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01/12/2016 07:05 AM EDT
By Azi Paybarah in Manhattan, Jimmy Vielkind in Albany, and Mike Allen in D.C., with Daniel Lippman
BHARARA ENDS MORELAND PROBE - POLITICO New York's Colby Hamilton and Jimmy Vielkind: After more than 17 months, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has ended his investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo's abrupt shuttering of a Moreland Commission probe in Albany. In a statement, Bharara said that while the closing of the commission was "premature," "absent any additional proof that may develop, there is insufficient evidence to prove a federal crime." "We continue to have active investigations related to substantive inquiries that were being conducted by the Moreland Commission at the time of its closure," Bharara said. The announcement, coming on the heels of a high-profile visit to discuss corruption issues with Kentucky lawmakers and the recent convictions of two of the state's top legislative leaders, came seemingly without warning from Bharara's office. The news effectively blows away a cloud of suspicion hanging over the state Capitol since Bharara's office announced it was investigating the shutdown of the Moreland Commission in July, 2014. http://politi.co/1PTnOPr
-- Investigators spoke with top Cuomo aides including Mylan Denerstein, Larry Schwartz and Joe Percoco. http://on.wsj.com/1ZoJU4f
-- "The fact that the U.S. attorney's review of his actions hasn't turned anything up just makes him, I think, more formidable vis-à-vis the Legislature," Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, told the New York Times. "So, instead of them saying, 'Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones,' well, now the governor can throw stones. It gives him more leverage than he might have ordinarily."
-- The Democratic conference in the Assembly has begun the "opening stages" of a discussion on possibly banning or limiting outside income for lawmakers, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Monday evening."We're just speaking and putting this out there. We know it's an important issue and we're just beginning the discussions," he told POLITICO New York. "We're not going to come up an answer or direction tomorrow. But I do think we as a conference wanted to talk about these things." http://politi.co/1ZhjdsG
CUOMO'S COSTS ADD UP - POLITICO New York's Jimmy Vielkind: Andrew Cuomo is dreaming expensively. The Democratic governor and members of his administration have spent the last 10 days traveling the state, announcing infrastructure programs Cuomo hopes will cast him as a builder along the lines of Robert Moses. Many of the programs have been praised by business leaders, contractors and labor unions who support construction as a foundation of the economy. There will be $22 billion for roads and bridges upstate to balance $26 billion for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority - $8.3 billion of which will be borne by state taxpayers over the next five years. There's $700 million this year for the Thruway Authority, which is building a $4 billion replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge without fully explaining how it will be paid for. Cuomo last week said he would spend $200 million to upgrade upstate airports. Last year, he promised an AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport, which by some estimates could cost $1 billion. He's also pledged some portion of the cost of a rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River and to contribute toward the redevelopment of Penn Station and LaGuardia. On Monday, the governor's secretary said the total price tag will be $100 billion. http://politi.co/1ZoP0NZ
-- Journal News columnist Phil Reisman: "Cuomo is going Powerball crazy on us. He's thinking big - as in spending billions and billions of dollars for big, big public projects. Big, I tell you! Get out the calculator and add it up ... The amount keeps growing. As Everett Dirksen once said, 'A billion here, a billion there and pretty soon you're talking about real money.'" http://lohud.us/1Zo6TfC
BROWNSVILLE RAPE -- When did de Blasio learn about the attack, which took place Thursday evening?
-- WSJ's Pervaiz Shallwani and Mara Gay: "The woman was assaulted at about 9 p.m. Thursday, and the New York Police Department issued its first news release on the matter around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, though the mayor's office said Mr. de Blasio didn't learn about the incident until Sunday." http://goo.gl/yHM8zD
-- From Monday's press conference-- Post's Michael Gartland: "Mr. Mayor, can you talk to us about when you first heard about this horrible incident from the NYPD. You know, exactly how that played out over time, when you were told, and then what happened -"
-- De Blasio: "I'd have to get back to you because I don't remember the exact hour, and all that but I can get back to you on that." SEE THE MAYOR QUESTIONED: https://youtu.be/wLdQXvKV_oI?tIm34s
-- @AnnaESanders: "... was it through media reports or someone who works for him?" https://goo.gl/SuL53O
-- SPOKESWOMAN MONICA KLEIN to POLITICO New York: De Blasio was informed by the NYPD "Sunday," and that de Blasio decided to put out a statement "Sunday afternoon."
-- Post editorial: "The delay seems a bit odd - especially after Mayor de Blasio, asked Monday when he learned of the rape, answered only, 'I'll get back to you.' But it's hard to see any dark motive for keeping this under wraps: It was going to be big news whenever it broke." http://goo.gl/GnQ3Qt
AT FIRST, DE BLASIO DEFENDED HOW THE NYPD INFORMED THE PUBLIC: "The NYPD has been very aggressive in addressing this case," de Blasio told reporters yesterday. "I have looked into this personally. There was no delay in the response time." via POLITICO New York's Laura Nahmias: http://goo.gl/6Fub3r
NOW, DE BLASIO THINKS THE NYPD WAS TOO SLOW: "The mayor now believes strongly that the local community should have been informed sooner and has instructed that the NYPD notify communities more quickly moving forward, whenever appropriate," said de Blasio spokesman Kadushin, via Newsday's Emily Ngo: http://goo.gl/vuZAH6
-- Father of rape victim scrutinized -- "Dad was so drunk he couldn't report daughter's rape": "The Brooklyn dad who ran away while his 18-year-old daughter was being gang-raped at gunpoint walked into two local delis to try to get help - but was too drunk for anyone to understand him, witnesses said Monday. 'He was swaying side to side. He asked me, 'Lend me your phone.' I said no,'' said a worker in one of the shops, Zaida Deli and Grocery. 'He didn't tell me it was an emergency or 'I need to call the police' or of course I would've given it to him or just called the police for him.' ... After walking out of the store, the dad drunkenly ran past a marked police car before eventually circling back and alerting the cops to his daughter's attack - 20 minutes after the alleged rape first began to unfold, sources said.
-- The defense: "While two of the teens claim they engaged in consensual sex with her, a third suspect said he left the playground before the assault, sources said. The fourth teen is refusing to talk." Post's Larry Celona, Tina Moore and Lorena Mongelli: http://goo.gl/06iErX
-- Access to phones: "Other store employees in the area tell us customers are constantly asking to use their phones. CBS 2's Tracee Carrasco: http://goo.gl/62lo1s
2016 CHATTER OF THE DAY: "Experts, such as [NYU's Mitchell] Moss and Marist College professor and pollster Lee Miringoff, said Bloomberg - who has toyed with running for president in the past, may have a good shot as a self-funded third-party candidate. Both party frontrunners - Clinton and Trump - have high negatives and are facing strong challenges in the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary." CBS 2's Marcia Kramer: http://goo.gl/lDGU7e
2017 CHATTER OF THE DAY: "Of the two, [City Comptroller Scott] Stringer is perceived as far more likely to enter a race for mayor. He has already pursued the job once, briefly gearing up for a campaign in 2013 before running for comptroller instead. [Rep. Hakeem] Jeffries has described himself as more drawn to a legislative career, a path that could take him to House leadership or perhaps the Senate." http://goo.gl/KyH4oo
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "[City Comptroller Scott Stringer] would be a formidable candidate for any office, including the mayoralty of New York." -- Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, via Times' Alex Burns: http://goo.gl/KyH4oo
Q&A - "In the Room Where It Happens, Eight Shows a Week," by Jesse David Fox on NYMag.com: "The stars of Hamilton on what it's like in the eye of a hurricane." http://bit.ly/1RjHO0X
TABS -- Post: "LAST PHOTO: BOWIE'S FINAL DAYS: He smiled through the pain in NY" -- Daily News, with pic of Rupert Murdoch and fiance: "BEAUTY & THE BEAST -- amNY: "BOWIE'S NEW YORK: Remembering the one-of-a-kind artist's city life" -- Metro: "YEAST GOES EAST: Bayside Brewery in northeastern Queens is slated to launch its line of sudsy goodness in July" -- Newsday: "Police: GANG DISPUTE LED TO GIRL'S DEATH" -- Hamodia: "'Insufficient Evidence to Prove Federal Crime in Cuomo Corruption Panel Shutdown" -- Epoch Times: "Inside the New Hampshire Pitch to Those Who Don't Want Trump" -- El Diario: [translated]: We're in shock
FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 2-col. below the fold: "Christie's Tile to Right on Guns" -- WSJNY, 4-col. above the fold: "Mayor: Police Should Tell Public of Rape Sooner"
SAVE THE DATE: Gov. Cuomo's state of the state address is tomorrow. https://goo.gl/rJenzo
-- NY-13 candidate forum is on Thursday, Jan. 14. http://goo.gl/o5HsfT
-- Rev. Al Shartpon hosts MLK Day events in Harlem, and leads a march pushing for $15 minimum wage, on Monday, Jan. 18. via NY1's Inside City Hall: http://goo.gl/WyLuz1
MEDIA MORNING -- Rupert Murdoch engaged -- Daily News' Rakhee Merchandi and Ginger Adam Otis: "Former model Jerry Hall didn't get what she wanted then, but is she now getting what she needs? The Texas-born stunner is trading in life as the woman Rolling Stone Mick Jagger never married to become the fourth Mrs. Rupert Murdoch. The November-December couple - she's 59 to his 84 - made the announcement Monday in The Times of London, which Murdoch owns. ... According to the London Times, the bald and saggy octogenarian was introduced to the still-statuesque blonde in his native Australia by one of his sisters and a niece. The mismatched duo got engaged in Los Angeles over the weekend while in town for the Golden Globes, the report said." http://goo.gl/RjHiu5
HIJABS OF NEW YORK -- Village Voice's Jackson Connor: "In the hopes of breaking down ... stereotypes, Rana Abdelhamid, a 22-year-old Queens-native and graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School, started the social media project Hijabis of New York in the fall of 2014. Using photos and interviews in the style of Humans of New York, the campaign has since garnered over 13,000 fans on Facebook. The project, also viewable on Tumblr and Instagram , aims to empower hijab-wearing women in the five boroughs while also educating the general public on what it means to be young, Muslim, and female in post-9/11 America. ... Raised in Astoria, her family immigrated to Queens from Egypt two years before she was born. Her family now resides in Flushing. ... Some of the questions featured on the page do deal with Islamic faith, devotion and wearing the hijab, while others read like something one might ask any stranger on the street ... When asked how she's able to see positivity in life, one woman, while eating at the Halal Guys food truck on on 56th Street, shares that as long as her hijab is 'on fleek,' she's happy. Another girl jokes that she likes to 'Netflix and chill' in her spare time." http://goo.gl/uQ6yto
CITY HALL ANNOUNCING TODAY -- Gun courts -- Times' J. David Goodman: "Starting this month, those charged with possession of a firearm will be sent to one of two courtrooms in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, where two judges, Suzanne M. Mondo and Cassandra M. Mullen, will preside over arraignments, indictments and trials in hundreds of gun arrests each year. ... In the current system, where young men arrested with guns are mixed with other criminal matters, many are given low bail or released on their own recognizance, a fact that has frustrated police ... [Unnamed police source] said 'Often the weapons are concealed in someone's jacket, coat, waistband, and they have to articulate what their basis was for the approach. A lot of these cases fall on the search.'" http://goo.gl/uXfWLa
REPLACING RANGEL -- Michael Oliva, Democratic consultant in NYSlant.com: "[F]ew voting blocs will be up for grabs. Many residents already know who they will vote for. The aspirants will need to strike a balance between turning out their bases and leaving their comfort zones to convince small pockets of undecided voters they are not used to communicating with to support them. Creative, disciplined messaging and effective delivery are critical to success. Further, it will be difficult for candidates to differentiate themselves on specifics. Most will have similar platforms on voter concerns like housing, health care and gun control, and most have solid governmental experience as state legislators or federal officials. Therefore, this will become a personality-driven race, a factor that always benefited gifted retail politicians like Rangel. Public appearances, debates and street campaigning will go far toward determining the victor." goo.gl/rAIX9c
GE TO DECIDE BETWEEN BOSTON & NYC - WCVB'S Janet Wu: "General Electric is expected to make a decision soon about whether the company's headquarters will be moved out of Connecticut. GE has made no final decision but NewsCenter 5 has learned two cities in contention are Boston and New York. If the move to Boston occurs, GE would likely move its 700 workers at their worldwide headquarters to the Seaport District. That area is slowly becoming defined by an innovation economy. Other aspects drawing the company to the area may be the easy access to Logan airport and the fact that 35 percent of Bostonians are 24-35. "How close are you to closing the deal with GE?" NewsCenter 5 reporter Janet Wu asked Mayor Martin Walsh. "Really can't, really can't talk about any particulars here," he answered." http://bit.ly/1Q1dVRv
VISION CHECK -- POLITICO New York's Dan Goldberg: The New York City public hospital system has no choice but to grow its way out of its current budget problems, Ram Raju, president and CEO, said Monday. Raju, speaking at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, told a couple hundred staff members that New York City Health + Hospitals was making steady progress toward financial stability, though the bottom-line numbers do not yet reflect those gains. What remains to be seen is whether this focus on patient satisfaction, electronic medical records, ambulatory care and other recently announced initiatives translates into new patients. So far - and it has been only eight months - it has not. The number of patients the system sees, which Raju wants to grow to 2 million by 2020, stands at 1.4 million, unchanged over the last eight months. "But it's not as simple as taking the vision, chopping it into five years and expecting the first year to achieve one-fifth of the results," Raju said. "It will take years of all aspects moving in the right direction to get where we need to be." If the corrective plan works, Raju expects a surplus of $31.9 million instead of a deficit of $2 billion by fiscal year 2019. http://politi.co/22W8adg
SCHOOL SAFETY: "A ProPublica survey found that the daily ritual is borne disproportionately by students of color; black and Hispanic students in high school are nearly three times more likely to walk through a metal detector than their white counterparts. Nearly 21 years after a fearful city installed them at the front doors of more than 80 schools, there are growing questions about whether the security precautions do more harm than good. Today, by ProPublica and WNYC's count, students at more than 236 New York City schools are required to pass through metal detectors." Cecilia Reyes and Jenny Ye / WNYC and ProPublica: http://goo.gl/1VkJJn
NO TO THE BUDDY SYSTEM -- Council members slam city's response to rapes -- POLITICO New York's Azi Paybarah: City Council members are calling police commissioner Bill Bratton's suggestion that women use a "buddy system" to avoid being assaulted in taxi cabs insulting, unfair and inadequate, particularly in light of the recent group rape of an 18-year-old woman in Brownsville. "The 'buddy system' is not a response to rape," Councilman Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn said at a press conference Monday morning outside City Hall, responding to Bratton's remark last week urging women to use the system when they take cabs after a night out drinking. "Some of the messaging that has been across the city must change," added Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, who chairs the Council's Public Safety Committee.
On Monday afternoon, New York Police Department communications director Donald defended Bratton's suggestion. "Telling New Yorkers to be aware of their surroundings - and when you're intoxicated to have a sober buddy with you - is sound advice. Rape, and all crime for that matter, is never the victim's fault, but you should know what you can do to minimize your vulnerability," he said. At Monday's press conference, Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo called for a "full investigation" of the taxi industry - including yellow cabs, green taxis and ride-hail companies like Uber and Lyft - to gauge how often crimes are committed against passengers, and in what kind of cars. "We have no idea in terms of what else is happening in those cabs when women get in," she said. http://politi.co/1SeYBCh
NYC CRIME STATS -- POLITICO New York's Azi Paybarah and Brendan Cheney: There were six homicides and 24 rapes reported in New York City during the seven-day period that ended Sunday, according to figures released Monday by the New York Police Department. Since Jan. 1, there were 138 more major crimes reported citywide than there were during the same 10-day period a year earlier: 2,624 this year, compared to 2,486, a 5.6 percent increase. (Last year was one of the safest on record, according to the NYPD.)
-- Since Jan. 1, there have been 34 reported rapes in the city, including 24 reported from Jan. 4-10. The 34 reported rapes so far this year represent a nearly 21-percent drop from the same 10-day period in 2015, when 43 rapes were reported. But misdemeanor sexual assaults have risen, according to the NYPD figures. In the last week, there were 54 reported throughout the city, bringing the total for the year to 74, compared to 55 a year earlier. SEE THE CHARTS: http://goo.gl/L4Ji7g
ON THE MOVE: The Citizens Budget Commission has named David Friedfel, a top budget official in Albany County, to serve as director of state studies. Friedfel takes the reins from Elizabeth Lynam, who left the CBC last year. Top lobbying house Wilson Elser announced that Edmond Valente, recently of Duane Morris, will be joining as a partner. Valente focuses on financial regulatory matters.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Democratic State Committee executive director Basil Smikle, former State Senate candidate Patti Southworth, Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, NPR reporter Ailsa Chang, who covers congress, Nazli Parvizi , Senior Client Manager at CB&I and a Community Affairs Unit commissioner in the Bloomberg administration, and Gregory Joseph, a stand up comic who worked on Yassky's 2006 congressional race.
LATE-NIGHT BEST - JIMMY FALLON gives Trump a mock job interview for President: "Do you want to tell me a little about yourself?" Trump: "Well I'm an extraordinarily handsome person. I have a beautiful head of hair. I was always a good student and I always worked hard." Jimmy: "Yeah, you really do ... What are your strengths?" Trump : "Well I think believe it or not bringing people together. ... A lot of people would say it's the exact opposite." ... Jimmy: "What are your weaknesses? Trump: "That I never forget. ... I'm too nice too long and when it becomes that someone takes advantage of a situation, I become too bad for too long. So I think I may be have to have a little bit shorter memory, wouldn't be so bad." Jimmy: "Are you willing to relocate?" Trump: "I love the White House." Jimmy: "Now Donald, this is a high profile position. Is media attention something you would be comfortable with?" Trump: "Not at all. I'd be very very uncomfortable with it." 3-min. video http://bit.ly/1RIAcU5
THE TALK OF WALL STREET - "JPMorgan's Dimon dogs Bloomberg over computer terminal change$," by Post's Kevin Dugan: "Jamie Dimon may be pulling the plug on Bloomberg terminals, unless he can get a deal. The JPMorgan Chase CEO is preparing to rip out thousands of its $21,000-a-year Bloomberg terminals over the coming two or three years, which may crimp the private financial data company ... The New York-based bank is in the midst of negotiating contracts with Thomson Reuters - Bloomberg's main competitor - to replace at least 1,000 to 2,000 terminals worldwide during the next two years." http://nyp.st/1N4rGsq
EAT BEAT -- "Midtown's Newest Food Court, the Pennsy, Includes Concepts From Mario Batali and Marc Forgione," by Grub Street's Sierra Tishgart: "New York is now bursting with high-end food courts, and the latest development is the Pennsy, which open[ed Monday] at the corner of 33rd Street and Seventh Avenue. The space is home to five choice concepts: the Cinnamon Snail, the first stand-alone location of the defunct vegan food truck; Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, with made-to-order sandwiches and raw meats and burger blends; Mario by Mary, a soup-and-sandwich shop from caterer Mary Giuliani and Mario Batali; Lobster Press, which will offer salads, bisques, and paninis from Marc Forgione; and the Little Beet, an outpost of the veggie-focused, gluten-free restaurant." http://grb.st/1OMXjMp
HILLARYWATCH -- JOE SCARBOROUGH (celebrating The Tide's 45-40 roll over Clemson in last night's College Football Championship) on Politico, "Cosby era presents problems for candidate Clinton": "The Age of Bubba has been swept into the dustbin of history by the ugly realities of the Cosby Era, where turning a blind eye to powerful politicians, perverted entertainers and predatory priests sexually abusing subordinates is no longer an option." http://politi.co/1IZXt2O
-- "Clinton proposes a new 4 percent tax on the wealthy," by Politico's Bernie Becker: "The proposal, which she announced in Iowa, would raise an estimated $150 billion over a decade ... and comes after the Democratic front-runner said that she would build on the so-called Buffett Rule that seeks to ensure that the middle class doesn't pay a higher tax rate than top earners. The surtax would hit those with annual income of more than $5 million, and would affect roughly 0.02 percent of taxpayers." http://politi.co/1IZVfQW
CHRISTIE'S ROMNEY PROBLEM - Boston Globe p. A1, below fold, "Christie's record of switching positions gives fodder for foes," by Matt Viser: "Like ... Romney ... Christie [is] a blue-state governor in a Republican presidential primary. In choosing to adjust to meet the expectations of a more conservative audience, at a time when polls say voters crave authenticity, he has opened himself to attacks [that] he lacks core convictions. ... Christie once supported national education standards, he's now against them. After backing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, now he's opposed." http://bit.ly/1ULmwqT
REAL ESTATE -- TAX TALKS-"Report: Wage mandate would raise affordable housing costs by 13 percent," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: "As the deadline nears for an agreement between real estate and construction union leaders over whether to require a prevailing wage for projects getting a popular development tax break, a report emerged Monday showing such a wage requirement would increase the cost of affordable housing. The finding essentially echoed the argument Mayor Bill de Blasio made last year when he declined to support a prevailing wage mandate.
"Unions dismissed the report, published by the New York City Independent Budget Office, while developers embraced it. In it, the IBO concluded that on average, total construction costs rose by 13 percent when developers were forced to pay a prevailing wage for residential projects built between 2010 and 2015. The report also found that requiring prevailing wages would amount to an increase of nearly $45,000 per residential unit built. Or, put another way, for the administration to reach its goal of creating 80,000 new below-market-rate apartments by 2024, it would have to spend another $2.8 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies on top of the $8.2 billion it already plans to shell out." http://politi.co/1W1TkNz
BY THE NUMBERS-"With favorable start, de Blasio claims 'momentum' on affordable housing," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg and Brendan Cheney: "The de Blasio administration announced on Monday that it has financed 40,204 below-market-rate apartments since taking office in 2014, a figure that puts it on pace to meet its 10-year goal of building or preserving 200,000 units by 2024. The total includes 13,929 new apartments slated for construction and another 26,275 existing ones that were preserved - a figure bolstered by a deal to maintain 5,000 low- and middle-income units at Stuyvesant Town- Cooper Village in October. ...
"While the number of apartments the city has closed on - meaning a deal is signed and funding is authorized - is on track to reach the mayor's long-term goal, the future of his housing program still faces considerable uncertainty. For starters, the city benefited last year from a push by developers to take advantage of an expiring tax break known as 421-a, which lapsed on Dec. 31. The fate of that program is in the hands of a private negotiation between real estate and labor parties and if it is not reinstated, developers are less likely to build rental units and could be more inclined toward condos."
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