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POLITICO New York Playbook, presented by Nuclear Matters: TAUB's temptation -- CUOMO's grudge -- SEAN KIRST's last column

11/09/2015 07:14 AM EDT

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

ESTEEMED DOCTOR PULLED INTO ALBANY BLACK HOLE - Bill Hammond for POLITICO New York: Watching the start of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's corruption trial last week, it was hard not to feel sorry for Dr. Robert Taub, a prominent physician who got sucked into one of Silver's money-making schemes and is now paying dearly for that mistake. Taub's story is a powerful reminder that, just as surely as asbestos can poison the body, money can twist the soul.

Based on the evidence so far, the same could be said about Silver. Albany's dysfunctional ways gave him both too much sway over state spending and statutes, and too little oversight of his personal finances. It should be no surprise that he allegedly succumbed to the temptation to line his pockets, as too many other state legislators to name here have done before him. Behind what happened between Silver and Taub is the collision of two distortion fields: the money-generating supernova of asbestos litigation and the ethical black hole of Albany.

-- Kyle Smith writes that voter apathy fueled Silver's alleged graft.

PERSONAL GRUDGES -- "Cuomo's top priority is to torment de Blasio: aides," by Post's Aaron Short: "In the last two weeks alone, he refused to endorse de Blasio for mayor in 2017 and smooched his political foil, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, in Puerto Rico.

And Cuomo last week told CBS 2 reporter Marcia Kramer - who was publicly stonewalled by de Blasio days earlier for asking an 'off-topic' question at a press conference - 'I'll take any questions from you that you want to ask.' Cuomo has even set aside skirmishes with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli ... 'Cuomo aides said he's buried the hatchet, especially with Schneiderman, and now he just wants to fight with de Blasio,' the source said. 'They said, "Priority Number One is being anti-Bill de Blasio."'

The governor toys with de Blasio like a cat with a mouse because 'it makes him feel good,' a Cuomo insider told The Post."

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "People will say screw this and we'll all band together. You can't tell people over and over again you're going to answer on-topic questions now and off-topic tomorrow when some of them are serious questions that reporters are asking. You just end up looking bad." -- Anna Sanders of the Staten Island Advance, regarding de Blasio's controversial media strategy, on NY1:

BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The governor toys with de Blasio like a cat with a mouse because 'it makes him feel good,' a Cuomo insider told The Post." -- Post's Aaron Short:

PIC OF THE DAY: Three Donald Trumps, on Saturday Night Live, via @Gothamist:

TABS -- Post: "DEAD TIRED: Cabby in 16th hour on road kills granny." -- News: "City drops ball on NYCHA perps next door: THE EVIL WITHIN: Cop killer you've been refused; Mayor vows eviction reforms" -- Newsday: "DEADLY PITBULL ATTACK" -- amNY: "DINERS in DANGER: Why so many iconic NYC eateries face shutting their doors" -- Hamodia: "Thousands of Chabad Schluchim" and "Greenfield Invites Community to Decide How to Spend $1 Million" -- El Diario [translated]: I am with you: Hispanics support Hillary in key states.

FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 3-col. above the fold: "With U.S. and Israel, It's Who Slighted Whom" and 1-col. above the fold: "Weak in Polls and Betting All on 1 State" -- WSJNY, 4-col. above the fold: "WiFi Woes Plague Amtrak: Railroad looks for alternatives as slow and spotty Web access on Northeast Corridor irks passengers"

** 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 **

NYCHA TRIES TO KICK OUT CRIMINALS: The city's housing authority is attempting to remove convicts from NYCHA buildings, but it is proving difficult. Six out of 28 defendants tied to a criminal case who live in the Grant houses have yet to be removed more than a year later. News' Greg Smith wrote: "NYCHA has managed to exclude 17 permanently, and one tenant is on probationary monitoring by the agency. Another tenant associated with a gang member had a lease terminated. Three more cases were withdrawn. As of last week, crime had dropped dramatically at Manhattanville - down 42% so far this year through Nov. 1 from the same time period last year. At Grant, it remained flat, registering 32 major crimes there this year through Nov. 1, the same as during the same period last year."

-- De Blasio wants the process of removing convicted criminal tenants from NYCHA housing to move more swiftly.

A NEW AUTHORITY FOR THE HUDSON RAIL TUNNEL? - POLITICO New York's Dana Rubinstein and David Giambusso: In August, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer called on the region to create a separate "development corporation" to build a new rail tunnel connecting New Jersey commuters to their jobs in midtown Manhattan.Multiple sources have told POLITICO New York the two states,"the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and federal officials are now hammering out a framework for a new entity dedicated solely to building the project. Negotiations are continuing, but one source said the entity's board would likely be populated by two Port Authority representatives, one representative from Amtrak and another from the federal transportation department. The structure of the board is still in flux, the source said."

REPUBLICAN 2016 STRATEGY: SAY DE BLASIO -- Post's Fred Dicker: "Mayor de Blasio is so reviled across the state that Senate Republicans are planning to use criticism against Hizzoner to boost their candidates in next year's campaigns - and they'll use critiques leveled by Gov. Cuomo to help demonize him, The Post has learned. Some GOPers have started describing Cuomo - involved in a bitter feud with de Blasio - as 'our secret weapon'' to offset the feared larger-than-normal Democratic turnout likely to occur from having Hillary Rodham Clinton at the top of the Democratic ticket. 'De Blasio is probably the most unpopular political figure in the state and Governor Cuomo is helping us by reinforcing that with his attacks on the mayor,' one of the state's best-known Republicans told The Post.

De Blasio will be the target for Republicans in districts throughout the state - and especially on Long Island, where the GOP is expecting problems maintaining control of the Senate. 'We'll be saying, 'Given all the decay and crime going on in the city, do you want to turn the state over to Bill de Blasio?' And if you don't, if you agree with us and with Cuomo, elect a Republican,' the well-known figure continued."

UPDATE -- "Backed by Nail Salon Owners, a New York Legislator Now Fights Reforms," by Times' Sarah Maslin Nir: "In a packed hall in the Bronx a few months ago, Ron Kim, a New York State assemblyman, stood clutching a ceremonial pen in his left hand, the other extended into the crowd as labor advocates, politicians and immigrant rights workers thronged to shake it. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had just used the pen to sign into law a bill protecting nail salon workers from labor abuses and potentially dangerous chemicals. It was a measure that Mr. Kim, who represents the mostly Asian enclave of Flushing, Queens, had spent a painstaking summer helping to craft. Less than a month later, however, Mr. Kim, a Democrat, began to publicly question the law - particularly a provision designed to protect workers from wage fraud. He soon became one of the statute's most vociferous critics. As it turns out, while Mr. Kim's position on the law was evolving, nail salon owners, previously a largely disconnected group, were rapidly organizing. They started a surprisingly sophisticated effort to fight the law. And, behind the scenes, they funneled tens of thousands of dollars in political donations to Mr. Kim."

BACKING UP SCHNEIDERMAN: More than 30 environmental, progressive and labor groups have issued a statement praising Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for looking into whether Exxon deceived investors and the public about the risks of climate change. The groups include SEIU 32BJ and 1199, the Working Families Party, Environmental Advocates of New York and the Teamsters. "If Exxon Mobil and other fossil fuel companies were aware of the perils of climate change at the same time as they reaped hundreds of billions by making the problem worse and lied to their investors and the public, they committed a crime against the planet and every family that lives on it," the groups stated. "We urge other state Attorneys General and federal investigators to follow Attorney General Schneiderman's lead on climate change."

HOLDER'S LAW - Daily News' Glenn Blain: "In response to the killing of NYPD Officer Randolph Holder, a state lawmaker from Brooklyn has introduced a bill to make it harder for career criminals to get into diversion programs. Republican Sen. Martin Golden, an ex-cop, has introduced "Officer Randolph Holder's Law," which will prohibit anyone with two or more felony convictions - including nonviolent offenses - from entering drug treatment as an alternative to jail time. The bill would also require the district attorney to sign off on any diversion and the court to consider and "make a finding of fact on the record" about an offender's potential risk to public safety. 'The object of this is to get the worst of the worst off the street,' Golden told the Daily News.

SEAN KIRST SIGNS OFF - Post-Standard columnist's farewell: "It was a dream. I was also terrified. It took me a little while to sort out my approach, but in the end I went back to what I'd realized as a child: We'd had tumult in our lives. The people I loved the most had their own struggles. Yet amid it all, within joy or tragedy, were moments of love and sacrifice that would later carry me as an adult, leading me to a simple revelation about you, about anyone who reads the paper: My calling involved bringing a sunrise to your stories, and maybe in each one we could all find a small piece of ourselves. ... For 27 years, that's the gift you've given me, whether you're among the countless people I've interviewed or among the readers - the wonderful, evocative, inspiring readers - who send emails or message me on Facebook or write magnificent letters by hand, the readers who teach me, who elevate me, every time you share your thoughts. You are a treasure, as is this town. All I can promise, as I figure out what's next, is that I'll do my best in whatever work I do to honor your faith. I'm lucky, blessed, for the way you trusted me, and it leads to one last impossible question in this last column: How can I ever say thanks for all for this? This city changed my life, and you are my Syracuse."

MEDIA MORNING - Politico's Joe Pompeo reports: Maureen Dowd was arguably the most high-profile addition to the staff of The New York Times Magazine in the months after Jake Silverstein took the helm in mid-2014. Now Dowd's first big piece for the magazine is finally about to land, we're told, and it's slated to run as a cover story in late November. Reached by phone, Silverstein declined to offer up any details. But during a September film festival, Meryl Streep let slip that Dowd was working on an exposé about gender inequality in Hollywood, so stay tuned.

TOO TALL - Midtown residents gathered Sunday to protest the new spate of "supertower" luxury high-rise apartment buildings blocking views and sunlight in Central Park. NY1's Michael Scotto:

BATTERY PARK CITY HIRES ITS OWN POLICE - Post's Aaron Short: "City Parks cops who patrolled Battery Park City for decades are getting swapped for a private security firm.The Battery Park City Authority board voted on Oct. 27 to give Pennsylvania-based AlliedBarton a $2.1 million contract to police the lower Manhattan neighborhood's 38 acres."

CONSTRUCTION'S UP, BUT SO ARE WORKSITE INJURIES - Crain's Joe Anuta: "Injury and death have long been a cost built into construction in New York. Nearly 30 workers died building the Brooklyn Bridge, five perished erecting the Empire State Building, and 60 met their end during the construction of the old World Trade Center. And despite a concerted effort in recent years to prevent on-the-job accidents, a review of city records shows that construction sites are less safe today than they were seven years ago, when the pace of building was on par with the current booming market and a wave of accidents led to rule changes intended to make work sites safer. According to data from the city's Department of Buildings, which is tasked with ensuring site safety, injuries this year are on track to near 400, more than double the number in 2008, even while construction spending has barely surpassed the last peak, and building permits issued are up only 24%."

HILLARYWATCH - "League of Conservation Voters Action Fund to endorse Clinton," by WashPost's Juliet Eilperin : "the first time in three decades it has endorsed a presidential candidate before a single primary vote has been cast. The decision to back Clinton over two Democratic rivals with equally strong, if not stronger, liberal environmental records shows the extent to which some environmentalists are concerned the Obama administration's policies could be rolled back under a Republican president. The group's president, Gene Karpinski, said it needs to activate volunteers and donors early to make sure Clinton is strongly positioned for the general election."

REAL ESTATE -- SHELL SHOCK-"Real Estate Shell Companies Scheme to Defraud Owners Out of Their Homes," by Times' Stephanie Saul: "Partially paralyzed and reliant on a wheelchair, Ozella Campbell spends a lot of time watching television. It was under those circumstances in February 2014 that she saw a commercial urging her to call, a company that offered to buy houses in as-is condition, in cash, and to close the purchase within seven days. She called the toll-free number and within hours, she said, a well-spoken young man appeared at her brownstone, a longtime family home in Bedford-Stuyvesant, a Brooklyn neighborhood in the throes of transformation. The next day, the man's associate arrived. More than a year later, Ms. Campbell, 75, is in limbo. ...

"A review by The New York Times of several dozen cases, and interviews with lawyers, prosecutors and others knowledgeable about fraudulent deed transfers, suggests they are accelerating even as officials struggle to address them. The city's Department of Finance said it was investigating 120 cases, many of them hard to crack because of the role played by LLCs, officials said."

TAKING STOCK-"REITs Fall as Jobs Report Boosts Odds of Interest-Rate Hike," by Bloomberg News' Sarah Mulholland: "Shares of real estate investment trusts fell the most since August after an upbeat reading on U.S. jobs increased the odds the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year. Companies that own properties such as luxury hotels, office towers and shopping malls are being whipsawed as investors wager on when the central bank will raise its benchmark lending rate for the first time in nine years. Higher interest rates may be a drag on property values and make it more expensive for REITs to raise money."

NYCHA NEWS-"De Blasio, feds in talks about high-earners living in public housing," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: "New York City's public housing stock has 2,000 vacant apartments and a waiting list, as of March, of 270,271 families - yet there are some residents living in those homes who make six figures. Now Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is trying to dramatically expand available apartments for low- to moderate-income New Yorkers, is talking to the federal government about how to handle that issue. ... De Blasio said he is in talks about the matter with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development - where, incidentally, he worked during the Clinton administration."

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce president Carlo Scissura ... Regina Calcaterra, author, attorney and former executive director of the Moreland Commission and Utility Storm Preparedness and Response Commission ... Jordan Moss, former managing editor at City Limits ... Allan Shweky of the Federal Emergency Management Agency ... Sid Dinsay, associate director of media relations at Mount Sinai ... and belated shout out to Lynn Schulman (Nov.4), who heads the public affairs at the Health and Hospitals Corporation, board member of LGBT Victory Fund and was a 2009 City Council candidate.

THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: Red Bulls 1, DC United 0: A home playoff game at Red Bull Arena against an inferior opponent that is tight late. A familiar script that in the past few seasons has led to a Red Bulls loss. Not this time: Bradley Wright-Phillips sealed it in the final minutes, and the Red Bulls are into the Eastern Conference finals against the Columbus Crew, beginning November 22 in Columbus.

Knicks 99, Lakers 95: A pro-Kobe Bryant crowd bid the legend possible farewell. Carmelo Anthony scored 24 in the win, while Kristaps Porzingis added another double-double.

Jets 28, Jaguars 23: A late Marcus Williams interception preserved a win that the offense earned, thanks to a pair of Chris Ivory touchdown runs and two touchdown passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick, playing with a torn ligament in his thumb.

Giants 32, Buccaneers 18: Eli Manning continued his strong season with another two touchdown passes, while the defense recovered from last week's debacle, holding Tampa Bay to a single touchdown thanks to a strong first game back from finger-challenged Jason Pierre-Paul.

Bills 33, Dolphins 17: Sammy Watkins caught eight passes for 168 yards and a touchdown while dousing whatever optimism remained from Miami's recent spate of decent play.

#UpstateAmerica: Remembering John Francis Carroll, the 8-foot "giant of South Buffalo."

COFFEE BREAK -- "Uber is the new blind date for New Yorkers," by Post's Danielle Furfaro: "Uber is fast becoming the Big Apple's hottest dating app - as single New Yorkers are using the car service's ride-share option to meet up with strangers for some back-seat romance.

Although taxi riders were once reluctant to share a late-night cab ride with someone they didn't know, passengers say the UberPool service offers the perfect setting for a spontaneous blind date."

** 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 **

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

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