First Read – February 20, 2014

Written by City & State on . Posted in Latest.


WEATHER: Dry in Eastern New York, wet in WNY. New York City, high 48; Albany, high 44; Buffalo, high 43.



* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told members of the Real Estate Board of New York that he has no problem with allowing super skyscrapers to be built in exchange for meeting his goal of 200,000 units of affordable housing, the Daily News writes:

* De Blasio’s commitment to his pledge to be transparent is being questioned after a closed door meeting with members of REBNY and an undisclosed meeting with White House senior aide Valerie Jarrett, NY1 reports:

* Income inequality is higher in thriving cities like New York and San Francisco compared to less dynamic ones like Columbus, Ohio according to a report by the Brookings Institute, the New York Times writes:

* Supporters of de Blasio’s plan to increase taxes on the wealthy to fund universal pre-k are preparing to attack Gov. Andrew Cuomo for proposing a $2 billion tax cut that will benefit millionaires and billionaires, the New York Post writes:

* Gov. Cuomo will not accompany President Obama on a bus tour to parts of upstate because the President has supported hydrofracking and Gov. Cuomo has yet to make up his mind on the issue, the Associated Press reports:

* Assemblyman William Boyland used $500 in campaign cash for a private yoga lesson for him and his girlfriend at the time, prosecutors revealed in the corruption case against the lawmaker, the Post reports:

* Bishop Orlando Findlayter, the de Blasio political ally who the mayor called the police to inquire about following a recent arrest, was sued for bouncing a check for $11,400, according to a source who called the Bishop a con-artist, the Daily News writes:

* Residents of Henrietta, outside Rochester, voiced ardent opposition to the Seneca Nation’s plans to build a casino in their community at a town board meeting last night, the Democrat and Chronicle reports:

* State Sen. Greg Ball introduced a bill banning killer whales from water parks and aquariums in the state and appears to have plagiarized some of the text from a Huffington Post piece written by a Chicago 17-year-old, the Times Union reports:



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* The New York Times writes that it is ridiculous that decisions about more traffic cameras and lowering the speed limit in New York City are determined in Albany and can be blocked by a Rochester lawmaker:

* The Port Authority has become New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s “shameful mess” after yesterday’s hearing when his appointee tried to end the meeting before the public could comment on the issue of raising salaries for airline workers, the Daily News writes:

* The Bridgegate controversy distracts from the Port Authority’s indispensable role as a vehicle for regional public investment and cooperation, Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association’s Robert Douglass writes in City & State:

* In the Post, a New York City horse carriage driver debunks eight “lies” advocates for eliminating the industry have made including that industry horses live shorter lives:

* With another poll showing widespread support for medical marijuana, the Times Union poses the question, what do politicians know about the issue that doctors, patients and voters don’t know:



* The Westchester County Democratic Committee is wondering where in the world County Executive Rob Astorino is. The Democrats launched a website,, questioning the time he has spent outside of Westchester County and the state since his re-election and the start of his new term. When asked about the web site on Wednesday, Astorino quickly shifted the topic to the current governor’s whereabouts. “I’m waiting for the dropdown box on that website to show where Cuomo has gone for his $50,000-a-plate Hollywood fundraiser or Somos in Puerto Rico or $25,000 breakfast in D.C.,” he said. “I’m waiting for that drop box, too. Or maybe it’s under hypocritical drop box, I’m not sure. But I’m not concerned about that nonsense.” The single-page website features a video blasting Astorino for his travel, statistics about where he has gone and a spot to put in a zip code and email address to submit a “get back to work Rob” form. It is paid for by the Westchester County Democratic Committee. “These are the same Democrats … that were just thrown out of the leadership of the county board by their own Democrats, so that should speak volumes,” Astorino added.



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HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To GooseWatch NYC founder David Karopkin … to Amy Spitalnick, communications director for state Sen. Daniel Squadron … and to Matt Browner-Hamlin of Ethical Electric.


MOVING ON: New York City Administration for Children’s Services Division of Early Care and Education Deputy Commissioner Myung Lee will join Cities of Service as its new executive director … Chelsea Connor has been named director of communications for the MirRam Group … and John Eddy has left his position as executive director at the Small Business Coalition to join Goldin Solutions.



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8:30 a.m. – Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer hosts a monthly Borough Board Meeting, 1 Centre St., 19th floor, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The Geraldo Rivera radio show includes interviews with former mayor Rudy Giuliani, Fox News’ Juan Williams and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, WABC.

10 a.m. – The Brian Lehrer Show includes an interview with New York City Department of Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty on this winter’s snow and his work keeping the streets clear and the garbage from piling up, WNYC.

10 a.m. – State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner Darryl Towns delivers a regional budget message, Touro Law Center, Faculty Conference Room,
225 Eastview Drive, Central Islip.

10:30 a.m. – AARP members show their opposition to a Con Edison agreement expected to be approved at a Public Service Commission hearing, 19th Floor Board Room, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany.

11 a.m. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers a regional budget address, Eastman Business Park, Research Lab Building 83, 1999 Lake Ave., Rochester.

11 a.m. – Dede Scozzafava, deputy secretary of state for local governments, delivers a regional budget message, Canton Municipal Building, 60 Main St., Canton.

11 a.m. – The New York Immigration Coalition holds a demonstration to call for House Republicans to act on immigration reform, Staten Island Ferry Terminal, Manhattan.

11:30 a.m. – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio hosts a press conference to make an announcement, 69th Lane and 60th Avenue, Queens.

11:30 a.m. – Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. delivers his State of the Borough address, Hostos Community College, Main Theater, 450 Grand Concourse, Bronx.

11:30 a.m. – Assemblyman Karim Camara, Families for Excellent Schools and others hold a rally in support of saving public charter schools, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

11:30 a.m. – Kaplan International English teachers, Scholatic Inc. writers, the Newspaper Guild of NY and students hold a rally and march to demand fair contracts, 632 Broadway, Manhattan.

12 p.m. – Fast for Families Across America holds an event to call for immigration reform, The St. Francis DeSales Center, 309 Genesee St., Utica.

12 p.m. – The Long Island Civic Engagement Table, Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change call for reforms to Nassau County’s redistricting process, Hempstead Transit Center, West Columbia Street, Hempstead.

12:30 p.m. – Assemblywoman Michaelle Solage and union and advocacy group members announce their participation in a statewide coalition against Cuomo’s tax plan, New York State Office Building, 250 Veterans Memorial Highway, Hauppauge.

3 p.m. – State Sen. David Carlucci and Assembly members Ken Zebrowski, Ellen Jaffee and James Skoufis join Rockland residents at a meeting to get input on the 2014-15 state budget, Finkelstein Memorial Library, 24 Chestnut St., Spring Valley.

4:30 p.m. – Queens District Attorney Richard Brown hosts the William Tucker Garvin Black History Month Ceremony and honors Philip Banks III, the NYPD’s chief of department, Third Floor Conference Room, 125-01 Queens Blvd., Queens.

5:20 p.m. – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer is a guest on “The Ride Home with Pat Kiernan,” 77 WABC Radio.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – Inside City Hall features Stringer, Diaz Jr., and Jonathan Allen, co-author of the book HRC, Time Warner Cable News NY1.

7 p.m. – Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Assemblyman Micah Kellner speak to the East Side Democratic Club, Church of the Holy Trinity Choir Room, 341 E. 87th St., Manhattan.

8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. – Capital Tonight features Assemblyman Kieran Lalor, Time Warner Cable News.



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KICKER: “At first I was shocked and kind of nervous, as I was second-guessing my own words. I feel really happy that the bill was made, but I’m a little disappointed that they wouldn’t reach out to me or even cite me.” – 17-year-old Chicago resident Donald Napier on being informed that a section of an editorial he wrote on the Huffington Post was used in a bill introduced by State Sen. Greg Ball, via the Times Union.

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