Topic Page Archives
Games and Quizzes
Silver Moves to Oust Lopez
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced he is moving to expel Assemblyman Vito Lopez last night. Silver, facing a firestorm of criticism for his office's handling of the Lopez sexual harassment scandal is looking to take decisive action as soon as Monday. Silver refused to expel Lopez last year as the scandal broke but stripped Lopez of his seniority and committee assignments. Now, with more criticism focused on his office following the release of the Joint Commission on Public Ethic's damning report, Silver says he plans to introduce a resolution that according to his spokesman Michael Whyland will be, "voted on Monday to ask the Ethics & Guidance Committee to consider the full JCOPE report and to recommend appropriate sanctions including expulsion of Assemblymember Lopez." Earlier Thursday Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters the Assembly should consider expelling Lopez. “The reaction from the legislature should be zero tolerance,” Cuomo said. “If he doesn’t resign, he should be expelled.”
NYC Unemployment Rate Hits 4-Year Low (Crain's)
Suit Claims City's Gifted and Talented Selection Process is Flawed (Wall Street Journal)
How Much Did Andrew Cuomo Make This Year? (Albany Times Union)
Quinn Attacks Thompson For D'Amato Cash (NY Times)
Lopez's Girlfriend Sticks With Her man (Daily News)
City to Sell Councilwoman's Debt to Collectors (Daily News)
Report Finds Lopez Shielded by Leadership
The state's ethics commission issued a report yesterday that not only detailed a torrent of inappropriate behavior by Assemblyman Vito Lopez but that tore into Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and his staff for shielding the lawmaker. At one point after two women made sexual harassment complaints against Lopez the report states that Silver's office relocated the women to other positions which enabled Lopez to hire two more women who he also harassed. The report details Lopez asking a staffer to give him eye drops for pink eye, demanding staffers share hotels with them, forcing them to feel his tumors, looking for a large apartment in Albany to share with one of them and perhaps most shockingly Lopez demanded a female staffer continue massaging his hand after the woman told Lopez she was uncomfortable because she had been raped in college. The Joint Commission on Public Ethics' report was released after a special prosecutor found no criminal wrongdoing by Lopez or Silver. Lopez issued a statement saying he was under attack by people wishing to destroy him. JCOPE's report was released by the legislature after facing mounting pressure. Members of the legislature also tried to redact large swaths of the report relating to the performance of Assembly staffers during the matter. JCOPE, which has members appointed by Silver, did not authorize an investigation into the behavior of Silver and the Assembly in the matter. Yesterday, Silver's spokesman defended him in a statement and Silver renewed his call for Lopez to resign.
Labor Gridlocked in Mayor's Race (Crain's)
Judge Orders Hotel Shelters For Sandy Victims Stay Open (Wall Street Journal)
Liu Returned $14G in Improper Campaign Funds (Daily News)
D'Amato Puts Cash Behind Bill Thompson (NY Times)
Judge Blocks City Plan For New Taxis (NY Times)
State Reviewing Pay For Fast-Food Workers (NY Times)
Appeals Court Rules On FDNY Bias
The U.S. Court of Appeals decided a Brooklyn judge’s ruling that the Fire Department intentionally discriminated against black and Latino applicants went too far, and ordered a new judge hear that portion of the suit again due to questions of his impartiality. But they left in place many of the judge's other orders, such as finding that previous tests were discriminating, mandating retroactive pay for those who were unfairly screened out, and the appointment of a monitor to track progress in hiring people of color. That monitor's time was shortened to 5 years from 10 years, however. And the city won't have to hire outside consultants to hold minority recruitment campaigns. The court altered or removed 29 of the judge's 69 prohibitions and remedial steps.
Cuomo: $80 Million To Help Local Governments (Associated Press)
The Story of the Worldâ€™s Most Expensive Train Station (NY Observer)
'Legacy Costs' Eating Up Quarter Of City's Budget (Village Voice)
Sea Level Could Rise Five Feet In City By 2100 (Scientific American)
Contributions Piling Up In Race for Mayor (NY Times)
Lopez Not Expected To Face Charges (NY Post)
Scandal Mania vs Legislative Agenda!
Gov. Cuomo yesterday vowed to keep pushing his legislative agenda in face of "scandal mania." He's been using the recent wave of "quote, unquote scandals" to push ethics reform, but still wants movement on his other priorities, such as women’s equality, the creation of a local government panel, and casino gaming. He also blamed the press for letting scandals become all-consuming. Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos is using the investigations as a reason to oppose public financing, saying it will put public money into the hands of untrustworthy people. Cuomo yesterday revealed a proposal for one of his priorities, reforming the Long Island Power Authority, calling for a three year rate freeze and a takeover by Public Service Electric & Gas Co. of New Jersey.
State To Use Federal Grant To Pay For Homes Damaged By Irene and Lee (Albany Times Union)
Liu Campaign Most Aggressive In Courting Muslims (Daily News)
Bloomberg Defends Queens Soccer Stadium (NY Post)
Race A Factor In Corruption Cases?
Political observers are beginning to ask whether race or ethnicity are playing a role in the state's most recent corruption cases. All five lawmakers charged in the growing corruption probe are black or Latino. So, too, are the eight people recorded for the FBI by state Sen. Shirley Huntley.
At a forum on Friday night titled "Attack on Black Leaders: Corruption or Conspiracy?" state Sen. James Sanders of Queens raised questions about whether black leaders were being targeted. “Why aren’t we hearing about other people wired and looking at different communities? Why is it seemingly a focus on this community?”
But experts and lawmakers tell The Associated Press that the current batch of cases may involved people of color, but that has not been the case in the past.
“People are going to think what they think, but it’s important to understand that what is going on in Albany transcends race, gender or party,” Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins told The AP. “While this current wave has involved mostly people of color, prior to this it captured people across the aisle who were not people of color.
Federal corruption cases between 2009 and 2011 involved were all white, and half were Republicans. The most recent cases involve Democrats.
Mayoral candidates discussed education policies at a forum hosted by the United Federation of Teachers on Saturday night, where Democratic frontrunner and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn tried to distance herself from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's policies (The Daily News, CBS). The Rev. Floyd Flake, who leads the largest church in the city, was said to be backing former comptroller William Thompson for mayor (Daily News).
In non-election news, the Brooklyn district attorney is reopening 50 murder cases brought by a decorated police officer whose record was recently tainted (). Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that the state will pay for relocating power lines for homes that need to be raised after codes were changed following Hurricane Sandy. The Associated Press reported that a group that backs Cuomo went from reporting $17 million to zero after being required to name donors.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn announces new legislation to raise maximum product prices at newsstands at 11:30 a.m. (5 Park Place.) Mayor Michael Bloomberg makes an announcement at noon (201 Butler Street, Brooklyn). State Sen. Liz Krueger testifies at East Midtown rezoning hearing at 6 p.m. (Lighthouse International, 111 E. 59th St.)
A Day At The Stop-And-Frisk Trial With Councilman Jumaane Williams (New York Magazine)
Feds Approve City's Sandy Recovery Plan
The City's plan for spending federal diaster recovery aid has been approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The first $1.7 billion in federal funding will be released this summer. Most of the funds, $648 million, will go to repairing homes and strengthening them against future flooding. There is also funding for low income rentals subsidies, city infrastructure and loans for businesses. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and HUD secretary Sean Donovan are scheuled to announce the plan's approval today at City Hall. Those looking for grants will be able to apply by calling the city's 311 help line or by going to nyc.gov.
Cuomo Says No NYC Casino For 5 Years (Crain's)
Liu Campaign In Tight Spot On Matching Funds (Wall Street Journal)
Bike Share to Start May 27 (NY 1)
Proposals Seek to Curb Bias By Co-Op Boards (NY Times)
City Council Offers Treasure Trove of Archives (City Room)
In Wake of Scandals, Cuomo Defends His Ethics Agency (Capital Tonight)
Peralta Won't Comment on Legal Fees (Crain's)
Wiretapped Pols Names Revealed
Yesterday the names of 9 individuals caught on wiretap by Sen. Shirley Huntley were made public. Six of those individuals were sitting Democratic State Legislators. The list includes already-indicted Sens John Sampson and Malcolm Smith and their colleagues Sens. Jose Peralta, Velmanette Montgomery, Ruth Hassel-Thompson and Eric Adams. Two political operatives were also taped as well as Councilman Ruben Wills. Huntley, who was facing her own legal troubles, invited pols to her home under the ruse that she had a broken ankle and then recorded them. Taped parties reacted in different ways to finding out their names were on the list. Officials said eight one of the recorded parties are under investigation for wrongdoing. Sen. John Sampson was indicted earlier in the week on embezzelment charges and he is just the latest in a long line of state legislators facing federal indicments. Gov. Andrew Cuomo threatened to convene a Moreland Commission if legislators don't pass major elections and ethics reform.
State Legislature to Get Scandal Holiday? (Gotham Gazette)
Lhota Apologizes For Mall Cop Comment (Capital)
Former State Senate Republican Majority Leader Claims Double Jeopardy (Albany Times Union)
Council OKs Paid Sick Leave (Gotham Gazette)
Pols Under Investigation To Be Revealed
The names of elected officials secretly recorded by disgraced ex-State Sen. Shirley Huntley will be revealed this afternoon, thanks to a judge's ruling. Nine were recorded and eight are under investigation. Six of those being investigated are politicians, including Sen. John Sampson, who was arrested earlier this week. One of the charges Sampson faces is embezzling $440,000 from sales of foreclosed properties, and this has revealed a flaw in the way foreclosed homes are being handled. State officials are now looking at how the problem could be addressed. Sampson had tried to plant a mole in the Brooklyn DA's office to find out if he was under investigation, but that mole turned out to be an informant. His arrest may further dampen Democrats' chances at controlling the chamber.
Liberal Party Backs Catsimatidis For Mayor (Wall Street Journal)
For Weiner, Many Causes But Few Bills (Wall Street Journal)
Interior Dept. Releases $475 Million In Sandy Aid (Associated Press)
Protesters Shut Out Of Election Finance Hearing Throw Dollar Bills (Albany Times Union)
NYC Set To Pass Sick Days Plan (Associated Press)
Report Sees Widespread Mold After Sandy (The Brooklyn Bureau)
Kimani Gray's Parents To File Suit Against City (Daily News)
New Corruption Cases
State Sen. John Sampson was charged yesterday with embezzlement, obstruction of justice, and lying to investigators. Among those charges, prosecutors accuse him of trying to get a list of cooperating witnesses in his case so that he could "take them out." He faces up to 120 years behind bars. Also yesterday, Assemblyman William Boyland was charged with mail fraud conspiracy - for the second time. In the past seven years, 32 state level officials have been snared in corruption cases.
DiNapoli: Fund Value Rebounding (Albany Times Union)
Cuomo Sees Bills And Ratings Slip Up (Daily News)
Stop-And-Frisk Critics Start Voter Drive (Associated Press)
Senate Confirms First Black Women On Top Court (Albany Times Union)
Use Of Stop-And-Frisk Drops By Half (Wall Street Journal)
Corruption Deja Vu
A once powerful state senator is expected to be arrested as early as today in a corruption case that is sure to sharpen calls for political reform in Albany. An attorney for the politician, Brooklyn Democrat John L. Sampson, has not commented.
The Daily News reported over the weekend that the case involving Sampson is related to conversations that were secretly recorded by disgraced state Senator Shirley Huntley, who is being sentenced this week for stealing taxpayer money through a fake charity. Court papers disclosed on Friday in Huntley's case say she recorded conversations with seven elected officials and two other people.
The recordings, according to the court papers, "did yield evidence useful to law enforcement." The officials were not named in the papers.
In early April, two separate corruption investigations against sitting elected officials jolted the political establishment. In one of those cases, an assemblyman was wearing a wire to record his colleagues for over three years.
The arrests last month led to calls for reform to stem what appears to be a pervasive culture of corruption. Those calls have been met by proposals from good government groups, the political parties and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Republican state Senators have scheduled a hearing tomorrow on the city's public campaign financing system, which some would-be reformers say could clamp down on corruption if extended statewide. The Senate GOP is against the idea.
â€‹â€‹City plans call for expanding hurricane evacuation zones to encompass 640,000 more people. Republican mayoral hopeful and former Rudy Giuliani deputy major Lhota pays close attention to Staten Island. Democratic mayoral hopeful John Liu called the New York Police Department's surveillance of Muslims unconstitutional at a forum with other candidates. Cathie Black emails revealed. Tammany Hall: The game!
The Mayor Is Cheering 'Corporate Invasion' Of Flushing Meadows Park (New York Magazine)
State Dems Spend To Promote Cuomo-Supported Ideas (Wall Street Journal)
(Mario) Cuomo's Portrait To Take Its Place, Finally (Wall Street Journal)
Groups To Push For Raising Wages For Tip Workers (Gotham Gazette)
Resistance To Gowanus Canal Cleanup Plan (NY Times)
Liu's Campaign Workers Found Guilty
The campaign manager and a fundraiser of New York City comptroller John Liu were found guilty yesterday in a trial over illegal contributions to Liu's campaign. Jia Hou, Liu's campaign manager and Xing Wu Pan a fundraiser were found guilty in a scheme to use straw donors to with thousands of dollars in matching funds from the city for Liu's campaign. Hou and Pan were found guilty of wire fraud while Hou was also found guilty of obstruction of justice and making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Both face up to 20 years in prison and will be sentenced after the mayoral primary. Their attorney's say they plan to appeal. Liu is currenly running a campaign for mayor. Prosecutors portrayed the Liu campaign as condoing the behavior of Hou and Pan. Liu held an emergency press conference last night. Liu noted the investigation has been going on for 4 years and that his phones have been tapped. “They can look at anything and everything they want," Liu said. "I’ve got nothing to hide. I’ve got a clear conscious. And we are gong to present a very strong case directly to the voters of New York City.”
Bike Share War Rages at Village Forum (DNAinfo)
City Emails SHow Push For Cathie Black (Wall Street Journal)
Council Hears Testimony on Raising Age Limit on Tobacco Sales (Wall Street Journal)
City to Get EPA Cash to Upgrade Water Plans In Areas Hit By Sandy (Lower Hudson Journal)
Appeals Court Says New York Towns Can Ban Fracking (Democrat and Chronicle)
Grieving Mother Tells of Son's Police Stop (NY Times)
Sandy Victims Win Hotel Extension
A judge ruled on Wednesday for the city to extend its hotel program for displaced victims of Hurricane Sandy. The city had originally planned on kicking remaining 196 evacuess out of hotels on April 30 but an extension will give victims until May 15. Five Sandy evacuees filed a lawsuit to gain the extension on Monday. The city Department of Homeless Services provided hotel rooms to victims who did not qualify for the FEMA hotel program. The FEMA program had previously been extended untill May 29.
Assembly Passes Gender Expression Protection Act (Gotham Gazette)
Scandal-Plagued Councilman Won't Seek Reelection (Gotham Gazette)
Cuomo's Transparency Website Flush With New Info (Gotham Gazette)
Cuomo Continues Push on Casinos (Albany Times Union)
FEMA Policy Bars Aid For Co-Ops Hit by Sandy (NY Times)
Subway Delays up in 2012 (NY Times)
State Ethics Panel Will Lose Its Leader (Wall Street Journal)
Mayoral Candidates As Cause Celebrities (Wall Street Journal)
Quinn Pushes NYPD Inspector Bill (NY Post)
Bloomberg Staunchly Defends NYPD Policies
Mayor Bloomberg delivered a passionate speech yesterday defending his police policies and lashing out at critics. He lambasted civil rights groups and the media for not showing outrage at the recent murder of a boy in the Bronx, signaling out the NY Times in particular for publishing an article opposing stop-and-frisk days afterwards. The paper retorted that the editorial and news gathering sections are separate. But they did however mention the shooting in an op-ed. The victim's mother supports the policy. Bloomberg also panned legislation in the City Council that would create an independent monitor for the NYPD and another addressing profiling. He argued that outside agencies wouldn't share sensitive information if another department could gain access to it and that the bill would somehow sow confusion among the ranks of who was in charge. The mayor also claimed that the second bill would bar the use of skin color in descriptions of suspects, which the bill's co-sponsor points out is not the case.
SUPERSTORM SANDY ROUNDUPâ€‹
A New York Supreme Court judge will hear arguments today in a lawsuit that could determine the outcome for hundreds of people displaced by Superstorm Storm and facing eviction from a city-funded hotel program that was supposed to terminate at the end of April. The New York Times reports that relief efforts by members of Occupy Wall Street has created a split in the nascent movement. Community groups in low-lying neighborhoods aren't waiting for the government to develop plans to respond to extreme weather; they've decided to create their own agenda.
NJ Seeing Businesses, People Migrate to NYC (North Jersey)
State Ethics Panel Threatens to Release Vito Lopez Report (Gotham Gazette)
App For Hailing Yellow Cabs Launches (Associated Press)
Quinn's Grip On Council Begins To Slip (Wall Street Journal)
Con Ed Executives Return Bonuses (NY Post)
Sandy At 6 Months, Continued
Superstorm Sandy's six month anniversary continues to make headlines. The storm is credited for creating a rise in construction jobs in the state. And hundreds of millions in additional federal storm-recovery funds are expected from a new grant FEMA announced to the Long Island Power Authority. But not everybody in the area is choosing to rebuild, and many are walking away from their damaged homes. Meanwhile, Gov. Cuomo is ordering an investigation into the bonuses Con Edison awarded its executives for their handling of the storm. In the storm's aftermath, "we witnessed a complete failure by many of our state’s utilities to provide adequate service to the rate payers they serve,” he said.
City Inspects Over 900 Construction Sites (Associated Press)
Shelters' Role In Homelessness Crisis (City Limits)
Cuomo's Stance Helps Kill Bill To Legalize Payday Loans (Albany Times Union)
Cuomo Signs Book Deal, Complicating Post Reporter's Biography (Associated Press)
Gun Deaths Drop Nearly A Third Since 2000 (Daily News)
Consultants Work To Elect Lawmakers Then Lobby Them (Daily News)
Six Months After The Storm
Six months after Superstorm Sandy struck New York City, the recovery is far from over and coastal communities are still trying to rebuild.
Hundreds of people displaced by the hurricane and living in hotels are expected to be evicted on Tuesday after a city-funded program comes to an end. Some homeowners, meanwhile, are facing imminent default on their mortgages, advocates say.
Businesses are still reeling from the disaster, with many still shuttered at the South Street Seaport and other areas hard-hit by the hurricane.
The federal government said it had approved a state plan to spend $1.7 billion in funds on rebuilding. Some of that money will go toward helping homeowners to rebuild. The New York Times reports that there are few takers of the state's offer to buy out their homes.
At a panel discussion on Friday hosted by Philanthropy New York, state Director of Operations Howard Glaser acknowledged that homeowners were frustrated with the progress of recovery efforts.
“There is anger out there, no question about it," he said. "This is actually the worst moment right now. This is a very tough time for folks that are affected. It’s going to get better.” On the same panel, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth Pinsky said "another reason" why people might be frustrated is that "easy problems to solve have been solved."
"Now the people whose problems are longer term are realizing that, in fact, the solution is going to take time," he said.
The city is set to receive a separate $1.8 billion in federal assistance money, but its plan has yet to receive approval.
The Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island is open. Surfers are noticing a difference in the waves off Rockaway after the storm — and they are happy about it. Workers are rushing to build hundreds of picnic tables at beaches to replace many that were damaged by Sandy.
U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm is scheduled to hold a news conference today to talk about recovery efforts at Coney Island Hospital. Union labor officials and Council members plan to talk about hiring unionionized workers to aid in Sandy relief at another news conference at City Hall.
The reasons for Cuomo's dropping popularity in upstate New York go beyond gun control, the Buffalo News reports. An investigation by the Times finds that job openings at the Empire State Development Corp., often go to candidates with ties to the governor. A gay state Senator wants to ban therapy that purports to treat homosexuality, the New York Daily News reports. The city wants to hire a breast-feeding expert for a new "breast-feeding empowerment zone" in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Brownsville, The New York Post reports.
Lives Of NYC's Public Housing [Photo Essay] (City Limits)
Crumbling Courthouse In Rockaways Set To Become Health Clinic (Wall Street Journal)
Quinn And The Fight Over Term Limits (New York Magazine)
NYPD Whistleblowers In Stop-And-Frisk Trial Claim Harassment (Associated Press)
Bombers Talked About Times Square
The Boston bombing suspects allegedly discussed bombing Times Square while driving around after the attack in a stolen car that ran out of gas eventually. The talk was characterized as spontaneous. One senior law enforcement official played it down as more "stream of consciousness" than plan. Mayor Bloomberg says he doesn't know if they could have been stopped had they made it. But at this point, their faces were plastered all over television and the internet, and Times Square is heavily surveilled at all times. Bloomberg also used the plot as an argument to expand the city's counterterrorism capabilities and intelligence gathering activities. The Daily News reports that Commissioner Kelly was upset that the FBI didn't share the information about Times Square sooner, but wouldn't criticize them publicly.
Architect He Gin Lee To Announce His Mayoral Campaign Today (Village Voice)
30 More Subway Stations Get WiFi (Wall Street Journal)
Cuomo Plan To Help Municipalities Restructure (Albany Times Union)
Quinn Will Allow Vote on Profiling Bill
Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she does not support a bill that would open up the courts to claims of racial profiling by the New York Police Department but she will allow the bills sponsors to submit it for a vote. Quinn made the comments earlier yesterday before the first televised debate between mayoral candidates and likely did it to head off criticism from her opponents. This would be the first time Quinn allowed a vote on a bill she does not support during her tenure as Council Speaker. Quinn has a long history of blocking votes on legislation she does not approve of. “I understand that this is a very important issue for a lot of people so I don’t want to stand in the way of there being a vote. And whatever happens, happens,” Quinn told reporters, saying she would not strong-arm members to vote against the measure behind the scenes. In her comments yesterday Quinn also proposed increasing the police force by 1,600 officers over the next three years.
Quinn Aims For Middle Ground In Public Safety Speech (Gotham Gazette)
What Happened to Cuomo's Women's Agenda? (Gotham Gazette)
Paid Sick Leave Vote Delayed, Again (Gotham Gazette)
FEMA Extends Temporary Shelter Program For #Sandy Victims (Gotham Gazette)
City Expands Plastic Recycling (Crain's)
Weiner Can't Promise There Isn't More Scandal (Daily News)
Liu Aide Testifies on Campaign Donors (Wall Street Journal)
Conflict Claimed in Fracking Advisor (Albany Times Union)
Kingsbridge Armory to Be Ice Center
The long-vacant Kingsbrige Armory is again the focus of a redevelopment project designed to bring much-needed jobs and economic stimulus to the Bronx. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Bronx officials announced yesterday that they have a deal with a developer to turn the massive ice center with 9 regulation ice rinks for skating and hockey and a 5,000 seat arena. The $275 million deal is expected to create 267 permanent jobs and 890 construction jobs. The plan will need approval by the City Council before moving forward. In 2009 Bloomberg and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. clashed over a proposal to turn the site into a shopping complex. Diaz and Bronx residents were concerned the project would create low-paying jobs and conflict with local busineses. The fight eventually spawned the city-wide push for the living wage. The developers of the ice center have signed an agreement promising to pay workers $10 an hour with benefits or $11.50 an hour without, as well as giving Bronx residents hiring preference.
Sustainability After Bloomberg: Candidates Offer Hints of a Vision (Gotham Gazette)
E-Hail The Taxi App Victory! Court Dismisses Lawsuit (NY Observer)
UFC's Deep Pockets May Feed Ban (Crain's)
Malcolm Smith Pleads Not Guilty to Bribery Charges (Daily News)
Most New Yorkers Expect More Political Corruption (Daily News)
National Organization For Women Wants Cuomo's Ideas to Become Bills (Albany Times Union)
Petraeus to Join CUNY as Visiting Professor (NY Times)
City Wants Higher Smoking Age
Council Speaker Christine Quinn yesterday announced legislation that would raise the legal age for purchasing cigarettes to 21, up from 18. The idea was originally proposed by Queens Councilman James Gennaro. Mayor Bloomberg supports the proposal, although he opposed a similar plan in 2006. His position changed after seeing data from the UK showing that a higher age limit would cut smoking among teens. Data from the journal Health Policy found similar results.
Deep Distrust In Albany Politics: Poll (City Room)
DA Won't Prosecute Cop Who Pepper-Sprayed Protester (Village Voice)
Weiner Returns To Twitter (Politicker)
Could New York Run On Renewable Energy Alone? (Salon.com)
At Mayoral Forum, A Focus On The Environment (NY Times)
Cuts Cause Three-Hour Flight Delays (NY Post)
Weekend Roundup: Elections 2013
The Partnership for New York City, a coalition of top business leaders, weighed in with a plan on Friday to help the next mayor "maintain New York's status as the pre-eminent city of opportunity over the next decade." Recommendations include building a "tech campus" in every borough and launching a "job challenge."
Presumed Democratic mayoral frontrunner Christine Quinn was called a "liar" at a forum on public housing hosted by the Community Service Society on Saturday night. The Times reported that the heckling started after the City Council speaker began to talk about her record as a tenant rights activist. Crain's New York reports that two businesswomen with a passion for animal and workers' rights, and the environment "will do whatever it takes to sink" Quinn and have poured $200,000 into the $1 million "NYC Not 4 Sale" campaign behind this season's first TV attack ad.
The Daily News reports that former political opponents of ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner, another possible mayoral candidate, warn that he can be fiesty on the campaign trail. Politico reports that any attempt by Weiner to return to politics after a sexting scandal ruined his career could make things awkward for the Clintons and former mentor Chuck Schumer.
Mayoral candidates come together again tonight for a forum about sustainability hosted by the New York League of Conservation Voters.
For more on election 2013 beyond the mayor's race, check out Who's Running For What, which was recently featured on NY1's Race for City Hall.
Judge In Stop-And-Frisk Case Warns of Perjury (New York Law Journal)
Poverty Increased In NYC, Report Says (NY Times)
City Outreach Unit Run by Quinn, Also Helps Her Campaign
The Community Outreach Unit run by the New York City Council has served as a public relations machine and boosted the name recognition of Council President Christine Quinn thereby helping her mayoral bid according to The New York Times. The unit that has organized rallies and sponsored education fairs has a payroll that tops $1 million. Employees of the unit include a former Quinn campaign aide, a political operative from a union whose support Quinn has courted and a former spokesman for a Quinn ally. The employees have not been shy about their enthusiasm for Quinn. Quinn told the Times that she is "proud" of the unit. While a great deal of councilmembers interviewed by the times had no idea what the office did others said the office was designed only to serve Quinn.
Special Issue: Bloomberg's New York (The Nation)
Cuomo: NY Officially America's Yogurt Capital! (Gotham Gazette)
Letitia James on Hamptons Express Trin: What About The Rest of Us? (Gotham Gazette)
Assembly Changes Reimbursement Process to Fight Fraud (Albany Times Union)
Schneiderman Wants More Power to Fight Corruption (Albany Times Union)
Tough New Test Spurs Protest (NY Times)
Corruption in Albany Means Tons of Cash For Legal Fees
State officials have spent nearly $7 million of campaign cash on legal fees related to criminal and ethics investigations into them since 2004 an analysis by The Daily News and the New York Public Interest Group finds. Senate Democrats have proposed a rule banning legislators from spending campaign cash on legal fees. The analysis found that lawmakers have spent $2 million of campaign cash on legal fees in the last two years alone. That spurt is boosterd by former Sen. Carl Kruger who spent $1.5 million of his campaign cash on legal fees. Kruger is currently serving seven years in prison after pleading guilting to a number of corruption charges. Other major spenders are former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, former Controller Alan Hevesi and Assemblyman Vito Lopez.
City's Contract Offer Infuriates Unions (Crain's)
Barclays Takes on Madison Square Garden (Crain's)
Brooklyn Borough President Endorses Quinn (Daily News)
Cuomo Sent Letter of Support For Failed Federal Gun Legislation (Albany Times Union)
Poll: Voters Haven't Formed Opinions on Many Dem Mayoral Candidates (Wall Street Journal)
Why Weiner's Mayoral Bid is a Long Shot (City Room)
Republicans Say Public Financing Could Taint Ballot (Albany Times Union)
NY Politicians React to Failure of Background Checks For Gun Sales (Gotham Gazette)
Senate Blocks Drive For New Gun Control (NY Times)
Boston's Effect On NYC
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that there have been no specific threats to New York City, but the department is reviewing security plans for upcoming public events. The police received 77 reports of suspicious packages in the past 24 hours, while the norm is 21. La Guardia Airport's main terminal was temporarily evacuated after an unattended parcel was found. Mayor Bloomberg used the Boston incident to highlight that the city must remain vigilant against terrorists and that "special interests" must not shape security strategies. He continues to take the subway part of the way to City Hall. The Saudi national that the NY Post had reported on was a witness, not a suspect.
Paid Sick Leave Bill Likely To See Vote Next Week (Gotham Gazette)
Cuomo Calls For Anti-Corruption Reforms (Gotham Gazette)
Infographic Plots Income Inequality By Subway Stop (The New Yorker)
Following Scandals, A Bunch Of Plans For Reforming Albany (Gotham Gazette)
Raising The Salary Bar For Some State Workers (Albany Times Union)
City Ups Security After Boston Attack
Following the Boston Marathon bombing, Mayor Bloomberg said 1,000 counter-terrorism NYPD officers have been mobilized until more is known about the attack. Law enforcement also went on high alert throughout the transit system, although there appeared to be no specific threat. Gov. Cuomo has directed state agencies to be on heightened alert as well. The New York Post published a controversial report that a Saudi man is being held for questioning in Boston.
How Far Can Transactional Politics Take Gov. Cuomo? (New York Magazine)
Are Transactional Politics Popular Again? (Capital Tonight)
Pushing Cops To Consider Kids When Arresting Parents (City Limits)
Senate Democrats Push Tough Reforms (Albany Times Union)
City Grant Aids Quinn Housing Plan (Wall Street Journal)
BRONX COURTS: The New York Times reported that the Bronx courts "are failing." In the first installment of a three-part series, William Glaberson writes that "a plague of delays in the Bronx criminal courts is undermining one of the central ideas of the justice system, the promise of a speedy trial." The story — based on an examination of court records, observations of trials, analyses of statistics and dozens of interviews — presents examples of the dysfunction of the Bronx criminal justice system. The second part was published today.
JAIL DEATHS: â€‹A state agency found that Correctional Medical Care Inc., a private health care provider for county jails, played a role in the deaths of nine inmates across New York between 2009 and 2011, the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin reported Saturday. The state attorney general's office says it is investigating CMC. The company told the upstate newspaper that it hires qualified medical staff. The company says the jails it operates in consistently meet or exceed national standards in their jails.
Departing Congressman Doubles Staff Salaries (Queens Campaigner)
Weiner Issues Policy Booklet (NY Times)
Jury Selections Set To Begin In Trial of Liu Aide (Wall Street Journal)
Quinn Says Council Will Hold Hearing On School Safety Today (Huffington Post)
Some Gun Law Provisions To Go Into Effect (Lower Hudson Journal)
Quinn Proposes Mayoral Control of MTA
Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn said yesterday that she wants the city to control the Metropolitan Transportation Authority which is currently run by the state. "The MTA chair is appointed by the governor. The mayor has a minority of the appointments on the MTA board. The majority of the new members are appointed by the governor and county leaders outside of our city," Quinn said. "This has resulted in an MTA that doesn't respond quickly enough to the needs of New Yorkers and the changing face of our city." Transportation advocates have criticized Quinn's plan. Quinn also said that by 2023 no New Yorker should have a commute of more than an hour in any direction.
Pot And Police Debated At Bronx Mayoral Forum (Politicker)
State Sen. Gustavo Rivera Endorses Quinn (Gotham Gazette)
NYU Opens New 'Urban Informatics' School (DNAinfo)
Court Rejects $1M Bike Tour Fee For City (Crain's)
Reagan's Son Urges Republicans to Let Carrion Run (Associated Press)
Many New Yorkers Stuck in Low-Wage Work: Study (Wall Street Journal)
New Yorkers Brace For Cuts to Unemployment (NY Times)
Former Rep. Anthony Weiner's admission in a New York Times Magazine article that he is considering a run for mayor has jolted the current pack of candidates. Weiner has considerable baggage to overcome as he resigned from Congress in disgrace after lying about sending sexually explicit internet messages to women. Weiner's wife Human Abedin has remained supportive of her husband throughout the ordeal. Even Weiner's possible opponents acknowledge he is a shrewd politician who can run a serious campaign. Most major candidates gave statements that indicated they weren't particularly concered with Weiner's entrance into the race. Comptroller John Liu playfully welcomed Weiner but warned, "Just stop Tweeting."
Pork Items Survive Cuomo's Veto Ax (Albany Times Union)
De Blasio Pushes Anti-Corruption Plan (Wall Street Journal)
Quinn Loses Popularity, but Retains Lead (City Room)
Nelson Castro Arraigned (NY Times)
Liu Bombs With Biz Crowd (Crain's)
Powell Eying Rangel Seat (NY Post)
Cuomo Blasts Washington's Compromise on Gun Control (Buffalo News)
What Future For The City's Waterfront?
The hard-earned lessons of Superstorm Sandy shaped a mayoral forum yesterday where candidates fielded questions on waterfront development, expanding ferry service and creating a new agency to oversee the city's vast coastline. "Make no mistake," said Democratic candidate and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, "you get to say once, 'It was an unprecedented storm.' You don't get to do that again." Six candidates were asked to respond to policy proposals put forward by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance that touches on everything from docks to land use. The public also got to submit questions. Continue reading the story on the Gotham Gazette to see what the other candidates had to say ...
What Are The Priorities For The Next Brooklyn Borough President? (The Brooklyn Bureau)
Council Approves Pier 57 Restoration (NY Post)
More Jewish Mezuzahs Burnt (Daily News)
Cuomo Raises Concerns Over Sandy Mortgage Relief (Wall Street Journal)
State Proposes Letting Jails Shut Law Libraries (Associated Press)
NAACP: Stop-And-Frisk A National Priority (Associated Press)
Cuomo Proposes Bribes Legislation (Wall Street Journal)
Rakjumar Officially Declares For CD1 (Downtown Express)
Cuomo: Scandals Present Chance For Reform
Without going into specifics, Gov. Cuomo called for a series of reforms yesterday in the wake of the bribery scandals that have rocked the state - and added to the growing criticism he's faced over the past two months. In a radio interview, the governor said the crisis should not be wasted and instead used to pass reforms in areas like political party balloting, member items, campaign donation limits, and the state Board of Elections. He would also enact lobbying reform and make it easier for local prosecutors to bring corruption cases. But he went on to argue that Albany is actually functioning better under his watch than before, particularly on New York City issues. When speaking with the NY Post, Cuomo blamed the capitol's incumbent-driven political culture for the rash of corruption. So far, he won't order a corruption commission to investigate state politics as his father did in 1987.
Bike Sharing Gets Into Gear (Wall Street Journal)
Crime Commission Backs NYPD Monitor (Crain's)
State's Recovery Uneven (Albany Times Union)
Can Anything Be Done About Corruption In Albany?
The arrests of two state lawmakers on federal corruption charges last week were unwelcome reminders that New York is among the nation’s go-to destinations for political scandal, graft and greed. They also helped to remind New Yorkers about how difficult it is to stop unscrupulous lawmakers from violating the public trust.
Bill Mahoney of the New York Public Interest Research Group tells the Gotham Gazette that some progress has been made in recent years in preventing corruption in Albany, but that the entire culture of the capital is to blame. To stem the tide of corruption, reformers have called for changes to the state campaign finance system (modeled after the city's much-lauded system) and expanding the power of the state attorney general to investigate public corruption.
One Republican consultant said the city's campaign finance system shouldn't be a model because it is too easy to game (Newsday). Meanwhile, some commentators are blaming Gov. Andrew Cuomo for failing to push hard enough for reforms. "At best, the governor made no impact on public integrity among New York’s native criminal class," wrote columnist Michael Goodwin in The New York Post over the weekend.
The Wall Street Journal reports in a story based on anonymous sources that the Cuomo administration is considering new policy remedies. Fred Dickers writes in the Post that the Cuomo administration is weighing whether to oust Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver over the scandals.
Read more about what some reformers are calling for on the Gotham Gazette.
Renewed Attention For Central Park Jogger Case Lawsuit (Associated Press)
Shore Homes Being Built To Withstand Hurricanes (Wall Street Journal)
Outside Group Runs Ad Campaign Against Quinn (NY Times)
Lhota Calls For Limits On Donations To Parties (Daily News)
Another Legislator Indicted
For the second time this week a state legislator has been arrested on federal corruption charges while another legislator revealed he has been working as an informant for federal investigators. Assemblyman Eric Stevenson allegedly accepted bribes to author and push legislation. Meanwhile, Assemblyman Nelson Castro revealed he helped authorities on the case and has been an informant since he took office in 2009. Castro also announced his resignation. Stevenson was released on bond and claimed he would prove his innocence. The news came less than two days after Sen. Malcolm Smith and Councilman Dan Halloran were arrested by the FBI for allegedly conspiring to win the Republican line for NYC mayor for Smith with Bribes. The scandals have sent shockwaves through Albany but Castro's revelation may be the most frightening of all for state legislators.
Schneiderman to Donate Campaign Cash From Couple Linked to Scandal (Lower Hudson Journal)
Vito Lopez Eyes Council Run (Crain's)
Scandal Raises Questions About Member Items
A recording of a wiretap featuring Councilman Dan Halloran bragging that he could extract tens of thousands of dollars from the City Council to use as a bribe has brought attention back to oversight of the council's member items. Although there isn't evidence Halloran did what he bragged a number of mayoral candidates are using the issue to attack fellow candidate Council Speaker Quinn. Bill de Blasio blasted Quinn at a press conference saying, "these things happened under her watch." Bill Thompson and Sal Albenese also attacked Quinn's record on member items. Republican Mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota called for an inspector general to oversee the council in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Lhota has attacked Quinn's proposal for an NYPD inspector general. “There have been so many accusations over the last four to six years about the abuse of member items,” Lhota told the Journal. “I think it’s about time that the council seriously consider having an inspector general for itself, to oversee what is obviously an area that is ripe for people with bad character.”
Chelsea Loses In City Council Redistricting Plan (Chelsea Now)
Seaport Developer Wants Hotel, Housing (Downtown Express)
Bribery Scandal May Ensnare Donors (Crain's)
Quinn Attacked on Term Limits (NY Post)
Cop Arrested For Robbing Drug Dealers (Daily News)
Community Leader Starts Bronx Citizen's Patrol (Daily News)
Witness in Smith Case is $126 Million in Debt (Daily News)
Looking For a Way to End Scandal in NY (Albany Times Union)
Scandal Suggests Corruption Law Survived (NY Times)
Fast-Food Workers Plan Second Strike (NY Times)
Police Surveillance May Earn Money For City (NY Times)
Smith Blew $2 Million in Election Cash (NY Post)
Smith's Bribery Scheme Unfolds
More details have emerged from the arrest of State Sen. Malcolm Smith and Councilman Dan Halloran. Four local Republicans were arrested as well, including the Bronx party chairman and the Queens party vice chairman. Another worked on John Catsimatidis's campaign but has now been fired. All six were charged with wire fraud and bribery. The senator was also charged with extortion. The money from the bribes was to come from state funding secured by Smith for upstate developers - actually an informant and undercover FBI agent - who would then pay the GOP leaders. Halloran was using council discretionary funds. Smith had previously survived a series of scandals and Halloran was hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. This is just the latest in a series of Albany scandals.
Push To Address Possible Danger In Smoke Detectors (City Limits)
Who Policies Prosecutors? (WNYC)
Malcolm Smith Arrested In Mayoral Plot
The New York Post reports that State Sen. Malcolm Smith was arrested today for trying to bribe the city's GOP leaders into getting his name on their mayoral ballot. He allegedly had Councilman Dan Halloran, a Republican, meet with party leaders and negotiate thousands in bribes. Halloran was also arrested today and is accused of collecting thousands in bribes for himself.
Gently Sterilizing Rats In The City (The Atlantic Cities)
Mental Health Groups Push For Changes To Cuomo Gun Law (Democrat and Chronicle)
Bike Group Sues City Over NYPD Fees (Wall Street Journal)
Advertising Blitz Calls For State Public Financing (Albany Times Union)
Bronx Housing Court Crisis Demands Action (City Limits)
State's Firearm Lobby Taking Aim At City Rules (Daily News)
Weekend Roundup: Paid Sick Leave
Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a Democratic candidate for mayor, hammered out a deal to move forward legislation that would require many businesses to give paid sick leave to their employees. She made the announcement Friday with supporters and leaders of local chambers of commerce. Quinn had refused to bring the bill to a floor vote for two years. But as the campaign to get the bill passed dovetailed with the mayoral race and a possible revolt from fellow Council members, she met with elected officials, union leaders and supporters of the bill to negotiate a deal.
The result was a seemingly more business-friendly bill that includes a provision that would delay the implementation of the bill if the economy worsens by the time it goes into effect in April 2014. Though acknowledging the effort to address concerns with the bill, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would veto it anyway. Quinn has said she has the votes to override him.
The New York Times' Editorial Board called the deal "good news, although it will take at least a year for most employees to enjoy a basic benefit widely available elsewhere." The New York Post wrote: "The best way to improve life for city workers is not by imposing politically motivated diktats on employers. It’s by giving business the freedom it needs to create a dynamic, expanding economy."
Last night, Councilwoman Gale Brewer, the prime sponsor of the sick leave bill, sent out an email thanking the speaker. She also disclosed the following "outline" of the bill:
• Businesses with 20 or more workers will have to provide five paid sick days beginning April 1, 2014.
• Businesses with 15 or more workers will have to do the same beginning Oct. 1, 2015.
• Workers would have to be on the job for at least four months to take advantage of sick leave.
• The Department of Consumer Affairs is the lead enforcement agency.
New Campaign Finance Reform Ads (NY Times)
Backstage With The Mayoral Candidates (NY Times)
Deal on Paid Sick Leave
The city is set force companies that employ over 15 people to give full-time employees 5 compensated days off a year. The news comes as Council Speaker Christine Quinn who has blocked a vote on paid sick leave for years reached a deal last night with labor and business leaders. The law wouldn't take effect until spring 2014 and for the first 8 months it would only apply to businesses with 20 or more employees. Political pressure mounted on mayoral candidate Quinn over the last few weeks as her opponents and advocates attacked her on her refusal to bring the issue to a vote. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is opposed to paid sick leave and like Quinn has said it will hurt business. The council will have to vote on the legislation and likely override a veto from Bloomberg. “We have a good, strong and sensible piece of legislation that recognizes the needs of everyday New Yorkers and the realities that our struggling small businesses face,” Quinn said in a statement.
Fewer Students Suspended (Wall Street Journal)
Assemblyman Vito Lopez Faces New Health Crisis (Daily News)
Bloomberg Expected to Accelerate Bike Lane Plans (Daily News)
Lobbying Spending in New York State Dropped in 2012 (Democrat and Chronicle)
Cuomo Cancels Fundraisers in Florida (Wall Street Journal)
Pro-Cuomo Group Biggest Lobbying Spender (NY Times)
NY Assembly Passes State Budget (Daily News)
Bloomberg Lashes Out at State Legislators
Mayor Michael Bloomberg got personal yesterday with state legislators he blames for failing to enact a speed camera program around schools that he says would stop children from being hit and killed by speeding cars. After the next tragedy Bloomberg suggested: “Why don’t you pick up the phone and call your state senator and ask why they allowed that child to be killed?” Bloomberg named Sens. Martin Golden, Dean Skelos and Simcha Felder as legislators parents should call to complain.“Maybe you want to give those phone numbers to the parents of the child when a child is killed,” Bloomberg said. “It would be useful so that the parents can know exactly who’s to blame.” The speed camera plan was in the Assembly's budget plan but did not make it to the final product. When approached on Sunday during budget votes Golden told the Gazette "I have no idea," when asked why speed cameras weren't part of the budget. He told The New York Times on Wednesday that other areas that use speed cameras have found them "unreliable." Republican spokesman Scott Reif issued a statement saying that, "no one has fought harder or longer" to promote safety in New York City.
Does State Budget Favor the Young? (Albany Times Union)
State Assembly to Vote on Budget Today (Associated Press)
Minority Parks Department Workers Get Settlement (Daily News)
Quinn Calls Herself "Pushy Broad" During Interview (Daily News)
Quinn Denies Being Vindictive (NY Times)
Administration Rebukes NYPD Inspector Idea
Yesterday Police Commissioner Kelly spoke for the first time about the idea of creating an inspector general for the NYPD. “I think putting in another layer of so-called supervision or monitoring can ultimately make this city unsafe," he said. Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg commented on the mayoral candidates' ability to keep the city safe: “What we don’t know is what they will actually do to reduce crime. We don’t even know if it’s a goal.” Mayoral Candidate William Thompson said Tuesday he wants an inspector who would report to the commissioner. In related news, three cops who have stopped-and-frisked an unusual amount of people will offer their perspective on the practice at a trial over its constitutionality.
SUNY Downstate Focus Of Senate Budget Debate (Gotham Gazette)
Marty Markowitz's Borough Hall Legacy (The Brooklyn Bureau)
State Will Develop Handgun Database (Associated Press)
Senate Nears Budget Goal (Albany Times Union)
Quinn Is Said To Be In Talks Over Sick Time (NY Times)
NYPD Losing Its 'Four-Star General' (Wall Street Journal)
Medicaid Issues Costing State
A delay in its bidding process has left the state's Office of Medicaid Inspector General without private investigators who do the foot work rooting out fraud and abuse. Without them, the state is failing to recover tens of millions of dollars. The investigators are usually retired detectives. Also, the office has weakened its in-house enforcement, leaving many cases without a primary investigator or supervisor assigned. In related news, the federal government is asking the state to return a $27.4 million reimbursement to Washington. An audit found an "extremely high" incidence of billing errors for services for Medicaid recipients who were in a state rehabilitation program.
Taxi App Keeps You On Track (NY Post)
Sen. Squadron's Switch On Park Pays Off (NY Post)
Tax Rebate Details Emerge (Albany Times Union)
In Reversal, Liu Opposes Inspector General For NYPD (Wall Street Journal)
PAID SICK LEAVE
The City Council held a hearing on Friday on the paid sick leave bill that Speaker Christine Quinn, a candidate for mayor, has refused to bring to a vote. Two of her rivals for the mayor's office, Bill de Blasio and William Thompson, rebuked her for holding up the bill. Quinn said at a news conference that she supported the concept behind the bill, but not the measure in its current form because of its potential negative effects on small businesses (The New York Times). The New York Daily News praised her for "putting sound economics over cheap politics." Quinn only spoke briefly at the hearing, and didn't ask any questions. Her fellow Council members are discussing the possibility of forcing the legislation to the floor, thereby circumventing Quinn (The Wall Street Journal).
The city is losing out as state lawmakers negotiate an on-time budget. A number of sticking points that got jettisoned to make room for a $135 billion budget agreement would affect residents of New York City, from a speed camera program designed to reduce traffic accidents and deaths to tweaking the laws regarding possession of small amounts of marijuana (Gotham Gazette). SUNY Downstate Medical Center was left to struggle on its own (The Daily News). While the State Senate was voting on budget bills yesterday, the Assembly is putting its duties off until Thursday (WXXI).
Judge: Subway Riders Not Required To Carry IDs (Transportation Nation)
Liu's Surprising Fundraising Strategy (NY Post)
Ellis Island Museum Unlikely To Reopen Next Year (Associated Press)
Bloomberg Vows To Win Assault Weapon Ban (Politico)
Cuomo Nominates Donors For Appointments (Daily News)
Mayoral Campaigns Woo Black Voters (Wall Street Journal)
Recording Suggests Race a Factor in Stop and Frisk
A recording played in federal district court in Manhattan on Thursday suggests that race plays a factor in the city's stop and frisk practices. The tape captures a conversation between a patrol officer and his commanding officer. The commanding officer urges the officer to stop "the right people, at the right time, the right location," to prevent crime. The officer asks what the commander means by "right people" and he responds: "The problem, was what, male blacks and I told you at roll call and I have no problem telling you this, male blacks 14 to 20, 21." The tape was played on the fourth day of trial in a class action lawsuit that includes millions of stop and frisk incidents in New York City. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has championed stop and frisk as a method to prevent gun violence and reduce crime. The issue is playing prominently in the race to replace Bloomberg.
Some Disappointment With Quinn At LGBT Mayoral Forum (Gay City News)
Cuomo Wants New Teacher Evaluation Deal (Wall Street Journal)
Met Museum to Open 7 Days a Week (Crain's)
Biden Visits City Hall (Daily News)
Suit Challenges NY Gun Law (Daily News)
Skelos Backs Catsimatidis (NY Post)
Budget Deal Reached in Albany
It isn't a complete budget but legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced what Cuomo called, "a budget agreement in concept." Leaders have agreed to incrementally increase the minimum wage to $9 an hour by 2016, give households with one child or more under 18 who make $40,000-$300,000 a tax rebate of $350 and extend the millionaires tax for three years. There are also $650 million in tax breaks for businesses. The $135 billion budget plan will age three days and be voted on starting Saturday. Although bills began printing last night not every part of the budget is rock solid--distribution of school aid remains undecided, tweaking the city's marijuana laws was not addressed and neither was tweaks to the state's newly-passed gun laws. Other outstanding issues include providing tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants and a deal to criminalize bath salts. Cuomo said that New York City will not see a restoration of $240 million in school aid it lost when the NYC Department of Education and the city's teachers union failed to reach a deal on teacher evaluations but Speaker Sheldon Silver said the money would be made up for through other channels. If lawmakers pass the budget by April 1st it will be the third on-time budget in a row.
Second Officer Cites Quota For Street Stops (Wall Street Journal)
Republicans Council Members Endorse Lhota (NY Times)
Bloomberg Wants to Expand Recycling (Wall Street Journal)
Bloomberg Vows to Veto Inspector For Police (NY Times)
Pushing Cuomo to DREAM (Gotham Gazette)
Groups Decry Minimum Wage Deal (Gotham Gazette)
Cuomo Favors Easing Newly Passed Gun Laws (NY Times)
Biden and Bloomberg to Meet on Gun Laws (NY Times)
NYPD Inspector General Likely
Speaker Quinn, the frontrunner in the mayoral race, said a council bill to create an Inspector General's office for the NYPD likely has enough votes to override a mayoral veto. The office would be able to issue subpoenas, interview witnesses, and look broadly at police procedures and policies. Individual misconduct cases would still be handled by Internal Affairs and the Civilian Complaint Review Board. Quinn said talks were also progressing on three companion proposals to set new stop-and-frisk rules. A bill to create an NYPD monitor was introduced in June, but Quinn kept it from a vote. Bill de Blasio, a Democrat also running for mayor, said the monitor needed to have a budget independent of the mayor and City Council. Quinn would still retain Commissioner Kelly, who is opposed to the monitor.
Mayoral Candidate Thompson Focuses On Paid Sick Days (Politicker)
Smoking By Teens Steadies (Wall Street Journal)
NYPD Officer: Police Brass Dictate Stops, Arrests (Associated Press)
Bloomberg Wants Retailers To Hide Cigarettes
Mayor Bloomberg introduced a bill yesterday that would force retailers to keep cigarettes out of view from customers. It would not affect advertising, which falls under First Amendment protections. Speaker Quinn said she is very open to the idea. A Health Department study found that 80 percent of stores selling cigarettes devote most of their space behind the register to tobacco displays. A British study found that simply noticing tobacco on display raised the odds kids would try smoking by threefold. A second proposed bill would raise penalties for retailers who evade tobacco taxes and create a minimum price of $10.50 per pack. Retailers complain they will lose a lot of business.
Police Unnerve Many In East Flatbush (Wall Street Journal)
Mayor Hit On Homelessness (Wall Street Journal)
State Budget To Include $9 Minimum Wage (Associated Press)
Weekend Roundup: Stop-And-Frisk | Liu Declares
STOP-AND-FRISK ON TRIAL: A federal judge begins hearing key testimony today in a trial to determine whether the New York Police Department has been unlawfully targeting blacks and Hispanics with its tactic of stopping, questioning and frisking people on the street. The New York Times writes that the outcome "will help define the terms under which the department patrols large swaths of the city long after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg leaves office." The U.S. District Judge in the case, Shira Scheindlin, has expressed misgivings about the NYPD's stop-and-frisk tactics (Bloomberg, The Associated Press).
LIU DECLARES: Comptroller John Liu (@JohnCLiu2013) officially declared that he is running for mayor on the steps of City Hall in front of hundreds of people Sunday. Striking a populist tone, the Democrat took aim at Mayor Michael Bloomberg's as beholden to the wealthiest New Yorkers. Liu defiantly cast the legal cloud surrounding an investigation into his campaign's fundraising as a result of his willingness to stand up to powerful interests. "When you go after powerful people and rich corporations, they're going to come after you," he said in his speech (Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, many others).
City's Tab For Sheltering Homeless Decreases (Wall Street Journal)
Weiner Campaign Spends Cash On Polling (Wall Street Journal)
City Becoming Shelter System For Nation? (NY Times)
NY's First Muslim Democratic Club (Capital)
School Aid Could Be Restored Under State Budget (Gotham Schools)
State Senate Underdog Drives Campaign Finance Reform (Associated Press)
Cuomo And State Lawmakers In Deep Budget Talks (Capital Tonight)
More People Moving to City Than Leaving
According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg the city's population has reached an all-time high of 8.3 million and for the first time since the 1950's more people are moving into the city than moving out. The city's population grew by 161,000 between 2010 and 2012 bringing the population to 8.3 million. Each borough saw an increase in population but Brooklyn trumped them all with a jump of 61,000 people. "The facts bear out that this is a great place to come, to live, to vacation, to get medical care, to get an education," Bloomberg said.
State Budget Is Looming (Gotham Gazette)
Senate Republicans Push Private Busing Plan (Daily News)
Pataki Endorses Castamatidis For Mayor (NY Times)
Mayoral Hopefuls Detail Funding (Wall Street Journal)
Board of Elections Fears Workers Would Steal iPads (Daily News)
Gun Show Operators Agree to New Controls (NY Times)
Tax Cuts Eyed in State Budget (Buffalo News)
State Budget Begins to Take Shape (Albany Times Union)
Outsiders Blamed For Unrest in Brooklyn (NY Times)
Meth Trail Leads to Chinatown (NY Times)
Protests Continue Over Flatbush Shooting
Wednesday saw the third day of protests in Flatbush following the shooting death of 16-year-old Kimani Gray on Saturday. Gray was shot seven times in the front and back of the body by New York Police Department officers. Police officials say Gray brandished a handgun and pointed it at them. A number of community members have voiced skepticism of the official police account. Protesters clashed with police yesterday at 54th Street and Church Avenue. It isn't clear how many were arrested. The shooting has only heightened tensions in a community where police are aggressivley pursuing gangs.
Lhota Has Raised $730k For Mayoral Bid (Daily News)
Klein, Law Partner Tag Team to Score Big on Appointments (Riverdale Press)
Judge Denies SAFE Act Injunction (Albany Times Union)
Minimum Wage Issue Pressures Senate Coalition (Albany Times Union)
Fewer People Abandoning the Bronx (NY Times)
Battle at Beach Club to Rebuild After Storm (City Room)
Boyland's Ex-Aide Said to Plan Guilty Plea (NY Times)
Flatbush Still Tense After Riot
A witness now says that the boy fatally shot by police in East Flatbush earlier this week had no gun, as the officers claim. A gun was recovered from the scene, however. On Monday night, a group had splintered from a peaceful protest over the shooting and rioted. Local shops along Church Ave. were shuttering early yesterday in fear of more tumult. An offshoot of the Bloods gang has put out a hit on any cop in retaliation for the killing of the boy, who is said to have been a gang member. Both police involved in the shooting are people of color. During a budget hearing yesterday, Councilman Jumaane Williams said more violence could be expected if the police didn't repair their relationship with poor and minority communities, because the unrest was about more than this isolated shooting.
Interview With NYC's Chief Digital Officer [Video] (TechCrunch)
New York Startups Doubled In Two Decades (Wall Street Journal)
Carrion May Be Nixed From Republican Mayoral Ticket (Daily News)
For Transit Systems, Storm Wounds Heal Slowly (Wall Street Journal)
Soda Ban Faces Long Battle Ahead (Wall Street Journal)
Commission Set To Weigh New Lobbying Rules (Gotham Gazette)
Judge Strikes Down Soda Ban
A judge struck down Mayor Bloomberg's sugary drink ban yesterday, calling the limits “arbitrary and capricious” with confusing loopholes and voluminous exemptions. The limits of city authority means some businesses, such as 7-Eleven, would still be able to sell the drinks banned in other stores if it passed. The administration will appeal, and likened the decision to a string of other lower court rulings against the city's initiatives that didn't stand up against appeal. The ruling was a surprise, as the judge had been expected to rule only on a request for a temporary restraining order. The mayoral candidates differed on the ban. For more, read our story on the ruling.
Anticipating The Next Superstorm (Albany Times Union)
Sandy Surge Covered A Sixth Of The City (City Limits)
Subways Smash 1940s Rider Record (NY Post)
Activists Say NYPD Surveillance Harmed Muslims (Associated Press)
Quinn Declares For Mayor
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn formally declared Sunday that she is running for mayor. "I'm running for mayor because I love this city. It's the greatest place in the world," she said in a five-minute video posted on her campaign website at 8 a.m and linked to a post on Twitter. She spent several hours on a walking-and-talking tour of the boroughs (New York, The Associated Press, DNAInfo).
Although it was far from a surprise, the City Hall press corp gamely followed along, with The New York Times reporting this about one encounter between the candidate and a bus driver in the Bronx: "It was a scene nearly unimaginable in this buttoned-up era of City Hall: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, after all, is not known for greeting New Yorkers with an enthusiastic public display of affection." She sounded her campaign theme of representing the middle class (Capital New York).
Quinn has a lead in the polls for the Democratic primary, which is expected to take place in September (The Wall Street Journal). Daily News columnist Mike Lupica wonders whether Quinn "can run for mayor and win by talking out of both sides of her mouth."
Lhota Raises Money Out Of Town For Mayoral Bid (Daily News)
Cuomo Tired Of Campaign Finance System (Capital)
A Dull Year For NY Budget (Associated Press)
Advocate Confident NYC Schools Funding Will Be Restored (Albany Times Union)
MGM Criticizes Cuomo For Upstate Casino Focus (Albany Times Union)
City Jobless Rate Rises
The city's jobless rate rose above 9 percent in January despite the fact that the city started the year with more jobs than it has ever had before. The State Labor Department found that the city added 85,000 jobs in 2012 and started 2013 with 3.94 million jobs. The Labor Department has concluded that the city's jobless rate rose no higher than 9.5 percent last year and was at 8.8 percent by the end of the year.
Con Ed Begins Work On Spectra Pipeline in Chelsea (Chelsea Now)
MTA to Reopen Station at South Ferry (Wall Street Journal)
GED Test Out in NY (Wall Street Journal)
Top Senate Republican Vows to Block Fracking Moratorium (Lower Hudson Journal)
Lawmakers See Path to Early State Budget (Capital Tonight)
Amendments to State Gun Law Package in The Works (Albany Times Union)
City Park Staff to be Bolstered (Wall Street Journal)
Assembly Passes Fracking Moratorium
The state Assembly voted yesterday for a 24-month moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, apparently emboldened by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision to hold off on allowing the natural gas drilling process in New York state. In a statement defending the bill, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said a moratorium was necessary to allow for sufficient time to thoroughly study the issue. “We need to better understand the broad impacts to our environment, our economy, and the health and safety of all who work and live in New York before the Department of Environmental Conservation makes its decision," he said. Supporters of fracking condemned the move saying fracking will bring a needed boost to the upstate economy. The bill is unlikely to pass in the Senate although members of the Independent Democratic Conference have proposed a similar measure. The Assembly bill also requires a health impact assessment to be carried out using a model recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.
Attorney With Ties To Bronx Dems Gets Lucrative Receiverships (Riverdale Press)
Support For Cuomo Declines Upstate (Wall Street Journal)
State Senator Double Dips in Tax Relief Program (Albany Times Union)
Carion Defends Use of PAC (Wall Street Journal)
Silver Says MMA Will be Legal in NY 'At Some Point' (Daily News)
in Albany, Teacher Union's Lobbying Power Remains Unmatched (Gotham Schools)
State Budget Deadline May Be Even Earlier Than Usual (Daily News)
Cuomo to Hold Telephone Town Hall on Campaign Finance Reform (Capital Tonight)
Public Authoritiy Debt At $244 Billion
Last year, debt at the state's public authorities reached $244 billion, rising from $215 billion the year before, according to a report by the state comptroller. That includes $58 billion worth of bonds issued on behalf of state government. Spending jumped from $44 billion to $56 billion during the period. The 1,169 state and local authorities range from the MTA to the Rensselaer County Water and Sewer Authority. The public typicaclly has no vote on their indebtedness.
Pilot Says 'Drone' Flew Past Jet Nearing JFK (NY Times)
Bloomberg Shifts Blame For Rise In Shelter Stays (Wall Street Journal)
State Grants Another $25 Million For High-Speed Internet (Associated Press)
Federal Budget Cuts Will Hit JFK (NY Times)
Aqueduct Bet Pays Off (NY Post)
Assembly OKs $9 Minimum Wage; Senate Gets Bill (Associated Press)
The Whitest Assembly Districts (Capital)
Senate Conference Proposes To Halt Fracking Consideration (Albany Times Union)
City Shelters Break Record
A record 50,000 people on average slept in city shelters each night this January, according to a new report by the Coalition for the Homeless. Over that same period, 1 percent of the city's youth - or 21,000 kids - spent the night in shelters, a 22 percent increase over the past year. Homeless families now spend over a year in shelters on average.
State Sen. Squadron Fires Consultant In Mourning (Daily News)
Bloomberg Wants To Fund Own Schools (NY Post)
City Defends Gifted Policy (Wall Street Journal)
Cuomo Says He Wasn't About To OK Fracking (Associated Press)
GOP Takes Aim At Bullet Law (NY Post)
Coalition Pushes For Women's Rights Agenda (Albany Times Union)
Cuomo To Put Health Programs In Categories To Compete For Grants (Albany Times Union)
Federal Cuts Will Hit City For $800 Million (Daily News)
Weekend Roundup: Gas Drilling | Teen Pregnancy
GAS DRILLING: Gov. Andrew Cuomo was about to give the go-ahead to allow drilling for natural gas in New York using the contentious process known as hydraulic fracturing — until conversations with environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., convinced him to hold off, The Associated Press reported Saturday.
â€‹TEEN PREGNANCY ADS: A new public information campaign announced by the city Sunday aims to show teenagers the potential consequences of becoming parents when they do not have the emotional and financial means to support children. "We must encourage responsibility and send the right message, especially to young people," said Human Resources Administration Commissioner Richard Doar in a statement (Gothamist, Staten Island Advance).
Struggle To Meet Demand For Pre-K Seats (Daily News)
Bracing For Bloomberg's Ban On Large Sugary Drinks (Wall Street Journal)
How Cuomo Keeps Tabs On The Press (Albany Times Union)
Gun Advocates Swarm Capitol
The Capitol in Albany was swarmed by an estimated 5,000 gun advocates yesterday in a rally organized to protest Gov. Andrew Cuomo's New York Safe Act. The SAFE Act that expanded the definition of assault weapons, banned clips with 7 or more bullets and increased penalties for illegal gun possesion was championed by Cuomo after the shootings in Newtown, Conn.The predominantly male audience carried signs that compared Cuomo to Hitler and chanted "Cuomo's got to go." Many protesters traveled for miles from across the state. Cuomo and legislative leaders have said they do not plan any major changes to the Safe Act besides a few technical corrections. However, one Republican Senator Kathy Marchione has introduced a bill that would repeal most of the SAFE act. The repeal is unlikely to ever come to a vote as Senate Republican leadership supports the SAFE act. The New York Rifle and Pistol Association which organized the protest is working on a legal challenge to the SAFE Act that it plans to file next week.
Faltering Bronx School Nears the End (NY Times)
Liu Denounces Inquiry Into His Fundraising (NY Times)
Council Votes to Curb Deportations
The City Council overwhelmingly voted for two bills yesterday that will further restrict the city's cooperation with federal immigration authorities in an effort to prevent unnecessary deportations. The laws would stop the city from honoring detainment requests except for immigrants with previous felonies, who are on gang or terrorist watch lists, have outstanding criminal warrants, or have committed misdemeanors such as sexual abuse, gun possession and assault. However, the law would prevent holding immigrants charged or having been found guilty of most misdemeanors. The impact of the laws is unclear as they echo recent guidelines from the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement chair. "Current policy is eroding the trust between immigrants and local law enforcement and that frustrates the stated purpose of ‘Secure’ Communities,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn in a statement. “If immigrants believe that the police will hand them over to immigration authorities, they are less likely to report crimes, and this can only have a negative effect on public safety. We have seen too many families torn apart by current detention and deportation practices
Vending Machines In Cabs? (The Atlantic Cities)
Compare The Sequester Cuts By State [Interactive] (Texas Tribune)
Contentious Council Race Comes to an End (Daily News)
Cuomo Wants to Close Undetermined Number of State Psychiatric Centers (Albany Times Union)
Bloomberg Touts Influence in Gun Debate (Daily News)
Cuomo Moves to Save Props From Assault-Weapon Ban (Wall Street Journal)
County Weighs Bill To Take Guns From Psych Patients (Wall Street Journal)
Senate Democrats Call for Wage Vote (NY Post)
Casinos Struggle in New Jersey (NY Times)
Bronx Defenders Offer Legal Aid (NY Times)
Mayoral Candidates Spar On Education And More
At an education forum for the mayoral candidates last night, a few issues separated them along party lines. All the Democrats supported the teachers union’s push for smaller class sizes and more education funding, while the Republicans supported merit-based pay for teachers. None of the candidates said whether teachers should receive retroactive pay raises when their next contract is negotiated. Meanwhile, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion officially announced he's running for mayor. And Working Families Party officials were subpoenaed about their ties to a company that provided campaign assistance to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, among other city candidates, in 2009.
Why Can't Computers Determine Districts For Us? (The Atlantic Cities)
Subpoenas Issued In Working Families Party Probe (Wall Street Journal)
Lopez Made Women Write Him Love Notes (NY Post)
Empire State Pride Agenda Calls For Collection Of Sexual Orientation Info (Albany Times Union)
How Dov Hikind Survived the Blackface Backlash (Politicker)
Fracking Rules To Miss Deadline; Review Lingers (Associated Press)
Brooklyn Lawmaker In Blackface
Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind is under fire for wearing a blackface costume to a party this weekend celebrating the Jewish holiday Purim. He was dressed as a "black basketball player." Purim has a costume tradition similar to Halloween. Hikind initially called the criticism "absurd," but eventually apologized after mounting outrage. Then in a radio interview following the recantation, he asked the host if it would be alright if he "played a gay person next year."
Canarsie Braces For Foreclosure Wave After Sandy (The Brooklyn Bureau)
John Catsimatidis Holds Court In Brooklyn (Politicker)
Brooklyn DA Unveils New Focus On Health Care Fraud (Associated Press)
Mayor: State Should Follow On Sugary Drinks (Wall Street Journal)
Pact, For Now, In Mayoral Campaign Donation Limit Case (Associated Press)
To Curb Suits, City Now Opts To Fight Them (NY Times)
E Oh Cart
Actually flexitarian placeat marfa, banksy gastropub craft beer in. Authentic tonx four loko excepteur locavore etsy. Veniam pork belly wes anderson hoodie. Laborum letterpress adipisicing, odio ut direct trade id nesciunt fingerstache eiusmod. Sapiente squid photo booth aliqua minim. Salvia cardigan adipisicing fanny pack. Umami adipisicing literally, mollit nulla banksy labore before they sold out cupidatat actually organic fugiat hashtag sed leggings.
Judge Blocks Cuomo's School Aid Cut
State Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez temporarily blocked Gov. Andrew Cuomo's from witholding $260 million in aid to New York City schools saying that students should not be punished because the Bloomberg administration and the teachers union could not reach a deal on teacher evaluations. The judge says funds can't be witheld until the lawsuit is resolved but the Cuomo administration has said it plans to appeal. Cuomo set a January deadline for the city to come up with a teacher evaluations deadline but last-minute negotiations brokedown and both sides have been playing the blame game ever since. Cuomo has since said he will impose a teacher evaluation system on the city if negotiations aren't successful by June. The judge noted this saying, "There are alternate means of achieving [evaluation] goals while preserving federal grant funds without the long term effects of financial sanctions on the students," he wrote.
Con Ed Official Questioned Over Spectra Pipeline (Chelsea Now)
State Starts Hotline to Report Gas Price Gouging (Lower Hudson Journal)
"Sequester" Means Cuts to NY's Economy, Schools (Lower Hudson Journal)
Mayoral Candidates Tangle Over Business (Wall Street Journal)
Cuomo to Impose Teacher Evaluation System on City
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed State Education Commissioner John King to impose a teacher evaluation system on New York City by June 1 if city officials and union reps can't reach an agreement by then. King will listen to the demands of both sides and then make a decision. Cuomo said that King, "Has discretion" in the matter. The city and union failed to meet a deadline for an evaluation system in January and lost out of $250 million in state education aid. The imposition of a new system will prevent further loss of state aid. The plan was introduced as part of Cuomo's budget amendments yesterday.
Brooklyn DA's Race Attracts Celeb Donors (Daily News)
Cuomo Wants Gas Stations to Have Backup Electricity (Democrat and Chronicle)
Teachers Union Fights Tax Cap (Albany Times Union)
Lhota Says City Faces Budget Crisis (NY Post)
Metrocards Become More Flexible (City Room)
$500 Million Chasm Opens in State Budget (NY Times)
No Winner Yet In Special Election
The special election in Queens for a City Council seat in one of the districts hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy is still too close to call. The Associated Press was reporting that only 26 votes separate candidates Donovan Richards and Pesach Osina. Vote counting ended at midnight, with 2,513 votes for Richards and 2,487 for Osina (The Daily News). Richards was the chief of staff of James Sanders Jr., who is now in the state Senate. Osina was an aide to Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. Eight candidates were vying to replace Sanders (Gotham Gazette).
City To Demolish 2 Westside Schools For Luxury Developments (West Side Rag)
Bronx BP Wants Public Gun Crimes Registry (NY Times)
Crime Rises 7% In City Parks (Wall Street Journal)
Cuomo To Propose NYC Teacher Evaluations Deal (Associated Press)
The Cost of the School Bus Strike
With the school bus strike over, its price tag has emerged, and the total cost to the city was about $20 million in reimbursements to parents for travel. That number is expected to rise as more parents file for reimbursement, which they are urged to do within a month. And yet, the city saved $80 million by not paying the regular bus companies. School bus service will be back up and running tomorrow morning. Disruptions along the lines of the first day of school should be expected.
Pennsylvania Gas Drilling Health Study Gets $1 Million Grant (Wall Street Journal)
SCHOOL BUS STRIKE ENDS
The city's largest school bus drivers union ended its monthlong strike on Friday after five Democratic mayoral candidates released a joint letter pledging that they would be more open to extending job guarantees to the workers. Mayor Michael Bloomberg had refused to negotiate with the union. The strike had disrupted the lives of thousands of city families, but Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 argued the action was necessary to fight for job protections.
Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson criticized his opponent in the Democratic primary, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, telling The New York Post that there has been "a pattern of questions surrounding Christine Quinn’s entire tenure as speaker." He made the remark in response to a question about the Mason Tenders District Council's endorsement of Quinn (Daily News). Democratic City Councilman Domenic Recchia says he'll run for Congress against Rep. Michael Grimm, a Republican, to represent New York's 11th district (Staten Island Advance).
Irish Help Storm-Struck Queens Enclave (NY Times)
Mayoral Hopeful Breaks Campaign Finance Law (Daily News)
Gov Looks To Negotiate On Wage Increase (Albany Times Union)
Road To E-Hail Apps Bumpy (Crain's)
Mayor Michael Bloomberg used his final State of the City Address given at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn yesterday to recap his accomplishments after three terms in office, defend his legacy, chide lawmakers who didn't agree with him and to announce a slew of environmental initiatives. Bloomberg staffers hung banners from the rafters listing the mayor's accomplishments, Nets cheerleaders danced to hip-hop music. Perhaps the most significant part of his speech however was the mayor's decision to change the city's policy for marijuana arrests. Those caught with a small amount of the substance won't be held in jail but instead issued appearance tickets. Bloomberg also pushed plans to ban the use of Styrofoam, increase the number of electric car charging stations across the city, and double recycling.
Utility Critics Seek Ally (NY Times)
Cab-Hail Apps Are Target of Lawsuit (Wall Street Journal)
Quinn Leads Democratic Rivals in Polls (Wall Street Journal)
State's Medicaid Faces Audit After $15B in Overbilling (Albany Times Union)
Assembly Want's to Make Obama's Wage Proposal Law In NY (Gotham Gazette)
NY to Get $250M in Federal Aid to Fix Roads Wrecked by Sandy (Lower Hudson Journal)
Bloomberg's State of the City Today
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is scheduled to deliver his final State of the City speech today. For some the speech will be an accounting of Bloomberg'ss "extra" third term and the promises he made to get it. Bloomberg's agenda for this year reportedly include increased recycling, installing more electric car charging stations, a curbside food-composting program, and a ban on Styrofoam packaging. Bloomberg administration officials say the proposals would increase sustainability and improve air quality. Bloomberg is expected to explain that Stryrofoam is not recyclable and does not biodegrade and deliver the line: "After all, we can live without it. We may live longer without it. And the doggie bag will survive just fine.”
Chief Judge Calls For Cameras in Court (Wall Street Journal)
Cuomo Defends Delay of Fracking Decision (Democrat and Chronicle)
Ethics Group Forwards Findings on Sexual Harassment (Albany Times Union)
Assembly Housing Chair Talks Housing (Gotham Gazette)
Sandy Ranked Deadliest Hurricane
Superstorm Sandy was the Northeast's deadliest hurricane in 40 years and the country's second-costliest ever, according to a report released yesterday by the National Hurricane Center. The study also called for a change in policy so the center could “continue issuing formal advisories on post-tropical cyclones as long as those systems pose a significant threat to life and property." Meanwhile, about $200 million in relief checks from insurance companies due to homeowners affected by the storm have been delayed by banks for up to a month. The state's Department of Financial Services says the main problem is the need for the checks' endorsement by both the homeowner and their bank or mortgage servicer. Also, undocumented immigrants affected by the storm are still stuck without basic help.
City Eyeing Wider Use of Biodiesel (City Limits)
NYPD Investigates Deaths of Three Gay Men (Associated Press)
South Bronx, Central Brooklyn Worst for Kids (Daily News)
Pro-Gun Rally Hits Cuomo (Wall Street Journal)
Minimum Wage Increase Idea Gains (Albany Times Union)
Cuomo Puts Off Decision on Drilling (NY Times)
Quinn's Speech Focuses on Middle Class
In her final State of the City speech, Council Speaker Christine Quinn proposed building 40,000 new middle-income homes over the next decade, paid for by borrowing and cutting costs. It would be the largest affordable housing construction program since Mitchell-Lama was created in 1955. Quinn, who is the frontrunner in the 2013 mayoral campaign, called for a middle-class tax break as well. Her office released a report to coincide with the speech, which shows rising housing costs and unemployment for the middle class. Another mayoral candidate, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, wrote the speech off as lofty rhetoric.
Cuomo Pulls Back on Casino Locations (Albany Times Union)
City Outlines Teacher Training, Evaluation Goals (Associated Press)
Lawmakers Confirm Rivera to State’s Highest Court (Wall Street Journal)
Candidates for Public Advocate Meet (Capital)
WINTER STORM NEMO
New York City did not suffer the brunt of winter storm Nemo, which walloped other parts of the Northeast. “I think it’s fair to say that we were very lucky,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Saturday (The Daily News). The National Weather Service said 11 inches fell at Central Park. It was much worse in other parts of the state. In Suffolk County of Long Island hundreds of motorists were stranded on roadways and more than two feet of snow was recorded (The New York Times).
BROOKLYN HOSPITAL CRISIS
In a move that state officials said was aimed at ensuring the continued viability of the State University of New York system, its trustees voted unanimously to shutter a financially struggling Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn. The medical facility employs about 2,000 people and serves the neighborhoods of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights and surrounding communities. “Any financial crisis of this order impacts the entire system,” Nancy L. Zimpher, the SUNY chancellor, said after Friday's vote (The New York Times). Estella Vazquez, executive vice president of 1199 SEIU, which represents 1,200 of LICH’s employees, said it was a "catastrophe for Brooklyn." (Daily News)
State officials expect to add 500,00 residents to Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul. New York state's guidelines are already broader than what is required by federal law. Experts hope the expansion of the federal law will attract some of the million New Yorkers who are eligible for Medicaid but are not currently enrolled. (Times Union)
Stop-And-Frisks Down 22% in 2012: NYPD (Daily News)
Walcott Defends DOE Against School Bus Strike Criticism (Gotham Schools)
Straphangers Tell Stories Of Commutes, Crowds, Crime (City Limits)
Still No Senate Aqueduct Racino Report (Albany Times Union)
Taxi Of Tomorrow Faces Legal Challenge (NY Times)
City Braces For Snow
A blizzard warning is in effect for the five boroughs until 1 P.M. on Saturday. Snow fall predictions range from 5 to 8 inches to 12 to 18. Snow is expected to get heavy this afternoon and last into Saturday. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has advised New Yorker's to stock up on essential supplies. The city could see wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour and storm surges of three to five feet. Coastal flood watches are in effect for the shorelines of the Bronx and northern Queens. Flights are being cancelled out of the city, Amtrak will hault northbound train service out of the city starting at 12:30 P.M. Friday and long gas lines have been seen in some parts of the city. Experts say however that the storm won't come close to comparing to Hurricane Sandy. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is opening the state's emergency operations center and has directed National Grid to assist the Long Island Power Authority.
Bloomberg Builds British Empire (NY Times)
Business Leaders Look For Compromise on Minimum Wage (Albany Times Union)
Hynes Seeks 7th Term (NY Times)
Bellevue Hospital Fully Returns After Sandy (City Room)
City Allots Sandy Aid
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that $720 million of the $1.8 million dollars in federal aid will go to help homeowners whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Public housing will recieve $120 million in funds. Businesses would recieve $185 million through grants, loans, and a $5 million innovation compettion. Infrastructure projects will recieve $140 million.
Cuomo Rejects 'Premise' That Senate Republicans Are Pushing Back (Gotham Gazette)
Attorneys Support Bail Overhaul (Daily News)
Anti-Fracking Group Rallies at Capitol (Albany Times Union)
Lease Surprise In Stuyvesant Town (Wall Street Journal)
Trial Tied to Liu Delayed (Wall Street Journal)
Stringer Plans Mayoral Forum on Tech Sector (Wall Street Journal)
GOP Rebels as Cuomo Shifts Left (Wall Street Journal)
NY Getting Sandy Aid; Families Still Homeless
New York will receive the first installments in Sandy aid from the federal government today, with the city and state each getting about $1.7 billion. The federal housing secretary called it the fastest allocation after approval in history. Meanwhile, the city's homeless services commissioner said he didn't know when the 2,000-3,000 families still living in hotels after losing their homes in the storm would be moved to permanent housing.
Pension Fund Reaches Deal with Cabot Oil on Fracking Disclosure (Associated Press)
By Elite-City Standards, New York is a ‘Relative Bargain’ (Wall Street Journal)
Lawsuit Seeks to Block Penalty for Teacher-Evaluation Impasse (Wall Street Journal)
New City Council Lines Announced (Politicker)
Police Stops are Down; So is Murder (NY Times)
NYPD Challenged on Multiple Issues
The NYPD yesterday released its 2011 stop-and-frisk data, showing that 90 percent of those detained were black or Hispanic. The groups account for less than 53 percent of the city's population. A total of 685,724 people (8.6 percent of the population) were detained. The NYCLU says the numbers show a pattern of racial profiling. Meanwhile, civil rights lawyers argued in court that the department's practice of spying on Muslims violates the Handschu guidelines, which limit police surveillance of political groups. In other related news, Frank Serpico -- famous for exposing police corruption in the '70s -- has joined the legal team of Adrian Schoolcraft, who secretly recorded his superiors ordering officers to skew crime statistics. He was subsequently placed in a mental institution and is suing over it.
State GOP Lawmakers Push to Limit Quick Bill Passage (Associated Press)
Airbnb Hosts Get Fined (WNYC)
Koch’s Bond with City is Celebrated (NY Times)
Weekend Roundup: Koch's Funeral, Sandy Recovery
Funeral services for former mayor Ed Koch at Temple Emanu-El are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. today (WNYC). Remembances of Koch continued over the weekend. On his Sunday radio show, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called his predecessor New York City's "most charismatic cheerleader and champion." Gay City News took a look at Koch's legacy in the LGBT community. Journalist Wayne Barrett, a self-described "relentless critic" of Kotch, wrote that the mayor "did in fact do things that will forever matter in the life of the city" (City Limits).
Cuomo proposes spending nearly half a billion to buy out homes ruined by Sandy and move development away from the shore (The New York Times). Monday is the deadline for New Yorkers to apply for federal Disaster Unemployment System (WNYC). Hospitals weigh costly plans to reduce risks of storms (Wall Street Journal).
Assemblyman Accused Of Falsifying Documents (Albany Times Union)
Changes Coming To NYC's 911 System (NY Post)
Mayoral Hopeful Would Bring Back World's Fair (Daily News)
New Rules For Student Athletes (Gotham Schools)
Ed Koch Dies At 88
Ed Koch, the three-term mayor who earned a reputation for being a combative, shrewd politician and helped steer the city through financial turmoil, has died. He was 88. Koch spokesman George Arzt confirmed that Koch died early Friday morning from congestive heart failure. A funeral is scheduled for Monday at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan. In a statement, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called Koch New York City's " irrepressible icon, our most charismatic cheerleader and champion." Koch left City Hall in 1990. He was born in the Bronx on Dec. 12, 1924.
Mishandling of DNA Evidence Found (NY Times)
Race To The Top Funds Not Yet At Risk Because Of Impasse (Wall Street Journal)
Bloomberg Announces Push To Clear Public Housing Repair Backlog (Wall Street Journal)
Group May Have Exploited State Law Loophole For Campaign Disclosures (Albany Times Union)
City Council Calls on Mayor To End School Bus Strike (Schoolbook)
Cuomo May Impose Teacher Evaluations
Gov. Cuomo threatened to impose a teacher evaluation system on the city if the Bloomberg Administration and teachers union couldn't come to an agreement on one. He's also considering withholding hundreds of millions from next year’s budget if they can't reach a deal by September. The move stops short of legislating a system, preserving the union's collective bargaining rights.
Taking Stock of Superstorm Sandy (City Journal)
School Bus Driver Union Says Mayor Holds The Key (Village Voice)
Ex-State Senator Pleads Guilty (Capital Tonight)
Gay Men Explain Opposition to Quinn (Gay City News)
Cuomo Plan to Privatize LIPA Begins to Form (Wall Street Journal)
School Bus Driver Union Says Mayor Holds The Key (Village Voice)
Speaker Quinn Lands Retail Workers Endorsement (Politicker)
"Energy Highway” Seeks Indian Point Alternatives (City Hall)
New Gun Laws Erode Support for Cuomo (NY Times)
9/11 Health Fund Finally Pays Out
Fifteen emergency responders were the first to receive payments from the 'Zardroga' health fund, which was set up to compensate those sickened by the 9/11 attacks. The payments ranged from $10,000 to $1.5 million. None were for cancer. Each will receive 10 percent of that payout to spread the fund's $2.8 billion as far as possible before it expires in October 2016. Although 16,000 people registered for the fund, about half of them are expected to file claims. But only 190 have submitted compensation forms so far, and only half of those are completed.
Cuomo Pushes Back on Women's Equality (Gotham Gazette)
NYC Board of Elections To Distribute Foreign Aid (Gotham Gazette)
John Catsimatidis Announces Bid for Mayor (Politicker)
Innocent of Crime, Tainted by Time: Exonorees Struggle (City Limits)
New Flood Maps Show More Risk
Revisions to federal flood maps double the number of structures in flood zones in NYC, adding 35,000 buildings. The maps won't affect evacuation zones, but they will change insurance rates and building laws. FEMA had been working on the maps before Sandy hit, but rushed to release them for the worst hit areas of Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn. The new maps for the rest of the area will be released next month. They are preliminary and won't be formally adopted until 2015.
US Senate Approved $50.5B Sandy Aid (Reuters)
A Profile Of Christine Quinn (New York Magazine)
Bloomberg Says State Aid Cuts Would Cost City 2,500 Teachers (Gotham Schools)
Cuomo Pitches Fiscal Control Board As One Way to Retool Ailing Cities Upstate (Albany Times Union)
Track Deaths Rare (Wall Street Journal)
After Sandy, Council Plans Disaster-Crime Bill (Associated Press)
Three Months Later, Sandy Losses Mount (Associated Press)
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio officially announced his run for mayor on Sunday, in front of his Park Slope, Brooklyn, home with his wife and son by his side (NY1, The Daily News). “Let’s be honest about where we are today: a city that in too many ways has become a tale of two cities, a place where City Hall too often has catered to the interests of the elite rather than the needs of everyday New Yorkers,” said de Blasio, a Democrat (The New York Times). Some political observers were unimpressed with Joe Lhota's public debut as a Republican mayoral candidate at a housing forum late last week. "By conventional political standards," wrote Chris Smith of New York magazine, "Lhota was a dud." Julie Menin, a candidate for Manhattan borough president, switched parties three times in two years (The New York Post).
NYPD'S KELLY: CONCEALABLE HANDGUNS THE PROBLEM
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said on CBS News' "Face The Nation" that while he supports a ban on assault weapons, handguns are the problem facing urban America. "For us in New York City and, I believe, in most urban centers throughout America, the problem really is concealable handguns. Only two percent of the people that we've arrested for guns in the last two years have had assault weapons. We don't want them on the streets, make no mistake about it. But the problem is the handgun. Sixty percent of the murders in New York City are caused by handguns. And we simply have too many of them, even though, last year, we had a record low in murders in New York City, and a record low in shootings, it's still way too many." (CBS News.)
BLOOMBERG'S RECORD DONATION
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has donated over $1 billion to his alma mater, Baltimore-based John Hopkins University. The school announced Saturday that Bloomberg had given an additional $350 million, bringing his total to that record amount (The Associated Press).
Freshman Assemblyman Wants To Take On City School Closure Policy (Gotham Schools)
Center Named After NYPD Shooting Victim In Jeopardy Of Closing (Amsterdam News)
Some Worried About Cuomo Cost-Cutting Of Anti-Psychotics (Associated Press)
Conservatives Pressure Senate Republicans (Albany Times Union)
Finding Temporary Housing For Sandy Victims Still A Challenge (Wall Street Journal)
Officials Defend Decision Not To Evacuate Hospitals During Sandy
Officials defended their decision not to evacuate hospitals and nursing homes before Superstorm Sandy at a City Council hearing yesterday. Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley told lawmakers that an evacuation before the storm may have led to injuries and deaths. Farley said it was "a judgment call." Three hospitals and several nursing homes had to be evacuated after the hurricane caused severe flooding and power outages. Councilman David Greenfield, a Democrat, described the evacuations as "chaotic."
Environmentalists Like Cuomo's Budget (Associated Press)
Co-Chairwoman of State Democratic Party Criticizes Cuomo Borrowing Plan (Associated Press)
The Geography Of Class in NY (The Atlantic Cities)
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan On 'The Ultrasound Generation' (Catholic New York)
Gas Trade Group Slams State's Proposed Fracking Rules (State of Politics )
City Council Wants NYCHA Reforms (Daily News)
Cuomo to Sandy Victims: Sell Your Homes
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants victims of Superstorm Sandy who live on the coast to sell their homes to the state. “At one point, you have to say maybe Mother Nature doesn’t want you here. Maybe she’s trying to tell you something,” Cuomo said in an interview with the Daily News Editorial Board. Cuomo has allocated funds in his budget plan to buy properties on the shore. Cuomo says the properties would remain empty and the state could decide to donate them to the city or state parks department. Cuomo said the state would likely offer "fair market" prices on the homes, "on the generous side." Meanwhile, Sandy victims whose homes have still not been repaired are dealing with below freezing temperatures.
Council Passes Unemployment Discrimination Bill (Gotham Gazette)
NYPD Test Scanner That Can Detect Firearms (Wall Street Journal)
Soda-Ban Challenge Has Day in Court (Wall Street Journal)
MTA Holds Hearings on Service Increase (NY Times)
State Redistricting Panel Gets Another Overhaul (Albany Times Union)
Cuomo Used All Means to Enact Gun Laws (NY Times)
Cuomo Outlines Budget Plan
Gov. Cuomo proposed his $142.6 billion budget yesterday, a 1.6 percent increase over last year. The rest of the growth is covered by federal money for Sandy relief and a health care law championed by President Obama. The plan includes funds for rebuilding from the storm, hiking minimum wage, and a 4 percent boost to education funding. The governor says he'll address a projected deficit of $1.35 billion through a variety of cost-cutting and revenue measures. He would generate nearly $1.2 billion over two years by closing loopholes and extending expiring taxes on utilities, Medicaid providers, and others. His proposal would also close two more prisons, including one in Manhattan temporarily shut down by Sandy.
Bloomberg Slams UFT Teacher Evaluations Plan (Daily News)
Judge Lets NYPD Resume Suspicion-less Stops (Associated Press)
Recovery from Sandy Continues
Recovery from Superstorm Sandy has been an uneven endeavor, and a number of areas continue to struggle. About a half dozen neighborhoods in the city, plus Hoboken and Long Beach, continue the slow climb back to normality. Complaints remain within public housing buildings as well. Much of the funds raised through charity in the storm's aftermath have also not been spent. Of the $400 million raised by businesses and ordinary citizens, only 40 percent has been used or committed so far. Meanwhile, the discussion continues about the wisdom of rebuilding in the most flood prone areas.
Multiple New Marijuana Proposals Waft Towards Albany (Politicker)
Report: NY Graduation and Dropout Rates Continue to Improve (Associated Press)
Cuomo Seeking Support for Wage Hike (Albany Times Union)
For Cuomo, a Budget Test (WNYC)
Teacher Evaluations Deadline Missed
A stalemate between the city and the teachers union resulted yesterday in a missed deadline for submission of a teacher evaluation plan, putting $450 million in funds at risk. Gov. Cuomo had imposed the deadline, and $250 million of those funds would have come from the state. The governor says he'll grant no extension. That amount is about 1 percent of the school system's budget. The remaining $200 million in federal funds is also at risk. They've been trying to agree on a plan since 2010.
Which House Republicans Voted Against Sandy Aid? A Map (Mother Jones)
Action Urged to Narrow Ability to Keep State Pistol Permits Private (Albany Times Union)
Audit: SUNY Downstate Loses Millions a Year (Wall Street Journal)
National Grid Audit Cites $44 Million in Inflated Prices (Albany Times Union)
NY Jobless Rate Dropped to 8.2 Percent in December (Associated Press)
Real-Estate Group Grows Even Closer to Cuomo (Wall Street Journal)
Council Tries To Get Details On Storm Response (Gotham Gazette)
Former Public Advocates Endorse Squadron For Their Old Job (Gotham Gazette)
Cuomo's Big Donors
Gov. Andrew Cuomo championed campaign finance reform in his State of the State Speech but according to campaign filings Cuomo is taking full advantage of the current system. An analysis by the New York Public Interest Group shows that one percent of Cuomo's donors gave him under $1,000. Cuomo's $22.5 million warchest has been stocked by sizeable donations from major corporate interests. Seven donors gave Cuomo from $100,000 to $500,000. New York has the highest campaign contribution limits in the nation and experts say the limits are easily skirted.
Cuomo's Messages of Necessity (Gotham Gazette)
Assembly Introduces DREAM Act (Gotham Gazette)
State Ethics Panel Settles 5 Cases (State of Politics )
Runaway Costs in City's Busing System (NY Times)
Sandy Auditor Fired After Criticizing State (Albany Times Union)
Deadline For Teacher Evaluations is Today (Wall Street Journal)
Ballots to Be Counted Today in Undecided Senate Race (Albany Times Union)
Legislators Had Little Time to Review Gun Bill (Albany Times Union)
Quinn Endorsed by Pride Agenda (Wall Street Journal)
Tutoring Service Under Investigaton (Daily News)
House OKs $50.5 Billion in Sandy Aid
The House approved a $50.5 billion aid package yesterday to help the region rebuild and recover from Superstorm Sandy. It was passed 241-180 and both the Senate and President Obama are expected to pass it as soon as next week. It includes money for mass transit and FEMA, along with funds for the Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild and prepare for future storms. Although the bill was delayed and did not cover the $82 billion in damage identified by governors in the Tri-State area, it was met with relief by most. Mayor Bloomberg said the vote "moves Washington toward honoring their commitment that Americans always make to one another in times of crises." But some were less sanguine. Conn. U.S. Senators Blumenthal and Murphy complained: "The delays South Jersey residents witnessed by Washington are inexcusable and unacceptable. A disaster means a disaster — not an opportunity to change midstream the process by which the government responds."
Candidates Diverge on Residency for Police (NY Times)
City Food Banks Still Recovering From Sandy (Wall Street Journal)
New Gun Law Has a Lot of Holes (NY Post)
State Acts on Gun Laws
Albany lawmakers and the the governor have agreed on a package of bills that would expand the assault weapons ban and do more to keep firearms from the mentally ill. The state Senate overwhelmingly approved them yesterday 43-18. Gov. Cuomo and the Assembly are expected pass them as well. The package, which was previously worked out in closed session, included everything Cuomo sought on the issue. Some of the new state proposals fail to meet what's already on the books in New York City, however. In related news yesterday, the Bloomberg-founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns group released a report accusing the gun lobby of suppressing data on gun violence.
Bloomberg Wants to Change the GOP (Washington Post)
Conservatives Chip Away at Sandy Aid (Associated Press)
Bill Thompson Raises $1 Million for Mayoral Race Over Six Months (Wall Street Journal)
NYPD Looks to GPS Bottles to Combat Pill Bandits (Associated Press)
House Set to Debate $50 Billion in Sandy Aid (Wall Street Journal)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order Saturday declaring a public health emergency in New York in response to what some are calling the worst flu season in years. Nearly 20,000 cases of influenza have been reported so far this year, compared to about 4,400 last year. The governor's order empowers pharmacists to administer flu vaccinations to children between the ages of six months and 18 years. Pharmacies in the city are struggling to meet the demand (The New York Times). Meanwhile, some local politicians are taking the opportunity to push for a vote on a Council bill that would mandate paid sick leave (WNYC).
Conservatives mounted a campaign to slow the progress of the $50.7 billion Superstorm Sandy aid package, which is supposed to get a vote in the House this week (The Associated Press). Opponents of the bill say it's full of pork and would increase the federal deficit. Congress has so far passed a bill for $9 billion in aid to the region. More than 100 Staten Islanders rallied on Saturday to call attention to what they say is a failure by government officials to respond to people who have lost homes and livelihoods because of the storm (Staten Island Advance). Some residents of shorefront communities on Staten Island would rather get bought out of their homes before the next one hits (Wall Street Journal).
City Comptroller John Liu, whose expected run for mayor has been clouded by a federal investigation into two people connected to his campaign's fundraising efforts, told The Wall Street Journal he had raised $522,000, during the six-month fundraising period that ended Friday. Candidates have until tomorrow to disclose the amount of money they have raised for the current fundraising period — and from whom they have raised it — to the city's Campaign Finance Board.
Legislative Employees Get Raises While Agency Workers Suffer Pay Freeze (Albany Times Union)
Cuomo Has Chance to Reshape Top Court (Albany Times Union)
Commentary: Why We Need The Kosher and Halal Food Act (Gotham Gazette)
Will A “Bar” Exam for Teachers Improve Student Performance? (Gotham Gazette)
Time Running Out For Deal On Teacher Evaluations In NYC (Associated Press)
What Does Success Look Like For Upstate Casinos? (Associated Press)
Taxi Inspectors Targeted Livery Cabs Taking Street Hails (Wall Street Journal)
Deal on Gun Law Close
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislators are close to concluding negotiations over new state gun laws that would strengthen the state's ban on assault weapons, force background checks for the sale of private guns, increase penalties for buying guns illegaly and making the licensing process uniform across the state. A probable part of the deal would be to extend a law that requires a judge to commit mentally ill parents who are a danger to themselves or others. Cuomo is said to want to beat the White House to taking action on guns after a series of mass shootings across the country. Gun laws were a major part of Cuomo's State of the State address. “No one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer. End the madness now," Cuomo said during his speech on Wednesday.
Report Links Poor Schools, Poor Teachers (Wall Street Journal)
Groups Ramp Up Opposition to Fracking (Wall Street Journal)
Cuomo Increases Pressure on Senate Republicans (Albany Times Union)
Court Delays Ballot Count In State Senate Race (Albany Times Union)
City Reviewing Rape Cases For Signs of Error (NY Times)
Cleaning the Beach After Sandy (NY Times)
Major Women's PAC Backs Quinn (NY Times)
A Guide to the Senate Rules Changes (Capital Tonight)
NY In Midst of Flu Epidemic (NY Post)
Brooklyn DA's Race Heats Up (Daily News)
Cuomo's Passionate and Wonky Speech
Gov. Cuomo's state of the state speech yesterday touched on gun control, equality for women, education reform, campaign finance, and plans to combat environmental change. He proposed some of the nation’s strictest gun-control laws and may have put the state on course to be the first to pass new laws after the Newtown shooting. The governor also called for a "bar exam" for teachers and incentives to extend the school day. The speech included a 10-point women’s rights program as well. Overall, it was considered a move to the left, but was also particularly wonky -- rather than distribute a transcript of the speech as usual, he handed out a 300-plus page policy book outlining his reform agenda. For more, read our coverage of the speech here.
Crane Collapse in Queens Injures Nine (Wall Street Journal)
NYC Firm Hit Hard on 9/11 Gives $10 Million in Sandy Aid (Associated Press)
Stop-And-Frisk Tactic Halted
The New York Police Department's policy of performing trespass stops outside private buildings without reasonable suspicion has been ruled unconstitutional and must be ceased immediately. The ruling by a federal judge is a blow to a key tactic of the police "stop-and-frisk" crime reduction policy.
The judge wrote in her decision: "While it may be difficult to say when precisely to draw the line between constitutional and unconstitutional police encounters such a line exists, and the NYPD has systematically crossed it when making trespass stops outside buildings."
NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly criticized the decision, saying it "unnecessarily interferes" with the use of crime-fighting tools. He said the program, known as Clean Halls, provides residents “a modicum of safety for less prosperous tenants."
Selection Process For City's Community Education Councils Begins (Inside Schools)
Court Says Public Input Needed On Nuclear Power Plants (Associated Press)
Assemblymen Want To Extend Commenting Period For Fracking (Associated Press)
A panel convened by Gov. Andrew Cuomo following Superstorm Sandy has recommended privatizing the Long Island Power Authority, following the widely panned performance of the utility in responding to outages caused by the hurricane. LIPA is a state authority overseen by the governor. Asked yesterday whether he shared some of the blame for the state authority's performance, Cuomo said "absolutely not" and that "LIPA was flawed from inception. There’s nothing you can do with the existing structure.” The prospect of privatizing LIPA seems dim, at best. One analyst told Crain's New York: "LIPA's in such bad shape, it's such a dismal picture; I just don't see anyone buying it."
City Announces Plan To Close 17 Struggling Schools (Gotham Schools)
Proposal To Channel Gambling Money Into NY Campaigns (Associated Press)
Bloomberg Signs Laws To Help Businessses (Crain's)
Queens Wants Its Own 'High Line' Park (NY Times)
Meager Enforcement Stymies State Board of Elections (Albany Times Union)
Analysis Shows Who Raised Most For 2012 State Elections (Buffalo News)
Fashion Retailer Seeks Bankruptcy Protection, Blames Superstorm Sandy (Wall Street Journal)
GUN CONTROL: State Senate Republicans have proposed a package of legislation calling for tougher penalties for gun crimes, but have balked at gun-control measures such as a strengthened assault-rifle ban (Post-Star). Gov. Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto: “Any gun policy that doesn’t ban assault weapons ignores the reality of gun violence and insults the common sense of New Yorkers" (Daily News). The governor met with Senate Democrats and a breakaway group of Democrats on Friday in what looked like a move to put pressure on Senate Republicans to support his gun-control package (Albany Times-Union).
HURRICANE SANDY: Storm commission makes slew of recommendations (New York Times). $154 million in overtime costs to the city because of storm; most for NYPD, Sanitation (New York Post, IBO). Editorial: "Remember the 67 Republicans in House of Representatives who turned their backs on Hurricane Sandy victims" (Daily News). All but one FEMA disaster recovery centers have closed on Staten Island (DNAInfo). Only a few hundred businesses damaged in storm have taken advantage of emergency loans (WNYC).
STATE OF THE STATE: Doug Muzzio, political science professor at New York City's Baruch College: "To a certain extent, there are two elephants in the room in this State of the State ... One is Sandy for its tremendous fiscal and emotional impact, and the other is the psychological impact of the Newtown tragedy." (The Associated Press)
ELECTIONS 2013: Possibile 2013 mayoral candidate Adolfo Carrion, on the possibility of New Yorkers electing a Latino mayor: “It’s absolutely important — I think it would be an inspiration to the world, certainly for people all across the country" (The Wall Street Journal). Brooklyn megachurch minister weighs run for mayor (Daily News).
Storm Panel Recommends Major Changes (NY Times)
Police Union Cards Are a Commodity (NY Post)
Fracking Debate Roils Upstate County (NY Times)
Cuomo to Unveil Budget Less Than Two Weeks After State of the State (Albany Times Union)
MTA Restores Bus Service To Routes (CBS News)
What Is Going On With City Council Redistricting? A Primer (Gotham Gazette)
On Staten Island, Mulling Armed Guards For Schools (Associated Press)
Impasse in Talks Over Teacher Evaluations (NY Times)
Three Cops Shot
Three officers were shot and wounded in two separate incidents last night only an hour apart. In one case, a man shot two officers in the subway after being stopped for passing between cars. He was killed by return fire and a bystander was grazed by a stray bullet. The other shooting occurred during a robbery at a car dealership where one assailant was arrested and an accomplice escaped in a car with two other suspects. All three cops are expected to make a full recovery.
Cuomo to Soon Fill Vacancies in Top Court (Albany Times Union)
State Charities Collect $400 Million in Sandy Donations (Wall Street Journal)
Bloomberg Names New Head of Albany Lobbying (Capital Tonight)
Cuomo: Show Me the Money on Sandy Aid (Capital Tonight)
Feds Launch Probe Into Sen. John Sampson (NY Post)
Panels Give Gov. Cuomo Report With Suggestions For Future Storm Preparedness (Albany Times Union)
Sandy Victims May Lose FEMA Hotel Money Jan 12 (Daily News)
NYC Finishes 2012 With All-Time Low 418 Homicides (Associated Press)
Sandy's Insurance Bill Estimated At $25 Billion For Industry (Wall Street Journal)
Education Commission's 'First Steps'
The education commission created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to recommend major reforms to the state's schools released a 92-page action plan yesterday that aims to guide policymakers in taking "the first steps" toward dealing with "the complex legal, financial, and structural issues that impede our system, our educators, and our students from achieving their full potential." The Syracuse Post-Standard sketched the major recommendations of the preliminary plan. The New York Times reported that Cuomo "received some of the proposals with warmth and others more tepidly." Some of the commission's findings are expected to appear on the governor's to-do list for 2013, which Cuomo will outline in his State of the State address on Jan. 9. The commission, convened in April 2012, brings together 25 policy experts. It has held 11 public hearings.
New Data Shows Uneven Gentrification in Brooklyn (The Atlantic Cities)
Northeast Republicans Denounce Boehner For Sandy Relief Vote Delay (Washington Post)
Cablevision Files Lawsuit Against Union (Crain's)
NYC’s Rules On Mental Illness And Guns (City Limits)
Ideas For Fixing New York Before Next Big Storm (Wall Street Journal)
Gas Drilling Called Safe In New York (NY Times)
Sandy Bill Stalls In Fiscal Cliff Showdown
The U.S. Congress and White House reached a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff," but the "showdown" diverted attention away from the $60.4 billion Sandy relief bill, which stalled Tuesday night and was "on track to expire this week." A spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner told Roll Call that the speaker was "committed" to getting the bill passed "this month." /// The Village Voice, in its list of "Ten Things We Should Expect To See In 2013," called the race to replace Bloomberg "The Mayoral Election Of A Lifetime." /// GothamSchools came up with a list of 12 lessons it learned from covering New York City schools in 2012, peppered with insights of what the New Year might portend, such as this: "The budget picture could grow grimmer in 2013 if the city does not adopt new teacher evaluations and the state withholds $250 million in new aid the city is due." /// And we spoke to a group of elected officials and thought leaders, including Christine Quinn and Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign, to get their predictions for 2013.
Staten Island Ferris Wheel Developer Says Project To Go On (Associated Press)
De Blasio's Family Expected To Play Role in Mayoral Bid (Wall Street Journal)
Silver Expects Quick Action on Gun Violence (Albany Times Union)
Hurricane Flooding Destroyed NYPD Evidence (NY Times)
Microstamping Not Part of Gun Talks in Albany (Daily News)
Assembly Democrats Push Early Voting (Daily News)
State Committee Urges More 'Open Data' (Albany Times Union)
State Looks For Quick Action on Gun Laws
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to toughen New York's gun laws and according to The Times Union Cuomo wants to do it as soon as next week. A source told the times union that a gubernatorial aide presented Senate Republicans with a draft of proposed gun legislation on Wednesday but Republicans turned it down. Republicans deny turning down any legislation. A myriad of Assemblyman have confirmed they were asked to stay in Albany on Wednesday in case a special session came to fruition this week but now all eyes or on Dec. 28. Cuomo has said he will address the issue of gun violence in his Jan. 9 State of the State Address but with the action in Albany it seems like something could happen much sooner. Cuomo has said he wants to eliminate loopholes in the state's assault weapons ban. Meanwhile, the Times Union reports that the same venue Cuomo will give his State of the State address in next year will also scheduled to host a gun show two weeks after the speech.
Legislators Rally For Tougher Gun Laws (Gotham Gazette)
Suit On Police Stops is Reinstated (NY Times)
Former Gov. Paterson Loses Radio Show (NY Post)
Unemployment Rate Tumbles (Crain's)
New York Stock Exchange Sells Itself (Crain's)
City's Incarceration Rate Plummets (City Room)
Fear, Death and Rumors in Queens High Rise (NY Times)
Subway Fares To Go Up In March
Millions of riders who rely on the subways and buses to get around the city will have to pay more for the base fare beginning in March. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted unanimously yesterday to approve the rate increases, even though some members voiced regrets that the city's commuters pay too much in fares. "We are not the fat, profligate, out-of-control agency that people make the MTA out to be. We've done everything we can to control costs," said board Chairman Joe Lhota, who also announced yesterday he would leave his job to explore a run for mayor.
Over $700M In Regional Economic Stimulus Awarded (Associated Press)
DOE Reverses Sibling Admissions Policy (Inside Schools)
UFT's Mulgrew Halts Talks On New Teacher Evaluations (Gotham Schools)
Judge Certifies Amedore's Victory in the 46th District (Albany Times Union)
US Senate Republicans To Propose $24B Sandy Aid (Wall Street Journal)
MTA Chief Quits for Mayoral Bid
Joseph Lhota, the M.T.A. chairman, will step down on Friday and is expected run for mayor as a Republican. A law prevents him from entering the race while holding the chairmanship. He's received widespread praise for his response to Superstorm Sandy. But the agency will adopt its new budget on Wednesday, and is expected to vote on approving a slate of fare and toll increases, which is never popular. It is likely he'd face primary challengers as well.
City Council to Fight Extreme Weather With Legislation (Gotham Gazette)
Task Force Report Tells of Danger, Cuomo Lauds His Administration (Associated Press)
Cost-Cut Ideas Forwarded to Governor (Albany Times Union)
9/11 Cancer Study Won't Settle Debate Over Risks (Associated Press)
Gun Control Chorus Grows
The call for more gun controls has been a familiar refrain following the Connecticut elementary school massacre, but a number of N.R.A. backed congressional Democrats and some Republicans have joined the chorus this time. Some opponents of the N.R.A. say this most recent tragedy could provide a true test of the powerful organization. Even conservative pundit Joe Scarborough has called for stricter rules and Wal-Mart removed a semiautomatic assault rifle similar to the one used in the incident from its Web site. In the wake of the shooting, Mayor Bloomberg unveiled a new campaign for stricter rules, and will send out 34 videos to each member of Congress. Gov. Cuomo also called for stricter federal rules, although he said the state’s assault weapons ban should be tightened, too.
Sikhs, With Ally Liu, Push For Change In NYPD Dress Code (Gotham Gazette)
Dunkin' Donuts, Subway Stay NYC’s Top Retail Chains (Daily News)
Cuomo Signs Law for New Oversight of Disabled Care (Associated Press)
R Train Set to Reopen (Wall Street Journal)
Still Rebuilding From Sandy
NYU Langone Medical Center is getting a $114 million grant from the federal government this week. The hospital was shuttered by Superstorm Sandy. Also, Assembly Speaker Silver is trying to secure grants from the federal government to help small businesses demolished by the storm. But the destruction wrought by the storm was more than physical and financial, it was emotionally traumatic as well, and its toll is still being born out.
Extell's Chief Thinking Tall For Midtown (Wall Street Journal)
Winners and Losers of 2012 (NY Post)
MTA Repair Speed Up to Slow Overnight Subway Trips (Daily News)
Officials Demand Storm Aid
The governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and more than 100 influential business leaders called on the U.S. Congress to decide on $60 billion in aid for Superstorm Sandy relief before the holidays begin. The governors said Congress had taken longer to approve aid to their states than it had for relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina. Business executives also wrote a letter to congressional representatives. "We believe that failure to expeditiously fund storm relief and recovery will severely weaken this region and worsen our nation's overall fiscal condition," they wrote.
Fight For Council Speaker's Seat Already Beginning (Wall Street Journal)
Bloomberg Signs Pedicab Bill Into Law (Wall Street Journal)
State AG Looking At Elections Spending By Nonprofits (Albany Times Union)
Teachers' Pensions To Fund Post-Sandy Infrastructure Improvements (Gotham Schools)
MTA Head Recommends Fare Hike (Daily News)
NY Court Upholds 9/11 Benefits for 3 NYPD Officers (Associated Press)
Countdown 'Til Senate Democrats Pick a New Leader? (Gotham Gazette)
Republican Senator Who Voted For Gay Marriage Concedes (Gotham Gazette)
Utilities To Give Rebates For Lost Service During Sandy (Associated Press)
City Considers Limiting Deportations
Two bills set to be proposed in the City Council today would further limit the city's cooperation with federal programs that seek to deport immigrants. The bills are in response to The Secure Communities Act which mandates fingerprints taken at local jails are compared to a Department of Homeland Security database. Anyone who is deemed an illegal immigrant is then marked to be detained. If the City passes these laws it will strengthen its reputation as immigrant-friendly. Gov. Andrew Cuomo symbolically withdrew New York from the program earlier this year. “What we don’t want is New York City’s agencies having to participate in deporting people who present no risk and in fact may be adding a great deal to the City of New York,” Council Speaker Christine Quinn told the Times yesterday in an interview.
Some Question Whether NYC Police Watchdog Has Enough Muscle (Gotham Gazette)
Cuomo Delights in Record High Approval Rating (Daily News)
Bloomberg Decides Not to Sign Pedicab Bill (Daily News)
Former Comptroller Hevesi Released From Prison (Daily News)
New Plan Allows Taxi Hail Apps on Temporary Basis (Wall Street Journal)
Some Question Whether Police Watchdog Has Enough Muscle (Gotham Gazette)
Cuomo Tells Senate Republicans to Back His Agenda (Gotham Gazette)
Rockaways Stores Struggle (MetroFocus)
Quinn May Face Steeper Road to Victory (NY Times)
NYC Head Face Prelude to No-Confidence Vote (NY Times)
Cuomo Puts Campaign Finance in 2013 Agenda (City Room)
Ex-Senate Majority Leader Loses Bid to Dismiss Corruption Case (Albany Times Union)
Sen. Jeff Klein Took Campaign Cash From Ex-Mobsters, Felons (Riverdale Press)
Lack of Funds for NY's Schools
The city missed out on $40 million in federal Race to the Top funds for failing to provide budget, timeline, and personnel information on their application. The city scored 186 out of a possible 210 points on its application. A number of points were lost simply for incomplete answers. Meanwhile, federal negotiations over the 'fiscal cliff' could lead to $164 million in cuts to federal aid programs for special ed and low-income students in the state. In other related news, schools in New York's poor districts still lack basic resources six years after a landmark court ruling required the state to increase spending on public education.
Monserrate Gets Two Years (NY Post)
NY's Top Court: Gang Member Not a Terrorist (Associated Press)
Donors Behind Front Groups Would Face New Rules Under Attorney General's Plan (Albany Times Union)
Hasidic Counselor Guilty of Sexual Abuse
A powerful ultra-Orthodox Jewish counselor was found guilty Monday of sexually abusing a teenage girl. Prosecutors said he used his status in the community to gain access to young girls who were deemed problematic for not following strict Satmar rules. The girl molested was considered too rebellious. This was the first time the Brooklyn DA's office has won a conviction against a prominent member of the Satmar Hasidic community of Williamsburg for child sexual abuse. Members of the community are wary of reaching out to authorities.
Council Approves Hurricane Sandy Property Tax Relief (Gotham Gazette)
Addabbo: Sandy Recovery Too Important For Political Differences (Gotham Gazette)
Assembly Proposes Tax Breaks for Sandy Victims (Associated Press)
MetroCard Refunds Made Easier (NY Post)
New State Senate Leadership Focuses on Sandy Recovery (Albany Times Union)
City Limits Storm Aid (Wall Street Journal)
Paying for Sandy and Future Storms
On Friday, President Obama asked Congress for 60.4 billion in Sandy aid for New York, New Jersey, and other states. Nearly $48 billion of it would go to relief, while the rest would be used for mitigation of future storms. To further help recovery efforts, two U.S. senators have also proposed billions in tax breaks, a plan modeled after laws passed post-Katrina. Meanwhile, a relief fund set up by Gov. Cuomo has been criticized for the political nature of the board that oversees money it raises. Many members were involved in fundraising for the governor's election. In related news, a number of the area's non-Sandy related charities have seen a drop in donations since the storm hit.
Why the Latest Delay to the Bike Share Program May Not Be the Last (Gotham Gazette)
Storm Warnings Throughout the Decades Unheeded (Associated Press)
NY, NJ Ponder New Boardwalks Without the Boards (Associated Press)
Speaker Quinn Defends Campaign Finance Bill (Daily News)
MTA Rolling Out its Final Fare-Hike Plan (NY Post)
Housing Agency’s Flaws Revealed by Storm (NY Times)
Bloomberg's Post-Sandy Plan
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday that the city would rethink evacuation zones, electrical infrastructure, telecommunications networks, hospitals and transportations systems after Superstorm Sandy caused billions of dollars in damage, paralyzed communities and killed dozens of people.
But Bloomberg said that his administration would not abandon the waterfront and dismissed the possibility of building sea walls to hold back the ocean. Instead, he said the city would look at "coastline protections" such as berms, dunes, jetties and levies.
"No matter how much we do to make homes and businesses more resilient, the fact of the matter is we live next to the ocean, and the ocean comes with risks that we just cannot eliminate," the mayor said.
Bloomberg outlined the post-Sandy plan, his first major address since the storm, at a Lower Manhattan event, where former Vice President Al Gore also made an appearance and praised the mayor's previous efforts to respond to the effects of climate change.
Small Historical Society Tries To Recover From Sandy (MetroFocus)
UFT president to help all 4 seeking Democratic mayoral nomination (Gotham Schools)
New York Civil Liberties Union Files Lawsuit Challenging Solitary Confinement (Albany Times Union)
Obama Expected to Ask For $50 Billion in Storm Aid
Preisdent Barack Obama is expected to ask Congress for about $45 to $50 billion in storm aid reports The New York Times. That figure is far below the $82 billion requested by New York, New Jersey at Connecticut “While $50 billion is a significant amount of money, it unfortunately does not meet all of New York and New Jersey’s substantial needs,” Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York and Frank R. Lautenberg and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, all Democrats, said in a joint statement. The storm aid may get tangled up in the battle between President Barack Obama and Republican legislators over debt and tax rates.
Utility Probe Begins Today (the Post Standard)
Major League Soccer Coming to Queens? (NY Times)
DiNapoli: Fiscal Cliff Could Cost State $42 Billion (Albany Times Union)
Cuomo's Litmus Test For Political Support (Gotham Gazette)
Sandy Changes Script for Mayor's Race (NY Times)
Rockaways Newspaper, The Wave, Back in Print (City Room)
Cuomo Plans to Stay Out of NYC Mayoral Race (NY Observer)
MTA Chief Weighs Mayoral Run (NY Times)
Senate "Coup" Leads to New Rules
State Senate Republicans agreed yesterday to a power sharing arrangement with five dissident Democrats led by Jeffery Klein. Instead of being lead by a majority leader, a revolving presidency held alternately by Republican Dean Skelos and Klein will run the body. Leaders of the GOP and the Democratic group would have “joint and equal authority” over bills, committee assignments, appointments, and budget negotiations. Some legislation the coalition is likely to back includes a minimum-wage increase and more lenient marijuana laws. Mayor Bloomberg's spokesman called the coalition “an example of bipartisan cooperation at its best,” but some Democrats criticized the arrangement a "coup." The other four Democrats involved are Malcolm Smith, Diane Savino, David Valesky, and David Carlucci.
Councilman Says He Won't Run for Comptroller (Associated Press)
Deal on Sandy Housing (Wall Street Journal)
Voting Map Tossed Out Amid Gripes (Wall Street Journal)
Cuomo Optimistic About Aid
Gov. Cuomo says he's optimistic about his meetings yesterday with the White House and Congressional leaders where he pressed for aid to help rebuild from Superstorm Sandy. Congress and the president are currently trying to agree on how to avoid a possible fiscal crisis next month. The disaster aid will most likely be tied to those talks. Some in Congress have suggested the aid be offset by cuts elsewhere, a move that would put the money at risk. This is the first time Cuomo has visited Washington since being elected. Mayor Bloomberg made a similar visit last week. New Jersey is also seeking about $37 billion in aid.
Port Authority Cops Pay Dwarfs Counterparts at NYPD (Daily News)
Building for New Era of Storms
As politicians begin taking more seriously the possible construction of a sea barrier, Gov. Cuomo will travel to Washington today seeking over $40 billion in aid -- a large chunk of which will go towards protection from future storms. The Washington Post backed up similar thinking, calling big spending on preparation well worth it. But of course, planning will be difficult, and it's much more complicated than just walling off the city from nature. Future development should come into consideration; like new plans for Flushing Meadows Park in Queens. Some say the park's role as natural buffer against flooding would be compromised by proposed stadiums and malls. And then there's the gas pipeline planned for construction under The Rockaways. Environmentalists say flooding in the area threatens its stability.
“The Central Park Five”: New York’s Darkest Hour (Salon.com)
Accuser in Orthodox Abuse Trial Testified out of "Responsibility" (Wall Street Journal)
A Month After Hurricane Sandy, Midland Beach Still Reels (Staten Island Advance)
"Dire Consequences" Ahead for 16 Percent of State Youth Out of Work, School (Associated Press)
New Yorkers Denied Aid by FEMA (Daily News)
Fast-Food Workers Strike
Workers at dozens of fast-food restaurants in New York City walked out on the job and rallied for better pay yesterday. The New York Times called it "the biggest wave of job actions in the history of America’s fast-food industry." The actions are part of a larger campaign to unionize workers at fast-food restaurants around the city. Service Employees International Union and civil rights groups are sponsoring the campaign, called Fast Food Forward. Strikes were planned at McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut and Domino's restaurants. Representatives of those companies mostly have not commented. An unidentified company spokeswoman for McDonald's told The Wall Street Journal that pay and benefits were “competitive within the quick-service restaurant industry.” Most fast-food locations are owned by franchisees, leaving corporate offices without much leverage in labor negotiations.
Taxis Will Have Simplified 'Off Duty' Lights (Transportation Nation)
Group Has Education Policy Tips For Mayoral Candidates (Gotham Schools)
DEC Releases New Proposed Fracking Regulations (Gotham Gazette)
Hypothermia, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning on the Rise
Following Hurricane Sandy the City has seen a rise in carbon monoxide poisoning and hypothermia cases due to city residents living in unheated homes, or simply living on the street. The New York Times reports that the number of cold-exposure cases tripled after Sandy as compared to the same time frame last year. The City Health Department issued a letter warning doctors and health care providers of the issue. Carbon monoxide poisoning was 10-times higher the week of Hurricane Sandy and continued at an elevated rate due to people heating their homes with unsafe alternative methods. The findings seem to give further weight to recent pleas from advocates for the city to deploy temporary housing in areas hard-hit by Sandy.
Manhattan Fast Food Strike (Crain's)
Hotel Rooms For Sandy Victims Sitting Vacant (Wall Street Journal)
Details on Proposed NY Senate Coalition (Albany Times Union)
Flood Insurance Costs to Rise (NY Times)
Cuomo, Christie Issue Joint Request For Relief Funds (Albany Times Union)
Bloomberg Lobbies Washington For Storm Aid (NY Times)
Cuomo's Katrina Comparisons Debatable
The numbers Gov. Cuomo used to argue that Sandy had more of an impact than Katrina left some room for debate. In 2006, HUD put the number of damaged homes in Louisiana at 515,249, not 215,000, as the governor had implied. That brings the damage close to the final count of 550,000 damaged homes they expect to find in New York. There were also many times more businesses impacted by Katrina than the figure Cuomo used. And of course deaths caused by the Southern storm were staggering compared to the loss of life in the New York area.
$9 Billion for Storm Prep Would Rethink NYC (Associated Press)
MTA Still Assessing Cost of Damage to South Ferry Station (Wall Street Journal)
Council Votes on Disclosure Forms for Board Members (Associated Press)
Financiers Pitching 'Sandy Bond' Deal (Albany Times Union)
Cuomo: Sandy Cost More Than Katrina
Gov. Cuomo said Hurricane Sandy affected more people than Katrina in his plea for nearly $42 billion in federal aid. He noted many more died in Katrina, but that the economic toll of Sandy was higher, reaching almost $33 billion in clean up costs. The aid request from Cuomo grew from his previous plea for $30 billion.The aid would be used to cover damage and restoration, but $9 billion of it would be used to prepare for future storms. Mayor Bloomberg is making his own plea for nearly $10 billion in aid. State health officials are also asking for almost a half-billion dollars in special Medicaid funding for hospitals, nursing homes and clinics affected by the storm.
Number of High Schools Facing Closures Rises (Associated Press)
Staten Island GOP Congressman Faces Ethics Probe (Associated Press)
City Plans to Fix 300 Homes a Day (Associated Press)
Over 800 Apartment Buildings in City Still Lack Heat (Associated Press)
Mayor Urges Fast Action for Tenants (Wall Street Journal)
MTA Details Post-Sandy List of Priorities (Wall Street Journal)
City Amassing Trove of Cellphone Logs (NY Times)
Cuomo and Sandy
Gov. Cuomo's response to Superstorm Sandy has earned him high approval ratings, despite some mistakes -- such as his failure to reform the state-controlled Long Island Power Authority since he took office. But he has begun making up for another misstep, and will meet today with the state’s Congressional delegation to discuss his request for federal recovery aid. He had been criticized for not coordinating with them. Meanwhile, the state will use a federal grant to hire over 5,000 unemployed New Yorkers in temporary positions to help clean up after the storm. Also, Cuomo has said he won't raise taxes to cover losses resulting from Sandy.
‘Alphabet’ Subways Beat Number Lines (NY Post)
Council Set for Pedicab Crackdown (Wall Street Journal)
PATH Service to Resume in Lower Manhattan (Wall Street Journal)
New ‘Vito District’ Unlikely (NY Post)
After Sandy, Lower Manhattan Limps Back to Life (Associated Press)
Will NYC Act to Block Future Storm Surges? (Associated Press)
Thanksgiving After Sandy
Storm victims gathered for Thanskgiving meals yesterday, despite their continuing challenges caused by Hurricane Sandy. Some even got free tickets and a ride to the Macy's parade. But many families were probably feeling less than thankful to insurance companies after learning that their policies apparently cover hurricanes but not flooding.
Ex-Senator Bruno Expected To Face 2nd Weeks-Long Trial (Associated Press)
More Than 200 Parks Remain Closed After Storm (Wall Street Journal)
Floods Damaged Criminal Evidence
Thousands of barrels of biological evidence in criminal cases were damaged by Sandy flood waters in Brooklyn warehouses. Each barrel can contain several pieces of evidence such as bloodstained clothes and bedding. Hundreds of cars and motorcycles held as evidence were also inundated. Thousands of bicycles were as well. It's unclear how many cases will be affected. It could depend on whether damage is done to exclusive evidence needed to prove a case. Often, evidence in storage facilities has already been processed.
Giuliani Backing MTA Chair Lhota for Mayor (Wall Street Journal)
One in Six New Yorkers Go Hungry - Before Sandy (Daily News)
Storm's Long Flooding Reach (Wall Street Journal)
Hospitals Struggling to Recover
Many city hospitals are still struggling to recover from the storm, and may be for a while. Bellevue won't reopen its emergency room until at least December, Coney Island Hospital won't be fully operational until January, and the reopening timetables for NYU Langone Medical Center and the Veterans Affairs Hospital are still murky. The extended shutdowns are stretching the resources of other hospitals, which are running at near capacity. Over 3,000 patients in the city had to be moved to other facilities due to the storm.
Schools Add Makeup Days (Wall Street Journal)
NY Pension Fund Back Above $150 Billion (Wall Street Journal)
Report: NYC has Fewer Food Pantries Than in '07 (Associated Press)
Most Hurricane Sandy Looting Cases Tossed Out (Daily News)
Hundreds of Homes to be Demolished
About 200 homes that are so damaged they endanger public safety and other buildings nearby will need to be bulldozed, the Buildings Department said on Sunday. That is in addition to the 200 houses already destroyed by the storm. They are also inspecting nearly 500 other damaged structures that could be razed as well. The department said that “only a very small number” of the buildings slated for demolition were at risk of being razed without notice. Officials offered “as much assistance as possible” to homeowners, including aid for demolition costs. The homes slated for removal are located in Breezy Point, Belle Harbor and Rockaway Beach in Queens; South Beach, Midland Beach and Fox Beach on Staten Island, and Gerritsen Beach in Brooklyn.
Stringer Said to Abandon Bid for Mayor (Wall Street Journal)
Underneath Dozens of Manhattan Buildings Lies a Thicket of Storm Problems (Wall Street Journal)
Obama Pledges Storm Help
President Barack Obama yesterday visited New York communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy and pledged his support for their recovery from the storm. "We are going to be here until the rebuilding is complete," he said during a stop on Staten Island. "I'm going to be coming back in the future to make sure that we have followed through on that commitment." His three-hour visit through storm-ravaged neighborhoods included a helicopter tour of Brooklyn and Queens. The president also said he was appointing Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan as the "point person" to help oversee the rebuilding.
Suspect In Etan Patz Killing Recants Confession (Daily News)
Former Comptroller Hevesi Granted Parole (Associated Press)
State Names Expert To Review Health Effects Of Fracking (Pressconnects)
Cuomo Aide Defends Choice of Highest Bidder for Driver's Licenses (Associated Press)
Gas Crisis Abates
Lines for gas have mostly disapeared in New York City and Long Island thanks to 1970s-style rationing as well as emergency deliveries. The relief comes just before the major Thanksgiving travel week. Damage from Hurricane Sandy left normal gas distribution systems in ruins and ports dysfunctional but officials have put together a distribution system that brings gas in from out of state and that has been supplemented by supplies from Federal and State agencies that have supplied gas stations with $2.3 million gallons of gas to help them stay open.
Brooklyn Democrats Want to Expel Felder (NY Post)
Hevesi to be Out of Jail in Time for Holidays (Daily News)
Sewage Leak in Rockaways (Daily News)
Rise in Apartments For Sale in Manhattan (Crain's)
LIPA CEO Resigns (NY Times)
Questioning the Power Grid (MetroFocus)
Some Have Power But no Heat (Wall Street Journal)
Former Assemblyman Pleads Guilty to Fraud (Wall Street Journal)
Teachers Union Spent $4.5 Million On Races (Albany Times Union)
Schneiderman Subpoenas Con Edison and LIPA (NY Times)
Flooding Damaged Equipment for Bike Share (NY Times)
Utility Failed to Plan for Storms
An examination by The Times shows that the Long Island Power Authority -- which serves the Rockaways -- has repeatedly failed to plan for extreme weather. Gov. Cuomo has established his own commission to investigate how utilities across the state responded to Sandy. The head of LIPA resigned yesterday.
Storm Costs Wreak Havoc With Budgets (Wall Street Journal)
Refugees Grapple With Hotel Living (Wall Street Journal)
Effects of Sandy Linger
In many pockets throughout the city, the effects of Sandy are still being felt. It could be weeks before damaged hospitals reopen and 37 of the city's schools remain shuttered. But Mayor Bloomberg enacted a $500 million emergency plan to reopen them. Public housing residents who still have no power will receive a rent credit for their time without services, but not until January. Rockaway is still a demolition zone and mold is becoming a large concern. The city is launching "one-stop restoration centers" that will provide recovery services and disaster relief. But the extra money Gov. Cuomo requested from the federal government is far from definite.
City Unions Waiting Out Mayor's Term (Wall Street Journal)
Homeless and Without Power
Officials have been meeting with the real estate industry in an effort to pair vacant apartments with those displaced by storm damage.
Half of those still without power in the city, some 35,000 residents, live in public housing. Residents and public officials have panned the housing authority's response to the storm. The tenants will be eligible for rent credits for the days they've been without power.
The Long Island Power Authority told hundreds of powerless Rockaway residents they would need to hire a licensed city electrician to inspect their homes before LIPA could restore power. Con Ed said Wednesday's nor’easter knocked out power to 55,000 customers in New York City and Westchester. And LIPA blamed 60,000 new outages on the storm.
Talk of Coalition Government in Senate (Daily News)
Parts of PATH Service Knocked Out for Weeks (Wall Street Journal)
Lawyers Offer Free Help to Storm Victims (Wall Street Journal)
As Shortfall Looms, Bloomberg Plans Cuts (NY Times)
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city would begin rationing gas for the first time since the 1970s, in response to fuel shortages caused by Hurricane Sandy. Drivers with cars with license plates ending in odd numbers or that end in a letter or other character will be able to fill up on odd-numbered days. Cars with plates ending in even numbers get their turn on even-numbered days. The odd-even rationing system begins today, Nov. 9, with odd-numbered plates. "Drivers are still facing long lines. Frustrations are only growing," Bloomberg said at a news conference at City Hall yesterday.
Parent Academy set to launch on Saturday (Inside Schools)
NY Racing Association To Conduct Open Board Meetings (Albany Times Union)
Politicians Plan to Push Congress For Extra Sandy Aid (Wall Street Journal)
Gov Says Sandy Could Cost NY $33 Billion (Associated Press)
Sandy Troubles Won't Stop Con Ed From Seeking Rate Hike (Associated Press)
Calls to Reform Election Board
After an election day marred by failing voting machines, ballot shortages, packed polling places, confusion over where to vote and officials turning away voters a number of city officials are calling for a major revamp of the City Board of Election. The process would not be simple as the current system is part of state law. Currently the City BOE is run by both political parties. Changing that would likely require action from Albany and possibly a constitutional amendment. “I think the real answer here is: We should reform this system,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the New York Times. “It should not be two parties and county leaders picking their buddies to supervise the basis of our citizenship. We don’t have a system for the 21st century. It’s just a disgrace.” Who should actually control the BOE is subject of much debate.
Snow Hampers Recovery Efforts (Daily News)
Bloomberg's PAC Wins 19, Loses 7 (Daily News)
Cuomo Fires Emergency Management Director (Daily News)
Gas Shortage Drags On (Daily News)
Vito Lopez May Not Run Again (NY Post)
Focus Shifts to Gas Distribution (NY Times)
Sea Barriers as Protection (NY Times)
More Students Return to Classrooms (NY Times)
Polling Site Mess
Yesterday's election saw long lines, jammed ballot scanners, and poll sites that had run out of affidavit ballots. The scanners were all broken at a polling site in Gramercy Park and they had trouble finding their emergency ballot box. At a Park Slope site, nearly all the scanners were down and they had no pencils. Two of three emergency sites in Coney Island opened over two hours late. Some poll sites had no idea that people could vote by affidavit. But even if they knew, the city printed up only 250 affidavits per election district. Few voters used shuttle buses to substitute polling sites. According to unofficial results, the state Senate is now tied, but thousands of absentee ballots still need to be counted in very close races. Even if the Democrats win a majority, a number of Democrats said they might back Republican leadership. Embattled Assemblyman Vito Lopez won with 89 percent of the vote despite the scandal swirling about him. Also, President Barack Obama won a second term - in case you did't hear yet.
Sandy Caused as Much Erosion on Fire Island as the Past 30 Years (Wall Street Journal)
Fare-Hike Hearings Back on Track (Daily News)
Nearly a Million Still Without Power in Region (Wall Street Journal)
Sandy's Impact on Voting Today
The city’s Board of Elections moved 66 polling sites, many to supersites that consolidate multiple poll sites into one location. Shuttle buses running every 15 minutes will ferry voters to and from polling places for people in the Rockaways, Staten Island and Coney Island whose polling places were damaged in the storm. Voters in the city can cast affidavit ballots at any polling site, but if they vote in a different district than where they're registered, the can't vote for legislative races other than the U.S. Senate. The GOP has accused the board of playing politics with relocating polling places in Queens, saying it will make it harder for Republican Eric Ulrich to get his supporters to the polls.
NYPD Limited Passengers on Some Subway Platforms (Wall Street Journal)
Cuomo Orders Insurance Companies to Make Some Concessions (Wall Street Journal)
Feds May Put Up FEMA Trailers in NYC (Daily News)
Cold Front Threatens Sandy Victims
Between 20,000 and 40,000 were left homeless in the city by Sandy. About half of those are public-housing residents. The 115,000 people in the Rockaways remain without power, as do thousands more in Red Hook and Gerritsen Beach in Brooklyn, and New Dorp Beach on Staten Island. A cold snap is making this particularly problematic. Also, a nor’easter with 35-45mph sustained winds is likely to hit on Wednesday night, possibly bringing moderate flooding in areas already impacted by extreme flooding from Sandy.
Fifty-nine polling places will be affected, and Mayor Bloomberg expresses little confidence the Board of Elections will manage it very well. The board still hasn't appointed an executive director and their Manhattan headquarters had no power all week. Those who can't get to their polling places may to go to the Board of Election's borough offices and vote until 5 p.m. today.
The city had been inundated with people dropping off goods, so officials and other groups are suggesting they give money, and possibly coats, instead. Dozens of buildings near the water’s edge, especially in the financial district, are weeks or months away from reopening. The fuel shortage could last for several more days. Currently 27 percent of gas stations in the area are empty. Major crime dropped significantly in the storm's wake, but burglaries saw a 3 percent increase. Generators, heaters, and other supplies for the canceled marathon remained unused in Central Park. More than 100 New York City public schools will remain closed today.
Gas Shortages As Recovery Continues
The slow, heart-wrenching reveal of Hurricane Sandy's devastating impact on the city continued yesterday.
So far, there were 40 confirmed deaths in the city related to Sandy, according to The New York Times. The bodies of two young boys, who had been swept from their mother's arms during flooding on Staten Island, were among those found yesterday.
A half-million residents were still without power in their homes, though city officials were saying that electricity likely would be restored in lower Manhattan by Saturday.
And residents relying on gas-powered generators found no relief at the pumps, where fuel was running short at stations and long lines left many frustrated. Gas stations also reported their own power problems.
Meanwhile, the mass transit system was brought to piecemeal life yesterday, with some subway lines and commuter rail restored. However, with no subway service in lower Manhattan because of continued power outages, people in Queens and Brooklyn were forced to use bridge crossings, shuttle buses, bikes and to carpool. Streetsblog found that the city's new bike infrastructure was "really proving its worth."
The storm spilled into national politics as well. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, citing his belief that the storm was in part the result of climate change, endorsed Barack Obama for a second term, saying the president was most likely to implement policies to address global warming.
The Times and ProPublica examined the decision to not require evacuations of critical hospitals in low-lying areas that ended up flooding and with their backup generators failing. Officials defended the decision, pointing out that no patient had died in "a storm-related incident" as of yesterday. "Outcomes matter," State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav R. Shah told ProPublica. "Outcomes speak louder than anything else."
Officials also defended the decision not to call off the New York City Marathon, even though thousands were still without power and the transit system had only been partially restored. The New York Post reported that three diesel generators able to produce 800 kilowatts of electricity — enough to power 400 homes — were being operated 24/7 in Central Park for the race.
Partial Transit Restored, Free Rides
Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a traffic emergency for today and Friday making mass transit free for those using the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's busses and trains. "The service in many cases is limited, the service in many cases will be crowded," Cuomo said at a late night press conference in the city. The move came after immense gridlock Wednesday. City busses were jammed with commuters and gas lines stretched for over half a mile. Commuters who wish to drive into the city will have to car pool. The entire transportation infrastructure has yet to be restored with flooding still impeding some routes but partial service has been restored. Check out the MTA's post-storm stubway map.
City Hotels Are Packed (Crain's)
Broadway, Metropolitan Museum Reopen (Crain's)
Bellevue Evacuated (Daily News)
Chelsea Piers Complex Racing to Repair (Daily News)
New Yorkers Salvage Tossed Food (Daily News)
Sandy Claims 32 Lives in NYC (Daily News)
Power Outages Linger (Wall Street Journal)
Activist Praises Cuomo for Climate Change Comments (Wall Street Journal)
City Faces Looting (NY Times)
Bipartisanship Flows After Sandy (NY Times)
Storm Closes City Schools For Week (NY Times)
Sifting Through Falsehoods in Critical Times (NY Times)
Tuesday is Election Day — Sandy Be Damned (Gotham Gazette)
Sandy Sends Financial Shivers Across State (Buffalo News)
Quinn Wants Serious Consequences For Looters (NY Observer)
Damage and Recovery From Sandy
Superstorm Sandy left at least 2 million homes and businesses across the state and about 800,000 customers in the city and Westchester without power. More than half of Staten Island has no electricity, and over a quarter of Manhattan remains in the dark. In Manhattan there are no streetlights South of 25th St. on the Westside. A substation in the East Village that exploded was designed to withstand a 12.5 foot surge but was hit with a surge of 14 feet. Customers served by underground lines in Brooklyn and Manhattan are likely to have their power restored within four days. Bloomberg promised "a very heavy police presence" in the darkened neighborhoods. Thirteen people have been arrested for crimes that included looting.
The death toll for the city is now 22. Untreated sewage is flowing into waterways from more than a dozen locations around the city. A crane still dangles from a skyscraper in Midtown and could be there for weeks. The World Trade Center is flooded. Sand is piled up to 2 feet high on the Coney Island boardwalk. At least 111 homes were destroyed by fires in Breezy Point, Queens in a blaze among the worst residential fires in New York since the Fire Department was established in 1865.
The MTA is unaware of any permanent damage to the subway system but is still offering no estimate for when service will be restored. Buses have started running on some routes and could return to full service by sometime today.
Many are hoping the storm will finally push New York to prepare for climate change. “Three of the top 10 highest floods at the Battery since 1900 happened in the last two and a half years," said Ben Strauss, director of the sea level rise program at the research group Climate Central in Princeton, N.J. "If that’s not a wake-up call to take this seriously, I don’t know what is." Gov. Cuomo wants the state to consider a levee system or storm surge barriers. Mayor Bloomberg says he is focusing on recovery for the city. Some individual parts of Sandy and its wrath seem to have been influenced by climate change, scientists said, but it's not clear that can be said for the storm itself. Sandy broke coastal flood records for New York City by more than three feet above the previous record and more than double the range between the previous top ten.
Much of the Tristate region has been declared a major disaster area, and FEMA will distribute billions of dollars in aid, which will be a test for the troubled agency. Many homeowners who thought their insurance policies covered floods are likely to have been mistaken - a common error - while others' policies have lapsed or won't cover all the damage.
Sandy Hits Hard
The superstorm named Sandy brought flooding and power outages to the city with surges higher than the estimated 10 to 12 feet, but few deaths were reported.
At least 660,000 customers in New York had lost power as of late Monday night, and Con Ed says it could be a week before everyone gets power back. A customer is an individual meter, so the actual number of people affected is higher. Some 5.2 million people were left without electricity across the region.
The city's storm shelters didn't reach 4 percent of their total capacity, even though Mayor Bloomberg urged 375,000 people in evacuation zones to leave, including 45,000 public housing residents. Cops with bullhorns drove building to building in the projects and Housing Authority workers knocked on doors.
At least 10 deaths in the area were blamed on the storm. Flooding overwhelmed Red Hook and Lower Manhattan. One of the units at Indian Point nuclear power plant was shut down. The boom of a construction crane for one of Manhattan's tallest residential towers was broken and dangles high above the city. 911 received 10 times more calls than usual.
Storm to Hit in Afternoon at Earliest
The worst of Hurricane Sandy is expected to hit the city Monday afternoon at the earliest. Officials warned the storm could wreak destruction in the Northeast for days. The New York area is expected to see some of the largest surges, and surges of 6 to 11 feet at Lower Manhattan have been predicted. Con Edison hasn't said how long New Yorkers might be without power if the storm damaged its network, but New Jersey utilities warned repairs could take up to 10 days after the storm. The MTA expressed optimism about restoring service by Wednesday, but a return to normal is likely to come in fits and starts. Restoration of mass-transit service isn't likely until at least 12 hours after the storm has passed. Bridges will close if sustained winds reach 60 miles per hour. By last night, 1,300 people had gone to 76 city shelters, with a capacity of 70,000. Some people experienced glitches with the evacuation app on NYC.gov Sunday, creating confusion over whether to evacuate or not. Cuomo said that 1,100 National Guard troops had been deployed, including 200 in New York City.
Assembly, Senate Get High Marks in Voter Poll (Associated Press)
Taxi Apps Face Bumpy Road (Wall Street Journal)
Queens Sen. Addabbo Against Gay Marriage Again (Daily News)
Forecasters are expecting "Frankenstorm" will hit the East Coast early next week. The storm earned the title because it appears hurricane Sandy will combine with a winter storm to create dangerous weather for New York CIty and surrounding areas. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office urged New Yorkers to prepare for the storm yesterday saying that even though the storm's path is unclear New Yorkers could see: "heavy rain, high winds, flooding, tornadoes, coastal surges, and widespread power outages." Cuomo has put state agencies on alert.
Chelsea Market Expansion Gets Approval (Crain's)
Comptroller:Obesity Costing NY Billions (Crain's)
Officer Held in Plot to Eat Women (NY Times)
Cuomo to Stump For House Democrats (NY Post)
Koch Captured in Documentary (NY Times)
Schneiderman Subpoenas 9 More Banks (Wall Street Journal)
Islanders Moving To Brooklyn
The New York Islanders will leave its suburban home in Nassau County and move to Brooklyn's Barclays Center in 2015. "Not very long ago, I think it's fair to say the idea of a big-league team coming to Brooklyn would have been considered little more than a pipe dream," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference yesterday announcing the news. But some residents were unhappy about the announcement, wondering whether fans of the professional hockey team would exacerbate traffic problems caused by the new arena. “They are a Long Island team and there are more drivers,” Peter Krashes of the Dean St. Block Association/Atlantic Yards Watch told the Daily News. “Things are likely to get worse, not better.”
Queens District Leader Accused of Using Phantom Donors (Wall Street Journal)
Cuomo Announces Campaign to Promote Local Spirits at Alcohol Summit (Albany Times Union)
Staten Island Neighborhood Miffed Over North Shore Plans (Staten Island Advance)
Staten Island Candidates for Congress Face Off (Staten Island Advance)
MTA Countdown Clocks Coming to Smartphones (Daily News)
Criminal Justice Experts Say NYPD Should Have Inspector General (Associated Press)
Obesity Costs NY $1.2B A Year, Report Says (Journal News)
Central Park Gets $100 Million Donation
The Central Park Conservancy has received a $100 million donation by hedge fund manager John Paulson. Half the money will help finance maintenance and the rest will pay for capital improvements. Parks have become major major beneficiaries of philanthropy lately, but this is the largest donation to a park ever, many say. The park's annual operating budget is $46 million. Paulson rose to fame by betting against subprime mortgages in 2007.
Quinn Skips Hearing on Chelsea Market Expansion (Wall Street Journal)
Six Seek Seabrook's Council Seat (NY Times)
Jobless Rates Drop in All Five Boroughs (Wall Street Journal)
Informant: NYPD Paid Me to 'Bait' Muslims (Associated Press)
MTA Likely to Hike Base Fare
M.T.A. Chairman Joseph Lhaota said yesterday that the base fare for subways and buses would likely rise when then agency votes on a fare hike plan in December. That would mean smaller increases for unlimited cards. The move affects the least amount of riders, since only 15 percent buy MetroCards under $10, which don't receive bonuses. But those are also often the poorest riders. Lhota went on to say he'd lobby for more money from the state, which contributes less to mass transit than others with large cities.
Bloomberg to Spend $500,000 on Gay Marriage Campaigns (Associated Press)
Tackling New York's Health Issues
The Cuomo Administration plans to offer cash bonuses to Medicaid recipients who get regular check ups. The incentive will initially target 16,700 people with health problems like diabetes and hypertension. Meanwhile, community health advocates in the Bronx say more jobs for the community could improve the overall health of the borough. Also, the Health and Hospitals Corporation's inspector general will make more records available to the public after it was exposed to have failed to follow up on hundreds of cases.
Report Tracks Student-Data System Usage (Wall Street Journal)
Some Skilled Workers Left Out of Job Growth (Wall Street Journal)
Regulators Close Investigation of Bloomberg Donations
Michael Bloomberg's 2009 mayoral campaign worked to conceal $1.2 million in donations made in the days before voters headed to the polls, regulators say. But the New York City Campaign Finance Board found that while the Bloomberg campaign's actions "contravened the spirit of disclosure," it could find no violation.
Council Considers New Pedicab Regulations (NY Times)
Hair Salons Offer Health Counseling (MetroFocus)
Visions of a Transformed Grand Central Terminal (Wall Street Journal)
Bloomberg Creating "Super PAC"
Mayor Bloomberg yesterday announced his plans to spend between $10 million and $15 million through a "super PAC" he will spearhead. It's named Independence USA PAC and has a goal of supporting candidates across party lines who pledge to work in a bipartisan fashion. It will spend money on highly competitive state, local and Congressional races across the country this year and back candidates who support same-sex marriage, tougher gun laws, and education reform.
Untangling the Grand Central Snarl (Wall Street Journal)
Stop-and-Frisk on Trial
Testimony began today on a class-action suit against an NYPD program that allows police to stop-and-frisk anyone in the halls and stairwells of private buildings enrolled in the 20-year-old Clean Halls program, which gives them permission to do so. The New York Civil Liberties Union and six black or Latino plaintiffs from the Bronx say the stops are unconstitutional and unwarranted. They claim the police have unlawfully stopped more than 1,000 minority residents for tresspassing in those buildings. The Bronx District Attorney’s office has been tossing arrests made under the program unless the arresting officer was interviewed. Meanwhile, the department issued a directive ordering cops to document when an assistant DA refuses to take a case so it can be reported to and tracked by the legal bureau.
Fiscal Woes, Long-Held Fears Spur Waste-to-Energy Debate (City Limits)
The Death of Hybrid Taxis in New York (Capital)
Politicians Wonder How Many NYPD Beatings Aren't Caught on Tape (Village Voice)
City’s Circumcision Regulations Delayed (Wall Street Journal)
City Comptroller Urges Workers to Claim Unpaid Wages (Daily News)
NY Ethics Board Eyes Maverick's Notes (Albany Times Union)
Cuomo: Legislature Pay Hike, Other Deals Brewing (Albany Times Union)
MTA Unveils Fare Hike Proposals
The M.T.A. revealed its four fare hike proposals today. Two would increase the base fare to $2.50 from $2.25 while raising the cost of unlimited MetroCards. The others wouldn't alter the base fare but would increase unlimiteds substantially. Chairman Joseph Lhota said he prefers a hybrid of the proposals. He also ruled out eliminating the bonus for pay-per-ride cards, which makes two of the proposals unlikely to pass. Costs for commuter trains, as well as bridge and tunnel crossings, will also rise. The MTA is looking for another $450 million a year from users. Fares and tolls are expected to rise again in 2015. They vote on the proposals in December.
Media Executive Tom Allon Leaves Democrats to Run for Mayor as Republican (Wall Street Journal)
Bloomberg Opposes Earlier Primary Elections (Wall Street Journal)
'Rubber Rooms' Still Cost $22 Million a Year (Daily News)
NY elections in the news
A number of New York state GOP lawmakers have been promoting their ties to Gov. Cuomo as election day draws near, including the second-highest-ranking Republican in Albany, Sen. Thomas Libous. The governor is popular with voters from both parties. Many mailings featuring Cuomo's image don't mention the party affiliations of the candidate or the governor. The City Council is holding an oversight hearing today to make sure the city's Board of Elections is ready for the November voting. Meanwhile, candidates for city office are left struggling to plan for the 2013 primaries as the state decides whether to move primary day up to June from September for New York races. Congressional and presidential primaries were already moved to June.
Roosevelt Avenue, a corridor of vice (NY Times)
MTA to unveil fare-hike proposals (Daily News)
State spending at $6,859 per person (Associated Press)
Industry sues over sugary-drinks crackdown (Associated Press)
Espada to Plead Guilty
Former state Sen. Pedro Espada Jr., who was convicted of stealing $400,000 from his healthcare clinic, is expected to plead guilty to the remaining charges against him, newspapers reported. His son is also expected to plead guilty during an apppearance by the pair in Brooklyn Federal District Court later today. The senior Espada already faces prison time for his earlier conviction. Espada, who represented parts of the Bronx while he was in office, gained some notoriety for participating in a coup against his own party during his political career.
Ex-schools chancellor Klein's autobiography is 'misleading' (American Prospect)
Orthodox Jewish groups sue to block circumcision regulations (The Jewish Forward)
Council Hearing on Policing
The City Council held a 6-hour hearing on police tactics yesterday that focused on stop-and-frisk. Four bills were mainly at issue. One bill would require officers to identify themselves and provide their name and rank during stops. Another bill would require officers to inform suspects of their right to refuse a search. Another bill would establish an Office of the Inspector General to oversee the police department. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Chief Ray Kelly were not present at the hearing and they oppose the measures. Bloomberg's council Michael Best argued that the council does not have the legal authority to legislate police tactics. Council Speaker Christine Quinn declined to say whether she supports the package of legislation.
Wall Street Wants to Overturn State Lobby Law (Wall Street Journal)
Seabrook Had Worst Council Attendance (Daily News)
Prosecutors Deny Making up Case Against Liu (NY Times)
Voter Registration Frenzy as Deadline Looms (Daily News)
Bloomberg Compares Himself to Churchill (NY Times)
Silver Supports Higher Taxes For Wealthy (Capitol Confidential)
Shootings by Police Down Last Year (NY Times)
City struggles to shelter homeless
To meet the growing need to shelter the homeless, the Bloomberg Administration has been using its power of emergency authority to create shelters as quickly as possible, bypassing the typical community approval process. Unlike in other cities, New York is required by law to provide shelter to every person who seeks it. Ten new homeless shelters have opened in recent months, one in the Upper West Side. Every night, 46,000 people seek shelter, the highest number ever recorded. New York City makes up 14 percent of the nation's homeless, with Los Angeles a distant second at 3 percent.
Court asks if a gang member is a terrorist (NY Times)
Teen stopped-and-frisked: 'For being a fucking mutt' (The Nation)
State tax climate ranked second worst by Cato (Associated Press)
State task force members meet to review transportation projects (Albany Times Union)
MTA's four fare-hike options all hit riders hard (Daily News)
Lawmakers consider new rules for NYPD street stops (Associated Press)
Kelly wants grand jury probe of shooting
Commissioner Kelly has called for a grand jury investigation into the fatal shooting of a driver by police last week on the Grand Central Parkway. The officer is said to be 'anxious' to testify in order to clear his name. It is routine for prosecutors to bring fatal shootings by the police before a grand jury. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown is ultimately in charge of empaneling a grand jury and is investigating the shooting already. Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg says appointing an inspector general to oversee the NYPD would bring crime back to the streets of the city.
Bronx residents lambast council redistricting plan (Daily News)
Tax stances separate 2013 hopefuls (Wall Street Journal)
Gang member conviction as a terrorist for girl's death is up on appeal (Associated Press)
GOP shows lead in state Senate races (Albany Times Union)
NYPD killings in the news
The officer who shot an unarmed man on the Grand Central Parkway last week was previously named in two lawsuits alleging civil rights violations and police brutality. He says he thought the victim shot Thursday was reaching for a gun. There was a hand drill on the floor but no weapon. Meanwhile, community members rallied in front of Police Headquarters to protest another recent fatal shooting - this one a case where it's questioned whether officers followed protocol for dealing with 'emotionally disturbed persons' barricaded in their homes. In an additional case, the department is now apologizing for sending a bill for damages to a cop car to the mother of a man killed by that car after a chase. The death is being investigated by prosecutors.
State's public authorities trim jobs (Albany Times Union)
Bloomberg pushes a plan to let Midtown soar (NY Times)
Big change in gifted and talented testing (Wall Street Journal)
Judge allows lawsuit over NYPD tactics in public housing (Wall Street Journal)
Police kill unarmed man
A police officer shot and killed an unarmed man after pulling him over on the Grand Central Parkway last night, and the passenger says his hands were on the wheel when it happened. It's still unclear why the officer shot his gun. The driver, an Army reservist, was pulled over for cutting the officer's truck off.
Survey shows subway announcements getting clearer (Daily News)
Interest lags in rent-stabilized apartments in Lower Manhattan (Wall Street Journal)
Nearly 4,000 participants in Bloomberg's program for young minority men (Albany Times Union)
Ethics panel issues subpoenas to Assembly ethics committee (Albany Times Union)
City Considers Closing 36 Schools
The Administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering closing 36 elementary and middle schools during the Mayor's final year in office, reports the Wall Street Journal. The administration was prevented from closing some schools last year as an arbitrator nixed the closings and a legal battled ensued. Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternburg told The Journal that conversations were starting with the leaders of the targeted schools to find out about, "the challengers they face." Representatives of schools staff say those conversations should have started before the schools were targeted for closure.
Campaign Finance Reform Uncertain (Albany Times Union)
Lawsuits Against NYPD Increase (NY World)
Lopez's Easy Path (Wall Street Journal)
Espada's Lawyer Tries to Quit Case (NY Times)
Comptroller: MTA finances improved
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the M.T.A.'s finances have improved after years of crises thanks to increased ridership, higher tax collection, and cost-cutting measures. But he noted that fare hikes outpace inflation and financing sources for future projects remain unclear. The legal challenge to the payroll tax was also raised as a significant hurdle. Meanwhile, the state budget has generally stabilized from the recent past, when it lurched from multi-billion dollar crisis to crisis, he said.
New York's crime rate is on the rise (Village Voice)
Cuomo: 'No step back' in hydraulic fracking (Albany Times Union)
Behind the jump in schools with poor grades on progress reports (Wall Street Journal)
Use of isolation in state prisons criticized (Associated Press)
RNC arrests found unconstitutional
A judge ruled that hundreds of protestors at the Republican National Convention in 2004 were arrested without probable cause on Fulton St. The city may now be liable for significant monetary damages. U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan said police could not have known whether each individual there intended to break the law. He denied requests to make a similar ruling for a group of protestors arrested on 16th St. during the convention. The judge also decided that police broke the law by fingerprinting protestors with identification who were arrested that day. But the fact that protestors were arrested rather than issued summonses was deemed acceptable, since intelligence sources found that demonstrators planned unlawful activity.
NYPD plans to double size of gang unit (Associated Press)
NYCLU probes solitary confinement in state prison (Associated Press)
More fracking delays
The state announced on Friday it would restart the regulatory rule-making process over hydraulic fracturing, pushing back a decision about approval into next year. This comes after the move to study fracking's impact on public health. The industry is worried Gov. Cuomo may not approve drilling after all.
Who is vying to replace Bloomberg in 2013? (Associated Press)
PATH fares going up on Monday (Associated Press)
Medicaid eyed for all ex-cons (NY Post)
An ugly message sent on marriage vote (Albany Times Union)
Civil Rights Groups Sue Over Schools Policy
Civil rights and educational organizations are alleging that New York City's single-test admittance policy for eight top specialized high schools discriminates against black and Hispanic students. The groups filed a lawsuit yesterday to have the policy found in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the entrance exam, saying "life isn't always fair." “We’re not here about equal results. We’re here about equal opportunity," he continued.
Espada lawyer files motion to withdraw from case (Daily News)
City says it is improving compliance on English language learning (Gotham Schools)
McDonald to abandon re-election bid (Gotham Gazette)
NYC: World's Tallest Ferris Wheel Planned For Staten Island (Gotham Gazette)
Deaths Rise for Drivers, Bikers, Walkers
The city streets are less safe for commuters than they were a year ago. The Mayor's Management Report shows that traffic fatalities increased from June 2011 to July 2012 by 29 percent. The number of deaths increased from 236 to 291--the first major increase since 2007 when there were 307 deaths. 176 cyclists or pedestrians were killed in crashes while 115 were drivers or their passengers. The Bloomberg administration attributed the increase to distracted driving and walking although the data does not support that claim. Meanwhile, transportation advocates say that motorists are increasingly getting away with reckless driving and are pushing legislation to crack down on it.
MTA Ad Policy Faces Overhaul (Wall Street Journal)
Anger Over Hikes in Rec Center Fees (NY Post)
Hunts Point Deal Reached (Crain's)
Bloomberg Gives Senate Republicans Record Cash (Wall Street Journal)
Bronx Candidate Sues Board of Elections (Daily News)
Dispute Over Jobless Data (NY Times)
Cuomo Backs Republican Who Lost Primary Over Gay Marriage (Gotham Gazette)
Nets Helped Clear Path For Atlantic Yards (NY Times)
Lobbyist working with prosecutors
Richard Lipsky, a lobbyist convicted of bribery this January, is cooperating with authorities. It isn't yet known who he'll be giving information about to prosecutors. In the past six years, 27 elected officials have been charged in scandals, and that number is expected to grow with Lipsky's help.
City to expand shelters amid jump in homeless (Wall Street Journal)
More city students take AP, SAT exams (Wall Street Journal)
Judge rejects NY gas drilling lawsuit against feds (Associated Press)
GOP challenger apparently topples gay marriage pol (Associated Press)
Board votes for bigger type on city ballots (NY Times)
Mixed Results For GOP Backers of Gay Marriage
Two of the races involving State Senate Republicans who voted for sam-sex marriage that were too close to call on election night look like they are close to being resolved. After a recount Hudson Valley Sen. Steve Saland looks to have defeated his opponent Neil Di Carlo by 107 votes. Meanwhile, Sen. Roy McDonald of Saratoga appears to have lost his primary to Kathleen Marchione by a narrow margin. Sen. Mark Grisanti, another Republican support of same-sex marraige won a clear victory on election night while his colleague Sen. Jim Alessi chose not to seek reelection. Both sides of the debate over gay marriage are claiming victory despite the clearly mixed results.
Queens Community Colleges Fight CUNY Changes (Daily News)
New Push For Term Limits in Albany (Daily News)
Less Room at City Shelters (Daily News)
Bloomberg Questions Validity of Some Mayoral Hopefuls (Wall Street Journal)
City to Add New Kind of Preschool Next Year (NY Times)
Crackdown on firetraps minimal
Buildings Department inspectors this year gained access to suspected illegal conversions less than half the time - a rate similar to that of previous years. And the department’s response time to nonemergency complaints, including illegal apartments, actually got worse. Last year Mayor Bloomberg had committed to cracking down on illegal apartment conversions after two fatal fires. The administration counters that it has increased its focus on the highest risk locations.
Board approves future taxi fleet (Associated Press)
Teachers start year under heightened scrutiny (Associated Press)
Big business worries over 2013 candidates (Wall Street Journal)
State Officials to Review Health Effects of Hydrofracking
The state's health commissioner has been asked to review the health impacts of hydraulic fracturing in New York before Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes a decision on whether to allow the natural gas drilling practice. The head of the state's Department of Environmental Conservation decided to ask the state's health commissioner, instead of having a university school of public health or independent group make an asssessment. Environmentalists said they would have preferred an independent review.
Mayor's report shows decline in parental involvement in schools (Wall Street Journal)
State comptroller says tax receipts $147M below projections (Associated Press)
Rise in poverty
Over a fifth of New Yorkers live in poverty, according to new Census numbers. The city's rate jumped from 20.1 percent in 2010 to 20.9 percent in 2011, meaning 74,000 people fell into poverty. That's the third year in a row the rate increased. The national average is 15.9 percent. The numbers are at odds with job recovery reports, which are healthy. Unemployment has also risen, despite job growth. The poverty rate is at its highest in over 10 years, and the income gap between the rich and poor continues to grow.
Cuomo wants GOP senators Saland, McDonald to win (Daily News)
Espada bond should be revoked, prosecutors say (Wall Street Journal)
NY overbilled feds $15 billion for Medicaid over 20 years (Lower Hudson Journal)
Verizon, unions reach tentative contract (Associated Press)
Cuomo once approved secret settlement
When Gov. Cuomo was attorney general, his office approved a confidential settlement for a racial discrimination case, the New York Times reports. The state had agreed to pay $49,000 to settle a case where the Office of Mental Health had forced a black employee to resign after injuring a girl he was trying to restrain. Two white employees involved in a more serious instance were not fired. The settlement was revealed in documents obtained through a freedom of information request.
NY unveiling new pro bono requirement for lawyers (Associated Press)
Regents chancellor no longer exploring mayoral bid (Wall Street Journal)
Education is not spared in city’s latest round of budget cuts (Gotham Schools)
New report says Indian Point closing would be costly (Albany Times Union)
Suit seeks records on government contact with energy industry on fracking (Albany Times Union)
Occupy Anniversary Protests
About 180 Occupy protestors were arrested on disorderly conduct charges in Lower Manhattan yesterday at the movement's one year anniversary. Organizers claimed their numbers to be in the thousands, but press reports estimated it in the hundreds. Another 43 were arrested over the weekend. Councilman Jumaane Williams was shoved by an officer with a baton but was uninjured.
City's crime rate not dropping in public parks (Salon.com)
NYC named dirtiest US city (Daily News)
Doe Fund founder exploring mayoral bid (Wall Street Journal)
Teacher evaluation plans moving slowly (Albany Times Union)
Voters annoyed by hard-to-read ballots (NY Times)
City Hall budget cuts
Mayor Bloomberg announced this weekend that city agencies must cut a total of $2 billion dollars from their budgets this year and the next. That equals slashing 3 percent of the total budget over the next 18 months. He also warned of possible layoffs. Meanwhile, the mayor gave raises to some of his staff, but contends those aides are taking on more work as a result of staffing cuts.
A look back at the rise and fall of Occupy (Associated Press)
Brooklyn Wal-Mart deal falls apart (Wall Street Journal)
Scores of prisoners could have been released for deportation years ago (Albany Times Union)
Ban on Large Sugary Drinks Approved
Thousands of restaurants, concession stands and street carts will soon have to give up selling sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces — or face fines. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's appointees on the Board of Health voted 8-to-0 (with one absentation) to approve the much debated "soda ban" at a hearing yesterday. The beverage industry, already in a fury over the policy when it was proposed earlier this year, vowed to continue fighting it, even if it meant an expensive court battle. Bloomberg said the Board's policy would likely survive any legal challenge. “I just spent roughly $600 million of my own money to try to stop the scourge of tobacco, and I’m looking for another cause," Bloomberg said after the Board's vote. The rule is expected to go into effect in March.
Arrest in Central Park Sex Attack (City Room)
NY Inspector General Expected to Look into Ethics Panel Leaks (Associated Press)
Illegal Commuter Vans Popular (Wall Street Journal)
Taxi industry to launch app for wheelchair users (Wall Street Journal)
Today voters can decide a number of primary races across the city. Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. The primary comes as a number of high profile scandals haunt the state legislature. The New York Times reports that Assemblyman Vito Lopez who was censured by the Assembly for sexual harassment is still helping his allies in their primary contests in an attempt tp sure up his power even while they try to distance themselves from the scandal-scarred legislator. For more information on the various races and information on where to vote check out Gotham Gazette's Guide For The Last Minute Voter.
Whistle Blower Sparked AG Probe (Wall Street Journal)
Lawsuit Claims Indian Point Is Not Secure (Lower Hudson Journal)
Council Sets Fines for Illegal Hotels (Wall Street Journal)
OWS Anniversary Through The Arts (MetroFocus)
Metrocards May Lose 7% Bonus Next Year (NY Times)
Harassment scandal continues
The sexual harassment scandal continues to remain the top news today. The News reports that it was Assemblyman Vito Lopez who wanted the settlement payment to be kept from the public. Meanwhile, the Post finds sources who say Gov. Cuomo is worried that Assembly Speaker Silver may not survive the scandal. Silver has hired Mayor Bloomberg's former press secretary to help manage the situation. And finally, the fallout from Lopez's diminished stature has affected a number of primary races.
Taxi TV to tell riders of scams (NY Post)
Twitter must produce Occupy protester’s tweets: judge (Wall Street Journal)
Ethics panel expands probe
In response to criticism of its initially limited investigation into the sexual harassment scandal, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics has expanded its probe beyond Assemblyman Vito Lopez to include Assembly Speaker Silver, Attorney General Schneiderman and Comptroller DiNapoli. The decision was made in private as prescribed by law and gleaned from the subjects of the investigation. But board members wanted to publicly counter claims that there were attempts to block certain investigations. Gov. Cuomo has said he is open to some changes in the board and also said he'd form his own commission to probe the matter if the board fails.
Harassment scandal in the news
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics may be considering expansion of their probe into Assemblyman Vito Lopez's sexual harassment suit. Ravi Batra, a member of the commission, quit over the weekend, claiming the board had no independence. He also said good government groups were more concerned with Albany access than real reform. The attorney general and comptroller have been playing down their roles in the settlement. And a new accuser - who is also a candidate for State Senate - says she was the victim of sexual harassment when she worked in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.
Teacher grading off to uneven start (Wall Street Journal)
Big city projects on back burner since the attacks (Wall Street Journal)
Feds ready to recognize 9/11 cancer link (NY Post)
City Students Start School Year
Over one million students started the school year yesterday, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg touted his oversight of the district and Chancellor Dennis Walcott toured the boroughs to greet children and teachers.“I think it’s indisputable that our schools are heading in the right direction," Bloomberg said during a visit to Middle School 327 in the Bronx. GothamSchools live-blogged the day.
Q&A with Atlantic Yards watchdog journalist (MetroFocus)
Ethics board tells Assembly Democrats to preserve records (Associated Press)
Cuomo touts accomplishments during appearance at Democratic convention (Wall Street Journal)
City wants to accelerate marketing of logos (Daily News)
Lopez Scandal Trouble For Democrats
Republicans across the state are calling on their Democratic opponents to denounce Assemblyman Vito Lopez who has been accused of sexual harassment and was censured in the Assembly. Republicans hope to capitalize on the scandal in races up and down the ballot this November. The scandal is already changing the shape of primary races in New York City. Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver may face a challenge to his two decade long grip on power as members decide whether he is weak enough to challenge because of his role in the secret deal cut with Lopez's accusers.
Mayor Says City Has Improved in Four Years (Wall Street Journal)
Walcott Promises More Outreach to Parents (Daily News)
Problems With Hunts Point Market Deal (NY Times)
Liu Tours Asia (NY Times)
Ethics panel to probe Lopez
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics voted yesterday to open a formal investigation into the sexual harassment scandal surrounding Assemblyman Vito Lopez, according to The Post. But there could be a delay in that probe if prosecutors ask the board to wait until they are finished with their own investigation. Meanwhile, Lopez derided Assembly Speaker Silver's call for him to resign 'self serving.'
Speaker asked Lopez to resign
Assembly Speaker Silver says he asked Assemblyman Vito Lopez to resign from office last week amid the sexual harassment scandal. The speaker said he'd be exploring legal avenues to force him out if he refuses. Lopez hasn't resigned as Brooklyn party boss, and instead will remain until the next election, which allows him to preside over his successor's selection. Candidates to replace him as party leader have been making themselves known. Democratic consultants expect Silver, who approved the secret, taxpayer-funded settlement, to weather the controversy unscathed.
Union jobs plummet in the private sector (NY Times)
Special prosecutor for Lopez scandal
The Staten Island DA has been appointed special prosecutor to probe the sexual harassment scandal surrounding Assemblyman Vito Lopez. The Brooklyn DA requested the appointment, citing conflicts of interest. The Staten Island office is already worried about leaks because they could be viewed as a political attack against Lopez. The attorney general says he knew nothing of the settlement payment his office approved. Assembly Speaker Silver, who is at the center of the secret payment, will still play an important role at the Democratic National Convention despite the controversy. Meanwhile, the frontrunner to succeed Lopez as Brooklyn party boss was a longtime supporter of the last two disgraced heads of the borough party.
City has sudden jump in West Nile cases (NY Times)
Rival calls on Speaker Quinn to allow sick leave vote (Wall Street Journal)
Women who accused Lopez sought $1.2M
Two women who have accused Brooklyn Democratic Assemblyman Vito Lopez of sexual harassment originally demanded $1.2 million in taxpayer funds to settle their claims, news organizations reported yesterday. The information was disclosed in emails that also showed that top legal advisers in the offices of the state attorney general and comptroller didn't object to an over $100,000 payout to the women. The New York Times reports that Democrats have rallied to support Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who censured Lopez over the women's claims last week but did not immediately disclose the settlement.
State hopes new signs will promote NY history (Associated Press)
Board of Elections says it can't meet deadline for Bengali ballots (Wall Street Journal)
Lopez Scandal Widens
Five women employed by accused sexual harasser Assemblyman Vito Lopez described working conditions as "sexually hostile" to the New York Times. The Post reports that one of the women who settled with Lopez was his former chief of staff. Meanwhile the scandal around the case has widened and may soon consume Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. At least two groups have asked the Joint Commission on Public Integrity to investigate Silver's handling of the settlement. Silver. Silver issued a statement yesterday welcoming an investigation.
Maloney Praises Silver's Handling of Lopez Scandal (Daily News)
Changes to Soda Ban Won't be Revealed Until Vote (Wall Street Journal)
Proposed Gas Pipeline in Rockaways Criticized (City Room)
Judge Criticizes MTA Delay in Ad Case (NY Times)
School Violence at Record High (NY Post)
Assembly scandal fallout
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has reportedly launched an investigation into the secret taxpayer-funded settlement of the sexual harassment complaint against Assemblyman Vito Lopez. Assembly Speaker Silver today ceded fault for authorizing it. He repudiated the policy, which he approved, that calls for privately handling complaints against lawmakers instead of sending the matter to an ethics committee. It was revealed yesterday that the secret payment had been reviewed by the attorney general's office and approved by the comptroller's office. Lopez announced he'll resign as Brooklyn Democratic party boss. Former Assemblyman Frank Seddio has been called a frontrunner to replace him in that post. Others are pushing for Assemblyman Karim Camara.
NYC makes probation offices more local, accessible (Associated Press)
State ethics board hires another Cuomo aide (Associated Press)
Bloomberg defends officers in Empire State Building shooting (Wall Street Journal)
Rating agencies warn MTA on payroll-tax court ruling (Wall Street Journal)
Public funds used to settle harassment suit
Assembly Speaker Silver authorized $103,080 in public funds to quietly settle previous sexual harassment claims against Assemblyman Vito Lopez earlier this year. Lopez has been denying the latest charges. Additional money from Lopez went to the settlement. Officials say they know of no precedent for such a secret payment. Watchdog groups are calling for an investigation. The victims in the latest case have not ruled out additional legal action against Lopez.
Gauging the impact of noise on children’s learning (MetroFocus)
MTA wants payback for Irene (NY Post)
Bloomberg says city needs more natural gas (Associated Press)
Queens Sen. Huntley indicted as expected (NY Times)
State lawmaker scandals
A legislative ethics committee found Assemblyman Vito Lopez guilty on Friday of sexually harassing two female employees. The Brooklyn Democratic Party boss was removed from his post as chairman of the Housing Committee and stripped of his seniority. The governor and a number of top Democrats have called for his resignation. Meanwhile, Queens Sen. Shirley Huntley is expected to be indicted and arrested today over charges of funneling money into a pet charity. The Daily News also finds she showered family members with thousands of dollars from her campaign. Along with the probe of Bronx Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera for misuse of state funds, the scandals have reportedly endangered chances for lawmakers to get a raise this year.
Web of political nonprofits in the Bronx (NY Post)
NYPD official's dubious rationale for spying on Muslims (Mother Jones)
Bloomberg says city's homeless shelters nicer than ever
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says people are staying in the city's homeless shelter for longer periods of time because they are so nice. “We have made our shelter system so much better that, unfortunately, when people are in it — or fortunately, depending on what your objective is — it is a much more pleasurable experience than they ever had before,” Bloomberg said yesterday. But residents at some of the shelters disagreed with the mayor. “The mayor doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He hasn’t been here,” Brooklyn shelter resident James Benson told The Daily News. He lives in a single, dirty room with his wife and six children. Mary Brosnahan, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless, called the mayor's assertion "shocking and offensive."
South Street Seaport overhaul planned (Associated Press)
State politicians urge NYC to consider sea barriers to shield city (Associated Press)
MTA Tax Overturned
A tax of New York City area businesses that is used to fund the MTA was overturned by a judge Supreme Court Justice in Naussau County yesterday. The MTA plans to appeal. The MTA has fended off similar suits in the past. The tarrif was passed in 2009 and required employers to set aside 34 cents for every $100 in payroll costs. Suburuban legislators and businesses have been strongly opposed to the tax because they say they are being forced to subsidize city transportation that they don't benefit from. Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties were involved in the suit. Supporters of the tax say the MTA might be forced to raise fares or cut services if the ruling stands.
FBI joins Probe of Naomi Rivera (NY Post)
Hockey Rink For Kingsbridge Armory? (Wall Street Journal)
$31 Million in Campaign Cash Unreported (Democrat and Chronicle)
Poll:60 Percent Oppose Soda Ban (NY Times)
Huntley's Endorsements Called Into Question (Daily News)
Fracking Decision Looms (WNYC)
Length of Stay in City Shelters Skyrockets (Wall Street Journal)
State Looks to Holistic Approach to Health Care (MetroFocus)
NYPD spying uncovers no leads
An NYPD unit charged with the surveillance of Muslims hasn't generated any leads or triggered any terrorism investigation in at least six years and likely never, according to the unsealed testimony of Assistant Chief Thomas Galati.
Declining to prosecute in The Bronx
Bronx prosecutors declined to prosecute almost one quarter of all their cases last year, nearly four times the rate of Manhattan and Brooklyn. That's usually because the Bronx DA will almost always decline to prosecute if a victim doesn't cooperate with police and isn’t interviewed by prosecutors within 24 hours after an arrest, according to this investigative report by WNYC. Bronx prosecutors have had the highest decline-to-prosecute rate in the city for most of the last 16 years.
City’s count finds rise in cycling commuters (Wall Street Journal)
Mayor: taxi stop sign means cuts (Wall Street Journal)
Transparency in affordable housing construction
Owners of city-subsidized housing and construction unions support a City Council bill, approved unanimously last month, aimed at battling shoddy construction of affordable housing. It would require the city disclose how builders were selected, the size of their subsidies, construction complaints for each project, and workers’ wages. But the industry and Bloomberg administration oppose it, arguing the wage reporting requirements are too costly. Most if not all of the work done on subsidized housing is performed by nonunion companies.
A Picture of NYC congestion emerges from taxi data (Wall Street Journal)
West Nile cropping up in NY (Wall Street Journal)
NYCHA Board to be Revamped
Officials said yesterday that Mayor Michael Bloomberg will remove two highly paid appointees to the board of the New York City Housing Authority as the agency continues to face withering scrutiny. Bloomberg, meanwhile, called the performance of agency board chair John Rhea "spectacular." Yesterday also saw Rhea testified before the City Council, where he defended the agency's slow roll-out of security cameras. Meanwhile, a report by an outside consulting group said NYCHA performs less well than its counterparts around the country.
Inspector general job goes unfilled for six months (Albany Times Union)
Cuomo unveils online voter registration (Gotham Gazette - Wonkster)
Young continue to flock to NYC, while upstate grows older faster (Associated Press)
City announces new operator of famed restaurant in Central Park (Wall Street Journal)
Aquarium in Coney Island gets city funding (NY Observer)
An analysis by the New York Times shows that the New York Police Department used force in 1 our of 5 stop and frisk stops last year while the rate is nearly double that in the West Bronx. However the stops did not translate into arrests. The rates of violence are higher in areas of upper Manhattan, the Bronx and, Jackson Heights Brooklyn where the NYPD floods the neighborhoods often with new officers on their first assignments. The findings bring more controversy to the already heated debate over the stop and frisk program.
Cuomo's yogurt summit (NY Times)
Bronx tenants suing over rat infestation (Daily News)
$1 million Camera plan in Brooklyn stalls (Daily News)
Con Ed workers approve contract (NY Times)
Looming questions for NY gambling (MetroFocus)
Another deal near Hudson Yards (Crain's)
Senate Republicans set to introduce gun legislation (Daily News)
Four arrests in schools a day
The police made four arrests and issued seven summons per day on average this past year in the city's public schools, according to a New York Civil Liberties Union analysis. Over 95 percent of the 882 arrests involved blacks or Latinos. The data didn't indicate whether those arrested were students. Nearly half the summonses were issued in the Bronx, but only 21 percent of middle and high schoolers attend there. The NYCLU says the police activity is heavy-handed, and kids are being arrested for minor offenses.
Manhattan DA had his identity stolen (NY Post)
Super PAC targets GOP in New York (Wall Street Journal)
Report: NYC Women Fare Worse in Economic Recovery (Wall Street Journal)
Obesity in NY
Education data companies chosen (Wall Street Journal)
Man needing help gets past $100 million security system at JFK (Associated Press)
Superfund cleanup stirs troubled waters (NY Times)
NYC Redistricting Commission begins public hearings (Associated Press)
A look at solitary confinment
Groups concerned with prison reform brought the use of solitary confinement in NY to a national platform yesterday. During a U.S. Senate hearing on the practice, one group called the state the leader in putting people in solitary for disciplinary reasons. Another noted that the use of confinement is routine and acts as a punishment for minor offenses. The effects of solitary can be grave - in one extreme case, a prisoner pulled out his own eyeball and swallowed it.
NYPD videotaping of interrogations in virtual pause (Wall Street Journal)
NY Probes Groups' Campaign Spending
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has expanded an investigation into tax-exempt social welfare groups spending millions of dollars raised from undisclosed donors. They are allowed to buy "issue advocacy ads" that do not directly support or oppose a political candidate. But in New York, any organization receiving $25,000 in annual donations from sources in the state are required to register with the attorney general. He's requesting tax returns and other financial data from dozens of the groups on both sides of the aisle. These groups differ from Super PACs, who must disclose donors.
Taxi drivers share challenges during month of Ramadan (Transportation Nation)
City Island bridge plan ripped (NY Post)
Sewage puts Ironman swim in doubt (Wall Street Journal)
Cuomo signs bill requiring public notification of sewage spills in rivers, streams (Albany Times Union)
Senate Democrat breakaways influence upstate race (Albany Times Union)
NYPD unveils new system to track suspects
The New York Police Department has unveiled a vast new system — designed with the help of Microsoft Corp. — to track potential terrorists or criminals throughout the city. The Domain Awareness System integrates information from 3,000 video cameras, radiation detectors, license plate readers and crime reports to give police "one-stop shopping" to track suspects.
City Council berates Board of Elections (NY Times)
AG scrutinizes groups' campaign spending (NY Times)
City failed to provide adequate facilities for disabled at polling sites (Associated Press)
Cuomo staff wrote speeches for local officials that praised governor (Wall Street Journal)
Widen Brooklyn Bridge Cycling Path?
Elected officials are concerned the pedestrian path on the Brooklyn Bridge has become too small as the number of cyclists in the city continues to grow. Three Council members and an advocacy group yesterday proposed doubling the path to make a separate lane for cyclists. At least one estimate places the cost at tens to hundreds of millions. According to the city, 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists use the path daily, a number that can balloon to 15,000 on busy days.
A tale of two brownfields (City Limits)
Police shoot dog walker (Wall Street Journal)
Cuomo now aiming for stricter gun laws (NY Post)
Sick-pay vote demonstrates Speaker Quinn's power (Wall Street Journal)
Stop-and-frisk in the news
Civilian complaints about stop-and-frisks dropped 10 percent last year, even as the number of incidents rose over the same period. Stops have actually plummeted this year, decreasing by 34 percent in the past three months compared to the preceding three months. The drop was not part of any policy change, according to the Bloomberg administration. Meanwhile, the New York Times ran a story about the particular issues females face when dealing with the stops.
Street sweeping leads to more driving: study (Wall Street Journal)
Upstate mayors cold to fiscal control board idea (Wall Street Journal)
Advocates want free prison bus back for families (Associated Press)
Federal suit joins NYPD military pension suit (Daily News)
State asks feds to reinvest billions in Medicaid savings (Albany Times Union)
Major Expansion of Adirondacks
The state is adding 69,000 acres of land to the Adirondack State Forest Preserve with the largest single acquisition in more than a century, according to state officials. The land will be bought from the Nature Conservancy over a five-year period. It will be the first time the land has been open for public use in 150 years, according to Governor Cuomo.
Hudson Yards: NYC's urban town within a city (Associated Press)
NYPD: Shooting deaths of shopkeepers similar (Associated Press)
NY Times photographer arrested on assignment (NY Times)
Public housing tenants to get cameras after all (Daily News)
Senator's property records highlight disclosure gap (Wall Street Journal)
Courts sides with NYPD on no-protest zones (Wall Street Journal)
US: 5 convicted in '95 slaying didn't commit crime
Five people who have spent over a decade in prison after being convicted in the 1995 killing of a cab driver didn't commit the crime, according to a review of the case by federal investigators. Livery cab driver Baithe Diop was robbed and shot five times inside his vehicle in the Bronx. Lawyers for the defendants in the case will likely seek to have the convictions thrown out.
State ethics commission was wrong to shield donors, board member says (Associated Press)
NYPD accused of miscalculating benefits for officers in military (Associated Press)
Hotel trades union endorses Golden (Politicker)
Corey Johnson gets endorsement from 3 gay leaders (State of Politics )
Cuomo announces 'Yogurt Summit' (Lower Hudson Journal)
Tougher controls for paroled sex offenders under new law (Albany Times Union)
Subway report card
The Straphangers Campaign's annual analysis of the city's subways has found once again that the C train is the worst line in the city and it earned a grade of "F." The C line has been graded the worst for four years in a row. The line scored so low because it was found to be the dirtiest. Meanwhile, the Q train took top honors for the first time in over a decade. Trains on the C line are some of the oldest in the city and are particularly dark compared with other trains.
MetroCard surcharge unfair to Queens? (Daily News)
Anti violence forum held at PS 55 (Daily News)
Quiet role for Cuomo at Dem convention (Wall Street Journal)
New PEF president wants to work with Cuomo (Albany Times Union)
Property tax evasion widespread in City (NY Times)
Goldman to invest in City jail program (NY Times)
Tunneling below Second Ave. (NY Times)
Malcolm Smith for mayor? (City Hall)
Cuomo vetoes special ed bill
Yesterday Governor Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have required officials to take into account the home life and family background - such as religion - of special education students when placing them in schools. It would have authorized school districts to reimburse parents for tuition costs at private schools. Cuomo said it would unfairly place the burden on taxpayers to support private education and runs contrary to his commitment to reducing expensive mandates placed on local governments. The bill was seven votes shy of being veto-proof.
Residents try to take out trash district (Wall Street Journal)
Cuomo's push for secrecy (Capital)
Controlling the cost of Medicaid (MetroFocus)
Pro-Cuomo lobby allowed to hide donor names (NY Times)
City’s used police shells, reloaded for sale (NY Times)
State Police Probe Overlooked Allegations
Two serious allegations were left out of then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's 2009 investigative report on political interference with state police, sworn testimony by the state police general counsel shows. His testimony claims that Cuomo tried to discourage police from bringing lawyers with them when they were questioned during the investigation. Cuomo's office denies this and aides say counsel was present during conversations with troopers. Valle also alleged that aides to former Governor David Paterson pushed to have 10-15 white officers on his executive security detail replaced with blacks and Latinos. Aides say there was no formal request and that no significant changes to the detail were made.
Mayor 'worried' about upswing in gun crime (Wall Street Journal)
Federal report tracks NY crime guns to many states (Associated Press)
Shift in how state pays bills cuts summer food programs (Albany Times Union)
Study: Top teachers getting away (NY Post)
Preventable illnesses cost billions
The state pays $24 billion a year to help cover hospital and emergency costs for preventable illnesses suffered by blacks and Hispanics. Poor nutrition, fewer recreational options, lack of exercise, and other problems in their communities exacerbate maladies and diseases like asthma, obesity, and depression. Providing routine medical care by neighborhood doctors would save the state billions, officials say.
NY localities hurt as Indian casino cash dries up (Associated Press)
For bike-share firm, delay could cost (Wall Street Journal)
Seabrook Convicted in Corruption Case
Councilman Larry Seabrook was convicted yesterday in a corruption case accusing him of funneling $1.5 million in taxpayer funds to his girlfriend and family. It was the second trial for the veteran lawmaker. His first ended in a mistrial. Seabrook, convicted of nine of 12 counts, told reporters he continued to have faith "in the system" and in God. "Now I'll prepare myself for what's next," he said. Hours after the verdict, he was fired from the Council. He'll be sentenced Jan. 8. A special election for his seat will be held Nov. 6.
In the Bronx, state ed reform commission gets earful (Gotham Schools)
Con Ed lockout on hold thanks to power of Cuomo, storms (Gotham Gazette - Wonkster)
Bronx BP weighs run for public advocate in 2013 (Daily News)
Gridlock Sam: How to ease traffic congestion (MetroFocus)
Settlements cost localities $1B a year, study says (Albany Times Union)
Con Ed, Union to meet
New York's Public Service Commission has agreed to organize a meeting between Con Ed and its union after Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent a letter on on Wednesday urging a conclusion to a three-week lock out that he had been silent about. “In the case of the current Con Ed lockout, it would be a failure to serve the public to respond only after a blackout or serious safety incident that occurs due to the labor dispute,” Cuomo wrote to the commission’s chairman, Garry A. Brown. Outside contractors have been maintaining the city's power grid since the lockout started on July 1. Over 8,000 employees have been out of work since that time.
More fuel for Cuomo presidential bid rumors (Wall Street Journal)
Voters oppose pay raise for lawmakers (NY Post)
Council takes on NYPD crash probes (Daily News)
Albany pols invest campaign cash (Daily News)
De Blasio to sue city for data on fines (NY Times)
MTA unveils preliminary budget (NY Times)
The sugary drink hearing
The Board of Health hearing on Mayor Bloomberg's ban of large sugary drinks from many establishments took place yesterday, with supporters likening soda companies to Big Tobacco and opponents accusing the city of playing Big Brother. Although only 8 of the board's 11 members attended - a number which dwindled toward the end - the hearing ran much longer than scheduled to make room for all the speakers. The beverage industry is worried the ban could spread to other cities. Some council members are looking at ways to circumvent the measure at the state level.
Audits: State overpaid $33 million in Medicaid bills (Albany Times Union)
Former Queens Assemblyman Meng arrested in bribe case (Wall Street Journal)
NYPD releases 911 call that outed NJ spying operation (Associated Press)
At least 8,200 same-sex marriage licenses issued in past year (Associated Press)
Jobless rates highest in Bronx, Brooklyn (Wall Street Journal)
Judge blocks bid to remove staff at struggling schools (Wall Street Journal)
Sugary drink ban hearing today
Today the Board of Health will hear arguments over Mayor Bloomberg's proposal to ban large sugary drinks from many shelves throughout the city to help battle obesity. Some researchers have concluded that the ban would indeed drive down calorie consumption. But the soft-drink industry is presenting the measure as impinging on personal freedom. Bloomberg and the 1199 SEIU health care union have partnered to launch their own publicity campaign. The board can approve such measures without legislative approval, and the mayor has taken unique advantage of that fact during his tenure.
Union: State prisons dangerously understaffed (Albany Times Union)
Union money on the rise in city's 2013 election (Wall Street Journal)
Feds Approve Manhattan Trash Station
The city received final regulatory approval from the federal government on Sunday to build a waste transfer station in the Upper East Side. The site has generated controversy from local residents opposed to the plant. Currently, Manhattan has no waste stations. Plans call for ground-breaking in 2015. The station faces a lawsuit next month, but previous suits have failed.
Some fracking critics use bad science (Associated Press)
Court rejects MTA’s ban against ‘demeaning’ transit ads (Wall Street Journal)
MTA to expand bus service, G line
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to expand bus service in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the South Bronx. It will also extend the G line permanently to Church Avenue in Brooklyn. Additionally, the $29.5-million plan includes more trains for Metro-North. The agency says a fare hike planned for January will be moved back to March.
Twitter fights court order to reveal Occupy messages (Wall Street Journal)
Fed grand jury probes Grimm fundraising (Daily News)
NY comptroller says Green Island needs to check pension payout (Albany Times Union)
Cuomo defends secretive communication
Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters yesterday that his staff communicates through an unrecorded text messaging system instead of by email due to fears of hacking. The Daily News reported earlier this month that Cuomo staffers have been told not to send emails but to text if they can't communicate in person. The News found that Cuomo sent no emails last year. Communicating by text ensures that there is no record of critical communications that could later be requested by the public or press. Cuomo's administration has faced criticism for not being transparent and not providing the press with thorough records. Cuomo campaigned on having the most tranparent administration in history.
Malcolm Smith spends campaign cash on lavish travel (Daily News)
State investigators protect Con Ed (NY Post)
Lawsuit set to block evictions (Wall Street Journal)
Advertising set for front of Metrocards (Daily News)
Cuomo goes to the Hamptons (Daily News)
Uniting low-wage workers (NY Times)
Unlicensed hit and run driver not charged for death (StreetsBlog)
State standardized test results
Statewide test results for third- through eighth-graders this past school year found 55 percent were proficient in English, up from 53 percent the prior year. In math, 65 percent were proficient, up from 63 percent. But scores for poor kids and black and Hispanic children were much lower. In the city, 60 percent of all students passed the math tests, compared with 57 percent last year. And 47 percent of students achieved proficiency in English, compared with 44 percent last year. Charter schools outperformed traditional public schools in the city, and they improved at a faster rate as well.
NYU expansion plan nears final approval (Wall Street Journal)
State ethics board member leaves group that lobbies (Associated Press)
Poor children drive city's asthma rate (Wall Street Journal)
Con Ed Talks Fruitless
There was no agreement in the talks between Con Ed and locked out union members yesterday. To prepare for this week's heatwave, the company will bring in outside contractors. The union is asking state utility regulators for an investigation into Con Ed's cancellation of workers' health benefits. Those benefits were restored this weekend. They will be rallying tonight against Con Ed. Speaker Quinn has shifted her support and now backs the union.
Cataloging Bloomberg’s recent defeats (MetroFocus)
Trans-fat ban made food a bit healthier: report (Associated Press)
MTA to make permanent G train expansion (Daily News)
Pol’s sex ads rub DA wrong way (NY Post)
NYU near deal on growth (Wall Street Journal)
NY law aimed at painkiller addiction called model (Associated Press)
Liu campaign spending big on legal fees (Wall Street Journal)
Con Ed Talks Continue
Talks between Con Ed and locked out union members on Saturday didn't result in any agreement on changes in pension and health care benefits. An expected heat wave has officials pressuring the company to resolve the dispute in order to avoid power failures. The two sides will meet again today.
Quinn raises maximum for possible primary runoff (Wall Street Journal)
Thompson raises $1.5 million for mayoral bid (Wall Street Journal)
Bloomberg vows to battle city crime wave (NY Post)
Cuomo uses messaging system that leaves no trail (Daily News)
Taxi fares to rise
An average 17 percent increase in taxi fares was approved yesterday by the Taxi and Limousine Commission. The per-mile charge will rise to 50 cents from 40 cents. It takes effect in September. Flat fees to airports will also increase. And a limit was placed on how much cab owners can charge drivers to lease their cars. The commission will also begin releasing a report every two years on the economic condition of drivers along with the current reports assessing the health of fleets. The 5 percent charge fleets can levy on drivers for processing credit-cards was eliminated as well.
Council to hold hearing on vote counting woes (Associated Press)
City outlines mega Midtown East rezoning (NY Observer)
Insurer says policies exclude hydrofracking (Albany Times Union)
Push for sunshine on policymaking boards (Wall Street Journal)
Cop at center of ticket fixing scandal accused of trying to kill witness (Associated Press)
Politicians excluded from speaking at 9/11 memorial
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided that no elected officials will speak at the 9/11 memorial anniversary ceremony this year. A reading of the names of the 2,983 victims will will be the center of the event. Bloomberg made the move as the governor's of New York and New Jersey battled to take greater control of the event.
Cuomo turns to campaign finance (Albany Times Union)
Manhattan rents experience highest rise in 5 years (Daily News)
Kelly's comments attacked as insensitive (Daily News)
City bringing wireless internet to pay phone kiosks (Wall Street Journal)
City reservoirs turning bright green (NY World)
Rooftop agriculture grows in city (NY Times)
City settles lawsuit over death of inmate (NY Times)
ConEd wants state to end lockout (Wall Street Journal)
Bloomberg backing Espaillat's primary challenger (Daily News)
City unveils high rise plan for Grand Central Terminal (Wall Street Journal)
City retreats on school closure plan (Wall Street Journal)
Smoking signs struck down
A federal appeals court ruled that the city was overstepping its boundaries by forcing tobacco retailers to post graphic images of the health consequences of smoking. They said it was only the right of federal authorities to require such a thing. The decision upheld an earlier ruling against the city from 2010. The regulation started in 2009.
Two hospital safety reports, different rankings (MetroFocus)
Courts putting stop-and-risk policy on trial (NY Times)
Board of Elections says criticism was unfair (NY Times)
Cuomo turns to campaign finance (Albany Times Union)
Micro-apartment design competition
Mayor Bloomberg has launched a competition to design efficient, tiny apartments of around 300 feet for a building on city-owned property in Kips Bay. The winner will be judged on designs for common spaces in the building and on their success in drawing air and light into the units. Affordability of the apartments will also be a consideration. About 20 percent of the micro-units would be for low-income tenants, and the rest would be under the market rate of $2,000 a month. The goal is to retain and attract young people moving to the city. There are not enough single dwelling apartments to meet current demand.
New York: The unexpected House battleground (Politico)
Feds snuff out the roll-your-own cigarette tax loophole (Albany Times Union)
ConEd tackles union tasks (Wall Street Journal)
Bloomberg backing Grand Central plaza (NY Post)
Espaillat expected to concede race
With Rep. Charlie Rangel up by 990 votes, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat is expected to concede the race for the 13th Congressional District on Monday, the Daily News reports. The city's Board of Elections finished its count of paper ballots on Saturday, giving Rangel the edge. After questions were raised about vote counting in the June 26 primary, Espaillat filed suit in state Supreme Court and called for a new election.
Cuomo's dad has presidential hopes for son (NY Times)
NYC public advocate's list of worst landlords (Daily News)
Romney raises cash in the Hamptons (Associated Press)
Waterfront gets day to call its own (MetroFocus)
NY Aquarium to add 1,100-foot-long 'shimmer wall' (Wall Street Journal)
NY Senate approves $369M in pork spending (Democrat and Chronicle)
Rangel recount continues
Rep. Charlie Rangel's lead over challenger state Sen. Adriano Espaillat increased slightly as the Board of Elections began counting absentee and and affadavit ballots yesterday. A number of counting errors have made the race much close than reported on election night and Espaillat's camp has said a revote is in order. Meanwhile, Espaillat's camp scored a victory when a judge ruled that the City Board of Elections can not transfer the results of the race to the State Board of Elections untill Espaillat's camp has had a chance to make their case in court that votes were supressed during the election. The Board of Election has come under increased scrutiny following this and other recent counting scandals.
ConEd workers protest stalled talks (Wall Street Journal)
Stringer proposes alternative to distribute pork (Daily News)
After accident, more money for tree care (NY Times)
Soda industry escalates campaign (City Room)
Lawmakers to return to Albany for condo-tax deal (City Room)
BOE to count absentee ballots in Rangel race
With the results still uncertain in the primary battle between Rep. Charlie Rangel and his most prominent challenger, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, attention is expected to be focused today on the opening of absentee and affadavit ballots by the city Board of Election. Meanwhile, the Times reports that Rangel is acting as if he is still waging an election campaign. Current tallies show Espaillat trailing by 802 votes.
Liu fined over $527K for 2009 campaign signs (Daily News)
Spitzer joins NY1's 'Inside City Hall' (Associated Press)
Schumer sounds alarm on invasive weed threat to Finger Lakes (Democrat and Chronicle)
Rep Hayworth wants to give commuters tax relief (Poughkeepsie Journal)
Con Ed to meet with union
Con Ed will meet tomorrow with the union workers it locked out in a session including federal mediators. But union members are still picketing the job sites. There have been a couple incidents since the impasse. One manager who was filling in for a worker was burned in an accident. And a small section in Brooklyn has had no power since the workers were sidelined on Monday.
Coney Island's invisible towers (City Limits)
Brooklyn Sen. Marty Golden cancels event on 'feminine presence' (Associated Press)
Rangel's victory questioned
A judge ruled yesterday that State Sen. Adriano Espaillat could push for an entirely new vote in his primary challenge against Rep. Charles Rangel. Espaillat's lawyer said they would do so, if only to prevent the statute of limitations from expiring. But first they'll ask a judge to order a re-canvassing of the votes already cast. Over the past few days, Rangel's lead shrank from 6 percent, when the Board of Election declared him the winner, to 2 percent now with 802 votes. There's still 2,152 absentee and affidavit ballots to be counted. The board missed 79 precincts in its initial count - mostly in Espaillat's stronghold. An advocacy group has also called for an investigation into suppression by the board of Latino voters.
Clean energy startups (MetroFocus)
Mayor rejects 9/11 memorial proposal by Port Authority (Wall Street Journal)
State agencies increase by 63 (Albany Times Union)
Fewest bills passed in Albany since 1914 (Albany Times Union)
Judge tells Twitter to give up protester's tweets (Daily News)
City agency admits illegal lobbying effort (Wall Street Journal)
Con Ed locks out union employees
Talks between Con Ed and its union broke down yesterday as their contract expired, and the company has locked out 8,000 employees in the middle of a heat wave. They have closed walk-in centers, suspended meter readings, and limited work on major construction projects. About 5,000 managers, including retired supervisors, will take the workers' place. The union says the managers will not be able handle a crisis. Con Ed wants to replace pensions with a 401(k)-type savings plan. The workers, meanwhile, are asking for a 4 percent pay hike. The company decided to lock out employees after the union rejected offers to not strike without seven days' notice or to extend the expired contract for 14 days.
Soda makers begin their push against NYC ban (NY Times)
Special education change is pushed (Wall Street Journal)
Protesters say Quinn used NYPD to thwart them (Wall Street Journal)
Costly brownfield cleanup plan benefiting affluent developers extended (Albany Times Union)
NYC budget uncertainty could lead to cuts later (Associated Press)
City Council overrides mayor's vetoes
The City Council overrode the mayor's vetoes of three bills and adopted a $68.5 billion budget at last night's stated meeting. Perhaps the most contentious action by the Council was its 46-5 vote to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg's veto of the living wage bill. Bloomberg has said he would sue to block the bill from becoming law, arguing that it amounts to unfair government meddling in the free market. Speaker Christine Quinn said at a news conference before last night's meeting that she didn't understand "why the mayor would sue" but was confident the Council would win any legal fight.
Appeals court strikes down NY taxi decision (Associated Press)
Brooklyn's McCarren Park Pool returns (Wall Street Journal)
Rangel opponents call for federal vote count monitor (Politicker)
NY moves forward with health plan (Associated Press)
Councilman says more transparency needed on pork (Daily News)
Sharp rise in beach closings
A national study released by the Natural Resources Defense Council found a sharp rise in beach closures in New York due to contamination. The number of days beaches in New York were closed or had swim warnings nearly doubled last year from the year before. The report found that some of the causes of the contamination were high rainfall and, a fire at a sewage treatment plan in Harlem. The repot comes as the Environmental Protection Agency is revising standards for acceptable levels of bacteria in the water before a warning is made.
Atlantic Yards faces small set back (Crain's)
Stowaway search at Port Newark (Wall Street Journal)
Rental market weighed by worries (Wall Street Journal)
Rangel's margin of victory narrows (Daily News)
Councilman supports naming bridge for Dinkins (Daily News)
Is Meng a potential star? (NY Times)
Coalition calls for reform of stop and frisk (City Room)
Manhattan shines as retail hub (NY Times)
MTA officials hint at service restorations (NY Times)
Date blamed for low voter turnout (NY Times)
Council hands out pork (NY Post)
Congressional primary results
Most of the precincts have finished reporting, and the new Congressional landscape of New York has taken shape. Rep. Charles Rangel held onto his seat for a 22nd term, despite a close challenge in Uptown's 13th district. Hakeem Jefferies trounced Charles Barron in Brooklyn's 8th district, although Barron's calling for a recount. The state will also send its first Asian-American representative to the House with Grace Meng taking the 6th district in Queens. And Wendy Long won the GOP's U.S. Senate primary, bringing immediate attacks on her qualifications from Democrats.
Mayor rigs air conditioning unit to SUV (NY Post)
Appeals court calls a stop-and-frisk illegal (NY Times)
Congressional primary day
Today is Congressional primary day, and although there are a few competitive races, turnout is expected to be low. This is due to a new, earlier date for the races, as well as new district lines. The competition for embattled Rep. Charles Rangel's seat, who faces fresh challenges within his newly drawn borders, is one of the most closely watched. There is also a race in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate with three challengers. For a complete run down of the races, check Gotham Gazette's guide to the last minute (primary) voter.
Free wi-fi arrives in six subway stations (Wall Street Journal)
Big rise seen in fare beaters (Wall Street Journal)
Roll-your-own cigarettes win state tax fight (Associated Press)
Mayor, council announce $68.5 billion budget deal (Associated Press)
Slow session, but looking forward
A number of Gov. Cuomo's priorities failed to gain traction this year, as the legislature closes an historically slow session. But the governor will continue pushing for publicly financed elections alongside a new advocacy group. The coordination is modeled after efforts to pass the same sex marriage bill, which was approved one year ago today.
Queens congressional district proves test for turnout (Wall Street Journal)
Former officer gets five years for false arrest of black man (Wall Street Journal)
Suit aims to force police to follow pot arrest rules (Wall Street Journal)
Watershed unhappy with city's reservoir releases (Associated Press)
Sea rise fastest on East Coast (Associated Press)
NY lawmakers agree to limit disclosure of teacher evaluations
The state Legislature agreed yesterday to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to limit the disclosure of teacher evaluations. The measure allows parents to see the evaluations of current teachers, but strips public data of their names. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration had fought to kill the effort, instead wanting "full disclosure" of evaluations to the public. United Federation of Teachers head Michael Mulgrew praised the measure, which he said struck an "appropriate balance."
NYC Council wants finger printing of private school employees (Associated Press)
Investigators seek Westchester DA Janet DiFiore's tax returns (Lower Hudson Journal)
NYC announces initiatives to help tech sector (MetroFocus)
Merger talks between major hospitals break off (Wall Street Journal)
Seabrook retrial begins
Councilman Larry Seabrook is again facing a jury that has been asked by prosecutors to convict him of corruption charges. The trial started on Wednesday with opening statements with the prosecution accusing Seabrook of steering $1.5 million of city money to dysfunctional non-profits he controlled. Seabrooks lawyer characterized him as a savior of his Bronx community. The jury in Seabrook's previous trial deadlocked last December after being unable to come to a decision on 12 counts that included money laundering, bribery and fraud.
Bill to save Pier 40 fails (Crain's)
Failed push to enroll more disabled students in charter schools (Wall Street Journal)
FBI continues probe of Rep. Grimm (Daily News)
NYPD has new training video for stop and frisk (Daily News)
Senate Republicans to discuss teacher disclosure (State of Politics )
Organ donation by driver license bill (Albany Times Union)
Blacks miss out as jobs rebound in NY (NY Times)
City joins suit against Defense of Marriage Act (City Room)
Rents keep rising
Even during the downturn, New York City rents continued rising, with the median rent jumping to $1,100 a month in 2011 from $950 in 2008, according to a new report by the Community Service Society. Also, households spending more than half their income on rent grew to 29 percent from 26 percent over the same period.
Freeloading bus riders cost MTA $50 million (Daily News)
Divide in Albany kills proposal on marijuana (NY Times)
Experts say science lacking on 9/11 and cancer (Associated Press)
Bloomberg lobbies to kill Cuomo plan to limit ratings' release (Wall Street Journal)
New panel examines police tactics (Wall Street Journal)
No teacher evaluation access deal
Lawmakers and the governor couldn't come to an agreement on restricting access to teacher evaluations, and it's possible no deal will be made by the end of session this week. Gov. Cuomo did however make a last minute proposal to let the general public view overall school performance data, but not teachers' names. The teachers union and Assembly had previously supported only releasing the data to parents in face-to-face meetings. Still, the governor doesn't see a need to rush the deal, and says evaluations don't need to be finished until January anyway. Other officials also say their release should wait until bugs are worked out of the new evaluation system.
More swastika graffiti in Borough Park (Daily News)
Advocate blasts state's new plan to protect disabled (Associated Press)
Groups ask for probe of Cuomo, business lobby link (Associated Press)
Opposition to power line plan creates unusual alliances (Wall Street Journal)
Clean energy bill unlikely to get voted on this session (Albany Times Union)
Marijuana plan appears doomed in Albany (NY Times)
Thousands of people participated in a silent march yesterday to protest the police department's stop-and-frisk policy. Several elected officials joined, including three mayoral candidates. The march stretched up to 30 blocks and ended at Mayor Bloomberg's home. Organizers estimated 25,000 to 50,000 people joined, but that could not be confirmed. The protesters included civil rights, religious, union and gay rights groups.
Cuomo, lawmakers agree on online child porn bill (Associated Press)
Deal in Albany on policing abuse of disabled (NY Times)
Hydraulic fracturing debated after drilling plan emerges
It's being called a "sacrificial zone" by activists opposed to hydraulic fracturing, but rural communities along the Pennsylvania border hailed a possible state plan to allow the controversial natural gas drilling method in their counties.
"Gas drilling is the way for us to go," said Sandy Rogers of the Town of Bradford in Steuben County.
The uptick in the debate over fracking came after a New York Times report Wednesday that the Cuomo administration was weighing whether to allow the controversial method in Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Steuben and Tioga counties.
Meanwhile, the state attorney general's office announced an agreement with Chesapeake Energy Corp. that would allow thousands of upstate landowners to renegotiate leases that permit hydrofracking on their property.
Bronx DA using new DNA methods to close cases (Daily News)
Quinn silent on Chelsea Market development (NY Times)
ACF commissioner talks about overwhelmed family court (City Limits)
Cyberbullying won't be misdemeanor (Albany Times Union)
Deal Near on Teacher Evaluations
A deal to restrict the release of teacher evaluations only to parents is picking up steam as session barrels to a close in Albany. If not deal is reached evaluations will become available to the public, something unions oppose. Unions are reportedly supporting a plan where parents would be briefed on evaluations by principals but would not be able to take notes or record the evaluation in anyway. The Post reports that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is working on a compromise that would provide some confidentiality to teachers.The governor has set a Monday deadline for any deal.
Last-minute deals in Albany (Albany Times Union)
City collects nearly $3 billion in water bills (Daily News)
NYPD monitor bill proposed (Daily News)
Health panel may target other snacks (Daily News)
Quinn rips Bloomberg (Daily News)
Barron takes on Jeffries (Daily News)
Outnumbered Republicans keep power in Albany (NY Times)
Few answers for angry Bronx tenants (Daily News)
Board moves on sugary drink ban
The Board of Health voted unanimously in favor of publishing for public review Mayor Bloomberg's proposal to ban large sugary drinks from many retailers and called for a final vote in mid-September. But they wondered why the city was stopping with drinks and not pursuing foods. Some also called for including fruit juices and milks. One board member skeptically questioned the plan's economic impact and fairness.
A cordial debate for Rangel’s seat (Wall Street Journal)
Mayoral contenders discuss business issues (Wall Street Journal)
Bronx could get biggest rooftop farm in the world (Daily News)
Ratings agency warns of rough road for Thruway (Albany Times Union)
Cops crack down on impromptu shared rides over George Washington Bridge (Wall Street Journal)
Cop faces manslaughter
The officer who fatally shot an unarmed teen in the Bronx nearly 6 months ago will reportedly face manslaughter charges. It will be the first time a cop is charged in an on-duty shooting since the Sean Bell case in 2007. The 18-year-old in this incident was only in possession of marijuana and was killed in front of his family in his home.
Harlem icon faces 'perfect storm' in re-election bid (New York Now)
Associated Press sues NJ police department over Muslim spy data (Associated Press)
City pension funds sue Wal-Mart (Associated Press)
New city message on food: buy local (Wall Street Journal)
Councilmember Wills stripped of powers amid probe (Wall Street Journal)
State graduation rates slowly rising (Albany Times Union)
City’s graduation rate flat for class of 2011 (Daily News)
Lobbyists sometimes bundled clients' donations with their own (Albany Times Union)
Suit targets Muslim spying
A national Muslim advocacy group has filed a federal suit against the New York Police Department over their surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey. They want it ruled unconstitutional, arguing the police targeted people based on religion, national origin, and race. They also want the surveillance files expunged. It is the first suit to challenge the department's spying on Muslim communities, but observers predict more to come. The group, Muslim Advocates, is close to President Obama. On Tuesday, the NYPD will honor the Intelligence Division, which conducted the surveillance.
Cancer will be covered by 9/11 fund (Wall Street Journal)
NYC tax break helps owners improve luxury condos, report says
A nearly 60-year-old New York City program designed to help landlords improve conditions for tenants in hardscrabble living conditions has strayed so far from its original purpose that owners commonly use it to fix up co-ops and condos, says a report released yesterday. The J-51 program has become one of the city's most expensive incentives, costing $256 million in 2011, according to the report by the Community Service Society of New York.
Groups criticize EPA over Hudson cleanup (Albany Times Union)
Brownfield cleanup program criticized (Albany Times Union)
Gov considers new options for NYC casino (NY Times)
Guide to the Stop and Frisk app (MetroFocus)
Labor groups donated to Cuomo ally (NY Times)
Parents confused about NY sunscreen policies (Democrat and Chronicle)
HIV-infected man's saliva not weapon under NY law (Associated Press)
Gov seeks compromise with Senate over pot plan (Wall Street Journal)
Major Hospitals to Merge
Two of the cities biggest hospital groups agreed to merge on Wednesday. NYU Langone Medical Center and Continuum Health Partners, which includes Beth Israel and the two St Luke's-Roosevelt campuses, could combine to create one of the largest medical systems in the city. The new powerhouse would have great sway in the market and could pressure insurance companies and other medical practices. Advocates fear the merger could limit options for patients and drive up prices.
Manhattan Sets Rent Record Again (Crain's)
Forum in Soundview on Foreclosures (Daily News)
City Fears Defeat of New Taxi Plan (Daily News)
Revised NYU Plan Proceeds (Wall Street Journal)
City, UFT, in Talks to Replace Arbitrators (Wall Street Journal)
Gambling Group Lobbied Cuomo at Fundraiser (NY Times)
Students Protest Dress Code (NY Times)
Pre-K Special Ed Costs Soar
The city is paying private contractors over $1 billion this year to to run a special education program for preschoolers, nearly twice the amount it paid six years ago, according to the New York Times. Annual costs have risen to about $40,000 per child. The city's prekindergarten program, which accounts for about 6 percent of the education budget, is far more expensive than it is elsewhere. New York is the only state that turns over the program to private contractors.
Study: Paid sick days make business sense (Daily News)
Deal near on stalled 9/11 museum (Associated Press)
City budget balanced with help from Wall Street (Bloomberg)
Judge says he was struck by a police officer (NY Times)
State bills would fight organized shoplifting (Albany Times Union)
Deal expected on real time reporting of prescription drug sales (Associated Press)
Charter advocates face gap in mayoral race (Wall Street Journal)
Marijuana arrests drop 25 percent across city (Wall Street Journal)
Despite legislation, state ethics panel yet to issue disclosure requirements (Albany Times Union)
Cuomo's casino funds
A gambling trade group donated $2 million to a group closely aligned with Gov. Cuomo called the Committee to Save New York, right as he began a push to expand gambling. The trade group was the committee's second largest contributor in 2011. The committee mostly buys campaign-style ads praising Cuomo and his proposals. The governor had announced a deal with the company Genting to develop a Queens casino, and they are part of the trade group. Genting also donated an additional $400,000 to the committee. Genting and the trade group were considering thier own ad campaign, but the Cuomo administration reportedly encouraged them to give to the committee instead. The deal with Genting has since fallen through.
How much can $1.25 change someone's life? (City Hall)
Study questions impact of wage law (Wall Street Journal)
Bloomberg backs Cuomo's plan on marijuana (NY Times)
Cuomo seeks to decriminalize marijuana
Gov. Cuomo has proposed reducing to a violation the penalty for possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana in public view. He argues it will save thousands of New Yorkers, particularly minority youth, from unnecessary criminal arrest and save time wasted by law enforcement. The move goes against the wishes of Mayor Bloomberg, who has overseen more low-level marijuana arrests than his three predecessors combined, according to one analysis.
MTA does rate stations, flunks several stops (Daily News)
Pact extended for New York City reservoirs (Associated Press)
New advice on eating fish from state waterways (Associated Press)
Rep. Towns backs Barron as successor (Wall Street Journal)
Champion of gay rights to leave senate (NY Times)
Bus crackdown targets low-cost carriers (Wall Street Journal)
Council passes whistleblower bills
The City Council passed legislation yesterday strengthening protections for whistleblowers that work for contractors hired by city government. The law currently only protects municipal workers. The Department of Investigation, tasked with looking into allegations of city corruption, had expressed concern during a hearing that the expansion of the law would lead to an avalanche of cases involving "private sector personnel matters." The Council also passed a bill that would require employers to post notices at job sites informing workers of whistleblower protections.
Inside NYC family court: An overburdened system (City Limits)
NYC ban on large soda seen as blow to drink makers (Associated Press)
Court: No longer slander to falsely say someone is gay (Associated Press)
NY to sell ill-fated trains from high-speed flop (Albany Times Union)
Port Authority to overhaul runways at Stewart Airport (Poughkeepsie Journal)
Feds shut down over 2 dozen bus companies (Daily News)
Large Sugary Drink Ban
Mayor Bloomberg is planning an amendment to the health code banning the sale of large sugary drinks from a list of over 20,000 locations in an attempt to battle obesity. Any sweetened drink with over 16 ounces containing more than 25 calories per 8 ounces and less than 51 percent milk will be banned from restaurants, theaters, street carts, delis, and others. Some places, such as supermarkets and grocery stores, would not be affected. It would be the first in the nation. The Board of Health needs to approve it, but all its members were appointed by Bloomberg. It would go into effect in March, but retailers would have 6 months before violations are cited. Fines would cost $200.
Bill Seeks Helmets for Adult Bikers in City (Wall Street Journal)
Advocates Urge Reform to Guard Against Wrongful Convictions (Albany Times Union)
MTA Settles Bias Lawsuit (Wall Street Journal)
Lawsuit Over Violence by Guards in Jail
Eleven current and former inmates in the city’s jails have filed a lawsuit charging that the unprovoked beatings of inmates by guards has been tolerated and even condoned. The complaint seeks class-action status and argues that while five previous class-actions starting in the early 1990s exposed similar violence, the abuse has continued.
78th Precinct Gets Bedbugs (NY Post)
Regents Chief Considers Mayoral Bid (Wall Street Journal)
Critics Delay State Park Ban on Smoking (Albany Times Union)
State Wins No Child Left Behind Waiver (Albany Times Union)
More on Stop-and-Frisks
One in five people stopped-and-frisked was a teenager between the ages of 14 and 18 - 86 percent of who were black or Latino. The new co-chair of the State Democratic Party, Harlem Assemblymember Keith Wright, is an outspoken critic of the tactic. He has been stopped numerous times himself. A number of police officers are also speaking out about their opposition to it.
Money from colleagues buoys Rangel campaign (NY Times)
City vying to become global high-tech hub (Associated Press)
Electricity rates fall because of natural-gas price drop (Wall Street Journal)
Rise in theft of paper recyclables (NY Post)
Senate GOP says tax credits take precedence over minimum pay boost (Albany Times Union)
Binge-drinking ER visits skyrocket (Daily News)
Affordable apartments that helped sell big projects yet to materialize (Wall Street Journal)
Drilling companies fighting property owners to retain leases (Wall Street Journal)
Logistics hang over a ruling on 9/11 cancer (NY Times)
Arrest in 33-year-old Patz case
Police have arrested a New Jersey man in the disapperance of Etan Patz from SoHo 33 years ago, which helped spur a national missing children's movement. The man told investigators he lured the boy to the basement of a bodega, strangled him and put the child's body in a bag. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the suspect was "remorseful."
Albany journalist alleges police retaliation (NY Times)
Cuomo vows to get more Democrats elected (NY Times)
Upstate lawmakers want 3-strikes law for dangerous drivers (Albany Times Union)
OWS sues NYC over damage to 2,800 books (Bloomberg)
NY grand jury looks at painkiller abuse (Associated Press)
Seneca nation wants to take over $28.5M road project (Associated Press)
DEC Weighs Self Auditing For Polluters
The Department of Environmental Conservation is weighing a policy that would allow companies and agencies that handle pollutants including, hazardous chemicals, wastewater and pesticides to self-report violations of environmental law in exchange for reduced or waived penalties, the Gotham Gazette has learned. An internal memo obtained by the Gazette details the plan. The policy is being considered as the DEC continues to operate with reduced resources and is using contractors to get through abacklog of inspections of petroleum bulk storage sites.
Tech Campus Hires Former Twitter Exec (Crain's)
Kelly's Record Divides Mayoral Contenders (Wall Street Journal)
Bloomberg Will Alter Flight Plans (NY Times)
Heated Debate Over Library Plan (Capital)
Israel Focus in Congressional Campaign (NY Times)
Environment Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Demographic Shift at CUNY
A significant demographic shift has occurred at CUNY since it ended open admissions to its four-year colleges a decade ago. Black first-time freshmen at its five most competitive four-year colleges dropped to 10 percent of the class last fall from 17 percent in 2001. But 26 percent of freshman at those schools had SAT scores of 1,200 or more, a jump from 12 percent in 2001. Asians freshman are now a majority, composing 37 percent of those classes, rising from 25 percent a decade earlier.
Upper East Side Trash Plan Price Frustrates Opponents (Wall Street Journal)
Bloomberg says Tap Immigrants for Talent (Associated Press)
City Fines Salons and Barbershops for Gender-Pricing Discrimination (Wall Street Journal)
Cuomo says Minimum Wage Hike Won't Pass This Year (Daily News)
Analysis: City Budget Shortfall May Drop by $600 Million (Associated Press)
Comptroller Report Details City's Income Disparity (Daily News)
Possible Taxi Fare Hike
The Taxi and Limousine Commission will consider a proposal to raise taxi fares by 16 to 20 percent. If approved it could take effect as soon as mid-July. It would be the first across-the-board increase since 2004. The commission will also consider rising how much medallion owners can charge to lease them, but that is less likely to pass than the fare hike. For drivers to benefit from the higher fares, the lease cap would need to remain the same.
Speaker Quinn's NYPD Balancing Act (Capital)
Google Makes Space for City Tech School (Wall Street Journal)
Cuomo says Ethics Panel Needs Fine Tuning (Albany Times Union)
Jersey Muslims to Meet Again with State Officials About NYPD Surveillance (Associated Press)
Subway Crime at Seven Year High (NY Post)
East Side Access $1 Billion Over Budget (NY Post)
Bronx senator's health quest (Gotham Gazette)
Health Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Lawsuit Against Teachers Union President
A lawsuit revealed this weekend claims that the teachers union president had an affair some years ago with a married guidance counselor and accuses the city of using the incident to 'extort' labor concessions. The lawyer bringing the suit is a former teacher who once landed in the rubber room and has previously been fined for bringing frivolous legal actions. They also have no evidence to present to the court. Beyond the blackmail claims, some say the woman in question was given work by Mulgrew because of their relationship.
Senate Minority Leader Not Expected to Retain Post (Daily News)
East Side Access Project Expected to be Pushed Back Again (Wall Street Journal)
New York Leads 21 Other States in Campaign Finance Fight (Associated Press)
More Earners at Extremes in City than in US (NY Times)
Gov proposes end to food stamp fingerprinting
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has proposed regulations prohibiting agencies from requiring fingerprints from food stamp recipients. The regulations will most significantly affect New York City, the only jurisdiction in the state that currently fingerprints people who want to receive the benefits. City Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar said in a statement that fingerprinting “identifies potential duplicate payments and prevents fraud.
Sate workers to get share of $138M in longevity pay (Albany Times Union)
Audit: NY overcharged Medicaid for disabled care (Poughkeepsie Journal)
Inquiry Into Senate's Deputy Leader
The state's new ethics commission has launched a preliminary inquiry into the State Senate’s second highest-ranking member, Thomas Libous. He may have used his office improperly to obtain a job for his son. The commission has 45 days from the start of a preliminary inquiry to decide whether to pursue a full probe. It is the first known review of a case involving a legislator by the commission. One commissioner has called for an investigation into press coverage of the probe, first reported yesterday. He also said it was "inaccurate and misleading" but didn't elaborate.
Whistleblowers Fault Plan to Protect Disabled (Associated Press)
Assembly Enlists Public in Minimum Wage Fight (Associated Press)
New Librarians, Curators from Controversial Renovation Plan Cash (Wall Street Journal)
Is Quebec Power Good for the State? (Albany Times Union)
Espada and Son to Face New Trial (Wall Street Journal)
Espada Guilty of Theft
Former Bronx Sen. Pedro Espada was found guilty yesterday of stealing a half million dollars from a health clinic he founded. He was convicted on four of eight counts against him, each of which carries up to a 10 year sentence. The judge declared a mistrial on the four additional counts of theft, fraud and conspiracy. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on any of the counts against his son. Some of the jurors were reportedly set on Espada's innocence from the start. Meanwhile, the health care network is struggling to stay open.
Commissioner Kelly Won't Run for Mayor (NY Post)
State Officials say Higher Minimum Wage Bill Dead (Associated Press)
New Funding for Civilian Complaint Review Board (Wall Street Journal)
Hand Recount for South Brooklyn Election (NY Times)
Deputy Senate Leader Target of Ethics Inquiry (Albany Times Union)
Possible Verdict in Espada Trial
Jurors say they may reach a verdict in the corruption case against former Bronx Sen. Pedro Espada and his son, a day after indicating possible deadlock. In a note to the judge, they asked if they could decide on one defendant and not the other, which the judge said they could. The jury has seen widely varying degrees of progress.
Change to Top of World Trade Center Raises Questions Over Height (Wall Street Journal)
State Bill Would Ban Tanning Beds for Minors (Associated Press)
Tax-Cap Formula Means Different Things for Different Schools (Albany Times Union)
State's 8th-Graders Below Average in Science (Associated Press)
New York's Congressional Delegation Tackles NYPD Surveillance (Wall Street Journal)
Stop-and-Frisk Minority Focus
More young black males were stopped-and-frisked by police last year than actually live in the city, according to a new report by the New York Civil Liberties Union. The report, drawn from department files the N.Y.C.L.U. sued for, found that nearly 25 percent of the record 685,000 stops in 2011 were of black males aged 14 to 24. It also found a significant drop in the number of illegal firearms discovered because of stops. In recent weeks, the department has pushed precinct commanders to emphasize quality over quantity in stop-and-frisks. Also, all rookie officers will receive new training on the practice.
Quinn's Persistent Gadflies (Wall Street Journal)
Rikers 'Fight Club' Continues (Village Voice)
Fire Dept. Doubles Minority and Female Applicants
The number of minority and female applicants who took this spring's fire exam was about double the number who took it last time it was given in 2007. Of the 42,161 who took the exam, 19,260 were nonwhite and 1,952 were women. The aggressive minority recruitment effort came after years of litigation in which the city and the Fire Department were accused of having racially discriminatory hiring practices.
‘Super PAC’ is Backing a Rangel Challenger (NY Times)
Manhattan Apartment Rents Soar, Again (Wall Street Journal)
Seeing Source of Electricity in Water Pipes (NY Times)
East Side Access Targets 2019 for Completion Now (Wall Street Journal)
Bloomberg: I Didn't 'Bother' to Read 911 Report (Associated Press)
Twitter Fights Subpoena in Occupy Arrest Case (Associated Press)
Gotham Gazette Welcomes New Editor
Citizens Union Foundation, which publishes the Gotham Gazette, has appointed accomplished journalist Cristian Salazar as the executive editor of the award-winning online publication that covers New York policy and politics.
Salazar has been a general assignment reporter and supervisor for The Associated Press in New York City for nearly six years. He previously worked as a municipal government and crime reporter in Paterson, N.J., and for Newsday on Long Island. He holds a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
“We are thrilled to have Mr. Salazar join our team, given his solid background in covering hard news and reporting on issues of policy and politics that are of interest to New Yorkers,” said Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union Foundation.
Salazar takes the helm of the Gotham Gazette as the publication seeks to reinvigorate its role as a premiere online source of civic watchdog journalism in New York. He joins a reporting team that includes David King, Gotham Gazette’s state government editor based in Albany.
State Jobs Down 18.4 Percent
Jobs in the bureaucratic core of the state's biggest agencies have declined 18.4 percent since 2009, mostly due to retirements - with an average of 15 percent at each agency - combined with a hiring freeze, according to the Times Union. Also, a large chunk of the drop is due to the 898 layoffs from before Gov. Cuomo took office.
Greening the Empire State Building (Reuters)
Mixed-Martial Arts Bill Won't Get Assembly Vote (Wall Street Journal)
Teachers Suing Over School Closings (Associated Press)
Former Cop Sentenced to 75 Years for Sexual Assault (Wall Street Journal)
Ex-Con Ousted from MTA Project (Daily News)
Governor Targets Racing Association for Reforms (Associated Press)
Cuomo Proposes New Agency to Care for Disabled
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to propose a new agency that would investigate abuses in the care of the disabled in the state, The New York Times reports. The agency would investigate claims of abuse of the disabled in private or state care. The administration also wants to push for new laws to punsih those who do abuse the disabled. The new agency comes after a series of articles by the Times that focused on the abuse of the developmentally disabled.
Monseratte Faces Prison (Crain's)
NYPD Pension Fund Workers Allegedly Surf Web All Day (Daily News)
Groups Push for Gender Law (Albany Times Union)
Bill Thompson Courts Orthodox Vote (NY Post)
No Fault Divorce Law Applied Inconsistently (Wall Street Journal)
Undercover Cops Deal With Staffing Cuts (NY Times)
Subway Map Full of Mistakes (NY Times)
Discount Busline Faces Opposition (NY Times)
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that funds from the settlement with CityTime will help the city fill 2,500 teaching positions that were to be eliminated in the budget for the coming fiscal year, while also avoiding layoffs of police or firefighters. However, the mayor still intends to cut spending for child care, libraries and close 20 fire companies. The $68.7 billion proposal will be negotiated with the council over the coming weeks--it must be agreed upon my July 1. Bloomberg has proposed using $3.8 billion in one shots to help fill the budget which worries some fiscal observers. Bloomberg also announced that municipal workers who have been with a contract for 3 years will not get retroactive rasies even after he leaves office.
Espada Jury Back to Considering Evidence (NY Post)
Espada Allowed Press Conferences Outside of Court (Daily News)
Liu Vows to Block Taxi of Tomorrow But Can He? (Daily News)
Small Project Boosts Public Housing (Wall Street Journal)
Joe Bruno Faces More Federal Counts (Albany Times Union)
Cuomo Invokes Al Smith With NY Works Task Force (Albany Times Union)
Waste Water Becomes Focus of Fracking Debate (NY Times)
Cuomo Leans Toward Minimum Wage Increase (Daily News)
Warrant Squads Monitoring Protestors?
Activists claim that police from the warrant squad visited their homes Monday and gathered information on political activities in advance of May Day demonstrations. In one instance, officers are said to have entered their apartment to serve an open-container warrant on one tenant, but questioned another privately about his May Day plans. Police also reportedly served open-container warrants at another apartment rented by a number of activists, then leafed through May Day literature spread out on a table.
City to Add Special Education Teachers Next Year (Wall Street Journal)
Comptroller Signals Stop on Taxi Deal (Wall Street Journal)
Thousands March on May Day
Thousands of May Day protestors demonstrated yesterday, at one point filling Broadway between Houston and Worth streets as they marched from Union Square to Wall Street. There were over 30 arrests, mostly on disorderly conduct charges. They did not block any bridges or tunnels and large numbers failed to ditch work for a day as Occupy organizers had hoped. There was also no violence from splinter groups, as a police counterterrorism program had warned of. More white powder mailing incidents occurred, which police link to the demonstrations.
Senate GOP Tries to Distribute $10 Million More to Schools (Associated Press)
Medicaid Rolls Soar, Costs Down (Albany Times Union)
Board Recommends an Increase in Rents (NY Times)
Man Convicted in Thwarted Subway Bomb Plot (Wall Street Journal)
Protests Planned for Today
Activists are planning marches and other events today with the aim of bringing daily business to a standstill on International Workers Day, or May Day. The Occupy protests, which are pushing for a general strike, are part of a nationwide series of events. Those involved range from labor unions, immigrants rights groups and grassroots organizations. Four councilmembers sued the city yesterday over its handling of the Occupy protests so far. Envelopes containing white powder - which wasn't hazardous - were sent to the mayor and six banks in Manhattan with the note, “Happy May Day." The Occupy press team said, "It doesn’t sound like anything that’s part of the plans for tomorrow."
Rematches Are Theme of Many House Races (NY Times)
City Pension Funds Against Wal-Mart (Reuters)
City Not Banning Happy Hour (Metro)
City Lays Out Social Media Rules For Teachers (Wall Street Journal)
City's New Tallest Building
One World Trade Center is scheduled to become the city's tallest building today when the first column of the 100th floor is installed. In a couple months, it will reach the height of the original One World Trade when its rooftop parapet is installed. Next year, it will climb to 1,776 feet when the antenna is completed, likely making it the nation's tallest. 55 percent of the space is expected to be filled so far.
New Livery Cabs to be 'Apple Green' (Daily News)
City Considers Banning Happy Hour (NY Post)
Most School Budgets Comply with New State Tax Cap (Associated Press)
Trial Set for 22 People Arrested for Protesting Stop-and-Frisks (Associated Press)
City Braces for New Occupy Protest Tomorrow (Wall Street Journal)
Casino Cash Fuels Use of Injured Horses (NY Times)
Full Salaries for Albany Part-Timers (Daily News)
Crane Owner Cleared
The owner of a crane that collapsed about four years ago, killing two workers, was acquitted yesterday of manslaughter and all other charges. It was the third failed prosecution of a construction accident in the three years. The judge who heard the case without a jury gave no explanation for his ruling. The owner had been accused of accepting shoddy welding on the crane. A former employee had already pleaded guilty for his role in the collapse.
Jobs Migrate to the Cloud and Generate Employment (MetroFocus)
The Escalator System for the New MTA Station Below Grand Central (Wall Street Journal)
Cuomo Aims to Salvage Health Pact (Wall Street Journal)
Cuomo's Plan to Upgrade Energy Efficiency of Public Buildings (Albany Times Union)
Court of Appeals Hears Constitutional Challenge of GOP Plan for New Seat (Albany Times Union)
Former Sen. Kruger Gets Seven Years in Influence Case (Associated Press)
Short-Staffed (Gotham Gazette)
Environment Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Mayor Battles Wage Bills
In a speech yesterday Mayor Bloomberg threatened to take two bills raising wages to court if the City Council overrides his veto of them, which is expected. The "prevailing wage" and "living wage" bills both raise pay for certain workers at businesses benefitting from tax breaks and subsidies. He said the prevailing wage bill violates the City Charter and impinges on the power of his office and the state. Aides said they believed it was the first time Bloomberg had given such a speech to explain his reasons for vetoing a bill.
Court of Appeals Expedites Redistricting Challenge (Associated Press)
State Ends Tax and Fee Exemptions for In-State Beer Brewers (Wall Street Journal)
More Test Question Problems
Two questions on this week's math tests for third- through eighth-graders had problems - one had no correct answer, the other two right answers. The state says the questions will not count. Also, there was a question on the fourth-grade reading test that included information covered by some schools and not others, giving them an advantage. This comes after the talking pineapple question found last week.
Cooper Union Graduate Students to Begin Paying Tuition (Associated Press)
Assembly Proposes Funding Public Financing with Fraud Settlements (Albany Times Union)
City Gets Tech Officer, Expands Authority (Wall Street Journal)
For Quinn Wedding, Politics on the Side (NY Times)
City’s Wal-Mart Foes Rally Around Bribe Probe (Wall Street Journal)
Supreme Court Turn Aside Rent Case
The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear a case on rent stabilization in the city. They gave no reason, as is customary with cases they decline to hear. The court had preiously asked for written responses from officials to the plaintiffs' appeal. Observers were surprised the court took any interest. The case was brought by a landlord with a rent stabilized tenant who owns a home in the Hamptons. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had previously ruled the landlords knew what they were getting into when they acquired the building. That was the decision the Supreme Court wouldn't consider.
Twitter Evidence Allowed in ‘Occupy’ Trial (Wall Street Journal)
NYU to Build Second Applied Sciences Campus in City (Associated Press)
State Lawmakers Push for City Regulatory Power Over Private Bus Operators (Wall Street Journal)
More Reserve Teachers Finding Permanent Jobs (NY Times)
Former Intelligence Division Cop Used Database to Rob Jersey Warehouse (Associated Press)
Cuomo's Cash Transfer
In his last days as Attorney General Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office shifted tens of millions of dollars in settlement funds from an insurance probe out of his office's control and into an account controlled by the State Department of Health, reports the Wall Street Journal. The move gave the executive branch control of the cash and took it out of the hands of the incoming attorney general Eric Schneiderman.
Paterson to MTA Board (Daily News)
Assemblyman Waffles on Kendra's Law (Daily News)
Speaker Silver Thrives in Albany (Associated Press)
GOP Prepares for Kelly Mayoral Run (NY Post)
City Fights West Nile Virus (NY Times)
Replacing Kruger Is Expensive (NY Post)
Schneiderman Ignores IG Recomendation to Prosecute DEC Employee (Albany Times Union)
A Challenger For Naomi Rivera (Daily News)
City Previews Bike Kiosk Locations (NY Times)
Running Against Rangel (NY Times)
Is the Right of Way Fight Getting Ugly? (CNN.com)
Going Green Isn't Easy for Some Landlords (City Limits)
National License for Crane Operators
Next month all crane operators will be required to pass a national certification test and take a 40 hour training course. Other city requirements like one year of experience here, criminal background checks, and physical exams will also be necessary. The Buildings Department will continue to issue the licenses and set requirements. Licenses must be renewed every five years.
Gottlieb Said to Quit House Race in Queens (NY Times)
State Sues Sprint-Nextel for $100 Million in Sales Taxes (Associated Press)
New Livery Class Given Green Light (Wall Street Journal)
Redistricting Clash Not Over
The newly drawn state legislative district lines still face a couple challenges before they are finally approved. Democrats are suing in the Court of Appeals over the Republicans' decision to create a new seat in the Senate, one located in a GOP area. And minority advocates have complained to the Justice Department that Long Island boundaries have divided communities of color there, resulting in the election of all white Republican men.
Smoking Ban Enforcement Steps Up in Parks (Wall Street Journal)
City Sued Over New Cab Rules (Associated Press)
Child Poverty Growing in Hip Neighborhoods (Daily News)
Cuomo's Tax Filings
Gov. Cuomo released his tax filings yesterday, which showed that he earned over $230,000 last year, including nearly $50,000 in tax-exempt interest from bonds and investments. He paid an 18 percent federal tax rate, or about $33,000, and paid nearly $14,000 to the state. Cuomo claims he has no role in managing his personal wealth. Lt. Gov. Duffy earned $239,000, which includes pension from his days as Rochester police chief and over $2,500 in winnings from one day at the track.
Effort to Decriminalize Possession of Condoms by Sex Workers (Albany Times Union)
Mayor to Create Policy on Smoking in Apartment Buildings (Wall Street Journal)
National Push Targets Cuomo, Public Financing (Associated Press)
Hedge Funds Use Donations to Boost Clout (Wall Street Journal)
City's Poverty Rate Rises
Nearly 100,000 more New Yorkers were classified as poor in 2010 than the year before, which raises the poverty rate by 1.3 percent to 21 percent, according to an analysis by the city’s Center for Economic Opportunity. That's the highest level and the largest annual increase since the city adopted a more detailed definition of poverty in 2005. More than one in four kids under 18 lived in poverty. Families with children had a poverty rate of 23 percent.
Election for Rep. Towns's Seat Part of Changing Guard in Black Politics (Wall Street Journal)
Area Manufacturing Grew at Slower Pace in April (Bloomberg)
Stakes Now Higher for Student Tests (Associated Press)
Associated Press Wins Pulitzer for Stories on Police Spying (Associated Press)
Cuomo Aide Kept Dossier on Reporter
Politico's Ben Smith is reporting that a top aide of Gov. Andrew Cuomo kept a 35 page dossier on the work of Albany reporter Liz Benjamin. The document was leaked to Smith by a "New York City political operative" and collects a number of Benjamin's blog posts and contains notes including, "GENERALLY SNARKY." The Cuomo aide who wrote the document said that it was unimportant. The document is seen as more proof of the Cuomo administration's exteme sensitivity to even a hint of criticism. The person who provided the document to Smith told him, "This is a glimpse at the old Andrew Cuomo we all knew and hated. He has worked hard to keep this scary dark side at bay, but every now and again it reveals itself, and it's ugly. The secret dossier on Liz Benjamin is the stuff of Richard Nixon and Eliot Spitzer.”
Lawmakers Want to Repeal Mayoral Control (NY Post)
Ray Kelly Courted to Run For Mayor (NY Post)
Rep. Ed Towns Said to Decline Another Run (NY Times)
Review of Bruno Case Nearing End (Albany Times Union)
Cuomo Does Not Have Major Role at Dem Convention (Daily News)
Explosive Racial Charges Against NYPD (Daily News)
Bloomberg Wants New City Complaint App (Daily News)
Cuomo Creates Health Exchange
Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order yesterday creating a health exchange that would help small businesses and individuals find health insurance online. Cuomo tried to force the legislature to act on the legislation to help the state conform to the federal Affordable Care Act but Senate Republicans balked. After budget negotiations Cuomo promised to use his executive power to bypass legislators. “The bottom line,” Cuomo said in a statement, “is that creating this health exchange will lower the cost of health insurance for small businesses, local governments and individual New Yorkers across the state.”
Study Claims NYPD Made Unlawful Pot Busts (Daily News)
Charter School CEO a Tax Cheat (NY Post)
Bloomberg is Helicopter Fanatic (NY Times)
Occupy Protesters Take to Sidewalks (NY Times)
Quinn's Living Wage Bill Aims Lower (NY Times)
Fighting Phone Theft (Gotham Gazette)
Technology Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
National License for Crane Operators?
The city has proposed adopting national licensing standards for crane operators, calling them stricter. But the union that represents crane operators says the city's uniquely dense environment demands its own rules. The national license is supported by the real estate industry, which wants to break the union's hold on cranes because they won't accept wage concessions. The union has been tied to organized crime and is under a court-appointed monitor. Getting a license currently requires three years’ experience under a city-licensed crane operator, and virtually all licensed operators are under the one union.
Governor Rejects Some Earmarks and Halts 'Bullet Aid' to Schools (Albany Times Union)
City Rents Rise 9 Percent (WNYC)
Teacher Discipline Cases Accelerated
Teacher disciplinary hearings will now be faster and cheaper due to provisions in the state budget. Evidence must be presented by both parties within 125 days of charges being filed. The state can also set the rates for hearing arbitrators, who make up to $1,800 for a five-hour day; hearing officers who fail to meet deadlines can be disqualified; and the number of study days for which they are paid is now limited. New recording technologies are allowed as well, meaning stenographers costing $1,000 a day are no longer needed. The state pays for the arbitration hearings, which take 502 days and cost $216,588 on average.
Assemblymember Canestrari's Exit Signals Period of Transition (Albany Times Union)
Cut Off (Gotham Gazette)
Law Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Weather Sparks Brush Fires
About 200 firefighters battled brush fires yesterday in Staten Island at the former Fresh Kills landfill site. The fire, which is now under control, was spread by dry air and high winds and sparked by the spontaneous combustion of compost and mulch piles dry from the lack of winter snow. Firefighters from 109 departments on Long Island fought their own brushfire, which is now contained on three sides. The risk of fires all over the area is extremely high for the next few days.
Cuomo says Medicinal Marijuana Won't Pass This Year (Albany Times Union)
Mayor Pushes for Teacher Evaluations to be Public (Wall Street Journal)
Smoking Banned in State Parks (Daily News)
Liu's Legal Bills Outweigh Donations (NY Post)
Judge Orders Bloomberg to Release 911 System Review (Daily News)
Four Cops Shot
Four cops were shot in Brooklyn yesterday, but all are expected to recover. Two were released from the hospital within hours. The shooting occurred after police responded to calls that a man was brandishing a gun. The suspect was shot in the abdomen and is in critical condition. He had more weapons in his apartment, including a sawed-off, military-style assault rifle equipped with a scope. Eight officers have been shot in the past four months.
Traffic, Pollution, Accidents: Are Trucks to Blame? (City Limits)
School for Immigrants Faces Eviction by Two Trees (Associated Press)
City's Cardinal says Faith has Place in Politics (Wall Street Journal)
Libraries Rethink Their Role in City (Wall Street Journal)
Medicinal Marijuana Debate Rises in Albany (Wall Street Journal)
Crane Accident Investigation Begins
The company that owned the crane which collapsed and killed a worker on Tuesday has a checkered history, such as the need for a court ordered monitor who oversaw its operations for five years for reasons that included failing to report a bribe solicitation. The crane was only partially inspected by the city in January because it was in use, but found to have 'no deficiencies' regardless. The full inspection was supposed to occur today. Since the site is controlled by the MTA, state construction regulations are used there, but Speaker Quinn has proposed changing that rule.
Saujani, Seasoned by Tough Loss, Aims for Public Advocate (Wall Street Journal)
Season of Hope for Assembly, Senate Candidates (Albany Times Union)
Mixed Marks for Schools Chancellor (Daily News)
Charge Against Councilmember for Protest Activities Dropped (Associated Press)
In City Contracts, No Room for Whistleblowers (MetroFocus)
All Sides Lawyer Up Over GOP Push for New Senate Seat (Associated Press)
MTA: No 7 Train to Jersey
The MTA chief ruled out any possible expansion of the 7 train to New Jersey yesterday as a way to solve the congestion on commuter rails crossing the Hudson River. He said it would be prohibitively expensive and pointed out the need for yards in Jersey. He supports building two new Amtrack tracks under the river, which would be more dependent on federal money. The city funded a study of the 7 train extension that may not be finished for a few months.
Race to Succeed Public Advocate Already Heating Up (Wall Street Journal)
Redistricting Task Force Still Has a Budget (Albany Times Union)
CCRB to Prosecute Misconduct (Gotham Gazette)
Crime and Safety Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Court Hiring Favored Insiders
A state oversight commission found that the Appellate Division’s First Department in Manhattan and The Bronx has promoted a culture of nepotism and favoritism in administrative hiring intermittently over the past 30 years. Job openings generally weren't advertised outside the court and were filled by people with connections to judges or court workers. But the commission dismissed complaints against Presiding Justice Luis Gonzalez that he hired friends and family, lied about where he lived, and improperly allowed his assistant to practice law.
New iPhone App By NYC & Company (Daily News)
Ethics Panel Won't Release Record of Vote on Hiring Longtime Cuomo Aide (Associated Press)
'Bullet Aid' Funds for Schools Called Pork (Albany Times Union)
Super PAC Takes Aim at Three Congressional Incumbents in the City (Wall Street Journal)
Flooded Queens Homes Won't See Relief Until 2019 (Daily News)
This Year May Become the City's Hottest on Record (Wall Street Journal)
Census Rejects Count Appeal
The Census Bureau yesterday rejected a challenge from the city that argued its 2010 population tally of 8.175 million city residents overlooked at least 50,000 residents across four neighborhoods. The bureau said it would only correct errors relating to geographical boundaries, which won't affect the total. City officials blamed the rejection on technical problems with the complicated federal appeals process. The lower numbers mean millions less in federal assistance. Meanwhile, the census records from 1940 will be released today.
Occupy Protesters March Over Brooklyn Bridge (Associated Press)
Microloans for Local Small Businesses (NY Times)
New York's Electronic Waste Recycling Program Gets Mixed Grades (Associated Press)
Mold Claims for Damages Get New Life (Wall Street Journal)
State Budget in the News
There are no new member items in the state budget plan, but it includes $40 million in 'bullet aid' grants that can be handed out to school districts and nonprofits of officials' choice. There's also a $75 million "New York Works" fund overseen by an advisory body mostly appointed by Gov. Cuomo. And lawmakers are trying to add about $38 million for pork projects approved in the past. There is an unfunded pork backlog of over $230 million. In non-pork budget news, aid to schools will rise by about $800 million over last year, but school officials say that's too small to prevent another round of cuts. City schools will get a $75 million boost.
A Long Shot Mulls Switch To the GOP (Wall Street Journal)
Water Rates Head Up (Wall Street Journal)
Charter Spending Squeezing Education Budget (NY Times)
Poll: Most New Jersey Residents Approve of Muslim Monitoring (Associated Press)
Village Voice Accused of Running Ads Linked to Child Sex-Trafficking (Associated Press)
Police Sued Over Stop-and-Frisks
Civil rights groups are suing the Police Department in federal court, arguing that thousands of people are illegally stopped and frisked in private buildings. The buildings, mostly in the Bronx, are part of a program started in 1991 where landlords give the police permission to patrol their grounds. But the suit says officers routinely arrest people on criminal-trespass charges with no justification. The suit was filed on behalf of 13 plaintiffs and seeks class action status. It doesn't call for the end of patrols, but to restrain police from stopping and questioning people, and for better monitoring and training of officers.
Activists Decry Police Department Monitoring of Liberal Groups (Associated Press)
State: "Back Office" Mergers to Save $1 Billion (Albany Times Union)
Some Neighborhoods Lag In Broadband Access (City Limits)
Public Advocate Defends Police Department’s Muslim Surveillance (Wall Street Journal)
Council Overrides Mayor on Prevailing Wage and Parking Stickers (Wall Street Journal)
New Police-Review Powers
Lawyers from the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent agency that decides whether complaints about police misconduct should be acted on, will now prosecute cases ranging from excessive force and abuse of authority to foul language. The deal, brokered by Speaker Quinn and the Bloomberg Administration, was announced yesterday. Before, police employees heard the cases passed on from the board. But from 2002 to 2010, the board recommended that 2,100 officers be given the most severe penalty, and only 150 officers received it. In 2010, there was a 30 percent spike in instances of police misconduct substantiated by the board. Department employees will still serve as judges in misconduct cases, and Commissioner Kelly will retain his powers as ultimate arbiter in such matters, but must explain his rationale in writing. The board can appeal. Kelly will also be able to "exercise discretion" to stop the board from pursuing cases that are either undergoing parallel criminal investigations or in which the officer in question has no prior disciplinary record.
Quinn Woos Women and the Gay Community (Wall Street Journal)
Comparing Urban Bus Tracking Systems and Ridership (MetroFocus)
'Wedge' Strategy for Gay-Marriage Foes (Associated Press)
Cuomo Backs Release of Teacher Evaluations (Wall Street Journal)
Solitary Confinement On the Rise at Rikers (City Limits)
Albany Strikes On-Time Budget Deal (Associated Press)
Report: Lobbying Has Another Record Year (Albany Times Union)
NYU's Controversial Expansion (Gotham Gazette)
Land Use Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Bell Cops Forced to Resign
Two of the detectives involved in the fatal shooting of Sean Bell in 2006 were forced to resign yesterday, following the recommendation of a recent department trail. Both will receive their pensions. Their supervisor is expected to resign today. A fourth officer, the one who initially opened fire, was fired on Friday. He says he plans to pursue legal action.
Judge Rules City's Pistol Licensing Fees are Legal (Associated Press)
Freakish Winter Leaves Reservoirs Thirsty (Albany Times Union)
Insider Deals at Brooklyn Hospital
The New York Times reports that Wycoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn has been paying thousands of dollars to insure its executive's Bently and employing questionably qualified associates of Rep. Edolphus Towns, Assemblyman Vito Lopez, and Councilman Erik Martin Dilan all while crying foul about funding cuts from the city and state. Dilan's wife is the hospitals director of public relations. The Times' investigation found that the hospital "all but" defaulted on $109 million in state-secured bonds costing tax payers $10 million and the hospital no longer carries malpractice insurance.
The Cuomo School of Management (Crain's)
Lawmakers Move to Hide Teacher Grades (NY Post)
Subway Deaths Increase (Daily News)
Albany Pols Reach Deal on MTA Projects (Daily News)
Gun Manufacturer Threatens to Leave City (Daily News)
DEC Adjusts to Funding Levels (Gotham Gazette)
Environment Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Unions Boycott Latino Event
The New York state United Teachers union, the United Teachers Federation, and the Civil Service Employees Association withdrew support from the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force Spring Somos El Futuro Conference this weekend because several of its members voted for Gov. Cuomo's pension plan. But Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg announced they would contribute $36,000 each to support it. Meanwhile, Moody’s Investors Service said the new pension plan will improve the ability of the state and its local governments to manage retirement costs.
Council Eyes 'Help' Ads Requiring Employment (Wall Street Journal)
Documents Show Police Department Infiltrated Liberal Groups (Associated Press)
Law Enforcement in the News
Chief of Department Joseph Esposito, the highest ranking uniformed officer in the Police Department, was caught on camera using his baton on protestors. And elected officials are voicing concerns about the records the department keeps on stop-and-frisks, asking for better data. Also, the Associated Press details in length the riff between the FBI and the New York Police Department. Finally, WNYC takes a look at citizen crime fighters in the city in the wake of the shooting of a boy in Florida.
Cuomo Papers as Attorney General Still Denied Public (Albany Times Union)
Cheaper to Buy in Queens Than Rent (Bloomberg)
Health Care Union Asks Albany for Another Bailout of its Insurance Fund (Wall Street Journal)
City to Remove 'Pink Slime' from School Cafeterias (Wall Street Journal)
State Faults Care for the Disabled (NY Times)
Fidler, Storobin Declare Victory
The race to replace disgraced Brooklyn Sen. Cal Kruger did not provide an obvious winner after polls closed last night. Republican candidate David Storobin holds a 120 vote lead over Democratic Councilman Lew Fidler but over 700 paper ballots have yet to be counted and they won't be opened until Tuesday. That didn't stop either candidate from declaring victory. The seat is expected to be phased out in 8 months thanks to redistricting.
Cops Oust 300 OWS Protesters From Union Square (Daily News)
Five Shot in Night of Violence in The Bronx (Daily News)
Espaillat Takes Step to Challenge Rangel (Daily News)
Council Members Support OWS (Daily News)
Mayoral Candidates Woo Teachers Union Head (NY Times)
John Liu Declares Innocence (Associated Press)
Tenant Interrupted (Gotham Gazette)
Law Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Court Imposes Congressional Boundaries
A federal court yesterday passed new congressional district lines. They are basically the same as the lines proposed last month when the court seized control over the process from state lawmakers. The judges noted that although congressional candidates begin petitioning to get their names on the ballot today, the legislature had still failed to pass their own lines. The map eliminates the mid-Hudson Valley district represented by a Democrat not seeking re-election, as well as the Brooklyn and Queens district represented by a Republican who took Anthony Weiner's seat when he resigned.
South Brooklyn Vote Today for State Senate (NY Times)
City Comptroller Audit Targets Tax Breaks (Wall Street Journal)
Three Councilmembers Join Protestors in Police Treatment Complaints (Wall Street Journal)
Six Months of Occupy
Marking the six month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, about 300 protestors filled Zuccotti Park on Saturday and 73 were arrested. A tweet calling for the murder of police officers is being investigated, but the Daily News reports that it was meant as a 'joke'. By early this morning, about 70 protestors remained at Union Square.
Down to a Jog on the Budget (Albany Times Union)
Teacher Ratings Face New Union Obstructions (Wall Street Journal)
State Makes Gains in Graduation Rate (Albany Times Union)
New 29th Senate District Looks Like a Maze (Daily News)
Kelly in the Hot Seat
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly took a combative tone during a scheduled appearance before the CIty Council on Thursday. Kelly shot back at criticism of the New York Police Department's handling of Occupy Wall Street, recent revelations that it spied on Muslims and its stop and frisk program. Kelly accused Council Members of offering little but criticism without presenting alternatives. “What have you said about how to stop this violence?” Kelly asked. “What have the leaders of these communities of color said? What is their tactic and strategy to get guns off the street?" Kelly asked in response to criticism of stop and frisk.
The Strand Struggles in the Age of Amazon (MetroFocus)
Espada Ran Clinic Like Family Business (NY Post)
NYPD Union Big Busted For Stealing Funds (Daily News)
Rep. Ackerman Won't Seek Re-Election (City Room)
Facts Conceded in Officers Rape Trial (NY Times)
Cuomo Admits Setbacks (NY Times)
Flurry of Deals in Albany
Lawmakers reached agreements on most of the year's agenda Wednesday night, including cutting pensions for new public employees; the language for a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize casino gambling; and a new teacher evaluation law. Cuomo is expected to sign the legislature's redistricting plan. Tribal gaming nations say they've been shut out of the discussion about the future of gambling in New York. Judicial pay raises appear likely in the budget. Some lawmakers are complaining the deals were made behind closed doors.
Rent Study Finds City is Cheaper Than Long Island, New Jersey (Wall Street Journal)
Hundreds of Properties, Millions of Dollars, No Landlord (City Limits)
DNA Collection Deal Likely
A deal is likely in Albany that would double the state's DNA database by requiring samples from anyone convicted of nearly anything - from fare beating to murder, according to sources. The deal is supported by law enforcement and prosecutors. New York would be the first state to require all criminals to submit DNA samples. Details are still being worked out, like making sure the accused has access to the data during discovery and whether to attach other criminal justice reforms. The expansion would not apply to some low-level violations such as simple trespassing, loitering, disorderly conduct, or privately possessing small amounts of marijuana. The database has helped get over 2,800 convictions and exonerated 27 people wrongly convicted.
Open Government Gets Nod; Minority Claims GOP Bottles Up its Bills (Albany Times Union)
Governor Warns Pensions Threaten to Bankrupt Municipalities (Albany Times Union)
Cuomo May Approve Legislature's Maps (Associated Press)
New State District Lines Proposed
Albany lawmakers unveiled their new proposal for state legislative lines yesterday. Although they are not significantly different from earlier versions that Gov. Cuomo said he'd veto, the governor said they showed "progress." Legislators also proposed a constitutional amendment creating an independent commission to redraw lines in the future. Lawmakers could still reject and amend those maps after they reject them twice. A Supreme Court ruling on redistricting in Texas, which ordered greater deference to lawmakers, has further emboldened incumbents in Albany. Proposed changes have left Bronx voters confused.
Assembly Calls for Fracking Health Impact Study (Associated Press)
Legislature's Budget Measures Don't Have Explicit Pension Plan (Albany Times Union)
Legislature, Cuomo May be Headed to Collision (Associated Press)
Police Spying in the News
Three people are accusing the police of arresting them, strip searching them, and denying requests to see a lawyer over nothing more than their affiliations with Occupy Wall Street, according to the New York Times. Protests were planned that day a dozen blocks away from where they were arrested. Protest organizers say the police are also monitoring private meetings and even visiting their homes. In other news, police and mayors from other cities have criticized the department's spying on Muslims, arguing the damage done to relations with that community outweighs the benefits. One moderate Muslim group says that in most instances where threats were reported, they were reported by Muslims themselves. Also, the Newark police director disputes New York's claims that he was aware of their activities in the New Jersey city.
State Sen. Adriano Espaillat Exploring Run for Rep. Charlie Rangel's Seat (Wall Street Journal)
Coney Island Boardwalk Faces a Vote (Wall Street Journal)
Concern Over Pests in Crops Due to Mild Winter (MetroFocus)
Spending to Track Spending (Albany Times Union)
New State Lines on Deck (Albany Times Union)
Damages for Fire Department Discrimination
The city may have to pay up to $128 million in damages over discrimination in its Fire Department entrance exam. A federal judge made the ruling yesterday, saying blacks and Hispanics who took the test in 1999 or 2002 but were not hired are eligible to receive payments. The money will be equal to what they would have earned if hired, minus what they actually made. It's estimated that 2,200 applicants will be eligible for monetary relief. In related news, a record number of women are poised to take the firefighter test next week.
Deep Concerns about ‘Three-Quarter’ Housing (City Limits)
Assembly Budget Unlikely to Include Pension Reform Plan (Albany Times Union)
Two Spins Offered by Latest City Jobs Data (NY Times)
Job Growth Exceeds Expectations (Wall Street Journal)
Documents Show Police 'Focus' on Muslim Americans (Associated Press)
Report Confirms Police Whistle-Blower
An internal police report confirms one officer's claims from 2010 that a Brooklyn precinct was manipulating crime statistics, according to the Village Voice. He said officers were told to arrest bystanders but disregard victims of serious crimes. After those claims, Commissioner Kelly ordered the report. It was finished in June 2010, but the department has been blocking its release through the Freedom of Information Law. The officer has been suspended without pay for 27 months and faces department charges.
Hope for Relief from Flooding in Southeast Queens (City Limits)
Advocates Ask Lawmakers to Set Single Polling Date in June (Albany Times Union)
Brooklyn Assemblymember Jeffries Could Lose Out in Judge’s District Map (Wall Street Journal)
Whispers of a Backroom Deal on Redistricting (Albany Times Union)
No Profiling (Gotham Gazette)
Crime and Safety Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Debate Over Restaurant Grading
The Bloomberg administration released a report defending the restaurant grading system yesterday in advance of a council hearing on the matter. The report found a decrease in salmonella infections and signs of mice. It also showed a rise in revenue at restaurants since the system was imposed. But Council Speaker Quinn noted that fines have risen significantly and she is concerned that inspections are inconsistent. One restauranteur noted that inspectors would ask certain questions about the kitchen on one visit but not on another. The Health Department says inspectors use computerized inspection worksheets for each restaurant.
Bloomberg Supports Liu 'As Long as He's Controller' (Daily News)
New York Seeks Waste-to-Energy Proposals (NY Times)
New Pension Plan Turns to Compromise (Albany Times Union)
Fare Increases in 2013, 2015 Will Cover Worker Costs (Wall Street Journal)
Muslims Meet with Police to Talk About Surveillance (Associated Press)
Judge’s Map Would Leave Most Incumbents in Place (Wall Street Journal)
Driver's Health (Gotham Gazette)
Health Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Muslim Surveillance in the News
Even as the feud between officials in New York and New Jersey deepens over the police department's spying on Muslims in Jersey, interviews show that their presence wasn't entirely a secret to officials there. From the governor's office down, officials in New Jersey knew to varying degrees that the New York Police Department intended to gather information. But many said they disagreed with the surveillance of Muslims particularly. Meanwhile, Commissioner Kelly has invited Muslim leaders to meet with him, although the subject of the meeting is under wraps. And about three dozen Muslims rallied at police headquarters in support of the department's actions.
CityTime Settlement Would Mean 2012 Budget Windfall (Wall Street Journal)
Homelessness: It's About Race, Not Just Poverty (City Limits)
Green Building in the Bronx Draws Professionals as Residents (Wall Street Journal)
City Reverses Policy on Tutoring Limits (NY Times)
It was expected that legislators would vote on state district lines this week but it appears as though a possible deal between the Cuomo Administration and legislators has yet to materialize. A Cuomo administration source told the Times Union that if the the legislative commisison on redistricting is drafting lines, "then they are drafting for a veto." The way forward now seems to hinge on a global deal between the Cuomo administration and the legislature. The AP reports that a vote on the lines could come in the next three days. Senate Democrats have attacked the idea tha a redistricting deal would rely on a constitutional amendment. Meanwhile, The New York Times editorialized strongly against a deal that would rely on a constitutional amendment calling it "utterly sleazy" and called on Cuomo to veto the lines. For more, check out The Wonkster.
Rival Calls on Liu to Resign (NY Post)
Cuomo Administration Nixes Teacher's Pension Gripe (Daily News)
Class Has Had 5 Teachers in 6 Months (Daily News)
Teachers Sabotaged When Test Scores Slip (NY Times)
Kelly Defends Spying Program (Daily News)
Liu Says he Isn't Worried (New York Magazine)
Useful Evaluation? (Gotham Gazette)
Education Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Many Unsafe Hospitals in Area
Of the 50 least safe hospitals for patients nationwide, 30 are located in the New York area, according to Consumer Reports. The Bronx’s Jacobi Medical Center was labeled the worst out of the 1,045 rated by rated by the group. The five worst were all in the area. In related news, Beth Israel Medical Center admitted to fraudulently overcharging Medicare fees and agreed to pay the federal government more than $13 million.
Property Slips in Manhattan (Wall Street Journal)
Constitutional Amendment for Redistricting Being Negotiated (Albany Times Union)
Worship Allowed Back in Schools
Two weeks after the city banned religious groups from holding worship services in public schools after hours, a federal court said yesterday that they could return - at least until courts hear arguments on the issue again. The federal appeals court set a deadline of "no later than mid-June, so that the dispute can be concluded by the beginning of the next school term." Worship in schools has been a court battle since 1995. After the city recently declared victory, the church that first brought the lawsuit made a different argument, which the court agreed to hear.
Photos of Neo-Nazis from Greenpoint (Daily Mail UK)
Cuomo: DNA Bill Should Stay Separate from Other Reforms (Albany Times Union)
Defiant Liu Weighs Race For Mayor (Wall Street Journal)
Bloomberg Backs Compromise on State Pension Reform (Wall Street Journal)
City Opens Full-Service Gay Senior Center (Associated Press)
Hydrofracking Opponents: No Streamlined Funding for Agencies (Albany Times Union)
Liu Treasurer Charged with Fraud
City Comptroller John Liu's campaign treasurer was charged with fraud yesterday for funneling illegal straw donations and obstruction of justice for impeding investigators’ efforts to gather information. The case against her includes mentions of Liu's possible involvement as well, where she said she wasn't sure how to proceed at one point because he never gave her instructions on how to conceal straw donors. One of Liu's fundraisers who was arrested two weeks ago had also told an undercover investigator to use code words with Liu that he would understand. Even if he isn't officially implicated, analysts say the arrest of someone so close to him is very damaging to his campaign.
Ethics Panel Oversight Comes as a Surprise (Albany Times Union)
City Releases Data for 217 Charter School Teachers (Associated Press)
Teacher Data Aid Parents, Mayor Asserts (Wall Street Journal)
U.S. Attorney General 'Reviewing' Police Spying Complaints (Associated Press)
Obama Funds for Muslim Spying
Grants from the Obama administration meant for fighting drug crimes were used by the Police Department to buy cars to spy on Muslims, the Associated Press reports. They were also used to purchase computers that stored innocuous information about Muslim college students, mosque sermons, and social events. The administration said it has no opinion on how the department uses the funds. Mayoral candidate Christine Quinn said she would continue the practice of Muslim surveillance if elected. She doesn't believe any laws were broken or civil liberties violated. Commissioner Kelly yesterday refused to apologize for the tactics, saying that people are forgetting what happened on 9/11 and that much of the criticism is election year pandering. U.S. Sen. Schumer and Gov. Cuomo also defended him.
Staten Island Rep. Grimm Picks Up Union Endorsement (Wall Street Journal)
Spat Between Gov. Cuomo and Comptroller DiNapoli Continues (Albany Times Union)
Cuomo Pressures Legislature on New Pension Plan (Associated Press)
Teacher Rankings Opened to View (Wall Street Journal)
Housing Code Enforcement Program Adds 200 Slums (Daily News)
State Eyes Shielding Teacher Rankings from Public View (Wall Street Journal)
Judge Takes Over Congressional Redistricting (Albany Times Union)
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told the Daily News that legislators will miss their self-imposed March 1 deadline to approve new state and congressional district lines. The lines were supposed to be introduced on Monday and voted on Thursday when the legislature returns from its winter break. There is reportedly no deal yet on how to reform the redistricting process--or at least improve the initial state lines that have been derided as gerrymandered and politically motivated. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is still the center of speculation about whether he will veto lines the legislature eventually does pass and good government groups are split over how the Governor should approach negotiations and what he should actually be after. For updates, see The Wonkster.
Pataki Backs Cuomo's Pension Reform (Daily News)
Backlog in Bronx Courts (Daily News)
Analysis Shows Best Schols Have Best Teachers (Daily News)
City to Publish NYC Directory (NY Times)
Homeward Bound (Gotham Gazette)
Crime and Safety Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Cuomo's Redistricting Role
Facing increased pressure over his role in the battle for fairer district lines Gov. Andrew Cuomo distanced himself from the fray yesterday. Cuomo told Fred Dicker of the New York Post that the dispute lay with the legislature and the courts. Cuomo called out legislators who failed to act to implement independent redistricting who are now insisted he veto LATFOR's lines. Cuomo told reporters that he is reluctant to veto the lines and it seems increasingly likely a deal will be reached for a constituinal amendment that would change things for the redistricting process in 10 years. Good government groups are split over what exactly Cuomo should do.
Taxi Drivers Won't Face Charges (NY Post)
Officer Claims Quotas in the Bronx (NY Post)
NYPD Defends Surveillance of Muslims (Daily News)
NYC Suicide Rate Half National Average (Daily News)
Councilman Wants Police to Handout Business Cards (Daily News)
A Shift From Nursing Homes to Managed Care (NY Times)
Atlantic Yards Is Coming (City Limits)
Early State Budget Real Possibility (Albany Times Union)
Cuomo Pension Ultimatum
Gov. Cuomo issued an ultimatum to the legislature yesterday, saying if no action is made on pension reform by the budget deadline of March 31, he would add pension changes to an emergency spending extender. Then lawmakers would have to either pass it or let the government shutdown. New York has never had a government shutdown. He indicated a willingness to negotiate on the specifics of his plan, which includes a new pension tier for future government workers, but wouldn’t say where he’d give ground.
Newark Misled on Muslim Spying
The Newark mayor says the New York Police Department misled officials in New Jersey about conducting a widespread spying operation on Newark's Muslim neighborhoods, according to a report in the Associated Press. He said that he would not have allowed the investigation of people based solely on religion. The police department had asked to be shown around the city, but did not inform them of the operation, which made no mention of terrorism or wrongdoing. The department has cataloged Muslim communities in Long Island as well.
Cuomo Keeps Tappan Zee Bridge Options Open (Wall Street Journal)
Police Towers May Defuse Cop, Community Friction (City Limits)
Cuomo: Redistricting Veto Falls Short, Change in Law Needed (Albany Times Union)
Court Blocks Homeless Policy
A state Supreme Court judge yesterday said the Bloomberg Administration could not implement a plan requiring single adults entering homeless shelters to prove they have no other options. The ruling was based on procedural grounds, faulting the administration for not bringing the policy before the public and the City Council. This was the first time the council has sued the administration since 2006, when Christine Quinn was elected speaker. The city will appeal the ruling, but won't publicly vet the proposal because the administration believes that would set a bad precedent.
Judge: Town Can Ban Drilling
A state Supreme Court judge yesterday ruled that a small town upstate could ban natural gas drilling because it falls within the authority of local governments to regulate land use. A company who planned hydrofracking drilling there had sued the town, saying it didn't have the authority to regulate or prohibit drilling, and that doing so violated a state law designed to create uniform regulations for drilling. Dozens of other municipalities in New York have also adopted drilling bans and limits. The company will likely pursue other legal actions against the town.
Chunk of Queensboro Bridge Falls on Car (NY Post)
Federal Court Won't Dismiss Redistricting Case (Associated Press)
State Sales Tax Figures Show Slow Recovery (Wall Street Journal)
Critics Wary of State Plan for Oversight of Super PAC Operations (Albany Times Union)
Still No Redistricting Deal
Aides to Gov. Cuomo said yesterday that no deal with lawmakers on redistricting lines is anywhere near to being made. He has threatened to veto the plan they proposed. Lawmakers are expected to pass a reworked redistricting plan as early as Feb. 29. They've also filed papers asking a federal three-judge panel to hold off on appointing a special master to draw the lines.
Park Slope Food Co-op Readies for Boycott Vote on Israeli Products (Wall Street Journal)
Cuomo Effort to Nurture Leaders (Associated Press)
Wastewater a Key Issue in State's Hydro-Fracking Debate (Associated Press)
Rutgers Wants Probe of Police Department Surveillance (Wall Street Journal)
Police Monitored Muslim Students
The police department monitored Muslims at colleges across the Northeast, according to a report by the Associated Press. They trawled daily through student websites run by Muslim student groups, talked to local authorities in another county about a professor, and went undercover on a student rafting trip. Though the department says it follows the same rules as the FBI, some of its activities go beyond what the FBI is allowed to do.
Associated Press Reporting on Police Department Wins Polk Award (Associated Press)
Silver Backs 'Some' Parts of Cumo's Pension Plan (Daily News)
Additional Ailments Considered For 9/11 Health Fund (Wall Street Journal)
Chancellor Acts on Teacher Abuses (Wall Street Journal)
Teacher Evaluation Deal Reached
The State reached a deal with the state-wide teacher's union on teacher evaluations yesterday. Under the deal at least 20 percent of a teacher's score would be based on student performance, another 20 percent would be based on test scores and another 60 based on things like class room observations. The City the United Teachers Union also came to an agreement for a process for teachers to dispute a poor score.
Civil Liberties Group Aides OWS (City Room)
Liu Aims to Cut Waste (City Room)
Crane Accident at WTC (Daily News)
Liu Donor Indicted
A donor to Comptroller Liu was indicted yesterday on wire fraud charges. He's accused of using straw donors to funnel $16,000 to Liu's campaign. The allegations were first revealed in November when the complaint was unsealed. Liu plans to hold a state of the city speech today, which no comptroller has ever done. It is being viewed as largely political. In related news, the Daily News reports that Liu's deputy left over clashes with his campaign's top bundler.
State Non-Profit Overhaul Proposed (Associated Press)
Case Dismissed (Gotham Gazette)
Law Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Cuomo Won't Impose Evaluation System
Gov. Cuomo backtracked yesterday, announcing that he would not use his budgetary powers to impose a teacher evaluation system if the city and teachers union couldn't agree on one, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Administration officials said that if he were to do so, it risked a court challenge since it doesn't have a clear enough connection to monetary issues. Also, they worried it would set a risky precedent for the governor to get involved in a local labor dispute.
City to Test Health Data Query Standard (Information Week)
Controversial Teachers Ratings to be Released (Daily News)
Cuomo Touts 'Back Office' Consolidation, Legislators Concerned (Albany Times Union)
Critics Assail Police Stop-and-Frisk Tactics (Wall Street Journal)
Stop-and-Frisks Hit Record
Police officers stopped and questioned 684,330 people last year, the highest number since the department started tracking yearly totals, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. The number is 14 percent higher than last year. About 12 percent of those stopped were arrested or received summonses, down from 14 percent last year. Males made up 92 percent of the stops, 87 percent of the total were either black or Hispanic and whites were 9 percent. Those numbers were about the same as last year's.
Closing Schools More Poor, Less White (City Limits)
Nine Cyclist Deaths That Still Raise Questions (MetroFocus)
Chief Judge to Address State of Judiciary (Associated Press)
Groups Seek to Protect State Environmental Fund (Associated Press)
Top Aide to City Comptroller Liu Departs (Wall Street Journal)
7 Train Extension Tunnels Finished (NY Post)
Covering Cancer in 9/11 Fund
Police union leaders and elected officials called on the city to turn over records to a panel studying possible links between cancer and contaminants unleashed by the destruction of the trade center. The records name officers who sought medical attention over the past 10 years for ailments possibly connected to the toxic dust. The panel meets this week to consider whether cancer should be covered under the federal Zadroga fund. That fund pays for medical treatment and compensation for people and family of those in Lower Manhattan on 9/11. At least 65 police officers have died of cancer since then, and nearly 300 more have received a cancer diagnosis.