First Read – February 26, 2014

Written by City & State on . Posted in News.


WEATHER: Snow likely downstate; less of a chance upstate; breezy in western New York. New York City, high 31; Albany, high 21; Buffalo, high 13.


ROCKY ROAD FOR LABOR DEALS: In some ways New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sounds like his predecessor on the unsettled municipal union contracts, including the need to offset raises by finding equivalent savings, The Chief’s Richard Steier writes in City & State:



* Queens Sen. Tony Avella plans to announce that he will join the Independent Democratic Conference, breaking away from the traditional Senate Democrats and prompting leader Sen. Jeff Klein to say Avella will be a major asset, the Daily News reports:

* New York City Council Finance Director Preston Niblack was charged with felony assault after allegedly hitting his domestic partner with a statue and picture frame, the Daily News reports:

* New York City Councilwoman Annabel Palma has registered with the Federal Election Commission to challenge Rep. Jose Serrano, taking the first step toward setting up Serrano’s first primary challenge since he was elected in 1990, the Daily News writes:

* A report from a group of education funding advocacy groups shows that school districts outside New York City would benefit from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pre-kindergarten funding proposals if lawmakers allowed both, the Buffalo News writes:

* A state Senate Republican initiative to crack down on welfare abuse came at a time when the federal government was imposing a deadline for states to either submit plans to curb abuse or risk losing federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families money, the Times Union reports:

* Some in other cities say developing and implementing an ID card program can be difficult and takes years, not the months that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio would have to get a program up by the end of this year, The Wall Street Journal writes:

* State Senate Democrats called on seven state public authorities, including the MTA, Thruway Authority and Power Authority, to immediately raise the minimum wage for contract workers to $9 per hour, the Daily News writes:

* The state plans to cover the cost of food stamps for 300,000 households that faced reduced aid brought on by $8 billion worth of federal cuts passed in the farm bill, the Daily News reports:

* School officials say they are still feeling the pinch from the gap elimination adjustment put in place four years ago, and they’re continuing to call for Cuomo to restore aid levels to what they were before then Gov. David Paterson made cuts, the Buffalo News reports:

* New York City Councilman Vincent Ignizio plans to introduce a bill requiring the city to post signs telling drivers where there are red-light cameras—a feature de Blasio looks to expand with his Vision Zero plan, the Daily News writes:



Come to the first-ever Bronx Charter School Fair! Saturday, March 15, 10am – 3pm at Family The NYC Charter School Center thanks Speaker Silver and Governor Cuomo for their support of the NY DREAM Act. NYC’s 70,000 charter school students are as diverse as the city itself. No hardworking student should be denied the opportunity to fulfill their potential and make meaningful contributions to society because of their immigration status. On behalf of these students, we hope to see the DREAM ACT passed into law this session. Learn more about charter schools at




* Cuomo’s proposed college classes for prisoners and a higher age for felony offenders is good news, but he does not need another commission to learn how to combat recidivism, Michael Benjamin writes in City & State:

* If gays want to march in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, they should be able to, and that’s why New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is right choose to not attend in protest of the restriction, Maureen Dowd writes in The New York Times:

* Rep. Peter King told those gathered at a recent town hall meeting in his district that he now supports the Republicans’ “principles” for immigration reform, even though the odds of passage this year aren’t good, Lawrence Downes writes in the Times:

* The Times Union writes that creating a pay commission for the state’s management-confidential employees, who have had their pay frozen for nearly five years, is the fair thing to do:



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.




* As the Albany government relations world continues to shift, long-time political adviser Bruce Gyory is moving to Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP. Gyory, also a columnist for City & State, joins the firm as a senior adviser in the government and regulatory policy division of its Albany office. He most recently served as a strategic consultant for Corning Place Communications in Albany. “Bruce is well known to Albany insiders, including political office-holders, policy makers and policy-influencers, and we’re delighted to be able to offer his insights and guidance to our clients,” James Lytle, the managing partner of Manatt’s Albany office, said in a release. Julia Donnaruma, a former legislative representative for the New York City mayor’s office in Albany, also recently joining Manatt as a senior adviser in the same department.


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 Yoselin Genao, chief of staff for New York City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras … to James Freedland of Metropolitan Public Strategies … and to New York State Board of Elections official Joe Burns.


MOVING ON: Josh Barro will join the New York Times’ data and policy website venture … Margaret Egan has been appointed state assistant secretary for public safety … Linda Cohen has been appointed executive director for the state commission on national and community service … New York Metro Area Postal Union Legislative and Political Director Chuck Zlatkin will be joining the American Postal Workers Union as an executive assistant to the president of the union … DeNora Getachew is the new campaign manager and legislative counsel for the Brennan Center at NYU’s Democracy Program … former New York City Campaign Finance Board veteran Elizabeth Stehle has joined Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin LLC, where she will specialize in campaign finance compliance … and Joe Piscopo, a former Saturday Night Live star, is joining AM 970 The Answer as its new morning talk host.


CORRECTION: In yesterday’s First Read and Last Read, we incorrectly spelled the name of Steven Greenberg.



New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento writes about common sense reforms the state should enact to ensure that state and local government economic development programs are investments in the creation of good jobs, not simply corporate welfare giveaways.




Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.

9 a.m. – The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission auctions 168 accessible owner/driver taxi medallions, Tribeca Performing Art Center, Borough of Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers St., Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The Geraldo Rivera radio show includes interviews with Rep. Michael Grimm, former Gov. David Paterson and The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue, WABC.

10 a.m. – The Brian Lehrer Show includes an interview with Newsday’s Paul LaRocco on the shooting of Gary Melius, WNYC.

10 a.m. – Members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus sponsor a public forum on income inequality in New York, Legislative Office Building, Hearing Room C, 181 State St., Albany.

10:30 a.m. – Cancer survivors, patients and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteers hold a New York State Lobby Day, Legislative Office Building, LCA Press Room, 181 State St., Albany.

11 a.m. – Cuomo makes an announcement, GMA Studio, 44th Street, west of Broadway, Manhattan.

11 a.m. – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announces the findings of an audit of the Department of Education, Board Room, 5th Floor, New York City Comptroller’s Office, 1 Centre St., Manhattan.

11 a.m. – State Sen. Terry Gipson and Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor announce legislation to give judges more discretion in certain cases, State Capitol, bottom of the Million-Dollar Staircase, Albany.

11 a.m. – The Capitol Pressroom features Assemblyman Joe Lentol; Manatt’s Bruce Gyory; Chain Pharmacy Association’s Michael Duteau and Pharmacists Society’s Ray Macioci; and NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney and Academics of United University Professions’ Jamie Dangler, WCNY.

11 a.m. – Transportation advocates and national transportation research group TRIP release a report on the deterioration of New York City and New York State roadways and the need for more funding, Tramway Park, Manhattan.

11 a.m. – The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies holds a State Advocacy Day press conference, Legislative Office Building, Room 130, 181 State St., Albany.

11:30 a.m. – The state Senate Housing, Construction and Community Development Committee meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 308, 181 State St., Albany.

12 p.m. – New York City Councilwoman Debi Rose joins state Senators Andrew Lanza and Diane Savino, Council Minority Leader Vincent Ignizio and others to call for the preservation of Staten Island’s Mount Manresa, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams recognizes the New York Regiment of the United States Colored Troops, City Hall, Council Chambers, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – The state Senate Consumer Protection Committee meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 801, 181 State St., Albany.

1 p.m. – Redevelopment Economics releases a report on the economic, employment and fiscal benefits of New York State’s Brownfield Cleanup program, Legislative Office Building, Room 130, 181 State St., Albany.

1 p.m. – Staten Island AARP members urge state lawmakers to include an independent utility consumer advocate and more assistance for family caregivers in the state budget, Richmondtown Public Library, 200 Clarke Ave., Staten Island.

1:30 p.m. – The state Senate Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 801, 181 State St., Albany.

1:30 p.m. – The New York City Council meets, City Hall, Council Chambers, Manhattan.

2 p.m. – Groups including Make the Road New York join state Senators Adriano Espaillat and Bill Perkins and other lawmakers to announce the formation of the Alliance for Tenant Power Coalition, Legislative Office Building, Room 130, Albany.

3 p.m. – The state Senate Children and Families Committee meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 944, 181 State St., Albany.

3 p.m. – The state Senate convenes, State Capitol, Senate Chambers, Albany.

5 p.m. – The Ride Home with Pat Kiernan includes an interview with New York Times reporter Matt Flegenheimer, WABC.

5:30 p.m. – Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz delivers his 2014 State of the County Address, Mason O. Damon Auditorium, Buffalo and Erie County Public library, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo.

6:30 p.m. – New York City Public Advocate Letitia James attends Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer’s Fourth Annual Black History Month Celebration and Awards Night, Jacob A. Riis Settlement House, gymnasium, 10-25 41st Ave., Queens.

7 p.m. – Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. delivers the keynote address at the Bronx Chamber of Commerce Annual Gala, Marina del Rey, 1 Marina Drive, Bronx.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – Inside City Hall features New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and the Political Rundown with Curtis Sliwa and Gerson Borrero, Time Warner Cable News NY1.

7:30 p.m. – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio hosts an event with New Yorkers in support of universal pre-kindergarten and after-school programs, Gracie Mansion, 181 East End Ave., Manhattan.

7:45 p.m. – Stringer speaks at the New York National Association of Securities Professionals Foundation 16th Annual Wall Street Hall of Fame, Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, Riverside Ballroom, 811 7th Ave., Manhattan.

8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. – Capital Tonight features Tom Ferguson, Mike Kink and Fred Kowal, Time Warner Cable News.

9 p.m. – “Eldridge & Co.” features Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, CUNY TV.

9:30 p.m. – “City Talk” with Doug Muzzio features Richard Ravitch on the MTA, CUNY TV.



The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce will host their Annual Black History Month Celebration with a cocktail reception at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza, Skylight Gallery on Thursday, February 27th at 6:00pm. This year’s honorees are Councilmember Jumaane Williams and Kenneth Marable of AXA Advisors. For more information:



KICKER: “Everybody in the world wants to go back to the high point before the recession. I want my house to go back to the high point. I want my bank account to go back to the high point.” – Gov. Andrew Cuomo on calls for increases to school aid that would bring funding levels back to where they were before Paterson administration cuts, via the Buffalo News.

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