De Blasio is to blame for the Bratton-Kelly feud (NYP) They are perhaps the two greatest commissioners in the great history of the NYPD, and their assaults on each other’s achievements bring a sour end to 2015. These two fine men, genuine heroes who deserve their national acclaim, are hurting themselves, the police force and all of New York. The “politics” began in 2013, when Bill de Blasio built his campaign for mayor around attacks on the NYPD. Looking to delegitimize record-low crime rates and rally nonwhite voters, de Blasio mounted his soapbox repeatedly to demonize cops as a racist, brutal force in minority neighborhoods. He described Kelly, then the top cop, and the outgoing mayor, Michael Bloomberg, as the commanders of an occupying army. De Blasio put special emphasis on stop-question-and-frisk, the aggressive and successful tool the police used to get illegal handguns off the street. In the midst of a federal civil-rights trial before a biased judge, de Blasio’s charges found favor in the liberal echo chamber.  Never mind that his accusations against the NYPD were false and outrageous — they were political magic. De Blasio, a backbencher given little chance, shot to the top in the Democratic primary and rode his attacks on the police into City Hall. Al Sharpton played a key role in the toxic triumph, which featured a speaker at de Blasio’s inauguration calling New York a “plantation.” The new mayor later said he had no problem with that word.

Failed SI DA Candidate Returns to Manhattan DA Office
Etan Patz prosecutor returns to retrial as special counsel (NYP) The longtime prosecutor who oversaw the Etan Patz trial is headed back to the Manhattan DA’s Office to retry the decades-old cold case, officials said Wednesday. Joan Illuzzi has been appointed as special counsel to Manhattan DA Cy Vance following her failed bid to become Staten Island DA in November.

The NYT Who Help Make Chief Judge Along with Silver Says Goodby
As Judge Lippman finishes his seven-year run presiding over the Court of Appeals, his success expanding legal services for the poor and championing a host of other court reforms stands out even more than his decisions as a jurist, legal scholars said. Like his predecessor, Judith Kaye, Lippman took the job far beyond the adjudication of cases and deep into policy making.  Lawyers in New York State will be subject to a uniform disciplinary process under new rules Lippman announced yesterday – a move that caps months of negotiations aimed at standardizing a system long hampered by regional differences.* LIPPMAN'S LEGACY - New York Times': "A few weeks before he was to retire as chief judge of one of the nation's most influential courts, Jonathan Lippman traveled to Brooklyn to open a small storefront office that offers legal advice to poor people in civil cases, like housing disputes and fights with creditors. The ribbon-cutting was one of Judge Lippman's last public acts before he steps down as the leader of the New York Court of Appeals on Thursday, and it emphasized what some say may be his most notable legacy: his campaign to provide lawyers and other legal help to thousands of impoverished New Yorkers who face serious proceedings - such as eviction, foreclosure and the loss of child custody - with no representation ... As Judge Lippman finishes his seven-year run presiding over the Court of Appeals, his success expanding legal services for the poor and championing a host of other court reforms stands out even more than his decisions as a jurist, legal scholars said. Like his predecessor, Judith S. Kaye, Judge Lippman took the job far beyond the adjudication of cases and deep into policy making. * Having served for 11 years as New York’s top administrative judge and for seven years as chief judge on the state’s highest court, Jonathan Lippman left the judiciary with plenty to be proud of, the Daily News writes:

After All This Cuomo Double Dipping On Developers $$$ Both Union and No Union 
Attorney for anti-union construction group to fundraise for Cuomo (PolitiaNY) The hosts are listed as the Gerstmans and David and Heather Schwartz. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is scheduled to make an appearance, according to the invitation. It’s not clear whether Cuomo himself will attend.  Brad Gerstman and David Schwartz are the founding partners at Gotham and represent some developers who have been in the news lately. State records indicate their firm lobbies for 400 Times Square Associates LLC, which is reportedly using non-union labor to develop a hotel at 577 Ninth Ave., where a construction worker recently died. As of last month, Gerstman was also an attorney for the Rinaldi Group, a building contractor whose license was pulled for running unsafe job sites.

The city launched an investigation into Rinaldi after a worker perished at a Rinaldi construction site in Midtown. Gerstman is also frontman for BuildingNYC, a group launched this month that advocates against union construction labor. From NY Observer But Mr. Cuomo handed Mr. LaBarbera the ultimate trump card over the real estate industry in June: the 421a tax credit for developers, which many builders regard as essential to all new construction in the city, and which came up for renewal this spring. After weeks of ads and lobbying from union-backed groups like UP4NYC, the governor, Mr. Heastie and Mr. Flanagan reached an agreement: the abatement would expire in six months unless Real Estate Board of New York and the Building Trades Council could come to an agreement on new pay floors to be written into the tax credit. Was it a reward for Mr. LaBarbera backing the governor up in his spat with public employees unions years ago? Or was the union leader just the beneficiary of Mr. Cuomo’s continuing war with Mr. de Blasio? Probably nobody knows—and it’s unlikely Mr. LaBarbera and his members care. The days before the January 15 deadline are now swiftly draining away with no agreement in sight, leaving the Building Trades Council and REBNY in a game of chicken. But unlike REBNY President John Banks, Mr. LaBarbera has no incentive to blink.*  Cuomo is taking blood money from anti-union grouplinked to worker deaths

The City Has Lost Dozens of Homeless Sex Offenders 
Dozens of sex offenders who officially reside at the notorious Bellevue Men’s Shelter don’t really live there, according to the de Blasio administration, and the public has no way of knowing where they are, thePost writes: 


Last Week
de Blasio Say He Plans to Be Less Involved In Pushing for A Democratic State Senate
After a bruising state Senate election season in 2014 that failed to produce a Democratic majority in the upper chamber, de Blasio said he plans to be far less involved in next year's legislative elections when control of the state Senate is one again in contention, Politico New York writes: 

The feud between Cuomo and de Blasio has added a new dynamic in Bronx politics as Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has stepped up his attacks against the mayor's policies and increasingly places himself in lock step with the governor, his ally, Gotham Gazette reports: * In an interview on the Brian Lehrer show, Cuomo declined to directly criticize de Blasio’s handling of homelessness in New York City, instead leaving his criticisms veiled while promising a full homelessness plan in his upcoming State of the State address.

National Columnist Is Shocked How Little Investigative Journalism There is in NY 
Davil Sirota on the state of investigative journalism in New York:  “I’m looking at this as something of an outsider. I don’t live in New York, but, frankly, when it comes to both New York and New Jersey, I have been pretty shocked at how little what you would call ‘enterprise reporting’ that there has been in the area of money in politics and corruption. By that I mean [Preet Bharara] is right in the sense that there has been good after-the-fact reporting. There has been decent reporting when a source like the Moreland Commission brings, kind of hands on a silver platter documents to news organizations saying, ‘Here’s exactly what happened.’

NY Magazine Once Known For Great Investigative Reporting Prints A Cover With A Small de Blasio
But I tend to do what’s called enterprise work, like a number of other reporters, where you’re actually going out and you’re actively investigating something that hasn’t been brought to light yet, that hasn’t been brought there. And look, in Albany there’s plenty—and New Jersey I should add, too—these are places that there’s no shortage of topics and stories to do that are enterprise reporting. Doing enterprise reporting takes and lot of resources media organizations have to invest in it and you lose friends you’re not going to be on Cuomo’s Christmas card list . . . A Really Scary Time for Democracy when you have in the state capital in Albany media organizations both financial and imtidatition factor under attack not do investigation reporting ” (Effective Radio Interview With Sirota)  David J. Sirota is an American political commentator and radio host based in Denver. He is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, Democratic political spokesperson, and blogger. Wikipedia * Who shrunk the mayor? @NYMag's latest cover, inspired by one of our classics from 1969:  * The man behind NY corruption busting (Democrat Chronicle) Preet's public-corruption plan: "We were always looking for ways we could either get a wiretap or wire people up"

.Why Does the Daily News Rely On Lobbyists Who Do Business With the City/State to Grade de Blasio? 
TAKING NO VICTORY LAPS: Mired in record-low approval ratings, Mayor de Blasio admits failures midway into his term (NYDN “He is more comfortable exercising the levers of power now, but he’s more unsteady politically than would have been expected given his experiences,” said former City Councilman Kenneth Fisher (D-Brooklyn).De Blasio has said he has done poorly communicating, pledging more town halls and call-in radio appearances.  “Sometimes it takes a couple of years to realize that certain things aren’t working.” said Kenneth Sherrill, a political science professor emeritus at Hunter College. But some of his problems are entirely of his own making — as in August when he had a 100-minute gym session at the Brooklyn YMCA during a hostage standoff on Staten Island that left a firefighter badly wounded. De Blasio insisted he was in touch with teams on the scene, but it certainly looked bad.“You can say being there is just optics, but what are you saying? You’re saying it doesn’t matter what the public sees,” said William Cunningham, Bloomberg’s first-term communications director. “That’s how the public judges you during a crisis.”* Anthony Weiner Tangling with Cuomo Grade B+ * Mary Brosnahan is the executive director of Coalition for the Homeless whose Group Does Business With the City and State Gives de Basio A B on Homeless?
More on NY's Disconnected Journalism
More on Preet Bharara
Pay to Play Journalism Nussbaum
How Local TV News Make Millions Rehabilitating Candidates and Cleaning Up Policies Harmful to the Public
No Town Hall de Blasio Spins and the NYC Press Defining Journalism Down
Blasting the Press, de Blasio, Sharpton Over Noerdlinger and Racial Divide

Failing Schools Avoid Closure By Meeting Lowered Performance Standards 
Failing schools avoid closure by meeting lowered performance standards (NYP) Dozens of low-performing Renewal Schools that are at risk of a state takeover or closure have been given such low improvement targets by the city that they have already met them, a review has found. At 39 of the 94 schools — more than 41 percent — at least one of the benchmarks

After Failed to Run A School System Funded by Billions of Dollars Farina Tells A Parent to Buy Rosetta Stone to Teach Her Child A Foreign Language 
Fariña suggests buying Rosetta Stone to learn foreign languages (NYP) Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña offered startling advice to parents upset at cuts to foreign language classes: If you don’t like it, buy a $200 Rosetta Stone program so kids can teach themselves. Fariña shocked parents at a community meeting in Inwood on Dec. 15 with her response to a complaint from the mother of a seventh-grader at Harlem’s Mott Hall School, who griped that her son’s French class had been cut from two days a week to only one.* The U.S. Department of Education notified states including New York of actions it may take, including financial penalties, if the percentage of students taking required tests falls below benchmarks set by federal law, Newsdayreports:  * * New York City  Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña offered startling advice to parents upset at cuts to foreign language classes at a recent community meeting by suggesting they buy the $200 Rosetta Stone program for their children instead, the Post reports:  *  The city has lost a four-year, $1 million battle to fire ateacher arrested in the Occupy Wall Street protests (NYP)

What Do You Do When the Gov Falls for the UFT Who Can Help Him Get Re-Elected?
A MODEST LOBBY DAY - POLITICO New York  In lieu of the massive rallies it has held biannually since 2013, the charter school advocacy group Families for Excellent Schools will hold a modest "lobby day" on Jan. 20 in Albany, POLITICO New York has learned. The influential charter group recently decided to put its rally strategy - which has achieved diminishing returns - on hold. Rather than bus tens of thousands of parents and teachers to Albany, lobby day will put FES' legislative efforts more in line with other advocacy groups - education-related and otherwise - whose members convene at the Capitol each winter. While FES typically held its Albany rallies late in the legislative session, close to final budget negotiations, next month's rally day will be held as other groups are flooding the Capitol to meet with lawmakers in the wake of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State on Jan. 13, when he will lay out his legislative agenda. * Newsday writes that the state must convince unions, parents and teachers that they have been accommodated as much as possible, and must get students to take state tests this spring to keep federal funds flowing to the state:

War for Control of the State Senate: Dems Run A Former Prosecutor Who Put Espada in Jail
Democrats close to announcing candidatefor Skelos’ seat (NYP) State Democrats are close to picking a former federal prosecutor to run for scandal-scarred former state Senate leader Dean Skelos’ newly open seat while Republicans are scrambling to find a candidate. Democrats wasted no time tapping Long Beach, LI, Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, 37, to replace Skelos and could spend in the “low millions” to take the Republican-leaning seat, party insiders say. Kaminsky, who helped put away ex-lawmakers Pedro Espada, Jimmy Meng and Michael Grimm on embezzlement, bribery and tax-fraud charges, respectively, acknowledged he was “seriously considering” a bid. New Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, from Suffolk County, wants Republican Lynbrook, LI, Assemblyman Brian Curran to run, but Curran is “tepid” about the gig, sources say. State Democrats are already circulating photos of Skelos attending Curran’s swearing-in and other events together to the press. “He would be a dream candidate,” one Democratic operative said. “He’s a Skelos acolyte and if he chooses to run, that’s all he will hear about.” Gov. Cuomo has not yet called an election but Democratic Party officials are preparing for it to be held on April 19, coinciding with the state’s presidential primary. * The state legislature must seize this moment to pass ethics reform and Cuomo must be the instigator by setting a high bar and giving voters reason to expect action, the Buffalo News writes: *  With a special election set for April, state Senate Democrats are pushing to gain the Long Island seat vacated by Republican Dean Skelos, but it remains to be seen if the winner will have an advantage in the general election six months later, the Times Union writes: * Lots at stake in next year's legislative session. @JonCampbellGAN breaks it down 

War: de Blasio vs Cuomo, How the GOP Won the Senate, Education Attack

The Battle for the State Senate
Skelos Conviction Leaves Key Vacancy in Nassau County Senate Seat (NYT) Republican leaders say only a spotless recruit can make the case to Long Island voters that Republicans should retain their slim majority in the State Senate.* 

Corruption Played A Big Role In the Democrats Winning the Nassau DA Race This November . . . 

Sunday True News Wrote
With the Senate in Balance of Power In Question Will Cuomo Call for A Special in the Skelos Seat?
The Importance of the Skelos Seat to the Balance of Power In the Senate
Gianaris: Senate Dems In Good Position To Win Skelos Seat (Updated) "The convictions of former (Assembly) Speaker (Sheldon) Silver and former Majority Leader Skelos should be a wakeup call for the Legislature and it must stop standing in the way of needed reforms," Cuomo said Friday. Meanwhile, Cuomo's office hasn't said if and when the governor will call a special election to fill Skelos' now vacant seat. After Silver's conviction Nov. 30 in an unrelated corruption case, Cuomo said he expected to call a special election for April 19 to fill that seat. With Skelos gone, the Republicans now hold the slimmest of slim majorities, and that's only with the help of Sen. Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat who has been sitting with the GOP. With Felder, the Republicans have 32 members in their conference — the exact number needed to pass legislation in the chamber. That means they will need help from a group of five breakaway Democrats if they are to pass anything if one of their GOP members is absent from the chamber or opposes a measure.* Former Senate Majority Skelos’ conviction on eight public corruption charges means thatCuomo “can’t hide this time” when it comes to getting a Democratic elected to the Senate, a senior state Dem has told The Post’s Fred Dicker. * Former Sen. Skelos was caught on a wiretap bad-mouthing his erstwhile partner in power, IDC Leader Jeff Klein. But Skelos’ conviction could give Klein and his group more influence heading into the 2016 legislative session. The Republicans might “throw him a few bones” as a result.* Former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ conviction on eight public corruption charges means that Cuomo “can’t hide” when it comes to getting a Democratic elected to the state Senate, the Post’s Fredric Dickerreports:  * Cuomo said he’ll push to close the so-called LLC loophole next year and discuss it as part of an ethics reform agenda that includes outside income and more disclosure rules and is unveiled at his State of the State address, the Daily News reports: * Skelos' Departure Puts Balance of Power in State Senate in Flux (NY1)

True News Wags Dicker and the NYP
Skelos Conviction Outs Cuomo's Secret Support for Senate GOP . . .  Senate in Play
Cuomo’s leadership will be tested in upcoming special elections (NYP) Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ conviction on eight public corruption charges means that Gov. Cuomo “can’t hide this time’’ when it comes to getting a Democratic elected to the Senate, a senior state Dem has told The Post. Cuomo has worked behind the scenes for years helping Republicans gain or keep their narrow control of the Senate in order to restrain the “progressive’’ tax-and-spend wing of his own Democratic Party — most recently earlier this fall,when he picked and then failed to support Barbara Fiala, who suffered a humiliating defeat in a special Binghamton-area Senate election. But Skelos’ Nassau County district has more Democrats then Republicans, unlike the Binghamton district, and his high-profile conviction, combined with ongoing investigations of possible corruption by other Nassau Republican officials, has created the climate for a major Democratic win, insiders from both parties agree. “Skelos’ seat is majority Democrat, it’s in the New York City media market, and the Democrats will have an unbeatable candidate, no thanks to Cuomo,’’ the senior Democrat told The Post. “Unlike Binghamton, all eyes will be on this Senate race, and Cuomo must go all out to help win it or be permanently damaged. He can’t hide this time,’’ the Democrat said. Skelos was immediately ousted from the Senate upon conviction, and Cuomo is expected to set April 19, the presidential primary day, as the date for a special election to fill the seat, the same date he said he’ll likely call an election to replace former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan)who was bounced last monthalso as a result of multiple corruption convictions. Democrats are expected to endorse Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky — a former federal prosecutor who has a stellar anti-corruption résumé, including the successful prosecution of former Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. (D-Bronx) — for the Skelos seat, while Nassau Republicans, who suffered a surprise upset defeat in the race for district attorney last month, are having trouble recruiting a candidate* What it will take to clean up New York politics (NYP) * Cuomo briefly previewed what may be included in his 2016 ethics and campaign finance reform package, including making closure of the “LLC loophole” a priority.

Quinn Has that No Shame Gene

NY to Lose Another House Seat to 26 . . .  In the 50's We Had 45 Seats
Report: NY Could Lose Another House Seat (YNN) A report from Election Data Services, which was amplified by attorney Jeff Wice on hiselection law website, found New York is among the nine states that could lose at least one seat in Washington D.C., and with it clout in the federal government. With New York’s population not growing as quickly as the rest of the country, New York’s congressional district number could decline to 26.* Bye bye, New York.Hello, Florida (or North Carolina, or D.C., or Oregon):New Yorkers still leaving in droves  (TU)  The Empire Center is out with findings, based on periodic Census updates, that “During the 12 months ending last July 1, 153,921 more residents moved out of New York than moved into it from other states.” This trend has been going on for years as people leave New York and other Northeastern states like New Jersey for the lower taxes and warmer weather in Sun Belt locations like Florida, or the Carolinas. The study also notes that 653,071 people have moved out of New York since the 2010 Census making for the the largest such decrease of any state. Despite that, the state’s overall population of more than 19 million people is growing slightly. That’s because of the continued arrival of immigrants who come to New York, which is exceeded only by California.

Why Not Tie City Pay Raises to Job Performance Approved by the Voters? 
As Homeless Increase, Schools Suck, No Affordable Housing City Officials Get A Pay Raise From Berlin Rosen Commission
Commission recommends pay raisesfor city officials   (PolticoNY) In a report released Monday morning, the Quadrennial Advisory Commission suggested the mayor receive a salary of $258,750. That represents a $33,750 raise from what a New York City mayor currently earns. City Council members, who have been clamoring for higher pay, would receive a base pay of $138,315, up $25,815 from the current salary of $112,500. The commission recommended the members' roles be classified as "full time," which would mean they could not earn outside income as they are now allowed to do. In addition, the commission recommended eliminating bonuses members receive for chairing committees — a perk known as a "lulu." Those bonuses vary in amount depending on the committee assignment and total $447,000. The speaker of the Council would see a salary raise to $154,375, which would reflect folding a $25,000 lulu the position comes with into the base salary.

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was noncommittal about the recommendations in a statement after the report was released. The city comptroller's pay would be raised from $185,000 to $209,050; the public advocate from $165,000 to $184,800; and borough presidents from $160,000 to $179,200. The five district attorneys would also see a raise of $22,800, bringing their final salaries to $212,800. Read the full commission report here: * A commission convened to assess the salaries of top NYC officials has recommendedraises for the mayor, the City Council and other politicians, while declaring Council members should not be able to earn outside income. * New York City’s Elected Officials Should Get Raises, Panel Says (NYY) * De Blasio would receive a 15 percent raise, to $258,750 a year, under a series of recommended pay increases for New York City’s elected officials. The mayor has said he will not accept a pay increase for the duration of his first term in office, which concludes at the end of 2017. Any raises must be ratified by the City Council. Elected officials in the city have not received raises since 2006.*An independent commission's set of recommendations that would give city officials salary increases creates a difficult challenge for New York City Council members, who must decide whether to vote to give themselves a raise while also ending certain perks, Politico New York reports

Cuomo Says Public Financing Kills Citizens United
Common Cause: Citizens United Isn’t Blocking Reforms (YNN) The good-government group Common Cause vehemently disagreed with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s assertion on Monday in a radio interview that the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case made it impossible for major campaign-finance law changes. “You need people in office who are going to use their best judgment in office,” Cuomo said on WNYC this morning, “because you’re not going to change the campaign finance system because of Citizens United.” * Cuomo: Lawmakers Could Incur Voters’ Wrath (YNN) In urging state lawmakers to take up the latest round of soon-to-be-announced ethics measures, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned on Monday they could face the wrath of voters should the proposals not be made law.* Cuomo, the state's most prolific campaign fundraiser, said in a radio interview that calls to take money out of politics won't affect change until the courts or the federal government reverse the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, the Times Union reports *  The Times Unionasks its readers to urge one of the 31 state senators who have not signed on toa letter asking Congress to put limits on political spending, adding it needs only one more signature for New York to become the 17th state calling for an amendment: * Cuomo, the state’s most prolific campaign fundraiser, said in a radio interview that calls to take money out of politics won’t effect change until the courts or the federal government reverse the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.*Former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno has been out of office for the better part of a decade, but a recent seven-figure political donation by the once-powerful Republican has kicked up a new election law complaint by Democrats. * Cuomo says the Supreme Courtlimits what he can do to fix money in politics 

Public Financing Contaminated by Lobbyists PACs Will Not Stop Albany Corruption
Time for Term Limits, Ban Lobbyists from Campaigns, Better Investigative Reporting and Putting Pressure on Local Prosecutors to Go After Political Corruption
NY Democrats have learned nothing from Shelly Silver’s downfall  (NYP) Sheldon Silver hasn’t even been sentenced yet, and already the left is plumping for public financing of elections. Or to put it another way, if Albany is going to lose its access to graft, why not force the taxpayers to pay up? Our Democrats couldn’t care less that Silver sold his office for reasons that had nothing to do with raising money for his campaign. They know that he represented a safe district on the Lower East Side, winning easily (in 2008 he got 100 percent of the vote). Yet we’re already hearing how his conviction is grounds for the Legislature to force the taxpayers to pay politicians’ election expenses. The New York Times greeted the verdict with an editorial calling for “public funding of elections for all state offices.”

The Times isn’t alone. The jury had barely spoken when the Green Party of New York rushed out a statement by co-chair Gloria Mattera arguing that “only full public financing of elections will put an end to this ‘pay to play’ system.”* The governor and the successors to Silver and Skelos must close the LLC loophole to prevent the funnelling of money from outside interests into campaign operations and help clean up the way Albany does business, the Daily News writes  : * U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is doing the public a great service in exposing some of the larcenous deals that have occurred in the hallways of Albany, but the real focus needs to be on the whispered deals that keep the state at the bottom of so many economic categories, Republican consultant William O’Reilly writes in Newsday: * Buy, buy Silver & Skelos: Close the LLC loophole corrupting Albany politicians left, right and center (NYDN Ed)* Two decades after the legislation that created limited liability companies in New York, the business entities have taken on a central role in the funding of political campaigns,according to a new report from state Sen. Daniel Squadron, a Democrat who has been one of the most vehement opponents of the so-called “LLC loophole.”

Chinese Developers Who Get NY Tax Breaks Loo for Buyers At Home
FOREIGN EXCHANGE-"Chinese Developers Build in America, but Look for Buyers at Home," by WSJ's  "SHANGHAI-In a low-slung building near an artsy riverfront area known as West Bund district, a group of more than 10 families gathered on Thanksgiving Day for a tutorial about the American holiday, complete with a golden-brown roasted turkey. This wasn't a cooking class. Instead, the attendees were being sold new condos in the U.S. being built by Chinese developer Greenland Holding Group, coupled with a culinary and cultural lesson on the autumnal holiday. Greenland is in the process of building two large apartment projects, one in Los Angeles and the other New York, and is turning to its standard client base-Chinese investors-to help fill them up. Commercial property development has long been a local sport in the U.S., dominated by local firms catering to local demand. Greenland's savory sales pitch offers a glimpse at a nascent effort by Chinese developers to turn that model around, converting demand from China into Chinese-built condos an ocean away."

Developers Pay Millions to Get Tenants in the Way Out 
New York Builders Paying Huge Buyouts to Tenants in TheirWay (NYT) Tishman Speyer Properties, one of New York City’s most active real estate developers, had bought two parcels of land on the Far West Side of Manhattan to clear the way for a 2.8 million-square-foot office tower planned for Hudson Yards. Standing in the way, though, were the occupants of two apartments on the site. So this year, the developer turned to a lubricant that can be counted on to ease New York City tenants out of their rent-regulated units — a buyout, in this case, for $25 million in total to three tenants.* de Blasio's defense of donations from developers = "the ends justify the means" (which sounds like Markowitz) (AYO)

Cuomo tears a ligament, de Blasio just got surgery for a hernia. This feud is taking its toll

NYP's Dicker Winners and Losers in 2015
The biggest winners and losers in New York politics this year ( NYP) ’Tis the season . . . to name the winners and losers in New York politics in 2015. And while losers have dominated the state political scene for years, nothing compares to the slate that emerged in the top ranks of our electoral system this year. A year ago, Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) was the Assembly speaker and the second-most- powerful Democrat in the state, while Dean Skelos (R-Nassau) was the Senate majority leader and the most powerful Republican in New York. Today, they’ve been ousted from office as convicted felons guilty of public corruption and on a fast track to federal prison. A year ago, Gov. Cuomo was just off a re-election victory and there was talk around that he might yet be a contender for the 2016 Democratic presidential or vice-presidential nomination. Today, Cuomo is polling at his lowest public-approval ratings ever, has flip-flopped on what he once claimed were core policy issues, and is, most ominously, in the cross hairs of the continuing corruption probe being led by hard-charging US Attorney Preet “Stay tuned’’

 Bharara. Silver and Skelos are, of course, the biggest Losers of the Year for 2015 — perhaps, as a pair, even the biggest losers in New York political history. And Cuomo, who still hasn’t told the public about what he knew of Silver’s and Skelos’ illegal activities as he shuttered the doors on the corruption-fighting Moreland Commission, is clearly the runner-up as Loser of the Year — with talk increasing that he’ll face a challenge in the Democratic primary should he seek re-election in 2018. 

As with the biggest losers, the Winner of the Year — the biggest winner since a then-little-known prosecutor named Rudolph Giuliani declared war on another set of corrupt politicians in the mid-1980s — isn’t hard to choose. He’s clearly Bharara, who initiated the successful prosecutions of Silver and Skelos as well as of former Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (D-Queens), former Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous (R-Binghamton) and a long roster of other crooked pols. And he’s done anything but rest on his laurels. Bharara has emerged as the public’s avenging angel against those who have corrupted our democratic system in Albany. and he has clearly chosen the role of the crusader who is determined to set things right. That’s why Albany now shudders each time Bharara utters the ominous words, “Stay tuned.’’

Cuomo Dumps Common Core and Teacher Evaluations Running to the Campaign Power and $$$ of the UFT 

 The Post writesthat Cuomo and the Democrats “can’t be trusted ever to stick up for the kids” after the Board of Regents backed the governor’s plan to ban any “serious” consequences for poor teachers * Cuomo throws in the towel on teacher quality (NYP Ed) On Tuesday, the Board of Regents officially said amen to that. In a near-unanimous vote, the board took the recommendations of a Cuomo panel and banned any serious consequences for rotten teachers — no matter how embarrassing their students’ scores on state tests.

UFT Controlling Government By Breaking the Election Law . . .   Gets Away With It

Prosecutorial Cover-Up Of Campaign Consultants Advance Group/Red Horse/Berlin Rosen (UFT Lobbyists) Mixing UFT PAC United for the Future With Public Matching Funds
UFT under fire for apparently trying to hide identity of consulting firm(NYDN)The city’s powerful teachers union is under fire from good-government groups for apparently trying to hide the identity of a consulting firm it was using to boost union-backed candidates.  "The listing of the phony firm, 'Strategic Consultants, Inc.,' in campaign filings, obscured that Advance Group was being paid both to promote candidates for the United Federation of Teachers' independent political action committee, and working as the main campaign consultant for several of those same candidates."Teachers union paid $370K to fake consultant CrainsNY found was located in the offices of Advance. * Advance Group puts logo on phony firm's invoice(CrainsNY) Complaint Filed Against Advance Group for Election Work(NYO)* CrainsNY on the Advance Groups Double Dipping

1. Advance Group and Two Candidates Fined For Using Advance and NYCLASS Funds
 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. Councilman Rodriguez was also a client of the Advance Group and got mailing from Advance's PAC United for the Future and was not fined by the CFB

2. Red Horse Like Advance Worked for the UFT PAC United for the Future
Clients in 2013 Who Received United for the Future Mailings and Red Horse work for:
James Vacca, Helen Rosenthal, Annabel Palm, Daneek Miller,  Antonio Reynoso,  Ritchie Torres

Red Horse In Addition to Working for 2 DAs and Two DA Candidates, Works in Dozens of Other Races

de Blasio Has His 531 Plan to Fix the Homeless
But is Never is Ask If 421-a, Airbnb and His Zoning Plan Will Make More Homeless and Less Affordable Housing
 De Blasio now has a plan to get homeless off the streets (NYP) After months of denying the obvious, Mayor de Blasio on Thursday finally announced a plan to tackle the city’s growing homeless crisis by having more cops and social workers hit the streets to break up encampments, crack down on law-breaking and offer social services. The plan — dubbed “HOME-STAT,” an acronym for Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement Street Action Teams — will add 137 more workers to the Department of Homeless Services for a total of 312 and 40 more cops to the NYPD’s homeless outreach unit for a total of 110.* NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he is launching a sweeping initiative to combat the persistent problem of homelessness in New York City, ordering teams to do a daily canvass of every block of an 8-mile stretch in Manhattan to reach out to those living on the street. * De Blasio vowed during a speech at the ABNY breakfast that he’ll never allow the city to return to the “bad old days.”
In a Daily News OpEd, Queens Sen. Tony Avella (a onetime NYC mayoral candidate) callsde Blasio’s new HomeStat plan “nothing but a press-release gimmick; a pointless publicity stunt to flip public opinion that has found him unable to admit, much less reverse, the increasing homelessness problem.”* The New York City Council had to add more than $130 million on to the budget for homeless shelters, a 17 percent increase for this year, after the city assumed in the original budget that the homeless population would drop, Crain’s reports: * State Sen. Tony Avella writes in the Daily News that deBlasio’s new HomeStat plan is nothing but a press-release gimmick and a stunt to flip public opinion that has found him unable to admit or  reverse the increasing homelessness problem: * Even de Blasio is now admitting his team can’t manage thehomeless crisis, the Post writes, so the exit of homeless services commissioner Gilbert Taylor and the beginning of a review of the management structure is progress: * New York City HRA Commissioner Steven Banks, leading a review of the city’s homeless services, blamed previous mayors for the rising numbers of homeless people and said it would take a long time to reverse the trend, the Wall Street Journal reports * De Blasio shrugs off Staten Island'shomeless concerns (SI Advance)* Cuomo has dropped an unpopular proposal to convert vacant buildings at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens into shelters for the homeless. The move came amid complaints from community leaders, including Queens Sen. Tony Avella, one of the legislators who represents neighborhoods around the Creedmoor campus.

de Blasio's Homeless Commission Gone But Mayor's Statement About "Economic Realities" Remains A Mystery 
Head of city’sflailing Homeless Services steps down (NYP) The head of Homeless Services stepped down Tuesday amid a restructuring of the department that under Mayor Bill de Blasio has seen a spike in the shelter and street population. Commissioner Gilbert Taylor will leave his post at the flailing city agency, which he has helmed since de Blasio was elected, to pursue another job that City Hall is helping him find. Two city officials — Administration Commissioner Steven Banks and Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris — will be in charge of the department’s restructuring. The Post has reported on the city’s staggering increase in homelessness, which is now at an all-time high of nearly 60,000 people in shelters. Taylor’s departure is the second loss for the department, as Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios Paoli quit in August.* Commissioner Gilbert Taylor, the head of New York City’s Homeless Services, has stepped down amid a restructuring of the department that under de Blasio has seen a spike in the shelter and street population of homeless people, the Postwrites:  * Another official working on homelessness in NYC is steppingdown: Gilbert Taylor, New York City Homelessness Chief, Quits Post (NYT)The departure of the commissioner is the latest development in the homelessness crisis, which has become a major political liability for Mayor Bill de Blasio.* The city’s homeless crisis can’t be fixed with ‘streamlining’ (NYP) * SALARY ARRANGEMENT CRITICIZED -- "Critics ask whydeparting NYC homelessness commissioner is keeping $219,773 salary" A good-government group, two elected officials and a shelter resident questioned Wednesday why the embattled chief of the de Blasio administration's homelessness agency will keep his nearly $220,000 salary after leaving his post. Gilbert Taylor, who on Tuesday abruptly announced his resignation amid criticism of his agency's performance and record-high homelessness, is being kept on the payroll to advise a shake-up ordered by Mayor Bill de Blasio of how the city deals with people in shelters and on the streets.* * Outgoing New York City Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Gilbert Taylor lost influence as criticism mounted of the mayor’s handling of homelessness, but a program he started called HomeStat will live on in name, The New York Times reports:  * Mayor Says New Program to Reduce Homelessness Will Include Daily Canvas (NY1) * Mayor, Police Commissioner Promote Homeless Strategies (NY1)

de Blasio's Took Office Pledging to Save$$$ and Provide the Homeless With Better Housing is Doing the Opposite 
Mayor Bill de Blasio said it “will take years” for New Yorkers to see the benefits of the new policies he unveiled last week to combat homelessness, which has been soaring since the elimination of a rent subsidy program in 2011 and peaked last year,the Daily News reports: * As City Hall shows off new homeless outreach teams today, aclose look at the program - and how it fared elsewhere (AP)

On homelessness, DeBlasio made his bed (NYDN Ed) Behold the self-portrait of a man of action, a leader who has left behind his previous dismissiveness that an obvious crisis was anything other than under full control. But some things aren’t changing as de Blasio grapples with homelessness that has persistently escaped his grasp. He has repeatedly blamed a convergence of fates for why more New Yorkers are seeking help: relentlessly rising rents, lagging wages and a hasty withdrawal of city and state funds that once moved the homeless into housing. Both then and now, de Blasio also asks New Yorkers to trust that vast infusions of money — into rent grants and into new affordable housing — will stem the human tide. De Blasio entered office convinced he could pivot funds used for shelter, currently about $3,200 a month for each family, into lower-cost subsidies to move those same households into permanent housing. The mayor started by vowing to stop renting overpriced and unsafe private apartments as shelter and put a freeze on bringing new shelters online. He committed to using $60 million that was projected to save to help chronically homeless families secure their own apartments. By the end of 2014, the city rushed to open two dozen ad hoc hotels just to keep pace, infuriating unprepared neighbors. The shabby apartments remained in use even after the city Department of Investigation found that they were crammed with fire and health hazards. Last week, the City Council approved a 17% hike in budgeted shelter spending for this year, piling on $137.5 million more, $88 million of it from city taxpayers. The mayor budgeted $84 million for rent aid this year, but then had to up the total to $110 million.* While a New York City councilman, Mayor Bill de Blasio passed legislation barring landlords from discriminating against prospective tenants relying on subsidies, but his administration has done little to enforce the measure, the Daily News reports: * The Daily News’ Alyssa Katz writes that de Blasio has consistently made choices that coumpound the homelessness crisis when it comes to leadership, deploying resources and deciding how to pay for commitments:*De Blasio admits it could ‘take years’ to see 'Home-Stat' benefits (NYDN)
de Blasio's Re-Zoning and the Continued Albany 421-a Continued Pay to Play Corruption Will Create More Homelessness

Even the Mayor's Officials Cheerleader the NYT Told Their Real Estate Progressive Puppet There is A Homeless Problem
De Blasio removing head of Homeless Services (NYDN)* De Blasio finally admits it’s time to fix the homeless crisis (NYP) Mayor de Blasio finally admitted Tuesday that “we need to catch up with the reality” of the city’s escalating homeless crisis — as he announced the abrupt exit of the commissioner responsible for helping New York’s needy. De Blasio said the Big Apple was struggling with “a different kind of homelessness” that’s “more and more about economic reality” — a major reversal from previous claims the problem was on the decline. The move follows a series of Post exposés about surging numbers of vagrants living on the streets — along with recent polling that showed 62 percent of New Yorkers disapproved of de Blasio’s handling of the homeless epidemic.

At a City Council hearing last week, Taylor was unable to say how many homeless people were currently living on the streets — which de Blasio pegged at 3,000 to 4,000 — or had entered city shelters since he was appointed. Sources also said Taylor was recently sidelined by the de Blasio administration when DHS was stripped of its power to award contracts, which was transferred to the Human Resources Administration.* Advocates are questioning the accuracy of New York City’s street counts of homeless people – and government funding for homeless services often hinges on the data, New York Nonprofit Media reports: *  Homeless Crackdown on 125th Street Only Relocated theProblem, Critics Say via @Dnainfo

How Team de Blasio (Berlin Rosen) Tried to Blame Homelessness and the NYCHA Mess On Cuomo 
 Bums getting a little too comfortable in Washington Square Park (NYP) * NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio finally admitted that “we need to catch up with the reality” of the city’s escalating homeless crisis — as he announced the abrupt exit of the commissioner responsible for helping New York’s needy.* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he’d be working on the city’s approach to homelessness daily during a 90-day review announced after the resignation of Taylor, the Department of Homeless Services commissioner, The Wall Street Journal reports:  * The Daily News writes that de Blasio is not close to a solution for the swelling homelessness crisis, but two years into his term, he has seen the “huge gap” between his dreams and his execution:* The departure of the commissioner, Gilbert Taylor, is the latest fallout from the homelessness crisis, which has become a consuming political problem for de Blasio as he tries to address deepening inequality in New York City.

Ignoring the 421-a and Airbnb Market Forces That Fuels Gentrification 
De Blasio said the city would conduct a 90-day review of the its homelessness approach and he would be working daily on the problem, which has proved to be a challenge for his administration for much of 2015. * Taylor's resignation comes after two weeks in which the Homeless Services Commissioner appeared to have a less-than-full command of data about the city's homeless shelter system during testimony he gave to the City Council, and during a sit-down television interview. In a City Council Hearing last week, Taylor could not give an accurate number for the amount of people living on city streets, or for the number of admissions to city homeless shelters since de Blasio took office. During an interview at the end of November with PIX11, Taylor gave himself and his agency an "A for effort" in addressing homelessness. De Blasio would not directly answer when asked Tuesday during a press conference whether Taylor was asked or encouraged to resign from his position by the mayor or any of his staff. * PALACE INTRIGUE: "The city is lookingparticularly for a Latino to fill the deputy mayor role, according to peoplefamiliar with the matter. Several prominent Latino city officials have leftCity Hall in the past year." WSJ's * The budget modification, released by Mayor Bill de Blasio in November, allocates $59 million in city funds to shelters for homeless adults for the remainder of fiscal year 2016, which ends on June 30. Another $78.6 million will go toward family shelters. 

de Blasio's Evolving Homeless Crisis Blames Everyone But 421-a and Airbnb Forcing New Yorkers Out of Their Home
de Blasio Fighting Homelessness by Press Spin, Blaming the Press, Bloomberg and Management Incompetence
De Blasio thinks homeless crisis is a case of ‘fear-mongering (NYP) Mayor de Blasio on Monday ripped The Post’s coverage of the homelessness crisis — and touted an estimated drop in the vagrant population based on a single-day census conducted in sub-freezing temperatures. * NY1's Louis Concerned That Lobbyist Have Manipulated andComprised Journalism (March 16th 2015) *  Mayor Blames NYC Homelessness on the Economy NBC (WNBC) * De Blasio proposes a landlord-friendly tax tweak (Capital) May 15 2015 * Apparently it’s now OK to pee on the streets of New York City (NYP) July 10, 2015 * De Blasio thinks homeless crisis is a case of ‘fear-mongering’ (NYP) July 14, 2015 Mayor de Blasio on Monday ripped The Post’s coverage of the homelessness crisis — and touted an estimated drop in the vagrant population based on a single-day census conducted in sub-freezing temperatures. * The Agnew de Blame the Press "Fear-Mongering" Edition * De Blasio mingles with bums in search of policy guidance (NYP) July 16, 2015 * BEGS TO DIFFER: De Blasio administration blames former Mayor Bloomberg for growing number of homeless New Yorkers (NYDN) Aug 25, 2015 *   De Blasio, Cuomo clash (again) over who does more for homeless (NYP) Sept 3, 2015

Last month, de Blasio admitted he had failed to properly communicate to New Yorkers what specifically his administration has been doing to deal with the rising numbers
De Blasio blasts Giuliani as 'delusional' over homeless Increase ...(NYP) Sept 7, 2015 * Mayor de Blasio Says Homeless Problem Is ‘Decades Old’ (Sept 8, 2015 * OPERATION 'BUM-STAT': NYPD zeroes in on homeless crisis by using data-driven tactics that brought down crime in the 90s (NYDN) Sept 14, 2015 * De Blasio HeldWeekly Meetings on Homeless While Publicly Denying Problem (DNAINFO) Oct 15, 2015 * The homeless population has soared since de Blasio took office (NYP) Sept 19 2015 The homeless population under Mayor de Blasio is soaring — with 4,000 more people in shelters than there were at the end of the Bloomberg era * Hundreds of full-time city workers are homeless (NYP) Sept 21, 2015 * Homeless city workers are a national embarrassment (NYP) Sept 27th 2015 * Gilbert Taylor last month: "I woulddefinitely give us an 'A' for effort." WPIX's Jay Dow: 

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

NY's Man of the Year U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara

Bharara Asks: Were Is New Yorkers Outrage As Its To Top Lawmakers Going to Jail? . . .  Where is the Pressure To Change Albany?

.@PreetBharara on @WNYC: "More whisperedwhining" from legislators than focus on fixing corruption via @Newsday * Two Silver JCOPE picks reappointed by Heastie, though one'transitioning off' (TU) * Liz Benjamin writes in Politico New York that Bharara has established himself the predominant force for the reshaping Albany, with lawmakers who once wondered how much leeway they’d have under Cuomo now afraid of the federal prosecutor: *  Recently convicted former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s two remaining JCOPE appointees were reappointed to new terms today by his replacement, Carl Heastie, though one will soon be “transitioning off” and replaced, a Heastie spokesman said. * Fresh off landmark convictions of two Albany legislative leaders in ManhattanU.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said there is a “deep problem” of corruption in the state Capitol. He seemed dismayed by the lack of urgency for ethics reform after the downfall of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.* Bharara said he is concerned that he has been hearing “a little bit more whispered whining on the part of some legislators in the press, without attribution, than focus on how to solve the problem” facing Albany.* Bharara Identifies Recurring Problems With Albany Political Culture in Media Appearances After Silver, Skelos Cases (NY1)
US Attorney Preet Bharara
Lobbyists Al D'Amato and the Long Island Investigation

Tone Deaf Heastie Reappoints Silver's Appointees to Joke Ethics Committee JCOPE
 Recently convicted ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's two remaining appointees to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics were reappointed to five-year terms by his successor, Carl Heastie, but one will be "transitioning off," theTimes Union reports: * Heastie selects state ethics panelists originally picked by Silver (NYP)Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie just reappointed two “ethics watchdogs” originally named by the now-convicted Silver. Renee Roth and Marvin Jacob got new five-year terms at the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, a k a JCOPE. The last thing Heastie should be doing is keeping any Silver remnants. Especially on an ethics panel — even a joke like JCOPE. If Roth and Jacob were truly “ethical,” they would’ve quit JCOPE the minute their patron was convicted (if not before). Same for ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ JCOPE picks — George Weissman, Joseph Covello and ex-state Sen. Mary Lou Rath. Their terms expire this month; let’s hope Skelos’ successor, John Flanagan, is smart enough to offer an entirely new slate.* The Joint Commission on Public Ethics raised concerns that the state's latest ethics reform law contained significant loopholes that may obscure the disclosure of state lawmakers' legal clients, the Times Unionreports:  * The Joint Commission on Public Ethics raised concerns that the state’s latest ethics reform law contained potentially significant loopholes that could obscure the disclosure of state lawmakers’ legal clients. The law was passed this year in the wake of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s indictment on charges that he used his office to garner millions in legal payments. * JCOPE members are looking to offer guidance for when discussions of policy matters on social media constitute lobbying * In a letter to commissioners of JCOPE, the head of Citizens Union slammed a push by one of the commissioners to allow the “hand-delivery” of forms lawmakers submit seeking exemptions from a law requiring the listing of legal clients, the Times Union reports: *  Common Cause New York found only 40 percent of state lawmakers elected before the most recent cycle have income other than the $79,500 and stipend pay they are given for their job as elected officials,State of Politics reports: 

90% of New Yorkers Think Corruption is A Problem in Albany
Only 20% of New Yorkers Know About U.S. Attorney Brahara, The Man Who Has Already Gotten 2 of the 3 Men in the Room and Says Stay Tuned 

New Yorkers Want New Ethics Laws to Clean Up Albany, Poll Finds (NYT) In a new poll conducted by Siena College after the conviction of Sheldon Silver, the former Assembly speaker, about nine in 10 New York voters say corruption is a serious problem. The picture is unambiguously grim for the state’s lawmakers: About nine in 10 New York voters say corruption is a serious problem in Albany, including a majority who say it is a very serious problem. Nearly half of the state’s voters say recent corruption scandals have made them less likely to re-elect their own members of the Legislature. ynicism prevails about the prospects for change: Sixty-one percent of voters agreed with the statement, “Silver got caught, the next guy will do the same just more carefully.” Around two-thirds of voters said it would take new laws to prevent another scandal like the one that brought down Mr. Silver. If the recent series of corruption trials has made Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, into something of a celebrity among political elites, he remains mostly unknown to voters. Just a under a fifth of New York voters had a favorable view of Mr. Bharara, but three-quarters had no opinion of him at all.* While 83 percent of voters statewide say the conviction of former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver is an important step toward cleaning up Albany, only 22 percent say the conviction will convince lawmakers to act more ethically and honestly on their own. Sixty-four percent say new laws are needed to prevent unethical and illegal behavior. Sixty-one percent of voters statewide say that while Silver got caught engaging in illegal behavior, “the next guy will do the same just more carefully.” * Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s favorable-unfavorable number is largely unchanged at 51-38.* U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s favorable-unfavorable is 18-9, with 73 percent of all voters saying they don’t know who he is or have no opinion of him.* Many New Yorkers have lost faith in a state government that’s been embroiled in one corruption scandal after another. But instead of merely complaining, they’ll soon have a chance to tear it all down and start over. Voters will be asked in 2017 whether the state should hold a constitutional convention to consider fundamental changes to its 121-year-old state constitution. * Cuomo: Legislature Needs To Heal Itself (YNN) * Stewart-Cousins: Poll Shows NYers Want Change In Albany (YNN) * @PreetBharara on @NYGovCuomo"I'm notgoing to talk about any investigations that we have open"  (PoliticoNY) * Bharara on pension claw backs: "We will be looking at all the ways justice can be done."  * A Siena poll finds that a strong majority of New Yorkers want new ethics laws passed to clean up state government, and few of them believe corruption in Albany can be stopped by prosecutors alone, theTimes reports:  * Who’s next? Bharara won’t disclose corruption probes 
Nicole Malliotakis ‏@NMalliotakis

Sampson Appeal to Drop the Top Charges 
Facing 20 years in jail, Sampson hopes to have top counts against him dropped (NYP) Facing up to 20 years behind bars, former state Sen. John Sampson is not going to prison quietly. After being convicted in July of obstruction of justice and lying to FBI agents, the desperate Brooklyn Democrat will push to have the top counts against him dropped at a hearing in January, court filings reveal. Sampson took a $188,500 loan from a shady business partner to cover money he skimmed from foreclosure dealsthe feds charge. After the ex-associate, Edul Ahmad, was indicted, he wore a wire during a sitdown with Sampson at a Queens restaurant.* Feigning concern for his pal, Ahmad pulled out a copy of a check register of the loan and asked Sampson what he should do with it. The shaken former lawmaker put the document in his pocket and told Ahmad to keep his mouth shut. But the feds said Sampson baldly lied in a later interview by saying he never saw the piece of paper.  In a Hail Mary filing by his lawyer, Sampson claims he was technically telling the truth because he never saw the original check register — only a copy. Sampson also wants the obstruction conviction tossed, claiming that he never overtly asked anyone to do anything illegal in trying to thwart investigators. Sampson won’t challenge a lesser conviction of failing to disclose his ownership stake in a liquor store. He was acquitted in July of the top charge against him, conspiracy to obstruct justice.

NY1's Louis Says Lobbyists Control Albany
Silver, Skelos and the rest of us: How to clean up the wreckage left by Shelly Silver and Dean Skelos (NYDN)  To the rest of us now falls the task of settling accounts with the hundreds of enablers — the lackey lawmakers and grasping lobbyists, the bribe-paying businesses and fawning bureaucrats — who helped Silver and Skelos reduce leadership of the Empire State to a sad parody of democracy. These two men did not simply pop up in Albany and suddenly turn the other 211 legislators into obedient pawns. An overwhelming majority of lawmakers instead willingly handed over their discretion and decision-making power, year after year, to shady men who surprised no one by turning out to be thieves. Even if Silver and Skelos were not criminals, the near-total surrender of power by the Legislature would still be a disgrace. *  
#NY1WiseGuys @AlDAmatoNY and @anthonyweiner weighed in on theconviction of Dean Skelos: 

Weiner and D'Amato Says Cuomo Must Come Up With Reforms
NY1 Wise Guys Weigh In on Skelos Conviction former Sen.Alfonse D'Amato and former Rep. Anthony Weiner - discussed the conviction of Dean Skelos and the anti-corruption campaign of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara
NY1 and Their Corrupt Lobbyists Wise Guys

NY1's Louis Says Decreasing Voting is A Boycott of NY's Failed Govt and Politics
Session after session, no amount of howling from civic organizations or editorial boards could stir the obedient flock in Albany into any honorable semblance of revolt or reform. Albany has remained equally indifferent to the disgust of voters, whose ever-falling rates of registration and participation are, in many districts, approaching levels that could accurately be described as a boycott.
Voter's Protest: New York's Decreasing Voter Turnout

True News Months Ago
NYT Gets It Wrong About Low Voter Turn Out 
Corruption and the Shadow Govt Lobbyists and Campaign Contributors Take Over the of the Election System Have Made Votes Feel That Election Do Not Matter

New technology and ways to reduce lines at polls are among the ways an Assembly hearing tomorrow aims to improve New York’s historically low voter turnout. The Times writes that there are a number of steps the stateLegislature could take, including consolidating voting days and improving access to registration, that would help improve New York’s low voter participation rates: No Change in Albany Leadership  Assemblyman Brian Kolb said the change in leadership inthe Assembly following Sheldon Silver’s ouster hasn’t resulted in significant change, although Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is “paying more attention” to rank-and-file membership, State of Politics writes * Bill Hammond writes on Politico New York that Cuomo is making excuses about not doing anything to stop Albany’s ongoing corruption and argues there are plenty of glaring weaknesses left in New York’s anti-corruption laws:  * Fred Siegel on the Daily Beast explains how Albany’s corruption problems cannot be solved simply with public financing of campaigns or a full-time legislature and argues the Legislature is unlikely to change even after the conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver:* Bill Hammond says there are “plenty of glaring weaknesses left to fix in New York’s anti-corruption laws, several of which directly enabled (former Assembly Speaker Sheldon) Silver to monetize his public office in the amount of $4 million over 10 years.”

NY1's Louis Must Have Seen True News' Graphic About Albany Leaders
And so it has come to this. I doubt any other state can point to four consecutive Senate leaders convicted of separate corruption schemes, and we are on the verge of seeing Skelos, John Sampson (set for sentencing this month) both imprisoned at the same time as Malcolm Smith and Pedro Espada (both currently in custody).*  
Poll 7 of 10 New York voters don't know who any of these Albany people are

The Media Ha Not Done One Story That Bharara Went After Silver and Skelos Shut Down Moreland
One of Cuomo’s bold moves was creating another Moreland Commission designed to weed out all aspects of wrong doing. That grandiose plan faded within months, when the governor suddenly decided to shut down the panel. As a result, Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, had sufficient grounds to probe into that decision too. Some critics on Capitol Hill are still convinced that the governor may have felt intimidated by what direction the commission seemed to pursue. Was the investigation perhaps moving too close to the Governor’s Office?  Not surprisingly, some in Albany, especially reform advocates, were calling for a special legislative session focusing on ethics and changes required to restore the public confidence in government. Cuomo, never keen on calling back the lawmakers for that reason, said he could not legislate morality or intelligence and that his administration had already proposed every ethics law imaginable.* Asked about Moreland commiss in light of Silver, Skelos convictions, @NYGovCuomo says, "It was a temporary process. ... It did its job."

The Silver Asbestos Court Still Being Covered Up

Daily News Says Fix is in for Excessive Pay Hikes
Asbestos court gets a boost thanks to Silver conviction (NYP) Ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s corruption conviction has helped pull New York City’s “asbestos court,” where he held influence, up from its spot as the nation’s worst “judicial hellhole.” The American Tort Reform Foundation now says California courts hold the title. “With Silver perhaps headed to prison . . . the Big Apple may begin to bob up from the bottom of the barrel,” the report says.* Silver’s son-in-law gets two years in prison for Ponzi scheme (NYP) * A son-in-law of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was sentenced to two years in prison, well-below federal sentencing guidelines, after admitting he cheated four investors out of nearly $6 million in a Ponzi scheme, the Times reports:  * Sheldon Silver’s son-in-law will spend 2 years in prisonfor $6M Ponzi scheme (NYDN) * Golden gavels for state judges getting excessivepay hikes (NYDN Ed)
Did Silver Corrupt the Manhattan Court?

Where Are the DAs Who Want A Raise and the AG In the Fight Against Albany Corruption?

THE NEWS SAYS: What Sheldon Silver's guilty verdict reveals about the culture of New York's Capitol (NYDN) * * Silver’s conviction should sound a loud alarm to all the players in Albany who have become so accustomed to the abuse of power that they can’t see how it infects every aspect of lawmaking, and Bharara deserves credit, the Times writes * The commission, which was created as part of the state’s most recent budget, has untilthe end of the year to issue recommendations on judges’ pay. The panel’s recommendations will automatically go into effect at the start of the state’s next fiscal year in April unless the Legislature chooses to alter them. The panel will make similar recommendations for state legislators and members of the executive branch by the end of 2016.Outgoing Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson joined his colleagues in other boroughs in calling for a 31.5 percent raise before a commission that is expected to rule on raises for all elected officials in New York City this year, the Post reports: * Guilty Verdict in Silver Corruption Trial Sends Shockwaves Across Political Landscape (NY1) * Lower East Side Reacts to Guilty Verdict in Shelly Silver Corruption Trial (NY1) * In a Newsday OpEd, Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, a former federal prosecutor, outlined four ways to change Albany for the better following Silver’s conviction.

Remembering Office Ramos and Liu and Their Families One Year Later
1 year after the murder of 2 NYPD officers, their families,neighbors still mourn. @WNYC *'WHY DID HE TAKE AWAY MY SON?' Year later, families of NYPD cops Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, senselessly killed by crazed assassin, still struggling with grief (NYDN) * Kadiatou Diallo, whose son Amadou Diallo was shot and killed by police while reaching for his wallet, blasted the promotion of an officer involved in the 1999 incident and requested a meeting with NYPD Commissioner William Bratton, the Post reports:* The Post’s Bob McManus writes that de Blasio is lucky to follow two great mayors and inherit a city nearly free of serious crime, but his legacy will likely be less stelar due to a lack of “core vision” and managerial skills:* ‘Their sacrifice was not in vain’: slain NYPD officers honored (NYP) * Two NYPD officers killed in the line of duty a year ago were remembered by officials during two emotional events yesterday. Plaques commemorating Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were unveiled at the 84th precinct station house on the anniversary of their fatal shootings inside a patrol car in Brooklyn.
City Council Crime Fighting and the NYPD

Afghan Blast   NYPD Joseph Lemm, among 6 Americans killed in Afghanistan bombing, was recently promoted to detective: Bratton  NYPD detective killed by suicide bomber in Afghanistan (NYP)* * A New York City commission appointed by Mayor de Blasio recommended a 15% raise for the mayor and 23% raises for the 51 members of City Council, capping a monthslong study of compensation, The WallStreet Journal reports:

Bratton Says He Has Less Tools to Deal With Homeless Now Than When He Served Under Giuliani 
As the de Blasio administration predicts a rise in homelessness next year, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said he has “fewer tools to work with” in combatting the problem compared to when he led the NYPD in the 1990s, the Post reports: * As he completes his second year under de Blasio, Bratton’s accomplishments have been more modest, but he’s working in a much different city, where crime is at its lowest levels since the 1950s, Leonard Levittwrites in amNew York: * A mayor-appointed committee on school safety is eyeing new rules that would bar the NYPD from arresting students for crimes that include graffiti, vandalism and harassment inside the buildings, documents show.

Subway Sex Crimes Increasing 

City subways are turning into a sex-crime filled horror show (NYP) Sex crimes on the city’s subways have soared by nearly 20 percent this year, due to a surge in the number of gropers, flashers and voyeurs, NYPD officials said on Monday. “I think everyone has a subway horror story,’’ said straphanger Ashley Ezparda, 27, of Jackson Heights, Queens, near the 74th Street and Broadway station. “[I saw] some homeless guy masturbating on the R train this past summer. I wanted to throw up.” In the past five months alone, the rate of increase has more than doubled — with a total of 699 incidents reported, or 106 more than the 593 recorded for the same period last year, authorities said. The most common offenses are forcible touching, lewdness and unwanted surveillance, NYPD Deputy Chief Vincent Coogan told MTA officials at a meeting.* Sex crimes on the city’s subways have soared by nearly 20 percent this year, due to a surge in the number of gropers, flashers and voyeurs, NYPD officials said.

NYPD Goes After Gangs 

'NYPD HAS STEPPED UP ITS GAME': Police boss Bill Bratton says Finest is up to the challenge of gang violence (NYDN)  * DANGER IN YOUR BACKYARD? Interactive map shows gang activity by New York City neighborhood (NYDN)* Along with the mass killers and rifle-toting terrorists who are driving the nation’s gun debate are New York’s own gangbangers, who are behind the triggers of nearly half the city’s shootings, officials said. And when gunplay across the five boroughs turns deadly, gang members are quite often responsible, accounting for 130, or 40 percent, of the city’s murders this year.

Police Enforcement Actions Drop 
Police ‘enforcement actions’ drop during de Blasio’s first year (NYP) The NYPD took more than 800,000 fewer “enforcement actions” during Mayor de Blasio’s first year in 2014 than in 2011 — cutting stop-and-frisks, summonses for quality-of-life violations and misdemeanor arrests, a new study revealed Friday. The John Jay College of Criminal Justice analysisshowed that stops made up the majority of the cutbacks, falling from a high of 685,724 in 2011 to a low of 45,787 in 2014 — a 93 percent drop. Summonses for public drinking and urination and disorderly conduct dropped from 507,982 to 369,058, and misdemeanor arrests fell from 286,327 to 259,600. And the drop largely affected young minority males, according to John Jay President Jeremy Travis, who said enforcement actions rose steadily from 2003 but fell just as sharply eight years later.* * New analyses of crime and enforcement by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the New York Civil Liberties Union show that even as police stops of pedestrians have declined sharply in recent years, New York City has continued to see a drop in crime, the Journal reports:
Stop-and-frisks 2011: 685,724, 2014: 45,787, 93% decline*  * It’s time for New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton to speed up introduction of officer-worn body cameras, as well as dashboard cameras, while complying with monitor Peter Zimroth’s plans to permanently end stop and frisk, the Daily News writes: * The renaming of a Queens Village street as “Detective 1st Grade Brian Moore Way” is a fitting tribute to Moore, who was killed while working undercover at the age of 25 and who made New York City safer and stronger because of his service, the Post writes:
Quality-of-life summonses 2011: 507,982, 2014: 369,058, 27% decline
Misdemeanor arrests 2011: 286,327, 2014: 259,600, 9% decline
Felony arrests 2011: 88,082, 2014: 89,306, 1.4% increase

Majority Oppose Allowing Syrian Refugees into the County at This Time 
 Nearly 90 percent of New Yorkers are concerned that another terrorist attack will happen in New York soon, and a majority oppose allowing Syrian refugees into the country at this time, according to a New York Times/SienaCollege poll: * Siena poll: 88 percent fear a terror attack willoccur in New York (TU) Meanwhile, voters oppose allowing Syrian refugees to come to the United States at this time by a 52-39 margin. Though Siena did not break out Muslims’ answers, the “other” religion group supports allowing Syrian refugees to enter the country by a 53-38 margin. A majority of Catholic, Jewish and Protestant voters each say they oppose allowing Syrian refugees to enter the country.* Siena Poll: Majority Oppose Syrian Refugees Coming To U.S. (YNN) * * The Post writes that the NYPD’s landmark study on how American Muslims become radicalized is at risk of being suppressed in lawsuit settlements, but if that happens, the Post will publish the study on itswebsite:  * Cuomo Blasts Anti-Immigrant Sentiment (YNN) *An overwhelming majority of New York voters say they are concerned the state will be the target of a terror attack in the near future, a Siena College poll released yesterday showed. * The same poll found a majority of New Yorkers are opposed to letting Syrian refuges into the US at this time.
More About NY Terrorism

Take the Skelos Name Off the Sports Complex and Put It On A Jail
Dean Skelos' Shamingrights (NYDN Ed) One of the perks that came with running the state Senate for Dean Skelos was the power to direct millions of dollars to projects in his Long Island district. Skelos was particularly generous to his home base, the Village of Rockville Centre, for which he secured enormous sums to enable creation of an outdoor sports complex par excellence. The baseball field is complete with a home-run fence, foul poles, warm-up pitching cages and an elevated announcer’s shed. Nearby, there is a miniaturized version of a baseball diamond on which 5-year-olds are introduced to the game. Artificial-turf soccer fields are state of the art. They include stands for fans and lights for nighttime games. Restroom facilities are excellent. A sign at the gate reads: “Dean G. Skelos Sports Complex.”

The Media Needs to Look At the Damage Silver Did to Tenants With the 421-a Program
Who suffered from New York pols' payoff cases? (Times Union) Defense for key state legislators downplays impact, but others say society, people do suffer. According to Silver's attorney, he was a "great champion" of tenants rights during a time when rents in New York City have soared. According to a 2014 study released by the Community Service Society, between 2002 and 2011, New York City lost 385,000 units of housing affordable to low-income residents — over 40 percent of units in that category. But during his trial, Silver was found to have arranged payments from developers to a law firm that handled property tax appeals for real estate companies, yielding hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees for the speaker. In 2011, lobbyists for one of those developers, Glenwood Management, met with Silver to push the luxury apartment builders' agenda on the lucrative 421-a tax break program, which incentivizes the building of affordable housing, as well as rent regulations — both then close to expiring. According to testimony from one lobbyist, Richard Runes, Glenwood ended up getting largely what it wanted out of the renewal of both programs. "We knew Senate Republicans were in the pocket of the real estate industry, so that wasn't a surprise," tenant activist Michael McKee told the Times Union, describing the 2011 negotiations. "What was really surprising was that Sheldon Silver sold us out after he had positioned himself as this great defender of tenants' rights." McKee added, "They made very minor alterations at the very edges and called it a great tenant victory while they left every loophole in place so that Glenwood could get more (market-rate) units into the system."*  Despite the Crackdown, 421a Tax Benefits Still Falls in theWrong Hands (Citylimits)

DOI Goes After Tenants Ripping Off Public Housing $ Not Berlin Rosen Client Two Trees Ripping Off Millions in 421-a Tax Breaks 
City public housingtenants rip off taxpayers by under-reporting income: DOI (NYDN) A slew of public housing tenants ripped off the taxpayers by under-reporting income to inflate their benefits, the city Department of Investigation charged Friday. Over the last few weeks, 17 tenants have been charged with stealing public funds, including 12 who deliberately hid income-producing husbands and other relatives to collect more federal rent subsidies.* Dozens busted for ripping off public housing program (NYP) Another 17 people have been caught ripping off the federally subsidized Section 8 housing program, authorities announced Friday. With the latest fraud sweep, the city Department of Investigation has collared 39 people on charges of collecting $1.4 million in undeserved public-housing subsidies so far this year.  Of the latest arrests, 11 involved renters hiding the presence and income of a family member to make them eligible for subsidies. Other alleged scams included concealing a familial relationship between landlord and tenant and illegally renting out a subsidized apartment to a friend. “This pernicious fraud undermines government’s efforts to ensure affordable housing for some of the most vulnerable in New York City,” said DOI Commissioner Mark Peters.

Berlin Rosen Client Two Trees Overcharged Renters for Years in Buildings With $10 Million Tax Breaks
Two Trees Donated $100,000 to the Campaign Of One New York Which Berlin Rosen Unregistered Lobbyists Runs
Tenants Take the Hit as New York Fails to Police Huge Housing TaxBreak (Propublica) Top developer Two Trees Management overcharged renters for years – but still cashed in on $10 million in tax cuts the city never officially approved. When prominent New York developer Jed Walentas asked the city to approve a set of sleek towers on Brooklyn’s industrial waterfront last year, pitched his company as a player that always abides by the rules. The project, remaking the old Domino Sugar factory into a 2,300-unit apartment and office complex, would be the biggest ever for his firm, Two Trees Management. As with earlier projects, Two Trees would get millions in tax breaks in return for capping rents and reserving some units for low-income tenants.  “We’ve done everything we always said we were going to do in every one of these projects,” Walentas assuredthe City Council at a public hearing last year. An investigation by ProPublica into one of Two Trees’ major developments in downtown Brooklyn shows that regulators stood by as the company flouted laws requiring rent stabilization in exchange for a large property tax break it received.

Despite that requirement, the firm promptly told regulators that most of the apartments were exempt from rent stabilization when the complex at 125 Court Street opened in 2005. Then, over the next eight years, Two Trees repeatedly exceeded city limits on rent increases in the 321-unit luxury building, even overcharging the majority of its low-income renters. Regulators took no action until 2011. Although they eventually informed Two Trees that it was out of compliance, they never moved to revoke the tax benefit.

In fact, they had never approved it in the first place.In response to questions by ProPublica, city officials confirmed that 125 Court Street has yet to officially qualify for the tax break program, known as 421-a, even though Two Trees has received more than $10 million in tax savings that continue to this day.Together, the overcharges and Two Trees’ lack of final approval show a city that is eager to give out tax breaks but loathe to police them, enabling developers to easily sidestep tenant protections under its single-biggest housing subsidy. Long controversial, the 421-a program is now on the brink of an historic expansion. Under a deal brokered in Albany last summer, the $1.1 billion-a-year program would allow developers to claim longer tax breaks in exchange for providing more low-income apartments. For the first time, the revamped law also would exempt most new apartments built with 421-a subsidies from rent stabilization. Critics of the reforms have called them a giveaway that will ultimately push up rents, but there’s been little attention paid to the program’s regulatory shortcomings.* De Blasio has had to do damage control on his citywide housing plan as widespread opposition has challenged a mayor who wants to address inequality and who has long preached the need for community input, Politico New Yorkwrites: 
The Rent Racket ProPublica is exploring New York City’s broken rent stabilization system, the tax breaks that underpin it, the regulators who look the other way and the tenants who suffer as a result.

Berlin Rosen Helps A Developer Win Approval of Sugar Development From Mayor it Elected Then Collects $100,000 For the Mayor's Slush PAC That It Runs

BerlinRosen's current and recent clients include Two Trees Management Negotiations between Mr. de Blasio’s team and Mr. Walentas’s firm took place over the last few days. The two men share a mutual adviser: Jonathan Rosen, one of the mayor’s top political hands and the chief executive of a public affairs firm, Berlin Rosen, that counts Mr. Walentas’s company as a client. * Berlin Rosen who is not for some reason not listed as registered lobbyist work for a lot of real estate developers.   Berlin Rosen’s current and recent clients include Two Trees Management Negotiations between Mr. de Blasio’s team and two trees' Walentas’s firm took place over a few days. The two men share a mutual adviser: Jonathan Rosen, one of the mayor’s top political hands and the chief executive of a public affairs firm, Berlin Rosen that counts Mr. Walentas’s company as a client. Berlin Rosen served as a consultant to de Blasio campaign and runs he slush fund PAC NY1 which pushes the mayor’s agenda. The NYT Michael Powell – “A couple last year; "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.  One of their clients is still being investigated by a SI special prosecutor.  Both partners in Berlin Rosen, Jonathan Rosen and Valerie Berlin worked for Schneiderman.  Berlin was his chief of staff when he was a NYS Senator.

How the Tax Payers Buy Apt Complexes for Wall Street Billionaires 
Who do billionaires turn to when they want to buy apartmentcomplexes? The U.S.taxpayer (Bloomberg) Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital Group and Stephen Schwarzman’s Blackstone Group LP are in talks with Freddie Mac to finance two transactions totaling more than $10 billion, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations. Those discussions come after the government-owned mortgage giant already agreed to back Lone Star Funds’ $7.6 billion deal to buy Home Properties Inc. and Brookfield Asset Management Inc.’s $2.5 billion takeover of Associated Estates Realty Corp. The mortgage guarantor -- which along with its larger counterpart Fannie Mae was rescued in a $187.5 billion taxpayer bailout in 2008 -- is boosting its multifamily lending as their regulator eases restrictions on that part of their business. Cheap debt from the U.S.-backed companies is helping sustain a five-year surge in values for apartment buildings and fueling some of the biggest real estate deals since the financial crisis.
Real Estate Developers, Tax Breakes and Politics, 421-a 

Daily News Says More Info On Secret by Mayor Giving Blackstone's Stuy Town Deal on Air Rights and Forgiving Loan
The Daily News writes that straight accountings of deBlasio’s real estate dabblings  are needed after he did not mention the city was forgiving a loan and authorizing an air rights sale at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village: * Editorial: Fulldisclosure, please (NYDN Ed) As a huge landlord reached a deal buy Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, de Blasio trumpeted success in keeping almost half of the complexes affordable to the middle class. The mayor said that the city reached advantageous terms with the Blackstone Group. But what did Blackstone really get in the deal? New York “will fund a loan of up to $144 million,” de Blasio’s press release stated — without mentioning that he was actually forgiving the entire sum, plus $77 million, for a total $221 million. It turns out he added artificial sweetener: the mayor will help Blackstone get the okay to sell development rights that experts say are potentially worth $100 million to $350 million. New Yorkers need straight accountings of the costs of de Blasio real estate dabblings. Here that extends to the possible air rights bonanza. At least, the terms should have said that the bulk of any such sums would come back to taxpayers. * The Post writes that de Blasio should keep his “grubbypaws” off the city’s pension fund after the mayor suggested he may like to invest it in various subsidized housing program as part of his affordable housing program: *The recent sale of Stuy Town-Peter Cooper Village highlights the differences between the massive Manhattan complex and Parkchester, its similarly-designed Bronx counterpart with much lower rents, Crain’s reports: * Blackstone-Ivanhoe Cambridge Purchase of Stuyvesant Town-Peter CooperVillage (Little Sister Chart)

Campaign: The Carmen Arroyo Seat 
The race to replace Maria del Carmen Arroyo keeps gettingmore crowded (DNAINFO) * Union Leader to Join Crowded Race for Arroyo’s City Council Seat (DNAINFO) Helen Foreman-Hines, political project director at 1199 SEIU, intends to run for the City Council.

Salamanca, Septimo Cash Haul Outpace Contenders In South Bronx Special Elex (Bronx Chroncle)
South Bronx Special Election Candidates to Square Off at Upcoming Forum (DNAInfo) Nos Quedamos plans to hold the event on Jan. 27 at Pregones Theatre on Walton Avenue.

Special Elections 
TO THE RACES -- Former Assembly candidate runs for Council seat -- POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: George Alvarez, a community leader and activist in the Bronx, will file petition papers on Tuesday announcing he will run for the City Council seat recently vacated in the Bronx. Alvarez, a Democrat who recently ran an unsuccessful race for the Assembly, will run to replace former councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo, who stepped down at the end of last year citing pressing family needs. Alvarez lost the 2014 Assembly primary to Michael Blake, but he is hoping to rally his supporters in the district on his bid for the council.  Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a proclamation Monday ordering a special election to fill the seat on Feb. 23rd. The Bronx's 17th Council District includes parts of Concourse, Concourse Village, Crotona Park and Hunts Point. Alvarez, born to Dominican parents, holds a masters degree computer sciences and logistics as well as a masters in political science from Columbia University. He also helped create the Coalition for a New Future in the Bronx, a nonprofit group that helps low income Bronx residents obtain loans to start small business, pay for their education and buy their own homes. "Above all, I am running to fight passionately for the people of this District and be a loud voice for people who are too often not heard," Alvarez said.

PAC Tied to Congresswoman Valazquez Challenger Slams her For Links to Silver 
PAC Tied toChallenger Slams Congresswoman Over Alleged Links to Sheldon Silver (NYO) Brooklyn residents have been receiving campaign literature blasting Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez over Can alleged link with convicted  former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver—and behind the mailers is a well-funded political action committee linked to her long-shot challenger. Several people in Ms. Velázquez’s district told the Observer they received mailers attacking Ms. Velazquez as “arrogant,” “dismissive,” “indifferent” and “unaccountable,” and accusing her of having a longstanding backscratching arrangement with the disgraced Mr. Silver. The literature came from the “Community Action Now” PAC, based out of a post office box in Whitestone, Queens, far from a district that spans Brooklyn, Manhattan and portions of Queens. “For 25 years, Nydia Velazquez & Shelly Silver shared districts, neighborhoods and long-term incumbencies. They’ve depended on each other to keep their public office ‘thrones,'” the mailer reads. “Times have changed. What we’ll tolerate has changed.”

de Blasio Over Rides the UFT for Votes 
For once, Mayor de Blasio snubs the teachers union (NYP) Whaddya know? For once, Mayor de Blasio and the City Council actually stood up to the teachers union. On Monday, council members — with the mayor’s blessing — OK’d $20 million in funding for unarmed security guards at private schools with at least 300 kids. True, the move will cost just $20 million, out of the city’s $80 billion budget. But the United Federation of Teachers still opposed the move, because it shifted public funds to schools the UFT doesn’t control. Yet there were zero real grounds to withhold funds. Not when the city faces heightened terror threats. And when government regularly pays for other secular private-school expenses, like textbooks and nurses. Plus, the guards belong to another union — the one for building-service workers. The UFT didn’t care.* The New York City Council passed a bill to allocate $19.8 million for private schools that hire unarmed security guards and pay union-level wages, despite opposition from civil liberties and budget watchdog groups, the Daily News reports:  * The Post praised de Blasio and the City Council’s decision to “stand up to the teachers union” for once and allocate $20 million for unarmed security guards at private schools that enroll at least 300 students:*   The NYC Council overwhelmingly passed legislation to provide up to $19.8 million annually to nearly 300 private schools to pay for unarmed security guards.* De Blasio said that he would sign a bill that would allow private and parochial schools to hire security guards at a cost of nearly $20 million annually to New York City, drawing criticism from some of his usual allies, who called it a giveaway to religious schools.

Not One City Elected official Will Stand Up and Make A Case for Their Own Pay Raise 
No say, no pay (NYDN Ed) Right now, New York City’s elected officials think that they’re up for raises. Some of the more delusional members of the City Council went so far as to suggest behind closed doors that they ought to get a 71% hike to an annual salary of $192,500. Although the Council and Mayor de Blasio will legislatively set pay levels for themselves and the rest of the city’s political hirees, a special pay-raise commission is studying how big any hikes should be. The panel will make non-binding recommendations after taking testimony. Its most crucial witnesses will be elected officials themselves. Given that, for better or worse, they are performing the job functions for which they are paid, they are ideally positioned to explain how pay checks should be adjusted for the first time since 2006. Oops. Almost every elected official in the city is avoiding the commission as desperately as if its members carry the Ebola virus. Chaired by former Corporation Counsel Fritz Schwarz, the panel sent written invitations to the mayor, controller, public advocate, all 51 councilmembers, all five borough presidents and all five district attorneys, asking each to come forward with thoughts about the “appropriate pay for city elected officials.” Greeted largely by silence, the commission followed up with phone calls. As of the close of business on Friday, only the five DAs had jointly put their formal request on paper. They proposed a 32% pay hike, which would bring their salaries to $250,000 a year.* Several New York City council members now involved in participatory budgeting are rethinking their commitments because of the significant workload, the fear that certain interest groups are dominating and the idea that it dilutes the power of council members, the Observer reports: * The fact that most New York City elected officials won’t testify as to how much money they think their salaries should be increased by is shameful and unreflective of the way things work for New Yorkers in the real workplace * New York City Council pay hike on panel agenda for study (NYDN)
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito

Scandal-Plagued Pols Battle for Queens Congressional Seat 
Scandal-plagued politicians will battle for Queens congressional seat(NYP) A shady showdown is brewing in Queens, where state Sen. James Sanders has filed paperwork to challenge Rep. Gregory Meeks for his congressional seat. Both Democrats have faced questions over their ethics. Sanders, 58, has been under scrutiny for steering millions of taxpayer dollars to dozens of Queens organizations to which he has ties. And Meeks, 62, has been probed for his ties to a Queens nonprofit that stiffed Hurricane Katrina victims and for failing to disclose his receipt of a personal loan. If Sanders loses the June 28 primary, he could still petition to run for his state Senate seat on Sept. 13. In 2010, the FBI quizzed Meeks over New Direction Local Development Corp., a Queens charity he co-founded with disgraced ex-Sen. Malcolm Smith in 2001. It had solicited thousands of dollars in donations for Katrina victims in 2005, but gave them virtually nothing. Meeks denied responsibility. The House Ethics Committee probed his failure to disclose $40,000 given to him by fraudster Queens businessman Edul Ahmad in 2007. Meeks claimed he lost the “loan” paperwork. As a councilman, Sanders steered nearly $3 million in council cash from 2003 to 2008 to dozens of groups in his district, which the FBI is reportedly examining.

Sharpton Crashes Mayoral Hopefuls Power Breakfast 
Al Sharpton crashes mayoral hopefuls’ power breakfast (NYP) Real estate developer Don Peebles and city Comptroller Scott Stringer had a power breakfast at the Regency on Monday, which piqued the interest of fellow diner the Rev. Al Sharpton at a nearby table. When he spotted the pair, who are both considered potential challengers to Mayor de Blasio in his re-election bid, “Sharpton walked over to their table to say hello, and joked that some might view their ‘secret meeting’ as a plot to take down de Blasio,” a spy said. Peebles, who’s reportedly worth $700 million, told The Post in August he’s giving serious thought to a run, saying, “I was a political supporter of [de Blasio] . . . I’ve lost confidence in him. It would be irresponsible of me to do nothing.” * De Blasio's affordable housing plan for East N.Y. is not affordable, according to report by Scott Stringer (NYDN)

Wright Candidate for Rangel Seat Tied Up in the Glenwood Silver Web
Sheldon SilverConviction Casts Shadow Over Race for Rangel’s Seat (NYO) Of all the candidates running, Mr. Wright, the chairman of the Assembly’s influential housing committee and the waning Manhattan Democratic Party, may have the most to lose from Mr. Silver’s downfall. As fellow Manhattanites and veteran lawmakers, the two Democrats naturally worked together, even if Mr. Wright was never known as one of Mr. Silver’s top lieutenants. Most glaringly, and at the behest of Mr. Silver, the Harlem Democrat carried a 2013 housing bill providing tax breaks to five select developers. Mr. Wright’s aides claimed he knew nothing of the tax breaks and was furious at Mr. Silver, though the Daily News reported he may have been more aware than he let on. Glenwood Management, a leading real estate developer accused of taking part in bribery schemes in the cases of Mr. Silver and Dean Skelos, the former Republican majority leader currently on trial, funneled $45,000 through limited liability corporations to the housekeeping account of Mr. Wright’s Manhattan Democratic Party over the past four years. Glenwood was a prolific donor, giving cash to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and many state lawmakers. At least one candidate, Clyde Williams, is not letting Mr. Wright off the hook. Mr. Williams, a former congressional candidate and Democratic National Committee official who has never held elected office, said the Silver conviction was an “indictment of the entire political culture of Albany.” With the backing of the Harlem political establishment, including former Gov. David Paterson, Mr. Wright is a top contender and likely to face more barbs from outsider candidates like Mr. Williams. State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who twice tried to unseat Mr. Rangel, also endured scrutiny over his 14-year Assembly tenure when Rangel aides gleefully highlighted a vote he took with Mr. Silver that many city Democrats revile to this day: the 1999 decision to repeal the commuter tax, costing New York City nearly $10 billion in subsequent years. Mr. Espaillat called it a“terrible vote.”

Eric Garner Daughter May Race On SI Against Donovan
The 25-year-old daughter of fatal police-chokehold victim Eric Garner is mulling a run for Congress against Rep. Dan Donovan, the former Staten Island district attorney who she claims didn’t deliver justice for her father.

Rangel Backs Wright
Charles Rangel backs Keith Wright to succeed him (NYP) Rep. Charles Rangel has told supporters he’s backing Assemblyman Keith Wright to succeed him when he steps down next year after nearly five decades in Congress, The Post has learned. Rangel, 85, pledged his support to Wright, who is also the Manhattan Democratic Party chairman, during a private fundraiser last week at Melba’s restaurant in Harlem. “Every week, there’s someone new, some labor leader, someone from the community planning board, some people from The Bronx, some in the Congress, in the Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus who say, ‘Is Keith our man?’” Rangel said at the event, a video of which was obtained by The Post. “I said, ‘Of course he is!’” Rangel said to thunderous applause.

Perkins Runs for Rangel Seat
Harlem state Sen. Bill Perkins is throwing his hat in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, who will give up his seat after more than four decades in office, the Post writes:  * Farrell Endorses Wright’s Bid To Replace Rangel(YNN) *  Harlem Pol Launches Bid for Congress—With Help From Two ofthe Central Park Five  (NYO) *Two rivals for Rangel seat tout backing from exoneratedCentral Park Five…  *Bill Perkins declares himself ‘front-runner’ to replace Rangel (PoliticoNY) * Former Mayor endorses Keith Wright to succeed Charles Rangel (NYP) Former Mayor Dave Dinkins is endorsing Keith Wright to succeed Rep. Charles Rangel in Congress. Dinkins noted that Harlem Assemblyman Wright, the Manhattan Democratic Party chairman * Manhattan Democrat (and Harvard grad) Michael Gallagherenters sweepstakes to replace Rep. Charles Rangel in NY -13. *   “I think I come into this race as the frontrunner" as @EspaillatNY looks to run forcongress * Harlem Lawmaker Calls Use of Term 'AffordableHousing' a 'Lie' (DNAINFO)* REPLACING RANGEL -- Michael Oliva, Democratic consultant in "[F]ew voting blocs will be up for grabs. Many residents already know who they will vote for. The aspirants will need to strike a balance between turning out their bases and leaving their comfort zones to convince small pockets of undecided voters they are not used to communicating with to support them. Creative, disciplined messaging and effective delivery are critical to success. Further, it will be difficult for candidates to differentiate themselves on specifics. Most will have similar platforms on voter concerns like housing, health care and gun control, and most have solid governmental experience as state legislators or federal officials. Therefore, this will become a personality-driven race, a factor that always benefited gifted retail politicians like Rangel. Public appearances, debates and street campaigning will go far toward determining the victor." 

Bronx Candidate Fighting Gentrification
Latest Council Race Candidate Wants to Fight Gentrification in The Bronx (SNAINFO) Marlon Molina would focus on gun violence and fighting gentrification as a member of the City Council.* Former State Assembly Candidate Joins Jam-Packed City Council Race (DNAINFO) George Alvarez is one of many people hoping to fill Maria del Carmen Arroyo's old council seat.* Bronx Democrats Endorse Rafael Salamanca for Arroyo's Council Seat (DNAINFO)  Salamanca formally announced his campaign for City Council on Tuesday, joining several other candidates.

Espaillat Owes $ But Running Again for Congress
This pol owes $96,000 but is making a third run for congress (NYP) State Sen. Adriano Espaillat has launched his third run for Congress, but still hasn’t paid off nearly $100,000 in bills from his campaign of two years ago — including money owed to Eliot Spitzer’s old flame. One debtor, photographer/Web designer Jon Reznick, said he got such a runaround trying to collect $1,250 from Espaillat that he took down the campaign’s Web site last year.

Grimm SI DA Race, NYC Congressional Delegation 
The Bronx DA, The BP and Corruption Machine