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POLITICO New York Playbook, presented by Nuclear Matters: KELLY doubts BRATTON stats -- HAMILTON's million tweets -- CHARLIE KING does de Blasio material

12/23/2015 08:31 AM EDT

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

CUOMO'S HOLIDAY DRIVE - POLITICO New York's Jimmy Vielkind: The Cuomo administration coordinated with the Democratic State Committee for the state's holiday toy drive this year, with at least one government aide inviting state workers to a political event using official email - a move good-government groups said was improper. Over a dozen members of Cuomo's cabinet fanned out around the state this week, delivering hundreds of toys, coats and other goods to nonprofit groups like the United Way of the Greater Capital Region or the Martin Luther King Civic Center in Long Beach. (Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was scheduled to be in Long Beach on Monday, but canceled due to travel difficulties.) While top officials grin for cameras at distribution events, the goods are gathered at donation boxes at offices around the state, and this year, at Democratic Party events. The Democratic State Committee, of which Cuomo is the de-facto leader, sent invitations for events around the state asking would-be attendees to bring an unwrapped toy to gain access to hors d'oeuvres and an open bar. A Cuomo aide, Brancato, sent an invitation to the Democratic Party's Capital Region soiree to over 100 spokespeople in various state agencies.

RAY KELLY QUESTIONS CRIME STATS -- POLITICO NEW YORK's Azi Paybarah: Former police commissioner Ray Kelly is raising doubts about the safety figures released by Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration.

"I think there is some issue with the numbers that are being put out," Kelly said, according to an excerpt of a Dec. 21 radio interview with Gregory Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237. "I think there is some redefinition going on as to what amounts to a shooting. That sort of thing. Look, all administrations want to show that crime is down, but you have to take a hard look at those numbers. And I can tell you, people don't feel safer in this city. People say this to me all the time. And perception is reality in many instances. The city feels unsafe in many people's minds, unsafe in many neighborhoods in people's minds."

-- De Blasio press secretary Karen Hinton said in a statement to POLITICO New York, "Surely Mr. Kelly is not accusing Police Commissioner Bratton of not telling the truth. Commissioner Bratton is one of the leading law enforcement experts in the world. He earned that status after years of being tested and passing the test over and over again." SEE THE CLIP:

-- Post headline: "Ray Kelly accuses Bratton of fudging 'record low' crime stats"

-- ICYMI, Page Six: "Ray Kelly is another step closer to running for mayor after giving the go-ahead to supporters to contact potential contributors."

"NYPD denies WPIX report of 'credible threat,'" by Azi: "The NYPD's director of communications is denying a now-corrected WPIX news report that had quoted unnamed sources saying New York City received a 'credible threat' ahead of the holidays. "@WPIX's reporting is wrong--the Commissioner had not intel briefing today. Perhaps they should call us for comment next time,' NYPD Director of Communication Donald tweeted. WPIX also reported 'Top NYPD brass including Commissioner William Bratton held an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the need for increased vigilance, sources said.' Donald said that detail, too, was inaccurate. The WPIX story was picked up by The Drudge Report and featured at the top of the site under the headline, 'NEW YORK CITY RECEIVES 'CREDIBLE' THREAT DAYS AHEAD OF CHRISTMAS ...'" WPIX's report

TABS -- Post: "TRUE BLUE: Slain hero was fellow cop's top booster" -- News: "HOLY CRAP: Vatican pan's 'tacky' blockbuster; Says villains aren't evil enough" -- amNY: "IT'S THE BEST TIME OF THE YEAR" -- Metro: "TIME IS MONEY: Startup hopes to open NYC's first 'anti-cafe' where customers pay by the hour -but coffee is free" -- Hamodia: "NY to Erect $1.5M Memorial to 1911 Triangle Fire Victims" -- Epoch Times: "Migrants Arriving in Europe Top One Million in 2015" -- El Diario [translated]: 'Migrates' to the top

FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 1-col. below the fold: "'Super PACs' Now Hit Road, Not Airwaves" -- WSJNY, 4-col. above the fold: "Governors Seek Gun Curbs"

TWEET OF THE DAY: @ChrisCuomo @nypost The Governor can govern but not so sure that he can still elevate to a regulation rim. Had to be 9 feet"

REJOINDER OF THE DAY: @Chris Cuomo: "It was plastic and had a picture of Elmo on the board"

PIC OF THE DAY: The Capitol press corps holiday party.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I've long admired Bernie Sanders and I'm happy to have the chance to support him." -- Tom Duane, former state senator, on NY1 last night:

BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I'd hate to see how unpopular he would be if things weren't going really well." -- Gifford Miller, former City Council Speaker, about de Blasio, on NY1:

SAVE THE DATE: The National Action Network's 25th annual convention will take at the Sheraton from April 13-16, 2016.

BIRTHDAYS: Bobbie Sackman, director of public policy at LiveOn NY.

** 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 **

BROADWAY BUZZ - "'Hamilton' on Broadway generates 1M tweets this year," by AP's Mark Kennedy : "The sheer number of tweets was fueled by a young tech-savvy cast and audience and its cross-over popularity in hip-hop circles, as well as fresh material in the form of impromptu video performances that occur periodically on the front steps of the Richard Rodgers Theatre, the Broadway home of 'Hamilton.' By comparison, there were 266,000 tweets about the current Tony-winning best new musical 'Fun Home' and ... 323,000 tweets about the Tony Awards ... Twitter said the show reached a million tweets thanks to users using the groupings #HamiltonMusical, @HamiltonMusical, #Ham4Ham, #Hamiltunes and @Lin_Manuel."

GET THE POPCORN: Carolyn Ryan, the senior editor for politics at The Times, will make a cameo on Jeopardy:

PREET'S LATEST WIN - The Guardian: "Hollywood actor Nicolas Cage has agreed to turn over a rare stolen dinosaur skull he bought for $276,000 to US authorities so it can be returned to the Mongolian government. The office of Preet Bharara, the US attorney in Manhattan, filed a civil forfeiture complaint last week to take possession of the Tyrannosaurus bataar skull."

FDNY CONTRACT RATIFIED -- CAPITAL NEW YORK's Gloria Pazmino: The Uniformed Firefighters Association voted to ratify the union's contract on Tuesday, taking the final step towards settling a long-fought contract between the city and the rank and file of the FDNY.

The new contract includes retroactive raises to August 1, 2010 and will permanently increase the number of five-firefighter engine companies in the city. As part of the contract, the city will also guarantee staffing levels on all FDNY ladder companies.

"This agreement permanently sets in stone that every FDNY ladder company must have five-firefighters for the safety of firefighters and the citizens we are sworn to protect," UFA president Steve Cassidy said in a statement. "It also restores a critical fifth-firefighter in 20 engine companies across the city and also guarantees those minimum staffing levels forever."

CUOMO AIDE RIBS DE BLASIO -- Post's Carl Campanile: "Charlie King brought down the house at the Public House restaurant in Midtown Monday night by offering a sharp twist on the well-known poem 'A Visit from St. Nicholas.'

-- "''Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the state, everybody was working while de Blasio was late,' King read to guffaws from the 250 attendees that included Cuomo loyalists, elected officials and government insiders. 'Some worked happy, others worked under duress. Some tried to solve the homelessness mess. ... 'The gov, Heastie and Santa smiled, then took an Uber for flight. 'Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.'"

PANEL ANNOUNCES COURT OF APPEALS NOMINEES - Time Warner Cable's Nick Reisman: "The state's judicial nominating panel on Tuesday released a new slate of candidates for a vacancy on the state Court of Appeals, one of two nominations the state Senate is due to consider early next year. The commission's list of candidates for Cuomo to choose from includes former U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia, a Republican who was also considered for the top post at the Court of Appeals of chief judge. Cuomo ultimately nominated Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore, who would replace outgoing Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman. The new list of seven recommendations are to replace Associate Judge Susan Read, who retired on Aug. 24."

NY's RELATIVE POPULATION SHRINKS - Gannett's Joseph Spector: "The gap between the population of New York and Florida continues to grow. After surpassing New York as the third most populous state last year, Florida now has 475,481 more people than the Empire State - three times the gap just a year ago, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Tuesday. New York's population stood at 19,795,791 as of July 1, a 0.2 percent increase from 2014 and a 2 percent increase since 2010, the census figures showed. Florida's population hit 20,271,272 in July, up 1.8 percent over last year and 7.5 percent since 2010. 'Another year, another big loss of New Yorkers to other states,' the Empire Center, an Albany-based think tank, said in a review of the data."

-- New York might lose another congressional seat in 2020.

HAPPENING TOMORROW - USA Today's Paul Singer: "Starting Thursday in New York is the first ever 'Yiddish New York' festival, including lectures, language workshops and dance and musical performances. There are even clarinet classes for budding Klezmermusicians - Klezmer, also known as 'Jewish Jazz,' is one of the most joyful forms of music you will ever hear." ...

MM-V HITS RUBIO -- CBS New York: "City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on Tuesday criticized Republicans for not helping debt-crippled Puerto Rico. Mark-Viverito, who herself was born in Puerto Rico, said Tuesday that 'it won't be forgotten' that Republicans in Congress opposed aid to the U.S. territory when passing last week's catch-all spending bill.

"The speaker, one of the nation's leading Puerto Rican politicians, singled out U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) He previously supported a bailout before opposing it. Mark-Viverito claimed that was 'an egregious flip-flop' and said she and other Latino activists would rally Florida's 1 million Puerto Ricans on this issue in 2016."

MONEY OUT THE WINDOW -- "NYCHA throws out $550G in new supplies that were bought over the years but deemed useless" -- News' Greg Smith: "The city Housing Authority is doing some winter housecleaning - throwing out hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of brand-new supplies, the Daily News has learned.

"In the past few weeks, NYCHA workers have chucked out $550,000 in taxpayer-purchased appliance parts, plumbing fixtures, drapery rods and a host of other items destined for recycling centers or landfills. This week, The News found a dumpster in the loading bay of a Long Island City, Queens, NYCHA warehouse filled to overflowing with unopened boxes of refrigerator parts.

"Another dumpster was filled to the brim with thousands of brand-new, shiny, stainless steel oven parts. Sources said the dumpster was carted off to a recycling firm that paid about $50 for the entire bin. NYCHA, meanwhile, paid $350 to rent the bin, sources told The News. ...NYCHA officials said Tuesday $280,000 worth of materials has been recycled, while $270,000 more was simply tossed out. NYCHA General Manager Michael Kelly said that, so far, NYCHA has found $3 million in usable inventory, of which $1.3 million has been sent back to developments."

WINTER IS (NOT) COMING -- "Unseasonable Greetings in a New York Searching for Jack Frost," by Times' Andy Newman: "If the forecast for the rest of December is on the mark, the average temperature for the month will be 51.6 degrees - 14.1 degrees above the normal of 37.5. The current record-holder for such deviations is March 1945, which was 8.6 degrees above normal. ... The city is said to be heading for a soggy, record-shattering high of 72 degrees on Christmas Eve. ... Freakishly warm temperatures will spread across the Eastern Seaboard on Thursday, with expected highs ranging from 67 degrees in Boston to 76 in Washington to 80 in Richmond, Va."

THE TALK OF WALL STREET -- "Expect less and buy antacid: 2016 investment forecasts," by AP's Stan Choe : "Analysts, mutual-fund managers and other forecasters are telling investors to expect lower returns from stocks and bonds in 2016 than in past years. They're also predicting more severe swings in prices. ... Economic growth around the world remains frustratingly weak, and earnings growth for big U.S. companies has stalled. Stock prices aren't cheap when measured against corporate earnings, unlike the early years of this bull market. ... [H]igher [interest] rates could also hurt prices of bonds in investors' and mutual funds' portfolios."

EAT BEAT - "The 15 Best Sandwiches of 2015," by Grub Street's Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld: "1. Porchetta's Porchetta Cubano ... 2. C&B Cafe's Chorizo-and-Egg ... 3. Superiority Burger's Yuba Philadelphia ... 5. Delaney Chicken at UrbanSpace Vanderbilt's Fried Chicken ... 6. Santina's Fish ... 7. Bunk's Pork Belly Cubano ... 8. Southside Coffee's Southside .... 9. High Street on Hudson's Hickory Town ... 10. Souk & Sandwich's Betenjan Mashwi ... 11. Upland's Roasted Porchetta + Egg ... 12. Emmett's Chicago-Style Italian Beef ... 13. Parm Battery Park City's the Ozersky ... 14. Hard Times Sundaes' Breakfast ... 15. Harry & Ida's Smoked Eel."

THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: The Mets signed Alejandro De Aza. He's not really a center fielder, but the Mets plan to platoon him with Juan Lagares in center. He hits lefty, which limits his ability to supplement Curtis Granderson in right or Michael Conforto in left. He was cheap, though!

-- The day ahead: Deron Williams, who set into motion the actions that wrecked the Nets until they paid him to go away, returns to Brooklyn with the Mavericks. It should be festive. The Knicks are in Cleveland to face old friends J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and LeBron James.

#UpstateAmerica: "19 times Buffalo Bills fans lost their minds in 2015."

** 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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