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POLITICO New York Playbook: DE BLASIO lawyer vs. CUOMO appointee -- FLANAGAN under pressure -- 'BAG BILL' in the NEW YORKER

04/25/2016 07:50 AM EDT

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

DE BLASIO LAWYER QUESTIONS LEAK - POLITICO New York's Laura Nahmias: "Team de Blasio is fighting back against accusations that some of the mayor's top aides and associates violated campaign finance laws. After a "confidential" memo written by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's hand-picked state Board of Elections enforcement counsel Risa Sugarman, which alleged members of Mayor Bill de Blasio's inner circle skirted campaign finance laws in 2014, was published by the Daily News on Friday, de Blasio's campaign lawyer fired back, accusing Sugarman of misunderstanding the law, and possibly violating it herself by leaking the memo to the press. In a scathing seven-page letter to Sugarman sent on Sunday, elections attorney Laurence Laufer accuses Sugarman of harboring "a shocking lack of understanding or a complete disregard for the most fundamental aspects of the state's election laws." The letter was also sent to the Manhattan district attorney's office, which received a criminal referral from Sugarman's office."

-- Selective enforcement? -- Wall Street Journal's Josh Dawsey: "Doug Kellner, the co-chair of the board of elections, said he would call for a probe into the leak and sympathized with the de Blasio administration, saying the document shouldn't have been released.

The board 'does not appear to have any consistent standard of who gets chosen for investigation,' Mr. Kellner said. 'That's the biggest concern.'"

PUSHBACK ON FLANAGAN'S WAGE BET - POLITICO New York's Jimmy Vielkind: Keeping the majority - and a seat at the table in deep blue New York - was crucial, so if approving a wage hike helped keep Republicans in control of the State Senate, losing a special election battle was worth high ground in the larger war. But with Todd Kaminsky's apparent victory on Long Island last week, critics of Majority Leader John Flanagan's bet are screaming they told him so, and the 54-year-old lawyer from East Northport has been forced onto the defensive.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "[Y]our memo itself is anything but non-partisan..." -- Attorney Laurence Laufer, in a letter to Risa Sugarman, Chief enforcement counsel at the NYS Board of Elections.

ANSWER OF THE DAY: "In a show of the confusion that typically surrounds commercial drone regulation, the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment referred questions about city policy to the Office of Emergency Management-which said that it had no position on drones." Crain's Matthew Flamm:

TABS -- Daily News: "IT'S SLIME, NOT CRIME! Blaze lawyer: Elex probe memo a smear job; Hints at 'political hit orchestrated by gov; Community leaders call for mayor to quit" -- Post: "SCHEME TEAM: Cruz and Katich unite vs. Trump" -- SEE THEM:

-- Newsday: "PIVOTAL PRIMARIES" -- Metro: "NYC DILEMMAS IN SPOTLIGHT: Next month, the Theatre of the Oppressed NYC will put some of the city' biggest issues front and center" -- amNY: "SAY CHEESE, NY! 16 city Instagram accounts you need to follow" -- El Diario [translated]: Do already citizen! The Newspaper joins initiative so that more Hispanics are naturalized

FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 1-col., below the fold: "Sanders Seeks To Shape Party After Primary" -- WSJNY, 2-col., above the fold: "Agency That OK'd Deed Restriction Holds Vast Power" -- SEE THEM:

BIRTHDAYS: Jessica Lappin, former City Council member and current president of the Downtown Alliance for New York ... Anas Udin, an aide to the city comptroller ... Heltzel , associate professor of Systematic Theology at New York Theological seminary and Democratic activist ... singer and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Ella Fitzgerald ... actor and Lake Success, NY native Talia Shire, best known for playing Michael Corleone's sister Connie, and Rocky's girlfriend-turned-wife ... and the legendary Bronx-raised actor Al Pacino, who played Michael Corleone, Frank Serpico, the bank-robber in the true story Dog Day Afternoon, and the title character in Carlito's Way (which was written by State Supreme Court Judge Edwin Torres.)

SUBSIDIZING HOLLYWOOD - Gannett's Joe Spector: "New York doled out nearly $137 million in tax breaks to 39 film projects during the fourth quarter of 2015, including $15.5 million for CBS' The Good Wife and $14 million for Netflix's Daredevil. Overall, eight of the films and television shows received more than $10 million each from taxpayers between October and December, a report from Empire State Development showed. All of it comes from $420 million the state allocates each year for its film-tax credit program, which offers the most generous tax breaks in the nation for productions. Cuomo and the industry have hailed New York's initiative, saying it has helped the economy by luring shows and films to the state. On Friday, Cuomo announced that ABC's Quantico will be leaving Montreal to film in New York. 'New York state knows no creative bounds, and provides an unrivaled opportunity to work with the very best in the industry,' Cuomo said in a statement."

CUOMO'S PIPELINE PLAY- POLITICO New York's Scott Waldman: The Cuomo administration has denied the water quality permits for a controversial pipeline in what has become another political test of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's environmental legacy. On Friday, which is Earth Day, the state Department of Environmental Conservation denied the water quality certificate the pipeline developers need to begin construction. Most of the pipeline's federal permits have already been approved and the project developers have already shipped all of the pieces into the state and even began clearing trees in Pennsylvania. Though the administration has approved other pipelines, the Constitution pipeline application did not contain adequate information to determine whether it would meet water quality standards, the DEC's chief permit administrator, John Ferguson, wrote in the rejection.

THE PLASTIC BAG FIGHT -- New Yorker's Ian Frazier: "No. 1 among [Jennie] Romer's goals today is the passage of a bill called Intro 209A, which has been awaiting a vote by the New York City Council since 2014. The bill, in its current version, would put a five-cent fee on the most common plastic and paper bags. Romer believes that because of plastic bags' wastefulness and the damage they do to the environment humans will eventually use a lot fewer of them, and that New York's acceptance of this change is only a matter of time. For the city to have come so far and so quickly toward rejection of the single-use disposable plastic bag, when ten years ago nobody in government was even talking about it, is partly because of her."

NYPD's NUISANCE ABATEMENT STRATEGY: More than 333 businesses agreed to "warrantless searches" and 102 installed cameras that NYPD officers can access, as part of settlements with the NYPD over nuisance abatement cases. Story via Sarah Ryley, for the Daily News and Pro Publica.

DE BLASIO: $20M TO FIX BOARD OF ELECTIONS -- WNYC's Sarah Gonzalez: "Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday he'll make close to $20 million in "incentive funding" available to the City Board of Elections - if the agency agrees to implement a series of reforms he's proposing. The announcement comes after WNYC's Brigid Bergin found thousands of Democratic voters in Brooklyn had been dropped from voter rolls ... The mayor said he will make $1.5 million available to the BOE to "promptly retain" an outside consultant and develop a panel of elections experts to 'identify and rectify systemic challenges within the organization.' The Board of Elections would have to sign a binding agreement with the city by June 1 in order to receive $10 million to improve poll worker training and to increase poll worker salaries. Another $8 million would be made available to improve voter communication - adding email and text notifications for voters, and hiring professional record-keepers and a logistics specialist.

OOPS: In Friday's edition we linked to this great Press & Sun-Bulletin article about horses getting sick at Jeff Gural's farm. Only our headline incorrectly said the horses were dying - they are not, as anyone who read the article could see. We apologize for the error.

EAT BEAT -- Raindrop cake -- Village Voice's Marguerite Preston: "The so-called raindrop cake - New York's most recent viral food sensation - looks like an enormous droplet of water. Nestled between a mound of roasted soybean flour and a puddle of dark brown sugar syrup, it's made from unsweetened spring water and set with agar, an algae-derived gelatinous substance that makes it jiggle like Jell-O. It debuted earlier this month, as the sole offering of the eponymously named purveyor Raindrop Cake [at] Smorgasburg ... The raindrop cake has antecedents in some very traditional Japanese sweets. It's basically a water-based version of shingen mochi, a dessert of glutinous rice-cake cubes (mochi) topped with kinako (roasted soybean powder) and kuromitsu (brown sugar syrup). The "cake" misnomer is only the result of an awkward translation."

UNDERSTANDING BEYONCE'S 'LEMONADE' -- New Yorker's Carrie Battan: "It would be insufficient to describe 'Lemonade,' which aired on HBO, without much preceding fanfare, as an album. The project is also a piece of spoken word, a narrative film, a map of cultural reference points, and a window into the soul of an icon whose inner life has always seemed just out of reach. What Beyoncé obscures in her everyday public life she makes relentlessly clear on this project. Her relationship with her husband, Jay Z, which at a distance is a seemingly divine union of power and joy, has in fact been a tortuous journey; a bottomless well of pain, and, in turn, artistic fuel. "Lemonade" is the product of a brutal tension: a woman who has been deified by the entire world and yet cannot secure the love of the person closest to her. Last time around, Beyoncé announced herself to the world as a feminist. This time, she takes that label, turns it inward and intensifies it. "Lemonade" declares that misogyny is at its most potent and complex within the bonds of love. ... It is difficult to overstate how much indignation and emotional clarity emanates from these songs. If this is all just a performance, a way of stoking the public's endless fascination with their relationship, it's a wild feat of storytelling."

CLICKER -- Bloomberg has "a new interactive graphic [called] 'Donald Trump Will See You in Court,' an analysis of 203 notable cases involving Trump since 2000, showing who he sues, who sues him, and refuting Trump's assertions that he rarely gets sued because he doesn't settle. The Bloomberg graphic shows that Trump and his businesses have been sued, or have filed suits against others, at least a whopping 1,300 times since 2000. 203 of those cases are notable and substantial. ... Trump and his companies were the defendant in 70% of the cases ... Trump and his companies have been sued in federal court 72 times ... at least 35% of the cases have been settled ... Trump has lost in court 19 times."

REAL ESTATE -- NO GOOD DEED-"How the city knew about, and tried to undo, $116M nursing-home flip," by Post's Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein: "Mayor de Blasio said on March 28 that he had only recently learned about a controversial deal to turn a Lower East Side nursing home into luxury condos, and only after reading about it in the press. But a month before he made this statement, panicked officials at the highest levels of his administration were offering millions of dollars to undo the deal - aware that they had made a huge mistake, The Post has learned. On Feb. 24, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen's chief of staff frantically offered a $16.1 million refund to The Allure Group, which had paid the fee to get a deed restriction lifted on the property at 45 Rivington St. The deed change allowed Allure to sell the property to a luxury-condo ­developer for $116 million. In return for the refund, Allure was told, the city sought a long-term care facility or affordable housing, according to a source close to the negotiations and evidence reviewed by The Post."

POP GOES WATER STREET-"City considers retail in open spaces along Water Street," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: "Water Street in Lower Manhattan, with 19 million square feet of towering office buildings and a rich history of New York City's bygone maritime era, is at the center of a debate over how to utilize privately-owned public spaces. At its meeting on Monday, the City Planning Commission is expected to approve a proposed change to how these spaces, known as POPS, are used. If the City Council ultimately signs off on the plan, Water Street would be poised to undergo a transformation from a quiet area dominated by commercial real estate to one teeming with restaurants, shops and outdoor cafes. The amendment, which was proposed by the de Blasio administration and Alliance for Downtown New York, would allow retail in the covered walkways known as arcades in exchange for improvements to the existing plazas, including trees, lighting and bike racks. Proponents argue it is an overdue upgrade to a cavernous, wind-swept street that has a high concentration of arcades and plazas. Detractors say the city is giving away open space-something that was required of developers when the buildings were constructed-without sufficient public benefit."

-"Manhattan's Auto Row Is Attracting Office Developers," by Wall Street Journal's Keiko Morris: "A $100 million project on Manhattan's Auto Row that has billionaire William Ackman as an investor shows how a stretch on the far West Side is turning the corner from industrial hinterland to office magnet. Mr. Ackman is a partner with the developer Georgetown Co. and investment firm Main Street Advisors Inc. in the redevelopment of 787 11th Ave., an eight-story building between West 54th and West 55th streets that houses Jaguar Land Rover Manhattan, Infiniti of Manhattan and Nissan of Manhattan dealerships operated by BNF Automotive Group. The partners paid $255.5 million for the property."

THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: Islanders 2, Panthers 1: With a double-overtime win, the Islanders clinch a playoff series at home for the first time since 1993.

-- Red Bulls 3, Orlando City 2: What a necessary win for the Red Bulls, who rallied to post their first win in what feels like forever at Red Bull Arena Sunday night. "We want to use this win as a springboard for the rest of the season. This is a big night for us," Jesse Marsch said after the game.

-- Mets 3, Braves 2: Jacob deGrom returned and pitched into the sixth, while Michael Conforto drove in Curtis Granderson twice.

-- Rays 8, Yankees 1: Steven Souza Jr. homered twice, while Alex Rodriguez injured his oblique muscle once.

-- The day ahead: the Mets host the Reds. The Yankees are in Texas.

#UpstateAmerica: A state forest ranger is traversing the Adirondacks to track old airplane wrecks.

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

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