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POLITICO New York Playbook: DE BLASIO housing plan headed for Council approval -- Albany's mystery investment fund -- EV WILLIAMS' Medium spinoff

03/22/2016 07:35 AM EDT

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

IN THE ZONE - "Once rebuffed, mayor's housing plans likely to win City Council support," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: "After months battling community boards, borough presidents, the city comptroller, construction unions and housing activists over two affordable housing proposals that he sees as central to his legacy, Mayor Bill de Blasio is poised for victory on Tuesday. The 51-member City Council is almost certain to approve the mayor's two-tiered plan by a substantial margin, ushering in a policy that would mandate below-market-rate apartments when developers take advantage of a city-issued rezoning, while rewriting the 55-year-old zoning code to enable more residential development. The vote will mark a political success for a mayor whose alliance with the council has slackened recently, as well as a policy win on an issue that underwent significant changes during negotiations with the council in recent weeks. The plans have enlivened a citywide debate about gentrification. Critics believe the mayor is hastening it by encouraging more development in downtrodden neighborhoods; de Blasio argues those areas are going to attract builders anyway, and without government involvement, residents are certain to be priced out."

-- AARP Emerges as Key De Blasio Ally -- Gotham Gazette's Ben Max: "There are about 800,000 AARP members in New York City and Mayor Bill de Blasio has been arm-in-arm with them of late. The organization has come out in strong support of key pieces of de Blasio's affordable housing agenda and his plan to create a city-run retirement savings program for private sector workers. De Blasio has sought and embraced the support, frequently engaging with AARP members and regularly citing AARP's endorsement as validation for his housing plan, specifically controversial changes to the city's zoning rules that he is negotiating through the City Council. On Tuesday, the Council will pass changes to the zoning code that AARP supports as essential to creating more affordable housing for seniors. Not only is AARP helpful in the near-term as de Blasio builds support for his policies, but older voters are also an important bloc as de Blasio heads toward a 2017 re-election bid."

NO WRITTEN GUIDELINES FOR DISCRETIONARY FUND - POLITICO New York's Jimmy Vielkind: There are no written guidelines or specific application procedures for the Transformative Investment Fund, a $400 million pool created last year by former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. After three months, the agency overseeing the discretionary fund - Empire State Development - answered a request for information about how four projects in New York City were awarded TIF money with a series of documents that made no specific mention of the fund and were all produced before its first appropriation in 2015. Officials at the authority have not explicitly explained how they selected the subsidized projects - Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, the Kingsbridge National Ice Center in the Bronx as well as Empire Outlets and Lighthouse Point on Staten Island - except to say that state-created Regional Economic Development Councils and local legislators, in theory, have some influence. The documents, provided to POLITICO New York in response to a Freedom of Information Law request, outlined procedures for funding through the REDCs, where groups or businesses seeking subsidies fill out a single, consolidated application that is considered for funding from a variety of state sources. The dearth of specific procedures for the TIF is coming to light as discretionary funds have come under criticism by good-government groups and some legislators after Skelos and his partisan opposite, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, were convicted last year of trading official favors for kickbacks to themselves or their children.

DONALD AND JARED -- "Trump says his son-in-law Jared Kushner helped him with his #AIPAC speech." -- @OliviaNuzzi:

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I have noticed in the last couple of months he has tried to be more attuned to things like cleaning up the streets and getting rid of some of the homeless and trying to show up on time for things." -- Rudy Giuliani on de Blasio, during remarks to the Columbia University College Republicans, last night. via POLITICO New York's Conor Skelding.

BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I think there's no question Mayor de Blasio is on the verge of a legacy-defining victory." -- Khan Shoeib, on NY1:

PICTURE OF THE DAY: GOP operatives Michael Caputo and John Haggerty sent Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, Marco Rubio's New York chair, funeral flowers draped by a "beloved candidate" ribbon. "Nicole," they wrote, "Our condolences on your loss of Marco. Hope you are doing okay."

STAT OF THE DAY: 273 -- Number of NYPD officers on modified duty, as of March 21, 2016, up from 212 last month: POLITICO New York:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: DEC spokesman Sean Mahar, Times Union columnist Jennifer Gish, managing director at Mercury Public Affairs Jonathan Greenspun ... DNAinfo reporter and photographer Ben Fractenberg ... transportation reporter for The Verge, Andy Hawkins.

TABS -- Post: "O CHE CA YOUSEE?" -- Daily News: "DEVIL'S RAPE DEN: Inside his lair of alleged frost-boy abuse; Kept VHS porn and bizarre doll collection" -- El Diario [translated]: Lift the embargo -- SEE THEM:

-- Newsday: "NEW REGENTS CHANCELLOR: I'D OPT MY KIDS OUT OF TESTS" -- Hamodia: "Board of Regents Elects Common Core Critics as Chancellor" -- amNY: "CHEW-BER: Now, Uber will deliver for to you from more than 100 NYC restaurants" -- Metro: "Dancing in the dark"

FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 3-col., below the fold: "Most Republican Say '16 Race is Embarrassing" -- WSJNY: "Regents Elect Chancellor: New chief is critical of the state exams but aims to improve them; critics underscore rigor"

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO FUN CITY? -- "This Video May Change Your Mind About The Subway's Showtime Dancers": Gothamist's Jen Carlson: "if you can't appreciate some kids dancing on your commute home after a long day, do you even enjoy life? ... Maybe this video-which aims to document 'a changing city that is losing culture and character' -will change your mind about hearing those two beautiful words: 'IT'S SHOOOOOOWWWWTIME!' ... The short, called "Erosion," features dancers Dayrome "Bad Day" Wright, Kester "Flexx" Estephane, Anthony 'Laiden' John and Makaveli Qu, and is a collaboration between Brandon Bloch, Tim Sessler and Brandon Bray." SEE THE VIDEO:

-- "Four Sets of Identical Twins Staged a Time Travel Prank on an NYC Subway" Gizmodo's Jennifer Ouellette:

JESSE EISENBERG WANTS CORY BOOKER FOR PRESIDENT -- Page Six's Ian Mohr: "'After walking the red carpet, Jesse came back out of the theater just to meet Sen. Cory Booker,' said a spy at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday. The red carpet was 465 feet long. New Jersey-raised Eisenberg was 'telling Booker what an honor it was to meet him, and that he was seeing the movie. He asked, 'Can you save us and run for president?'"

THEIR AGENDA IN ALBANY -- POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: The City Council on Monday released its legislative and state budget agenda for the upcoming fiscal year, placing among its priorities raising the minimum wage to $15, enacting paid family leave, passing the Dream Act and opposing cuts to CUNY and Medicaid funding. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito led a council delegation to Albany to deliver the agenda in person, alongside finance chair Julissa Ferreras and state and federal legislation chair Karen Koslowitz. ... Council officials confirmed the speaker met with Cuomo, Heastie, Flanagan and Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the head of the Senate's Democratic conference. Officials did not disclose details of the meetings but said conversations were focused on the council's legislative priorities for the upcoming session.

-- New York Post: "Mark-Viverito lobbies for funding in place of unpopular de Blasio"

REGENTS: NEW LEADERSHIP, AN OPT OUT AGENDA, TEACHER EVALS ISSUES RESURFACE - POLITICO New York's Keshia Clukey: The state Board of Regents voted Monday morning to make Bronx-based board member Betty Rosa its new leader. Rosa, who has been on the 17-member board since 2008, will be the first Latina woman to become Regents chancellor when her three-year term begins April 1. She will replace 20-year-board veteran and Common Core champion Merryl Tisch. The board also appointed Rochester Regent T. Andrew Brown, in an anonymous vote, as vice chancellor, replacing Tony Bottar, who represents the Mohawk Valley.

-- Rosa already has found herself in the middle of the Common Core battle, telling reporters at a news conference that if she had an eligible student in the school system right now, she would opt her child out of the state standardized, Common Core-aligned exams. The chancellor-elect made it clear the board won't be the same under her leadership. "We as a board must move from what was the so-called, as people like to label it, 'reform,'" she said."I say welcome the transformers."

-- Despite Cuomo's turnaround on evaluations and the Regents' moratorium on the use of student test scores in teacher evaluations, districts still must put an evaluation system in place to receive state funding.

CUNY CHAIR, CHANCELLOR UNSURE OVER STATE BUDGET -- POLITICO New York's Conor Skelding: Top administrators at the City University of New York said Monday they are not yet sure how the state budget process will be resolved without cuts to the university or additional costs to the city.

"The conversation about the future of CUNY has been dominated by huge risks to our budget, and rumors of governance changes," chairman Benno Schmidt said during a meeting of the university's board on Monday. The 2016-2017 New York state executive budget proposed shifting $485 million of the state's annual CUNY funding to the city, while providing $240 million to help settle our outstanding labor contracts, our university's highest priority. The city immediately rejected assuming this budget obligation. "The governor has promised that CUNY's budget will not be cut, but it is, at this point, unclear how funding for CUNY and the much-needed investments to settle contracts for CUNY's faculty and staff will be resolved," he said.

SCHNEIDERMAN REACHES DFS CEASE FIRE - Buffalo News' Tom Precious: "The biggest daily fantasy online sports betting companies have agreed to stop doing business with New York State residents, state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced Monday. DraftKings and FanDuel also have agreed to halt their legal challenge to Schneiderman if the companies lose in an coming decision by an appeals court in Manhattan.The companies, however, are not abandoning efforts to try to add a provision to state law stating that daily fantasy sports contests are legal. Republicans in the Senate have proposed such a provision as part of state budget talks that are underway in Albany. "As I've said from the start, my job is to enforce the law, and starting today, DraftKings and FanDuel will abide by it," Schneiderman said in a statement. The sides also agreed to an "expedited path" to resolve the court fight should the State Legislature legalize daily fantasy sports by June 30, or if the companies lose their court case."

WILL HE OR WON'T HE? -- Norwood News's David Cruz: "His innuendos were obvious, if not passive aggressive. But there he stood, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. spending 45 minutes in his seventh State of the Borough address chastising the de Blasio Administration for a number of perceived missteps. For political observers, it was a diatribe that once again stoked the burning question. Does Mr. Diaz want to be mayor of New York City? Can he really run the city? It's an elephant in the room nurtured by daily speculation from inquisitive media and its propensity for validation. Though coy on the prospect, Mr. Diaz hasn't stopped reporters from letting loose on his mayoral ambitions, a frequent question raised in each interview, including this one. In every instance, his answer is never as simple as yes or no.

"You guys would want me to say I want to be mayor, badly," said Mr. Diaz, chuckling inside his polished conference room, an ad hoc trophy center. 'They like this. The media like this.'"

TRANSPO BEAT -- M.T.A., as Victim, Wants Transit Thief's Profits From Hollywood Movie Deal -- NYT's Emma G. Fitzsimmons: "For more than three decades, Darius McCollum's transit exploits have appeared in police reports and newspapers. Then came the news this month that his story might be turned into a movie starring Julia Roberts. But on Monday, officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said that they would move to recover any profits he would earn from the film because the agency had been a victim of his crimes.

"It was the latest chapter in the tale of Mr. McCollum, New York City's famed train and bus thief. Mr. McCollum, who has Asperger's syndrome, is currently in jail at Rikers Island on charges that he stole a Greyhound bus from the Port Authority Bus Terminal last fall. A spokesman for the authority, Kevin Ortiz, said it would try to recoup any "ill-gotten gains he receives from participation in this purported film project." The agency called upon the producers to notify New York State's Office of Victim Services about the details of their financial arrangement with Mr. McCollum, who will turn 51 next Monday."

ALREADY? -- "The Thrill is Gone: NYC's Newest Subway Station Is Leaking" -- WNYC's Kate HInds: "The 34th Street-Hudson Yards station opened to great fanfare last September. The first new subway station in over 25 years, it's meant to do great things - namely, anchor the city's redevelopment of the far West Side. So it's a bit of the buzzkill for the agency to have the crown jewel of the system be described in the press as a mess. Specifically, 'a crumbling hot mess,' 'a disgusting, moldy mess,' or a just plain 'watery mess.'"

BRATTON: MORE ANALYSIS OF KNIFE-RELATED CRIMES -- POLITICO New York's Azi Paybarah: There have been 153 more stabbings, slashings and cuttings in New York City so far this year compared to last year, a 20 percent increase, according to NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton, who told lawmakers Monday that he and the mayor will unveil on Tuesday a new strategy to address the problem. Bratton did not reveal many details of the coming announcement, but he told reporters it will have "more distinctive definitions," of those crimes.

Bratton made the remarks after testifying for two-and-a-half hours at the New York City Council's Public Safety Committee budget hearing ... While Bratton took on the stabbings problem, he was less eager to take responsibility for another issue: crime in homeless shelters. ... "We are not policing those hotels" and "have no intentions of policing those hotels," Bratton said.


-- Daily News wins an award for Garner coverage: The New York Daily News' video team won an Emmy on Saturday for their reporting on the anniversary of Eric Garner's death.

News Head of Video Michael Sheridan took first place at the 59th annual New York Emmy Awards. He was nominated in the Crime category for his piece "'I Can't Breathe': Eric Garner, One Year Later."

-- Backstory: "All too clearly, [accused slasher Gregory] Alfred needed continued care in a psychiatric institution. Accountability for why he didn't get it is buried in Alfred's secret case files." Daily News editorial:

-- Opinion: "Black Lives Matter wins two: In Chicago and Cleveland, the movement brings down incumbent prosecutors." Errol Louis in the Daily News:

THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: The day ahead: the Hornets and old friend Jeremy Lin come to Brooklyn. The Sabres are in Raleigh.

CHECKING IN-"Marriott to Acquire Starwood After Second Bid for $13.6B," by Commercial Observer's Danielle Balbi: "After nearly being outbid by Chinese insurer Anbang Insurance Group, Marriott International ended a weekend of nail biting with a $13.6 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide today. The merger will create 'the world's largest hotel company,' according to a statement from Marriott. The deal tops last Friday's bid from Anbang of $13.2 billion, or roughly $78 per share, as CNBC first reported. The insurance giant planned on partnering with J.C. Flowers & Co. and China-based Primavera Capital Group to provide Starwood with a fully financed proposal. Marriott had had until March 28 to propose a higher buy-out, and if the deal fell through, Starwood would have been required to pay a termination fee of $400 million in cash to its former suitor."

MIC DROP-"Digital News Startup MIC Signs 10.5-year Lease at 1 WTC," by POLITICO New York's Sterne: "Digital news startup Mic has signed a 10.5-year lease for the entire 82nd floor of 1 World Trade Center, the Durst Organization confirmed on Monday. Mic reporter Jack Smith IV tweeted photos from the company's new 36,000-square foot space. The millennial media company is currently housed in a 15,000-square foot converted warehouse in Hudson Square. Both The Real Deal and the New York Post reported in December that Mic was close to signing the lease. The World Trade Center area has become a magnet for media companies over the last few years. Condé Nast moved to 1 WTC, Time Inc. moved to Brookfield Place, the New York Observer moved to 1 Whitehall St. and Vox Media has announced plans to move from 40th St., near Bryant Park, to 85 Broad St."

NEW MATTER-"Medium spins off Matter into new company owned by Ev Williams," by Joe Pompeo: "The self-publishing service and social network Medium is spinning off a prominent web publication that it has owned and hosted for the past three years.

Matter, which publishes long-form, magazine-style articles, announced Monday that it is leaving Medium to become a standalone company called Matter Studios that will be wholly owned and funded by Ev Williams, the web entrepreneur who created Medium in 2012 following his success as a co-founder of Twitter."

HOME RUN-"Upper East Side site, part of major real estate dynasty's estate, sold for $64 million," by Crain's Daniel Geiger: "A residential development site on the Upper East Side has sold for $64.3 million. A partnership between developers Chance Gordey and Steve Mills bought 1179 Second Ave., an L-shaped lot that wraps around the corner of East 62nd Street, from the estate of Aghadjan Elghanayan, who died in 2003 and is an uncle to the founders of Rockrose Development and TF Cornerstone. The vacant parcel can accommodate up to 87,650 square feet of residential and ground-floor retail space. The site was part of a portfolio of three properties that were recently sold by Elghanayan's estate. S.W. Management purchased the two other properties, a pair of rental buildings at 355 E. 72nd St. and 250 E. 63rd St., for $310 million, according to The Real Deal."

#UpstateAmerica: When Donald Trump visited Buffalo in 1992, he was garbed in clothing that remains uniquely popular in Western New York: Zubaz shorts.

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

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