Tuesday, April 22, 2014


All of which is good reason to take a moment to give thanks to those in the city's trenches who have quietly gone about the tough, everyday work of remedying inequality, as well as those who have stood tall against abuses of power. Their deeds ennoble this city more than a trainload of the fatuous celebrities who soak up so much of the media's attentions. Late Voice writer Jack Newfield began this Thanksgiving tradition in 1976, in the depths of the city's last fiscal crisis, a time when the powerbrokers were again working overtime to remake New York in their own image. Newfield called his honor roll an ode to "heroes and heroines, the sung, and the unsung.

The idea comes from Jack Newfield, the late Voice writer who was beloved of lists: "Worst Judges" and "Worst Landlords" were two of his creations. He even offered an end-of-year rundown dubbed "Remember the Greediest." But he started publishing what he called his "Honor Roll" on Thanksgiving week back in 1976. He said it was his favorite task and it's not hard to see why. As much as our chief duty may be to smoke out wrongdoing, the bigger reward is always found in hailing those who do right. Here are just a few of those who richly deserve a Thanksgiving toast:


Airbnb Contributes Max to de Blasio and Other Pols

Why Pols Don't Speak Out on Airbnb It all About the Benjamins . . .
The three men founded the popular apartment sharing website Airbnb, which is currently locked in a standoff with New York State regulators. So it is perhaps not surprising that in recent days each of the three gave the maximum possible donation to Bill de Blasio, the Democratic nominee for mayor, who, if he wins, could play a significant role in the negotiations.  * De Blasio raises concerns about Airbnb(Capital)

Iillegal New York City hotel rentals it is not surprising that the founding team of Airbnb – which is based in San Francisco and comprised of Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia – all made last minute max-out contributions to de Blasio’s campaign.(NY World) * Airbnb and Uber's Latest Lobbying Tactic: Donate to Bill De Blasio * Airbnb Really Wants Bill De Blasio To Be Cool With Airbnb ... * NY Legislator Explains What a Legal Rental Is to Airbnb ... NY Times covers Airbnb's Huge Valuation not what it is doing to tenants * Airbnb bids to pay taxes, faces opposition(NYDN)

Not Only are Most Airbnb Rentals Illegal in NYC, Now They Turning Into Sex Dens

AirbnbBolton St Johns Screws New Yorkers
Hookers turning Airbnb apartments into brothels(NYP) Hookers are using the controversial Airbnb home-sharing Web site to turn prime Manhattan apartments into temporary brothels, The Post has learned. “It’s more discreet and much cheaper than The Waldorf,” said the sex worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The prostitute, a buxom brunette who charges up to $500 an hour, said her escort service generally rents an Airbnb apartment in the Financial District or Midtown West for up to a week at a time — then cycles numerous hookers through the place for trysts around-the-clock. A poker game or a cocaine deal going on next door.?

Lobbyists and Miss Information Campaigns
Airbnb works directly with its own lobbyist, Bolton-St. Johns, and indirectly as "an industry stakeholder" the trade group Short Term Rental and Hospitality Association, which has hired the lobbyists Cordo & Co.—all to fight against New York's hotel law. according to New York state senator Liz Krueger, one of Airbnb's lobbying arms has started a misinformation campaign about the law to put more pressure on elected officials. Krueger is referring to Peers, a non-profit industry mouthpiece that presents itself as a grassroots organization for folks who just wanna make a little money on the side—and what kind of monster would object to that? Except that Peers was cofounded by Airbnb's "head of community" and has investment from the Omidyar Network, the foundation of eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar—connections that are glossed over in order to make campaigns look more authentic, and less like a pre-IPO necessity.

Airbnb Campaign Contribution and Lobbyists Trumps Tenant Protection

Thousands of Apartments Have Been Taken Off the Market by Airbnb . . . 

Third Parties warehousing Apartments for Airbnb . . 

Airbrb Raised the Costs of NYC Apartments . . .

Airbrb Cuts into the Collection of the Hotel Tax . . .   

Lobbyist for Airbnb in NYC is Bulton St Johns 

Friday, April 18, 2014

NYC Minor Party Racket

New York's Third Party Racket
3rd Parties Benefit Insiders who control them, elected officials
Party favors(NYP)   New York’s near-unique system, which allows cross-endorsements.  The history of third-party candidates in America, of course, suggests they triumph rarely and in highly exceptional circumstances. Then again, they are not primarily about winning. Primarily they are about pushing Democrats or Republicans in a certain direction — or punishing them when they have strayed too far from principles important to a significant number of their supporters.  In New York, a third party that runs its own candidate takes a risk. That’s because a party must draw 50,000 votes in the gubernatorial race to keep its automatic line. The less well-known a third-party candidate, the less likely he or she will meet that threshold — and enable the party to keep its coveted line on the ballot. Which is why New York’s minor parties have largely devolved from movements of principle into often-corrupt ­patronage mills. Reviving the Liberal line, which has been off the ballot since 2002, would be convenient for Cuomo. But it serves no pressing need and offers no alternative. It’s a reminder that when politicians can get more than one line on a ballot, they are the ones who benefit, not the voter.* Former New York Liberal Party head Ray Harding charged with taking kickbacks in pension fund scheme (NYDN)

The left-leaning, union-backed Working Families Party, which let itself be shanghaied four years ago into backing Andrew Cuomo for governor, is now signaling it may run a candidate against him. Meanwhile, John Catsimatidis, the supermarket mogul who lost last year’s GOP mayoral primary to Joe Lhota, is offering to bankroll a revival of the long-dead Liberal Party — and give Gov. Cuomo the Liberal line on the state ballot. As our readers know, The Post has little common ground with the WFP, which acts as another political arm for the unions. But in seeking to to run its own candidate against an incumbent Democratic governor, the WFP is doing exactly what a third party should be doing: offering an alternative. That’s in sharp contrast to the Catsimatis effort over at the Liberal Party, which far from giving voters more choice only gives the Democratic incumbent an extra line on the ballot.
More on GOP Bottom Feeders And Corruption
More on WFP, Acorn 2.0 and the New Progressive Machine 
More on Independence Party Is Really A Cult 
Conservative Party Permanent Leader Long 

Thursday, April 17, 2014


New York ranks 33rd in the nation for the percentage of women holding state Legislature seats at 21 percent. The national average is 24 percent.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Brain-Washing: TV Ads, Emails

Texas Gov. Rick Perry thinks the START-UP NY ads are good, but wonders why they’re being run in New York City.

Cuomo's Brain-Washing Economic TV Ads

Cuomo is spending $140 million on TV ads whitewashing Albany, but he better buy more paint. After Monday’s arrest of former state Senate Majority Leader Sen. John Sampson, it’s clear that the sepulcher needs a second coat. Sampson, who allegedly made off with more than a half-million dollars while — ominously — promising to “take out” witnesses in his case, is the fourth former majority leader to fall afoul of the law since 2006: Joe Bruno of Rensselaer County and Malcolm Smith of Queens face corruption charges, while Pedro Espada of The Bronx was convicted last year. All in all, the past seven years have seen 32 New York officeholders indicted, convicted, censured or otherwise obliged to slink shamefully from office. Astonishingly, they include the two men who topped the Democratic state-wide ballot in 2006: ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer and former state Comptroller, current ex-con Alan Hevesi.* Economic-development agencies run by local governments doled out $1.5 billion in tax breaks to 4,486 projects in 2011, an increase of 16 percent in net exemptions since 2010, according to the state comptroller’s office.

NYT de Blasio Pre-K Winning Email Dumping

The Computer In Box is the New Spin Room
Michael Powell offers a cynical take on Mr. de Blasio’s pre-K victory. “O.K. It is a splendid advance, and the mayor deserves credit for his doggedness, not to mention his ability to never lose his grin even as our governor offered a 43-part seminar in intricate ways to humiliate a new mayor,” he wrote “City Hall, however, might consider tempering the stream of triumphal emails, which now seem to arrive in reporter inboxes at a rate of two an hour.”*Testing Effects of Pre-K Asked if city will study effects of expanded pre-K, says quality is very important, but doesn't explain how city will measure.* Massive City Hall PR push for pre-K will include ads on buses, robocalls to families in public housing, multilingual canvassing effort.* Cap NY: "Beyond ensuring that charters can grow without having to pay the city a dime, experts say [new] laws also accomplish something much broader, and potentially more consequential: the erosion of mayoral control of schools."* What the state’s charter push did to mayoral control(Capital) Experts say new charter school protections in the state budget diminish the powers won by Bloomberg* Being able to serve new communities, to provide more parents w/ great educational options, is what drives us to continue to open new schools* Charter schools in demand despite City Hall disdain(NYP)

TV Thanking the Mayor for Pre-K Ads Aim to Fix His Weak Poll Numbers
Mayor's Speech May Not Have Given Whole Picture of City Housing Authority Repairs - See more at: http://manhattan.ny1.com/content/politics/political_news/206816/obama-talks-voting-rights-act-threat-at-nan-convention#sthash.YZjwewip.dpuf

"It's fascinating to me that an individual who has a very significant taxpayer-paid-for communications department, who is trailed by countless numbers of reporters and cameras across the city, doesn't feel that he has a way to communicate with the public through that very obvious means of communicating," said Susan Lerner of Common Cause New York. A television ad starring Chirlane McCray looks a lot like the ads Mayor Bill de Blasio ran during his campaign for City Hall.However, the mayor is not paying for it out with campaign money. A nonprofit group, staffed by former de Blasio campaign aides, produced the spot. The group is spending more than $1 million to keep it on T-V for the next few weeks.

The NYP Exposes de Blasio Pre-K PAC  
But Say Nothing About the Corrupt Election PACs Involved in 2013 Local NYC Elections
NYT Silent On Local Impact of Citizens United on Public Financing
NYT's + Media's Blind Side The NYT has written several times on the national impact of Citizens United but never on the impact of that  special interests big money supreme court decision on the 2013 NYC election. The press is focused on  a preacher and 4-year-olds, while not reporting on how our city government was mugged by special interests Citizen United PACs and the lobbyists political consultants who do their bidding in the last election. Have these PACs made NYC government worse (if that is possible)? Have these PACs and lobbyist consultants committed crimes? stay tuned.Bill’s secret donors(NYP Ed) Are the “evil” Koch brothers funding Bill de Blasio’s pre-K lobbying group?It’s impossible to tell, because UPKNYC won’t disclose its donors. And the mayor — once a champion of transparency for political donations — has gone radio silent. Most likely, it’s the city’s public unions that are forking over the big bucks here. If so, New Yorkers ought to know — because these same unions are now negotiating contracts with the mayor. The United Federation of Teachers, for one, might also stand to gain if Albany funds a pre-K expansion that requires hiring more teachers.  How different de Blasio’s silence today is from 2010, when he blasted the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling: “Removing transparency, and the accountability that comes with it, have clearly made it easier for special interests to fund negative campaign ads without repercussion,” he said. “This unprecedented anonymous spending threatens voters and investors alike.”He could have been talking about his own group. Run by many of de Blasio’s campaign aides, UPKNYC has reportedly spent more than $250,000 on the mayor’s behalf. In February, it said it would voluntarily disclose its donors in the coming weeks, but never did. Campaign Reform and Media Cover Up of Citizens United On Local 2013 Election

Coming Media War:  
Old Journalism vs Elected Officials Media
Pols are increasing creating interests group and using twitter and facebook to reach the public going around old media

No Investigative Journalism Allows Corruption to Grow U.S. Attorney Bharara (Update)

NY's Media Gang Ignores Bharara
As the media goes after every detail of Gov Christie defense of closing a bridge, not a Preet is heard about Albany Speaker Silver and the rest of the crooks cutting Moreland's investigation funds.  New York City's media seems to have an on and off switch on investigative journalism or who they go after.  Ask Liu or Spitzer. Every elected official and the flacks, media barrons and prosecutors who protect them understand that only media attention to government scandals can cause enough public pressure to an demand investigation. Over 90% of media coverage are press releases or tipped stories from lobbyists, flacks or elected officials. Today's new generation of journalists think publishing information first is more important than independent analysis to inform the public what is really going on. They have become dependent on the lobbyists, flacks to get them their fix of breaking news which usually is limited to who an elected officials will appoint, new programs and the spin of the day coming from people payed to cover up the truth. Helps create batzarro politics where pols take credit for what they promise not how well they deliver services or make proper decisions.

How Economic Development Metastasis into A Re-Election Campaign

The Cuomo administration spent $15.2M on ads touting its tax-free zone program (Capital)
For three months beginning in December, the state spent $8.9 million in out-of-state markets, $4.2 million in New York City and $2.2 million in Upstate markets. Capital first asked the administration for information about the ads on January 19, and has reiterated its request more than three dozen times over two months. It also filed a Freedom of Information Law request for records about the advertising that has been extended twice. Empire State Development, the state authority in charge of economic development in New York, released the data to Capital (and other outlets) after Capital asserted it would write an article about ESD officials refusal to fulfill requests.* Rob Astorino Says Gov. Cuomo's Using Start-Up NY Ad Campaign As A Popularity Booster(NYO)
Ocean Hill-Brownsville Panel Discussion at Museum of the City of New York - See more at: http://www.edwize.org/ocean-hill-brownsville-panel-discussion-at-museum-of-the-city-of-new-york#sthash.6An62IFR.dpuf
Ocean Hill-Brownsville Panel Discussion at Museum of the City of New York - See more at: http://www.edwize.org/ocean-hill-brownsville-panel-discussion-at-museum-of-the-city-of-new-york#sthash.6An62IFR.dpu

Unions and Labor

 UFT Fights Back Hires New Progressive Machine for $2.5 Million
The United Federation of Teachers and New York State United Teachers unions gave a collective $2.5 million to education groups that have attacked Cuomo’s support for charter schools and opposition to tax hikes, the Post writes: The rebranded ACORN — New York Communities for Change — received a total of $1.3 million from the United Federation of Teachers and New York State United Teachers from 2010 to 2013. The unions also pumped $1.2 million into a group called Alliance for Quality Education. Both issued statements accusing the governor of “pay-to-play politics” for backing charter schools because of campaign contributions he received from charter-supporting “Wall Street billionaires.” They also supported tax hikes on the rich opposed by Cuomo. Cuomo blamed the attacks on “a big bureaucracy with a system that is entrenched.”* DN Education Tax Credits * The Daily News writes that the education tax credit being proposed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan—among others—is a promising way to boost charitable giving to public and private schools: * Leaders rush on Common Core adjustments, not teacher evaluations(Capital)

The UFT Advance Connection * UFT under fire for apparently trying to hide identity of consulting firm(NYDN)The city’s powerful teachers union is under fire from good-government groups for apparently trying to hide the identity of a consulting firm it was using to boost union-backed candidates.  "The listing of the phony firm, 'Strategic Consultants, Inc.,' in campaign filings, obscured that Advance Group was being paid both to promote candidates for the United Federation of Teachers' independent political action committee, and working as the main campaign consultant for several of those same candidates."Teachers union paid $370K to fake consultant
More on the WFP, Acorn 2.0 and the New Progressive Machine 
More on the Advance Group 

No Public Trust: Clue 2

Unions Have Their Own NY Citizens United To Control City and State Elections

The Politically Impotent Average 
New Yorker

Look for the union label(NYP) Even as New York legislators decry the corrupting influence of money in politics, they’re busy protecting their union pals from the annoying glare of having to disclose how much they spend to promote their candidates during political campaigns. Exhibit A is the recently passed state budget. This budget requires more disclosure of spending on issues and advocacy. Except for one thing: It exempts spending by labor unions on campaign messages that target their members and retirees. The exemption also applies to spending corporations direct at their members and ­retirees. But because union spending on such messages dwarfs that of corporations in New York politics, this special carve-out has a disproportionately favorable impact for unions. If this all sounds familiar, it should. Last spring, the City Council voted to give unions the same exemption in city races. Then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed it, but the council overrode his veto. Now Albany has basically adopted the same provision at the state level. New Yorkers are going to know less about the real moneybags behind our campaigns. The example Crain’s noted was the massive campaign on behalf of Bill de Blasio by 1199 SEIU. It was exempt from reporting on the grounds that officially the health-care workers union was only targeting its members. * Cap NY: "A vote by a state teachers' [union] to overhaul its leadership may be a sign of trouble for [Cuomo]."

How Do You Give the UFT A 9 Year Contract?

When the Mayor Says Parents Want to Shake Unacceptable Status Quo of Our Public Schools?   

: "People in traditional schools, charter schools want to shake foundation of unacceptable status quo"
"The notion that children are "lucky enough to escape" district schools "speaks volumes," BdB says"
De Blasio Pushing for Unusual, 9-Year Contract With Teachers’ Union(NYT) The de Blasio administration, seeking to be generous to its allies in labor without jeopardizing New York City’s finances, is pushing for what would be the longest-ever contract with the teachers’ union: a nine-year deal that would let the city stretch out potentially huge retroactive pay increases.* De Blasio's Labor Team(City and State) * De Blasio eyes record 9-year deal with (NYP) teachers union * De Blasio Pushes a 9-Year Contract for Teachers(NYT) * De Blasio Proposes Nine-Year Contract for City Teachers(NY1) * Teacher back-pay math is tough, even on a nine-year timeline(Capital) Goodwin NYP On Proposed Contract "News flash: With City Hall and the teachers union negotiating a new contract, union boss Michael Mulgrew asked for the sun and the moon, then promised, “We’re not trying to bankrupt the city.” Whew — glad he cleared that up." More On Education and the new Chancellor, Charter Schools

Hotel Union Test How Much Power They Have Under de Blasio and New Council

Hotel Development Union Check Proposed
The Hotel Trades Council is pushing for stricter public review of new hotel development—which could help it gain members—setting up a test pitting de Blasio’s promises to developers against his relationship with labor, the Journal writes: * Bill would force hotel developers to submit plans to community(NYP)

Is the Council Giving Departing UPK Manager and Union ManagerA Gift?

UPKNYC Campaign Manager Returning to Union Gig(NYO) Josh Gold, who’d taken a leave of absence from the powerful Hotel Trades Council to manage the campaign, is in the process of transitioning back to his former job. Josh Gold, a de Blasio campaign aide who ran the mayor’s efforts to get universal prekindergarten, is returning to his old role at the Hotel Trades Council, a sign the lobbying push is over

* The Coalition for a Real Minimum Wage Increase accused Cuomo of stalling on setting up a board to mandate a wage increase for food servers, the Daily News reports: http://goo.gl/hSM9R1
* De Blasio on Thursday reiterated his promise to hire local workers for the city’s troubled Build it Back program, at the release a report detailing his new plan to rebuild homes destroyed by Sandy, Gotham Gazette reports: http://goo.gl/IoWOv3
* Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino in a video blasted Cuomo over a state Department of Labor report showing a 0.1 percent increase in unemployment, State of Politics reports: http://goo.gl/pgsEZG

Albany and the DREAM Act

Dream Act Supporters Blast Grisanti Ad

Tuition Aid to Illegal Immigrants Defeat Blame Game Connected to Control of State Senate
The state Dream Act, which would have granted state tuition aid to undocumented immigrants, failed in the Senate after a 30-29 vote, leaving the legislation two votes shy of passage

State Senate Rejects Bill Granting Tuition Aid to Illegal Immigrants(NYT) The legislation would have allowed students without proper immigration status to receive financial aid through state programs, if they met certain conditions.* DREAM Act killed in New York state Senate(NYDN) * Senate Republicans, united, defeat DREAM Act(Capital) * Senate narrowly votes Dream Act down(NYP) * Undocumented Students Denied Tuition Aid in Vote(WSJ) * A day after the state Senate failed to pass the Dream Act, Sen. Jeff Klein of the IDC and Democratic Sen. Liz Kreuger lobbed blame at each other’s conferences for the failed vote, the Daily News reports: * Klein: A Dream Act Vote Is What Advocates Wanted(YNN) *Wednesday Update Some sponsors of the DREAM Act are looking for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to include the measure in the state budget after it failed to gain enough votes to pass in the state Senate After DREAM defeat, state senators look to Cuomo(NYDN) * Gonzalez: Gov. Cuomo still has a lot to prove on immigration(NYDN) * Blame Begins After Dream Act Fails(WSJ) * Gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino plans to attend the Somos spring conference in Albany despite calls from DREAM Act sponsors for him to be dis-invited after he came out against the legislation, the Daily News reports:  * It’s only a matter of time before the DREAM Act, which failed in the state Senate 30-29 Monday, is passed in New York, state Sen. Jose Peralta writes in the Daily News: * Senate Dems To Cuomo: Dream Act Will Pass If It’s In The Budget (YNN)  * State Senate Majority Coalition Leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein say the DREAM Act is not being discussed as part of the budget days after it failed in the Senate by a close margin, the Daily News reports: *Dream Act Revived In Assembly Budget Negotiations(WSJ) * Cuomo And Dream Act Supporters Meet(YNN) * Mayor Touts Support for Municipal IDs, DREAM Act at Albany Conference(NY1) * De Blasio, Mark-Viverito Back N.Y. State Dream Act(WCBS) * DREAM Act Dominates Discussion at Somos el Futuro Conference * State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is calling for the DREAM Act to be included in the state budget following its failure to pass through the Senate last week,the Daily News reportsMark-Viverito hires immigration and labor specialist(Capital)  

What About CUNY SUNY Tuition Increases?
For SUNY and CUNY, Top Lawmakers Support Plan to Raise Tuition $300 a Year(2011, NYT) Set a fixed rate for tuition increases: $300 annually for the next five years.* * A Cuomo-proposed initiative to offer college courses to state prison inmates would expand on programs that have offered inmates better opportunities upon their release, the Journal News writes: