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POLITICO New York Playbook, presented by Nuclear Matters: CUOMO's court cameo -- ALBANY corruption museum -- DNAinfo's NYC gift guide

11/30/2015 07:09 AM EDT

By Azi Paybarah in Manhattan, Jimmy Vielkind in Albany, and Mike Allen in D.C., with Daniel Lippman

CUOMO'S CAMEO IN COURT - Rebecca Davis O'Brien and Erica Orden in the Wall Street Journal: "A political 'wild card' with flashes of Sicilian temper. A tough negotiator who disdains 'chaos.' A chief executive who dominates 'theatrical' meetings. Cuomo isn't on trial, but his political style and personality have been on display throughout the concurrent public-corruption trials in the past few weeks of former state Sen. Majority Leader Dean Skelos and former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver . In witness testimony, email evidence and wiretap recordings, perceptions of Mr. Cuomo's demeanor have emerged again and again during proceedings in the neighboring Manhattan federal courthouses. 'Sometimes it's a poker game, and I will say this, the governor's a very good poker player,' Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association, a landlords' group, told the jury last week in Mr. Skelos's trial, recounting negotiations in 2011 over real estate laws."

-- Gotham Gazette listed the top 10 quotes from each trial.

-- Jury deliberations at Silver's trial begin again this morning.

THE GOVERNOR AND THE MAYOR, AGAIN - Associated Press City Hall bureau chief Jonathan Lemire: "The latest squabble in the ongoing dispute between the state's most powerful Democrats - who long ago abandoned any pretense of a friendship they once claimed stretched back decades - is a rise in New York City's homeless population. The two men and their staffs have traded barbs Thanksgiving week, culminating in Cuomo suggesting that the city's failure to handle its homelessness crisis would require an unprecedented level of state intervention. 'It's clear that the mayor can't manage the homeless crisis and the state does intend to step in with both management expertise and resources,' the governor's spokeswoman, Dani Lever, said Friday. ... This is far from the first time Cuomo muscled his way into a city crisis, and the frequency of his interjections has only increased after de Blasio called him out in an extraordinary June news conference, saying he had 'been disappointed at every turn' by the governor. In August, the governor sent a team of experts to the Bronx to 'take matters into our own hands' after criticizing the city's response to a Legionnaires' disease outbreak. He also inserted himself into City Hall debates about the ride-hailing company Uber and topless women panhandling in Times Square, among others. Moreover, the governor has shifted to the left this year, in part by seeming to co-opt some of the mayor's crusades like a higher minimum wage, and has cozied up to some elected officials, including U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who are rumored to be considering a primary challenge to de Blasio in 2017."

UBER'S BACK-UP PLAN - POLITICO New York's Dana Rubinstein: As the New York City Council pushed ahead with plans to cap and study its growth, executives at Uber met with Cuomo and his closest aides - drafting an executive order that they hoped would let them operate unfettered if the city acted. The morning after Cuomo's meeting with Uber executives David Plouffe, Justin Kintz, Josh Mohrer, Michael Allegretti and Rachel Holt, Allegretti emailed Mulrow a thank-you note, and a plan of action. In the email, Allegretti noted he'd given Mulrow a draft executive order and a draft temporary operating agreement. Uber had, in effect, asked Cuomo to supercede de Blasio's Uber cap with an executive order, should it go through. "While things play out during the next 9 days down here, we would like to simultaneously be working with your side to get these docs in the right place (we are building out the impact/justification statement as discussed), so that at the appropriate time later this month, everything is ready to go. Is this something we can start working on together?" There is no response recorded in the emails, which were obtained by POLITICO through a Freedom of Information Law request.

CUOMO'S TOUGH TEACHER EVALUATION OPTIONS-POLITICO New York's Keshia Clukey : Gov. Andrew Cuomo's reported plan to retreat from a politically fraught linkage of test scores and teacher evaluations could turn out to be pretty complicated, too. Cuomo has been "quietly pushing" to reduce or even eliminate the weight of students' performance on state exams in teacher evaluations through changes in regulation rather than legislation, the New York Times reported last week . But altering the rules, shaped by a prescriptive Cuomo-backed law passed last session, might require legislative action and not just cooperation from the State Education Department and state Board of Regents. The move to decouple the two would be a dramatic shift for the governor, who has touted strengthening teacher evaluations (and ensuring school districts' participation by linking policy changes to state aid) as a chief accomplishment of his governorship.

-- "No one in this administration tattles and lives to tell the tale, so it can be taken on faith he is speaking because the governor has told him to. So, it's Cuomo who wants us to believe this is what he is considering..." Times Union's Fred LeBrun:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Wall Street Journal reporter Erica Orden, former Assembly members Ginny Fields and Bob Reilly.

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Providing more than 61 percent of New York's carbon-free electricity, nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals. New York's nuclear energy fleet supports about 18,000 jobs and provides $2.5 billion to the state's GDP. Learn more at **

HAPPENING TOMORROW -- "Cuomo to Highlight New York's Progress in AIDS Fight," by Times' Nina Bernstein: "Prescriptions for Truvada, a drug that protects against H.I.V. infection, have more than tripled since summer 2014 among people enrolled in Medicaid in New York State. Separately, the transmission of H.I.V. infections from mother to child dropped to zero in the state for the first time since the AIDS epidemic began. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ... will highlight both statistics in a speech at the Apollo Theater in Harlem on Tuesday as part of World AIDS Day, portrayed as signs of progress toward the ambitious goal he announced last year to effectively end the AIDS epidemic by 2020 in the state that was once its epicenter."

CHOOSE YOUR NEWS - DNAinfo customizes gift-giving for wherever you live: "4 Gift Ideas From the Upper West Side" ... "4 Holiday Gift Ideas From the Upper East Side" ... "5 Holiday Gift Ideas From Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen" ... "from the Lower East Side and East Village" ... "from Lower Manhattan" ... "from Jackson Heights" ... "from Forest Hills and Kew Gardens" ... "from Fort Greene and Clinton Hill" ... "from Park Slope, Gowanus and Windsor Terrace" ... "from Prospect Heights" ... "from Red Hook, Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens" ... "from Bed-Stuy"

CHANGING CITY -- "The last days of the New York mob," by WashPost's Philip Bump: "New York is by no means Mafia-free. But the mob isn't what it once was, enfeebled by decades of police crackdowns, media attention and old age. The Mafia has been relegated largely to the realm of entertainment, just as Manhattan's Italian culture has become a tourist attraction. The city has changed dramatically since April 1972, when Joseph Gallo showed up for a bite to eat at Umberto's Clam House on Mulberry Street in Manhattan's Little Italy. 'Crazy Joe' had spent a decade in prison for extortion, but he had shifted careers, working with actor Jerry Orbach on a script about his time in the pen tentatively titled 'A-Block.'"

THE TALK OF WALL STREET -- "Ultimate Feel-Furious Movie About Wall Street: The Big Short is Hollywood's 'Occupy' - just in time for the holidays!" by Jessica Pressler in New York Magazine: "The Big Short: The Movie is a very weird product - for starters, it's a comedy about deadly serious things and a leftish movie lionizing hedge-funders. Nor is it a solid investment, not in these distractible, budget-minded, please-everyone times. ... Americans will put down their smartphones and tune in to a Hollywood version of Occupy Wall Street, a movie about an event that happened nearly a decade ago, one that they'd probably like to forget." ... Trailer

TROUBLE AT ALBANY'S CO-OP - Times Union columnist Chris Churchill: "I can't guess at how many of you know or shop at Honest Weight, but the grocery has an especially devoted following that makes it different from other stores. Roughly 12,000 people are so-called shareholders, which means they've plunked down $100 to support the co-op, and 1,200 of those shareholders even work at the store for at least a few hours each month. Doing so provides them with a merchandise discount of up to 28 percent. ... Member-workers really are central to Honest Weight's unique character. But are they legal? That is proving to be a complicated question. The store's current board of directors grew concerned that the state or federal Department of Labor could interpret the member-worker program as a violation of minimum-wage laws. The board, under the spell of paid consultants, became convinced that Honest Weight could even face millions of dollars in fines if regulators decided to swoop in.

"In any event, the board decided to scrap the member-worker program. ... The decision went off like a bomb, and the board's president made it all the worse when, in an interview with the Times Union , he characterized the workers as inefficient Chatty Cathys. The ill-advised comments, along with proposed changes to the store's management structure, made the board's move seem less about labor law and more about making the co-op as boring and corporate as The Gap. ... The shell-shocked board hastily reversed its decision, but the anger didn't dissipate. A vote on recalling the entire board will be 6 p.m. Monday at the Sophia Greek Orthodox Church, Whitehall Road."

TRANSPO BEAT -- "NYC-area ports stare down sizeable challenge of modernizing," by AP's David Porter: "[The] supply chain [is] fraught with the potential for disruption, particularly in the sprawling ports that hug Newark Bay just east of the New Jersey Turnpike - an aging complex where weather, labor issues and even computer problems have caused significant delays in recent years. But other factors embedded in the process itself are a concern as the ports prepare to begin accepting larger ships when work to raise New Jersey's Bayonne Bridge is finished in two years."

REAL ESTATE -- BIG DEALS-"Trinity, Norges deal values buildings at $3.6B," by Real Deal's E.B. Solomont: "Trinity Real Estate and Norway's sovereign wealth fund quietly signed a binding contract late last week to partner on the church's 11-building Hudson Square portfolio, in a massive deal that values the real estate at $3.55 billion. Norges Bank Investment Management entered into contract Nov. 20 to pay $1.56 billion for a 44 percent share in a 75-year ownership of Trinity's portfolio, the fund said. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year."

-"Stanley Wasserman in contract for $300M-plus UES portfolio," by Real Deal's Rich Bockmann and Mark Maurer: "Multifamily investor Stanley Wasserman is in contract to buy an Upper East Side portfolio from members of the Elghanayan real estate family for north of $300 million. Wasserman, whose S.W. Management owns just shy of 200 properties in Manhattan, Queens and Westchester, signed a contract last week for a pair of apartment buildings with a combined 330 rental units and a development site with almost 85,000 buildable square feet in Lenox Hill, sources told The Real Deal."

ENTERING NEW TERRITORY-"An Alley Entrance for a NoHo Condo," by Times' Ronda Kaysen: "The New York City alley, in all its grittiness, has long been a Hollywood favorite. Yet, in reality, New York has only a handful of them, as the designers of the city's grid left little room for such passageways. Now one of the remaining few, Great Jones Alley, between Broadway and Lafayette Street, will assume a more rarefied role when it becomes the exclusive entrance for a 12-story condominium."

SIGN HERE-"Luxury Buildings Brace for an Online Shopping Deluge," by WSJ's Alina Dizik: "Building managers are bracing themselves for the big holiday rush: the deluge of packages that flood their front doors. As online ordering of everything from last-minute meals to unwieldy children's bicycles becomes the norm, luxury condo buildings are developing strategies to keep up with the deliveries-and bring a white glove experience to residents who are getting more boxes than ever.

"This year, the U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver 15.5 billion pieces of holiday mail, a 10.5% increase from 2014, according to agency estimates. To combat the tidal wave-one large apartment operator recently stopped accepting parcels at all of its properties-luxury building managers are implementing electronically coded lockers, installing hidden storage areas and adding bellhops."

SHIFTING LANDSCAPE-"Gentrification in a Brooklyn Neighborhood Forces Residents to Move On," by Times' Vivian Yee: "They are a living reminder of the challenges facing a city struggling to make room for all its current residents, and all the new ones to come: the people of an older Crown Heights, who cannot afford the new. Like longtime tenants from San Francisco to Harlem, the African-Americans and West Indians who have made their homes for generations in this Brooklyn neighborhood are scattering, muscled out by surging rents and, tenant advocates say, landlords who harass tenants, withhold repairs or use evictions to make room for higher-income renters."

COFFEE BREAK -- "Political corruption museum could become Albany tourism draw," by AP's Michael Virtanen: "A resident of New York's capital city has an unusual economic development plan to harness what he says is one of Albany's most abundant renewable resources: political corruption. For a $12.50 or so 'bribe,' visitors to the planned Museum of Political Corruption will get a tour of the state's long history of crooked politicians, shady deals and backroom power brokers, as well as a chance to learn about individuals who have fought corruption and suggested solutions to the state's chronic problem. The museum is the idea of Bruce Roter, a professor at Albany's College of Saint Rose, who is now raising money for the museum, which he envisions as both an educational institution and a tourist destination that focuses on the state Capitol's reputation for corruption."

#UpstateAmerica: "A Vermont man was arrested after police said he was found illegally hunting for deer while drunk."

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Some of America's existing nuclear energy plants face early closure due to current economic and policy conditions. Providing more than 62% of America's carbon-free electricity, existing, state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals.

In New York, nuclear energy plants provide 31 percent of the state's electricity and 61 percent of our carbon-free electricity. The existing nuclear energy plants in New York also support about 18,000 jobs and provide $2.5 billion to the state's GDP.

If we want to keep New York working, we need policies that will keep New York's state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants working for all of us. Join us at **

FOR MORE political and policy news from New York, check out Politico New York's home page:

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