First Read – February 27, 2014

Written by City & State on . Posted in Daily.


WEATHER: Scattered snow showers. New York City, high 33; Albany, high 25; Buffalo, high 15.


STATE OF OUR CITY: New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, Council members Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried speak at City & State’s morning conference on the direction of New York City. Starting at 8:45 a.m. today, watch it live here:

THE DAYS OF “HONEST GRAFT”: Terry Golway, the author of a new book on Tammany Hall, discusses whether New York politics is any less corrupt today than it was in the Tammany era:



* Gov. Andrew Cuomo is advising Republicans not to back Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino as his challenger, perhaps to muddle the race—or, some say, to help Senate Republicans, The New York Times writes:

* State Sen. Adriano Espaillat today is officially announcing another run against Rep. Charles Rangel, the longtime congressman he nearly upset two years ago, the Post reports:

* New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is dropping her support for Rangel and is planning to campaign for Espaillat, the Daily News’ Juan Gonzalez writes:

* The Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted unanimously to reduce tolls on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, despite a protest from former lieutenant governor Richard Ravitch, The Wall Street Journal writes:

* A new class-action lawsuit challenges New York City’s complicated property tax system, with plaintiffs arguing that blacks and Hispanics in rental buildings pay higher taxes than some owners, the Journal writes:

* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his family have yet to move into Gracie Mansion, and it is unclear when they will leave their Park Slope residence, the Daily News reports:

* The de Blasio administration is narrowing down its search for a film and television commissioner, with Michelle Byrd thought to be the favorite and Julie Menin, Pat Kaufman and others among the possibilities, Policker writes:

* The state’s Financial Restructuring Board accepted Albany’s bid, making it the second major city after Rochester to do so, which brings the total number of municipalities under review to eight, the Times Union reports:

* Paid telemarketers in New York kept an average of 62 cents of every dollar raised for charity in 2012, according to a report from the state attorney general, the Journal reports:

* More than 60 million people visited New York state parks last year, the second highest figure ever, despite temporary closures after Superstorm Sandy, the Associated Press writes:



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 NY DREAM ACT passed into law this session. Learn more about charter schools at




* Republicans backing Cuomo, such as Ken Langone and Mike McKeon, are “selling out cheap” in supporting a man with “a long history of defending big government,” Charles Gasparino writes in the Post:

* Despite a court-ordered monitor of NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy, “it’s only a matter of time” before Blasio runs into “the anti-stop absolutism” reflected in an ACLU report on Newark, the Daily News writes:

* In the Times Union, former assemblyman Jerry Kremer lays out the difficulties de Blasio faces in trying to work with the state on universal pre-kindergarten and raising the minimum wage:

* The battle over opening a high-end restaurant in Union Square Park now falls to de Blasio, who spoke out against it before becoming mayor, the Times’ Michael Powell writes:

* New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s proposal to let law students take the bar early if they do pro bono work for the poor is one of several sensible reforms that the governor and Legislature should back, the Times writes:

* Newsday applauds the MTA for taking steps to improve safety after the deadly Metro-North crash, including new speed-control technology and the creation of a chief safety officer:



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.




* Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal in his executive budget to spend $65 million on a statewide health information network is garnering support, unsurprisingly, from a number of local health IT companies. In a letter to the governor today, 33 executives and investors offered their backing for the Statewide Health Information Network of New York, or SHIN-NY, which would connect 10 regional hubs that already share patients’ electronic health records. “By funding the SHIN-NY, New York has the opportunity to lead the nation as the first large state to implement a statewide health information exchange that is not tethered to specific healthcare providers,” reads the letter, which also touts the initiative’s potential for high-tech job growth. Such systems can make it easier for patients who have to visit several doctors or specialists. The shift to digital health records has drawn concerns about privacy and potential security breaches, although supporters note that the statewide network would by overseen by the state Health Department and subject to federal and state security standards.


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 Erie County GOP Chair Nick Langworthy … to Chelsea Clinton … to former 92nd Street Y Executive Director Sol Adler … and to Theresa Freeman, a state committeewoman and district leader in the 70th Assembly district… and belatedly, on Tuesday, to NBC New York’s Jonathan Dienst.


MOVING ON: David Yassky, formerly the chair of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, has been appointed dean of Pace Law School, effective April 1 … and Tim Biba, communications director for Rep. Bill Owens, is leaving to work at a nonprofit in New York City, and will be replaced by Matt Sonneborn in mid-March.



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 with no public schedule.

8 a.m. – 12 p.m. – City & State and Baruch School of Public Affairs host a “State of our City” forum with discussions on transportation, healthcare and development, 151 E. 25th St., 7th Floor, Manhattan.

8:30 a.m. – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer speaks at a New York Building Congress forum, Hilton New York, 1335 Avenue of the Americas, Manhattan.

9 a.m.-1p.m. – New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried attend a Labor Press health summit, New York City District Council of Carpenters, 395 Hudson St., 10th floor conference center, Manhattan.

9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. – Fordham Law School holds its Smart Law for Smart Cities: Regulation, Technology, and the Future of Cities symposium, Fordham Law School, McNally Amphitheatre, 140 W. 62nd St., Manhattan. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer speaks on a public sector panel at 3:30 p.m.

9:30 a.m. – The state Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 510, 181 State St., Albany.

9:30 a.m. – The state Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 709, 181 State St., Albany.

10 a.m. – The state Senate Education Committee meets, State Capitol, Room 124, Albany.

10 a.m. – The state Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 946A, 181 State St., Albany.

10 a.m. – The state Senate Judiciary Committee meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 510, 181 State St., Albany.

10 a.m. – The New York City Civil Rights Committee holds an oversight hearing on the Commission of Human Rights implementation of Local Law 2 of 2011, City Hall, Committee Room, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The New York City Council Small Business Committee holds an oversight committee on non-profit corporations and social entrepreneurship, 250 Broadway, Committee Room, 16th floor, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The New York City Council Contracts Committee holds an oversight hearing on exploring the impact of late registration of contracts on city vendors, 250 Broadway, Hearing Room, 16th floor, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The New York City Council General Welfare Committee holds an oversight hearing on the conditions and operations in the Department of Homeless Services family shelters, City Hall, Council Chambers, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The New York City Council Public Housing and Recovery and Resiliency committees hold a joint oversight hearing on provisional heating systems in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Carey Gardens Community Center, 2315 Surf Ave., Brooklyn.

10 a.m. – The Brian Lehrer Show includes interviews with New York State Working Families Party Director Bill Lipton, journalists Nushin Rashidian and Alyson Martin on the legalization of marijuana, WNYC.

10 a.m. – Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy joins local business leaders and elected officials for an economic development announcement, Proctor’s Theater Office, 82 4th St.

11 a.m. – The Capitol Pressroom features Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Chris Stockton of the Williams Companies on the Constitution Pipeline, activist Anne Mari Garti with Stop the Pipeline, Stanhope Partners’ Bob Bellafiore and Siena’s Steve Greenberg, WCNY.

11 a.m. – The state Senate convenes, State Capitol, Albany.

11 a.m. – AARP members from the Utica area urge area state lawmakers to include an independent utility consumer advocate and additional assistance for family caregivers in the state budget, Utica State Office Building, 207 Genesee St., Utica.

11 a.m. – RWDSU, the NYS Coalition to End Wage Theft and others rally against wage theft, Five-Star Car Wash, 42-08 80th St., Queens.

11 a.m. – Make the Road New York launches a campaign against consumer fraud, 301 Grove St., Brooklyn.

12 p.m. – State Sen. Adriano Espaillat announces the launch of his campaign to represent New York’s 13th Congressional District, United Palace, 4140 Broadway, Manhattan.

12 p.m. – The state Senate Health Committee meets, State Capitol, Room 124, Albany.

12:30 p.m. – Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer gives a keynote address and receives an award at the Housing Court Answers Annual Conference, Cardozo Law School, 55 5th Ave., Manhattan.

12:30 p.m. – New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg gives a keynote speech at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council annual meeting to adopt a $24 million planning program, U.S. Custom House, One Bowling Green, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York Works Task Force meets, Empire State Development Boardroom, 633 3rd Ave., Manhattan, and online at

1 p.m. – The state Senate Codes Committee meets, State Capitol, Room 124, Albany.

1 p.m. – The New York City Fire and Criminal Justice Services Committee holds an oversight hearing to examine New York City’s efforts to improve emergency medical service operations, 250 Broadway, Committee Room, 16th floor, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – The New York City Civil Service and Labor Committee holds an oversight hearing on low-wage workers and the high cost of living in New York City, City Hall, Council Chambers, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – The New York City Council Veterans Committee holds an oversight hearing on veteran unemployment, City Hall, Committee Room, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – The New York City Council Consumer Affairs Committee holds an oversight hearing on the Office of Financial Empowerment and its accomplishments, programming and strategy going forward, 250 Broadway, Hearing Room, 16th floor, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – Duffy makes an announcement, SUNY IT, Student Center, Multipurpose Room, 5701 Horatio St., Utica.

2:15 p.m. – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio hosts a Black History Month youth event, Gracie Mansion parlor, 88th Street and East End Avenue, Manhattan.

3:10 p.m. – De Blasio visits Precinct 25 with NYPD Commissioner Bratton, followed by a media availability at 4 p.m., 120 E. 119th St., Manhattan.

4 p.m. – Dede Scozzafava, Cuomo’s deputy secretary of state for local governments, delivers a regional budget message, LeRay Town Hall, 8650 LeRay St., Evans Mills.

6 p.m. – State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman holds a community forum, P.S. 48 William G. Wilcox School, 1050 Targee St., Staten Island.

6:30 p.m. – Local community and statewide labor leaders hold a rally against Cuomo’s proposals to cut taxes for the rich, Mt. Hope Community Center, 55 E. 175th St., Bronx.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – Inside City Hall features a debate on raising the city’s minimum wage, Bruce Gyory, Clyde Haberman and Tom Robbins, Time Warner Cable News NY1.

7:30 p.m. – De Blasio attends a Dominican Heritage Month celebration, Allianza Dominicana, 530 W. 166th St., 2nd Floor, Manhattan.

7:30 p.m.– RWDSU, the NYS Coalition to End Wage Theft and others rally against wage theft, Aqui Bella Puebla Restaurant, 94-11 Roosevelt Ave., Queens.



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: “He’s told me that if Astorino runs, he is going to pound the hell out of him and talk about guns and gays, and it won’t be pretty and will hurt all of us.” – An unnamed Republican state senator, referring to Cuomo and potential challenger Rob Astorino, via the Times.

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