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12/21/2015 07:04 AM EDT
By Azi Paybarah in Manhattan, Jimmy Vielkind in Albany, and Mike Allen in D.C., with Daniel Lippman
THE EXTRAORDINARY CUOMO-DE BLASIO RIVALRY - Terry Golway in the latest edition of POLITICO New York magazine: The relationship between the governor and the mayor figured heavily in coverage of both Democratic executives in 2015, and with good reason, for it has been some time since the voting public has witnessed such raw displays of mutual distaste. During the dramatics associated with last-minute lawmaking in Albany in June, the governor cleverly disguised himself as a source familiar with his thinking and insisted that the mayor, his putative friend and former subordinate in the federal housing department, was incompetent. The mayor, after deferring to and vouching for his former boss throughout Cuomo's embarrassingly difficult re-election campaign, duly summoned the City Hall press corps to his office and said that he'd been wrong, and that in fact the governor was vindictive, hyperpolitical and generally nasty.
New York has a history of conflict between governors and mayors of New York City that is long, storied and occasionally fit for print, and the open warfare between Cuomo and de Blasio invited comparisons with personality clashes of the past: the governor's father, Mario Cuomo, and Ed Koch in the 1980s; Al Smith and John Hylan in the 1920s; and the mother of all upstate-downstate feuds, Nelson Rockefeller and John Lindsay in the late 1960s and early 1970s. But the conflict between Cuomo and de Blasio may actually be worse than any of the others, which is saying something. Even battle-hardened veterans who observed the Rockefeller-Lindsay apocalypse nearly a half-century ago find themselves ducking for cover these days when they catch a whiff of sulfurous rhetoric in the morning. http://politi.co/1O2CkoE
-- "For Bill de Blasio, It Was a Year of Political Combat" -- WSJ's Josh Dawsey and Mara Gay: " New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's second year in office was dominated by a series of bruising political fights and a continual struggle to control the perception of crime, homelessness and the city's quality of life. For most of the year, the mayor and his aides labored to highlight the expansion of prekindergarten, progress on developing affordable apartments and the sharp curtailment of the New York Police Department's street stops in largely minority neighborhoods. The city's unemployment rate kept dropping and its finances remained largely on solid footing.
"The midpoint of the mayor's four-year term finds him contending with poll results that indicate many voters disapprove of his leadership and many simply dislike him - a finding that confounds some of his advisers. A deep racial gap has persisted, with white voters overwhelmingly disliking the mayor and black voters liking him.
"'This is a very hard working mayor and it doesn't come across in the everyday story," said Sid Davidoff, a lobbyist and close adviser to Mr. de Blasio who also advised former Mayors David Dinkins and John Lindsay. For many seasoned observers of City Hall, Year Two of the de Blasio era displayed his administration's inability to maneuver well when attacked. For them, it came as a surprise because Mr. de Blasio has built a reputation over the past two decades as a savvy veteran of the city's political scene. Many aides and advisers say privately they are happy that 2015 is drawing to an end." http://on.wsj.com/1OFsFR2
-- Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's year in review, via spokesman @EricDKoch: https://goo.gl/WEhL1Z
BROTHERLY BYLINE: Today's Times front page includes "Cuomo's Focus In Pardon Push: Youth Offenses," by Jesse McKinley and James C. McKinley Jr. -- a rare double byline by a pair of siblings. Jesse is an Albany reporter who will take over a bureau chief on Feb. 1, and Jim covers Manhattan courts and legal issues. Even though the two have been at the paper together for 27 years, this is only their second co-byline: The first was Dec. 1, on p. A24, "Cuomo Nominates Prosecutor for Chief Judge."
Jim, who's eight years older, got Jesse a job as a copyboy when he first got to NYC in '88. Metro editor Wendell Jamieson wrote last week in a memo, posted by Jimmy, announcing the Albany promotion: "Jesse has been working at The Times since he was 18, when brother Jim - then Tom Wicker's clerk - told him he needed to get a 'real job' while attending acting school at N.Y.U." See the memo. http://politi.co/1QB7RjZ
-- The article: "Cuomo ... said on Sunday that he would seek out and pardon thousands of people who were convicted of nonviolent crimes as teenagers but have since led law-abiding lives. Envisioned as a way to remove stubborn barriers to employment, housing and other services, the pardons would be available to anyone who was found guilty of a nonviolent felony or misdemeanor that was committed while they were 16 or 17, provided they have spent at least a decade without any additional convictions. Under his plan, Mr. Cuomo intends to invite those people to apply for - and virtually be assured of receiving - a governor's pardon, as long as they meet several other criteria. ... Cuomo, a Democrat, had long been considered parsimonious when it came to clemency, issuing only nine pardons or commutations of sentences in nearly five years in office. ... But the plan unveiled on Sunday would significantly amplify that process; administration officials estimate that there is a backlog of some 10,000 New Yorkers who may qualify immediately for the governor's pardons, with an additional 350 people becoming eligible each year as they pass 10 years without additional convictions." http://nyti.ms/1m2LpDw
TABS: Post: "GIANT JERK! Odell's private war helps torpedo Big Blue -- News: "Killed baby for stealing ma's heart" -- amNY: "Nabes in revolt: The fight over mayor's housing plan" -- Metro: "NO CAM DO: The Giants came oh-so-close to handing Cam Newtown and the Panthers their first loss..." -- Epoch Times: "Proposal to Shut Underperforming NYC Schools Upsets Parents" -- Hamodia: "NY Senate Leader: 'We're Not Doing' Ramapo Oversight" -- El Diario [translated]: Posthumous tribute to police killed a year ago
FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 1-col. above the fold: "Cuomo's Focus in Pardon Push: Youth Offenses" -- WSJNY, 4-col. below the fold: "De Blasio Navigates a Tough Year"
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "If people are afraid to go out of their homes, they don't shop." -- Ken Langone, via WSJ: http://goo.gl/6KGDCy
BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I'm not really interested, respectfully, in retrospective questions." -- Mayor Bill de Blasio, in July, when asked about comments he made in December, via WSJ: http://goo.gl/6KGDCy
** 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. **
CUOMO SHIFTS TO NATIONAL INTERVIEWS - POLITICO New York's Bill Mahoney: While Gov. Andrew Cuomo has granted fewer recent interviews to television and radio programs than earlier in his administration, he's made more appearances on national programs in 2015 than in the entirety of his first four-year term in office. The governor has taped interviews with broadcast media 43 times in 2015, up from 35 in 2014, but down from highs of 51 in 2013 and 60 in 2012. He conducted 34 interviews in 2011, according to a POLITICO New York analysis of his public schedules.
Cuomo has largely stopped appearing on Live from the State Capitol with Fred Dicker and Susan Arbetter's Capitol Pressroom, the two daily radio shows broadcast from the statehouse. He made 110 appearances on at these shows during his first term, speaking with at least one during 42 of his 48 months in office, but hasn't appeared on Dicker's since 2013 or Arbetter's since July. The 144 days Cuomo has gone without being interviewed by either Dicker or Arbetter is the longest such gap of his tenure by over five weeks. Cuomo has, however, been appearing on national broadcasts with increasing regularity, particularly the CNN show co-hosted by his brother. http://politi.co/1RyZPbi
BLOOMBERG ALUMNI -- HOWARD WOLFSON in The Daily Beast, "My Favorite Albums of 2015": "Hamilton - Soundtrack ... Kathryn Joseph - Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I've Spilled ... Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love ... Alabama Shakes - Sound and Color ... Andy Shauf - Bearer of Bad News ... Florence and the Machine - How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful ... Los Hijos de la Montana - Los Hijos de la Montana." With videos of all the music http://thebea.st/1ZjOBc3
MORE FIZZLING REFORM - Bill Hammond for POLITICO New York: The latest evidence that members of the State Legislature are averse as ever to changing their ways - even after the arrest and conviction of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos - is the news that a working group of Assembly Democrats, given the rare opportunity to improve how their house functions, is missing its own informal deadline for issuing a report this month. Speaker Carl Heastie appointed the panel in April as a gesture toward doing things differently than his disgraced predecessor, Sheldon Silver, who was famously stingy about sharing power. Heastie's promising charge was for the group's 13 member to recommend ways to "improve and strengthen the Assembly's rules, operations, and legislative processes as well as to promote transparency and public participation." But the group includes no Republican members, has never met in public, has never held a hearing and - beyond consulting a handful of government watchdog groups - has never actively solicited input from the outside world. Nor would Pretlow share a list of the ideas being contemplated until after the group puts them to a vote early next year.
Bear in mind that this particular reform effort is not asking lawmakers to straitjacket themselves with tougher anti-corruption laws, intrusive disclosure requirements and limits on outside income - steps that would be painful for them, even if necessary. This is about giving rank-and-file members more voice, more independence, more decision-making influence. Why would they risk letting this rare chance at self-empowerment fizzle? But such is the peculiar psychology of Albany: While politicians elsewhere grab for clout, members of the New York State Legislature conspire in their own weakness. ... Albany's style of top-down leadership has suppressed the kind of free-wheeling debate that can advance good ideas and slow down bad ones. It dispenses with the public hearings necessary to scrutinize complex bills and hold state agencies accountable. It drives out ambitious up-and-comers while allowing influence peddlers to run rampant. It closes off the transparency necessary to protect against sleaze.
THE IMPACT OF THE TIPPED WAGE - Buffalo News' Samantha Christmann: "Expect to see a significant increase in restaurant prices across Western New York next month, triggered by changes in state wage law. Starting Dec. 31, the minimum wage for bartenders, servers and other tipped workers increases to $7.50 per hour, from $5. To meet that requirement, restaurant owners said, prices must go up. It has left the industry scrambling. 'I've been in the restaurant business for 30 years and I've never seen such panic,' said Rob Lederman, owner of Rob's Comedy Playhouse in Amherst. 'This is going to have a huge impact on everyone, and I don't think customers understand what a big deal it really is.' " http://bit.ly/1O2wcNf
EAT BEAT -- "At Incubators, Chefs Aim to Turn Recipes Into Big Businesses," by Times' Winnie Hu: "Inside a brick warehouse in Queens, Free Bread turns out gluten-free loaves for tables at Le Bernardin, Blue Hill at Stone Barns and the cafeteria at Facebook's headquarters just south of Union Square in Manhattan. Down the hall, Bronx Hot Sauce bottles its secret recipe for sale at New York's Greenmarkets and Whole Foods. And upstairs, the Hella Company concocts bitters and tonics in huge steel tanks. ... [New York's] culinary passion is fueling a growing business sector: food start-ups, driven by weekend chefs, career changers and others hoping to turn their recipes and ambition into money-making businesses. ... In 2014, the city documented a total of 1,078 food manufacturing companies employing 16,356 workers, up from 940 companies and 14,284 workers in 2008. ... City officials, seeing food start-ups as sources of jobs and revenue, have invested more than $2.5 million since 2010 to develop three culinary incubators, the Entrepreneur Space in Long Island City, Queens; HBK Incubates in East Harlem; and a third that is scheduled to open early next year, Brooklyn FoodWorks in Bedford-Stuyvesant." http://nyti.ms/1Ij2l2H
ABOUT TIME -- "Minority Sheet Metal Workers in New York Get Back Pay After Decades of Bias," by Times' Rachel L. Swarns: "The black, white and Hispanic craftsmen toil amid the bones of New York City's unfinished office towers, threading air-conditioning ducts through ragged walls and ceilings, guiding the gleaming metal tubes from one set of hands to another. Their union, Local 28 of the Sheet Metal Workers, was featured this year in advertising highlighting the changing face of the construction industry. 'Opportunity. Diversity. Middle class careers,' reads one of the ads run by the city's building trades association. ... But the multiracial tableau obscures a stark racial divide: The union's white members have received more work and larger pensions ... In contrast, minority members, who have lagged for decades, often struggle to find steady jobs and to earn enough credit to retire on time with full pensions. Last month, the union began paying the first installments of $12.7 million in back pay to hundreds of black and Hispanic members in a partial settlement of a bias lawsuit decades old." http://nyti.ms/1Yqvjom
GIFTS, BY NEIGHBORHOOD - DNAinfo has got you covered! "9 Gift Ideas From the Upper West Side" http://dnain.fo/1QTnsK4 ... " 4 Holiday Gift Ideas From the Upper East Side" http://dnain.fo/1mvu0Dm ... "From Flatiron, Gramercy and Union Square" http://dnain.fo/1meBOJw ... "From Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen" http://dnain.fo/1JnjsLE ... "From Greenwich Village and SoHo" http://dnain.fo/22jAh5T ... "From the Lower East Side and East Village" http://dnain.fo/1UUckNB ... "From Lower Manhattan" http://dnain.fo/1OhWq00 ... "from Forest Hills and Kew Gardens" http://dnain.fo/1RzeVO6 ... "From Jackson Heights" http://dnain.fo/1S3AeGN ... "From Astoria" http://dnain.fo/1UUcy79 ... "from Bed-Stuy" http://dnain.fo/1PjovTQ ... "from Fort Greene and Clinton Hill" http://dnain.fo/1YqvDU4 ... "From Red Hook, Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens" http://dnain.fo/1JnjSS6
BROADWAY BUZZ - "Review: A 'Fiddler on the Roof' Revival With an Echo of Modernity," by Times' Charles Isherwood: "The sorry state of the world gives us new reason to appreciate the depth of feeling so powerfully, so ingeniously embedded in 'Fiddler on the Roof,' the much-loved and much-revived 1964 musical comedy that has returned to Broadway at a time when its story of the gradual disintegration of a family, and a community, strikes home with unusual force. The superb new production, which opened on Sunday at the Broadway Theater, certainly honors the show's ebullience of spirit, as embodied in the central character of the Jewish milkman Tevye, living in a Russian shtetl in the early 20th century, eternally wagging his tongue, shaking his fist and cracking wise at an indifferent God. But as directed by Bartlett Sher with his customary sensitivity ('The King and I,' 'South Pacific'), this multihued staging moves to a heart-stopping conclusion. It's impossible to watch the people of Tevye's town, Anatevka, marching toward their unknown destinies in the shadow of a threatened pogrom without thinking of the thousands of families fleeing violence in the Middle East and elsewhere today." http://nyti.ms/1YqvjVn
FIRST PERSON - "James Blumenfeld of the Met Opera: The Delight Is in the Details," as told to the Times' Patricia R. Olsen: "Q. What do you do as property master? A. I'm in charge of everything from the audience seats to the furniture and draperies used in the sets, to the props the singers use. Many of the hand props are weapons. Property master is a big job; I have a staff of 35. [Q.] How many weapons do you have on hand? [A.] The Met owns more than 5,000 swords, daggers, halberds and crossbows. I've categorized them by period. When designers need weapons for an opera, I take them to our armor room. I like to see their faces light up when I open the door to the armory because they're like kids in a candy store. If I don't have what they are looking for and there is money in the budget, I'll purchase a new sword." http://nyti.ms/1kbEExj
TRUMP TALK - "Trump Trademarked 'Make America Great Again' Right After Romney Lost," by The Daily Beast's Michael Daly: "The Donald started to run for president six days after President Obama won a second term, and he did it by ripping off Ronald Reagan. Records show that Donald Trump applied to trademark the phrase 'Make America Great Again' six days after President Obama was elected to a second term. ... Call it The Art of the Steal." http://thebea.st/1mvo4KT
HILLARYWATCH -- "Clinton's brief absence at the Democratic debate explained," by Boston Globe's Annie Linskey, a birthday girl today : "The reason is one many women are familiar with: An unexpected line for the loo. While Clinton waited for the ladies' room to clear out, time ticked down and the debate organizers allowed the show to go on without her. What viewers didn't know was the sole women's bathroom was a little further than the men's room from the stage. And when the debate went to a long commercial break Clinton lost out to Lis Smith, the caffeine-guzzling deputy campaign manager for former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, who beat her to the restroom. ... A top Clinton staffer who was strategically posted outside the bathroom (presumably to avoid these kinds of situations) gave Smith a verbal OK to make a quick pit stop ... The women's room included multiple stalls, so it's not entirely clear why Clinton and Smith couldn't both use the facilities." http://bit.ly/1ZjORb5
THE NEW GILDED AGE -- "The hidden kingdoms of New York City's ultra-rich," by Post's Zachary Kussin: "What's even better than one of the biggest, most expensive apartments in Manhattan? Three of them. ... Limited by availability of space for building new properties, as well as air rights, the city's power players are whipping up their own versions of McMansions: stitching together multiple floors in glitzy buildings or even conjoining neighboring town houses." http://nyp.st/1ZjVrOK
REAL ESTATE -- DEAL SEALED-"$5.45 Billion Deal for Stuyvesant Town Completed After Threatened Lawsuit," by Times' Charles V. Bagli: "Amid the holiday season, SL Green Realty Corporation, New York City's largest commercial landlord, dropped a bombshell: It told real estate executives and city officials last week that it would file a lawsuit to block the imminent $5.45 billion sale of Stuyvesant Town- Cooper Village, Manhattan's largest apartment complex. ... SL Green's maneuver infuriated City Hall, which had very publicly blessed the pending sale and was eager to declare another victory in its battle for affordable housing in an increasingly unaffordable city. Blackstone Group, the buyer, wanted the deal done by Dec. 31, or else. Both parties held their breath as lawyers for buyer and seller alike scrambled day and night to complete the documents and sign the contract." http://nyti.ms/1Yu4lH0
CLOSED DOORS-"Landlords, brokers have been getting away with shutting out poor tenants," by News' Greg B. Smith: "Landlords and brokers who illegally turn away prospective tenants who get rent subsidies have routinely been thumbing their noses at the law - and getting away with mere slaps on the wrist. Bill de Blasio, then a member of City Council, helped push through the source-of-income law in 2008. But landlords and brokers have repeatedly broken the law, even brazenly posting 'no voucher' warnings in ads and openly telling would-be renters with subsidies to go away." http://nydn.us/1Yu3B4P
FAMILY TIES-"Eliot Spitzer has started splitting up late father's empire," by Real Deal's Rich Bockmann: "The Spitzer family fortune, which includes a portfolio of prime Manhattan real estate, is being divvied up. Under Eliot Spitzer's direction as executor of his late father Bernard's will, the $500 million estate transferred ownership of the properties that the patriarch acquired, according to property records filed with the city this week. A spokesperson for Spitzer declined to comment. The former governor and now active developer put a sizable stake of 1050 Fifth Avenue, a 20-story, 90-unit rental building his father developed in 1960, into the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust. He also transferred shares of 30 co-op units at 200 and 210 Central Park South into the trust, which has been a big patron of organizations such as the Public Theater and City College." http://bit.ly/1Yu5qP8
COCKTAIL BREAK - "Daft Punk-Inspired Cocktail Served at New Farm-To-Table Eatery on UES," by DNAinfo's Shaye Weaver: "Lookin' to to get Daft 'Drunk'? A mixologist's love for Daft Punk inspired the signature cocktail for this new farm-to-table eatery on Second Avenue.
Copper Kettle Kitchen's 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger' is a pink jasmine cocktail made with Spring44's Mountain Gin, according to mixologist Josh Mazza. 'I named it that way completely because I love Draft Punk,' Mazza said, adding that the title also adds a masculinity to an otherwise feminine drink." http://dnain.fo/1NGmsV5
THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: Panthers 38, Giants 35: Remarkably, the Giants rallied from 35-7 down late in the third quarter to tie an undefeated team. That they couldn't stop the Panthers from a game-winning drive for a field goal as time expired merely meant the game confirmed to this awful season filled with last-second disappointment.
-- Timberwolves 100, Nets 85: Karl-Anthony Towns scored 24 points and added 10 rebounds for the visiting Wolves. After the game, Nets coach Lionel Hollins took responsibility for the poor Brooklyn effort. It's been a common conversation there, and really, no matter whose fault it is, when that's the postgame theme so often, it probably doesn't matter.
-- St. John's completed a nightmare of a weekend in men's basketball that began with a lopsided loss to Incarnate Word Friday night with a home loss to NJIT Sunday afternoon.
-- The day ahead: the Knicks host the Magic. The Nets are in Chicago. Ducks-Islanders are at Barclays.
#UpstateAmerica: "Police in St. Lawrence County have launched an investigation after more than a dozen area canines have mysteriously disappeared over the past three weeks." http://bit.ly/1ZkpJRm
** 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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