Friday, May 1, 2015

Real Estate $$$ In Politics

Leonard Litwin is a major New York political donor who amplifies his political speech by making large donations through his network of LLCs. Via the LLC loophole, each company may contribute as if it is a distinct individual (with separate campaign finance limits).
Using a new database which automatically loads up all of the New York State Board of Elections campaign finance filing data, we have conducted a unique analysis of Litwin's political finance network in order to paint a picture of his sprawling influence - presented in graphic form below.
One problem with the public data is that when filers describe the counter-parties to their campaign finance transactions (such as donors and vendors), there is no objective standard for names and addresses. Any one name or address may be described limitless ways, accounting for truncation, abbreviation, punctuation, nicknames, typos and other errors. With that in mind, this research gathered up 302 different references to Litwin and his businesses. Litwin's home address and office address are collectively described 104 ways in the data.
With these selections in hand, our research to identify the Litwin network activity (going back to January, 2000) resulted in a product of 1,834 specific contributions totaling $13.2 million dollars. We tallied the dollar sums on the relationships between Litwin and each of his beneficiaries. The chart below sorts recipients of Litwin's cash from largest to smallest, by sum. First, the top five beneficiaries:
Top 5 Recipients from Leonard Litwin LLC Network, 2000-2014
2. ANDREW CUOMO 2014, INC. $1,089,200
4. JOBS FOR NEW YORK, INC. $587,600

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hillary Clinton

Welcome to the Real Brooklyn Hillary Before Gentrification 
Real Brooklyn Cool
Clinton Said to Rent Brooklyn Space for Campaign Headquarters (NYT) It’s official: Hillary Rodham Clinton has chosen a campaign headquarters in Brooklyn. All that’s left is for her to say what she is running for. * Hillary Clinton Campaign Signs Lease in Brooklyn Heights (DNAINFO) *De Blasio declares he will seek reelection for second term in 2017 (NYDN) Less than a year and a half into his mayoralty, Mayor de Blasio made it clear Thursday he would seek reelection for a second term in 2017. De Blasio made the impromptu declaration at a news conference when asked if his interest in national politics — including planned trips to Iowa and Nebraska later this month — indicated he’s eyeing national office. “I intend to run for reelection of mayor of New York City. That’s the only thing I’m running for,” de Blasio said.* Hillary Clinton’s campaign signs lease for Brooklyn Heights(NYDN)* Business Owners in Brooklyn Heights Start Subtle Lobbying of Clinton Campaign (NYT) As the presumptive Democratic candidate for president moves into Brooklyn Heights, the neighborhood merchants are rolling out the welcome mat.

Can Hillary Find Ways to Stop Brooklyn's Gentrification Pushing the Poor and Middle Class Out of the Borough
Errol Louis writes in the Daily News that it would be a“shame” if Clinton travels the country claiming a connection to “Brooklyn’s dynamism” and diversity without seriously engaging its activists:


Meet the Campaign Manger for 2017 for de Blasio and 2016 for Hillary 
De Blasio will create liberal 'contract' to influence 2016  (CrainsNY)* De Blasio convened a group of progressive leaders at Gracie Mansion to announce a new national effort to force his signature issue of income inequality into the upcoming presidential campaign. The group, which included Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, will gather again in May to draft a “template” that the mayor likened to the Contract with America that Republicans used to great effect in 1994.* De Blasio DIps Toe Into Presidential Politics With Meetingof Liberals via @Dnainfo

Meet Hillary Advance Man On Income Inequality for 2016 
DE BLASIO’S 2016 PUSH -- Washington Post’s Dan Balz: “New York Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to host a meeting of leading progressive elected officials and activists at Gracie Mansion on Thursday with the explicit goal of forcing the issue of income inequality to the forefront of the national political debate and the 2016 elections. … De Blasio: ‘As a Democrat, I am very disappointed that my party has not spoken with a clearer voice on this issue. … On presidential candidates … I think many of us feel profound dissatisfaction at the state of the debate in general. I cannot identify any declared candidate who is presenting a holistic vision here.’ … “De Blasio said Thursday’s gathering will include about 12 to 15 people from around the country. He said a list of names will be made available after the meeting. Among those expected to attend are Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (D), Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison. One person who will not be there is Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a leading advocate for a more robust set of politics to reduce the power of big banks and financial institutions, and address the needs of middle class families. De Blasio said a scheduling conflict will prevent Warren from attending.” * De Blasio plans to launch a national campaign on income inequality to help spur what he described as a “progressive” version of the Republicans’ 1990s-era Contract with America, theJournal writes
de Blasio for Mayor 2017
Brooklyn Gentrification 


Obama adviser behind leak of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal(NYP) Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett leaked to the press details of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail address during her time as secretary of state, sources tell me. But she did so through people outside the administration, so the story couldn’t be traced to her or the White House. In addition, at Jarrett’s behest, the State Department was ordered to launch a series of investigations into Hillary’s conduct at Foggy Bottom, including the use of her expense account, the disbursement of funds, her contact with foreign leaders and her possible collusion with the Clinton Foundation. Six separate probes into Hillary’s performance have been ­going on at the State Department. I’m told that the e-mail scandal was timed to come out just as Hillary was on the verge of formally announcing that she was running for president — and that there’s more to come. **Members of Bill Clinton’s camp say the former president suspects the White House is the source of the leak and is furious. * Michelle Obamablocked from releasing video commenting on the 2011 shooting of Gabby Giffords:book (NYDN)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Movie Tax Breaks

Cuomo Gave A Tax Break to SONY to Know Off Dear Leader 
The state appears to have fast-tracked film tax credits at the request of Sony weeks before the company’s executives contributed $300,000 to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign, Capital New York reports:

Sunday, March 29, 2015


de Blasio Slush Fund PAC Controlled By Berlin Rosen 
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been soliciting contributions to his non-profit Campaign for One New York for advertising campaigns that will support his top policy goals
Mayor de Blasio Is Quietly Soliciting Donations for Future Policy Battles (NYT)  Mr. de Blasio and his fund-raising team have quietly solicited large contributions in recent weeks from donors in the mayor’s inner circle, according to three people who requested anonymity to describe moves by the administration that were not yet intended to be public.  Donors are being asked to contribute to a nonprofit fund, the Campaign for One New York, that is operated by political consultants with close ties to Mr. de Blasio. The fund can accept donations that are significantly larger than those allowed within New York City’s strict campaign finance system.* De Blasio is ramping up a political campaign to promote his housing and education priorities, with an eye toward amassing a financial war chest that can compete with well-funded opponents. The mayor and his fund-raising team have quietly solicited large contributions in recent weeks. Donors are being asked to contribute to a nonprofit fund, the Campaign for One New York, that is operated by political consultants close to de Blasio.

Mayor's Office an Berlin Rosen Joined At the Hip and the Media Ignores 

NYT's Michael Powell -  A couple of weeks back, I called the mayor’s press office and asked about Mr. de Blasio’s perhaps too-optimistic cost projections for prekindergarten.  Twenty minutes later, I heard from Dan Levitan of Berlin Rosen, which is the “it” P.R. firm of the city’s left and a close adviser to the mayor. He advised that I should study the mayor’s proposals carefully if I presumed to take “a skeptical look” at prekindergarten. I asked if Berlin Rosen had a contract to handle queries placed with the mayor’s office. He replied that he handled the “campaign” for pre-K. Lobbyists Search for Berlin Rosen * When Campaign Aides Are Lobbyists, Questions Mount - City Limits(City Limits)  * City Hall's new 'in' crowd of lobbyists (CrainsNY) Lobbyists behind the campaigns of ascendant power brokers are now poised to cash in.*  The Perma-Campaign: For Bill de Blasio, the Race Never Ends(NYO) * When Campaign Aides Are Lobbyists, Questions Mount - City Limits(City Limits) Sugar Fixed Why is Berlin Rosen Not A Registered Lobbyists?  BerlinRosen's current and recent clients include Two Trees Management Negotiations between Mr. de Blasio’s team and Mr. Walentas’s firm took place over the last few days. The two men share a mutual adviser: Jonathan Rosen, one of the mayor’s top political hands and the chief executive of a public affairs firm, Berlin Rosen, that counts Mr. Walentas’s company as a client
Lobbyists Berlin Rosen Takes Over NYC Government

WFP Investigation Results in Indictments Against Official's Ex-Aides 
An investigation into the Working Families Party that dates to 2009 allegations of campaign finance issues has resulted in the indictment of two former aides to City Councilwoman Deborah Rose Inquiry Into Working Families Party Spurs Charges Against Official’s Ex-Aides (NYT) A years long inquiry into the party, the influential left-leaning group that helped fuel the rise of Mayor Bill de Blasio, has resulted in the indictments of two former aides to Deborah L. Rose, a Staten Island city councilwoman. A years long investigation into the Working Families Party, the influential left-leaning group that helped fuel the rise of Mayor Bill de Blasio, has resulted in the indictments of two former aides to a Staten Island city councilwoman. But the special prosecutor, Roger Bennet Adler, said on Wednesday that he ultimately chose not to seek criminal charges against the party itself, or any of its top officers, in a case involving campaign finance issues that date to 2009. It is the latest twist in an arcane but notable episode in New York City politics, and the Working Families leadership said it viewed the outcome as a vindication after years of innuendo about improprieties. Mr. Adler was appointed in 2012 and had spent several months presenting evidence to a grand jury. Opponents accused the Working Families Party of circumventing campaign finance laws by supplying some of its candidates with discounted services — such as staff members to hand out fliers or knock on doors — through its for-profit arm, called Data and Field Services. Candidates in New York City are held to strict spending limits, so giving a discount would confer an advantage. Party officials maintain they did nothing of the sort.* WFP Claims Victory in Special Prosecutor Probe (YNN)

Queens GOP Machine Also Coming Down, Turner To Take Over Next Thursday

State Takeover
Word tonight is that the state GOP leader will appoint someone to the Queens GOP.  As the former VP of the Queens GOP Vince Tabone heads to jail for trying with other GOP leaders to sell the party line to Malcolm Smith (also heading to jail) it look like GOP lead Cox has had enough of the long time civil war fighting for control of the Queens GOP. Insiders report that proxies are being collected to put former congressman Turner in as Queens Boss.

Changing Of the Queens GOP Team 
After of the Death of the Queens GOP Boss, Jailing of Its VP for Ballot Fixing Vinny Trombone There is A Changing of the Machine's Guard at the BOE.  Two Years Ago True News Exposed Bougiamas 360 Consultant Corruption at the BOE Along With Other Queens GOP Corruption At the BOE and Nothing Happen
City Board of Elections official had employee work forhis firm, used city email address: Conflicts of Interest Board (NYDN) A City Board of Elections official illegally enlisted a subordinate to work for his private political consulting firm and used his city email address to do work for the company, the Conflicts of Interest Board found. John Bougiamas was a supervisor at the board’s Queens borough office — and was also running his own consulting firms, 360 Consultants and Pharos Group, which did data services for political campaigns and website design. He got one of his employees to do work for 360 Consultants — mostly working for free, though the staffer got paid $500 for one project. Bougiamas, who worked for the Board of Elections for five years, also used his city email at least seven times to do work for his private businesses, the conflicts board said. Bougiamas resigned after the board’s commissioners voted to suspend him without pay. He did not return a call for comment. 

  • Savino Calls Mark-Viverito an "Idiot" but Wants Bharara Not to Cast Aspersions 
Lawmakers Blame the Prosecutor Not Themselves for Albany Corruption
“You want to target corruption? God bless you,” said state Sen. Diane Savino (D-S.I.). “That’s what you’re supposed to do. But the fact there’s some corruption in the Legislature does not mean we all are corrupt. And the rest of us don’t appreciate the comparison.” Assemblyman Nick Perry (D-Brooklyn) is one of many who agreed. * In Federal Indictment ScarboroughAccused Of Misusing Reimbursement Money(YNN)* "Huntley said .. Sampson had warned her earlier to get rid of her phone because the feds were 'on my wire.' " (NYDN) * Huntley’s Colleagues Caught On Wiretap(YNN) * After Helping The FBI, Former State Senator Shirley Huntley Still Gets Slapped With A Year In Prison(Village Voice)

“It’s totally unfair to sort of cast a wide net of mud and dirt across the whole spectrum of elected officials that serve New York” Assemblyman Perry  
 Bharara sees corruption “all over” New York State - The Buffalo News. Stay Tuned “He’s nothing but a politician with a badge,” said one Assembly Democrat. “He should be doing everything he can to root out corruption, but he should not be threatening and grandstanding, telling the world to ‘stay tuned’ and tarring everybody with a criminal brush. It’s inappropriate.” Three Men in A Room is None of Bharara Business “He’s going far beyond the role of a prosecutor,” said a Senate Republican. “If you find people having a conflict of interest or making money illegally, go for it. But ‘three men in a room’? It’s not for a U.S. attorney to be commenting on a system of government.” * Assemblyman-turned-convict Boyland denied bail(NYP) * Prosecutors say Boyland ‘sold his office’ in closing arguments(NYP)
The Elected Officials Who Did Not Speak Out Against Moreland Being Closed Down are Upset Castro Wore A Wire 
HEAR NO EVIL, SEE NO EVIL: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Democrats in the state Legislature are all performing the same duck-and-cover routine when it comes to commenting on Moreland Commission interference, writes City & State’s Morgan Pehme in his latest column: * Even some of Bharara’s investigative tactics have come under fire from lawmakers. Perry is critical of the decision to allow then-Bronx Assembly Democrat Nelson Castro to twice run for reelection while secretly under indictment. Flashback Bribery conviction lands former assemblyman 3 years in prison(NYP) 
Most people don't recall abt 30 yr ago 3 reformers took on political power structure in Albany & became outcasts. Ferris, Pesce, Barbaro


Weiner Ignores the Corruption, Says Fix the Tax
Wiseguy on NY1 the Official Voice of the Lobbyist's for NY's Shadow Government

How do New Yorkers Unlock Albany Corruption When the Media is Leading the Cover-Up?
Want to rebalance New York City's real estate market? Start by fixing thistax (NYDN, Weiner) Capture more of multi-million dollar sales — and slash the levy for middle-income buyers * Should we effectively fund luxury construction by providing it tax incentives? Should we find a way to tax pied-a-terres, as some are pushing to do? Good questions. The most sensible place to start is by reforming a tax that now hits all those who buy new property. Under state law, the City of New York collects a transfer tax from buyers at a rate of 1% of the value of a home for transactions up to $500,000 and 1.425% on those costing more. Which now means the average home in Sunnyside gets charged the same rate as an $80 million condo on 57th St. Given the explosion in prices at the very top of the market, it is crazy that the fees are not more progressive.

Vision $$$ Tickets Skyrocket 
 to ease into enforcement (NYP) Cops have been furiously writing tickets since the city speed limit was dropped from 30 mph to 25 mph last year — with summonses skyrocketing by more than 40 percent in the first three months, according to NYPD data obtained by The Post. On Nov. 6, a day before the policy was put into place, Mayor de Blasio promised to go easy on the early enforcement of his speed law to let drivers get used to the new limits. But rather than be granted mercy, drivers felt the heat as speeding summonses increased by nearly 8,700 between November and January — from 20,486 to 29,179 — over the same period a year earlier. In November alone, summonses doubled to 13,606 compared to the 6,600 handed out during the same month in 2013, according to the stats. Call for More Prosecution of Bad Drivers  As Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero enters its second year, safety advocates want more prosecution of drivers who violate traffic laws and kill or injure a pedestrian and want their driver’s licenses suspended, the Times reports:  * Safety advocates are calling for increased prosecution of drivers who violate traffic laws, including a new one that makes failure to yield a misdemeanor, instead of a traffic violation, if a pedestrian is killed or injured. They are also asking the State Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend a driver’s license after serious offenses as a way of deterring dangerous driving.* The NYC Sanitation Department has issued more than 10,000 tickets for failure to clear sidewalks this winter and more than 42,000 tickets since 2010. In total, those tickets carried fines of nearly $8.5 million (excluding a small percentage of tickets that were successfully challenged), of which just $2.6 million has been paid so far.

Asphalt Green's retaining of lobbyist Jim Capalino last year was highlighted on page 2 of the New York Post in a story about Capalino & Co.'s topping the list of the city's most lucrative lobbying firms in 2014. The hire, which yielded $41,000 for Capalino last year, might be paying dividends. The Upper East Side nonprofit sports and fitness organization is seeking to minimize the impact of a marine-transfer station being built next door by the city—a marked contrast to the longtime strategy of neighborhood residents and real estate interests, which has been to prevent the trash plant from being built. The new approach—which is focused on relocating an access road—resonates with at least one elected official, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. "I do think putting a road through a playground is challenging," she told the Crain's editorial board. "It's a lousy location." The project went through city government's approval process long ago and is now in the hands of the de Blasio administration, so Ms. Brewer has no formal say over it. But her opinion about the access road could matter: She has been an ally of Mayor Bill de Blasio for ages, and was a stalwart supporter of his candidacy for City Council speaker in 2005. Ms. Brewer has no intention of trying to stop the transfer station itself. "The project is going forward," she said.

The Media Made A Big Thing About 12 Days Without A Murder, But Ignore 20% Increase in Shootings and 6% Increase In the Murder Rate
Refusing to close any of the city’s 91 persistent losers or accept a state takeover, de Blasio instead promises to spend $150 million more on those schools, as if more money is the answer. Perhaps most troubling, new restrictions on stop-and-frisk make it harder for cops to keep the streets safe. Carrying an illegal handgun just got easier because cops are no longer allowed to act on “furtive movements” or a “hunch.” It’s also easier for the perps to avoid arrest for an earlier crime because race must be downplayed in describing suspects. So far, it looks like the latter. Shootings are up by more than 20 percent over last year, despite one of the coldest winters in city history. And the increase in murder this year includes the record stretch of 12 days without a homicide, meaning killers are now working overtime. That’s not to suggest the mayor is goofing off while Rome burns. As snow fell last week, de Blasio made two big announcements: He’s still not marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and schools will be closed on two Muslim holidays. As for failing schools, he announced he would shutter two — both charter schools. More cake, anyone? 

De Blasio allowing city to trickle back to bad old 'Taxi Driver' days 
"Muslim Community this is your Selma" @BPEricAdams #EidinNYC
de Blasio is at his “wit’s end” and seeking advice from people who are close to him and Cuomo about how he can improve their relationship, the Daily News’   Cuomo Blamed the WFP or Putting Teachout in the Primary Against Him Those close to de Blasio had hoped the two Democratic powerhouses turned a corner last May when the mayor helped deliver the liberal Working Families Party endorsement to Cuomo, who was seeking reelection, after a contentious battle. And this past week, Cuomo took the unusual step of holding a public event at the Capitol at the same time de Blasio was testifying at a nearby legislative hearing about the governor’s budget. A Cuomo administration official said that while the governor “likes and respects the mayor … the issue is a mayor’s natural frustration that the state controls so much of the city, and the fact that the mayor proposes ideas that are just nonstarters with the Legislature.”* De Blasio on Cuomo divide: Not focused on ‘personalities’(NYDN) * The mayor made it clear he doesn’t want to discuss his rocky relationship with Cuomo, though he didn’t deny a report that he’s trying to mend fences.*  118 New York City schools applied to a new initiative enabled under the teacher’s union contract last summer that allows for bending union rules and city regulations while trying to improve instruction, the Journal reports: * New report challenges de Blasio’s strategy for uppingdiversity in specialized high schools

As Hotel Market Falls Pressure On Pols to Go After Airbnb and Illegal Hotels  

Hotel Market Staggers in New York City (NYT) After years of growth, the city underperformed almost every other top market in January, but analysts are wary of declaring the start of a troubling trend.* For years, New York City’s hotel sector has been growing. But a sustained strengthening of the dollar and a weak global economy could curb tourism, which could ultimately make the Big Apple a less attractive market for developers and investors. Rising interest rates could also make hotel construction and renovation too expensive.

Judge Rules Airbnb Limits Supply of Rent Stabilized Apts and Drives Up the Rent

Airbnb plainly needs to change some of its practices, but the rent stabilization laws that limit supply and drive up prices also have to change, the Post writes: * A Manhattan Housing Court judge ruled that rent-stabilized tenants cannot benefit profit from their situation by renting their homes to tourists at higher prices on websites like Airbnb, the Post reports: * #Airbnb makes millions by putting NYers at risk of eviction. Apparently"sharing" is not caring. (NYP) * Landlords planning more evictions after Airbnb ruling(NYP) The Manhattan attorney who won a watershed case evicting a tenant who cashed in on his rent-stabilized pad by treating it like a hotel has received a flood of queries from landlords who want to boot other profiteers.* Judge: Residents of Rent-Stabilized Homes Can't Put Place Up for Rent on Websites Like Airbnb(NY1)* @Airbnb foes, Related delight in first site-related eviction viaCity council backs tenants, plans new law to sue landlords for using Airbnb(NYP)
Two City Council members want to arm tenants with a new law that would let them sue their landlords for using Airbnb to rent out neighboring apartments as illegal hotel * City council backs tenants, plans new law to sue landlords for using Airbnb Two City Council members want to arm tenants with a new law that would let them sue their landlords for using Airbnb to rent out neighboring apartments as illegal hotel...* According to a @capitalnewyork analysis, 58% of @Airbnb's #NYC listings are possibly illegal  (Capital) * New York CityCouncilwoman Helen Rosenthal writes in the Daily News that Airbnb should show data supporting its claims that three studies are inaccurate in suggesting most of its listings are illegal hotels
. Wall Street the Bull With No Jobs 
With Little Help From Wall Street, New York City Enjoys Steady Job Growth (NYT) A rise in employment in tourist-based and tech companies has outstripped the high-paying securities sector, which once fueled job creation in the city.New York City paid $22.2 million to supervisors who cashed in unused vacation and comp days before retiring last year, which represents a 73 percent increase from 2013, the Daily News reports: *New York City has created more jobs over the past five years than during any five-year period in the last half century. But the city is not pulsing with the same boomtown swagger it radiated in past growth spurts. What’s missing? Wall Street.* NYC shelled out $22.2 million – a five-year high – to supervisors who stockpiled vacation and comp days and cashed them in for payouts before retiring last year.* New York City’s economy rolledalong in 2014, despite losing steam at the end(WSJ) New York City’s economy has rebounded strongly, but the growth has been based on a wide range of industries and sectors and far less on Wall Street, which drove past recoveries, the Times writes: * A Different (and Surprising) Economic Tale of New York City Emerges (NYT) By playing to its strengths beyond Wall Street, the city has created jobs and boosted the economy.* Despite Bill de Blasio’s concern about the shrinking middle class, midlevel jobs are expected to account for 42 percent of the New York City’s job growth over the next four years, The New York Times reports
Why Wall Street Came to NYC
Bharara Responds to Silver 
Preet Bharara’s comments on Sheldon Silver’s allegedcorruption were within the law: prosecutors (NYDN)  Prosecutors on Thursday defended Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s public statements slamming former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as “entirely proper.” The documents filed in Manhattan Federal Court came in response to a motion by Silver's attorneys seeking to have the case against the disgraced pol tossed due to Bharara's comments, which they said ruined his chance at a fair trial. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Cohen said Bharara had done everything by the book. Cohen noted that Bharara — who gave a speech at New York Law School and a lengthy MSNBC interview in the wake of Silver’s bombshell arrest — had always spoken in general terms about corruption in Albany, or referred specifically to the criminal complaint against the Assemblyman. “At the end of the day, the defendant is left to complain, not about substance, but about the language the U.S. Attorney used when describing the complaint’s allegations to the public,” Cohen wrote.

Silver's Friends Attack Bharara In Slate 
 A Pace Law School professor who has been critical of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s speech-making and TV appearances in the wake of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s arrest has ties to Silver’s lawyer, the Daily News has learned. Prof. Bennett Gershman and veteran attorney Joel Cohen are longtime friends and occasional co-authors. Gershman, a former prosecutor, recently wrote an online article for Slate that took Bharara to task for what Gershman characterized as grandstanding with inappropriate comments about the speaker and Albany corruption. The article, though, had no mention or editor’s note that Gershman has collaborated on a number of times in the past with Cohen, one of Silver’s lawyers. * Bharara says he cut Silver a break, ‘spared him perp walk’ (NYP) * Federal prosecutors filed a memo opposing Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s motion to dismiss the corruption charges against him, dismissing a claim of “improper statements,” The Wall Street Journal reports: *The office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, asked a federal judge to deny a motion by Assemblyman Sheldon Silver to dismiss his indictment on grounds that Bharara orchestrated a “media firestorm” around the arrest of the former speaker.  Bharara maintains he actually went out of his way to spare Silver undue embarrassment by having him surrender in the basement of the Javits Federal Building before being driven to the courthouse rather than subjecting him to a typical “perp walk.”* Heastie on Silver: "We speak. I've always had a great relationship with him and I don't see why it would change. I consider him a friend."Preet Bharara critic is friend, collaborator of SheldonSilver's attorney (NYDN)

Bharara to Cuomo: Free to Speak On Morland 

 Given U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s considerable power, and the respect and acclaim he enjoys with the public, he ought to be especially careful when expressing his opinions, former prosecutor Bennett Gershman writes in Slate:

The preliminary budget also didn’t set aside any of the $100 million sought by the City Council to hire roughly 1,000 extra cops. Yesterday Insiders say Cuomo is rattled by Silver corruption case (Dicker, NYP) * NY prosecutor PreetBharara disputes Gov. Cuomo’s corruption claim (WNBC) New York’s top federal prosecutor, is rejecting claims by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that a federal review of corruption investigations has muzzled the governor’s office. In an MSNBC interview airing Tuesday, Bharara says Cuomo’s assertion that he cannot discuss the ongoing investigation is simply not true. “People are able to exercise their public role in the way that they see fit,” Bharara says. “I don’t think I, or anyone else, has ever said that any particular person shouldn’t be talking about how he or she made decisions publicly,” he added. Cuomo set up a commission to investigate political corruption in New York, the Moreland Commission, and then disbanded it in March 2014. Bharara seized its files and began a review of its closure, setting off a clash between two of the most powerful Democrats in New York. * Bharara Criticizes Albany in TV Interview (WSJ) The Comptroller Smells Blood DiNapoli: Cuomo budget boostsreserves, lowers transparency (TU)  * Klein Defends ‘Three Men In A Room’(YNN) * Cuomo’s administration contended state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s math was faulty after he released a report questioning aspects of the executive’s proposed budget, the Daily News reports:  * State Sen. Joe Griffo is sponsoring a bill that would place eight-year term limits on the Assembly speaker, temporary Senate president, both houses’ minority leaders and committee chair positions, theTimes Union reports: * One Ban Fits All (YNN)  Unlike his GOP colleague, IDC Leader Jeff Klein is all for a full ban on outside income – as he demonstrated by announcing this week he’ll divest entirely from his private practice law firm.

Cuomo Acceptance of Corruption A Rejection of the Teaching of the Founding Fathers
We’ll always have Albany(NYP)‘You’ve always had and you probably always will have some level of corruption. Power corrupts, and government is a source of power, you have it in the City Council . . . the state Legislature . . . the Congress . . .” Albany’s corruption has been fueled by two chief factors: a high-taxing, high-spending and overregulating government that creates all sorts of opportunities for those in positions of power to sell favors, and a political class that for too long has taken a so-what-else-is-new approach. In just the past decade, more than 30 state legislators have been arrested, indicted or forced out of office due to scandal — including two former Senate majority leaders, a governor and an Assembly speaker. 

John Adams Rejects New York's Shadow Government
Look at all the areas of New York life corruption touches: Party officials selling their ballot lines. Elected officials (and their relatives) abusing their nonprofits. Yes, power corrupts, and if Albany is more corrupt than most, it’s because it has too much power. So maybe instead of accepting Albany’s corruption as nothing out of the ordinary, as Gov. Cuomo suggests, New Yorkers should be demanding a leaner and less-powerful Albany.* It will be “very challenging” to force lawyer-legislators to disclose all their clients, AG Eric Schneiderman says – even as the governor has proposed to do just that.* The NY Post: “(M)aybe instead of accepting Albany’s corruption as nothing out of the ordinary, as Gov. Cuomo suggests, New Yorkers should be demanding a leaner and less-powerful Albany.” Albany Reforms Trim state leaders’claws (TU) Rather than imposing term limits, which would only encourage corrupt legislators to do bad acts more quickly, the Legislature needs to alter leadership rules, giving more responsibility* Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the suggestion new disclosure laws would violate the attorney-client privilege for lawyer-lawmakers: “There are no legal obstacles. There are practical obstacles. There’s no legal obstacle if they want to passing the law. They don’t want to do it. That’s different.”

Closed Hospitals, Brooklyn 911 Phone System Are Reasons Not Given for A 10% Increase In Ambulance Response Time
NYC sees increase in cardiac emergencies as ambulance response time rises (NYP) Ambulances responded to 8,804 cardiac arrests in the first four months of the fiscal year — a 10 percent increase from the same period a year ago — and it took longer to get to those needing help, according to figures released Tuesday. Every second is critical in cardiac cases — a detail made more worrisome because the longer response times came as the number of cardiac calls jumped sharply from 8,026 a year earlier. The numbers explain why Mayor de Blasio is adding 32 ambulances to the city fleet in his upcoming budget. The Transportation Department reported it took an average 6.7 days to close a pothole work order, up from 4.3 days, because of an “exceptionally harsh winter” that left so many of the craters.There was better news at the NYPD, which dispatched patrol cars to crimes in progress in an average of 8.4 minutes, down from 9.3 minutes the previous year. * * New York City lawmakers said the de Blasio administration is not doing enough to overhaul the 911 system during a tense City Council hearing, the Daily News reports:  * NYC Council members criticized the de Blasio administration’s continued push of a plan to overhaul the 911 emergency response system, despite the project being years behind schedule and more than $2 billion over budget.NYC Council Criticizes Long-Awaited, $2 Billion 911 System (WSJ) New York City council members sharply criticized Wednesday the remaking of the city's 911 system, a $2 billion-plus, more-than-decade-long project that remains incomplete.* NYPD Deputy Commish John Miller: Why ISIS' appeal is sostrong (NYDN)
Closed Hospitals
Lobbyists are at the heart of the 911 Emergency Systems Failure 

Last January True News Asked: ________________________________                                                                                 
What Kind of Progressive Era?
The 1st Progressive Era Goal Was to Destroy Political Bosses 
The Progressive Era was a period of social activism and political reform in the United States that flourished from the 1890s to the 1920s.[1] One main goal of the Progressive movement was purification of government, as Progressives tried to eliminate corruption by exposing and undercutting political machines and bosses. Many (but not all) Progressives supported prohibition in order to destroy the political power of local bosses based in saloons.[2] At the same time, women's suffrage was promoted to bring a "purer" female vote into the arena.[3] A second theme was building an Efficiency movement in every sector that could identify old ways that needed modernizing, and bring to bear scientific, medical and engineering solutions. 
Progressives Without Reform Beliefs 
Progressives sought to enable the citizenry to rule more directly and circumvent political bosses. Many cities set up municipal reference bureaus to study the budgets and administrative structures of local governments. Charles Henry Parkhurst (April 17, 1842 – September 8, 1933) was an American clergyman and social progressive. Although scholarly and reserved, he preached two sermons in 1892 in which he attacked the political corruption of New York City government. Backed by the evidence he collected, his statements led to both the exposure of Tammany Hall and to subsequent social and political reforms. Frances Perkins and the New Deal

de Blasio Puts Together His 2017 Campaign . . .  Irish Vote Way Down 

"Muslim Community this is your Selma" @BPEricAdams #EidinNYC
de Blasio is at his “wit’s end” and seeking advice from people who are close to him and Cuomo about how he can improve their relationship, the Daily News’   *New York City will become the nation’s first major metropolis to close its public schools in observance of the two most sacred Muslim holy days, de Blasio announced – a watershed moment for a group that has endured suspicion and hostility since the Sept. 11 attacks. Now that he’s closing schools on two Muslim holidays, de Blasio is being pressured to keep his word and add the Lunar New Year to the list. * Two months after de Blasio took heat for calling Sheldon Silver a “man of integrity,” the indicted former Assembly speaker joined a rally to pressure the mayor to make good on a campaign promise to close public schools for Lunar New Year.

Dis the Irish  Irish New Yorkers are furious after the city made the annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast at Gracie Mansion an hour later—when it will clash with Cardinal Dolan’s Mass, the Daily Newsreports  * NYC Mayor says the 5th Ave. St. Patrick’s Day Parade'sorganizers haven’t done enough to include gay groups Update  de Blasio administration, which scheduled the annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast at 8:30 a.m., said it would move the time back to 7:30 a.m. to avoid conflict with Cardinal Dolan’s Mass, the Daily News reports * Mayor's Stance on St. Patrick's Day Parade Alienates Him with Some Irish-American NYers (NY1)

So @BilldeBlasio defended Hillary Clinton's e-mail/FOIA avoidance tactics. I wonder what AndrewCuomo thinks?  Will Clinton's Email Problems Rub Off on Cuomo? Cuomo administration begins large-scale email purges (Capital)

De Blasio’s 2013 GOP opponent Joe Lhota criticized the Democratic mayor, saying he lacks perspective because he “has surrounded himself with people who think like him and act like him.” Nevertheless, Lhota said he won’t challenge de Blasio again in 2017 because he doesn’t see a path to victory.* In a speech to some of NYC’s most powerful business leaders, Mayor Bill de Blasio called on the private sector to voluntarily hike the minimum wage to $13 an hour. Unlike many of his more wary real estate brethren, Rob Speyer moved quickly to build a strong relationship with de Blasio, but the two aren’t on the same page on affordable housing.

Staten Island
De Blasio vowed to eradicate the “forgotten borough” moniker and even disgruntled Staten Island residents might concede that the borough is not that forgotten by the mayor, The Staten Island Advance reports:

Poll shows strong doubts about Cuomo & co.'s ability to fight corruption 

92% of New Yorkers see state government corruption as amajor problem: poll (NYDN)A Siena poll found that 51 percent of voters say Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed ethics reforms would reduce corruption, which 92 percent say is a serious problem, but 53 percent say an on-time budget is more important: * Poll: Part-time NY lawmakers should disclose more aboutprivate income or stop moonlighting (NYDN) * As New Yorklawmakers debate ethics law changes, they still have the laxest campaignfinance limits in the country (Capital)

Has the New Brooklyn DA Moved Into the Hynes' Hotel?
A lawyer accused Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson of using a controversial hotel custody program after he called the practice “Guantanamo on the Hudson” during his campaign, the Daily Newsreports:  * Veteran investigator Anthony Schembri was forced to resign from the Brooklyn district attorney’s office when the DA Ken Thompson made him the fall guy for media leaks, according to sources, the Post reports: * It has been a complicated debut year for Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, who was overtaken by events even as he set about enacting his promise to recalibrate how his office deals with minority communities, the Times writes: 

No Outrage Have New Yorkers Given Up?
Organized Crime Albany, Court Corruption, Tax Give-Aways to Foreigners
According to indictments unsealed this week, Ms. Rahaman was right. It was all a ruse involving their landlord and two inspectors from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, prosecutors said, a small piece of a larger bribery and kickback investigation involving nearly four dozen city housing and buildings employees, property owners, managers and construction industry workers. The court documents describe in detail how building code violations and tenant complaints were dismissed for payoffs that were sometimes just a few hundred dollars. “Notably, many of the buildings at issue are located in areas of Brooklyn which are rapidly developing and gentrifying, resulting in an economic incentive for building owners to sell or refinance quickly to take advantage of the booming real estate market,” said a letter submitted to the court by the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

Weaken the Neighborhoods for Central Control By the Mayor and Developers 
Lindsay, Wagner Breslin and Mailer Worked to Give More Power To the City's Neighborhoods
In the early 1970's, Mayor John Lindsay created additional entities in some districts whose responsibility it was to oversee the provision of City services. Each "Little City Hall" as they were called, was headed by a District Manager, a person appointed by the mayor. Lindsay wanted the city halls to give neighborhoods more control of the city's government.  How They Came Into Being What would eventually evolve into a system of Community Boards was the brainchild of Robert Wagner, Manhattan Borough President, in 1951. He designated twelve districts within Manhattan and established, for each, a Community Planning Council composed of fifteen to twenty members. The function of these Councils was to advise the Borough President on matters related to planning and the budget. In 1963 while Wagner was battling Tammany Halls shadow control of city government, he got the City Charter to establishment Community Planning Boards, as they were referred to, in all five boroughs of New York City. Eventually the term "Community Planning Board" was shortened to simply "Community Board". The role of the boards was still that of advisory boards to the Borough Presidents.

True News Wags NYP's Goodwin on Organize Crime Albany Government
Today's NYP 
Sheldon Silver'sdownfall exposes corruption in Albany(Goodwin, NYP) Since prosecutors filed the charges against Silver, published reports are detailing how he manipulated the courts, the Legislature, not-for-profits and even an innocuous-sounding resolution to enrich himself. The portrait that emerges is that of a boss of a Mafia-like gang. Think of it as La Cosa Nostra’s government family.

True News Last Weekend
New York's Organize Crime Politics 
Crooks in Assembly are using 1957 Apalachin Organized Crime Commission as model to Take Heat Off Them 

A Coalition of County Leader Puppets and Silver Changes Nothing

New York’s representative democracy has been hijacked in an organized crime sort of way by our elected officials.  Just like the mob at the Appalachian meeting rigged drugs, gambling and prostitution, our elected officials have rigged government, the judicial system and the state prosecutors to enrich themselves in money and power.  That 1957 meeting included over 100 mobsters including "Joe the Barber," divided the illegal operations of loan sharking, narcotics trafficking and gambling controlled by the late Albert Anastasia. The soldiers of New York’s Political Elected Mob are two Tammany Hall machines that have control over a broken down election system, unbeatable and unaccountable to the voters in New York’s broken down election system.  The lobbyist with their real estate and union funding make up the new machine, the party leaders who no longer control the vote, but its leaders have control of the special election, the court and the old guard of elected officials in Albany makes up the second machine.Under plan to cede duties to senior members, Silver would keep his title, his formal powers and his leadership stipend, spokesman says.

The New Puppet Bosses of Albany Is As Bad As the Old Boss
Like the Appalachian mobsters the Party leaders, consultants/lobbyist has divided up New York to control the government and rake in millions of dollars for themselves. The press coverage of politics is amazingly similar to the SEC reviews of Madoff’s records over the years. They saw but did nothing.  The press is reporting the indictment of the U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, but they are not helping him by investigating the corrupt like he asked them to do over a year ago.

de Blasio's Owes His Victory to 3% of  New Yorkers, 80,000 Black Voters and 1 Sharpton 

Governing to 282,344 
New Yorkers
282,344 votes were cast for de Blasio in the 2013 Democratic Primary, about 3% of New Yorkers (8.500.000).  de Blasio tied Bill Thompson, the only African-American in the race, overall at 42 percent of the vote. Sharpton did not back Thompson in the primary.  In the general election virtually every vote cast by black New Yorkers — 96 percent — went de Blasio way.  Of those we have flagged as likely Black (which would exclude Whoopi Goldberg, Spike Lee & David Dinkins), we have 178,843 Dems who voted in 2013 Primary. That is certainly too low.

Many Black New Yorkers Are Seeing de Blasio’s Victory asTheir Own(NYT)In New York the Democratic Primary is the real election, for most elective officers.. In the primary runoff Comptroller John Liu received 127,173 or just 4% of the registered Democrats in the city (3,177,740) in the runoff. De Blasio did a little better with 138, 736, he got 4.4% of the city's democratic voters. John Liu was elected with just 2.7% of all the city's registered voters casting their vote for him.* "This isn’t thecampaign"-Ray Kelly to Bill de Blasio Bill de Blasio’s Circle of Power(NYT)