First Read – February 25, 2014

Written by City & State on . Posted in Latest.


WEATHER: Slight chance across the state. New York City, high 33; Albany, high 25; Buffalo, high 19.


ARBITRATION: NYC LABOR CONTRACTS’ X-FACTOR: Adding to this uncertainty of the looming negotiations over expired municipal labor contracts in New York City is the possibility of arbitration, writes City & State’s Nick Powell:

COUNCIL MEMBER ITEM REFORM EASIER SAID THAN DONE: City Council members have been clamoring for member items reform for years, but an equitable, needs-based formula for discretionary funds remained elusive at a Rules Committee hearing Monday:



* New York voters are divided about the Common Core, with 36 percent saying the standards are too demanding and 24 percent saying they are not demanding, while 50 percent want a two-year moratorium on implementation, according to a Siena poll:

* Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing a new $600 million health laboratory at the Harriman State Office Campus in Albany, for which the broad strokes are in one of his 30-day budget amendments, the Times Union reports:

* Cuomo says he nixed so-called “death penalty” plans for chronically failing school districts in part because of the controversy surrounding the implementation of the Common Core standards, the Buffalo News reports:

* Cuomo says he understands the criticism of his proposal to offer college courses to inmates when some parents can’t afford to send their children to college, but he will continue pursuing the plan anyway, the Buffalo News writes:

* A New York City Council hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan touched on concerns about the number of school crossing guards, stats on speed-detection guns and included testimony from parents whose children were killed in traffic, The New York Times writes:

* New York City landlord groups and building owners are fighting the state’s Tenant Protection Unit and rent regulations with a suit asking for the court to label both the actions of the unit and the regulations as “invalid and unenforceable,” The Wall Street Journal reports:

* Last year, 94.8 percent of Metro-North trains were considered on time—any train that is less than 5 minutes and 59 seconds late—the worst percentage since 1990, leading officials to blame implementation of safety measures, the Daily News reports:

* More former NYPD and FDNY members are expected to be charged as part of an ongoing investigation into a large 9/11-related Social Security disability scheme, the New York Post reports:

* Long Island Congressional candidate Frank Scaturro appears to be struggling to gain backing as Bruce Blakeman holds the Republican leadership’s support, the Post’s Richard Johnson writes:

* Community activist Lori Boozer secured the backing of the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America in her bid against indicted Brooklyn Assemblyman William Boyland Jr., Politicker writes:



Come to the first-ever Bronx Charter School Fair! Saturday, March 15, 10am – 3pm at Family Life Academy Charter School, 14 West 170th St., Bronx, NY. Free and open to the public, parents are invited to learn about their public school options and meet with school representatives. The Charter Center will have a computer station set up where parents can access our Common Online Application and apply on the spot. Over 40 Bronx charter schools will be represented; parents are invited to come and learn about their public school choices! QUESTIONS? Call 212-437-8300




* The Daily News writes that Port Authority Chairman David Samson, who doesn’t appear to have the support of Executive Director Pat Foye and Deputy Executive Director Deb Gramiccioni, needs to be removed in order for the Port Authority to get back on track:

* An analysis shows that co-locating charter schools has no discernible impact on public school students’ achievement, the Manhattan Institute’s Marcus Winters writes in the Daily News:

* A significant portion of the U.S. population is religiously unaffiliated, and as they make up a growing amount of the electorate they may be surprised to find how mainstream they are, Alexis Grenell writes in City & State:

* Both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio seem to have taken some of former President Bill Clinton’s traits, with Cuomo copying Clintonian tactics and de Blasio seemingly absorbing some bad habits, Robert A. George writes in the Post:



New York State Needs to Act Now on the Dream Act:  The Teamsters Joint Council 16 believes everyone has the right to an education.  New York needs skilled workers to tackle the challenges of an evolving job market, we cannot afford to discriminate between who gets an opportunity at a higher education.  The New York State DREAM Act puts DREAMers on a level playing field, which is what every student deserves.




* What would happen if New York joined the majority of states that don’t have estate taxes? An analysis from the Beacon Hill Institute included in a report on the tax from the Empire Center shows a complete phase-out of the tax would boost the state’s gross domestic product by billions. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed raising the current threshold from $1 million to the federal benchmark of more than $5 million by 2019. Though the Empire Center says that would cut the number of estate tax filings by 90 percent, the Beacon Hill data shows that abolishing the tax would generate $5.63 billion in GDP by 2029 and add 9,880 jobs. The idea is that without the tax, more privately-owned businesses and investment would remain in the state. “The bottom line here is, if you have a tax like our death tax that is an outlier, and a policy that increasingly isolates you from the rest of the country, why would you want to do something that gives anybody any added incentive to simply not be in New York?” said the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon, who supports Cuomo’s proposal and called the GDP and jobs increases modest.

* Is Donald Trump about to make good on his threat to “get even” with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman? The New York Observer will publish a lengthy profile of Schneiderman tomorrow that sources say will serve as payback for the lawsuit the attorney general filed against Trump University. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is the publisher of the Observer. “It’s been clear for months that Donald Trump ordered up a hit piece in his son-in-law’s newspaper to retaliate against Schneiderman for bringing a lawsuit against him,” said one person who spoke to the Observer. Schneiderman is suing Trump for $40 million for allegedly defrauding thousands of people across the country by engaging in a “bait and switch,” offering free workshops to students on how to get rich as a hook to sign them up for another three-day seminar at a cost of $1,495. According to Schneiderman’s lawsuit, at the conclusion of the 3-day seminar, participants were encouraged to sign up for a mentorship program at a cost of $10,000 to $35,000 per person. Vanity Fair published a report on Trump University in January in which Trump claimed that Schneiderman used the lawsuit as a means of extracting campaign contributions from him. When the profile appeared online, Trump cryptically tweeted: “Too bad about New York Magazine [sic], but there’s a much bigger one out there, currently doing a story on me to get even, that I’ll soon discuss!”


WHO’S HIRING: To advertise your employment opportunities in City & State First Read, email or call 646-442-1662.  


Executive Director, NYC Carpenters Labor Management Corporation

The NYC Carpenters Labor Management Corporation seeks a leader to develop and implement complex strategies to increase the market share of NYC construction work performed by unionized contractors. Candidate must have 12+ years experience with NYC construction, development, real estate, or government, plus high-level management and communication skills.

To view the full job and apply, visit


Government and Public Affairs Position for Major NYC Construction Trade Association

Salary: Competitive compensation and benefits package

Description: NYC Construction Association seeks Chief of Staff to the President and CEO. Responsibilities include development and implementation of association’s legislative and public policy agenda for NYC and NYS. Will provide support to association committees, communications program and special events. Qualifications include excellent written and oral communications skills. Must be hands on and comfortable in a team-oriented environment.

For More Information: Send cover letter, resume and sample of writing ability to


Government Relations Associate

Salary: Commensurate with experience.

Description: Prominent NYC Government Relations firm is looking to hire an energetic, smart, hard-working government relations associate to support a team of senior public affairs professionals – some experience working in NYC government/politics strongly preferred. Responsibilities include: Developing professional working relationships with city government officials and staff; Managing compliance requirements with the NYS Public Integrity Commission and the New York City Clerk’s lobbying bureau; Researching and writing strategic memos, briefing papers and policy background research memos;

Further Info: Please email resumes to:


HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Alexander Marion, press officer for Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner … to Conor Bambrick of Environmental Advocates of New York … to Dominic Panakal, chief of staff to New York City Councilman Rory Lancman … and to JCOPE Commissioner Gary Lavine.


MOVING ON: Naomi Rothwell, former president of Greater NYC for Change, has been hired as a digital strategist at Veracity Media … Carlos Rodriguez has been named assistant comptroller of intergovernmental and community affairs with New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli … and former Gov. David Paterson is becoming chief jobs officer of the Job Channel Network.


CORRECTION: In yesterday’s First Read we incorrectly spelled the name of the chief of staff for state Sen. Jeff Klein and the Independent Democratic Conference. His name is John Emrick.



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Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule.

8 a.m. – Rep. Joe Crowley joins state Sen. Michael Gianaris, Assembly Members Catherine Nolan and Margaret Markey and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer to denounce the city Department of Education’s recommendation to relocate P.S. 11 kindergarteners to P.S. 171, P.S. 11, 56th Street and Skillman Avenue, Queens.

8 a.m. – Environmental experts and officials review the past year’s most significant developments in New York State environmental law, New York City Bar Association, 42 W 44th St., Manhattan.

9:27 a.m. – The Steve Harvey Breakfast Program features New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, WBLS.

10 a.m. – The Geraldo Rivera radio show includes interviews with Rep. Michael Grimm and the Post’s Fred Dicker, WABC.

10 a.m. – The New York City Council Economic Development Committee holds an oversight hearing on “Revitalization in Flatbush: the Loew’s Kings Theater,” City Hall, Committee Room, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The New York City Council Higher Education Committee holds an oversight hearing on CUNY’s Pathways program, 250 Broadway, Hearing Room, 16th floor, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The New York City Council Civil Service and Labor Committee meets, 250 Broadway Committee Room, 16th floor, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – New York City Councilman Andy King and the New York State Nurses Association’s Jill Furillo call on North Central Bronx Hospital to reopen its labor and delivery unit on time and without scheduling changes, 3424 Kossuth Ave., Bronx.

10:30 a.m. – New York City Public Advocate Letitia James joins state Sen. Bill Perkins, Councilman Mark Levine and Stonehenge Village Tenants at a rally about treatment of rent-stabilized tenants, 160 W. 97th St., Manhattan.

11 a.m. – The Capitol Pressroom features Effective New York’s Bill Samuels, Siena’s Steve Greenberg, Conference of Big 5 School Districts Deputy Director Jennifer Pyle and New York State Afterschool Network Executive Director Nora Niedzielski-Eichner, WCNY.

11:30 a.m. – Martha Robinson, a candidate for Congress, calls on Rep. Tom Reed to release any and all correspondence between his lawyers and the House Ethics Committee, Guthrie Corning Hospital, 176 Denison Parkway E., Corning.

12:15 p.m. – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina make an announcement followed by a visit by the mayor to a pre-K class at 1:05 p.m., P.S. 130, 143 Baxter St., Manhattan.

1 p.m. – The New York City Council Immigration Committee holds an oversight hearing to examine models for providing legal services for immigrants in deportation proceedings, City Hall, Committee Room, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – The New York City Parks and Recreation Committee holds an oversight hearing to examine the Park Department’s tree maintenance practices, 250 Broadway, Committee Room, 16th floor, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – The New York City Council Education Committee holds an oversight hearing on the treatment of LGBT students, family and staff in the city’s public school system, City Hall, Council Chambers, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – The New York City Council Youth Services Committee holds an oversight hearing on the Summer Youth Employment Program, 250 Broadway, Hearing Room, 16th floor, Manhattan.

2 p.m. – State Sen. Greg Ball and state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jerome Hauer host a Homeland Security and Emergency Response Roundtable, Paladin Center Tactical Training Facility, 39 Seminary Hill Road, Carmel.

6 p.m. – UPKNYC, New York Communities for Change, elected officials and community members host a Manhattan Town Hall to Discuss New York City’s plan for pre-K and after-school programs, P.S. 133 Fred R Moore, 2121 5th Ave., Manhattan.

6 p.m. – State Sen. Brad Hoylman hosts Counting Down to “Vision Zero:” Senator Hoylman’s Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Town Hall, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 524 W. 59th St., 6th floor, Manhattan.

6:45 p.m. – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer speaks at the Tracey Towers Resident Association Meeting, Tracey Towers, 40 West Mosholu Parkway S., Bronx.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – Inside City Hall features the NY1 Wise Guys and a panel discussion on city labor contract with Richard Ravitch, Richie Steier and Ed Ott, Time Warner Cable News NY1.

7:45 p.m. – Stringer speaks at the City Island Civic Association meeting, City Island Community Center, 190 Fordham St., City Island, Bronx.

8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. – Capital Tonight features Siena’s Steve Greenburg and Onondaga County GOP Chairman Tom Dadey, Time Warner Cable News.



EDUCATION: City & State’s Upcoming March 10 Issue Spotlight

Promote your organization’s education objectives and benefits to NY’s public officials in this strategic government relations communications venue. City & State magazine’s comprehensive special section will feature: Public Officials Q&A with John Flanagan, Merryl Tisch, John King, Carmen Farina and Meredith Bajgier (officials pending confirmation); Featured Editorial: Common Core | Universal Pre-K | Higher Education | Education Scorecard: Key Players, Issues and Stats.  The ad deadline is March 6.  For advertising information, please contact or call 212-284-9714.



KICKER: “Common Core sort of overwhelmed everything this year. Common Core is sort of consuming a lot of oxygen in the education space, more than you might think because it’s what the legislators are hearing about back home.” – Gov. Andrew Cuomo on how the controversy surrounding the Common Core has made it the top education issue, via the Buffalo News.

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