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POLITICO New York Playbook: MINIMUM WAGE hike slowdown? -- MMA clears Albany hurdle -- CRUZ vs. DE BLASIO

03/23/2016 07:15 AM EDT

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

LONGER RAMP UP FOR MINIMUM WAGE? - POLITICO New York's Jimmy Vielkind: Republican senators huddled Tuesday to discuss potential changes to a proposed minimum wage increase, including some that would extend the implementation beyond the five years currently proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. News of the longer phase-in ricocheted around the Capitol, with three sources saying Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan briefed his ruling GOP conference on a six-year schedule - an idea the sources said originated in closed-door talks with the governor and Assembly leaders - and Cuomo himself using the number while speaking to reporters in Niagara Falls. But the longer ramp-up to $15 an hour was immediately rebuked by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, and Cuomo's aides rapidly explained that the governor was referring to his original, five-year phase-in using different verbiage.

AS SHELTER POPULATION GREW, SO DID HOMELESS DEATHS - POLITICO New York's Laura Nahmias and Brendan Cheney: At least 212 homeless people, including seven infants under the age of one year, died in New York City from a variety of causes included drug overdoses, heart failure, and exposure to the cold during the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2015. The statistics come from the city's 10th annual report on homeless deaths..."Any death, sheltered or unsheltered is certainly tragic," Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks said in an interview with POLITICO New York.

"The numbers show what the reality has been, which is that the shelter system, between January 2011 and January 2014, increased by 14,000 people. And the numbers of deaths in shelter proportionally increased as the census of the system exploded between 2011 and 2014, by 14,000 people," Banks said. "The data confirms the harsh reality of that 14,000 person growth between 2011 and 2014."

IN THE ZONE-"Council overwhelmingly approves de Blasio's plan to rezone the city," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg and Gloria Pazmino: "After months of opposition throughout the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to require below-market-rate housing when developers get city-issued rezonings won a decisive victory in the City Council on Tuesday. Paired with a proposal to overhaul the city's 55-year-old zoning code, the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing plan passed by a vote of 42-5 and will take effect in the coming days. Zoning for Quality and Affordability, which enables more residential development, passed 40-6 with one abstention. The housing requirement exempts buildings with fewer than 10 units and allows those with 11-25 apartments to instead pay into a city-run affordable housing fund. The policy offers four options targeting varied income brackets to adhere to the different market conditions throughout the city. Proponents, including de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, hailed the proposals as a historic reform to the way city government handles rezonings, which allow developers to build taller and denser but currently do not require any affordable housing in return."

-- The drama of the vote: Moments into the roll call in City Hall's Council Chambers, several dozen protesters who believe the plan does not provide enough affordable housing chanted "City Council vote no! MIH has got to go!" After they ignored instructions to quiet down, they were escorted out. But six of them had glued their hands to each other and would not leave. ... After the balcony was cleared, without any arrests, the meeting continued. WHAT THE POLICY MEANS:

-- "De Blasio's Affordable-Housing Plan Is His Obamacare: Imperfect but Monumental" -- NYmag's Justin Davidson:

-- Deal making: "One person close to the mayor said the administration was willing to 'basically do whatever it took to make this happen.'" -- WSJ's Josh Dawsey and Mara Gay:

-- AP's Jonathan Lemire: "'Anytime there is a rezoning of a neighborhood or of a single building site, affordable housing will be required as part of whatever new is built,' said de Blasio, a Democrat. 'For the first time, the rules of the game have been changed to really benefit the people and not just the real estate developers.'"

MMA CLEARS THE ASSEMBLY - POLITICO New York's Kassie Parisi: After a lengthy debate, the New York State Assembly passed a bill Tuesday that would legalize and regulate mixed martial arts in the state. The bill passed 113 in favor, 25 against. The bill (A2604), which soared through four committees earlier in the day, is sponsored by Assemblyman Joe Morelle. It would authorize combative sports when they're conducted under the supervision of the New York State Athletic Commission. It would also establish prohibited conduct in MMA and implement protections for those who are seriously injured as a result of MMA. Clearing the Assembly was a major hurdle in the sport's legalization. The state Senate passed a bill legalizing MMA earlier this year, 48-14.

-- On a conference call with reporters, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said he hopes to hold two MMA bouts in New York by year's end - one in New York City and one "anywhere from Buffalo to Syracuse, Rochester or maybe even Utica."

-- Cuomo said mixed martial arts have an economic "upside" and indicated he would sign the bill.

-- Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell: "Two half-naked hot men rolling around in a cage trying to dominate each other. It's basically gay porn, only with a different ending."

-- Jesse McKinley notes that MMA is part of an overall effort to permit and tax sin.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "This is like Chauncey Gardner in Being There saying the same dumb thing over and over again and the same 35 percent of the people voting for him." -- Anthony Weiner on Donald Trump, via NY1's "Inside City Hall":

BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "This is a frightening confirmation of what many of us have been saying for years. That this was a real attempt by government to demonize and criminalize a race of people." -- Al Sharpton, on recently published interview from a former Nixon aide, who said the "War on Drugs" was meant to target "the antiwar left and black people." via Daily News' Adam Edelman:

TWEET OF THE DAY: "Ah, guys, this photo is pretty clearly doctored. #ethics" -- de Blasio aide @Rob_Bennett, who retweeted Gov. Andrew Cuomo's picture of One World Trade, lit to honor Belgium:

DELETED TWEET OF THE DAY: @NYGovCuomo "We're correcting past mistakes. Everyone agreed Robert Moses needed to go but everyone also said we can't do it. We're saying yes we can."

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Vallone, Jr., Queens Criminal Court judge and a former Councilman from Astoria; Stephanie Valle, chief of staff to Rep. Chris Gibson; political consultants Lynn Krogh and Michael Caputo. From WNYC's 2010 profile of Caputo: "He's run campaigns in Russia, survived a plane crash near Siberia, lived on a boat in Key West, and before this campaign, hadn't worn shoes in four years, nor a suit in five years."

TABS -- Daily News: "TERROR IN BRUSSELS: How can we stop this? Experts doubt airports or subways can be made safer against attacks" and "WAR ON BLACKS: Nixon administration invented anti-drug campaign to target minorities: adviser" -- Post: "LINE GOES DEAD: NY sibs missing in Belgium ISIS blast" -- amNY: 'READY TO FIGHT': After Brussels attack, de Blasio says NYC prepared for any terror threat" -- El Diario [translated]: #Terrorism: How long? New York lights security alerts after attacks on Brussels that left 30 dead. Users of the metro express concern. Editorial: The threat of extremist groups -- SEE THEM:

-- Metro: "BANDING WITH BRUSSELS" -- Hamodia: "Belgian Terror Shocks Jewish Community"

FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 4-col., below the fold: "In Campaign, Walking a Tightrope Over the Fight Against ISIS" -- WSJNY, 4-col., above the fold: "Land Deal Is Examined: Comptroller questions decision by city agency to deed restrictions; sale netted $72 million"

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR HOOSICK FALLS?-POLITICO New York's Scott Waldman: This town knows from hardship. Like many upstate communities, it has seen jobs disappear for generations as factories closed down, one by one, lured away by the promise of cheaper costs or simply shuttered, their products no longer wanted or needed. But when the federal government announced late last year that the town's water supply was tainted and dangerous to use, it was a blow of a very different sort. The factory closings cost jobs. The poisoned water might cost lives.

Now, Hoosick Falls , a town of some 4,000 people, is the site of New York's worst environmental disaster in years. Television news crews and print reporters are an almost daily presence on the town's main thoroughfare, Route 22, and men, women and children unaccustomed to the spotlight are growing tired of once again being asked to describe how they feel about the poison in their water supply.

-- Meanwhile, no one connected to a water source that tested positive can drink from their faucet, weeks after filters were installed.

LAGUARDIA VOTE AT THE PORT - POLITICO New York's Dana Rubinstein: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is taking a big vote on the redevelopment of LaGuardia airport on Thursday, and thanks to mounting tensions between the New York and New Jersey sides of the famously fractious bi-state agency, no one's quite sure how it will go. But one thing seems certain: the Port's chairman has his doubts. "I'm not arguing that we shouldn't do LaGuardia, because I think it's critically important, but I'm not going to support it in the current configuration," said John Degnan, an appointee of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. It's not clear precisely what configuration would be acceptable to Degnan, but the rebuild is a centerpiece of Cuomo's infrastructure agenda - he has made it the focus of several press conferences, some with Vice President Joe Biden, who famously compared the airport to a Third World facility.

GEORGINA BLOOMBERG ON AVOIDING A TRUMP CONTEST -- Page Six's Ian Mohr: "'I obviously think he would have been great at it,' Georgina revealed online to W magazine about the aborted run. 'But as his daughter, I am very grateful he did not enter it just because I've been through campaigns, and the mud-slinging before on a much smaller level, and it was not something I was really looking forward to being involved with on a much larger level. ... I've learned to separate the politician from the man, because it's something I always had to do with my father ... Trump and his family have always been very close [to me]. I'm good friends with his kids. I was not looking forward to having to watch our fathers go against each other.'"

WASHINGTON AND URBAN AMERICA -- "Feds to City: Drop Dead (Again)" -- -- Observer's Jillian Jorgensen: "Four decades after Washington gave the thumbs-down to a city bailout, federal funding has diminished to a trickle. Now Bill de Blasio and mayors nationwide are taking matters into their own hands. ... In 1978, just a few years after the Daily News famously summed up President Gerald Ford's response to the city's fiscal crisis as 'drop dead,' 22.7 percent of New York's budget came from federal aid, according to an analysis from Mr. de Blasio's office. But that figure began to fall quickly in the trickle-down 1980s, landing at 11 percent by 1988. There have been periodic spikes-in the early aughts, in response to the September 11, 2001, terror attacks; in 2010, with the injection of federal stimulus dollars; in 2013, with money meant to reimburse the city for the cost of Hurricane Sandy. But overall, the trend is strikingly down: in 2015-when the city budget was $75 billion-the federal government only chipped in 8.9 percent. The city predicts that the figure will continue to fall in the out-years."

CRUZ DISSES DE BLASIO, PRAISES BLOOMBERG -- CBS News's Alan He: "Firing back at critics of his call, in the wake of the Brussels terror attacks, for US law enforcement to be empowered to "patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized," Cruz slammed de Blasio for ending a controversial NYPD program that allegedly targeted Muslim Americans for surveillance.

"Calling that program, known as the Demographics Unit, a model, Cruz accused the mayor of putting political correctness above public safety. 'You would continue the proactive policing that we saw here in New York,' Cruz said of his plan. 'You would reinstate the program that mayor de Blasio cancelled because political correctness was more important to him than protecting our safety ...' For the second day in a row, Cruz complimented former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a staunch defender of the Demographics Unit, which Cruz said worked 'cooperatively with the Muslim community to prevent radicalization.' On Monday, Cruz complimented Bloomberg at the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. for flying to Israel in 2014 in the midst of the FAA's temporary flight ban after rockets landed near Ben Gurion International Airport."

CRUZ ON SURVEILLANCE: "In New York City, Mayor de Blasio succumbed to unfounded criticisms and eliminated the efforts of law enforcement to work with Muslim communities to stop radical Islamic terrorism," said Cruz spokeswoman Alice Stewart, via Washington Post:

THE RESPONSE -- De Blasio: "His comments are not about safety and security. It's demagoguery. ... immoral [and] counterproductive."

-- Bratton: "The statements he made today is why he's not going to become president of this country. We don't need a president that doesn't respect the values that form the foundation of this country ... I have over 900 very dedicated officers in this department, many of whom do double duty, and they serve as active duty members of the U.S. Military in combat, something the senator has never seen ... So before he starts denigrating any population, he should take a close look at who he's denigrating." -- POLITICO New York's Laura Nahmias:

-- Flashback, Dec., 2013: "In the fall of 2007, amid an uproar over his plan to construct a detailed map of the city's Muslim community, Los Angeles police commissioner Bill Bratton publicly abandoned the program, just two weeks after a top deputy had touted its importance in a hearing before the U.S. Senate. 'We will never do anything to the Muslim community, we will only do things with the Muslim community,' Bratton told a group of Muslim community leaders the day he announced his decision, recalled Salam al-Marayati, president and founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, who attended the meeting." POLITICO New York:

--@BuzzFeedAndrew: "One of my favorite parts of @mattapuzzo book. NYPD spied (if it can be called that) on places w/best food."

'ANOTHER ERIC GARNER SITUATION' -- DNAinfo's Rachel Holliday Smith: Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams wants the NYPD to investigate the arrest of a postal worker caught on video in Crown Heights last week, an incident he said 'could have been another Eric Garner situation.' Adams, himself a former NYPD captain, stood with the 27-year-old worker, Glenn Grays, and his mother at borough hall on Tuesday to release a video of the March 17 arrest. ... Adams said the officers made the arrest shortly after Grays told them off for nearly hitting him with their unmarked police car, which passed him as he was trying to cross President Street near Franklin Avenue on his mail route last Thursday."

--"NYPD: Teacher Killed by Cop in Crosswalk 'Assumed Risk' by Crossing Street" -- StreetsBlog's Brad Aaron:

TISH TARGETS GUN MAKER: "New York's public advocate is pushing regulators to investigate the gun maker Sturm, Ruger & Company's disclosures to investors about the risks it faces. In a letter sent on Tuesday to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Letitia James, the city's public advocate, said that Sturm, Ruger, the Southport, Conn., maker of rifles, pistols and revolvers, had misled investors about who used its products and had not adequately disclosed the reputational and liability risks it faced." -- NYT's Liz Moyer:

REPLACING RANGEL -- Inbox: "A major leader in the movement to reform our broken immigration system, Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, has endorsed Adriano Espaillat for Congress."

CLICKER - "These Are New York's Best Bars for Cocktails" -- Grub Street

EAT BEAT - "David Chang's Next Restaurant, Ando, Will Be Delivery Only," by Times' Jeff Gordinier: "In a new article in Fast Company magazine, the chef says that this spring he plans to open a place called Ando, devoted exclusively to food that's delivered to customers. Ando's headquarters will be in Midtown Manhattan, but in a phone interview on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Chang would not say precisely where. 'We don't want people showing up there,' he said with a laugh. 'It's sort of my dream restaurant. There's no one to complain about the stools or backless chairs or the ambient noise.' When it gets rolling, Ando will deliver food in the style of Mr. Chang's Momofuku restaurants ... to customers in a slice of the Midtown East neighborhood who order it through an app." ... The Fast Company article

--"At Columbus Circle, a New Home for Underground Gourmets," by Times' David W. Dunlap in his "Building Blocks" column: "Twenty small restaurants and other food establishments, along with 19 shops, kiosks and pop-up stores, are set to open under Columbus Circle on April 19 in the first significant privatization of a New York subway station. At Casa Toscana, run by Luca Paci and Luca Meacci as an offshoot and upgrade of Gelato Ti Amo in Lower Manhattan (which itself will become a Casa Toscana), focaccia sandwiches and gelato will be the staples. Nearby, the sisters Carine Assouad and Christine Assouad Sfeir will open the second Semsom in New York, serving bowls and wraps with a creamy hummus made of peeled chickpeas. Cosa Toscana and Semsom are two tenants in a $14.5 million mall and food court, called TurnStyle, along both sides of a 325-foot-long mezzanine passageway from Eighth Avenue and 57th Street to the A, B, C, D and No. 1 train platforms at 59th Street-Columbus Circle."

REAL ESTATE -- FOREIGN EXCHANGE-"Why Israeli Investors See Cracks in New York's Most Expensive Buildings," by Bloomberg News' Gabrielle Coppola, Sharon Wrobel, and Oshrat Carmiel: "Gary Barnett, the developer who touched off a luxury-condo boom in Manhattan, will play host next month to a group of Israeli bond investors who are worried about dimming global interest in New York City's costliest homes. Barnett's Extell Development Co., which sold debt in Tel Aviv tied to the performance of some of its priciest condo developments in New York, saw his company's bonds sink as low as 86 agorot on the shekel last week, with yields surging as high as 9.9 percent. It was the first sign of alarm by Israeli investors who since 2008 have financed a $2.4 billion borrowing spree by U.S. property builders."

PROPERTY PROBE-"Manhattan Land Deal Is Examined," by Wall Street Journal's Rebecca Davis O'Brien: "The New York City comptroller is examining a decision by Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration to lift deed restrictions on a Manhattan building, a move that led to a nursing home operator making a $72 million profit off the property's sale. Comptroller Scott Stringer has asked a city agency for details on its decision last year to remove restrictions that had limited the use of Rivington House on the Lower East Side to a not-for-profit residential health-care center. The 118-year-old, 150,000-square-foot building at 45 Rivington St. had previously served HIV/AIDS patients. In early 2015, the Allure Group, a for-profit nursing care provider, purchased the building for $28 million, and months later paid the city $16.15 million to remove the restrictions that limited the building's use, records show. About three months after the city lifted the restrictions, Allure sold the building for $116 million to a residential developer that plans to convert it into luxury condominiums, over the objections of some community leaders."

THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: Hornets 105, Nets 100: Old friend Jeremy Lin scored 21 points to sink the Nets.

-- Liberty guard Candice Wiggins retired.

-- The day ahead: the Knicks are in Chicago. The Bruins are at The Garden. The Senators are at Barclays.

#UpstateAmerica: All these many years later, the Buffalo Bills are finally concerned about fan's behavior at football games, which has garnered national attention.

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

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