Sunday, June 11, 2017

True News

The Albany Big Business Giveaway of Tax Payer Money to Big Bussinesses to Contribute to Pols

NY's Big Breaks for Business: What our investigationfound (lOWhUD) ALBANY — New York spends billions of taxpayer dollars each year to get new jobs and retain existing ones as a way to combat being one of the most expensive places to live in the nation....

The Council Member Items Fly To Re-Elect Incumbents Training the Next Council to Be Hooked On Pork 
De Blasio, Mark-Viverito boost spending on pet projects (NYP) The City Council’s spending on pet projects will jump by nearly 3 percent to $61.5 million in the coming fiscal year — with plenty of political pork being dished out to nonprofits affiliated with firms who’ve worked as consultants for Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, records released Monday show.  Some of the biggest winners in the discretionary cash dole-out include Comunilife Inc., which received $445,000 – including $400,000 directly from Mark-Viverito for a program to assist at-risk Latina teens considering suicide – and Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation, which pocketed $300,000 through the speaker and another $27,500 through other council members to provide legal services for the poor.   Comunilife is represented by the MirRam Group, which consulted on Mark-Viverito’s 2013 campaign.  Brooklyn Legal Services retains the lobbying firm Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin, which was heavily used by Mark-Viverito as a consultant in her bid to become council speaker.  The $61.5 million pot for council initiatives is an increase of 2.8 percent from the $59.8 million in political pork being doled out this year. It contains a 32 percent boost in discretionary funds, from $5.2 million to $6.9 million, to be distributed by Mark-Viverito – either solo or through other council members. * Building New York's next budget crisis  (NYP Ed) Fiscal watchdogs have blasted Mayor de Blasio’s budget for shelling out too much cash. So, naturally, he and the City Council just finalized a budget that boosts spending even more....

When Will the Media Examine How Groups Like LIBRE Used Member Items to Reelect the Incumbents Who Gave Them the $$$ 
Scandal-plagued Queens nonprofit receiving $69G in CityCouncil spending (NYDN) A scandal-scarred Queens nonprofit is getting $69,000 in taxpayer cash from City Council pols doling out member items, budget records released Monday show.  The Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation was picked for the grants as part of more than $60 million the Council is giving out to favored nonprofits in the $85.2 billion city budget set to pass later this week.  The Council’s discretionary spending adds up to $61.5 million — a $1.7 million spike since last year.  The Daily News reported the foundation — which has been represented by powerful lobbying firm Constantinople & Vallone — got $1.88 million in city contracts in the past year despite a string of criminal charges against employees, city probes and bad performance evaluations.  The group has twice been penalized for losing a child on a field trip, and is currently being investigated for payroll discrepancies and conflicts of interest.  Sports and Arts is set to receive 12 new grants, ranging from $3,000 to $10,000, from 12 different Council members, according to the budget documents.  City officials say the group has overall done good work and received good evaluations, and there are no restrictions in place on its funding.  The Shmira Civilian Volunteer Patrol of Boro Park — a civilian patrol group that had its funding frozen over ties to the NYPD corruption scandal — is also getting a new $30,000 grant from Councilman David Greenfield.  One of the group’s officers was arrested last year for allegedly bribing cops with cash and other goodies to expedite gun permit requests. Its money — including the new grant and $35,000 the Council gave the group last year — is still frozen, a spokeswoman for Mayor de Blasio said. It won’t get any money until it can demonstrate it’s a responsible vendor.  De Blasio came into office vowing to ban the Council from showering money on its pet groups, but quickly abandoned the pledge, and the discretionary spending has only grown since.  This year’s biggest winner on local initiative money was the Hispanic Federation, which got $695,500.  Next up were the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s Brooklyn Alliance, which took in $300,000, and the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, the nonprofit founded by disgraced late Assemblyman Vito Lopez, and LGBT outreach program The Door, each with $260,000.  Under a system launched three years ago, every Council member got $400,000 for local projects, with extra cash on top of that distributed based on the poverty level in their districts. Before the overhaul, the Speaker got to decide how much money each pol would get, allowing them to reward allies and punish enemies.  But Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito got the biggest pot of cash — $23 million to spread among colleagues’ districts and citywide projects.

Where Are NYC's Elected Officials Calling Out Hot Air Bill? Why is the Press Ignoring Challengers This Year to the Mayor and Other Pols Calling Out the Mayor and Others Running for Reelection?

Cuomo is finally expected to name a leader for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority this month, a key decision in determining whether the agency can turn around its deteriorating service and Cuomo may push to separate the chairman and chief executive positions into two jobs, the Times reports.  

* After demonstrators gathered outside of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Manhattan office Tuesday to pressure him to increase minority appointments to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other state boards, his spokeswoman accused the protesters of “mind-numbingly dumb personal attacks,” the Observer writes.

New Yorkers urge Mayor de Blasio to cut car trips toBrooklyn gym and work out locally (NYDN) The nonprofit Asphalt Green fitness center is located two-tenths of a mile — a mere five-minute walk — from Gracie Mansion. *

De Blasio could go to gym just blocks away without using SUV(NYP) *De Blasio: I'll Stand Up For Straphangers, Having Been One In the'90s (Gotham Gezette)

This is de Blasio's excuse for driving 12 miles to the gym
(NYP) Mayor de Blasio wants to be a man of the people — and claims he can’t do that if he’s not able to travel to Brooklyn to exercise and ­escape...* 
Mayor de Blasio’s Symbolism, Plastic-Wrapped in Arrogance  (NYDN) Most people work out close to home or the office, but Bill de Blasio says he is not most people, and deserves his 11-mile drive to the gym, climate change or not.*

Limousine liberals & all of us (NYDN) de Blasio, for whatever reason, has publicly decided to play the role of, literally, a limousine liberal. On the one hand, he insists on taking chauffeured SUV on an 11-mile trek from Gracie Mansion to his favorite YMCA in Brooklyn during the morning rush hour; at the same time, he lectures the other 8 million of us about the need to change our daily habits to be more sensitive to the environment.

De Blasio lectures on climate change, says regular12-mile SUV trek to gym 'doesn't really' matter to climate (NYDN) People need to change their habits to help combat climate change, Mayor de Blasio said — unless they’re the mayor.  Hizzoner defended his insistence on being driven 12 miles from Gracie Mansion to Park Slope YMCA Friday morning, just moments after saying people — other people, apparently — needed to change their habits of using plastic bags to help combat climate change.  “We need to get out of that bad habit and some of this is culture change and personal change,” de Blasio said about the bags, which he suggested banning outright, during his weekly radio appearance on WNYC. “Not only do we need to address climate change with things like the Paris Accord and adhering to it, everyone in their own life needs to change their own habits to start protecting the earth.”  But apparently, those rules don’t apply to the mayor — who insisted his car commute for calisthenics didn’t matter to the climate.* ‘Eco-friendly’ de Blasio won’t give up SUV rides to gym (NYP) Mayor de Blasio says all New Yorkers must change their lifestyle to curb carbon emissions — well, all except one man: Mayor de Blasio.

de Blasio "Ride the Subways I Use My Car Going to the Gym Because I Am More Equal Than You" Not Cheap Symbolism When It Comes to Broken Subways
Mayor De Blasio: Taking Mass Transit Would Be "Cheap Symbolism" (Gothimist) 

Where are the NYC Elected Officials Calling Out This Mayor Who Was Under Criminal Investigation Before Something Stopped It?
Hizzoner portrayed himself as an eco champion on Friday, announcing plans to ban plastic bags and beef up enforcement against idling vehicles, and called on all his constituents to alter their habits in light of President Trump’s withdrawal the Paris climate accord.  “Everyone in our own life needs to change our habits to start protecting the Earth,” he said in his weekly appearance on WNYC radio.  But when asked to explain why he needs a motorcade of gas-guzzling SUVs to take him from Gracie Mansion to Park Slope, Brooklyn, just to exercise at a YMCA, he didn’t have an answer — and declined to give up the habit.  “And if you need to go to the Park Slope Y five days a week rather than a gym near you, why don’t you take mass transit or even once in a while ride a bike like the vast majority of your fellow New Yorkers so you will know how we are suffering under a transit system?”  De Blasio defended his rides by noting that his SUV is a “fuel-efficient” hybrid.  The mayor is ferried to the Y by two SUVs — a regular GMC Yukon XL, which burns 16 mpg in the city, and a Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, which is only slightly more fuel efficient at 20 mpg.  De Blasio also suggested the city would start cracking down on idling cars — even though his own fleet has been caught waiting with their engines on for up to an hour outside the gym.  Komanoff, who said he voted for de Blasio in the last election, later told The Post he was “appalled” by the mayor’s “tone deaf” reply to his question.  “This is what makes the climate issue such an easy mark for the right wing,” he said. “It’s so easy to characterize this [as an issue] the elites drag out to make the common person feel bad for driving around in a pickup truck.”* What’s Keeping the Mayor From Going Green? His Gym Routine (NYT)  Ending his S.U.V. trips from Manhattan to Park Slope workouts would be “cheap symbolism,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. But he called for New Yorkers to stop using plastic bags.*  Schumer blames Amtrak, MTA bickering for tunnelrepair delays (Newsday) * Subterranean Blues:NYC Subway Breakdowns Drive Riders Nuts  New York City's subway riders are becoming increasingly frustrated by power outages, signal problems and other breakdowns. * People really, really hate NYC's sucky metro system (NYP) * Penn Station commuters file lawsuit against MTA, LIRR (NYP)

de Blasio Still Owes Big Money to His Criminal Lawyer Lobbyist But Mayor Will Not Release Details As Lobbyists Email Cover Up Continues
De Blasio debt to active City Hall lobbyists totals atleast $250G (NYDN)  Mayor de Blasio owes at least $250,000 to $499,999 to law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel — at the same time the firm is actively lobbying his administration.  Hizzoner listed an “unsecured loan” from the white-shoe firm — which represented him in campaign finance and corruption probes — in that price range for 2016 in his financial disclosure with the Conflicts of Interest Board. That wouldn't include legal costs de Blasio incurred in 2017, when the investigation was wrapped up with no charges in March.  Since January 2016 through March, Kramer Levin has lobbied the Office of the Mayor for a total of 45 clients, city records show.  Most of those clients are real estate developers seeking favorable zoning changes or lower property taxes. Several of the developers are builders of affordable housing, a key issue for the mayor.  In 2016 and through the first three months of this year, for example, Kramer Levin has pressed the mayor's office and multiple City Hall agencies on behalf of Douglaston Development. In March the city Housing Preservation & Development Department (HPD) released a list of developers "pre-qualified" to bid on HPD and Housing Authority projects. Douglaston was on that list. The mayor has repeatedly said he was not sure of the total legal bills he owes the firm, which employs his lawyer Barry Berke. But he's said he wants to establish a legal defense fund, which would allow him to raise money to pay off the bills.  That plan hit a snag when COIB issued an advisory opinion saying such donations would qualify as a gift — meaning de Blasio would be limited to $50 donations from anyone who wasn't a close friend or family member.  On Friday Phillips confirmed the mayor has yet to set up his legal defense fund. He also could not provide documentation spelling out the terms of the "unsecured loan" from Kramer Levin.

After the Election Tax Payers Will No Doubt Pay de Blaiso's Pay to Play Legal Bills

Howwill de Blasio pay his huge legal bills? (NYP) Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel has yet to see a dime for repping the mayor in state and federal corruption investigations. Disclosure forms he filed Friday show he went in the hole between $250,000 and $500,000 in 2016, and that doesn’t include the bills for the first quarter of 2017. So how does de Blasio get out of this huge personal financial hole?  His initial plan was to launch a legal defense fund so his fat-cat friends and those doing business with the city could kick in, as they did with his now-defunct Campaign for One New York. But the city Conflicts of Interest Board set a donation limit of $50 a person for the fund. At that rate, the mayor will need a whole lot of good friends.  The law firm can’t just write off the tab: That would be an illegal gift. (Though does any other client merit a legal layaway plan?) * Then again, the mayor could cover it himself, by selling one of his Brooklyn properties. He’d hardly be the first person who had to pay out of pocket for his own legal defense.  Or, as we’ve noted, he could send city taxpayers the bill. He’s legally entitled to do so — and the city is paying the tab for mayoral aides caught up in the probes. But that’s a risky move in an election year.  De Blasio seems inclined to have the City Council pass a bill legalizing a defense fund with maximum donations at $4,950, the same as in campaign committees.  Council members love the idea, since it would apply to any defense funds they might set up, too. But it’s also an end-run around those campaign-finance laws that the mayor and most of the council claim to love: It would effectively allow donors to double their gifts by kicking in to both campaign and legal funds.  Of course, the council won’t want to talk about this before Election Day. But don’t be surprised to see swift action after the polls close to legalize what would essentially be another form of pay-to-play.

Budget Passes Meaning Member Items That Incumbents Use for Reelection All Divided Up

Yes Daily News We Know the Developers are Gentrifying Harlem Old Story 
But We Want to Know More About A State Senator Given His Dem Nomination by Party Leaders Who Also Like the Senator Were Elected by 4% of the Vote

SoHa complaints: A huge distraction fromHarlem's destruction (NYDN) State Sen.-elect Brian Benjamin is also expressing righteous indignation. He’s the venture capitalist-turned-developer-turned-community board chairman-turned elected representative, after a resounding vote of 4% of registered voters. 

Tammany Hall Still Runs NYC's Political Parties in 2017
Low Voting Caused by NY’s Undemocratic Voter Suppression Election Law Has Turned Modern Party Bosses into a New Tammany Hall, Cutting the Voters Out of Elections, While Enriching the Political Party’s Shadow Government . . . The 4% Party Elections 
Our NY Democracy is Lost . . . 

In the last few weeks, news outlets have reported on Congressman Joseph Crowley using the Queens Surrogate Court as his own personal bank.  From reading the recent Crowley stories, you would never know that corruption of the Surrogate Court is not because of Boss Crowley, but is the result of the undemocratic Tammany Hall control of NY's voting caused by an election law that suppresses voter turnout.  The NYS election law does not allow early voting or election day registration good changes that will not fix NY election system. Today like never before, the political system is run by and for the political class, their lobbyists consultants and their clients developers, city contractors! For these folks it's a business or their livelihood. The Public has been cut out and they have stopped voting and running for office.  Tammany Hall Still Runs NYC's Political Parties in 2017 is the first in a series of True News investigative reports this municipal election year showing why voter suppression Tammany Hall election laws are responsible for falling voting rates and the lack of serious competition where 90% of the incumbents get reelected for city office.

Hiram Uncovers the Queens DA Cover-Up On Ferreras The Next Speaker the Fiances Director of the Council Has LIBRE Secrets

Hiram Monserrate gets a clear path back into politics (NYP) Queens City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, a front-runner to become the next speaker, has suddenly dropped her re-election run. The only contender in the race for her Corona district seat is now Hiram Monserrate, the disgraced former state senator who spent time in a federal lock-up for stealing government funds. He was also found guilty of a misdemeanor for slashing his girlfriend with a broken glass during a fight in 2008, while he was in the City Council.  The news, first reported by Politico on Thursday, sent shockwaves through the city’s political circles.  One in-the-know political player suggested it’s now likely the Queens Democratic Party would back Assemblyman Francisco Moya to run for the open seat. Ferreras-Copeland, who married two years ago and has a two-year-old son, cited family considerations for her decision. Although this was not an easy decision, this is what makes sense for my son, for my family, and for me,” she told Politico.  Insiders speculated that there had to more her decision though.  “Everybody’s thinking something else is happening here that we’re not immediately seeing,” said one insider.  Ferreras-Copeland was considered one of three top contenders to take over Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito’s post. The other two are Councilmen Corey Johnson and Mark Levine, both from Manhattan.* City Council's budget watchdog failed to stop $100G fraud - NY Daily ... *  City Council speaker race heats up as MelissaMark-Viverito’s heir apparent won’t seek reelection (NYDN) The move also creates a vacancy in the Queens Council seat — which Assemblyman Francisco Moya, who had mulled a bid before, quickly announced Thursday he would run for. He’s expected to have the support of the Queens Democratic Party.  The only other registered candidate is disgraced ex-state Sen. Hiram Monserrate — who was booted from his seat after a conviction for assaulting his girlfriend and served prison time for fraud.  Speaker hopefuls were already maneuvering Thursday to find a route where the latest shakeup might work to their advantage. The decision is still eight months off, and made in an internal election by the 51 Council members.  Ferreras-Copeland is also an ally of Mayor de Blasio, whose intervention in the speaker’s race at the beginning of 2014 helped swing the contest to Mark-Viverito. But she has an icy relationship with the Queens Democratic Party and its chairman U.S. Rep Joseph Crowley, who are often influential in choosing a speaker.

If Jimmy Breslin Was Reporting Today de Blasio Would Not Win Reelection 
It Is NYC Weak and Clueless kiddee Press That is Reelecting de Blasio and His Fake City Council
De Blasio Honors Jimmy Breslin in Name, if Not in Spirit (NYT) Keith Joyner, who works in the sign shop of the city’s Department of Transportation in Manhattan, stood on a step ladder and slid a white sheath over a new street sign honoring Jimmy Breslin, the irreverent newspaper columnist who worked for a number of New York newspapers — among them The Daily News.  Shortly after, Mr. Joyner, 57, handed a rope to Mayor Bill de Blasio on the northwest corner of East 42nd Street and Second Avenue. The mayor tugged on the sheath on Tuesday morning, unveiling the green sign bearing the name of the muckraking journalist who died in March.  Then, Mr. de Blasio posed for photographs and left without taking questions.  The disconnect of Mr. de Blasio extending his policy of holding events without taking reporters’ questions to one honoring Mr. Breslin was not lost on those at the ceremony. Several of Mr. Breslin’s family members, former colleagues and friends said the photo opportunity, near the Daily News building, would have been something the cantankerous columnist and advocate of ordinary New Yorkers would have skewered.* Not the Jimmy Breslin way (NYDN Ed)  Hizonner Bill de Blasio lost the onner somewhere on his trip to 42nd St. and Second Ave., where he christened it “Jimmy Breslin Way” Tuesday after the late, great Daily News columnist.  On that block, where this paper’s newsroom once buzzed, Breslin clacked out stunning column after stunning column celebrating the city’s working people and exposing the shallow machinations of those in power.  Admitting he barely knew the guy, de Blasio mused: “He wanted us all to be held accountable for what we did for everyday people.”  Then he introduced members of the writer’s family and a parade of local pols. And yanked a string to reveal the street sign. And posed for photos.  At which point came the inquiry from the Daily News: “Mr. Mayor, do you think Jimmy Breslin would have wanted you to take questions today?”  Or could reporters at least talk to the city employee who hung the Jimmy Breslin Way sign — a modern-day counterpart to the John F. Kennedy gravedigger Breslin legendarily interviewed?  A Department of Transportation operative complained about the lack of advance notice, demanded to pre-clear questions and, after relenting to allow a few, moved to cut off the interview.  Honoring a reporter’s push for accountability while exhibiting the arrogance of political power: A tale of two cities indeed.

HHC City Hospitals About to Blow Up and New Yorkers Will Die The City's Elected Officials Up For Re-Election Ignore Media Ignores and the Young Kiddies Reporters to Dump to Understand
New York hospitals brace for bloodbath of pink slips (NYP) Nervous municipal hospital workers are bracing for a bloody Friday as word circulates that hundreds of layoff notices are coming Friday as the huge system struggles to close a projected $1.1 billion deficit next year.* Flood of Manager Layoffs Announced at City-Run HospitalSystem (NY1)

Even the Failing NYT Says the Mayor's Blame Everyone Immature Management Style Losing Him Support From Women  
Why Have So Many Women Quit on Mayor de Blasio? (NYT) In the run-up to his election and throughout his first term as mayor, Bill de Blasio built a reputation for advancing women’s rights. He was endorsed by the National Organization for Women; held a ticker-tape parade for the United States women’s soccer squad, the city’s first for a women’s team; and won points for placing many women in high-level positions.  But now, as he seeks re-election in November, Mr. de Blasio has seen a puzzling exodus of female talent.  Thirty-one high-level officials hired by Mr. de Blasio have left City Hall since he took office in 2014. Of those, 22 were women, more than twice the number of men who left.  The gender imbalance of the departures has raised questions as to why so many women, including many who are black or Hispanic, have jumped ship on a mayor seen as welcoming to women and minorities.  Interviews with a dozen women who either have left City Hall or continue to work there pointed to several factors fueling the departures. Several of the women spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to damage relations with the mayor or other city officials. One factor mentioned repeatedly was the mayor’s management style. It can be deliberative to the point of plodding, and several people said that it had produced a high level of frustration among top officials. They said that promising projects sometimes go many months awaiting approval or simply languish, drowned in a flood of memos, indecision and political strategizing. Another factor cited by some who frequently dealt with the mayor involved his personality; he often lectures his staff during meetings in what people describe as a condescending tone, and he is known for berating or belittling subordinates in front of others or shooting off emails criticizing them in brusque terms.  Nearly everyone experiences this, the women said, but they suggested that women may have less patience.  “You’re at a point in your career where, why should you put up with the nonsense,” said one woman who left a senior job at City Hall. “If you came to make a change and to make a difference, your tolerance is going to be a lot lower than if you just came for the title.” immature 

Albany DA Elected by WFP Lobbyists, Who Has Been AWOL On Corruption Investigations Looking At IDC "Lulu" Payments 
Albany DA won’t probe controversial stipends paid to 8state senators (NYDN) While Soares won't investigate, the attorney general and U.S. Attorney reviews are still ongoing. The source did not give a reason for the decision, which came after it became public recently that the offices of the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney and the state Attorney General were already looking into the situation.* Lulus have become a byword for Albany’s political self-dealing, after news that eight senators – all members of a ruling coalition led by Republicans – had received tens of thousands of dollars in such payments for posts they did not hold, the Times writes.

The Albany DA joins a political witch hunt (NYP Ed) In a desperate bid to return one-party rule to Albany, the Working Families Party has declared all-out war on the centrist Senate Independent Democratic Conference.  And now Albany County District Attorney David Soares — whom the WFP backed in his defeat of the Democratic incumbent in 2004 — is probing the WFP-targeted IDC and Senate Republicans over the legality of so-called “lulu” payments.  It’s a very sudden interest in possible wrongdoing in the Legislature: Soares has been AWOL in probing all the corruption that has rocked Albany since he took office.Soares’ record isn’t inspiring: He was criticized by New York Civic head Henry Stern and others for bungling the 2007 investigation of then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s use of the state police in a vendetta against the Senate majority leader. In 2009, he failed to follow up on campaign-finance questions that later helped sink rogue Democratic Sen. Pedro Espada.  A member of Gov. Cuomo’s Moreland Commission, formed in July 2014 to investigate public corruption, Soares failed to follow up with his own corruption probes after the commission was disbanded — even though he had clear jurisdiction as Albany DA. That left it to US Attorney Preet Bharara to investigate and convict Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos.* In Albany, Stipends Known as ‘Lulus’ Feed a Culture of Scandal (NYT) A dust-up over the allowances implicates a culture that allows state lawmakers, who have long complained that they are underpaid, to pad their income.

When Audits are Blocked Pay to Play Grows
Removing the comptroller’s option to review construction contracts for state projects under certain economic development nonprofits was intended to expedite the process, instead it became more secretive and allowed the awarding of lucrative contracts to companies that had made significant campaign contributions, the Times Union writes.

NYP Copies True News Labeling of Queens Boss Crowley As Tammany Hall Joe 
Taking care of Clan Crowley (NYP) Tammany Hall’s fabled auditorium may be slated for demolition but Tammany-style patronage, nepotism and conflicts of interest live on in Rep. Joe Crowley’s Queens Democratic organization.  Cousins and cronies of the Queens political boss cash in at the Surrogate’s Court to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.   In Thursday’s Post, Michael Gartland reported that Crowley pushed through $10 million in federal funds for the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative — which is repped by his lobbyist brother, Sean.   Sean’s firm lobbied Joe’s House colleagues (Bronx Rep. Jose Serrano is the top Dem on a key appropriations subcommittee) and the Transportation Department.  Citizens Union Executive Director Dick Dadey notes of all this: “It’s tough to bring independent judgment to a conflict or an issue when a personal relationship exists.”  Last week, Gartland reported that Rep. Crowley has paid the teen son of his campaign treasurer more than $10,000 to handle the campaign’s birthday-card mailings. Treasurer Scott Kaufman has raked in nearly $600,000 from the Crowley campaign since 2003.   Still another Post story revealed that Crowley’s campaign rents space in the same two-story building — owned by Sean — as Kaufman’s law firm. And the building’s not even in Crowley’s district.  Whether it’s his own campaign coffers or estates supervised by a Surrogate’s Court beholden to the Queens machine, Crowley’s kin and cronies manage to cash in.  When The Post asked about the Hunts Point grant, Crowley’s people replied, “Keeping and creating jobs in The Bronx is one of Congressman Crowley’s top priorities.”  It seems keeping and creating jobs for his clan is another top priority for Boss Crowley.

Tammany Hall Still Runs NYC's Political Parties in 2017
Low Voting Caused by NY’s Undemocratic Voter Suppression Election Law Has Turned Modern Party Bosses into a New Tammany Hall, Cutting the Voters Out of Elections, While Enriching the Political Party’s Shadow Government . . . 
Our NY Democracy is Lost . . . 

In the last few weeks, news outlets have reported on Congressman Joseph Crowley using the Queens Surrogate Court as his own personal bank.  From reading the recent Crowley stories, you would never know that corruption of the Surrogate Court is not because of Boss Crowley, but is the result of the undemocratic Tammany Hall control of NY's voting caused by an election law that suppresses voter turnout.  The NYS election law does not allow early voting or election day registration good changes that will not fix NY election system. Today like never before, the political system is run by and for the political class, their lobbyists consultants and their clients developers, city contractors! For these folks it's a business or their livelihood. The Public has been cut out and they have stopped voting and running for office.  Tammany Hall Still Runs NYC's Political Parties in 2017 is the first in a series of True News investigative reports this municipal election year showing why voter suppression Tammany Hall election laws are responsible for falling voting rates and the lack of serious competition where 90% of the incumbents get reelected for city office.
Read More on Tammany Hall Still Runs NYC's PoliticalParties in 2017
The Privatization of the Tammany Hall Machine

Crowley Paying Campaign Rent to Lobbyists Brother Who Has Raked In $550,000 From the Surrogate Court the Queens Boss Controls 

Crowley Dodges Press 
Crowley dodges questions about campaign rent paid to lobbyist brother (NYP) Rep. Joseph Crowley ducked questions Thursday about 10 years worth of rent payments his campaign made to a company controlled by his lobbyist brother.  A day after The Post broke news of the arrangement, Crowley hightailed it through a side door immediately after speaking about federal policies affecting New York City at an Association for a Better New York breakfast in Midtown.  When he was approached to explain the deal, one of his staffers slammed the door on a reporter

Dem leader paying campaign rent to lobbyist brother (NYP)  Rep. Joseph Crowley, who serves as Queens Democratic leader, is ­using campaign funds to rent office space in a family-owned property outside his district, rec­ords show.  Crowley has paid at least $69,700 since 2007 to ­Killean Enterprises LLC, which is controlled by his brother, lobbyist John “Sean” Crowley.  As chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Joseph Crowley is the fourth-highest ranking member of his party in the House.  “This, without a doubt, raises red flags about conflicts of interest,” said John Kaehny, chairman of the NYC Transparency Working Group. “The rental structure that was put in place was done so on the advice of legal counsel,” Florez said.  The campaign office in Elmhurst is about 10 blocks outside Crowley’s congressional district.  But as party boss, he already has space at Queens Democratic headquarters in Forest Hills three miles from the Elmhurst office.  “It’s not physically in his district — that would be a key point,” said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center. “What he uses it for — it’s as old as politics — it’s called a slush fund. And what do you know? It goes to a family-connected entity.”  The Elmhurst address is also home to Crowley & Kaufman, the law firm of Crowley’s campaign treasurer, Scott Kaufman, an attorney who since 2006 has raked in at least $550,000 in fees via appointments from Queens Surrogate’s Court.* Crowley paid more than $10K to campaign treasurer’s son (NYP)  Joe Crowley paid out more than $10,000 to his campaign treasurer’s son — starting when the kid was only 14 years old, The Post has learned.  Jacob Kaufman, 18, started handling “birthday card mailings” for Crowley’s campaign in February 2013, several months before his 15th birthday, and continued to receive payments through March of this year, records show.  Jacob is the son of Scott Kaufman, Crowley’s longtime campaign treasurer.  The Post reported last week that Crowley is renting campaign space in the same two-story building as Scott Kaufman’s law firm, even though it’s outside Crowley’s congressional district.  The building is owned by Crowley’s brother, Sean, who has collected about $70,000 in rent since 2007.* The federal government pays private landlords so U.S. Reps. Gregory Meeks and Grace Meng can rent offices in their Queens districts, but they also rent campaign headquarters in the exact same buildings at far, far lower rates, raising ethical questions, the Observer reports.  * The Queens Machine That Turns Foreclosures Into Cash (Village Voice)  The men who run the Democratic Party in New York’s largest borough have a tasty side hustle * Crowley got $10M in funding for group represented by hisbrother (NYP) Rep. Joe Crowley helped push through $10 million in funding for a Bronx merchants association that was represented by his brother’s lobbying firm, The Post has learned.  The federal infrastructure money, which Crowley (D-Queens) and Rep. José Serrano (D-Bronx) led the effort to secure, came just months after Crowley’s brother, Sean, lobbied the House and the US Department of Trans­portation on behalf of the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative, records show.  The merchant co-op, which was awarded the federal funding in August 2013, has shelled out at least $827,000 to the lobbying firm Davidoff, Hutcher and Citron since 2009, federal and state records show.  Sean Crowley is a partner at the firm and has worked there since 2006.  “Everything about this reeks of a conflict of interest,” said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center. “The congressman was not elected to help his brother’s lobbying firm — he was elected to represent his constituents.”

Another de Blasio Failed Reform School Custodial Services
De Blasio plan failed to improve school custodial service: study (NYP) Mayor de Blasio promised to clean up school custodial services last year — but the mess is as bad as ever, according to a new report.  De Blasio handed control of custodial services to a not-for-profit organization, promising big savings and improved transparency.  But a Families for Excellent Schools study concluded that the setup is marred by the same problems as before — high costs, murky visibility and erratic management.  The charter-school backers said transitioning to New York City School Support Services has cost at least $105 million — more than 2.5 times de Blasio’s original $40 million price tag.

Blow Up Badly Managed Excess-A-Ride and Used Accessible Taxis Instead 
End Excess-A-ride by using accessible taxis instead (NYDN Ed) How else to explain how in January the MTA was ready to jack up the fare for the awful service by 9% — and it was only the day before the vote, when this column alerted Gov. Cuomo, that he intervened to keep the fare flat?  It’s time for Cuomo to intervene again to fix Access-A-Ride.  The MTA’s network of paratransit vehicles delivers 20,000 rides a day for New Yorkers with disabilities. For the staggering cost of a half-billion dollars a year — an average of $68 per ride — passengers get a quality of service that wouldn’t be acceptable in the Third World.  Reservations for rides must be made at least a day in advance. The passenger must then wait for the ride to arrive — and must wait up to 30 minutes, because with Access-A-Ride, 29 minutes late is considered on time.  Of course, it doesn’t work the other way. If a passenger is more than five minutes late, the van will leave and your account will get a chit against it. Get three or four, and you get suspended. Cancellations must be made at least two hours in advance, again, with penalties if you don’t comply.  And once you get in, be prepared for a tour of the city as other passengers get picked up and dropped off.  So those 50 hardy souls who wanted to testify about how very bad Access-A-Ride is all had to make their plans in advance and build in lots of extra time and go out and wait and drive all around, just to tell the MTA how very bad Access-A-Ride is.  MTA Chairman Freddy Ferrer, answering the outcry, replied: “I’m unhappy with Access-A-Ride too. The board doesn’t have a complete level of contentment with how we provide that service.”  True example: A few weeks ago a woman who uses a wheelchair arranged for an Access-A-Ride van to take her from her Upper West Side home to a doctor’s appointment in Midtown. The white van arrived on time, but had a flat tire.  Fortunately there was one of the 1,763 wheelchair-accessible yellow cabs right in front of her apartment building. She got in and arrived at the doctor in time.  However, instead of paying the $16 fare on the meter, she insisted on paying only the Access-A-Ride fare of $2.75 — which is set for the sake of fairness, because the service is designed to be a bus-and-subway alternative.  On Access-A-Ride, the fare would have cost the MTA, and the taxpayers, $68.  The moral of the story? The MTA was willing to pay $68 for the ride (and $68 on the return) for a ride that, in real life, only cost $16 each way.

de Blasio Shock About Parking-Placard Abuse
De Blasio’s self-serving solution to a problem he just created (NYP) Mayor de Blasio just pulled a 180 on the issue of parking-placard abuse — announcing what he called a major crackdown just a week after he massively increased the problem.  With much fanfare and many buzzwords (“tough,” “strict,” “imperative”), the mayor Wednesday unveiled a series of measures to combat fraud he says “is starting to erode faith in the integrity of government.” Missing was the most obvious and effective anti-abuse step: 

Rescinding his election-year gift to the United Federation of Teachers in the form of nearly 50,000 new placards.  Instead, de Blasio proposes to boost bureaucracy and the city payroll. He aims to create a new dedicated Department of Education unit responsible for the permits and to hire 100 new (unionized) ticket agents.  Plus, yes, stricter enforcement and tougher penalties for abusers.* Mayor de Blasio promises real penalties for driversimproperly using city placards (NYDN) * Parking payola:Mayor de Blasio hands out placards like candy (NYDN) A law of political physics says that what Mike Bloomberg denied civil servants for the greater city’s sake, Mayor de Blasio will give back.  Unions howl. Bloomberg holds firm. De Blasio caves. We’ve seen this story before with raises or seniority rules — but in an only-in-New York twist, this time the currency is free parking.  The Department of Education is printing up 50,000 windshield placards that teachers, administrators, custodians and cafeteria workers will soon use to jockey for just 10,000 street-parking spots surrounding public school buildings, fulfilling a demand from a major de Blasio backer, the United Federation of Teachers.  If the numbers of placards and parking spaces sound mismatched, and the volume of cars too many for already clogged streets, that’s because they are — which explains why Bloomberg, a decade back, in efforts to reduce driving and traffic congestion, scaled back the number of permits to roughly match the number of spaces, with each school doling them out at their discretion.  De Blasio says decisions by labor arbitrators forced his hand — and true, he’s under orders to provide placards for every administrator, food server and custodian with a car.  But instead of fighting those orders to the bitter end of the legal system — as the mayor does to, say, protect his emails from prying eyes — de Blasio and chief labor negotiator Bob Linn accepted them, necessitating an end to the rationing of placards for teachers, too.  Thereby confirming free parking forever more as a union contract entitlement, and giving de Blasio his Oprah moment with the UFT a few months before reelection primary day:  You get a car (placard)! And you get a car (placard)! And you get a car (placard)!  To refocus these bad optics, de Blasio now couples the new permits with a welcome plan to crack down on placard-enabled lawlessness by city government workers and drivers pretending to be.  The new teachers’ permits, unlike the old ones, will specify one and only one valid location — with loss of privileges a penalty for misuse. The NYPD, awkwardly both the main enforcer and widespread abuser of private vehicle placards, commits to cracking down on its own ranks.  He’s also hiring a hundred new enforcers he says will pay for themselves, with technology coming soon to catch scofflaws with a quick scan.  That’s nice — but some discipline in labor relations would have been even better.

de Blasio's Fink Get A Pay Raise for A Lot of Dirty Pay to Play Business
De Blasio aide tied to questionable campaign donorsreceives fat raise and promotion (NYDN) As investigators probed questionable contributions to Mayor de Blasio, a City Hall staffer linked to the donors under scrutiny got a promotion and two raises, the Daily News has learned.  Avi Fink was promoted to deputy chief of staff and got a raise from $123,483 to $160,000 in October, city records show. Another raise, on the order of $15,000, came March 1, records show.  Fink, 31, has repeatedly been linked to questionable campaign donors.  The list of alleged rogues includes businessmen Jeremy Reichberg, 43, and Jona Rechnitz, 33, who each raised thousands in campaign cash for de Blasio.  Fink, the mayor's liaison to the Jewish community, played a central role in introducing the mayor to the pair, who served on Hizzoner's inauguration committee, according to multiple sources.  Reichberg was charged last June with bribing a group of NYPD officers and keeping them as "cops on call" to assist with a host of personal issues. The bribes allegedly covered pricey meals and prostitutes.  The Borough Park bigwig has pleaded not guilty. An elected official and a political consultant familiar with Fink's community criticized him for doing nothing to warn de Blasio to stay away from Reichberg, who played up his wealth despite no obvious source of income.  Fink also played a major part in connecting the mayor to Yitzchok (Isaac) Sofer, according to multiple sources. Sofer, a prominent Hasidic leader with ties to the Central United Talmudic Academy, hosted a de Blasio fund-raiser shortly before the September 2013 primary, records show. The academy has lobbied city agencies to grant favorable zoning changes and building permits, according to multiple sources.  Sofer was also a driving force behind a failed policy the mayor championed in an effort to prevent rabbis from infecting babies with herpes during a controversial circumcision ritual called metzizah b'peh.  The 2013 fund-raiser did not come under investigation. But Sofer was charged last December with lying about his income to obtain $30,000 in food stamps over four years, according to a federal criminal complaint. The case is pending. Fink, who declined an interview request, was questioned by authorities investigating the scandalous Rivington House deal that enabled a Lower East Side nursing home to be flipped and redeveloped as luxury condos. Fink admitted he "took a meeting" with Landau, the co-founder of the Allure Group, in City Hall in 2014.  But he told investigators from the city controller's office that he "didn't have a great recollection of it."  The City Hall staffer and more than 30 of his colleagues have maintained that they were unaware that lifting a deed restriction on the former AIDS nursing home would generate a $72 million profit for the donor.

Glenwood Covered Up $700,000 to Pols But JCOPE Gave No Fines?
The state Joint Commission on Public Ethics has reached a settlement with nonprofit lobbying group Pledge 2 Protect that is expected to require the group to disclose that real estate giant Glenwood Management gave it nearly $700,000 in previously shielded donations, the Times Union writes.

Now the NYCHA Will Blame Its Mismanagement, Lack of Repairs, Budget Gap on Trump

Trump’s budget proposal would cost NYCHA tenants dearlyas it simultaneously cuts public housing funds (NYDN)  The budget plan unveiled Tuesday by President Trump is even tougher on New York public housing tenants than originally thought.  The plan not only would cut up to $340 million from the Housing Authority’s already teetering budget, it would also make tenants pay more.  For the first time since 1981, the U.S. Housing & Urban Development Department proposed raising the amount of income tenants must pay toward rent from 30% to 35%.   Some tenants predicted the hike — which needs congressional approval — would have a devastating effect on their already tenuous ability to pay their bills.* The federal budget plan unveiled Tuesday by Trump would cut up to $340 million from the New York City Housing Authority’s already teetering budget, and would raise the amount of income tenants must pay toward rent, the Daily News writes. * NYCHA wants private developers to help convert 1,700apartments into Section 8 housing(NY1)

Will Flanagan Take Control of the Schools Away From the Mayor? Majority Leader Says He Wants to Know How City Spends State Money BUT Fight Over Charter Schools 
Fight over mayoral control over NYC schools is heating up (NYP) The fight over extending mayoral control of New York City schools is heating up with state Sen. Majority Leader John Flanagan said he can’t consider the issue until he knows how the city spends $9 billion in state funds.  The Republican leader sent a letter to de Blasio on Monday, claiming the city has failed to meet a state requirement by filling out a form that shows, building by building, how schools spend local, state and federal tax dollars.  The city has sent several reports but not filled out one mandated by state law and provided by the state Division of Budget, said Flanagan, R-Long Island.  “A fundamental shortcoming of this administration has been a lack of transparency and response to requests for information,” the letter states. “The lack of detail on how New York City spends almost $9 billion provided to it by the state has been one of the key determining factors in a short-term extension of mayoral control.” The letter says that one of the chief reasons for mayoral control is to hold one person accountable for the schools. It also demands that the state reports be filled out in the format dictated by the state — before Flanagan will consider extending mayoral control.  Control is set to expire next month.* The charter school network Success Academy said it will transform the historic South Bronx building known to many as the Old Bronx Borough Courthouse into its first high school in the borough, The Wall Street Journal writes.

The Senate in the End Will OK a One Year Extension Because Nobody Wants to Handle the NYC Schools Hot Mess System
NewYork State lawmakers clash over extending mayoral control of schools (NYDN)   Although Flanagan and other Republican senators have said they support the concept of mayoral control they have questioned de Blasio’s stewardship of the system and balked at granting anything more than a one-year extension of the law. Flanagan has also argued recently that any extension of mayoral control should be linked to an expansion of charter schools — a linkage rejected by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx).

Daily News Supports Constitution Convention to Fix Albany Corruption Restore Democracy Leaders and Special Interests Move to Block

Fix this government and vote this fall for a Constitutional Convention (NYDN Ed)  The surest sign New York voters should approve a state Constitutional Convention in the once-every-two-decades opportunity coming this November is the caterwauling against the con con among the power players in Albany’s Legislature.  A threat to the rights New Yorkers hold dear, frets Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.  A gazillon-dollar boondoggle, projects Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan.  An open invitation “in this dangerous era of Trump” for “powerful corporate interests” to wreak havoc, warns Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.  The lady — and gentlemen — doth protest too much.  The singular truth, and at the root of their fears, is that Election Day referenda will enable citizens to clean up New York’s rotten system of government, in ways highly inconvenient to the power of legislative leaders and the special interests that butter their English muffins. New York’s Constitution, older than our nation’s, reaches at once toward powerfully high aspirations and low bogs of muck.  They would then put the results before the people for approval, a step that should put to rest any fears in this majority-Democratic state that a runaway convention would strip cherished protections for union organizing or welfare benefits.  Gov. Cuomo, almost alone among Albany leaders, has voiced his support, in echo of his father’s failed effort to get a convention called the last time New York had a shot, in 1997.  The words this Editorial Board wrote in support of a con con back then hold, to the letter, today, their resonance over time only underlining the necessity of finally fixing festering flaws:  “The state’s government is a scandalous embarrassment. It is tilted to keep incumbents in power, to please special interests and to thwart reform. It is a system that, even on its good days, is maddeningly dysfunctional.”  At a moment of pervasive political cynicism and a hopelessness that government can get much good done, New York has a chance to renew itself for the sake of future generations.  Take it.
UFTVerified account @UFT  A constitutional convention is a politicians' convention. New Yorkers should vote NO in November!

Newsday to End NY's Voter Suppression Vote for A Constitutional Constitutional Convention in Nov.  Dem Senate Leader Stewart-Cousins Against Convention 
If state lawmakers refuse to make it easier to cast ballots and to run for office in New York, the re-energized public can get it done on its own – by voting in November for a constitutional convention, Newsday writes.   * Democratic lawmaker warns against convention to change N.Y. constitution (NYDN) State Senate Democratic Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins is the latest state leader opposing a push for a convention to make changes to the state constitution.  “While the intent of one may be good, the reality is much different,” Stewart-Cousins told the Daily News Monday. “In this dangerous era of Trump there is a concern that powerful corporate interests will try, and possibly succeed, in making fundamental changes to our State Constitution that are antithetical to our New York values.”  The Yonkers Democrat is the latest legislative leader to oppose the measure. Only Assembly GOP Minority Leader Brian Kolb backs a constitutional convention.  Every 20 years, including this year, New Yorkers are asked to vote in a public referendum whether to hold a constitutional convention.  The head of the state AFL-CIO, fearing potential anti-worker changes could be adopted, has said he is “adamantly” against a constitutional convention while a number of government reform groups support the idea as the best way to get needed ethics and other changes enacted.  Gov. Cuomo recently told the Daily News Editorial Board that he supports the idea in concept but fears it would be controlled by special interests groups.  Democratic activist and Effective New York founder Bill Samuels, who is funding an effort in support of a convention, recently called on Cuomo to take a position on the issue “without any equivocation.”

What A Constitutional Convention Can Fix 
Among the high points: a guarantee that the Adirondack Park will “be forever kept wild” and, as of 1938, assertions that promoting public health, educating all kids and aiding the needy are the government’s obligation.  But our state Constitution also lies at the root of some unacceptable failings, among them:
A byzantine court system, with a preposterous 11 different tiers in some places and 13 different levels in other areas. All those patronage jobs cost the state dearly while complicating the delivery of justice.
Voter registration restrictions that give New York one of the lowest rates of election turnout in the nation, prohibiting same-day registration an mail-in voting.
l The power of state lawmakers to gerrymander districts to preserve their own perches, and to ultimately control their own ethics reviews.
Delegates to a convention — who would run for election in 2018 if voters do the right thing and say yes this Nov. 7 — could consider solutions to any of the above plagues and much more.

When the Going Gets Tough at the MTA, Andrew CuomoDisappears via @StreetsblogNYC

Cuomo Does Not Take A Genius to Replace An Ancient Signal System and Aging Fleet Cars
MTA will pay you $1M to fix the subways (NYP) Less than a week after the MTA announced its six-point plan to fix rampant delays in the subway system, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is telling the agency to look elsewhere for better ideas.  Cuomo told the MTA to hold a “Genius Award” contest to find the best ideas on how to overcome the seemingly unfixable subway problems of the ancient signal system, the aging fleet of cars, and the lack of cellular and wi-fi connections on trains and in tunnels.
MTA Covers Their Ass on Subway Delays as City and State Leaders According to the Times Hide From Commenting on Bad Service 

Service disruptions on New York City’s subways have escalated from a frequent annoyance to what advocates have deemed a crisis, but with two weeks left before state lawmakers break for the summer, solutions are not on anyone’s agenda, Politico New York reports.

How Did the Subway Get So Bad? Look to the C Train (NYT)  The story of the old train cars — far past their prime at 53 — exemplifies the political and financial obstacles that have the system on the verge of collapse.
‘Money Out of Your Pocket’: New Yorkers Tell of Subway Delay Woes (NYT)  The economic toll of increasing mass transit disruptions is difficult to calculate but clearly huge, as are straphangers’ frustrations. * Why Is Subway Service in New York Getting Worse? (NYT)
* New York City mayors have long been taking heat, and sometimes credit, for the quality of the subways, but transit advocates and elected officials are now seeking to inform riders of Cuomo’s influence, as he has more sway over the aging system, The Wall Street Journal reports.  * Cuomo wants to be lauded as the infrastructure governor without paying the fare and when it comes to New York’s most critical infrastructure, the subway system, Cuomo hasn’t figured out one rather important part: how to pay for it, Manhattan Institute’s Nicole Gelinas writes in the Post. * Subway riders live out every commuter’s worst nightmare (NYP)

Cuomo Takes Responsibility for Fixing New York City’s Transit Problems (NYT) Recognizing the looming track repairs at Pennsylvania Station as a potential crisis, the governor calls for a plan that’s on par with the response to Hurricane Sandy.* Cuomo in control: The governor takes responsibility forfixing the subways — and Penn Station (NYDN) * M.T.A. Adds Funding for Expansion Projects Rather Than Subway Fixes (NYT) * MTA criticized for adding $1.6 billion in debt for Cuomoprojects (AMNY) * Cuomo And De Blasio Are Ushering In The Bad Old Days OfSubway Mayhem (Village Voice)

MTA's battle plan won't fix your dreadful commute for months (NYP)
The MTA thinks this 6-part plan will fix your terrible commute (NYP)  The MTA on Monday revealed a battle plan to combat chronic subway delays that have Big Apple commuters close to their breaking point.  The multi-point strategy includes increased testing of tracks and signals, placing emergency personnel around the system to get to distressed passengers more quickly and putting additional cars into service faster, officials said.  The $20 million extreme measures are necessary because the usual pace of work is not enough to fix the issues, MTA interim Executive Director Ronnie Hakim admitted.* As Subway Riders Fume, City and State Leaders Are Mostly Mum (NYT) * Frustrated by Subway Delays? How the M.T.A. Plans to Improve Commutes (NYT) * * The Daily News offers Gov. Andrew Cuomo quick fixes for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, like keeping chairman and CEO as one position, moving sick passengers off trains, running more trains and push the Move New York congestion pricing plan.* Tired of New York’s Subways? Blame Andrew Cuomo (NYT)  * Following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s letter to President Donald Trump, a bipartisan coalition of New York’s House delegation released a statement urging the federal government to take action and alleviate delays at New York Penn Station, State of Politics reports. * No ‘Fairy Godmother’ for the Subway: When $100 Billion Isn’t Enough (NYT) Despite years of investment and steady improvements, the century-old system may require more than current budgets allow to keep up with its needs.* Tired of New York’s Subways? Blame Andrew Cuomo (NYT) The governor runs the city’s transit system. He needs to fix it.* Amtrak won’t cede control of Penn Station to Port Authority (NYP) * Queens residents sue MTA over toxic lead paint (NYP) * Rain this past week caused puddles and slick floors near the balconies and elevators on both sides of the $4 billion World Trade Center transit hub, and the problem is considered chronic, though Port Authority officials deny there is a problem, the Post reports.

FDR car that Cuomo drove over Kosciuczko as a stunt is same vintage as subway signals millions still rely on today

Cuomo Drives Old-Timey Car Across Brand New Bridge WhileSticking NYers With Old-Timey Transit System  (Street Blog) The governor’s Twitter feed was wall-to-wall Kosciuszko beginning Wednesday night, ahead of a light and music show — another Cuomo production — broadcast live online when the bridge officially opened to traffic not long before midnight yesterday.  The coup de grace of the daytime festivities: Cuomo motoring across the bridge, alone, in a 1932 Packard once owned by Franklin D. Roosevelt. As it happens, FDR’s car is the same vintage as many components in the signal system of the New York City subway.  The difference is that the signal system isn’t a museum piece that Cuomo can commandeer for a day — it’s real equipment that keeps millions of people moving on a 24/7 rail system. Equipment made from parts that ceased to be manufactured long ago, which the MTA now refurbishes in-house. Equipment that leads to a staggering number of subway delays. Equipment that was superseded by modern technology decades ago.  The MTA awarded the first contract to upgrade the signal system in 1999. The potential to improve the capacity and reliability of the subways is huge, but today only one subway line has modern signals. What has Cuomo done to accelerate the replacement of this key system?  At a time when severe transit delays have become an everyday fact of life for New Yorkers — with multiple incidents in the past week alone * Brooklyn subway station literally crumbles as systemmishaps spark citywide commute delays (NYDN) * Mayor de Blasio places blame for subway mayhem on Gov.Cuomo (NYDN) * Following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s letter to President Donald Trump, a bipartisan coalition of New York’s House delegation released a statement urging the federal government to take action and alleviate delays at New York Penn Station, State of Politics reports. * * Six weeks before Amtrak’s track work at New York Penn Station is set to start, Cuomo has waded into the mess and positioned himself as the fixer, but to pull off this rescue, he needs a strong follow-through, Newsday writes.  * Cuomo doesn’t merit all the blame for years of neglected maintenance now “coming home to roost” at New York Penn Station, but it shouldn’t have taken more than six years to get him to notice, the Post writes.

The MTA Created in 1968 Gave the Opportunity to the Pols to Avoid Blame on Bad Subway Service
Key to Improving Subway Service in New York? Modern Signal (NYT) * Get the MTA on track, gov  (NYDN Ed) * Looking at Who's Actually in Charge of City Subways (NY1) * Cuomo tries to disown the MTA (NYP Ed) * De Blasio claims it's Cuomo's job to fix the subway (NYP) *Angry About Subway Delays? De Blasio Says Blame Cuomo, and Vice Versa (NYT) On a day with more significant subway delays, Mayor Bill de Blasio lashed out at Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in an interview, saying the state, which oversees the system, is at fault for its problems. * Why Does New York State Control the Subway? That’s the 20-Cent Question (NYT) * Only Thing Worse than the Subway? Not Being Able to Ride It (NYP)

According to the NYT the Subway Buck 75 Never Stops At de Blasio's Desk
De Blasio Says Stick to Subway (but Don’t Blame Him if You Run Late) (NYT)  The mayor said the biggest impediment to getting around was the city’s roads and blamed the state for continued problems with the subway system.
More on the MTA Waste, Fare Increases and Delays 

Should Those Lobbyists, Political Consultants, NY1, the Daily News Apologize to New Yorkers for Using A Very Sick Weiner?

DiNapoli Who Got Away With the Lopez Silver Hush Fund Payments Exposed By Cuomo Cutting Controversial Senate Stipends Checks 
Cuomo criticizes DiNapoli over controversial Senatestipends (NYP) Cuomo put state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli on the hot seat Thursday over the state Senate’s controversial practice of paying out stipends to lawmakers for leadership positions they don’t hold.  Cuomo said the state comptroller reviews the Legislature’s payroll submissions and determines whether to cut the checks.  “He either did it legally or illegally. I’m assuming his position is it’s legal. But it’s either legal or not legal,” Cuomo told reporters following a housing event in Manhattan. * DiNapolicooperating with probe of controversial stipends (NYP) State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office is cooperating with a law enforcement probe of the state Senate’s controversial practice of paying out stipends to lawmakers for leadership posts they don’t hold, it was revealed Thursday night.  A law enforcement agency contacted DiNapoli’s office about the questionable payments of stipends or lulus, the New York Times reported. It was unclear whether the inquiry was being conducted by federal or state authorities.  Earlier Thursday, Gov. Cuomo questioned DiNapoli’s role in approving the stipends, since his office reviews the documents and cuts the checks. He questioned whether the comptroller condoned illegal activity.  But DiNapoli spokeswoman Freeman said, “The comptroller’s office is not a court of law. This issue needs to be decided by the Senate itself or the legal system.” * Senate Republicans promise to comply with any probes intostipends improperly paid out to lawmakers (NYDN)

2017 Mayoral Candidate Update

Mayoral candidate slams rival for missing Celebrate Israel Parade  (NYP) Just days after saying he’d skip the Puerto Rican Day Parade for political reasons, Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey missed the Celebrate Israel Parade on Sunday for personal ones —...*
Conservative Party endorses Nicole Malliotakis for mayor (NYP)  * New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has a big lead over challengers in this fall’s election and his job approval rating has risen to 60 percent, its highest since taking office, a new Quinnipiac University poll showed, The Wall Street Journal reports.  * GOP Mayoral Primary Appears To Be Massey Versus Malliotakis (Gothamist) * Open Letter to Rupert Murdoch from NYC Mayoral CandidateBo Dietl * Senatorswho skip out on meetings rake in thousands in stipends (NYP) * Mayoral candidate vows to ‘take out’ de Blasio (NYP) The Staten Island legislator derided de Blasio for his handling of Rikers Island and the city’s homeless crisis and called for an investigation into city education spending. She criticized de Blasio on school choice, charging he’s allowed too many parochial schools to shut down and hasn’t done enough to help bring in new charter schools.  Malliotakis, a Republican who’s district also includes part of Brooklyn, also said Hizzoner’s plans to close Rikers and replace it with jails throughout the city, as well as a plan to build new homeless shelters, are losing propositions because of the opposition they’ll face from average New Yorkers * Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican candidate for New York City mayor, took an opportunity last night to portray her main primary opponent Paul Massey Jr. as rich and out of touch, Politico New York writes.Seeking Republican Nod for Mayor, an Assemblywoman Moderates Her Image (NYT) Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis is positioning herself as an antithesis to Mayor Bill de Blasio, even as she tries to distance herself from President Trump.* Bo Dietl can’t even vote for himself in upcoming primaries (NYP) Long-shot mayoral candidate Bo Dietl can’t even vote for himself in the city’s primaries in September, after a judge found he failed to properly register for either party.

More on Campaign 2017        

From The Alliance for a Human Scale City:
Data Shows Real Estate Industry Dominates the Mayor’s Reelection Campaign . . . What does it get back?

May 16, 2017- If you heard that Big Real Estate is ignoring de Blasio’s re-election campaign, you heard wrong. Our new research shows that of the total amount of money de Blasio has raised so far from donors of any size, more than half, 54%, is from the real estate industry.  Equally troubling are our findings that 86% of Mayor de Blasio’s reelection money comes from big donors and that 62% of the money in that ‘big donor pot’ comes from the real estate industry as well. It means that Big Real Estate is drowning out all other lobbies in this city and the rules that allow this need changing.  We defined big donors as those who gave more than $400: that is the maximum contribution allowed for those “not doing business with the City” and an amount well above the $175 maximum contribution that is eligible for public matching funds. Our definition makes sense.  We then ask: what is the real estate industry getting for their money? We found that there are big donors who are also big developers who will benefit hugely from the Midtown East Rezoning now under public review (eg: Rudin Management, Fisher Brothers, Witkoff, Inc.). How many others big donors are benefiting from other large projects such as the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) or the rezonings of the Bronx and East Harlem? Clearly, it is time to re-open a new line of investigation in the pay-to-play problem.  This graphic story of who is financing the Mayor’s re-election is attached. If you would like a copy of our short report summarizing our research, please contact us.

After the Investigation End With Bharara Firing and NY DA Whatever Same Day The Special Interest Money Coming Back to the Mayor 
Campaign finance records show New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio raised $663,000 from more than 2,200 donors, which marks the first time he raised more than his best-funded Republican challenger, Paul Massey Jr., the Times reports.

Post Editorial City Hall For Sale  
The ‘stunning’ proof that de Blasio’s City Hall is for sale (NYP) The Post’s Rich Calder just made it blindingly clear why Mayor de Blasio is having so much trouble compiling that long-promised list of the “stunning number” of his campaign donors who’ve gotten no special favors from City Hall.  The “stunning number” is how many did get repaid.  As Calder reported Monday, at least 67 of the 102 bundlers for de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign reaped various political rewards from City Hall.  That’s fully two-thirds — and those who didn’t manage to snag a favor mostly were responsible for donations of $10,000 or less.  The big-bucks bundlers, on the other hand — who raised up to $236,425 for de Blasio”s mayoral run — wound up with something to show for it far beyond the joy of backing a winning candidate.  Some of those bundlers wound up with appointments to various political committees, like lawyer Jay Eisenhofer and Broadway Stages CEO Gina Argento, whose husband has charged she was pressured to donate and raise money.  But four of de Blasio’s top 10 bundlers were lobbyists and advocates for the taxi industry and got private sitdowns from the new mayor, who then pushed a crackdown on Uber and other app-based ride-hail companies that compete with yellow cabs.  Another was the mayor’s cousin, the co-founder of a hotel-workers union that has been aided by a similar de Blasio crackdown on Airbnb apartment rentals.  Yet another big bundler, Charles Hocking, got the most obvious favor: $146 million in city contracts for his engineering firm since de Blasio took office.  None of this comes as any surprise. It’s been obvious since Day One that donors and power-brokers like the mayor’s “agents of the city” call the shots at City Hall.  Which is why Manhattan DA Cy Vance, in declining to bring criminal charges over the mayor’s fund-raising, said some of his actions violate “the intent and spirit” of the law.  And why that op-ed piece the mayor promised listing his unrewarded donors is likely to be a very short one — if we ever see it at all.

de Blasio "Bundler" Get Special Treatment and No List of Donors Who Got No Favors
De Blasio's biggest 'bundlers' got special political treatment (NYP) de Blasio has long claimed he didn’t dole out favors to his top donors — but financial records from his 2013 campaign show otherwise.  Nearly two-thirds of the “bundlers” who raised more than $1.5 million to help put de Blasio in office later got special treatment from City Hall, a Post analysis shows.  The list includes 23 big-bucks donors who got appointed to municipal boards and committees, eight developers who benefited from government actions or policy changes, six political allies put on the city payroll and five business owners who scored lucrative contracts.  In all, 67 of de Blasio’s 102 bundlers reaped rewards after pouring cash into his political war chest or raising money for his transition effort and inauguration ceremonies, records show.  Meanwhile, the 35 who don’t appear to have gotten official favors mostly contributed $10,000 or less each — and include at least five people who have had run-ins with the law.Four of de Blasio’s top 10 bundlers in 2013 were lobbyists or advocates for the taxi industry, records show.  The top donor, taxi-industry lobbyist Michael Woloz, showered de Blasio with $236,415 — then got private meetings with the mayor and a City Hall plan to limit the expansion of Uber and other app-based, ride-hailing companies.  De Blasio abandoned the plan in January 2016, but earlier this year the Taxi and Limousine Commission imposed a regulation forcing the businesses to turn over trip data so the city can track tired drivers. The husband of the mayor’s No. 2 bundler, Broadway Stages CEO Gina Argento, claimed in February that she was pressured into donating, saying she feared her film and TV production company would be denied permits to film on city streets. De Blasio has denied the accusation.  De Blasio’s cousin, John Wilhelm, was his No. 3 bundler, and the UNITE HERE hotel-workers union he co-founded benefited from the mayor’s crackdown on illegal apartment rentals through Airbnb.  The No. 4 bundler, lawyer Jay Eisenhofer, was appointed to several committees controlled by the mayor, as was bundler and lawyer Richard Emery, who was made chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board.  Emery quit that post last year, a day after the CCRB’s executive director filed a suit alleging that Emery called her and a colleague “pussies.” Emery had made more than $140,000 over two years on the part-time job.   Charles Hocking, de Blasio’s No. 7 bundler, has seen his engineering consulting firm, Hazen and Sawyer, score more than $146 million in city contracts since the mayor took office.  The No. 10 bundler, Anthony Bonomo, got a private meeting with de Blasio and was appointed to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, a nonprofit that last year doled out more than $27 million raised from major corporations and charitable foundations.  Bonomo, who was a star government witness against corrupt former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, was largely sidelined as CEO of Physicians’ Reciprocal Insurers, the state’s second-largest malpractice insurer, according to a January report by the Albany Times Union.

de Blasio "Bundler" Include Silver's Glenwood and Federal Rat Rechnitz  
Several of de Blasio's 'bundlers' have had sketchydealings (NYP)  de Blasio’s 2013 bundlers included a real-estate executive who cut a deal to testify against crooked ex-pols Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos — and another poised to take the witness stand in the NYPD corruption scandal.  Charles Dorego of Glenwood Management raised $9,000 for the mayor, while developer Jona Rechnitz got a seat on de Blasio’s inauguration committee after bundling $44,650 for him and donating another $50,000 to Hizzoner’s now-defunct nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York.  Another bundler, Brooklyn auto dealer John Giuffre, was ordered to pay more than $500,000 in fines and restitution after being accused of “persistent fraudulent, deceptive and illegal business” by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.  Records show de Blasio returned the money raised by Chatwal. He has pledged to return money tied to Rechnitz.
Albany Will Not Pass New Ethics Laws in Spite of the Dirt Exposed in the Silver and Skelos Trials 

How do Reform Clubs Back Mayor Who Never Produces A Promise List of Donors and Supports Who Got No Favors?
Nearly a year ago, the mayor pledged to identify the “stunning numbers of donors and supporters” who got nothing for their money, but he never produced any names.   And last month, the mayor walked back that promise and instead said he would “give examples,” possibly “in the form of an op-ed” column that has yet to appear in print.

We are Having A Mayoral Election and Our Pols and Media Are Not Talking About the City's Hospitals Debt 
Our flatlining hospitals require emergency care by deBlasio (NYDN Ed) The red-raw math of keeping the city’s public hospitals open comes down to this: The money brought in by patients and their insurance, if they have it, amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars less than their care costs each year — a gap yawning toward $1.8 billion in 2020.  If you prefer metaphors of the medical variety, this patient — 11 public hospitals and network of clinics — is on the table in the ER, hemorrhaging red ink. And only now, after hours of all-too-timid interventions by Mayor de Blasio, is a physician in the room prepared to operate.  He is interim Health + Hospitals president and private hospital veteran Stanley Brezenoff, and he is scrambling to make up for precious time squandered through half-measure mayoral reforms.  Having already pink-slipped 73 of the 46,000-employee workforce, he anticipates downsizing now by hundreds more.

With All the Corruption de Blasio's Mismanagement and Commissioners Who Failed are Overlooked 
Ponteis only the latest de Blasio hire to leave a failure (NYP) If Friday’s “retirement” of Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte seemed familiar, it’s because it follows the unceremonious exits of so many other of Mayor de Blasio’s hires.  Homeless Services Commissioner Gilbert Taylor; Department of Citywide Administrative Services chief Stacey Cumberbatch; Administration for Children’s Services boss Gladys Carríon — all forced out after notorious failures.Namely: out-of-control homelessness, the OK’ing of that notorious Rivington Street nursing-home flip and massive mismanagement linked to a series of deaths of young children.  Which agency will next stand revealed as horribly mismanaged — the Housing Authority? Deadly elevators, toxic mold, Legionnaires’ disease and years-long repair backlogs plague NYCHA tenants as agency management struggles to get its act together.Or Health and Hospitals? Dr. Ramanathan Raju left as head there last November. The 11-hospital system has a $776 million operating loss, faces a projected $1.1 billion deficit in 2020 — and 600 layoffs reportedly loom.  The Post documented that Raju in less than three years took 52 out-of-state trips for all or part of 78 workdays. City taxpayers forked out $15,196 for 20 of those trips.  Ponte’s fall was prompted by his own extensive travels, in his case with improper use of city-owned vehicles. But it’s also true that violence rose at Rikers on his watch.  Yet the mayor defended Ponte for two weeks after his indefensible abuses hit the news, just as he had earlier denied the failures of Taylor and Carríon.  And of course he stands by Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, despite the poor results of the Renewal Schools program.  Nor does de Blasio ever admit that the failures of so many of his top managers reflect on him. Far from it: As Ponte announced his “retirement” Friday, the mayor was in Connecticut, picking up his son at Yale.  Ironically, the mayor always (quite legally) heads up there in a city-owned vehicle.

Why Did It Take So Long Ponte Gone de Blasio Still Supports Times: Mismanagement and Dysfunction at A City Agency (Another?)
Amid Eavesdropping Accusations, City Jails Agency Official Is Fired (NYT) * Gregory Kuczinski, New York City Correction Department’s top internal affairs officer, was quietly fired this week, which comes after he was accused of eavesdropping on calls between investigators and informers on Rikers Island, the Times reports.  * New York City Jails Take Another Blow: Respected Official Is Retiring (NYT)The Correction Department, which is still reeling from a series of scandals, is losing its top uniformed official, Martin Murphy.
EmbattledDOC Commissioner Joseph Ponte retires (NYP) Departing City Jails Chief: ‘They Just Want to Hammer Somebody Forever’ (NYT) * De Blasio concedes that correction boss Ponte ‘retired’as DOI probes the 35 work days he spent at Maine home (NYDN) * The island of Mr. de Blasio (NYDN Ed) Over the vocal protests of a mayor who believed his appointee to run the city’s violence-racked jails could do no wrong, Joe Ponte, the city’s correction commissioner, has resigned.  We say good riddance to him — and, to Mayor de Blasio, wise up.  The final straw for Ponte was an ethical one. He got caught spending months of last year hundreds of miles away in Maine, shuttled there and back at city expense, on the city clock, in his city-issued SUV, while mayhem overtook Rikers Island.  But Ponte had committed fireable offenses long before, ones that grew not out of incompetent management but out of pie-in-the-sky policy reforms de Blasio championed.  But by ordering up through the Board of Correction a rapid end to solitary for all inmates under age 22 — a group known to commit violence far more than any other — de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito replaced one human rights nightmare with another.  Now that jailhouse predators know that consequences will be little to none, inmates are twice as likely as they were before to attack other inmates — and twice as likely to victimize correction officers.  Even with a hiring spree expanding guards to a number greater than inmates, and elaborate efforts to house gang members far from one another and fill young inmates’ days with uplifting programs, slashings and stabbings committed with smuggled weapons have spiked.
Embattled jail chief Joe Ponte to announce resignation (NYP) Embattled Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte is stepping down amid an ongoing scandal over his improper use of a taxpayer-funded city vehicle, sources said.  Ponte, despite steadfast support from Mayor de Blasio, will announce his resignation Friday — while de Blasio is out of town in Connecticut, sources said.  De Blasio had defended him, saying: “I think people are missing the forest through the trees. Joe Ponte has made a mistake. He’s acknowledged it; he’s paying back for the mileage. I am convinced he did not do anything wrong.* Joseph Ponte, who was appointed to end the chaos at Rikers Island, is expected to step down as New York City correction commissioner Friday amid a swirl of revelations about mismanagement and dysfunction at the city agency, The New York Times reports.* De Blasio says he's heard enough about correction commissioner's city car use as he compares issue to Hillary’s emails (NYDN) de Blasio continued his defense of Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte a day after Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito called on him to step down — bizarrely comparing the freewheeling commissioner’s misuse of a city car to Hillary Clinton’s private email server.  “All people want to talk about is the God-forsaken cars,” de Blasio vented to WNYC’s Brian Lehrer on Thursday. “I feel like when Bernie Sanders said in that debate, ‘Enough with the damn emails!’ The car isn’t the issue — the issue is has he made our correction system better?”  De Blasio argued that more important than Ponte “accidentally” using the car for personal business were the commissioner’s results — insisting Ponte had reduced violence “in a host of ways.But the department’s stabbing and slashing statistics tell a different story. There have been 44 slashings and stabbings through March this year, up from 36 for the same period last year. For the fiscal year, from July 2016 through March of 2017, there have been 133 stabbings and slashings, up from 101 for the same period in fiscal 2016.  Asked about rising violence at Rikers at an unrelated Brooklyn press conference later that afternoon, de Blasio, now in his fourth year in office, blamed his predecessor.*A Closer Look at Violence at Rikers Island Under Joe Ponte  (NY1) Mayor Bill de Blasio has said his embattled correction commissioner, Joseph Ponte, has made Rikers island safer, but some data tell a different story.

Fake News Mayor to Speak About Fake News? What About: Ponte, Homeless, ACS, Special Agent Emails, Lawyer Lobbyists, Riverton Deed, No News Conferences, NYCLASS PAC, CONY PAC, Grade Inflation, No Building on NYCHA Property
De Blasio may be the city’s top expert in faking news (NYP)  Mayor de Blasio will speak next month at a conference titled “ ‘You Are Fake News’: Truth, Lies, Politics in the Age of Trump.” He’s certainly an expert at denouncing news he doesn’t want to hear — and at faking news of his own.  The whole thing should be bizarre. The sponsors are Buzzfeed and The Intercept.  Buzzfeed, recall, published that infamous dossier on President Trump’s supposed ties with Russia. Intercept star Glenn Greenwald slammed it as “a totally anonymous, unverified, unvetted document filled with scurrilous and inflammatory allegations about which its own editor-in-chief says there ‘is serious reason to doubt the allegations.’ ”  The host-vs.-host fireworks might be worth the $400 fee. But what will de Blasio offer?  After all, the mayor has a long record of telling New Yorkers not to believe their own lying eyes — or news reports.  He spent months denying that homelessness was soaring, even as The Post was running photos of out-of-control encampments, before he finally admitted the truth. Last year, he refused to take a Post reporter’s questions because he was mad over an exposé about political operatives paid by the taxpayers as “special assistants.” He said he was only “calling on real media outlets.”  Back when he was actively denying the massive mismanagement at the Administration for Children’s Services, his answer to The Post’s citing details of a report from city Comptroller Scott Stringer was to accuse us of colluding with Stringer to create fake news.  Every paper in town is reporting on Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte’s misdoings, yet, before it emerged late Thursday night that Ponte would resign, the mayor insisted that the commissioner had done nothing wrong and that the facts “as described in the press” were purely subjective.  The mayor’s minions staged a fake exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum to bolster his anti-crime cred. His City Hall creates YouTube videos that allege that racism explains public resistance to his homeless-shelter plans.  De Blasio isn’t so much an expert on fake news as an exhibit.* De Blaiso has never really been shy about airing his displeasure with the media coverage his administration receives. That grievance has taken a variety of shapes - from polite rebuttals to the premise of a reporters' question, to limiting opportunities to ask him questions. Next month, he'll have more to say on this, when he participates in a panel discussion about fake news and the media, hosted by BuzzFeed and The Intercept, in Brooklyn. The editorial page of the New York Post - already one of his favorite targets of criticism - is eagerly awaiting the event.

Albany IDC and GOP Leaders Break the Law for Seven Senators to Give Them Extra $$$ Where is JCOPE?

IDC's Jeff Klein: "If I have anything to do with it, John Flanagan is going to be the leader for a long, long time"
Mayor de Blasio praises breakaway Dem days after partyurges unity in Albany (NYDN) Just days after national Dems called for party unity in Albany, Mayor de Blasio heaped praise on state Sen. Jeff Klein — leader of the rogue Independent Democrat Conference that governs in a bloc with Republicans.  The mayor and Klein were celebrating the Senate passage of an IDC-backed bill to expand a senior citizen property-tax exemption.

Democrats in Congress Urge Democrats in Albany to Return to the Party (NYT) * Mayor de Blasio praises breakaway Dem days after partyurges unity in Albany (NYDN)

* All 18 House Democrats representing New York signed a letter demanding that the three clashing factions of their party in the state Senate reunite, so as to make Albany the seventh solid-blue state capital nationwide, the Observer reports.
Democrats seek unity with breakaway pols to give theparty control of New York State Senate (NYDN) * State senator urges fellow rogue Dems to rejoin fold (NYP) Unpredictable Brooklyn state Sen. Simcha Felder, a Democrat who has been conferencing with Republicans since 2012, sent a letter Wednesday urging the eight members of the Independent Democratic Conference to...

Simcha Felder Tells Fellow Rogue Democrats to Rejoin the Party Fold (NYT) The call for a breakaway faction of Democrats in the State Senate to abandon its Republican allies and rejoin the party’s fold picked up a surprising supporter on Wednesday: Senator Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat who also sides with the Republicans.  Mr. Felder sent a letter urging Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, the leader of the faction, the eight-member Independent Democratic Conference, to “unconditionally and publicly rejoin the Democrats.”

Stipend Scandal Fuels Divide Among New York’s Democratic State Senators (NYT) * Jose Peralta Doled Out $250K in GOP Cash Since Joiningthe IDC (DNAINFO)

New York Senator Seeks Inquiry Into ‘Apparent Abuse’ ofStipends (NYT) The State Senate’s top Democratic leader asked law enforcement on Tuesday to investigate how stipends were seemingly improperly awarded to eight senators aligned with that chamber’s rival, majority coalition.
State Senate staff members have repeatedly sent false information to the state comptroller’s office certifying three Independent Democratic Conference senators as committee chairs and allowing them to get stipends despite being second in command, the Times reports.  * False Payroll Information Allows 3 State Senators to Collect Thousands (NYT) * A Tactic That Gave Stipends to Renegade Democrats Has Also Rewarded Republicans * Seven New York senators accused of pocketing thousands in fraudulentstipends, Albany watchdogs say (NYDN) * Republican State Senators Also Got Possibly IllegalStipends Like Breakaway Democrats (Gothamist) * Senators who skip out on meetings rake in thousands instipends (NYP) * Independent Democratic Conference head plans to keeppartnership with Senate GOP strong  (NYDN) * In Video, IDC Seeks To ‘Call The Roll’ On Key LiberalIssues (YNN) * Keith Ellison Wades Into New York’s Murky PoliticalWaters (Village Voice) With his selfie with an IDC member, the progressive leader steps in an Albany bear trap

Lulu Rises From her Cryupt of Journalism Cover-Up Because of IDC GOP Greed That Lead Them to Go Around the Law
Casey Seiler: Lulu rises from her crypt (TU)  * N.Y. Senate Republicans’ counsel says stipends polsreceived after falsely claiming to be panel chairs were legal (NYDN)  The opinion from counsel David Lewis further argued that the Senate Republicans did not commit a crime by submitting payroll records to the state Controller’s Office that falsely reported that the senators were committee chairs when they were actually vice chairs — positions that do not carry stipends.  “The Legislature’s allocation of institutional resources to its own members, a classic example of internal administrative prerogatives is properly left to the Legislature to make, in furtherance of the duties particular to that body, without interference from the other two branches of government,” Lewis wrote.* State Senate Dems' conference costs taxpayers $2.2M a year (NYP)  Taxpayers could save more than $2 million a year if it weren’t for a group of breakaway Democrats who need their own support staff in the state Senate, critics say.  The Independent Democratic Conference, who vote with Republicans, pay some 40 staffers about $2.2 million a year, Senate payroll records show.  “The bottom line is that money is going to a conference that doesn’t need to exist,” one critic told The Post. * Insiders say state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s decision to dole out stipends meant for committee chairs to seven other lawmakers is due to a lack of legislative pay raises and the Senate’s fragile majority coalition, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett reports.  * Critics say taxpayers could save money if it weren’t for the state Senate Independent Democratic Conference, which votes with the Republicans and pays about 40 staffers about $2.2 million a year, the New York Post reports.  * More than 90 pension- and benefit-sweetener bills have been introduced in Albany, and if passed in the final six weeks of the legislative session, the measures could cost the state and local governments at least $200 million, the Post reports. * Lawmaker refuses bonus in midst of legality probe (NYP) With critics questioning its legality, a Republican lawmaker on Monday announced she is refusing the $12,500 bonus she’s getting as vice chair of the Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Correction.  “My office is in the process of returning these uncashed checks to the taxpayers of our state,” said state Sen. Pam Helming.  * How Albany Justifies Paying Senators for Others’ Work (NYT)  * Alulu of a scam: State Senate GOP breaks the rules on a corrupt scheme (NYDN)  * State senators who received stipends for chairing committees when they did not technically hold that post faced a barrage of questions in Albany and state Sen. Patty Ritchie said she would consider returning some of the money, The New York Times reports.  The Daily News writes that the bonuses Albany legislative bosses hand out to favored members are so corrupt that they amount to legalized bribery to the tune of $1 million in the state Senate alone and are banned in 49 other states.* Despite assurances that they were legal, state Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins has called for an investigation into some lawmakers being falsely designated as committee chairs in order to receive stipends, State of Politics reports. * State Sen. Jeffrey Klein, who leads the Independent Democratic Conference that’s aligned with the GOP, received a leadership stipend of $34,000 that is nearly 24 percent higher than the one he was paid in 2016, the Daily News reports. *  Smearing the state Senate's centrists  (NYP) Last week’s state Senate “lulu” scandal is less about good government than a political vendetta — an attack on the Independent Democratic Conference, especially its minority members. Prosecutors are now...