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11/04/2015 07:01 AM EDT
By Azi Paybarah in Manhattan, Jimmy Vielkind in Albany, and Mike Allen in D.C., with Daniel Lippman
THE TRIAL OF SHELDON SILVER - Jimmy's dispatch from Lower Manhattan: The first poster was a bird's-eye picture of the State Assembly chamber, which Sheldon Silver's attorney explained needed to have a leader for "all these seats." Then he switched to an exterior shot of the State Capitol, which he marked in blue and red to explain the benevolent magic of state government, balancing opinions and interests to "make things work for New York." The Democratic assemblyman sat with typical stoicism as his attorney, Steven Molo, offered his introductory civics lesson for the 10 women and six men who will weigh the seven counts of extortion, money laundering and honest services fraud against him. He has maintained his innocence and said he was looking forward to this day. On this mild autumn Tuesday, the man who led the State Assembly for over two decades wrapped himself in the system of Albany. What prosecutors cast as misdeeds - collecting referral fees from a real estate law firm employed by major developers and a firm that represented asbestos patients treated by a medical researcher that Silver gave state funding - were presented as the inevitable conflicts of a part-time Legislature where lawmakers have side jobs.
"New York has adopted a citizen Legislature model. They not only live under these laws, they work under these laws ... and this allows more points of view to be heard," Molo claimed. "That may make you uncomfortable, but that is the system New York has chosen, and that is not a crime."
Indeed. It's a system where campaign money flows, where powerful interests hire connected lobbyists to ensure their needs are whispered into the right ears. Where the speaker can prevent a vote on legislation that has the support of the majority of the chamber's elected representatives. It's a system where Silver doled out earmarks based on seniority and loyalty to consolidate his own grip on power. Where he traded a reduction in pension benefits for the ability to draw legislative districts and authorized the state's first charter schools in exchange for a pay raise. http://politi.co/1NpV814
-- Prosecutors opened their case with three words: "Power. Greed. Corruption." http://politi.co/1NpV9lE
POST cover: "Shelly Case Opens: POWER. GREED. And loads of corruption." See the cover. http://bit.ly/1Xy78jU
TIMES QUOTATION OF DAY, on p. A22 - Steven Molo, a lawyer for Sheldon Silver, the former New York State Assembly speaker, in opening statement to jurors at Silver as trials on fraud charges began ("[t]he most prominent public corruption trial to be held in New York City in decades"): "It's impossible, absolutely impossible, for a member of the Assembly to do his or her job and to go out, make laws, deal with people, do the job that a person in the Assembly does, and not have some form of conflict of interest."http://nyti.ms/1Wy5XP3
-- The first witnesses included Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, who got into a heated exchange with Molo. http://politi.co/1Hq1kjc
BILL MAHONEY'S GUIDE TO THE NEW YORK ELECTION RESULTS, BY REGION: http://politi.co/1NqqQv2
A DAY OF STEEP JOB LOSSES FOR UPSTATE NEW YORK - Gannett's Joseph Spector: "Despite efforts by state leaders to boost the upstate economy, Monday was not a good day. There was the decision by Entergy to announce plans to close its FitzPatrick nuclear plant outside Syracuse, which has about 600 jobs. State officials are fighting the closure plans and are trying to steer Kraft-Heinz Co. away from closing or downsizing three manufacturing facilities near Rochester and in the Southern Tier. That's 940 jobs on the line at Kraft-Heinz and comes after the merger of the two companies led offices to be closed in Tarrytown, Westchester County. "We are aggressively advocating to keep - and where possible expand - these jobs in New York, and these recent reports have only redoubled our efforts," Gov. Andrew Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said in a statement." http://bit.ly/1LORECT
MEDIA CRITIQUE: De Blasio's moves to limit the number of times reporters can ask him questions is not unlike what the Republican presidential candidates are doing to be prospective debate hosts, argues NY1 reporter Josh Robin, in an op-ed in the News. "He opened himself to a string of off-topic questions Tuesday, but cut off the session with questions remaining, no doubt frustrated he was asked about his dip in polls." http://goo.gl/gLPZlO
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I would have to think about that and come back with a coherent answer. I think one thing we have to do better is explaining to people how this vision is affecting their lives. And that's something we will continue to do." -- Mayor Bill de Blasio, when asked to name the biggest mistake of his mayoralty. More, via POLITICO New York: http://goo.gl/8D5pe9
BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "This is not only a disgraceful proposal, it's an entirely disgraceful process." -- State Senator Tony Avella, on City Hall's plans to open a new high school in Bayside, Queens, via NYT's Kirk Semple: http://goo.gl/ZF5VOl
TABS -- Post: "Shelly Case Opens: POWER. GREED. And loads of corruption." -- News: "'HE JUST KEPT GOING': Woman 'cut in half' by hit-and-run MTA bus; Driver faces 7 years" -- Newsday: "SINGAS DEFEATS MURRAY" -- Metro: "BUG JUICE: Bushwhack women raise $16K on Kickstarter to create cricket-based cocktail bitters" -- Epoch Times, sidebar: "Sheldon Silver Stands Trial" -- Village Voice: "Chronic Pain: Legal medical marijuana in New York was a 20-year obsession for Assemblyman Richard Gottfried. So, why isn't he happy?" -- El Diario [translated]: El Barrio remains without a train
FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 2-col. below the fold: "'Neuropolitics' Firms Claim To Get Into the Voter's Head" -- WSJNY, 2-col. above the fold: "McMahon Wins D.A. Race" and "Silver Trail Puts Albany's Powerful In the Spotlight"
CHOOSE YOUR NEWS:
-- NY1's @JoshRobin: Poll numbers "not as bleak for Mayor as some think": https://goo.gl/Wehe07
-- Crain's Greg David: "Why de Blasio is in bigger trouble than we thought": http://goo.gl/pr39nm
** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Providing more than 61 percent of New York's carbon-free electricity, nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals. New York's nuclear energy fleet supports about 18,000 jobs and provides $2.5 billion to the state's GDP. Learn more at NuclearMatters.com. **
DEEP DIVE -- DE BLASIO'S CONSULTANT$ -- NYT's Thomas Kaplan: "Mr. Del Cecato is not on Mr. de Blasio's staff - at least not officially. He is one of several political consultants advising the Democratic mayor whose firms have been paid using money contributed by private donors.
These consultants helped guide Mr. de Blasio's campaign for mayor in 2013, and they have remained at his side as a kind of privately funded brain trust, offering strategic advice and helping to shape the message that comes from City Hall. Their involvement also poses conflict-of-interest concerns; some of their firms have clients that do business with the city. ... In the first year and a half of his term, their firms have collected nearly $2.3 million in payments. Most of the money has come from a nonprofit organization, the Campaign for One New York ...
-- "The mayor's reliance on private consultants seems to run contrary to the image he has cultivated. As mayor, he has criticized the role that the "consultant class" played in politics; in his previous elective office, as the city's public advocate, he assailed the influence of political donors hiding behind "political committees that masquerade as tax-exempt nonprofits."
"Yet a review by The New York Times of hundreds of pages of the mayor's daily schedules, as well as email correspondence and other records, shows the central role that private consultants have played in his administration. The correspondence highlights how some consultants have almost unfiltered access to City Hall, with the dialogue conveying a casual atmosphere." http://goo.gl/XjeC5V
CITY HALL FACING GROWING PRESSURE OVER SCHOOL SEGREGATION -- POLITICO
New York's Eliza Shapiro: Mayor Bill de Blasio and city schools chancellor Carmen Fariña are facing increased pressure to address widespread segregation in New York City public schools, as evidenced by controversy around two rezonings and a growing chorus of critics in the City Council and education advocacy sector.
"The political establishment and the education bureaucracy in our city, as well as the whole country generally, has chosen to maintain and reinforce the status quo of segregation," said Ritchie Torres, a Bronx council member who is leading a Council push to diversify schools. Brooklyn councilmember Brad Lander criticized the administration for not working to replicate existing models of integrated schools in Brooklyn. "Some [integration] is happening in our system, but we aren't measuring [those programs], we aren't doing enough to support them, we aren't giving them the resources," he said. Advocates have largely been disappointed with de Blasio and Fariña's public statements on segregation, and have argued that focusing on integration would serve de Blasio's central goal of addressing income inequality. Fariña's comment last week that a local pen pal program could help solve the city's segregation problem frustrated advocates, as did de Blasio's ensuing defense of Fariña's statement. http://politi.co/1NbUaB6
ELECTION DAY 2015 -- DN headline: "Democrats sweep NYC's local races, crushing any GOP rivals." http://goo.gl/tM8aF8
-- Times headline: "Special Races Do Not Alter Party Tallies in New York Legislature." http://goo.gl/FY0vLO
-- Staten Island D.A.: Michael McMahon, a former City Councilman and Congressman, defeated Republican Joan Illuzzi, a veteran A.D.A. from the Manhattan D.A.'s office. In his victory speech, McMahon said, "We also know that the people of Staten Island are underserved by City Hall and city government with the budgets that we get," reported S.I. Advance's Anna Sanders. The comment is an example of the argument McMahon made to voters. As NYT's Alex Burns write, "Criticized for his thin prosecutorial credentials, Mr. McMahon staked his candidacy on the argument that Staten Islanders needed a practiced political hand to advocate for their interests before state and city government." http://goo.gl/c8iX5k
-- Bronx D.A.: Darcel Clark, who was handpicked by county the county's Democratic leaders after incumbent D.A. Robert Johnson belated decided not to seek re-election. The first politician Clark thanked was Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who introduced her at her victory party. Clark told supporters "We will aggressively pursue public corruption," and, after thanking another supporter, said, "It's all about keeping those relationships going." -- Azi and Laura
BIRTHDAYS: Ben Smith, editor in chief at BuzzFeed, formerly of POLITICO and before that, founder of the Politicker, Daily Politics, Room 8 blogs ... and Ari Hoffnung , a former aide to former City Comptroller John Liu, and founder and CEO of Fiorello Pharmaceuticals, Inc.,
CLICKER -- "New York City is Best Seen from Above," by William Boot in the Daily Beast: "George Steinmetz's arresting images of New York City from above will be on display at the Anastasia Photo gallery in New York City from November 3-January 9, 2016. An accompanying book captures the skyline and waterfront landscape, dazzling contemporary architecture and historic buildings-along with parks and streets and rooftops. At twilight, Manhattan resembles a vast living organism with ribbons of energy pulsing through its streets and up into its hundred thousand buildings." http://thebea.st/1WvNGY4
RIP -- "Farewell to Anita Sarko, Queen of New York Nightlife," by Anthony Haden-Guest
in The Daily Beast: "Our author remembers his friend, the brilliant, visionary D.J. who helped make Manhattan's club scene so vibrant." http://thebea.st/1MHdFXQ
EAT BEAT -- "Top Ramen Chef Opening New Restaurant in the LES," by DNAinfo's Lisha Arino: "One of Japan's top ramen chefs hopes to open a new restaurant on Delancey Street by the end of this month ... Shigetoshi Nakamura, who has been dubbed one of Japan's four 'Ramen Kings,' will open an eatery called Nakamura at 172 Delancey St., which will serve authentic ramen noodle soups made with fresh ingredients." http://dnain.fo/20tza2C
MODERN LIFE -- "Humans of New York and the Cavalier Consumption of Others" -- New Yorker's Vinson Cunningham: "HONY joins organizations like TED and the Moth at the vanguard of a slow but certain lexical refashioning. Once an arrangement of events, real or invented, organized with the intent of placing a dagger-artistic, intellectual, moral-between the ribs of a listener or reader, a story has lately become a glossier, less thrilling thing: a burst of pathos, a revelation without a veil to pull away. 'Storytelling,' in this parlance, is best employed in the service of illuminating business principles, or selling tickets to non-profit galas, or winning contests. ...
-- "The quick and cavalier consumption of others has something to do with Facebook, Humans of New York's native and most comfortable medium. The humans in Stanton's photos-just like the most photogenic and happy-seeming and apparently knowable humans in your timeline-are well and softly lit, almost laminated; the city recedes behind them in a still-recognizable blur. We understand each entry as something snatched from right here, from someplace culturally adjacent, if not identical, to the watcher's world; there's a sense (and, given Stanton's apparent tirelessness, a corresponding reality) that this could just as easily be you, today ... Any ambiguity or intrigue to be found in a HONY photo is chased out into the open, and, ultimately, annihilated by Stanton's captions, and by the satisfaction that he seems to want his followers to feel. One of the great joys, after all, of looking at a portrait is the imperfectible act of reading a face. Is that a smile or a leer? Anguish or insight? Focus or fear? "Stories" offers answers before the questions have a chance to settle." http://goo.gl/NXuUWe
JON STEWART's NEW GIG -- "Jon Stewart and HBO conclude exclusive four-year production pact" - release: "The partnership marks the next phase of Stewart's groundbreaking career, beginning with short-form digital content, which will be showcased on HBO NOW, HBO GO and other platforms, and includes a first-look option for other film and TV ventures. In his first project for HBO under the new deal, Stewart will view current events through his unique prism. ... [H]e is developing new technology that will allow him to produce timely short-form digital content, which will be refreshed on HBO NOW multiple times throughout the day." http://bit.ly/1H6iSG4
MEDIA MORNING - RICHARD WOLFFE OUT at MSNBC -- "Digital shakeup at NBC News, MSNBC," by Politico's Hadas Gold: "NBC and MSNBC executives Julian March and Richard Wolffe are leaving the company, NBC News chief Andy Lack announced in a memo to staff on Tuesday. Wolffe, who led the creation and launch of MSNBC.com as VP and executive editor since 2012, was also a former on-air contributor for the network. Lack said Wolffe is 'moving on to a new opportunity.' ... Meanwhile, Lack announced that Nick Ascheim, of BBC Worldwide America, will join NBC and MSNBC as SVP of digital for the company." http://politi.co/1iCuQeZ
TRUMP TALK -- "Trump knocks rivals, gets literary in New York," by Politico's Ben Schreckinger in New York: "Other candidates go on book tours. Donald Trump brings the book tour to him. The erstwhile Republican front-runner pooh-poohed surging Republican rivals Marco Rubio and Ben Carson to an overflow press conference then signed books for legions of his fans - including a real housewife of New Jersey - all from his home turf of Trump Tower ... Asked to do an impression of Bush, Trump declined, saying, 'I don't like showing a person sleeping at a podium.'" http://politi.co/1l7dgSc
REAL ESTATE -- DEFENDING DINKINS-"De Blasio's planning commissioner defends building sale under Dinkins," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: "The pronouncement came as a bit of a surprise to those in the room. The chief executive officer of the Greenpoint Manufacturing & Design Center, preparing to give a tour to a group of elected officials on Tuesday, said his company acquired its building in what he indicated was a bit of a mishap during the mayoralty of David Dinkins. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who worked in the Dinkins administration, met his wife in City Hall during those years and recently renamed a municipal building for the former mayor, seemed a bit taken aback.
"Brian Coleman, CEO of the manufacturing center, said the company bought the 360,000-square-foot building for $1 after City Hall considered tearing it down. The mayor asked for further explanation. 'It's a long, messy story,' Coleman said. ... It turns out de Blasio's planning commissioner, Carl Weisbrod, was personally involved in the sale of the building when he, too, worked for Dinkins." http://politi.co/1Nqc4V9 [PRO]
ABCs OF IBZs-"Mayor, City Council to ban housing in city's 21 Industrial Business Zones," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: "In an effort to bolster New York City's manufacturing sector, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he will not allow homes to be built during his tenure in zones designated for industrial businesses. Standing among City Council members, top administration officials and manufacturing executives, the mayor unveiled the prohibition while rolling out a broader proposal for the Industrial Business Zones that he anticipates would create 20,000 jobs over 10 years. ...
"The message to developers was received with mixed reviews - skepticism in the industry; lots of praise among other politicians. Several developers who would only speak on background and not for attribution were predictably troubled by the idea that they could not build apartments and condos in these zones. One pointed out that some of these areas are not popular sites for industrial companies, regardless of their intended use. 'There are areas of the city that manufacturing is never going to return to. With the housing crisis being what it is, it doesn't make sense to preserve them for jobs that aren't coming,' said one developer." http://politi.co/1NqeTW8
WTC's VISA VIEW-"Wanted: Immigrant Funds to Build Final World Trade Center Tower," by WSJ's Eliot Brown: "To help finance construction of the final office tower to go up at the World Trade Center site, its developer is turning to aspiring immigrants. Silverstein Properties Inc. recently began a marketing push in China seeking investors to put in $500,000 apiece for 2 World Trade Center through the federal EB-5 visa program, which gives green cards to foreigners who invest in certain job-creating businesses. Silverstein's goal is to raise about $500 million in low-cost financing for the lower Manhattan tower, according to marketing materials. ...
"The move is likely to draw scrutiny because the developer is benefiting from a provision of the program meant to aid rural areas and economically ailing neighborhoods. Such moves now are coming under fire in Congress, with critics saying the skyscrapers take money away from parts of the country where financing is scarce." http://on.wsj.com/1Nqnx7j
TIME OUT-"Times Square Alliance launches online tracker for de Blasio's proposals," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: "When it comes to reforming Times Square, Mayor Bill de Blasio's work is under close scrutiny. In an email blast from the Times Square Alliance-which was obtained by POLITICO New York-president Tim Tompkins promised routine progress reports for residents and community groups, as well as the launch of a real-time online tracker. The online tool, ABetterTimesSquare.org/Tracker, measures the laundry list of proposed changes a mayoral task force rolled out last month. The ratings are simply 'progressing well,' 'progress but more work to be done' and 'no updates at this time.'" http://politi.co/1MbBFg4
--"Surprising Histories of the Coolest Streets in New York and Paris," by Laura Reston, reviewing in The New Republic, "St. Marks Is Dead: The Many Lives of America's Hippest Street" by Ada Calhoun, and "The Only Street in Paris" by Elaine Sciolino: "St. Marks ha[s] a colorful ... history. In the 1920s, dance halls and speakeasies cropped up, attracting bootleggers and gangsters to run them. ... [O]nce prohibition ended, the street took on a more bohemian flavor. Young men were flooding home from World War II, and while many began their adult lives in Connecticut and New Jersey suburbs, others travelled to the East Village. ... By then, St. Marks had emerged as the nexus of a new literary scene. Carl Solomon and Allen Ginsberg lived there in the '50s." http://bit.ly/1RSdmYd ... Calhoun -- $17.54 on Amazon http://amzn.to/1MgXnD5
THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: Mets manager Terry Collins received a two-year contract extension. Well deserved.
-- The day ahead: the Knicks are in Cleveland to face LeBron James and the Cavs. The Nets are in Atlanta to face the Hawks.
#UpstateAmerica: As the Army Corps of Engineers cuts back, it seems the world's largest herd of all-white deer are doomed. http://bit.ly/1HpA8RG
CHOCOLATE BREAK -- "Choose From 44 Chocolate Bars and 31 Pralines at new UES Shop," by DNAinfo's Shaye Weaver: "Italian coffee company Filicori Zecchini launched its first retail shop in the U.S. on Lexington Avenue this fall - offering dozens of flavors of chocolates and pralines, including a mustard and a whisky and honey variety. The small 200-square-foot store at 1031 Lexington Ave. officially opened its doors last month, but is celebrating a grand opening on Wednesday with free tastings and hors d'oeuvres from 6 to 9 p.m. ... Chocolate bars at the tiny shop come in ground hazelnut, candied lemon and candied orange varieties. And its extensive selection of pralines includes olive oil & salt, mustard, rum, raspberry bloom and whisky and honey flavors." http://dnain.fo/1NPFtq3
** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Some of America's existing nuclear energy plants face early closure due to current economic and policy conditions. Providing more than 62% of America's carbon-free electricity, existing, state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals.
In New York, nuclear energy plants provide 31 percent of the state's electricity and 61 percent of our carbon-free electricity. The existing nuclear energy plants in New York also support about 18,000 jobs and provide $2.5 billion to the state's GDP.
If we want to keep New York working, we need policies that will keep New York's state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants working for all of us. Join us at NuclearMatters.com. **
FOR MORE political and policy news from New York, check out Politico New York's home page: http://politi.co/1MkLGXV
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