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03/17/2016 07:00 AM EDT
By Azi Paybarah in Manhattan, Jimmy Vielkind in Albany, and Mike Allen in D.C., with Daniel Lippman
MINIMUM WAGE ADVOCATES SPEND $1.72M IN TWO MONTHS - POLITICO New York's Jimmy Vielkind: The labor-backed coalition assisting Gov. Andrew Cuomo's push to raise the state's minimum wage has spent $1.72 million this year on advertisements, tele-town halls, rallies and an RV tour that featured state commissioners and the governor himself. According to a filing with the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice spent the bulk of that money - $1.2 million - on television ads that have blanketed the state with a pitch for a $15 minimum wage and paid family leave, using the words of Cuomo's 1984 Democratic National Convention speech.
The ads come on top of a multi-city RV tour , where the current governor has headlined rallies in support of both proposals alongside union officials. According to the filing, a copy which was provided by MCCEJ and is still being processed by JCOPE, the rallies cost roughly $68,556, including $10,301 to rent the RV and $12,500 to have it painted a special red and blue. The $1.72 million was one of the largest totals disclosed in March lobbying reports during Cuomo's six years in office. http://politi.co/1R4r4WJ
FEDS INVESTIGATE PUBLIC HOUSING CONDITIONS -- Times' Mireya Navarro and William K. Rashbaum: "Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are conducting a sweeping investigation of environmental health and safety conditions, including cases of elevated blood lead levels, in public housing and homeless shelters and the possibility that the New York City housing and homeless agencies filed false claims to federal housing officials for payment related to the conditions. The investigation was disclosed on Wednesday in a letter from the office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, and in a judge's subsequent order, which were both filed in federal court." http://nyti.ms/1Veed9U
-- In November of 2015, Bharara's office asked NYCHA and the Department of Homeless Services to produce a wealth of information about possible lead poisoning and unsafe conditions in NYCHA housing and city shelters, including any records of addresses where residents with elevated blood-lead levels have been identified, along with the date that the identification was made. The order also sought dates of any environmental investigations conducted at the sites, the date that the investigations' results were given to property owners, and any dates for when the property was cleared of the environmental hazard. The order also sought similar information from the Department of Homeless Services. In addition, the order asked the health department to provide "all documents reflecting complaints of unsafe, unsanitary, or unhealthy conditions in NYCHA Public Housing or DHS Homeless Shelters," including any complaints about leaks, water damage, lead paint, rodents or insects, as well as any documents showing whether or not any city or state agency responded to, investigated, or evaluated the complaints. POLITICO New York's Laura Nahmias: http://politi.co/1pvnNsV
A DE BLASIO GROUP TO SHUTTER -- WSJ's Josh Dawsey: "Mayor Bill de Blasio and his top aides are winding down the Campaign for One New York, a political organization tied to him that has come under scrutiny for its donors and spending. The decision could be announced publicly later this month, according to people familiar with the matter, and the group is no longer raising money.
"People close to Mr. de Blasio say they believe the group has followed all rules and regulations, but they want to end political and ethical distractions, particularly ahead of a planned 2017 re-election bid for the mayor. City Hall aides have grown increasingly frustrated with media coverage of the group, according to people familiar with the matter, and Mr. de Blasio has told allies he wants the group to disband-at least for now. A spokesman for the group confirmed that it is closing, adding the organization was proud of its work raising money for the mayor's agenda on issues like universal prekindergarten." http://goo.gl/b3Zm9E
CUOMO'S RESTRUCTURING OF CUNY - POLITICO New York's Conor Skelding: Gov. Andrew Cuomo's director of state operations Jim Malatras announced Wednesday that the state would appoint a "management organization expert" to restructure the City University of New York's administration. "The state will appoint a management organization expert to restructure back office and administrative functions and present a comprehensive plan to the state for next year's budget. This will not only bring great savings to CUNY, but will look for shared services with SUNY," he said in the statement. Malatras said CUNY's administrative cost "is one of the highest in the nation" and that reforms would "provide even greater resources and services to students and the faculty." "Focus should be on the students and classrooms, not boardrooms and administration," he said. http://politi.co/1LrGFD4
-- The CUNY cost shift controversy intensified as Senator Ken LaValle said the Senate GOP needs to hear the "outrage" of Mayor Bill de Blasio and the CUNY Chancellor or the shift is on. The Senate further held CUNY state funding increases hostage stipulating that it must create a plan to address the anti-Semitic activities on campus. http://politi.co/1poAoh7
-- "In an unusual move, Sen. Marty Golden, [one of two] Senate Republicans who represent New York City, rebuked his fellow Republicans' proposal, calling it politically motivated. Pointing to the Anti-Defamation League's position, Mr. Golden said in an interview Wednesday that CUNY's response to allegations of anti-Semitism 'is not an issue at all. The issue here is a matter of funding, and we need that funding for our kids' future.' He said he believed the Senate was simply trying to pressure Democrats into agreeing to other proposals by threatening the funding cut." http://on.wsj.com/22nIRPT
** A message from The Business Council of New York State: One obscure law is holding New York back from economic opportunity and job creation. A law called Non-CPA Ownership is placing undue restrictions on who can take partner-level positions at auditing firms, and it's costing New Yorkers over 1,000 jobs and more than $6.5 million in state revenue. Learn more: www.fixnewyork.com. **
STILL NO EFFICIENCY SUMMIT - POLITICO New York's Laura Nahmias: With two weeks remaining until the April 1 deadline for the state's legislative leaders to approve a final budget, Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have not yet had a sit-down meeting to discuss the "reforms and efficiencies" both leaders have said they would find to help avert nearly $785 million in proposed cuts to the city's funding for CUNY schools and Medicaid, de Blasio said Wednesday. While de Blasio and members of his staff have been having "numerous conversations of a variety of types" with the governor, Senate majority leader John Flanagan and Assembly speaker Carl Heastie, along with their staffs, the mayor and governor still haven't sat down to talk over the CUNY and Medicaid cuts, the mayor told reporters during an unrelated press conference Wednesday afternoon. "In terms of conversations with the governor, we have offered to sit down on those efficiencies and reforms - the answer we've gotten is that that time is coming soon, but we still have not been given a venue to do that in, but we welcome it," de Blasio said. http://politi.co/1QZuGeM
SPOTTED: Rep. Steve Israel and former Rep. Tom Downey (D-NY) at Teds Bulletin in Eastern Market yesterday morning
VIDEO OF THE DAY: Housing activists demonstrate at the wrong budget hearing. http://bit.ly/1QZtUP8
ARCHIVED GEM OF THE DAY: "Maybe next time Lin-Manuel Miranda drops a rap at the White House, he can give a shout out to the FLOTUS' original DJ flow." WNYC's Lee Hernandez: http://goo.gl/Lsx1jr
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Assembly sergeant at arms Wayne Jackson, Monroe County Republican chairman Bill Reilich, former Capital Tonight host Brian Taffe, Albany Med spokesman Jeffrey Gordon and Buffalo activist Kevin Gaughan, CUNY-TV producer Steve CF Anderson , and the Storm Trooper from the Force Awakens, actor John Boyega. [h/t IMDB]
TABS -- Daily News: "Going for brokered! How GOP can stop Trump at contested convention; Donald threatens 'riots' if he's not nominee" -- Post: "MY SEX TAPE WITH HULK" -- SEE THEM: https://goo.gl/0lD9ZZ
-- Hamodia: "NYC is Upgrading Security at Its Homeless Shelters" -- El Diario [translated]: There will be new ferry service for the five boroughs. -- Newsday: "Crash that killed 4 women: LIMO DRIVER CHARGED" -- amNY: "GREEN DAY! Your guide to St. Patrick's Day in NYC" -- Metro: "'EACH OF US HAS A VOICE': Queens resident Angy Rivera, undocumented immigrant, sex assault survivor and activist will be honored next month by the American Immigration Council"
FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 1-col., above the fold: "G.O.P. Enters Shadow Race For Delegates" -- WSJNY, 5-col., above the fold: "Police Union Bolsters Its Forces: PBA hires consultants that ran Uber campaign as it takes on de Blasio and seeks higher pay"
TWEET OF THE DAY: "Dear SI: If you see a sign that says 'Welcome to Connecticut' on Richmond Parkway next week dont be alarmed, its temporary for a film shoot." -- Staten Island Borough President @HeyNowJO: https://goo.gl/iV1JlQ
ADVENTURES ON AIR: "That last caller told our screener he wanted to say, 'I've been a Rubio supporter but now I'll vote for Hillary.' Instead, it's the 'Trump has set this whole thing up so Hillary will get elected.' But, that's what you get in talk radio sometimes." -- WNYC's Brian Lehrer: http://goo.gl/7HmCuU
'HAMILTON,' THE APP -- "An iOS app launched Wednesday won't guarantee you a ticket to 'Hamilton,' but it'll make it easier to enter the lottery for the Broadway hit. Lukas Thoms, a 26-year-old app developer from Bushwick, created the Ham Lottery app after he watched the musical on Valentine's Day and was frustrated when he couldn't easily get tickets for another show. The app will store the information that is required for the ticket lottery, such as name, date of birth, Zip code and number of tickets, and auto-fill it anytime the user wants to enter for a chance for seats." amNY's Ivan Pereira: http://goo.gl/GbAc7R
--"Hamilton May Stay on the $10 Bill, Thanks to Help From Broadway," by Times' Michael Paulson: "Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of the hit Broadway musical 'Hamilton,' said on Wednesday that he had received assurances from Jacob J. Lew, secretary of the Treasury, that admirers of Alexander Hamilton would not be disappointed by a forthcoming redesign of the $10 bill. ... Mr. Miranda met with Mr. Lew on Monday, before a visit to the White House, and described the currency discussion briefly on Twitter on Wednesday, in response to a question from one of his Twitter followers." @Lin_Manuel: 'I talked to @USTreasury about this on Monday. Sec. Lew told me 'you're going to be very happy.'" http://nyti.ms/1SUWpjw
BUDGET CRUNCH: Go behind the scenes of state budget talks and get the details and analysis that you need to make well-informed decisions. POLITICO Pro New York, POLITICO New York's premium service, offers granular-level reporting that keeps its subscribers a step ahead. See whether you qualify for limited-time complimentary access to Pro.
SPEED READ -- "Wind Farm May Be Built Off Long Island," by Times' Tatiana Schlossberg: "An area in the windy waters off Long Island has been designated as a possible site for a wind farm, the federal government announced on Wednesday. New Yorkers will not be seeing offshore turbines anytime soon, however. The Interior Department and its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said they were moving toward auctioning a lease for the site, about 11 nautical miles off the coast of Long Beach and stretching about 26 nautical miles to the southeast." http://nyti.ms/1Roe914
--"Puerto Rico officials optimistic on collaboration with New York," by Jose E. Maldonado in City & State Magazine: "The collaboration between the governments of New York and Puerto Rico that began late last year with a visit by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is beginning to yield positive results in the areas of health care, tourism and commerce, according to officials involved in these initiatives. In October, a "dream team" of New York health officials announced in Puerto Rico that they would assist local officials in submitting a request to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for a waiver that would allow the island territory to implement changes in its public health care program that could alleviate its dire financial situation." http://bit.ly/1QZOGiE
'DOUBLE MARCH MADNESS' - Matt Hamilton in the Times Union: "In four of the past five years, state Sen. John DeFrancisco has dealt with double March Madness. As then-Senate Finance Chair, the Syracuse Republican has wrestled with state budgets up until the final days of the month. As a Syracuse basketball fan, he's watched his team go 9-4 in the Big Dance. ... At a Capitol where political hope springs eternal, the senator will be hoping his underdog team can pull the upset, same as other lawmakers during the first two rounds of the tournament Thursday through Sunday. Nearly a dozen will have district pride on the line. Four New York teams - Syracuse, Buffalo, Stony Brook and Iona, all of which are lower seeds - are in, with three of those teams playing Thursday (a legislative session day). What's more, games will be played in Brooklyn Friday and Sunday." http://bit.ly/1Pdsg81
JCOPE OPENS PANEPINTO INQUIRY - Buffalo News' Tom Precious: "The state's chief ethics agency has commenced an initial inquiry into complaints surrounding the office of Sen. Marc Panepinto, a Buffalo Democrat who on Tuesday made a surprise announcement that he would not seek a second term in Albany. The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) is looking into various undisclosed complaints, according to sources in Albany with direct knowledge of the matter. Panepinto, in an interview with The Buffalo News, insisted no formal investigation has been launched. 'No investigation can start unless they send me a 15-day notice letter. Right now, the JCOPE board meets March 22. They have to vote whether or not there'll be a notification letter sent out or an investigation started,' Panepinto, a lawyer, said in quoting the state law that created the ethics agency... Asked if there were any sexual harassment allegations ever brought to his attention by anyone who worked in his office, Panepinto said: 'I can't comment ... I've been advised by Senate personnel that until there is a completion of what they're going to do these are personnel issues that they have to deal with.'" http://bit.ly/1nPBbq7
-- Assemblyman Sean Ryan leads the field of possible Democratic candidates to replace Panepinto. http://bit.ly/1nPE1eS
SHELTER CRISIS CONTINUED -- Drug Use Rampant at City Homeless Shelters -- NY1's Courtney Gross: A review of almost 1,700 critical incident reports in shelters from last year shows that residents are found in possession of substances like 17 rolled cigarettes of synthetic marijuana, also known as K2; bags of crack cocaine; marijuana; a small bag of cocaine; K2 packed inside a Newport cigarette box; crack cocaine and a crack pipe; and heroin. According to our review, there were at least 31 overdoses at homeless shelters last year and 25 arrests for drug possession, use, or sale. SEE the video: http://bit.ly/1LrTc9z
-- NYC shelters plagued by domestic abuse, abandoned children, negligent parents: Documents obtained by the Daily News paint a harrowing portrait of family life inside city shelters, where kids are abandoned, domestic abuse is rampant and 18 children were removed from their parents at a single provider. The troubling incidents that led to so many children getting taken from their parents occurred in a cluster of Bronx apartments leased by the nonprofit Aguila Inc. to house homeless families. And they all happened in 2015, records show: In January, NYPD officers found two children, 6 and 8, left unattended in a locked room. After checking shelter video, cops determine the mother has been gone for nearly 24 hours. In February, city cops find five children - ages 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7 - home alone. The infant's diaper is soaked with urine. The children say they had cookies for breakfast. News' Dale W. Eisinger and Greg B. Smith: http://nydn.us/1nPXGeJ
POLICE STRATEGY SHIFT ON SUBWAY CRIME? -- DNAinfo's Murray Weiss: "The NYPD is considering revamping the way it fights crime in the subways in order to put more officers on trains to ease straphanger concerns following a jump in transit crime and a spate of frightening slashings, DNAinfo New York has learned. Top police brass grilled their transit commanders at their CompStat meeting last week about how they were deploying the bureau's 2,200 officers, and whether certain highly specialized units should be scrapped to increase police presence on the trains. The CompStat brass questioned whether to scrap the NYPD's subway gangs unit and other teams and instead shift resources away from watching turnstiles to riding trains. ... Serious crime in the subways has jumped 17 percent so far this year over 2015, from 358 incidents to 419 through last weekend. Police statistics also show since 2014 serious crime is down 2 percent, but is up nearly 15 percent since 2010, largely because of this year's double-digit rise." https://goo.gl/XY6o6T
MORE SCHOOLS FOR EVA -- Bed-Stuy, Far Rockaway -- Daily News' Ben Chapman: "Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy charter school network will open five new elementary schools and two new middle schools in August, company officials told the Daily News. The new elementary schools will enroll 750 new students in kindergarten and first grade, and grow from there. The middle schools, with sixth through eighth grades, will be added to existing Success Academy K-5 elementary schools. ... The new schools Moskowitz is opening are located in areas with many low-performing public schools, including Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and Far Rockaway, Queens. Like all of Moskowitz's Success Academy charter schools, the five new Success Academies will admit students by random lottery." http://goo.gl/9LqIjJ
LABOR LOSSES-"After fighting mayor's housing plan, labor comes up nearly empty," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg and Gloria Pazmino: "Mayor Bill de Blasio struck a deal on two of his housing plans with the City Council this week, after winning the support of a coalition that had consistently protested the proposals. He also neutralized the vocal opposition coming from construction unions. But it turns out those labor groups got very little in the final agreement. 'I would have liked to have seen a better plan for labor, with standards that are attached to any financing by the city,' Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley told POLITICO New York. ... Labor groups had several requests tied to the two housing plans, so they aligned themselves with - and funded - the Real Affordability for All coalition (RAFA), which had already been rallying against the proposals. Fresh off their temporary victory at the hands of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who blocked a deal on renewing the 421-a tax break because it didn't include a prevailing wage requirement unions wanted, they were hoping for a win at the city level. Partnering with housing activists was a marriage of convenience: the activists wanted more below-market-rate apartments and the unions wanted the assurance of jobs and safety training programs to build them. ... In the end, neither got much of anything in the final deal. But the trades fared worse." http://politi.co/1pMyS90
ALL ABOARD -- NYC selects Hornblower Cruises to operate 5-borough ferry service -- News' Jennifer Fermino: "San Francisco-based Hornblower Cruises won the bid to operate the city's upcoming five-borough ferry service, which is expected to carry 4.6 million trips when fully up and running in 2018. Hornblower beat out a consortium of local ferry operators for the $30 million contract because its bid was better on 'many levels,' including a guarantee to dock its ferries in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Mayor de Blasio said. He also stressed that the company is already the largest ferry service provider in New York, and said its bid was cheaper than any of the competitors." http://goo.gl/yzVbHB
-- De Blasio hails his ferry service, and springs to its defense: Mayor Bill de Blasio is tired of critics carping about his citywide ferry plan, something he considers both "history"-making and an "absolute game changer" for New Yorkers who live in neighborhoods with bad transit options. On Wednesday, de Blasio predicted the ferry, which will expand the existing East River Ferry network farther into Brooklyn, Queens, up the shore of Manhattan and into Rockaway, would provide 4.5 million trips a year to 12,000 riders a day. "That's a lot," de Blasio said. "Anywhere else in the country, that would get the attention it deserves." Here in New York City, where New Yorkers took more than 1.7 billion subway trips in 2014, de Blasio's plan has in fact won positive attention, as well as a smattering of criticism that it's too costly an endeavor for too little impact. http://politi.co/1MocMy8
IRELAND BOUND -- POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will lead a five council member delegation on a trip to Ireland next week to meet with Irish officials. Council members Danny Dromm, Elizabeth Crowley, Jimmy van Bramer, Corey Johnson and Julissa Ferreras-Copeland will travel alongside the speaker on the trip, which is being paid for by the Council for American-Ireland Relations. The delegation is scheduled to travel to Dublin and Belfast and meet with Ireland and Northern Ireland officials, including Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann from the National Parliament of Ireland, Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton and the Lord Mayor of Dublin Críona Ní Dhálaigh. The members have been invited to visit the University of Dublin, Trinity College, tour the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks and attend an event to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising. They will also attend a state reception hosted by the Taoiseach, or prime minister, Enda Kenny. http://politi.co/1ppkBP3
MEDIA MORNING -- "Jeff Zucker on Trump Rise: 'The Front-Runner Is Always Going to Get a Disproportionate Amount of Attention,'" by TVNewser's Chris Ariens: "Does CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker feel responsible for the rise of Donald Trump? 'I don't, because he has been the front-runner of the Republican party since he announced last June,' said Zucker during an intimate lunch meeting with reporters ... Just as Hillary Clinton got the lion's share of attention in the Democratic race early on, 'the front-runner of the party is always going to get a disproportionate amount of attention,' he said." http://bit.ly/1M9PPnz
REAL ESTATE -- WRIGHT'S 421-a PLAN -- Daily News' Greg Smith: "With a thumbs up from both developers and construction unions, the head of the Assembly's Housing Committee, Keith Wright, Wednesday proposed a replacement for the tax-break known as 421-a. Much criticized, 421-a once gave developers huge 25-year tax breaks but didn't require all of them to build affordable units. It expired early this year after Mayor de Blasio pushed to expand its affordable housing requirements and unions pushed for prevailing wages on these projects. Wright's bill would replace 421-a's tax breaks with an outright taxpayer subsidy of up to $100,000 per affordable unit and $25 million for senior housing. 'It's a win-win,' Wright said. 'It's filling the void that's been created by the lack of 421-a and we're taking a different philosophical slant.' Wright estimates it will cost $200 million a year, funded by a $14 billion abandoned property fund. By comparison, 421-a used to cost the city $1 billion in foregone taxes every year." http://goo.gl/Kux2qy
AGREEMENT BREACHED-"Carlton Group sues Bizzi, Shvo over commission at 125 Greenwich," by The Real Deal's E.B. Solomont: "With the ink barely dry on financing for Bizzi & Partners and Michael Shvo's planned tower at 125 Greenwich Street, the Carlton Group has filed a lawsuit against the developers and is seeking nearly $4 million worth of unpaid commission. The Howard Michaels-led firm is alleging that Bizzi and Shvo breached an exclusive agreement made with the company in 2014 to raise acquisition and pre-development financing for the 91-story condominium skyscraper in the Financial District, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in New York State Supreme Court. According to the complaint, Carlton secured $221 million worth of initial financing for the project in August 2014. In January, the developer closed on $174 million worth of financing via EB-5, the controversial program that offers foreign investors a U.S. green card in exchange for kicking in $500,000." http://bit.ly/22leKw2
SELLING SHORT-"Essex Street Market vendors will get cheap rent in 2018-but they may not be able to survive until then," by Crain's Hilary Potkewitz: "Three years ago, the city selected Delancey Street Associates to build the nine-block, $1.1 billion Essex Crossing residential, commercial and retail project on the Lower East Side. That's when things went south for the vendors at the Essex Street Market, the indoor bazaar across the street that was created by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in 1940. 'Foot traffic has taken a nosedive, because everybody in the city thinks it's already closed or is closing any day now,' said Rhonda Kave, owner of Roni-Sue Chocolates. The developers have said the vendors would move to their new digs in 2018. But some won't make it. Last year, four of the 25 vendors folded. Kave shuttered her booth in February after eight years to focus on her Forsyth Street store. Now vendors see some hope. After months of negotiations, the city's Economic Development Corp. agreed to hand control of the markets' promotions to the Lower East Side Partnership." http://bit.ly/22leJs7
THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: The day ahead: NCAA men's basketball tournament begins at noon. Among local teams, Iona faces Iowa State at 2, Buffalo faces Miami at 6:50, while Seton Hall takes on Gonzaga at 9:57. The Nets are in Chicago. The Rangers are in Los Angeles.
#UpstateAmerica: Obama picked number 12 seed UAlbany to to knock off number 5 Florida during the NCAA women's basketball tournament opener. http://bit.ly/22nJCZx
** A message from The Business Council of New York State: You've probably never heard of Non-CPA Ownership - but you should know that it's costing New York an estimated $6.5 million in state revenue and over 1,000 jobs. New York is one of the only states in the country that restricts appraisers, actuaries, IT specialists, tax pros, and other financial sector professionals from taking partner-level positions at accounting firms.
The ability to fully integrate non-CPA experts into the culture of a firm by offering them partner-level positions is in the public interest. The average accounting firm partner salary is over $450,000 - that's nearly $6.5 million in tax revenue New York is leaving on the table. Even worse, competitor states like CT and NJ have already passed favorable non-CPA ownership rules. New York is being left behind. Learn more at www.fixnewyork.com. **
FOR MORE political and policy news from New York, check out Politico New York's home page:
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