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POLITICO New York Playbook, presented by Nuclear Matters: CUOMO's Staten Island project -- SPITZER's mess -- GLENWOOD settles

02/16/2016 07:49 AM EDT

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

DE BLASIO AT CAUCUS WEEKEND - POLITICO New York's Jimmy Vielkind: Bill de Blasio's first trips to Albany this year were like walking into a buzz saw: First, the New York City mayor was confronted by a proposed state budget that shifted millions of dollars of costs onto his books, and then he was grilled by Republicans who wanted to impose a cap on his ability to raise property taxes. But de Blasio got a decidedly warmer reception on this frigid Saturday, arriving in Albany for a day of schmoozing with his fellow Democrats at the Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators annual conference, known as Caucus Weekend. Speaking to several hundred people gathered in the Capitol complex for a labor luncheon, the mayor declared himself "proud" that "here in 2016, we are in a profound change moment." http://politi.co/1SQ0cPW

-- The mayor was also receptive to the Assembly Democrats' proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy: "I haven't looked at the plan, but I have a lot of appreciation for what the Assembly's doing," de Blasio,told reporters after speaking to a labor luncheon. http://politi.co/1SQ0eHA

-- At a Sunday church service, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said it was good to "have somebody who looks like us to sit at the table and negotiate." http://politi.co/1SQ0iXW

-- Cuomo did not make any public appearances , but feted Caucus-goers during a Sunday afternoon reception at the Executive Mansion. Despite his recent differences with Heastie over tax policy, the men spoke warmly of each other during speeches at the gathering: Heastie called Cuomo a "tremendous partner" on the minimum wage and paid family leave, and thanked him for supporting increased funding to a scholarship program for SUNY students, according to an attendee. The speaker - who Cuomo hugged so hard last year that he came off the ground - called the governor "my valentine."

Cuomo called Heastie a "fantastic leader" and said the Assembly had been the progressive "vanguard" on the minimum wage and family leave. (He didn't mention income taxes, where the men are quarreling.) Cuomo focused much of his talk praising Rep. Charlie Rangel and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, who attended along with several dozen members of the Senate and Assembly. Cuomo said it was the largest crowd ever in the room, and joked, "If I knew this many people were going to come, I would have made it a fundraiser."

FOCUS ON STATEN ISLAND SUBSIDIES - POLITICO New York's Jimmy Vielkind: The Cuomo administration is tapping two discretionary funds to steer nearly $47 million to an outlet mall on Staten Island, a multi-pronged subsidy that increased after the developers contributed $85,000 to the governor's campaign. The Empire State Development corporation last month approved $21.9 million in subsidies for Empire Outlets, one of three projects clustered around the St. George ferry terminal on Staten Island's North Shore that were approved in the waning days of the Bloomberg administration. That's on top of a $25 million grant awarded last April by the state's Dormitory Authority. The new payments include $16.5 million from what critics have called a $400 million slush fund that was created in last year's budget by Dean Skelos, the former Senate Republican leader.

In addition to the $46.9 million in state subsidies, New York City agencies are contributing $25.3 million and the Staten Island borough president $1.5 million. As a result, taxpayers are financing roughly a quarter of the $304 million project, and nearly two times as much as the developers' $43.3 million stake, project documents show. "Of all the things that have been supported with economic development funding in recent history, over the last four or five governors, this has to rank among the most questionable ever," said E.J. McMahon, president of the fiscally conservative Empire Center for Public Policy. "This is waterfront property next to the ferry landing facing the Manhattan skyline - this needs a big government injection? This isn't some down-at-the-heels upstate city that has absolutely nothing going on, this is prime space in New York City. It's absolutely mind-blowing that a penny of government subsidy is being spend on this." http://politi.co/1U4OYWQ

WHO SPITZER WAS WITH -- "Spitzer accuser a young, jobless ex-hooker who lives a life of luxury," by N.Y. Post's Shawn Cohen, Jamie Schram, Larry Celona and Bruce Golding: "The Russian vixen who accused Eliot Spitzer of choking her at The Plaza hotel is a divorced, globe-trotting beauty who once bared all the [in a Medium] article titled 'Sex is Sex, but Money is Money' ... [which] reveals how she came to New York with $300 in her pocket and developed a stable of wealthy clients. ... Spitzer and Travis' relationship began at least two years ago, while she was working as a high-priced call girl - and he was her 'sugar daddy' ... Spitzer phoned her repeatedly after she was taken to the hospital, and he showed up there looking 'like a burglar' to try to sneak in, a source said. 'He was all covered up, with a dark hat pulled down and a black jacket pulled up, trying to cover himself as much as possible so he wouldn't be recognized.'" With 5 pix http://nyp.st/1Qj2zEb Her Medium post http://bit.ly/1Tnp7Ks

-- Detectives eye Spitzer in Plaza Hotel incident -- NYT's William Rashbaum and James Barron: "Eliot Spitzer, who resigned as governor of New York in 2008 amid reports that he was a client of a high-priced prostitution ring, is now at the center of a new criminal investigation, according to officials, after a 26-year-old woman said that he choked her when they were alone in a room at the Plaza Hotel . But on Monday, Mr. Spitzer's lawyer said that the woman had apologized by email for making up the allegation. 'There is no case here,' said the lawyer, Adam S. Kaufmann, who added that he had given the Manhattan district attorney's office a copy of the email and who also provided a copy to The New York Times. 'There was no assault.' The investigation is being conducted by detectives from the New York Police Department, along with the district attorney's office, which declined to comment about the email. The police have said the investigation is continuing." http://nyti.ms/1RHIn45

-- Spitzer assault accuser flees for Russia - Post's Shawn Cohen: "The woman who accused ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer of choking her during a fight at the Plaza Hotel hopped on a Russia-bound airplane after refusing to press charges, law enforcement sources said Monday. Svetlana Travis, 25, took a 7:30 p.m. Sunday flight from JFK Airport to Moscow, using a ticket she had purchased in advance, the sources said. 'She said she just wanted to go back to Russia,' one source said." http://nyp.st/1U4tidx

-- No charges expected -- amNY's Anthony De Stefano: "Criminal charges against former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer are unlikely in connection with an allegation he roughed up a woman Saturday night in his suite at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, law enforcement sources said. The 25-year-old woman flew to her native Russia Sunday, a move that puts her out of reach of the NYPD and likely ends any risk Spitzer would be charged, said one of the sources." http://goo.gl/uQNlXO

TABS -- Daily News: "UP TO HIS OLD TRICKS! Eliot's Plaza suite-heart a $5G-a-night call girl; Vid shows him trying to visit her hospital room" -- Post: "Eliot's Plaza siren was $5K-a-night prostitute: SUITE-HEART" SEE THEM: https://goo.gl/6HebFp [h/t Gersh Kuntzman]

-- amNY: "MUSIC TO OUR EARS" -- Newsday: "EYES ON L.I. WATER" -- Hamodia: "New York Senator Calls for '50-Hour Learning Week'

FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 2-col. above the fold: "Battle Over Bench Started Well Before Scalia's Death" -- WSJNY, 2-col. above the fold: "La Guardia's revamp Pegged at $4.2 Billion"

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "[I]f Democrats arrive at the convention with Sanders holding a lead in elected delegates, the party will face a fundamental question: Will the superdelegates seize the nomination from Sanders and hand it to Clinton?" -- Jonathan Tasini, in the Daily News: http://goo.gl/1naJGj

EXECUTIVE MOVES -- Alyssa Aguilera and Jeremy Saunders were named the new co-executive directors of VOCAL-NY! Official statement: http://goo.gl/4W3drJ [h/t @EmmaWolfe]

** 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. **

NY-11 POLL -- Rep. Donovan is safe, according to Republican-commissioned poll -- Staten Island Advance's Rachel Shapiro: "A new poll shows Rep. Daniel Donovan is popular among voters in the district, and a Democrat would have a hard time winning in November's election.

"The National Republican Congressional Committee released a poll from Public Opinion Strategies conducted between Feb. 9 and 11 that showed Donovan (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) with a 49 percent approval rating, compared to an 18 percent disapproval. Public Opinion Strategies surveyed 400 likely voters (margin of error + 4.9 percent) in the 11th Congressional District, on Staten Island and in southern Brooklyn. Of those surveyed, 30 percent are Republican and 49 percent are Democrat." http://goo.gl/JVskl3

-- Flashback, Jan. 2015: The leaked Democrats' poll: http://goo.gl/ggzXBU

EAST HARLEM PLANS ITS OWN REZONING -- Preempting City Plan -- Gotham Gazette's Maggie Calmes: "The East Harlem Neighborhood Plan is the product of participation by over 1,300 East Harlem residents in seven community visioning workshops, hundreds of community surveys, and eight meetings of Community Board 11 over the course of 10 months. The planning process began last year, after de Blasio highlighted zoning and affordable housing in his State of the City address and named East Harlem as one of the first group of neighborhoods the city plans to upzone for higher density, more affordable housing, and neighborhood improvements.

"The plan, due out at the end of this week, is meant to preempt and influence the proposals included in de Blasio's East Harlem neighborhood plan, which will go through a land use review process. Stakeholders in East Harlem have sought to get out ahead of a process that has vexed community members in other parts of the city the administration is targeting, most notably Brooklyn's East New York, which is the first neighborhood plan moving forward. Mark-Viverito, whose district includes all of East Harlem, said at a January 27 community planning forum, "I represent the community, so my decision is that if there's an interest in rezoning my neighborhood, my interest is to get my community to provide input, so I decided to be proactive instead of reactive." Along with project partner and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Mark-Viverito has thrown her significant political clout behind the project, which received considerable funding through the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Neighborhoods First Fund for Community Based Planning." http://bit.ly/1mE9kZu

#PatakiWatch: During an interview in Albany, Pataki said he is "unhappy" that Donald Trump's name remains on a state park in Westchester County, and reiterated that the reality TV star is "unqualified" to be president. http://lohud.us/1obtM5I

-- Here's a video of the full interview with Time Warner Cable News reporter Nick Reisman, who Pataki repeatedly calls "Neil." http://bit.ly/1obtz2r

-- Putnam County Legislator Roger Gross is calling on Libby Pataki to resign from her position as the county's tourism director in light of a Journal News investigation. http://lohud.us/1Lqt5Ky

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Ty Trippet of Bloomberg News, the pride of Beaver, Oklahoma (population: 1,469) (h/t Amy Chozick) ... Mel Wymore , who ran a City Council seat in Manhattan in 2013 ... Matt Chayes, City Hall reporter for Newsday ... and Allen Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club.

HAMILTON'S BIG NIGHT AT THE GRAMMYS -- CBS News' Andrea Park: "The hip-hop tinged musical got big cheers and standing ovations from the Grammys crowd after the performance, and the cast had even more reason to celebrate just minutes later when they won Best Musical Theater Album. Creator Miranda accepted the award and rapped his speech, in which he gave a shoutout to his son: "The cast, unstoppable, the band is unbeatable, inimitable, unbeatable, always inspiring me to pull through. Sebastian, Daddy's bringing home a Grammy for you!" http://goo.gl/7HK9fG

HOT VIDEO - "Watch the Cast of Hamilton Perform the Electrifying Opening Number-and Win a Grammy" - 4-min. video http://slate.me/1TnplkK ... Daniel's pic of the list of cocktails at Hamilton on Sat. night (with names like Founder's Fizz, Hamiltini, and Dueling Sangrias) http://bit.ly/1Qj2Err ... List of Grammy winners http://bit.ly/1QioIso

MANGANO SAYS PHONE HACK PROMPTED SEXTING - CBS New York's Marcia Kramer: "In a stunning and possibly unprecedented development in the world of politics, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano is adamant that x-rated messages sent from his cell phone didn't actually come from him. "I am a victim here, I am being hacked. This is a lie and I will bring every legal action to catch this person and bring them to justice," Mangano told CBS2's Marcia Kramer. Mangano claims he has enemies that are out to get him, hacking into his phone, using a technique he calls "spoofing." He said this tactic enabled someone to send very lurid texts to several women, making it seem like the messages came from his cell phone. 'I don't deny that's my phone number, but it could be hacked, it's hoaxed - it is hacked,' Mangano said. http://cbsloc.al/1XtqMNG

-- The current-but-soon-to-be-divorced husband of the woman involved said she was having an affair, but not with Mangano. http://nyp.st/1R5vKOb

REPLACING SCALIA

CUOMO: "Justice Scalia was a dedicated jurist, and was a public servant that dedicated his life to the judicial system," Cuomo told reporters. "He happened to have a different philosophy than the philosophy I believe in, but that frankly pales as a second issue. First issue is that he was a great public servant and he fought for what he believed in. And he did it with passion and with skill. So you have to respect that." Cuomo called the idea of not immediately appointing a replacement "This would be anarchy ... There's no plausible rationale." Times Union' Chris Bragg: http://bit.ly/1U4MOqe

CHUCK SCHUMER, then and now: "'The Constitution does not say a president is elected for four years but can only act and fulfill his constitutional responsibilities for three years,' [Schumer] explained. But it's this stance for which Schumer is now taking heat, from critics who say it doesn't match comments he made back in 2007 in the final year of the Bush administration.

"In a speech then, the Senator said, 'We should not confirm any Bush nominee to the Supreme Court except in extraordinary circumstances ... They must prove by actions, not words, that they are in the mainstream.' A few minutes later in that speech, the Senator added, 'I will do everything in my power to prevent one more ideological ally.' Now, almost a decade later, Schumer is calling out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for comments he made to block any Obama nominee from getting a Senate confirmation vote. .... Critics say the Senator's stance is hypocritical, but he said there's a clear distinction between what he suggested in 2007, and what Republicans like McConnell are suggesting now. 'No, it wasn't about a specific nominee,' he said. 'I simply said that everybody has the right to vote no.'" NY1's Emily DeFeciani: http://goo.gl/v7Hcrb

SCHUMER on Medium, "Republicans' Apples to Oranges Comparison on Supreme Court Nominees": "[S]ome Republicans ... have tried to use a 2007 speech I gave to justify their current obstruction. ... What I said in the speech given in 2007 is simple: Democrats, after a hearing, should entertain voting no if the nominee is out of the mainstream and tries to cover that fact up. There was no hint anywhere in the speech that there shouldn't be hearings or a vote." http://bit.ly/1QFp4n7

TOM SCOCCA on Gawker, on the Clintons -- "My Conflict" : "Disclosure: From roughly 2000 through 2008, half or more of my household income came from my wife's direct employment with Bill or Hillary Clinton. Toward the end of Bill Clinton's presidency, she worked at the White House Domestic Policy Council; after that, she became a legislative aide working on health policy in the newly opened office of Hillary Clinton in the Senate; finally she worked for the Clinton Foundation, establishing its HIV/AIDS program in China. ... This has influenced my outlook on Bill and Hillary Clinton, and on politics in general. This influence has been both positive and negative. Mostly, it means that the terms of discussion can often seem alien to me." http://bit.ly/216fWiU

JONATHAN CHAIT on NYMag.com, "Why Michael Bloomberg Could Run for President and Win": "It is clearly possible for an independent to win a three-way race against two established party candidates in a state. And if it is possible to do it in a state, it is also possible to do so in enough states to add up to 270 electoral votes." http://nym.ag/1SQ85op

HRC AND SUSAN B -- "Happy Birthday, Susan B!" by Lynn Sherr on Huffington Post : "Stop me if you've heard this already: a famous female political activist -- so well known, newspaper headlines use only her first name -- expresses her frustration at the reluctance of the next generation to support her cause. 'I really believe I shall explode if some of you young women don't wake up -- and raise your voice in protest," she says. 'Do come into the living present & work to save us from any more barbaric male governments.'" http://huff.to/1KRnvG9

CUOMO ON CLOSING RIKERS: Calling the idea offered by City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito during her State of the City speech last week "interesting and intriguing," Cuomo said the island jail was a dated facility, and that the smaller, more technically advanced jails that can be built today would be "more appropriate." http://politi.co/1U4MzeE

REAL ESTATE -- OFFICE SPACE-"Coming to midtown: another luxury boutique office building," by Crain's Daniel Geiger: "Real estate investment and development firm Savanna has struck a deal to build a boutique office building in midtown. The company announced it has purchased 106 W. 56th St., a nine-story building, owned by Jesuit publishing group American Media, for an undisclosed price. ... Savanna plans to tear the building down and erect a high-end, 26-story office tower in its place that will appeal to wealthy tenants. It has partnered with investment fund Atom Assets, based in Hong Kong, on the development. American Media has up to a year before it must vacate the property, according to Savanna. Work will begin upon the company's exit, and the new building is expected to be completed by 2019." http://bit.ly/1QhAXzg

GLENWOOD SETTLES-"Glenwood Management, Developer Cited in Corruption Cases, Settles Disability Lawsuit," by Banjamin Weiser: "Glenwood Management, a politically influential developer of luxury high-rise apartment buildings in Manhattan that figured in two recent public corruption trials, has agreed to settle a civil rights lawsuit that claimed three of its residential complexes violated the Fair Housing Act's requirements for people with disabilities." http://nyti.ms/1oc5zft

AIR STRIKE-"Competitor alleges Airbnb is an illegal broker," by Real Deal's Ariel Stulberg: "A lawsuit filed Friday by two Airbnb 'hosts' claims that the $25.5 billion company's entire business model is illegal. The complaint, filed by Francesco Plazza and Sylvie Naude - the proprietors of Indigo House, a Midtown-based firm offering luxury short-term rentals in units around the city - asserts that Airbnb acts as an unlicensed real estate broker. The fees it collects from users who arrange rentals through its site are therefore unlawful, the complaint asserts. ... 'The claims in this lawsuit have no merit and we are confident that the case will be dismissed,' an Airbnb spokesperson said in a statement." http://bit.ly/246w7yZ

SECOND ACT-"A Crumbling Coney Island Landmark Is Getting a Makeover," by Times' James Barron: "In a parking lot a few hundred yards beyond Coney Island's Parachute Jump, where customers floated toward the ground until the 1960s, lie pieces of the future: big white trusses. If they had come with an instruction manual, it would say, 'Lots of assembly required.' The assembly will take place nearby, in what was once a park that became a community garden. 'We're calling it a boutique amphitheater,' said Julia Butler, a senior vice president of iStar, a developer that is working with New York City to create a 5,000-seat performance space and restaurant." http://nyti.ms/1PNukW5

BUYER BEWARE-"Report finds 5-year 'tipping point' for home-buying over renting," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: "It doesn't pay to buy a home in New York City unless you plan to hold onto it for five years, a new analysis from online realtor StreetEasy shows. The company calculated 'tipping points' for close to 300 neighborhoods across the five boroughs, and discovered that Manhattan, at 7.4 years, takes the longest to make a purchase more financially feasible than a rental. Queens was the most viable, at three years. Citywide, it takes 4.9 years for the cost of renting an apartment to exceed the cost of buying a comparable home, StreetEasy found." http://politi.co/1PNrsse

THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: Matt Harvey told reporters in Port St. Lucie he'd consider a contract extension with the Mets.

-- The day ahead: the Sabres are in Ottawa. In men's basketball, Buffalo goes to Akron.

#UpstateAmerica: The wind chill Saturday night on Whiteface Mountain was 114 degrees below zero. http://nydn.us/1R5wjr7

** 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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