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12/14/2015 07:12 AM EDT
By Azi Paybarah in Manhattan, Jimmy Vielkind in Albany, and Mike Allen in D.C., with Daniel Lippman
WITH TWO SCALPS, PREET RISES - Capital Tonight host Liz Benjamin for POLITICO New York: As the 2016 session approaches, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has officially rained on Albany's parade, cementing himself through the convictions of both Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos - not to mention former Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous - as the most powerful person at the Capitol, even though he has never stepped foot in the building. Whereas once lawmakers feared Gov. Andrew Cuomo and wondered how much leeway he would allow them, now they - and perhaps even the governor himself - fear Bharara and wonder when the next shoe will drop. Since Bharara has already ousted two of Albany's storied "three men in a room" who made all the decisions, the next logical question is when - and if - he'll also seek to fell the last, and most significant, man standing: Cuomo himself.
-- Preet speaks! Via NYT's Ben Weiser, Sue Craig and Willie Rashbaum: "It would be, I think, irresponsible not to spend some time talking about what those things, what those trials, have taught us, and what those cases may mean for how everyone can get good government," Bharara said. "The corruption in the State Legislature in Albany has not been episodic ... It's been systemic, and if nothing else, the trials revealed that there's a deep culture problem, and a matter-of-factness about how at least these two defendants, who've now been found guilty, went about their daily corrupt business with barely a thought about it." http://nyti.ms/1NOEWXc
-- Cuomo promised he would push to close the LLC loophole next year. http://nydn.us/1J6085e
-- With the partisan divide in the Senate so close, Democrats are ready to open fire on the GOP conference recently led by Skelos and Tom Libous (also ousted from his seat by a federal corruption charge earlier this year) that as of Friday holds a bare 32-seat majority in the 63-seat Senate. The results of the coming partisan reform war, though, are far from certain. http://politi.co/1NOFhZW
SCHUMER'S SUNDAY -- "Schumer, Cuomo: Feds should close gun-terror loophole," by AP's Verena Dobnik: "Top New York officials demanded Sunday that the federal government share classified watch-list information on suspected terrorists so the state can block such people from buying guns legally. Sen. Charles Schumer and Cuomo said that keeping the information secret creates a dangerous 'terror gap.' 'This loophole does nothing more than help radical people kill innocent Americans, and it must be closed,' said Cuomo. 'The fact that reform continues to languish illustrates the stranglehold the NRA has over Washington, and it's time for our elected leaders to show the political courage to vote for the safety of the American people.' ... Schumer has co-sponsored the 'Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2015,' which would give [DOJ] authority to prevent a suspected terrorist from buying such materials. But the measure failed in the U.S. Senate last week." http://yhoo.it/1NOMNUH
ASSEMBLYMAN MICHAEL BLAKE GIVES UP CONSULTING JOB - Gotham Gazette's Ben Max: "Two days after announcing that he would be joining a consulting firm as a partner while retaining his seat in the New York State Assembly, Michael Blake has changed his mind.
"'I've decided that the clear priority is and always has been the constituents of my district, and I'm not going to allow anything to distract from that. I'm not going to be a partner at Hilltop,' Blake told Gotham Gazette Sunday evening, meaning Hilltop Public Solutions, the consulting firm.
"The change of mind comes after the Friday uproar when, on the same day that former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was convicted of using his public office for private gain, Hilltop announced that Blake was joining the firm. Blake and Hilltop both said he would only be handling national and international clients - none with business before New York State - and Blake explained that the move had been cleared by an Albany ethics commission. But, the timing and the cynicism around Albany lawmakers and their real and perceived conflicts of interest led to a powerful backlash against the move." http://bit.ly/1P1dd6k
NOW, CUOMO PUSHES TO SHUT A FUND-RAISING LOOPHOLE -- News' Erin Durkin: "Gov. Cuomo said he'll push to close the 'LLC loophole' next year - part of an ethics reform agenda he plans to unveil in the State of the State address. After the criminal convictions of the ex-leaders of both the Assembly and Senate in recent weeks, Cuomo said he'd make it a priority to end the loophole that lets companies give virtually unlimited campaign donations by creating limited liability corporations.
"'The legislature needs serious and dramatic reform. We have had in recent weeks convictions of senior legislative officials, which I believe are indefensible both literally and metaphorically,' Cuomo told reporters at an unrelated press conference. 'The legislature has a lot of work to do to restore the public trust. I think we need an ambitious reform agenda.'" http://goo.gl/6xjdgq
-- Flashback: WNYC, 2010: "Andrew Cuomo is defending his practice of accepting contributions from business entities known as limited liability corporations, or LLCs. ... Cuomo: 'I want to reform the campaign finance system. To reform the campaign finance system I have to get elected. To get elected I have to raise money. I don't have large sums of personal wealth, I don't come from a family with personal wealth, so I have to get elected which means I have to raise money so I can be in a position to actually make the reforms." http://goo.gl/qHaNbP
BILL BRATTON op-ed on crime, in the News: "Year-to-date, nearly half of all shootings in the city have been identified as gang- and crew-related in some way. It's a fearsome reality: violence for its own sake. The gun has come to define manhood for these young men, and the willingness to use it has become a rite of passage. ... To an astonishing degree, crew members are learning the skills of credit card fraud - stealing with computers, embossing machines, and stacks of blank cards instead of resorting to robbery and burglary. Yet despite their migration to white-collar crime, they show no signs of becoming less violent. ... Juvenile Justice Division has identified 375 crews citywide..." http://goo.gl/CQRJNs
-- News' Thomas Tracy: "Of the 324 homicides through Dec. 6, police say gang members are responsible for about 130, or 40% of the killings - a troubling increase when compared with prior years. Perhaps the most disturbing dose of reality behind the numbers is that many of the shootings were sparked by insignificant slights or the misguided notion that shooting someone will turn a boy into a man." http://goo.gl/jZdz2k
2016: "Hillary Clinton's Wall Street Ties Cause Lingering Concern." WNYC's Andrea Bernstein: http://goo.gl/4IZvEh
#ThisTownNYC: "You Can't Get Into Bars With Your NYC ID Card, City Says." DNAinfo's Gwynne Hogan: http://goo.gl/mjcnVj
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "It is not accurate that there is a culture of corruption in Albany." -- Assemblyman Michael Blake, via Gotham Gazette: http://bit.ly/1P1dd6k
BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The corruption in the State Legislature in Albany has not been episodic ... It's been systemic, and if nothing else, the trials revealed that there's a deep culture problem..." -- U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, via NYT: http://goo.gl/6SVzkU
VIDEO OF THE DAY: Corporation Counsel Zach Cartner, playing the piano, via @MayaWiley: https://goo.gl/49B9b5
GIF OF THE DAY: De Blasio, and the unseasonably warm weather, via @PatrickHedlund: https://goo.gl/JDAwld
TABS -- News: "GANGS OF NEW YORK: As a gun epidemic rages across the nation, our city suffers its own viral strain - violent crews commit 40% of murders. We explore why and how to stop it." -- Post: "HIT RUN HERO: Aunt struck pushing niece from car's path" -- New York mag: "REASONS TO LOVE NEW YORK"
-- Metro: "DAD ACADEMY: Young New Yorkers are learning to be good fathers while growing up themselves." -- amNY: "THE FORCE IS WITH US: Your guide to 'Star Wars' Week in NYC" -- Hamodia: "Task Force Recommends New York Overhaul, Rename Common Core" -- Epoch Times: "Three Years After Sandy Hook, State Gun Laws More Permissive" -- El Diario [translated]: "NY wants to access the list of terrorist suspects"
FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 2-col. above the fold: "A New York Inmate Dies, And No One Is Punished: Death May Have Been Forgotten if Escape Hadn't Exposed a Prison's Secrets" and 2-col. below the fold: "U.S. Attorney Says Trials Offer Solutions to a Corrupt Albany" -- WSJNY, 2-col. above the fold: "Curtain to Rise On the Diversity Of Arts Groups"
WAKE-UP SCOOP -- PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS RUNS GREEN -- POLITICO New York's David Giambusso: The City Council Progressive Caucus is endorsing two clean energy policies ahead of today's double hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio's OneNYC plan, according to a statement that will be released by the group today. The proposals come from a report issued last year called "Climate Works For All," a series of environment and labor policies designed to create so-called green jobs and reduce carbon emissions. The report and recommendations were written by a coalition of environment and labor groups.
The first proposal requires raising energy efficiency standards for city buildings. The council members want to update the city's energy conservation code to "passive house" and "zero net energy" standards by 2030 with interim benchmarks until then.
Passive house means a building that is heated and cooled with as little energy as possible, utilizing insulation, windows, geothermal energy and solar power among other methods. Zero net energy means a structure that is almost completely self sufficient, creating the bulk of its energy on site. The second proposal calls for the city to do a sweeping study of the city's public schools and assess them for renewable energy installations. Both proposals would be accompanied by incentives for "high-road labor standards, apprenticeship utilization and local hiring," according to the statement. http://politi.co/1Z70MsB
DEEP DIVE - "An Inmate Dies, and No One Is Punished," by NYT's Michael Winerip and Michael Schwirtz: http://nyti.ms/1I2JqZP
HOT VIDEO - WSJ.com, "Virtual Reality Video: The Invisible Networks Powering New York" http://on.wsj.com/1UmEBMo
THE LATEST NUMBERS: A majority of New Yorkers don't want to allow Syrian refugees into the country at this moment, and an overwhelming majority are worried about a potential terrorist attack, a Siena Research Institute survey released today finds. The monthly poll of 822 New York voters found 52 percent of respondents - including 78 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of Democrats - would like to see a pause on the settlement of refugees from the war-torn nation. Cuomo has spoken up in favor of resettling the refugees, which flared up as a political issue after terrorist attacks in Paris. Siena's researchers found that 60 percent of those surveyed believed a terrorist attack was "very likely" in the "near future," while another 28 percent believe an attack was "somewhat likely." ... According to Siena, 66 percent of voters agree with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's view that daily fantasy sports sites - including FanDuel and DraftKings - constitute illegal gambling and should be prohibited in New York. ... Cuomo's job approval is still under water, and tied a record low: 39 percent of voters surveyed support the Democratic executive, compared to 59 percent who believe he is doing a fair or poor job. -- Jimmy Vielkind
PETITION OF THE DAY -- Over 3,000 Change.org users are urging New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio to remove Donald Trump's name from the famous Wollman Ice Rink, one of Trump's signature city projects. The success of the Wollman Rink is a frequent go-to in Trump's campaign speeches. http://chn.ge/1UmBF29
** A message from Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York: A safe work environment should not be a privilege; it should be a right. Middle Class Strong is focused on building, protecting, and maintaining a strong middle class for union and non-union workers alike. It is time for working people to be given the respect, dignity, and protections they deserve. Visit MiddleClassStrong.com. **
PRIDE AGENDA FOLDS - Paul Schindler in the Gay City News: "Citing its success in winning new state regulations protecting transgender New Yorkers from discrimination, the Empire State Pride Agenda has announced it will close down major operations in early 2016. In a press release issued on the evening of December 12, the organization indicated that it hoped to maintain a political action committee 'to play a continuing role in electoral politics,' while identifying 'aspects of its policy work to transition to partner LGBT organizations.' ... Contacted shortly before ESPA made its announcement official, Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay West Side Democrat, said he was "certainly not" giving up on the effort to enact GENDA." http://bit.ly/1UlFTHu
LIST DU JOUR - NEW YORK Mag's "Reasons to Love New York": "Because the Oldest Person in the World Is Living in Brooklyn ... 2. Because Our Rats Have Discriminating Taste ... 3. Because the Best Show on Broadway Is Absolutely Free ... 4. Because No Matter Your Politics, There's a New Yawk Accent for You ... 5. Because a Kennedy, a Matisse, and a Trump Really Are Friends ... 6. Because Police Are Finally Sort of Trying to Listen ... 7. Because I've Talked a Lot of Trash About MoMA, But It's Really Pretty Great." http://nym.ag/1RMweu0
MEDIA MORNING - "The end of the tabloid war," by Politico's Joe Pompeo: "Lately, New York's decades-old tabloid war seems from the outside a more subdued affair, if there's still a war to be had at all. Hammered over the past 10 years by steep circulation declines while scrambling to transform their businesses through digital growth, the News and the Post don't seem to be locking horns with each other these days so much as struggling with the broader economic headwinds that have wreaked havoc on the news industry. The tabloid war, as one weary soldier sniped to The Daily Beast in February, has been reduced to 'two bald guys'-[Mort] Zuckerman, 78; [Rupert] Murdoch, 84 - 'fighting over a comb.' That's a far cry from the bloody brawls of yore, when every price cut was a cri de guerre; every circulation audit a red flag; every cover story a cannonball meant to decimate its opponent on the newsstand, long the front line in a fierce battle for readers and the advertisers paying to reach them." http://politi.co/1Nk5D4w
--"Time Warner CEO's house burns down in Connecticut," by Post's Claire Atkinson: "Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes ... spent Monday night on the curb outside his burning home in Connecticut. Bewkes managed to escape the late night blaze, which was likely caused by embers from a fireplace ... Five fire engines assisted with extinguishing the blaze and stayed until 4 a.m. Bewkes was said to be staying in the rental property while renovating a home he acquired for $19 million in nearby Riverside." http://bit.ly/1OqwJok
MONEY HONEYS - GABE SHERMAN in New York Magazine, "Republican Billionaires Just Can't Seem to Buy This Election": "In the closing weeks of the  campaign, [American] Crossroads circulated a top-secret presentation to a small group of billionaires that projected Romney could win a 'mandate' if they contributed an additional total of $25 million to fund a 'surge' of negative ads. A handful ponied up, and on Election Night, they assembled in Boston certain they would be watching their investment pay off. Instead they watched Rove's infamous Fox News meltdown as their $117 million grubstake went up in smoke. To many of the billionaires it felt like a mugging. A few days after the election, New York hedge-fund manager Daniel Loeb, who'd helped finance Rove's surge, tried to sue Crossroads and Fox News for misrepresenting the facts. ... After conferring with a securities lawyer, Loeb discovered that there are no investor protections in politics. He never filed a suit. ... Donors have awakened to the realization that topflight consultants can earn millions from campaigns regardless of whether they win." http://nym.ag/1IOUaLx
OUT AND ABOUT -- A Hannukah event last night at the Pierre Hotel honored President Reuven Rivlin of Israel and was hosted by World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder and Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon. Release http://bit.ly/1NONf58 SPOTTED: Samantha Power, Richard Haass, Tzipi Livni, Alan Dershowitz, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Matt Nosanchuk.
MAYOR FOR LIFE -- On Thursday evening from 5:30 pm to 7:30, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg is helping host a fundraiser for Anna Throne-Holst at the home of Charles Myers in the city. Throne-Holst, Southampton's Town Supervisor, is running for the first congressional district so if she wins the Democratic primary, she'd face Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin. Contribution levels: a host: $2,700 ... sponsor: $1,000 ... friend: $500 ... supporter: $250. Other hosts include: Reps. Joe Crowley, Steve Israel, Carolyn Maloney and Paul Tonko, Charles Myers, Bernard Schwartz, Robert Zimmerman, Kathleen Begala, David Dangoor, Hume Steye, Charles John O'Byrne, Stephen Savage, Jamie Drake, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel and Brian Ellner. See the invite. http://bit.ly/1miVFHH
HAPPENING TODAY IN NYC -- Jon Huntsman, Joe Lieberman and 100 political, business and labor leaders are meeting at a high powered confab in NYC at the Palace Hotel to problem solve solutions for the first 100 days of the next president's term. Areas of focus are energy, entitlements, infrastructure, and immigration. Reps. Charlie Dent, Todd Young, Sean Patrick Maloney, Tom Reed, Ami Bera, Stacey Plaskett, and Chris Gibson are joining, as well as Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo.
HILLARYWATCH -- "Anatomy of a Clinton rally: Watched by Secret Service, tracked by opponents, hounded by activists, the Democratic front-runner tries to energize an emerging coalition," by Politico's Annie Karni: "Eight months into the campaign slog, Hillary Clinton's events on the road are medium in size, predictable in nature. Emblematic of the candidate, her town halls and rallies are often controlled, substantive, and almost never veer off script. They often leave attendees hugely impressed with Clinton's knowledge of the issues, but not necessarily in love. The rallies are, at bottom, a microcosm of Clinton's campaign so far - methodical, professional, but also curiously mechanical and lacking in electricity. ... On Clinton's most recent swing through Iowa, POLITICO broke down the anatomy of a Clinton rally, eight months in. The superfans ... The Protesters ... The tracker ... The Geezers ... The Young Girls ... The Press ... The Secret Service ... Hillary's posse ... The Advocates ... The Entrepreneur ... The undecided voters ... Union muscle ... Campaign Volunteers ... Elected officials." http://politi.co/1P1VcTD
REAL ESTATE -- "Jehovah's Witnesses could get $1 billion for NYC properties," by AP's Karen Matthews: "The Jehovah's Witnesses, the door-knocking religious group that's been based in Brooklyn for a century, is selling its headquarters and other properties for an expected price tag of $1 billion or more. The Witnesses' move to a town about an hour north of New York City will likely mean the end of the complex's most well-known feature, the neon 'Watchtower' sign advertising the church's flagship publication. But it will free up hundreds of thousands of square feet for businesses and apartments in a now-trendy neighborhood at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. ... The church had owned 36 separate Brooklyn properties before it began selling them off in preparation for the move upstate to Warwick. ... The Witnesses bought their 733,000-square-foot headquarters from Squibb Pharmaceuticals for $3 million in 1969." http://yhoo.it/1OqwKIO
FAMILY MATTERS-"The Durst Dynasty's Rise, a Scion's Descent," by Times' Charles V. Bagli: "Douglas Durst, a onetime hippie who had sought a career in international diplomacy, had just taken the reins of one of the most powerful family-owned real estate companies in New York City. At Osteria al Doge on West 44th Street, near Times Square, he, his father, Seymour B. Durst, his uncle and two of his cousins ordered their customary Virgin Marys and waited for Douglas's older brother, Robert A. Durst, who had been passed over in the transition from the family's second to third generation. Robert never showed up. And when the Dursts returned to the family's headquarters in their skyscraper on Avenue of the Americas that day, Dec. 16, 1994, they discovered that he had cleaned out his office. Since then, Douglas Durst has greatly expanded the family empire, and in a roaring real estate market, the Dursts have become the city's largest private commercial building owners. They have pioneered the development of environmentally sustainable office buildings, and they have built residential towers. They erected 4 Times Square, a skyscraper that helped prompt the rejuvenation of its neighborhood, and bought a stake in the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, 1 World Trade Center. But even as the family celebrates the founding of the Durst Organization 100 years ago by its patriarch, Joseph Durst, Robert casts a long, dark shadow." http://nyti.ms/1OqxRIB
SLOW START-"Mayor's scrutiny, style slow some New York City bond deals - sources," by Reuters' Hilary Russ: "Bond deals that are critical for capital projects at New York City's private schools and non-profits take longer to close under Mayor Bill de Blasio than his predecessor due to greater scrutiny but also last minute scrambles for his signature, according to sources. At the little-known Build NYC Resource Corp, some deals are slower because the agency is now approving more and bigger projects that are being more closely scrutinized, Build NYC spokesman Anthony Hogrebe acknowledged in response queries after a Reuters' analysis of deals and interviews with two sources. ... Wiley Norvell, de Blasio's deputy press secretary, disputed the characterization by Reuters' sources of the mayor's process. 'We believe that the public deserves a process that is rigorous and efficient, and that's what we've put in place,' Norvell said in an email." http://bit.ly/1NYvI6j
IN THE ZONE-"City, getting Brewer's support, vows changes to Mandatory Inclusionary Housing," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: "Before Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer changed her mind and decided to endorse one of the mayor's controversial zoning proposals, she got what she saw as a series of critical promises from Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration. For starters, two of de Blasio's top officials told her that money developers are required to put into a fund in lieu of building mandated low-income housing would be spent in the same community district where the housing would have been created. In other words, money that would go toward creating below-market-rate apartments in one area wouldn't be transferred to other parts of the city, at least for 10 years. After a decade, the money could be spent elsewhere in the same borough and, even then, only with community board and borough president review." http://politi.co/1J3nQze
THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: Michael Cuddyer of the Mets announced his retirement after MLB.com inadvertently posted it on the team web site Friday night. The move saves the team most, if not all of Cuddyer's $12.5 million salary for 2016. If you read this space regularly, I don't have to tell you whether the Mets are planning to use that money to get some fancy new players.
-- Jets 30, Titans 8: The most complete Jets performance of the season, and the best stat is holding the Titans to 24 rushing yards, total.
-- Eagles 23, Bills 20: The most penalized team in football was no different in a very winnable game in Philadelphia.
-- St. John's beat Syracuse, 84-72, in men's basketball at The Garden. It's the best win for Chris Mullin so far.
-- The day ahead: The Giants are in Miami. The Nets host the Magic.
#UpstateAmerica: Some jamoke in Jimmy's hometown was arrested for smoking pot while parked in a "Police Cars Only" space. http://nwsdy.li/1J5XMU7
** A message from Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York: As part of our efforts to build a strong middle class, one of our initial goals is to make New York City construction sites safer for all workers. This is merely a first step, but it is a critical one in our ongoing efforts to protect working people.
Unions prioritize safety by requiring rigorous training programs. However, not all construction sites are union, and working conditions at many sites across the city are deplorable. So it comes as no surprise that in 2015, 14 of 16 construction related deaths occurred on non-union construction sites.
We believe the safety standards that unions abide by should be uniformly implemented across the city. Moving forward, we will work to educate the public and elected officials about why working people need true middle class wages and benefits to live and thrive in New York City. Visit MiddleClassStrong.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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