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POLITICO New York Playbook: DE BLASIO'S consultants -- JILL ABRAMSON on HILLARY learnings -- MARIJUANA update

03/29/2016 07:25 AM EDT

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

OUTSIDE HELP - "Despite rhetoric, de Blasio continues heavy reliance on private consultants," by Dana Rubinstein: When Mayor Bill de Blasio was campaigning for the top job in city government, he scolded private-sector boosters like Michael Bloomberg for not putting enough stock in public-sector experience. "I think people who understand government run government best," he told the New York Times . But as mayor, de Blasio has done little, if anything, to reduce the city's reliance on private sector consultants.

NO STATE BUDGET DEAL YET: Mayor Bill de Blasio still has no idea whether a number of costly measures first proposed in January in Cuomo's executive spending plan will be included. De Blasio said he'd spoken with both Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday, but left the conversations without a sense of how New York City will ultimately fare, despite Cuomo's promise that proposed cuts to CUNY and Medicaid funding "won't cost New York City a penny." "I spoke to the governor this morning, and I still don't have real answers," de Blasio said Monday at an unrelated press conference.

-- "The goal of transparency in the state budget process came and went Monday as lawmakers and Cuomo instead kept their eyes on another ambition: meeting Thursday's deadline," the Buffalo News' Tom Precious writes.

-- California is moving ahead with a plan to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, but New York might still be the first to hit this threshold.

-- "Heastie, a Democrat who backs a $15 wage, said California's wage agreement was 'acknowledged' in three-way negotiations between the governor, the Senate and the Assembly, but it isn't swaying negotiations. 'We congratulate California,' Mr. Heastie said on Monday, 'but we still have to do what we need to get done here.'"

-- Six people were arrested Monday night for breaking a building curfew as they pushed for more AIDS funding in the War Room.

THE RIVINGTON HOUSE DEAL - POLITICO New York's Laura Nahmias and Sally Goldenberg: Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday his administration was "lied to" about the sale of Rivington House, a former nonprofit medical facility on the Lower East Side that once treated AIDS patients. The site was turned over to Allure Group, a for-profit nursing home company, which later sold the building to a developer who intends to build luxury condos. "From what we know so far, we were lied to. And the notion was that we were expecting a senior facility and instead got something very very different," de Blasio said, referring to Allure Group, which made some assurances to City Hall officials that it intended to keep operating the facility as a nursing home after buying it from VillageCare, a nonprofit group that previously operated the building. "We need to tighten up our rules and our approaches to inhibit any company who would do that kind of thing. So I'm not happy. I've called for a real thorough investigation and whatever changes in our approach we need to take."

-- Questionable exit: At the time the city signed off on the removal of the deed restrictions, the commissioner of DCAS, an agency that manages city facilities and handles purchasing, sales and leasing of properties for city agencies, was Stacey Cumberbatch. The agency's new commissioner is Lisette Camilo, the former head of the Mayor's Office of Contract Services, who had been on the job only a few days before Stringer opened his inquiry. Cumberbatch's last day as commissioner was Jan. 22, an agency spokeswoman confirmed to POLITICO New York. She then took six weeks of paid time off before starting her new job at the New York City Health + Hospitals on March 6, the spokeswoman said. Cumberbatch is receiving the same $205,180 salary in her new position of assistant vice president as she earned as DCAS commissioner, city officials confirmed at the time.

DE BLASIO: STILL NO ANSWERS ON STATE BUDGET FROM CUOMO -- POLITICO New York's Laura Nahmias: With four days left until the deadline for New York state's annual budget, Mayor Bill de Blasio still has no idea whether a number of costly measures first proposed in January in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive spending plan will be included.

De Blasio said he'd spoken with both Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Cuomo on Monday, but left the conversations without a sense of how New York City will ultimately fare, despite Cuomo's promise that proposed cuts to CUNY and Medicaid funding "won't cost New York City a penny." "I spoke to the governor this morning, and I still don't have real answers," de Blasio said Monday at an unrelated press conference. "There's no budget language. There's no confirmation or guarantees related to Medicaid or CUNY, or any of these other issues," he said.

2016 -- NYT editorial: "Mr. Trump is confronting most of these [foreign policy] issues for the first time, and many of his thoughts are contradictory and shockingly ignorant."

ROOM 9 NEWS: Associated Press City Hall reporter Jonathan Lemire is joining the AP's Politics team, covering Donald Trump. h/t @ColvinJ:

TABS -- Post: "'PROPHET' SHOT AT THE CAPITOL: Tourists flee in fear of assault" -- Daily News: "In N.Y. State, if the sex abuse of a child isn't reported before they turn 23, their violator can't be charged or sued. The News says this sickening protection of predators must end. Oh, you were raped? Too bad." -- amNY: "TICKLE ME HELL NO" -- Metro: "TIMES SQUARE: QUIRKY AND SAFE?" -- SEE THEM:

-- Hamodia: "Exclusive: NYC Keeping HalfDay Pre-K Slots at Same Level" -- El Diario [translated]: #TimesSquare 'Place order'

FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 3-col., below the fold: "Trump Upends Battle for Control of Congress" -- WSJNY, 2-col., above the fold: "California's Deal On Hourly Wage Prods New York" -- SEE THEM:

NEW ARRIVAL: City and State NY Publisher Andrew Holt, and his wife Rachel Eck, a graphic designer and art director, welcomed their son Henry Walter into the world early Saturday morning. Mother, daughter and father are happily doing well. SEE HENRY:

BIRTHDAYS: Bennett Baruch, director of capital budget and special assistant to Brooklyn's Deputy Borough President ... Ashley Chauvin, vice president in Edelman's Corporate and Public Affairs group ... and Gur Tsabar, publisher of the Our Authentic Careers Podcast, former City Council aide under then-speaker Gifford Miller, a 2005 City Council candidate and co-founder of the Room 8 blog.

SPOTTED: former Rep. Anthony Weiner and his child on the 183 NE Regional Amtrak from NYC to DC yesterday morning on a very, very delayed train. ...

PIC OF THE DAY: De Blasio with Hot 97 hosts, at Gracie Mansion, via @Marti_Adams: [h/t @TweetBenMax]

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "[H]ere are two men running for president of the United States, literally playing into ISIS' hand as if they're working from an ISIS script, setting up an atmosphere of segregation and negativity." -- Mayor Bill de Blasio, on Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, via POLITICO New York:

BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I fasted for three days, and the governor canceled on us," said Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., D-Bronx.

EXTRA BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Don't eat pizza with a knife and fork." -- Rep. Dan Donovan, advising presidential candidates on campaigning in New York, via NYT's Matt Flegenheimer and Maggie Haberman:

1,000 RECEIVE MED MAR - POLITICO New York's Josefa Velasquez: Nearly three months into the launch of the state's medical marijuana program the Cuomo administration estimates that roughly half of the patients deemed eligible have received the drug, a Department of Health spokesman told POLITICO New York. The so-called Compassionate Care Act kicked off in early January with several dispensaries not opening in time for the launch date. But the registered organizations charged with growing and selling medical marijuana say they were expecting the trickle of customers to start, rather than a flood, and that they are now seeing an increasing number of patients.

BRATTON UNHAPPY with video of police arresting on-duty postal worker -- POLITICO New York's Azi Paybarah: The three police officers and one lieutenant were members of a conditions team, which addresses quality-of-life issues before they become bigger problems. All four have been removed from that assignment, and their actions are under review by Internal Affairs. Bratton said he has reviewed several videos of the incident and has "very significant concerns" about what took place. "All four of these people, including the lieutenant, were in street clothes, not in uniform. That's in direct violation of our patrol guide. So we will be investigating that element of it. I was not happy with some of the behavior I saw on that video," he said.

P. DIDDY ACADEMY -- Times' Daniel Victor: "Sean Combs, the hip-hop mogul known as Diddy, steered the creation of the Capital Prep Harlem school, scheduled to open in fall 2016, he said on Monday. In a statement, Mr. Combs, who was born in Harlem, said creating the school was 'a dream come true for me.' The charter school was approved by the Board of Regents in 2014, but Mr. Combs's involvement had not been previously publicized. The school will replicate the model of Capital Preparatory Magnet, a year-round school in Hartford that says it has high graduation and college acceptance rates . The founder of the Hartford school, Steve Perry, said in an interview on Monday that it was unclear what role Mr. Combs would play in the new school. Beginning in 2011, Mr. Combs recruited Mr. Perry to bring his educational model to Harlem, provided office space and quietly rallied support in the community, Mr. Perry said."

NORTH CAROLINA BAN -- POLITICO New York's Laura Nahmias: Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday he is instituting a ban on "non-essential travel" by New York City employees to the state of North Carolina following the passage of a law there that overturns anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. De Blasio said he would also order a similar ban on non-essential travel to Georgia if the state's Legislature votes to override a veto by Gov. Nathan Deal of a bill seen by some as allowing discrimination against gay and lesbian people in Georgia. "I think it's quite clear that voices of conscience all over the country are expressing outrage at these decisions which are reinstituting discrimination against the LGBT community," he said, adding, "My hope is that both these states will relent, but we certainly are not going to have any non-essential travel to those states if these laws do continue in effect."

COMING TO A BROADWAY NEAR YOU -- WSJ's Pia Catton and Josh Dawsey: "Mayor Bill de Blasio is no opening-night regular on Broadway, but his administration is rolling out an initiative that will share theater performances with all the boroughs. The theater community, while supportive of finding new audiences, says it has pressing needs in its own neighborhood-Times Square. A city-funded plan to offer free Broadway performances in public parks is slated to be announced in May, according to Julie Menin, the commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment. Already, her office is finding venues and partners for the citywide project."

MEDIA MORNING - "Guardian US appoints Jill Abramson as political columnist": "Abramson will contribute her perspective on key issues relevant to American politics and society. ... Abramson, formerly executive editor of the New York Times, will write every two weeks, providing insight and analysis as the presidential campaign gathers momentum."

HER FIRST COLUMN -- "This may shock you: Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest": "As an editor I've launched investigations into her business dealings, her fundraising, her foundation and her marriage. As a reporter my stories stretch back to Whitewater. I'm not a favorite in Hillaryland. That makes what I want to say next surprising. Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy."

NEVER GONNA HAPPEN -- "There's a New Plan to Turn Central Park in a Mirror-Lined, 1,000-Foot-Deep Valley. Best or Worst Idea Ever?" by NYMag's Christopher Bonanos: "Two young architects have won the web magazine eVolo's annual design competition with this grand proposal: Dig out Central Park, drop it nearly a quarter-mile, and line the sides of the pit with a mirror-faced apartment slab that burrows 100 feet horizontally under the surrounding cityscape. Why do such a thing? It'd add tens of thousands of apartments with park views! Affordable housing! Democratization!" ... The proposal

EAT BEAT - "An NYC chef just created an adult Choco Taco - and it's delicious" - Business Insider: "The packaged Choco Taco of your youth is getting a makeover.

Secretly nestled inside the Garret East in NYC, a new restaurant called Dinnertable is serving a sophisticated version of the dessert called a Taco Cioccolato. Pastry chef Adam Richardson has created a Nutella brownie and espresso gelato-stuffed cookie taco that may just surpass the Klondike original."

TRANSPO BEAT -- "TLC wants to make sure your next cab driver is less creepy," by Post's Danielle Furfaro: "The city has a new message for cabbies: stop asking passengers out on dates! The Taxi and Limousine Commission plans to tighten up its sexual-harassment rules so that it can more easily slap drivers - including Uber - who sexually harass the people in the back seat. The regulations, which will be voted on at the April 21 TLC meeting, will explicitly prohibit drivers from asking passengers on a date or even commenting on their appearance. They also can't talk about sex. The rules also state the obvious - that drivers cannot touch passengers in a sexual way."

REMEMBERING STANFORD -- Times' Sam Roberts: " Stanford, who turned a boyhood obsession with boats into a commitment to preserve the South Street Seaport and commemorate New York City's maritime history with a museum and a parade of tall ships celebrating the nation's bicentennial, died on Thursday in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. He was 89. ... [Since 1998] he and his successors have struggled to transform the city's original port on the East River into a festive destination for tourists and New Yorkers alike, complete with historic ships, nautical craftsmen, maritime exhibits, and shops and seafood restaurants centered on the old Fulton Fish Market."

TRUMP TALK -- "Ivanka Trump: The 'Anti-Donald' works to protect the billion-dollar brand," by WashPost's Mary Jordan and Jonathan O'Connell: "While her 69-year-old father bashes Chinese leaders for 'ripping us off' and 'sucking us dry,' Ivanka Trump shares a video on Instagram of her 4-year-old daughter singing a Chinese New Year song in Mandarin. ... Last week, while Donald Trump was retweeting an unflattering picture of the wife of Sen. Ted Cruz ... Ivanka was tweeting tasty recipes - spiced cauliflower and stuffed artichokes with peas and dill. Just as consistently as her father spews inflammatory statements - 'torture works' and 'Islam hates us' - Ivanka offers her 1.8 million Twitter followers tips on such noncontroversial topics as sleeping better and dressing 'chic' for #WomenWhoWork."

HILLARYWATCH -- "Bernie and Hillary prep for New York clash: Hillary Clinton is determined not to get embarrassed in her home state," by Politico's Annie Karni: "[I]n advance of the New York's April 19 presidential primary, operatives for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are closely studying [Zephyr] Teachout's longshot campaign. 'They're very worried about a Zephyr Teachout situation,' said one Clinton ally close to the campaign. 'The left is very mobilized. In New York [for Clinton] it's not just about winning. They have to win 65 to 35.' Sanders' plan is to target the congressional districts where Teachout won - including some Upstate and across New York's Southern Tier -- thanks in large part to activists opposed to fracking ... Clinton, meanwhile, is looking at the 2014 gubernatorial primary map as a roadmap for how to maximize her delegate haul in a state where they are largely allocated proportionally by congressional district. Competitive presidential primary fights in New York are as rare as spacious and affordable apartments on the Upper West Side - there hasn't been one in decades."

REAL ESTATE -- NEXT CHAPTER -- DESPITE CASH INFLUX NYCHA IN THE RED -- POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye told the City Council on Monday the agency continues to be in dire financial straits due to government disinvestment and nearly $2.5 billion loss in operating and capital funding since 2001. "The money NYCHA takes in is not enough to cover our expenses," Olatoye said during a preliminary budget hearing before the council's committee on public housing. "

Our main sources of revenue - federal funding and rent - do not cover the cost of fulfilling our basic responsibilities as a landlord." According to the figures Olatoye presented, once NYCHA combines its federal operating dollars and the rent the agency collects, there is still a $120-per-unit annual deficit across 178,000 apartments - which amounts to more than $22 million in structural deficit this year. Adding to the negative budget numbers are several authority plans intended to supplement revenue that have so far not lived up to expectations.

-- Lead update: Torres also questioned the agency over a recent investigation launched by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara into the living and safety conditions in the city's public housing stock. Olatoye said that the probe is nothing more than a "request for information," which the agency is complying with. "We have provided more than 440 million records to the Department of Justice, and I will say it has not been specific to the lead or reported lead that they may be researching. I can't presume to know what the intent of the inquiry is, but me and my team are taking it seriously and continue to cooperate," Olatoye said. Since the probe was launched, the agency, alongside the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Environmental Protection, has conducted random tests of the water across 175 vacant public housing units.

THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: Pelicans 99, Knicks 91: Even an Anthony Davis-less Pelicans team can beat the Knicks if Jrue Holiday takes over in the fourth quarter.

-- Heat 110, Nets 99: Dwayne Wade may not be in his prime anymore, but he's still capable of scoring 30. Hassan Whiteside added 27.

-- The day ahead: The Nets are in Orlando. Columbia men's basketball takes on UC-Irvine and 7'6 Mamadou Ndiaye in the CBI tournament, which is the poor man's NIT.

COFFEE BREAK -- "Mock Trump tombstone removed from NYC's Central Park" - AP/NYC: "The grave marker displayed the name 'Trump' below a cross. Below that, it read 'Donald J.,' with the Republican front-runner's birth year, 1946, and the year of death left blank. It also displayed the phrase 'Make America Hate Again.'"

#UpstateAmerica: Buffalo has become an international hotspot for paralympic ice hockey.

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

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