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POLITICO New York Playbook, presented by Nuclear Matters: DE BLASIO on Daily Show -- NY GOP convenes, uneasily -- TRUMP mauled in FOX trap?

03/04/2016 07:12 AM EDT

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

THE GOP CONVENES - Jimmy writes in from Buffalo: Republicans started to arrive here last night, ready for a convention today that, formally, will designate Wendy Long as their candidate against U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, who Democrats cheered toward a fourth term on Monday. Nobody expects Long to do very well against Schumer, who has millions in his war chest, is shown in polls to be broadly popular and is poised to become the leader of Senate Democrats - one of the most powerful legislators in Washington, if that party re-takes the U.S. Senate. Long formally announced her candidacy in a video last night.

The subtext of the convention, though, will be the presidential race. The Queen city is ground zero for the anti-establishment wing of the New York GOP that vaulted Carl Paladino to the party's nomination in the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, and many of the same players in that effort are backing Trump. That includes Rep. Chris Collins, Paladino himself, and, as of Thursday, Erie County Republican chairman Nick Langworthy. Two operatives suggested there could be resolutions offered tomorrow afternoon at the Marriott HarborCenter (a project, incidentally, touted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as proof of Buffalo's renaissance and built by the fracking fortune of Bills owner Terry Pegula), which would put to a vote the intra-party tensions.

"Who knows what resolutions will happen. There's certainly a lot of support here in Western New York for Donald Trump," Republican State Chairman Ed Cox told me Thursday night, noting he's trying to stay neutral to ensure a "fair fight" in the New York primary on April 19. But the back-and-forth indicates energy on the GOP side that he was confident could trickle down to Long. "This is a very unusual year in many ways," he said.

LAST NIGHT, De Blasio on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah:

-- Trevor Noah: "What does a mayor actually do?"

-- De Blasio: "I'm still trying to figure that out."


-- TN: "It's such a difficult job I imagine because you are the face of what everyone wants to complain about ... I think it's because your name is so nice to shout ... Every time a train is late -- De-Blasio-Oh! ..."

-- BDB: "My ancestors should have really thought about that [name]. It is very yell-able. ... It's amazing. You see the national discussion, like, 'Why are people frustrated? Why are people angry?' Because they've been screwed. Because for decades, they've seen their incomes go down."

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "By concentrating on quality of life, you reduce inequality" and "You make the quality of life better instead of just giving things to people." -- Rudy Giuliani, on de Blasio, via WSJ:

BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "[Assemblyman Keith Wright] may not win his Assembly district. I feel that Adriano Espaillat and myself are the two front runners." -- NY-13 candidate Adam Clayton Powell, IV, via POLITICO New York:

TABS -- Post: "SIZE MATTERS: Prickly Don rips below belt jab" -- Daily News: "CODE ORANGE: Nat'l security bigs: Don unfit to be Prez; Mitt says Trump's a danger to the world" -- El Diario [translated]: Romney says that Trump is a faker -- SEE THEM:

-- Newsday: "TARGET: TRUMP" -- Hamodia: "Public Gets First Look At World Trade Center's Transit Hub" -- amNY: "Spring Movie Preview" -- Metro: "Whiskey, sexism and war:

FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 4-col., above the fold: "ROMNEY CALLS TRUMP UNFIT AS PARTY ERUPTS IN DISCORD" -- WSJNY, 4-col., below the fold:"Mayor Gets Back to Basics"

LOCAL -- Our Town: "IN CENTRAL PARK, WEIGHING KIDS AGAINST DONALD TRUMP" -- Bronx Times: "BP PRAISES BX GROWTH" -- Queens Chronicle, mid: "'A POTENTIAL CRISIS: Leaders disagree over gentrification in Elmhurst, Corona" -- QC, northeast: "BLAZ comes to BAYSIDE: Mayor talks overdevelopment,air noise, at town hall" -- QC, eastern: "CHARTER CHALLENGE: Parents at IS 109 fight co-location" -- QC, western: "PIPE DOWN! City bills would restrict hookah smoking"

ICYMI: BLOOMBERG'S NYC AGENDA, NATIONAL OBSTACLE -- A.P.'s Jonathan Lemire: "For many outside New York City, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's name is synonymous with a pair of political crusades: launching a national anti-gun campaign and taking on Big Soda. But the gun and public health positions his supporters have hailed as visionary - and, in some cases, have been adopted by municipalities nationwide - could prove to be hurdles for voters, particularly Republicans, if the business media mogul launches a third-party presidential bid. ... Bloomberg's social policy, mixed with conservative economic touchstones, seems unlikely to be an instant hit with voters if he runs. More than six in 10 Americans surveyed in an AP-GfK Poll last week said they wouldn't consider supporting him while nearly four in 10 knew little about him."

-- "Trump Goaded Bloomberg Into Planning a Presidential Campaign. Here's Why He Probably Won't Run," by Gabe Sherman: "What surely galls Bloomberg the most is the fact that Trump has somehow successfully stolen Bloomberg's core political message: that he's a job-creating billionaire who can't be bought by party elites and special interests. What's more, Trump is actually doing what Bloomberg, who explored presidential runs in 2008 and 2012, twice concluded is impossible."

-- Earlier: Blake Zeff on Bloomberg's decaying 2016 rationale:

** 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: **

TRANSITIONS -- "BPI Announces Preeti Wali As Senior Director in New York": "Wali joins BPI from Bite Global in San Francisco where she served as vice president of integrated media and marketing and managed client engagements with public companies, startups and venture capital firms. Prior to joining Bite, she worked for a number of prominent agencies and organizations such as APCO Worldwide, Grameen Foundation, MHSC Partners and several political campaigns."

CLICKER - "Here's Where to Watch Your College Team in New York City's Sports Bars" - DNAinfo

EAT BEAT - "11 New Pastas That Are Filled, Stuffed, and Sauced With All Sorts of Wonderful Things," by Grub Street's Chris Crowley: "Veal Agnolotti [at] Acme ... Ravioli [at] Café Altro Paradiso ... Parsnip Agnolotti [at] The Farm on Adderley ... Ricotta Agnolotti [at] Faro ... Parsnip Ravioli [at] GG's ... Sheep's-Milk-Filled Agnolotti [at] Lilia ... Ravioli all'Amatriciana [at] La Sirena ... Mushroom Ravioli [at] Lowlife ... Sunchoke Tortelloni [at] Pasquale Jones ... Burrata Ravioli [at] Sessanta ... Étoile de Fromage [at] Vaucluse."

HIP-HOP HAMILTON -- New album -- amNY's Matt Windman: "Two weeks since the original cast album of "Hamilton" won a Grammy Award, plans have been unveiled for a new album with major hip-hop artists performing selections from the score and new songs inspired by the musical, as first reported in Vanity Fair. According to Lin-Manuel Miranda, it will include performances from Busta Rhymes, Queen Latifah, Ben Folds and Common."

BACK TO BASICS -- De Blasio refocuses -- WSJ's Josh Dawsey and Mara Gay: "New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who once said he didn't want to be known as a "pothole mayor," is now planning a news conference to celebrate his administration filling one million potholes. The event illustrates a change for Mr. de Blasio, who has spent the first months of his third year in office working to tamp down concerns about his management ability and the city's quality of life while serving increasingly as civic cheerleader, a role he has sometimes resisted in the past. He is stressing nuts-and-bolts governing and de-emphasizing his liberal ideology. ... In recent months, Mr. de Blasio's poll numbers have risen, partially due to the focus on local affairs in New York City, according to political observers. A Quinnipiac poll in January showed him at 50% approval rating-his highest mark since October."

-- De Blasio spoke to the Queens Courier:

-- And the Queens Tribune:

MM-V's BAIL FUND -- Officially, a charity -- Gotham Gazette's David Howard King: "The fund has just been approved as a not-for-profit charity by the state attorney general's office ... A heightened sense of urgency around the bail plan has emerged after Mark-Viverito announced this year that she hopes it will be a key element of actualizing 'the dream' of closing Rikers Island jails. ... As approved by the AG, the fund shows 'Initial directors' George McDonald, David Howard, and Alphonso Wyatt, all of The Doe Fund. According to its bylaws, 'The sole member of the Corporation shall be The Doe Fund, Inc., a New York not-for-profit corporation.' McDonald is the founder and CEO of The Doe Fund, which has worked for decades to employ, house, and train homeless New Yorkers to help them stabilize their lives.

"According to the filing, 'the purpose' of the new organization will be 'to assist indigent defendents charged with low-level crimes avoid the experience, complications and related hardships of pretrial detention caused by their inability to afford bail.' Once it becomes a bail fund, it will 'provide bail assistance' and 'research, analyze and document the effectiveness and social impact of' its activities."

NO CHARGES IN HOLDING CELL DEATH - POLITICO New York's Josefa Velasquez : The death of a 42-year-old mother of eight last July while she was in a Mount Vernon holding cell awaiting arraignment on shoplifting charges was due to natural causes, an investigation by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office found. The nearly seven-month long investigation found that the Mount Vernon Police Department did not cause Raynette Turner's death. According to records by the medical examiner, there were no signs of physical trauma or abuse by the Mount Vernon Police, which was corroborated by surveillance footage. In a 22-page report compiled by Schneiderman's office, the medical examiner found that Turner's death was caused by an enlarged heart, and that chronic cocaine and morphine use contributed to her death.

COURT CONSIDERS CRUZ CITIZENSHIP CHALLENGE - POLITICO New York's Bill Mahoney: A debate in a state case considering whether or not Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is eligible to run for president didn't actually deal with the question of whether or not Cruz is eligible to run for president. All of the arguments in state Supreme Court in Albany on Thursday afternoon focused on whether or not the topic was something the court could address. Justice David Weinstein seemed skeptical, spending far more time questioning the lawyer for petitioners than Cruz's side.

--Cruz did have one loss in New York's primary pregame recently. The state Board of Elections' random drawing to determine candidates' ballot order placed him sixth out of six Republicans. Trump will appear first for Republicans, and Sanders' delegates will appear before Clintons. View the full ballot here:

HIGH SALARIES FOR NO ANSWERS-WGRZ's Michael Wooten: "For a seventh straight day, state representatives have refused to answer questions on why payments were late to contractors at the Riverbend site, which resulted in layoffs. Last Thursday, 2 On Your Side broke the story that layoffs were "imminent" because contractors were owed tens of millions of dollars. It took several more days for Empire State Development, SUNY Polytechnic and the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo to identify a funding source and get the money to LPCiminelli, the lead developer on the project. Officials expect all the laid-off workers will have returned to work by this coming Monday at the very latest. Many are already back on the job."

CHANGES MAY COME AFTER CITY HALL BLASTS CUOMO HOUSING BOND PLAN - POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: New York City's housing commissioner lambasted a proposal from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to alter the process of allocating affordable housing bonds as a "poison pill" and said the long-standing way of doing things was working fine.

In response, a spokeswoman for the governor indicated the proposal may be altered before it takes effect. Vicki Been issued her sharp critique during a budget hearing of the City Council's housing and buildings committee on Thursday. She added that 1,200 below-market-rate units were held up in New York City by the governor. That includes the 580-unit Crossings at Jamaica development in Queens, the mayor's office said. "We could be two years into working through a project ... and at the last minute the Public Authorities Control Board, one member, could say, 'I don't approve that project,'" Been said, referring to the proposed new approval process for using the housing bonds.

--Related: "Critics of Zoning Changes Ought to Give De Blasio More Credit" -- City Limits' Jerilyn Perine: "Since Mayor Koch, New York City mayors bold enough to commit to a housing plan each have been subject to the criticism that their plan didn't create or renovate enough housing, didn't do it fast enough, didn't reach the right populations (not enough for our poorest residents, not enough for the middle class), and that it negatively affected our existing neighborhoods with inappropriate scale, different building typologies, and unwelcome changes to the demographic makeup of the community.

"We should not therefore be surprised that some of these same issues have predictably arisen in response to Mayor de Blasio's Housing New York plan. That is not to say that it is unfair to complain that 200,000 units of preserved and newly constructed housing over 10 years in a city of our size is perhaps not enough. This is New York City, after all, a place where nothing that government does is ever enough and our greatest by product is disagreement. It must be acknowledged however, even by his critics, how significant the mayor's plan is and that it represents a massive commitment of city financial resources that must be welcomed."

ABOUT LAST NIGHT -- "Trump under siege: The Republican front-runner faced relentless attacks from his rivals and the Fox News moderators at Thursday night's debate," by POLITICO's Shane Goldmacher: "Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio teamed up in a last-ditch attempt to knock down Donald Trump in a chaotic and unruly debate on Thursday night that was all about the man who has rocked the Republican Party to its core. They hit Trump for donating to Hillary Clinton, for his electability, for his temperament, for hiring illegal immigrants, for manufacturing his company's clothing overseas and for a civil lawsuit that claims his Trump University fleeced vulnerable Americans. And Fox News joined the pile-on, playing video of Trump's flip-flops and fact-checking him in real time."

-- "Donald Trump was set up," by Gawker's Alex Pareene: "The word came in from our best-sourced Fox News Kremlinologists: Fox News had settled for Donald Trump. Roger Ailes had given up on the hapless Marco Rubio. Megyn Kelly was sounding conciliatory, granting that Trump appeared more and more presidential. Rupert Murdoch himself tweeted that the party would be "mad not to unify" around nominee Donald Trump. It worked: Donald Trump arrived, unsuspecting, for his ambush."

-- Ben Smith, on Twitter: "So it turns out that if you attack Trump, he kind of melts down. Imagine if GOPers had done it in the fall."

THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: The Mets got crushed by the Nationals, the Phillies throttled the Yankees, but please relax, this is pretend baseball.

In games that counted, Manhattan beat Marist, Army beat Colgate in men's basketball conference tournament action.

-- The day ahead: the Knicks are in Boston. The Nets are in Denver. Canisius faces Iona in the MAAC men's tournament.

BIRTHDAYS: Ken Lovett, Albany bureau chief of the Daily News ... Nick Reisman, reporter at Capital Tonight ...Tiffany Raspberry, founder and president of YorkGroup + Associates ... Saturday: Mike Nitzky, senior communications director at Students First NY ... Sunday: State Senator Kevin Parker of Brooklyn ... David Saltonstall, an aide to the city comptroller ... and Brooke Gladstone, co-host of WNYC's On the Media [h/t Facebook]

HAPPENING THIS WEEKEND - "Congresswomen [Cheri] Bustos and [Lois] Frankel will be traveling to New York this weekend to campaign for Anna Throne-Holst. The Congresswomen will host a fundraiser on Friday evening and another fundraiser on Saturday evening on Long Island. The Congresswomen will also help lead a Business Roundtable discussion on Women in Business with Anna Throne-Holst and local businesswomen and voters. They will discuss issues of concern such as equal pay for equal work and helping small businesses thrive."

#UpstateAmerica -- A woman was arrested in Buffalo for the fake license plate she made out of cardboard and paint, which looks like something out of an elementary school art classroom.

** 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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