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POLITICO New York Playbook, presented by United Federation of Teachers: PREET's next move -- MMV's message to the pope -- CUOMO's gun control plea

09/28/2015 07:05AM EDT

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

BHARARA VS. ALBANY - POLITICO New York's Jimmy Vielkind: As his office investigates one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's key programs, Preet Bharara is making war on campaign fund-raising as we know it. ... It's impossible to know exactly what Bharara is looking for - the prosecutor and his aides refuse to talk about their ongoing work - but his efforts are ensnaring campaign donors whose apparent sin is giving to politicians as they benefitted from state business. ... "Their goal is to use the people that are paying to testify against the politicians. They're not after the company that is paying for the service," said James Cohen, a longtime defense attorney and professor at Fordham Law School. "It's precisely what Bharara said he was going to do: he thinks that Albany and its various tentacles - which go both ways - are really dirty, and have been dirty for a real long time. New York has not shown any ability, in his mind, to attempt to clean it up."

-- What Preet's looking for, via the New York Times: "Some of the contours of the inquiry were made clear in a federal grand jury subpoena served on the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute, which has played a central role in administering the governor's program, known as the Buffalo Billion ... One of the other subpoenas went to Empire State Development. One area of interest, according to these people, who were not authorized to discuss the subpoena, was a 2013 request for proposals that was written in a way that would have disqualified many possible bidders, and favored a construction company whose chief executive had donated tens of thousands of dollars to Mr. Cuomo. The subpoena also sought information about the hiring of staff members who would develop requests for proposals and distribute funds for Buffalo Billion projects.The subpoena, issued on June 26, provides the most detailed look yet at the investigation's scope, and listed the possible crimes that are the subject of the inquiry: mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud."

ANOTHER BACKROOM DEAL TO MAKE A JUDGE -- Brooklyn Dems to promote Noach Dear -- Post's Aaron Short: "Civil Court Judge Noach Dear - who was booted from the Criminal Court bench three years ago after making insensitive racial remarks and head-scratching rulings - is up for a promotion thanks to a back-room political deal. Brooklyn Democrats voted Thursday night to make Dear a candidate for the higher state Supreme Court in a horse trade between social-reform and establishment factions of the party.

"Orthodox Jews backing Dear, a Borough Park political fixture for three decades, agreed to drop their opposition to Debra Silber, Brooklyn's first openly lesbian Civil Court judge, whose term is up, sources said. In return, reformers who had been touting Silber for five years held their noses and approved Dear's candidacy, after blocking it a year before."

-- Flashback, Sept. 24: Bronx Democrats nominate Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson, and his wife, to judgeships and pick a Johnson's successor, in a backroom vote. Times' James McKinley, Jr.:

-- Debate: Michael Cardozo, the former corporation counsel under Bloomberg from 2002 to 2013: "To say it is an election is a joke ... You are playing right into the party bosses' hands, completely." ... Assemblyman Michael Benedetto of the Bronx, and an alternate judicial delegate: "I'm comfortable with the system we have now." via WSJ's Rebecca Davis O'Brien:

-- Roundtable: NY1's Errol Louis: "the deception of Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson" and "Robert Johnson won't answer questions from the press about these [wrongful conviction] cases." ... POLITICO New York's Laura Nahmias: "You got elected to your job. You probably should find a way to get elected, or go through the normal channels to get a new one."

FIGHTING HOMELESSNESS AND GENTRIFICATION -- Send in the lawyers -- WSJ's Josh Dawsey: "As Mayor Bill de Blasio struggles to control rising homelessness in New York, the city plans to hire more lawyers to help financially stressed residents avoid eviction-especially in neighborhoods that are quickly gentrifying. By mid-2017, the city will be spending $60 million annually-up from about $34 million now-on an expanded legal team to address the flow of homeless into an already overburdened shelter system and the number of people living on the streets. The city has found that about 32% of the families in its shelters were evicted from their homes. ... The announcement of the new funding, planned for Monday, is part of a renewed approach by City Hall on homelessness, an issue that potentially poses a political vulnerability for the mayor.

-- "Earlier this year, Mr. de Blasio began to hold weekly meetings at City Hall on homelessness ... As aides and advisers pushed him to take more decisive action, Mr. de Blasio expressed privately that he believed the issue was being fanned by tabloid newspapers and partisans who wanted his administration to fail, according to people familiar with his thinking."

DE BLASIO ANNOUNCES MAJOR PUSH IN CUTTING BUILDING EMISSIONS - POLITICO New York's David Giambusso: Mayor Bill de Blasio will announce a multi-faceted push by City Hall today to jumpstart his plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions in private buildings 80 percent by the year 2050. The mayor will roll out a retrofit accelerator - a free one-stop shop for private landlords to refurbish buildings for energy efficiency, clean energy and water conservation. De Blasio's stated goal is to cut building emissions by about one million metric tons through retrofits in roughly 1,000 buildings a year by 2025. If successful, the city said the reductions will be the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road and save building owners $350 million a year in utility costs. "Business as usual simply won't do when our very survival is at stake," de Blasio said in a statement. "We're ensuring that building owners have the tools they need to go green through the NYC Retrofit Accelerator."

TABS -- Post: "CHOKERS: Nats' pitcher throttles star teammate after Mets win East" -- News: "Magical Mets clinch NL East crown: SOAK IT UP! Cap Amazin' run to first playoff berth since 2006" -- amNY: "'I AM PROFOUNDLY SORRY': Pope apologizes for sex abuse of children by clergy" -- Newsday: "'GOD WEEPS'" -- El Diario [translated]: Francisco: 9,999 the Yankees accelerate towards playoffs and to a historical number of victories.

FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 4-col., below the fold: "Abused Inmates, Strong Unions and Hard-to-Fire Prison Guards" -- WSJNY, 4-col. above the fold: "City to Target Evictions"

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "No one will see her as someone who got the job legitimately, and she will be treated like that." -- James Cohen, a law professor at Fordham University who teaches criminal procedure, on the Democratic nominee for Bronx District Attorney, Justice Clark. Times' Winnie Hu and James McKinley, Jr.:

BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We're focusing The News more and more on its online activities ... because that's where the audience is going. It's a younger audience and that's what advertisers want. If people don't want horses and buggies anymore and they want to ride in automobiles, then you better damn well get into the auto business." -- Mort Zuckerman, Daily News publisher after layoffs at the paper last week. Times' Alan Feuer:

PHOTO OF THE DAY: Cuomo's gift to Pope Francis: a cross forged from World Trade Center steel, and the Emma Lazarus poem inscribed on the Statue of LIberty.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: State Sen. Betty Little of Glens Falls, Shams Tarek, director of communications for the Nassau County District Attorney, Jay Jacobs, Nassau County Democratic chairman, Evelyn Erskine, spokeswoman for Global Philanthropy and Engagement at Bloomberg L.P., Deborah Axt, co-executive director of Make the Road NY, and Kat Kane, senior writer and creative strategist at Hillary for America.

** A message from United Federation of Teachers: The UFT has launched a new TV ad campaign celebrating the passion and promise of New York City public schools. "We are the largest and most diverse school district in America sharing one help every child succeed," says UFT President Michael Mulgrew in the ad. Watch it here. **

MEDIA MORNING -- "The Daily News Layoffs and Digital Shift May Signal the Tabloid Era's End," by Times' Alan Feuer: "When it was over and the feature page was gone, dozens of reporters had been fired and the morning assignment editor was shown the door only minutes after handing out the morning's first assignments ... Newsroom veterans were summoned into an office and told about a digitally driven corporate restructuring. Those outside the building were told their fates by phone - some while on vacation. One reporter was so left in the dark that when she got to work that day, there was already an intern in her seat. ... From its former height of nearly one million copies a day, The News now has a daily circulation of slightly more than 300,000."

--"BuzzFeed college tour to feature Hillary Clinton," by CNN's Brian Stelter: "The events will be staged in early voting states in October and November. ... [BuzzFeed] is opting against having a television partner for this fall's campus tour. Instead it'll share video clips via Snapchat."

AT FUNERAL, CUOMO URGES GUN CONTROL - Daily News' Chris Sommerfeldt and Thomas Tracy: Cuomo, speaking at the funeral of his murdered aide Saturday, urged Washington Democrats to shut down the government until they get a gun control bill that works. The governor gave an emotional eulogy at Carey Gabay's funeral at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Clinton Hill. He told the dozens of mourners that the 43-year-old's death from an errant bullet fired in the wake of a Labor Day J'Ouvert celebration in Crown Heights was 'one of the most tragic pointless examples of the rampant violence that is spreading like a cancer through our society. His murder showed a disrespect for life so base that it didn't even care who it struck down,' Cuomo said as Gabay's widow Trenelle Gabay and his mother Audrey listened intently from the front pew."

OBAMA, DE BLASIO AND COMBATING VIOLENT EXTREMISM: After POLITICO New York reported that more than 20 progressive and civil libertarian organizations are urging Mayor Bill de Blasio not to accept a White House invitation to participate in a White House program on "Countering Violent Extremism," the Post editorial page wrote "the complainers really have nothing to worry about. After all, it's a 'violent extremism' conference only because Obama refuses to even utter the words 'Islamic terrorism' to begin with." Post editorial: Politico NY story: LETTER TO DE BLASIO:

SPECIAL REQUEST -- Mark-Viverito's plea to Pope Francis -- POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: When City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito got Pope Francis' ear for a few minutes during his visit to a school in East Harlem on Friday, she asked him to pray for a jailed Puerto Rican nationalist.

-- In a series of tweets late Friday evening after the pope's mass in Madison Square Garden, she revealed she had also presented Francis with a painting of Oscar Lopez Rivera - a member of the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) in Puerto Rico, who was convicted and sentenced to 55 years in prison for conspiracy to transport explosives with intent to destroy government property, among other charges, in the 1980s. For years, human rights advocates and political supporters have demanded Rivera's release, saying he is being held for his political beliefs. "I was able to meet @Pontifex, welcomed him to my district, presented him Oscar's gift & shared a letter re: his case," Mark-Viverito tweeted.

SPEED READ -- HOMECOMING: "Her name rang out among young fans decked in orange-and-black on Saturday night - 'Meg-yn-Kel-ly' - and after being inducted into her alma mater's hall of fame, the prominent journalist hugged a high school student wearing a backwards orange baseball cap."

--"Cuomo fighting for free tuition at New York's community colleges," by Post's Carl Campanile: "Gov. Cuomo's office is in discussions with the White House about providing free tuition at New York's community colleges ... A source familiar with the Albany-White House talks said Cuomo is offering up to $500 million to make community college tuition-free."

TV TONIGHT - Trevor Noah debuts at 11 tonight as "Daily Show" host -- USA Today's Gary Levin: "At 31, [the South African is late night's youngest host] ... Kevin Hart is his first guest, followed later in the week by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and singer Ryan Adams ... Noah grew up as a poor, mixed-race kid during apartheid ... Noah will start out focusing more on people making news than those delivering it.

"'I'm less likely to skewer CNN or Fox [than] (Kentucky court clerk) Kim Davis and Mike Huckabee,' he says. Other changes: The stand-up comedian may experiment with, um, standing. He'll also make more frequent use of the show's diverse team of fake-news correspondents, bolstered by three newcomers." Trailer

WEEKEND WEDDINGS - "Emily Berman and Joel Schrock" - Times announcement: "Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand ... offered a blessing. Ms. Berman, 34, will keep her name. She works in New York as the finance director and a senior adviser for the campaign to re-elect Senator Gillibrand in 2018. She graduated from Wesleyan. ... Mr. Schrock, 29, is a manager in the internal consulting group at Pfizer ... in New York. In May, he received an M.B.A. from Cornell, where he also received a doctoral degree in pharmacology. He graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa." With pic

--"Emma Haberman, Caleb Powers" - Times: "Ms. Haberman ... is the manager of special events at The New School in New York, where she organizes fund-raising events to support student scholarships. Her father is a contributing writer and a former Metro columnist and foreign correspondent for The New York Times. Her mother retired as the director of special projects at Human Rights First, a nonprofit organization in New York. Mr. Powers is a senior associate at Global Infrastructure Partners, a New York-based investment fund." With pic

REAL ESTATE -- NEW LANDSCAPE, OLD FEARS-"The Stress of New Construction," by Times' C.J. Hughes: "A block without construction seems to be the exception rather than the rule these days, as scaffolding, sidewalk sheds and tall cranes have become almost as common a sight as pigeons on the streets of New York. And like those birds, the building boom isn't universally loved.

"A loud howl seems to erupt every time a shovel hits the ground, and often well before that moment. As apartment houses multiply, residents are taking aim at the disruption caused by construction, the uprooting of cherished institutions, the buildings' designs and the ever-higher prices attached to the housing that they fear will alter neighborhoods fundamentally.

"Many of these detractors aren't sitting on the sidelines, either. They are phoning City Hall, filing lawsuits and staging protests to try to stop, slow or at least influence construction."

HAPPENING TODAY-"De Blasio program aims to cut 1 million tons of emissions from city buildings," by POLITICO New York's David Giambusso: "Mayor Bill de Blasio will announce a multi-faceted push by City Hall today to jumpstart his plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions in private buildings 80 percent by the year 2050. The mayor will roll out a retrofit accelerator-a free one-stop shop for private landlords to refurbish buildings for energy efficiency, clean energy and water conservation."

LIC RISING-"Long Island City: Finally, An Emerging Skyline," by YIMBY's Vitali Ogorodnikov: "Satellite skylines across the water from Manhattan are a curious phenomenon: they appear to stay frozen in time for decades until they hit sudden, and typically large, growth spurts. ... Yet as 2015 draws to a close, Long Island City is set to command development watchers' attention, and the region's perpetual skyline underdog is about to undergo a complete overhaul."

THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: Fever 70, Liberty 64: Armed with an 18-point lead just before halftime, the Liberty experienced a vintage Tamika Catchings performance, suffering a loss that extended the Eastern Conference finals to a decisive Game 3 Tuesday night at The Garden.

-- Mets 8, Reds 1: A day after clinching the NL East title, the Mets let the regulars rest, while Dilson Herrera and Kevin Plawecki homered instead. With a Dodgers loss, the Mets are now 1.5 games ahead in the pursuit of home field advantage in their upcoming playoff series against Los Angeles, with a week to go.

-- Yankees 6, White Sox 1: Six scoreless for Luis Severino, a double and an RBI for Greg Bird, and the Yankees continued down their path toward hosting the wild card game in the AL.

-- Eagles 24, Jets 17: A late comeback attempt by the Jets fell short after a punchless offensive effort for most of the game.

-- Bills 41, Dolphins 14: Is Tyrod Taylor the next great Bills quarterback? Are the Dolphins terrible? Maybe both.

-- The day ahead: The Mets are in Philadelphia. The Red Sox come to Yankee Stadium.

#UpstateAmerica: A TV station serving the St. Regis Mohawk Indian nation will launch this week at Akwesasne.

** A message from United Federation of Teachers: The UFT has launched a new TV ad campaign celebrating the passion and promise of New York City public schools. "We are the largest and most diverse school district in America sharing one help every child succeed," says UFT President Michael Mulgrew in the ad. Watch it here. **

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