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POLITICO New York Playbook, presented by Nuclear Matters: SILVER's grants -- RAY KELLY's new job -- MAYOR and SPEAKER huddle with FreshDirect foes

11/10/2015 06:55 AM EDT

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

SILVER'S GRANTMAKING - POLITICO New York's Dan Goldberg: Sheldon Silver had sole discretion over whether to award funding to various groups from a little-known pot of money, federal prosecutors said Monday on the fourth day of his federal trial that hinges on whether the former state Assembly speaker was engaged in a quid-pro-quo with a Columbia University physician or whether it was simply business as usual at Albany. Witnesses for the prosecution repeatedly testified that it was Silver who had the final say on how money from the Health Care Reform Act (HCRA) was spent, and that other agencies reviewed those grants only to make sure the paperwork was in order.

They would not have considered the merit, said Dennis Whalen, who at the time of the grants was executive deputy health commissioner for the state. "We were the banker and the bookkeeper," Whalen testified. "We didn't have any say over who got the money or how much." http://politi.co/1QqML69

DE BLASIO, MARK-VIVERITO, MEET QUIETLY WITH FRESHDIRECT OPPONENTS - POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg and Laura Nahmias: Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito attended a private meeting with a vocal Bronx community group that opposes plans already underway for a FreshDirect in the borough and has long demanded an audience with the mayor.The meeting did not appear on either of the two officials' public schedules, but was highlighted in a press release and series of social media posts from the group, South Bronx Unite , several weeks ago. The organization also has been a staunch opponent of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, who has emerged as a critic of de Blasio and a supporter of Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his ongoing feud with the mayor. http://politi.co/1L7sJXo

2017 THREAT -- Seabrook assails de Blasio on Rikers reform -- POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: Norman Seabrook, president of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association, ripped into Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday, demanding that City Hall include the union in discussions about reforms on Rikers Island and threatening the mayor's re-election if he resists.

A convenient supporter: Introduced by Seabrook as "a man with integrity, a man that brings about the change that is needed in this city," Jeffries, often mentioned as a possible challenger to de Blasio for the Democratic mayoral nomination in 2017, expressed lukewarm support for the de Blasio's efforts in reforming the island, but chided him for keeping the union out of the process. "There are changes that reasonable people perhaps can agree upon, but the correction officers under the leadership of Norman Seabrook should be at the table for those discussions," Jeffries said. "There is no better group of individuals who can tell us what needs to happen on Rikers Island than the men and women who are standing behind me."

Seabrook fights new directive: Last week, the Department of Correction unveiled a new use of force policy directive for its employees, which prohibits certain maneuvers and calls for officers to restrain from using force whenever possible. In response to the new DOC policy, which is set to take effect on Nov. 20, the union last week asked the city Board of Collective Bargaining to issue a temporary restraining order to stop DOC from enforcing the new directive. http://politi.co/20Ik0q7

Daily News headline: "Correction officers' union calls for removal of department head Joseph Ponte, files petition to block new use of force policy" -- http://nydn.us/1O0qCt0

POLICE TO PROTEST DE BLASIO THURSDAY -- News' Erin Durkin: "Cops furious over an arbitrator's decision to give them a 1% raise will take their outrage to Gracie Mansion, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association said Monday. The police, who last week demonstrated outside arbitrator Howard Edelman's Upper East Side home, will gather outside of the mayor's residence on Thursday.

-- "'Feel free to bring any friends and family who can help us send a strong message to both Edelman and Mayor de Blasio that New York City police officers deserve better,' the PBA's announcement said. The protest pronouncement came just hours after NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said PBA head Patrick Lynch gambled and lost when he opted to go to arbitration rather than settle with the city directly." http://goo.gl/ufvkSW

ALSO ON THURSDAY: DE BLASIO TOWN HALL IN JACKSON HEIGHTS, via DNAinfo's Katie Honan: "It will be the mayor's second public meeting since he took office in 2014 and follows a town hall focused on tenant rights held in Washington Heights in October. ... Those interested in attending need to RSVP and can do so by calling [host, Councilman Danny Dromm's] office at 718-803-6373. ... The mayor's office and Dromm's office said it is open to the public, but is keeping a list due to space." http://goo.gl/55VAxw

-- NY1's @GraceRauh: "City Hall tells me the mayor's town hall Thurs IS open to the public. But people who want to attend need to reach out to @Dromm25." https://goo.gl/LJiPtu

HAPPENING THURSDAY: Join POLITICO's Chief White House Correspondent Mike Allen and New York Playbook Authors Azi Paybarah and Jimmy Vielkind as they mark the launch of New York Playbook with a conversation about New York policy, politics and the news of the day with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

-- When: Thursday, November 12 - Doors at 12:30pm

-- Where: Bank of America Tower - 1 Bryant Park, New York, NY.

-- Join the convo using #PlaybookLunch.

-- The Playbook event series is presented by Bank of America.

-- RSVP and more info: http://goo.gl/u2gyV8

TABS -- Post: "Bratton's vagrant vix: Stop giving@ BUM STEER" -- News: "IGNORE THEM AND THEY"LL GO AWAY: Commish ripped for callous remarks" -- Newsday: "STUDENT 'SEXTING' ARRESTS" -- amNY: "Health Insurance: TAKING NYC'S PULUSE" -- Metro: "FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Hidden stories of hunger in New York were captured in photos which are on display at the Brooklyn Historical Society." -- Hamodia: "NY Lawmakers Call on Speaker Ryan to Renew Zadroga Act" and "Town Residents Vote on Expansion of Kiryas Joel" -- El Diario [translated]: Care to rent a room

FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 3-col. above the fold: "At Trial, a Fading Mafia Ready for Its Close-Up" and 4-col. below the fold: "Classified Report on C.I.A.'s Secret Prisons Is Caught in Limbo" -- WSJNY, 2-col. above the fold: "Intelligence Firm Taps Ex-Top Cop"

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "This is a war. I am telling you, before this year is over we will be back here again and hopefully it won't be with a pine box in the front of us because i am going to drop the body right on the steps of City Hall because he does not give a shit about us," -- Norman Seabrook, president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association, on Bill de Blasio.

FLASHBACK: Five years ago yesterday, Rep. Charlie Rangel was censured by the congress. h/t AP: http://goo.gl/X9YcQ9

POLL DU JOUR - QUINNIPIAC: "Gov. Christopher Christie's presidential bid is crashing, as only 8 percent of Garden State Republicans back him, a distant fourth place, and all voters say 61 - 33 percent that the governor should drop out of the presidential race." http://bit.ly/1O1aRlL

REMEMBERING HANK PENZA -- Times' Robert Simonson: "Hank Penza, who owned and presided over Mars Bar, a gritty, storied dive bar in the East Village and one of the neighborhood's last holdouts in the face of gentrification, died on Oct. 29 in Manhattan.

Mars Bar was a defiant drinking bunker, all cinder blocks and roller shutters, at the southwest corner of Second Avenue and First Street in Manhattan. A fixture there was Mr. Penza himself, a tall, imposing figure whose dapper style of dress was at odds with his establishment's grungy ambience. Mars Bar succumbed to gentrification in 2011, making way for an apartment complex. But in its prime it was perhaps the epitome of an East Village bar: menacing, dark and covered inside and out by graffiti, stickers and impromptu spray-painted artworks. Its forbidding restroom was an urban legend in and of itself. Performers at CBGB, the nearby nightclub celebrated as a punk-rock hub, made Mars Bar their preshow watering hole." http://nyti.ms/1MIHFfM

STAFF MOVES - City Council staffers depart for media relations firm -- POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: Two City Council communication directors will depart this week to join Marathon Strategies, a growing public relations and research firm in New York and Washington D.C.

William Gerlich, who worked in the office of Councilman Jumaane Williams, will join the firm as senior communications associate, the firm told POLITICO New York. Lucas Acosta, director of communications and legislation for Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, will join the firm as a communications associate and focus on Marathon's growing infrastructure practice. "William and Lucas are going to further deepen our bench of communications professionals," Phil Singer, the firm's founder and CEO said in statement. "Marathon is operating at the heart of some of the major issues facing New York City and its future. Their unique perspective and established networks will help us provide even more thoughtful and insightful advice to our clients operating across the city."http://politi.co/1L7pJKD

** 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. **

NO TOLL HIKES - Journal News' Khurram Saeed: "Drivers will be going over the crumbling Tappan Zee Bridge even longer than first thought. The opening of the first span of the new twin crossing has been pushed back from December 2016 until 'spring or summer of 2017,' the outgoing head of the state Thruway Authority said Monday, adding that it didn't 'really make sense to open this in the middle of the winter.' Thruway Authority Executive Director Robert Megna insisted the $4 billion replacement project will finish on budget and on time in 2018." http://lohud.us/1QqLYCu

-- There will be no toll hike next year on the Thruway system. http://lohud.us/1QqM90B

SLOW SPENDING ON SMART SCHOOLS - POLITICO New York's Keshia Clukey: Fewer school districts than expected have applied for technology upgrades under the state's $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act, according to the state's fiscal year 2016 mid-year financial plan update released last week. The Smart Schools re-election year proposal from Cuomo, which was approved by voters in 2014, reimburses districts for a number of upgrades including building new pre-kindergarten space, installing broadband infrastructure and purchasing new technology, such as iPads.The state originally planned $400 million for 2015-16, however, half was moved to next year due to the "slower than anticipated submissions," according to the state Division of the Budget. To date, nearly 200 districts have begun the online submission process, according to the Budget Division. There is no expiration date on the application process for the $2 billion, which is distributed on a rolling basis. "It's just timing - we'd want school districts to take the necessary steps to determine the best use of these voter-approved funds," said Morris s, a spokesman for the Budget Division. http://politi.co/1NFEevw

MORE SCHNEIDERMAN PRAISE: Hillary Clinton said on Monday that she is "so proud of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman because he announced that he is going to investigate Exxon," according to Bloomberg News. Clinton made the comment at a campaign stop in New Hampshire, where she was endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund. "This is something that all three of the Democratic candidates called for; it's a big deal," Clinton said, according to Bloomberg. The New York Times reported last week that Schneiderman had begun an investigation into whether Exxon had misled investors and the public about the risks of climate change. http://bloom.bg/1QqbBTL

THE PROBLEM WITH D.C. -- Anthony Weiner's op-ed in the News: "[G]et beyond your partisan blinders, and [new House Speaker Paul] Ryan's priorities could actually prove to be a breakthrough that helps all Americans. The obscene amount of fund-raising done by political leaders nowadays is one of the less explored reasons why so little gets done in Washington. Putting aside the sheer number of hours away from the job described in the Constitution, the rhythm of modern fund-raising moves members of Congress further and further into a mind-set that abhors compromise and problem solving. I know this because for years, I lived this reality. ... The most pernicious problem of the huge amounts of money in politics isn't the corrupting effect, as Donald Trump will try to tell you. ... The hours and hours necessary to prepare for biannual reelection campaigns is time that is not spent trying to better understand issues, meeting with constituents or even - heretically - sitting in rooms with members of the other party trying to solve the big and small problems that Congress should be tackling." http://goo.gl/X8RYMt

RAY KELLY JOINS INTELLIGENCE FIRM -- WSJ's Michael Vilensky: The 74-year-old former police commissioner "is joining other former government officials at the corporate-investigations firm K2 Intelligence, where on Monday he was named vice chairman, helping with strategy, crisis management and counseling executives, he said. ... His new job comes about a year and a half after he was tapped to lead a new risk-management unit for commercial real-estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. At K2 Intelligence, which has offices in New York City and around the world, Mr. Kelly's experience managing terror risks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks will be harnessed for the private sector, said Jeremy Kroll, the firm's chief executive. ... NYPD Commissioner William Bratton worked for Kroll before he took his current position. The elder Kroll called Mr. Kelly "the greatest public servant of my generation" and said he tried in vain to hire Mr. Kelly when he first left office. Mr. Kelly said he was eventually won over by the man, who he called "the father of business investigations," and by the company's cyber operations. ... Asked the differences between public- and private-sector work, Mr. Kelly said 'money' with a laugh." http://goo.gl/00St6z

KEEP YOUR MONEY -- Bratton tells New Yorkers to stop giving to panhandlers -- POLITICO New York's Laura Nahmias: New Yorkers who are frustrated with homeless people begging on city streets should stop giving them money, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said Monday, after he was asked to assess a photo of a woman panhandling at 68th Street and Broadway with two dogs and a cat.

"My best advice to the citizens of New York City: If this is so upsetting to you, don't give. The quickest way to get rid of them is not to give to them," he said. "So if New Yorkers are complaining so much about it, well, one of the things they can do is stop contributing to it," Bratton said at an unrelated press conference Monday with Mayor Bill de Blasio. For his part, de Blasio emphasized the city was doing all it could to respond quickly to reports of any illegal activity by homeless individuals, but noted that some behaviors, such as panhandling, are not technically illegal. http://politi.co/1iPeW19

-- Post headline: "NYers to Bratton: You can't stop us from helping homeless" http://goo.gl/GbkzwJ

WHEN THE NYPD TAKES YOUR CASH -- WNYC's Kat Aaron: "Even if you're not charged with a crime, or a case is dismissed and sealed, the police can still seek to keep your stuff, your car, or your cash. ... There are very few public records on forfeitures. The city's District Attorneys seized $46 million through forfeiture in 2014, as part of criminal cases, according to records received through a Freedom of Information request. Those are criminal forfeitures. How much the NYPD took in civil forfeiture ... is unknown.

-- A Freedom of Information request from May is still outstanding. Also unknown: whether certain places or races are disproportionately impacted by forfeiture, since there is no data on where items are taken, and from whom. ... Money seized by the police is supposed to go to the city's general fund, where it gets allocated to law enforcement purposes. According to city budget documents, the police and District Attorneys received more than 18 million dollars in forfeiture funds last fiscal year - some from the state, some from federal sources. But details are few. The lack of transparency makes monitoring nearly impossible, [Councilman Ritchie] Torres says." http://goo.gl/vqNCFT

ON TV -- WSJ's Mara Gay made her debut on MSNBC's Meet the Press Daily, talking about Ben Carson's strategy of attacking the media. https://goo.gl/qYXNUS

BIRTHDAYS: David Howard King, state government editor for Gotham Gazette ... Al Benninghoff, a Democratic operative who worked on State Senator David Carlucci's campaign, and since moved to Wisconsin. Celebrities: SNL alum Tracy Morgan is 46 ... and the late rapper Big Pun would have been 44.

REAL ESTATE -- TAX TALKS-"Study finds revised property-tax break may be more lucrative for rental developers," by Crain's Joe Anuta: "Proposed changes to a property-tax break called 421-a-most notably a requirement that all developers include affordable housing in new projects receiving the benefit-would not stifle construction activity in New York City, according to a study released Monday. In fact, under the changes proposed by the de Blasio administration, building rental projects in some neighborhoods of the city would become even more lucrative than under the old program.

"The 421-a plan is essential for the development of new apartment buildings in many areas in the five boroughs, the study found, which is why the exemption's looming expiration and proposed reforms became a hot-button topic in Albany this past summer. With that in mind, the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy studied the potential effects of a revised 421-a, which would grant developers a reprieve from city tax collectors for up to 35 years." http://bit.ly/1Nom1hF

BIG DEAL-"Westbrook to buy huge BK property for $160M-plus," by Real Deal's Rich Bockmann and Hiten Samtani: "Westbrook Partners is in contract to buy a half-million-square-foot commercial property near the Brooklyn Navy Yard for more than $160 million, according to sources. The privately-owned Midtown-based investment firm signed a hard contract to buy 47 Hall Street from a partnership of Rubin Schron's Cammeby's International, Eli Fruchthandler and Bruce Federman. The price tag, sources told The Real Deal, is between $160 million and $170 million ($290-$310 per square foot) for the 550,000-square-foot building, which sits just south of the Brooklyn Navy Yard campus." http://bit.ly/20IHLP1

THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: The Jets play the Bills Thursday. Bill coach Rex Ryan named IK Enemkpali a captain for the game. Ryan Fitzpatrick may have thumb surgery Friday, yet starts Thursday. Poor Geno Smith.

-- The day ahead: the Rangers face Carolina at The Garden. The Knicks get to measure themselves against the Raptors in Toronto. The Sabres are in Tampa Bay. The Islanders are in San Jose.

#UpstateAmerica: "Another Bills fan tries to smash a table, but this time the table wins." http://deadsp.in/1MHqriY

** 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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