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POLITICO New York Playbook, presented by Nuclear Matters: DE BLASIO zoning setback -- DAILY NEWS photog buyouts -- MANHATTAN area code scramble

12/02/2015 07:49 AM EDT

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

REJECTED AGAIN -- Brooklyn Borough Board rejects de Blasio's zoning plans -- POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: Mayor Bill de Blasio's proposals to alter the city's zoning rules to create more below-market-rate housing took another hit on Tuesday, when the Brooklyn Borough Board rejected them unless a series of changes are made. The board's evening vote came hours after Queens Borough President Melinda Katz laid out her own concerns with the proposals. http://politi.co/1lWsZUC

MEANWHILE -- Amid citywide criticism, de Blasio official defends zoning proposals: Mayor Bill de Blasio's housing commissioner pushed back on the recent flood of criticism over the administration's zoning plans in an email to developers and others on Tuesday, saying she understands that "change is frightening to many." In the note, Vicki Been, head of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, paid heed to concerns throughout the city that the mayor's planned mixed-income communities and encouragement of additional development will price out long-time residents. DETAILS HERE: http://politi.co/1lWw1Ix

MEDIA MORNING -- "Daily News offers buyout packages to staff photographers," by Post's Keith J. Kelly : "The Daily News, which in an earlier incarnation used to call itself 'New York's Picture Newspaper,' may soon be without any full-time photographers. About a dozen remaining staff photographers have been offered buyout packages in the latest dizzying round of downsizings at the troubled tabloid ... While Mort Zuckerman's money-losing and circulation-challenged tabloid likely only wants to pink-slip some of the photographers, it needed to offer all of them buyout packages to avoid lawsuits ... The photographers had to respond to the buyout offer by Dec. 4 - but the deadline was extended until Dec. 11." http://bit.ly/1Rm8TPR

COMMON CORE TASK FORCE LIKELY TO WEIGH IN ON TEACHER EVALS-POLITICO New York's Keshia Clukey: After learning that Gov. Andrew Cuomo may be looking to minimize the impact of test scores on teacher evaluations, the Common Core task force will likely weigh in on the controversy, recommending either the decoupling of the two or a moratorium on the use of the scores, according to a source familiar with the panel. The task force had not been asked to consider the evaluation process, and until now, it has not focused on it. When Cuomo put together the panel in September, he charged its 15 members with reviewing the Common Core learning standards, calling for a "total reboot" of the state's education system. The recommendations are due to the governor this month prior to his State of the State address in January.

Members of the task force told POLITICO they were confused by comments made in a New York Times story last week on Cuomo's possible retreat from the politically fraught linkage of test scores and teacher evaluations, because the administration's statement made it seem as though they were looking at the evaluation system when, in fact, they have not been. "We're not focusing on that now ... we're focusing on what the task force was brought together for," said task force member Sam Radford III, president of the District Parent Coordinating Council of Buffalo. http://politi.co/1O2pfrb

ADAM SKELOS TOOK STEPS TO CONCEAL CONVERSATIONS - POLITICO New York's Josefa Velasquez: Adam Skelos went to great lengths to conceal his conversations after rumors began surfacing that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office was investigating his father, then state Senate majority leader Dean Skelos, going as far as using a "burner phone," and talking in code when referencing work that was before the state. During a March 28 phone conversation played for the jury Tuesday in the corruption trial against the state senator and his son, Adam Skelos told his father he was "freaking out" over his finances.

The younger Skelos refused his father's financial offering, but told him that he no longer felt that he could speak candidly to him because of the looming threat of Bharara. "I can't even have a conversation with you because you're in fucking politics and everything, you know? It's just frustrating because you can't talk normal," Adam Skelos told his father in the wiretapped phone call played for the court. "It's like f***ing Preet Bharara is listening to every f***ing phone call and it's fucking frustrating." The younger Skelos directed his supervisor at an industrial technology company to text his regular phone saying that he was having issues with his girlfriend, a coded phrase that meant he needed to talk about proposing legislation through a burner phone Adam Skelos had purchased. http://politi.co/1TsTBb8

-- Following the death of slain NYPD officer Wenjian Liu in January, Adam Skelos said wakes and funerals were good places "to get a lot of business done." http://nydn.us/1QSTFlS

QUOTE OF THE DAY : "My wife Ann has said that if I get a dog she'll find it easier.. to say okay to that. So I said, all right. Well, I'll go get a puppy and side note, I might be staying in the city Friday and she goes okay. The things I do to stay out and get a piece of ass." -- Adam Skelos to Abtech supervisor on how he keeps his wife happy.

NEW CODE - "Manhattanites fear being stuck with new '332' area code," by Post's Vinita Singla and David K. Li: "The snobby world of Manhattan area codes is about to be thrown into an uproar again - as the state announced Tuesday that it will create a new 3-digit phone code for the borough. The New York State Public Service Commission is planning to make 332 the newest Manhattan area code, joining 646, 917 and the granddad of them all, 212. Word of the new prefix is causing some proud Manhattanites to fear that they will be stuck with 332 - and wind up looking like out-of-town rubes every time they give out their phone number." http://bit.ly/1MVY5oh

--Wall Street Journal's Thomas MacMillan: "Having a 212 area code means you're the real deal: a genuine Manhattanite from way back. A 917 area code also carries a certain cachet, while 646 means you're still a newcomer to the island. New Yorkers will soon have another number by which to judge their neighbors: 332." http://on.wsj.com/1NmNEqR

BIRTHDAY: Lucy Liu is 47; she was born in Queens (Jackson Heights)

** 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 NuclearMatters.com. **

ROCKEFELLER TREE LIGHTING DAY -- The Italian origins of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. New York Times: http://nyti.ms/1NmMmMt

SILVER DETAILS -"The Questionable Ways of Albany, Exposed at Sheldon Silver's Trial," by Times' Susanne Craig and Benjamin Weiser: "During the one-month trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan, Mr. Silver's political career was not the only thing to fall apart. So, too, did the curtain around how many things in Albany really get done. Witness after witness in Mr. Silver's trial recounted similar so-called Albanyisms, behavior that is accepted as normal in the Capitol yet is potentially a problem. The trial ... also revealed how the state's decades of failure to take bold action on ethics reform enabled his deception and created a culture at the Capitol that remains largely resistant to reform. Corruption, of course, has endured in Albany for generations, but rarely has that culture been laid as bare as in the trial of Mr. Silver and the concurrent corruption trial of his former counterpart, State Senator Dean G. Skelos." http://nyti.ms/21uJnw2

AIRBNB PITCHES TRANSPARENCY - POLITICO New York's Dana Rubinstein and Sally Goldenberg: Tuesday was transparency day for Airbnb. New York reporters were invited to look at Airbnb data on an Excel spreadsheet in a shared workspace near Union Square. Councilmembers will have access to the information, too, according to the company.Chris Lehane, the controversial home-rental site's head of global policy and public affairs, sat down with reporters for on-the-record interviews.

"This is a caliber and quality of data we haven't put out anywhere," Lehane said. The picture Airbnb painted of it itself, using the numbers it provided on Tuesday, was flattering. Nearly 80 percent of Airbnb hosts 'earn low, moderate, or middle incomes,' the memo reads. For two-person households, the company defines low-income as up to $53,768, moderate-income as up to $80,653, and middle-income households as up to $134,422. Of the under 36,000 listings in New York City, most are in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

"Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, who's sponsoring legislation that would increase penalties on some Airbnb hosts, doesn't think the data is much to look at, anyway, since it doesn't include addresses. By her analysis, the data showed '20,000 of the 36,000 rentals are blatantly illegal.' Rosenthal's office added that her 20,000 number was an educated guess based on prior data scraping." http://politi.co/1TjejJN

NYCLASS FINDS A NEW MISSION - Staten Island Advance's Anna Sanders: A group fighting to expel horse carriages from Central Park is hoping to save Staten Island's deer from slaughter. NYCLASS launched a petition Tuesday calling on the city to give the borough's female deer birth control as a way of controlling the expanding white-tailed herd.

How successful the effort will be is unclear. The same group earned an ultimately empty promise from Mayor Bill de Blasio to ban horse carriages on his first day in office.

"Hunting in New York City is neither a long-term nor a humane solution to managing the population of deer in Staten Island," the petition reads. "The most humane and effective way to manage deer populations is through immunocontraceptives, an easily-implemented solution already proven to manage deer populations on Fire Island." http://bit.ly/1NmGJ0W

DE BLASIO DREAMS OF ELECTRIC CARS - Times' Michael Grynbaum: "There will be no Teslas. But by 2025, New York City is planning to employ the largest municipal fleet of electric vehicles in the country, along with a sprawling network of charging stations to go with it. Under a plan Mayor Bill de Blasio 's administration announced on Tuesday, around 2,000 city-owned sedans, used by agencies like the Transportation Department and the Parks and Recreation Department, would be replaced with electric vehicles, like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, over the next decade." http://nyti.ms/1QcFCpJ

IRIS CHEN'S QUIET EXIT - POLITICO New York's Eliza Shapiro: Iris Chen, executive director of the Department of Education's private fundraising arm, resigned earlier this week, the latest departure of a member of Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration.The Fund for Public Schools, which was rejuvenated under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has not matched the former administration's fundraising prowess. And, according to a source with ties to the fund, internal management problems and employee turnover in recent months left Chen and her staffers frustrated. Chen will be replaced on an interim basis by Sarah Geisenheimer, a former longtime associate director at the Rockefeller Foundation and a senior adviser to city schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. http://politi.co/1QcD0rV

ON THE MOVE: Nicole Turso is the new Press Secretary for the City's Department of Investigation. She was formerly the Press Secretary for the Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD's Department of Investigation, but will still continue to handle some press matters related to the NYPD OIG. Ariana Schechter is leaving Cuomo's Albany press office. Ismat Alam is departing as Albany's budget director.

PIC OF THE DAY: De Blasio, last night, at the Park Strategies holiday party with Al D'Amato. http://bit.ly/1NmLdER

A CAPITAL REGION WAL-MART BOYCOTT - Times Union's Paul Grondahl: "Michael Walsh of Schenectady, a Wal-Mart maintenance worker for 18 years, was fired on Nov. 6, a few days after he turned in $350 in cash he found in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. He was called into a manager's office, interrogated and terminated for 'gross misconduct.' His offense? He waited about 30 minutes before he turned in the money. 'The only thing I did wrong was hesitate,' Walsh said, who is 45. 'I didn't steal anything. They didn't give me any warning. They just fired me.' The firing happened on the same day that Thomas Smith , 52, of Albany, an East Greenbush Wal-Mart employee, was fired for redeeming $2 worth of cans and bottles left behind in a shopping cart. Worker rights advocates are organizing a Wal-Mart boycott through Jan. 1 and additional East Greenbush store demonstrations in response to Smith's controversial termination." http://bit.ly/1TtnYOu

FIGHTING FOR GE - Connecticut Post's Neil Vigdor: "Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is expected to meet Thursday with GE brass to try to further persuade them to keep their global headquarters in Fairfield, Hearst Connecticut Media has learned. In preparation for those talks, Malloy has been pressing fellow Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature to commit to pension reform, corporate tax relief and getting spending under control, according to multiple people briefed on the matter. All three areas have been identified as priorities of GE, which has publicly panned Connecticut's business climate. The overture by Malloy comes at the 11th hour of tense negotiations over GE's uncertain future in the state, where there is now a glimmer of cautious optimism on both sides of the political aisle that the conglomerate could stay." http://bit.ly/1Ttmbct

THE HOME TEAMS - POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: Nets 94, Suns 91: 23 points for Brook Lopez and 11 points, eight assists from Shane Larkin helped overcome 26 from Brandon Knight and 12 from old friend Mirza Teletovic.

-- The day ahead: the Knicks host the 76ers. The Rangers go to Barclays to face the Islanders. St. John's heads to Rose Hill Gym to face Fordham in men's basketball.

EAT BEAT - "12 Restaurants for You to Try Right Now" - DNAinfo: "Nish Nush, 41 John St., FiDi ... Zabb Elee Sake Bar, 71-28 Roosevelt Ave. basement, Elmhurst ... Kichin NYC, 297 Broadway, Williamsburg ... Surfish Bistro, 550 Third Ave. (between 13th and 14th Sts.), Gowanus ... Angela's, 417 Nostrand Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant ... Robert, 104 Bond St., Boerum Hil ... Kurry Qulture, 36-05 30th Ave., Astoria ... Zing's Awesome Rice, 122 Ludlow St., Lower East Side ... Bustler, 32 E. 52nd St., Midtown ... Modhu Mita, 2546 Seventh Ave., Harlem ... Riverdel Cheese, 820 Washington Ave., Prospect Heights ... Service Station, 500 E. 62nd St., Upper East Side." http://dnain.fo/1Tuu3KN

--"Eleven Madison Park Will Eliminate Tipping in 2016," by Eater's Ryan Sutton: "Eleven Madison Park, a restaurant that rose to fame thanks to its neoclassical take on New York dining, serving up truffled black and white cookies, upscale egg creams, and haute chowders, will soon do away with one of the most deeply ingrained customs of New York dining: tipping. Starting in the new year, Daniel Humm and Will Guidara's three Michelin-starred restaurant will raise prices and eliminate the need for diners to leave a gratuity, a move that will help the duo to chip away at the wage disparity between waiters who can partake of tips, and frequently lower paid kitchen staffers, who cannot. Lunch and dinner will cost $295, service included, which means that a table for two, after optional wine pairings and tax, will cost over $1,000." http://bit.ly/1IoDD0w

HILLARYWATCH - "A new face for Clinton fundraising: Chelsea Clinton," by Gabe Debendetti: "Chelsea ... and her mother are scheduled to co-host a 'Family Holiday Celebration With Hillary and Chelsea' in New York City on the afternoon of Dec. 17. Tickets for the event ... start at $250. Actress Drew Barrymore and her husband, Will Kopelman, will also serve as co-hosts. ... [M]embers of Clinton's political team have also been raising campaign cash across the country, occasionally in less-than-conventional settings. On Dec. 9, for example, campaign chairman John Podesta is set to host a cooking event in Portland, Oregon." http://politi.co/1TtFBh7

REAL ESTATE -- KING OF CRANES-"Brooklyn Is Leading The U.S. In Apartment Construction," by Forbes' Nick Fitzpatrick: "Those construction cranes you see hovering over Brooklyn could represent the fulfillment of a lot of people dreams: the construction of a lot of apartments. Emphasis on 'a lot.' New York's Kings County is likely to have the most new apartment units delivered in 2016 of any submarket in the U.S., by Axiometrics' estimation. Some 6,073 units have been identified for delivery in Brooklyn next year as of Nov. 16, a huge increase from the 969 that came to market this year. And another 2,001 units are already scheduled to come to market in 2017." http://onforb.es/1QSXveW

BIG DEAL-"Madison Realty Capital seeks equity partner to close $270M Midtown deal," by Real Deal's Mark Maurer: "Madison Realty Capital is in contract to acquire a 16-story Midtown East rental building known as the Buchanan for $270 million. But first, the company is seeking a joint-venture partner to cough up nearly $100 million in equity to close on the purchase and renovate the property. The 297,700-square-foot property at 160 East 48th Street, also known as 760-774 Third Avenue, has 289 apartments as well as retail and office space, according to marketing materials reviewed by The Real Deal." http://bit.ly/1QSX97Z

IN THE OFFING-"Forest City warns of mass layoffs in modular division," by Real Deal's Katherine Clarke: "Forest City Ratner has notified the New York State Department of Labor that it may lay off 220 employees from its newly formed modular division in 90 days, The Real Deal has learned. The news comes as the developer starts to wrap up construction on its first modular project - 'B2' - at 461 Dean Street, a 32-story tower near the corner of Flatbush Avenue. ... The company said it will offer financial incentives for workers to stay at the firm amid the uncertainty in a bid to make sure it still has a workforce in the event of securing a new project. ... A spokesperson for the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York said the group was at the ready to advocate for the interests of the workers in the event of layoffs. 'We will, if necessary, exercise our right to bargain over the closing of the production facility,' he said." http://bit.ly/1QSY48v

COMEDY -- "Seinfeld to have monthly residency at Beacon Theatre," by Post's David K. Li: "Yada, yada residency! Jerry Seinfeld will do a monthly stand-up gig at the Beacon Theatre in 2016, starting with a show on Jan. 7, owners of the venerable Upper West Side venue announced Tuesday. The comic said he was inspired to pursue a residency deal after watching Billy Joel perform regularly at Madison Square Garden." http://bit.ly/1LNHxL8

--"People are 'losing their s-t' over this bird," by Post's Sophia Rosenbaum: "Birders are flocking to Prospect Park to catch a glimpse of a rare bird that touched down in Brooklyn over the weekend. At least 100 avian enthusiasts a day are showing up at the park's LeFrak Center to see the Florida tweeter - called a painted bunting - with its multicolored plumage." http://bit.ly/1HGuQqL

#UpstateAmerica: Chuck Pona, a Guilderland resident who has been an Adirondack Trailways bus driver since 1964 and logged more than 3.1 million miles for the company, retired on Monday. http://bit.ly/1HEq0u9

** 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 NuclearMatters.com **

FOR MORE political and policy news from New York, check out Politico New York's home page: http://politi.co/1MkLGXV

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