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POLITICO New York Playbook, presented by Nuclear Matters: TERROR funding fight -- MET's new logo -- BROOKLYN's tall tower

02/18/2016 07:21 AM EDT

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

FUNDRAISING IN 2015 DROPS TO HISTORIC LOW - POLITICO New York's Bill Mahoney: The total amount raised by Albany politicians and parties fell by more than 20 percent from 2013 to 2015, according to a POLITICO New York analysis of Board of Elections data. State-level committees brought in $47.5 million last year, a $12 million drop from the previous non-election year. Since 2000, the first full year for which campaign finance activity was maintained in an online database by the state Board of Elections, the only year with a lower total was 2003, when the committees reported an aggregate $40.6 million. In terms of real money, however, that year's total was higher; an adjustment for inflation brings it to $52.3 million.

When the trend was first visible in July, several prominent individuals involved in raising campaign cash said they hadn't noticed any changes to the fundraising climate. Indeed, there doesn't seem to be a single explanation for the dropoff, as decreases were visible in a variety of committees and types of donors. It appears to be driven by several factors, including the disappearance of a couple of major donors, federal investigations, a dearth of competitive off-year elections, the increased significance of independent expenditure committees and a reduction in the totals of the state's most active fundraiser.

FULL-TIME MODEL COMES WITH RISKS - NY1's Josh Robin for POLITICO New York: A little over a week ago, as New York councilmembers voted themselves a 32 percent raise to nearly $150,000 a year, I had occasion to walk in the shadow of the New Hampshire Capitol. Every two years, lawmakers there earn less than what a City Council member earns in less than three hours. To be a lawmaker in the Granite State comes with $200 a year, for a two-year session - with no per diem allowance for expenses. The difference is that the New Hampshire legislature is deliberately part-time work, while in the city, council members are now expected to give up "lulu" stipends, and also work full-time, giving up the chance for outside income that only a handful were making anyway. Of course responsibilities are different in both areas. But the modest New Hampshire salary reflects a tradition of citizen-lawmakers, overseers of permanent government whose livelihood in other sectors endeavors to keep them at a healthy distance from it.

One can argue that in New York, the close quarters, diverse needs and vast income disparities call for a more robust legislature. And of course, citizen-legislators or no, New Yorkers are accustomed to the sort of activist government that would be foreign in New Hampshire. But the push toward full-time legislatures as a means of reform assumes that these needs can't be better served by representatives with one foot in government and the other in another sector.

TERROR FUNDING FIGHT -- $90M at stake City Hall Joins Schumer - POLITICO New York's Azi Paybarah: Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sen. Chuck Schumer and the heads of New York City's police, fire and emergency response departments said Wednesday a nearly 50 percent cut in federal anti-terror funding is dangerous and unacceptable.

President Obama's administration last week proposed cutting the $700 million Urban Area Security Initiative to about $330 million for the 2017 budget. New York City's portion would drop from about $180 million, to around $90 million, officials said. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton called the cut "unconscionable." Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito said his department would, in effect, shutter if the cut came to be.

-- Schumer: "It's sort of a bureaucrat's trick, if you will, to say, well ... let's allocate the money they've already been allocated, for next year. That's not a good explanation ... We beat that explanation back in the past" in 2010 and 2011, but "it came back this year. ... I think somehow, some bureaucrat came up with this idea, it rose to a top level without it being stopped [and the cuts are a] very big mistake."

-- De Blasio: "I'm certainly going to let the president know" the cuts are not acceptable.

-- WHITE HOUSE ATTACK: "At some point, Senator Schumer's credibility in talking about national security issues ... have to be effected by positions he's taken on other issues. ... I understand that the news conference [NYC officials] convened [Wednesday] is part of a, basically, an annual event. But apparently in this case they didn't let the facts of the matter didn't have an impact on the scheduling of this year's event. -- White House spokesman Josh Earnest, via C-SPAN. -- WATCH THE VIDEO:

-- AP headline: "White House Chides Schumer for Protest of Counterterrorism Cuts"

-- WSJ headline: "New York's Schumer Starts to Feel Heat of Leading"

CUOMO CHALLENGES DE BLASIO ON RIKERS - POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: Gov. Andrew Cuomo disagreed on Wednesday with Mayor Bill de Blasio's assessment that closing Rikers Island would be too costly and complicated. "I don't accept that we can't do better. What's not complicated, what's not expensive?" Cuomo told reporters after a paid family leave event in Harlem. For the second time in less than a week, the governor praised City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's call to shut down the island jail, which she proposed as part of her State of the City address last week. The speaker's proposal, although still in its infancy, calls for first figuring out how to decrease the population at Rikers and studying the possibility of moving inmates to underutilized facilities across the boroughs and possibly building other smaller sites.

Cuomo's comments come a day after de Blasio threw cold water on the speaker's proposal during a press conference on Tuesday, in which he dismissed the idea as a "noble" but costly "concept." Arguing that he needed to look out for taxpayers and what is feasible, de Blasio instead focused his comments on what his administration has done so far to decrease the Rikers population, as well as reforms the Department of Correction has installed in an effort to improve conditions in the jail.

RELATED: MCCRAY SAYS CLOSING RIKERS IS A 'GREAT IDEA' -- In a seeming difference of opinion with her husband, First Lady Chirlane McCray called the possibility of closing Rikers Island a "great idea" in an interview with Jezebel published Wednesday. In the wide ranging interview, which covered everything from national politics to her personal feelings about the New York Post, McCray sides with calls to close the jail, specifically citing the facility's lack of services for mentally ill people. Mayor Bill de Blasio called a proposal to close the jail from City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito "a very complicated idea" and "a noble concept but one that would cost many billions of dollars, and we do not have a viable pathway to that at this point." READ the full interview with McCray here:

CUOMO IS CALLING - Daily News' Ken Lovett: "Cuomo is taking his push for a $15 an hour minimum wage directly to the voters, the Daily News has learned. Cuomo will start a series of telephone town halls Thursday on the subject that will lead up to the enactment of the new state budget at the end of March. The call will target hundreds of thousands of New York City residents, a Cuomo aide said."

'THANK YOU FOR ASKING' - Time Warner Cable News' Nick Reisman: "Not that he was on the short list of names floated for the vacancy on the Supreme Court, but Cuomo says he's not interested, anyway. Cuomo was asked in Buffalo on Thursday whether he would accept or seek a nomination to the court to replace the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. 'Who gave you that question?' Cuomo responded incredulously during a gaggle in western New York. Full disclosure: It was yours truly, who half-jokingly suggested it to our Capital Tonight western New York reporter Ryan Whalen. Ryan, graciously, didn't throw me under the bus, saying it was a 'reporter in Albany.' 'Yeah, no kidding,' Cuomo responded with a laugh, and then added: 'No, but thank you for asking anyway.'"

WELCOME TO THE WORLD -- Political operative Austin Shafran, SVP at Metropolitan Public Strategies, and his wife Jennifer are happy to announce the birth of Mason Ronan Shafran, who entered the world on Feb. 9. He weighed in at 8.13 lbs., big blue eyes and dark hair. Mama and baby are doing well. Says Austin: "Thankfully he looks like my wife and judging by his early curious expressions his mind is just as sharp as hers!"

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "My goal is to do more" -- Mayor Bill de Blasio, about one-on-one interviews, via @AnnaESanders:

TABS -- Post: "WAR FOR YOUR PHONE! Apple defies feds in privacy vs. terror case" -- Daily News: "NEVER FORGET? (He just did.) Bam cuts NYC terror fund in half; Puts city at risk over petty politics" -- amNY: "HANDS OFF OUR IPHONES! Myers tell gov't their data is private - but terrorists info is fair game" -- SEE THEM:

-- Metro: "RECLAIMING CRAFT BEER" -- Newsday: "NASSAU TICKET AMNESTY" -- Hamodia: "NYC Officials Denounce Anti-Terror Funding Cuts" -- El Diario [translated, with pic of the pope]: 'No more death and exploitation'

FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 2-col., above the fold: "AS APPLE RESISTS, ENCRYPTION FRAY ERUPTS IN BATTLE; Washington and Tech Giant in Dispute With Broad Implications" -- WSJNY, 2-col. above the fold: "One More Time, Spitzer Applies Damage Control"

BILL DE BLASIO'S AMERICA IS A PASTRAMI SANDWICH - The New Republic's Ryu Spaeth: "I get it, I think. It's a nod to New York's Jewish roots, its immigrant culture, its diversity. And who doesn't love pastrami? Still, when looking for a symbol to rally a movement around, you might want to go with something other than a big sandwich."

PIC OF THE DAY: Sheldon Silver is really into Raisin Bran.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Rep. Eliot Engel, City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo of Staten Island, and scribe Lisa Robert Lewis.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: A driver fishtails on a Rochester highway.

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Providing 61 percent of the state's carbon-free electricity, New York's nuclear energy plants are a necessary and valuable part of the state's energy mix, and deserve the support of state lawmakers for their role in providing New York with reliable electricity while protecting the environment. Learn more: **

ROBERT CARO on what is happening to New York City -- Gothamist's Christopher Robbins: "He prefaces anecdotes about the exhaustive research he did on the greatest biographical series of our time with phrases like, 'I don't want to bore you with this.' And he largely shies away from commenting on New York City in 2016, except when we gaze out the window of his office near Columbus Circle. 'You know, these buildings are disgusting,' Caro says, motioning to the luxury high-rises. 'No one seems to speak out against them. You wonder what New York is going to become.'

-- Robbins: "Governor Cuomo fancies himself a bit like Robert Moses-he's going to rebuild the Tappan Zee Bridge, expand the Javits Center, and build a train for La Guardia, but where's Moses' soaring ambition there?"

-- Caro: "I remember I was once on the dais with Donald Trump. This was a long time ago, this is before he became really famous. He said something to me like, "Why would you write a book about someone you didn't like?" Then there was some quote, it was like, Trump is going to be the next Robert Moses. And someone asked me about that, and I said he'd have to build at the rate he's building now for the next 200 years to equal Robert Moses!"

SALT STUDY COULD HURT CITY - POLITICO New York's Dan Goldberg: A former member of New York City's Board of Health and a pair of Columbia researchers published a paper Wednesday night that could prove detrimental to the city's case for a new sodium rule, which requires restaurant chains to publish warnings for menu items that contain more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium. Sandro Galea, who served on the board from 2012 until 2014, and Ludovic Trinquart and David Merritt Johns from the Mailman School of Public Health looked at more than 35 years worth of literature on salt intake and found no consensus among scientists on whether a population-wide reduction of salt was associated with better health outcomes. Their findings may prove beneficial for the National Restaurant Association's lawsuit, claiming the city's new sodium mandate is unconstitutional.

-- "New York's Medical Marijuana Industry is Lighting Up Slowly" -- WNYC's Fred Mogul: "Putting patients at ease and convincing doctors of its legitimacy are just two challenges facing the nascent medical marijuana industry in New York. About a month into it, there are very few takers: according to state figures, fewer than 400 doctors were registered and they certified about 800 patients to purchase medical marijuana. This is not an accident. When Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislators passed the law legalizing medical marijuana they ensured it would be one of the toughest states in terms of pot regulation."

DON'T FIX WHAT'S NOT BROKEN -- "The Metropolitan Museum of Art's New Logo Is a Typographic Bus Crash," by NYMag's Justin Davidson: "As the Metropolitan Museum of Art busts out of its Beaux-Arts shell and opens its Madison Avenue outpost in the old Whitney, the institution is trying on a fresh identity, or at least enshrining an old nickname in a new look. In its logo, the Met is now THE MET, the two short words printed in scarlet letters, stacked and squashed together. The whole ensemble looks like a red double-decker bus that has stopped short, shoving the passengers into each other's backs. Worse, the entire top half of the new logo consists of the word the. Starting March 1, this graphic misfire, designed by the London-based global-branding firm Wolff Olins, will replace the existing M, a masterwork of resonant graphics that the Met first used in 1971."

MEDIA MORNING -- "Larry Kudlow signs three-year deal with CNBC," by Post's Emily Smith: "Kudlow announced Tuesday that he had decided against a bid to challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Richard Blumenthal. TV insiders say CNBC didn't want to risk losing Kudlow in an election cycle, and responded by giving him a new contract and his own lunchtime 'Kudlow Report' slot."

'TIS THE SEASON: POLITICO PRO'S CAMPAIGN PRO - POLITICO Pro offers our solution for campaign season. Get breaking news and analysis about the presidential, House, Senate and gubernatorial races, with coverage including campaign strategies, fundraising and ad buys. Beyond campaign coverage, Campaign Pro also offers the Campaign Pro Race Dashboard - Political junkies can geek out and search for any House, Senate and gubernatorial race by candidate, consulting firm, state or office to obtain the latest polling numbers and consulting details. See if you qualify for complimentary access to Campaign Pro.

OUT AND ABOUT -- "The New School on Tuesday night hosted a panel discussion at its Greenwich Village campus on the role of money in the 2016 election. Highlights included Raj Goyle, a former Kansas state legislator who chairs a liberal group fighting state-level battles called State Innovation Exchange, bemoaning that Democrats have 'utterly failed' to invest effectively in winning state legislative elections and policy battles. ... Jack Oliver, a national finance co-chair of Jeb Bush's campaign, pointed out that the Bushes have been disclosure pioneers, with George W. Bush in 2000 becoming the first presidential candidate to voluntarily disclose the names of bundlers ― a practice that Jeb Bush continued in his campaign. Oliver also cracked about fellow panelist Ken Vogel of POLITICO: 'If you're working on a campaign, and he calls you, it's the person you don't want to talk to. So, I had to get a signed waiver to sit here with him tonight, just so you know.'" Video ... Pic

PRIMARY COLOR -- "Love and Loathing on the Campaign Trail," by Pete Vernon for The Big Roundtable:

REAL ESTATE -- BUFFALO'S SKYLINE FOR SALE - Buffalo News' Jonathan Epstein: "The owner of One Seneca Tower is putting Buffalo's tallest building up for sale this week in its first formal effort to unload the property after taking possession of it through foreclosure last year. The building's owner has issued a 'first call for offers' in an effort to gauge interest in the office tower, which last sold at auction for $28 million, but has been valued as low as $12 million. ... Built and opened in 1973, the 38-story former One HSBC Center is the tallest privately-owned building in upstate New York, with 1.17 million square feet of total space and 853,000 square feet of rentable space on 4.7 acres at the foot of Main Street in downtown Buffalo."

IN THE ZONE-"Study details impacts of East New York rezoning," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg and Laura Nahmias: "Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to rezone East New York would leave the neighborhood with a temporary shortage of public school seats and child care facilities, insufficient open space and a prolonged shadow cast over a church, according to a study the city recently released. The City Planning Commission laid out the details in its final environmental impact statement published on its website and in the City Record. The commission is scheduled to vote on the plan next week, after which the City Council would have 50 days to cast its own binding vote. The rezoning, an integral part of de Blasio's affordable housing agenda, would substantially alter a 190-block area of Brooklyn's East New York, Cypress Hill and Ocean Hill neighborhoods, generating 6,492 new apartments and 1.3 million square feet of retail, office space and community facilities. It is the first of 15 neighborhoods the mayor hopes to rezone in a move to encourage more market-rate development that would help fund low- and middle-income housing. City Hall, realizing the challenge of attracting developers to the blighted East New York area, has promised to spend however much money it needs to ensure half the new homes are affordable to existing residents."

-- STRINGER REPORT finds vacant city-owned land - Times' Mireya Navarro: "New York City's scarcity of inexpensive land is often cited as an impediment to building more affordable housing, but the comptroller's office has identified more than 1,000 city-owned vacant lots across the boroughs that have been sitting idle, most for more than 30 years. An audit to be officially released on Thursday by Comptroller Scott M. Stringer faults the city as being too slow through various mayoral administrations in transferring the land to developers to build housing. The audit said that the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development often delays or abandons development schedules for turning over the properties, and that 'even when H.P.D. moved forward with planned development, it did not meet its stated timelines for nearly half of its projects.'

-- Calling the comptroller's conclusions 'false and misleading,' housing officials said that out of the 1,131 vacant properties identified in the audit, about 310 were in flood zones or had other issues that would make development challenging. They also said that an additional 150 properties were better suited for projects other than residential buildings, such as parks and police stations. Of the remaining 670 lots, about 400 have already been assigned to developers or will be scheduled for development within the next two years, the officials said."

TOWER KING-"73-Story Tower Would Be Brooklyn's Tallest By Far," by Times' Matt A.V. Chaban: "Scrutiny is about to begin of a proposal for the tallest tower in Brooklyn, one that would be impossible to ignore. Two developers have submitted plans in recent weeks for a 1,066-foot tower in Downtown Brooklyn, which would be almost twice as high as anything surrounding it. The complex, at 9 DeKalb Avenue, would also bring the current surge in supertall towers across the East River from Manhattan. The 73-story tower, to be built by JDS Development Group and the Chetrit Group, would be more than double the height of the 512-foot Williamsburgh Savings Bank building, which has been the tallest in the borough for nearly a century."

BACK ON AIR-"Broadcasters return to 1 World Trade Center after 14-year absence," by Real Estate Weekly: "The Durst Organization today announced that CBS, NBCUniversal-owned WNBC and WNJU and PBS will relocate their broadcasting operations to the 408-foot-tall spire of One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. The historic development marks the return of network and radio broadcasting to the 1,776-foot One World Trade Center after an absence of more than 14-years. The broadcasters will use One World Trade Center as their primary broadcast facility for the New York/New Jersey market. Broadcast antennae will wrap portions of the spire and ancillary equipment will be housed on the building's communications rings."

THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: The St. John's men's basketball team finally snapped its 16-game losing streak with an 80-65 win over DePaul, thanks in large part to Federico Mussini's 17 points. And Fordham, with a 76-66 win over Massachusetts, beat a conference foe twice for the first time since 2007. So a limited kind of glory for the New York college basketball teams, but they'll take it.

The day ahead: the Rangers are in Toronto. The Capitals are at Barclays to face the Islanders. The NBA trade deadline is at 3 PM, and both local teams could make deals.

#UpstateAmerica: A number of Olean-area residents received mail smeared with what appeared to be blood.

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: New York's existing nuclear energy plants provide 61 percent of the state's carbon-free electricity and play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals. Additional premature retirements of safe, reliable nuclear energy plants mean New Yorkers would pay more for electricity, the economy would suffer and we would face substantially higher carbon emissions.

New York has taken an essential step forward to address the premature closures of our nuclear energy plants. The proposed development of a Clean Energy Standard by the Public Service Commission would, for the first time, ensure that existing nuclear plants are valued for their carbon-free attributes.

We urge the state to include all of New York's existing nuclear energy plants, regardless of their geography in the state, in the proposed Clean Energy Standard. All nuclear energy facilities bring significant reliability and clean-air benefits to New York. Learn more: **

FOR MORE political and policy news from New York, check out Politico New York's home page:

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