Sunday, May 10, 2015

Other Recent News

Drivers Keep Killing Pedestrians, So the NYPD Will Crack Down On Jaywalkers 
Drivers Keep Killing Pedestrians, So The NYPD Will Crack Down On Jaywalkers (Gothamist) A dozen pedestrians have been killed by drivers in the past twelve days. At least three of them were killed crossing the street with the right of way, and four of them were killed as they walked on the sidewalk. In response to one of those deaths, in which a hit and run casino bus driver killed a pedestrian in Flushing, the NYPD is going to start handing out more jaywalking tickets. * NYPD: Driver arrested after car flips on curb, kills pedestrian (AMNY)
Traffic, Vision Zero and Speed Cameras

Escape From NYC Middle Class Push Out 
Why Is Leaving New York the LatestTrend?  Between 2000 and 2010, the Tax Foundation found that 3.4 million residents moved out of New York, Forbes listed the state in their feature “The States People are Fleeing in 2014,” and New York was the third highest “moving out” or “outbound” state inUnited Van Lines’ 2013 Migration Study. So, what’s the deal? The Sunshine State has no income tax and no estate tax — both of which New York charges. In fact, each year from 1977 to 2011, New York ranked No. 1 for the highest tax burden (except for 1984 where it came in second). The fact is, it’s expensive to live in New York and the additional tax burden over other states is becoming less appealing. When people renounce their New York citizenship, they take their tax dollars with them. The Tax Foundation estimates that New York lost more than $45.6 million in tax revenue over the last 10 years. Going along with that, the Tax Foundation listed New York as No. 49 on its 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index. Last year, it came in dead last. If the mass exodus intensifies, perhaps enough changes will be made to New York’s overall tax code to make living and retiring there more affordable. In the meantime, New York residency will continue to decline. *    As NY has some of the highest electrical costs in thenation: "A Texas Utility Offers...Free Electricity" (NYT)The Tax Foundation’s 2016 State Business Tax Climate Indexranked New York State as the 49th worst state tax system in the country, but noted the state’s substantial corporate tax reform could help the state move up on the list in the future: * New York was ranked 49th in the nation for high taxes, only beating out neighboring New Jersey because of Cuomo’s cutting of the corporate tax rate, according to a new report from the Tax Foundation, the Post writes:  *  Nearly a dozen indictments unsealed detail a series of racketeering schemes that officials contend reveal widespread, institutional fraud in the heating oil industry across New York City and affected hundreds of buildings, theTimes writes: * Prosecutors Allege Persistent Heating Oil Fraud in New York City (NYT) The indictments, which were unsealed on Tuesday, charge nine companies and 44 people with defrauding a broad array of customers of oil they believed had been delivered.*"NY has the nation’s worst tax score...the studynotes."The troubling tax war between Albany&smallbusiness (NYP)* The Post writes that the creation of the Office of LaborStandards by de Blasio and the New York City Council offers yet another avenue for the government to “harass” businesses in the city’s already overburdened business climate: *New York came in dead last of the 50 states in a survey of “economic freedom” because of its high taxes, large government and business regulations. New Hampshire ranked No. 1 in the Toronto-based, libertarian Fraser Institute’s study.* Due to its high taxes, large government and business regulations, New York was ranked dead last for “economic freedom” in a survey conducted by the libertarian Fraser Institute, the Post reports:  The growth of chain stores in New York City has increased considerably over the last year, according to a new report.

MTA Losing Money to Uber

The MTA is losing some $10 million a year thanks to the growth of Uber, authority officials saidand that number is expected to grow.* As the yellow and green cabs lose riders, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is missing out on 50-cent-per-ride surcharges that subsidize the city’s subways, buses and commuter trains.

Paris Has No Gun Policy and Terrorists Got Guns on the Back Market

'I'M MORE WORRIED ABOUT THEM THAN I AM ABOUT SYRIAN REFUGEES': Schumer, Bratton get behind push to ban suspected terrorists from purchasing guns (NYDN) * US Sen. Chuck Schumer is pushing legislation to ban known or suspected terrorists from legally buying firearms and explosives. He says 2,000 people on the terror watch list have purchased guns in the US, and blames the National Rifle Association for blocking the measure in the past.

Con Ed to Blame for Harlem Gas Blast Will the Prosecutors Take Criminal Action Against Con Ed?

Con Ed to blame for deadly Harlem building blast: regulators (NYP)  Con Edison’s failure to inspect and test a plastic joint in an underground gas pipe led to the2014 East Harlem building explosion that killed eight people and injured 50, state regulators said Thursday.  The Public Service Commission released a report saying that the company committed several violations, the most crucial being the failure to test, inspect and discover a faulty joint in a section of pipe that had been damaged by faulty city sewer lines.* Con Edison’s failure to inspect and test a plastic joint in an underground gas pipe led to the 2014 East Harlem building explosion that killed eight people and injured 50, the PSC said in a new report. Flashback East Village Gas Explosion Reveals Problems in City’s Inspection System (NYT) Under the current system, Consolidated Edison is not required to immediately notify the city if its workers find a dangerous gas situation.
More About the Harlem Gas Exploion

Another Fatal Traffic Accident This Weekend 
Woman Is Fatally Struck in Brooklyn (NYP) The woman was hit while trying to get into her car, the police said. About a dozen other people, including the driver, suffered minor injuries. * Fatal Brooklyn Crash Renews Fears of Drag Racing (NYT) Questions linger in the death of James Miro, 31, whose body was found in a submerged car near a stretch of road that local residents say is frequented by drag racers. * Woman killed in Thanksgiving hit-and-run was retired NYPD cop (NYP) * Driver Charged in Death of Retired Police Officer on Thanksgiving in Brooklyn (NYT) The driver, Michael McBean, was charged after striking a Yvette Molina, 56, who died, and several stopped vehicles and then tried to flee, the police said.

Highest Court: No Garner Grand Jury Transcripts Release 

New York State’s highest court declined to hear an appeal from several groups seeking the public release of transcripts from the grand jury that considered evidence in the death of Eric Garner at the hands of NYPD officers. The decision, in a six-word ruling published on its website, ended a yearlong legal effort to pry open records from the private proceeding.
Where is the Grand Jury Reforms?, Pols Escape Blame
NYPD in Crisis: Sharpton, Noerdlinger, de Blasio, Bratton, Garner Chokehold, Grand Jury and Protests
Blasting the Press, de Blasio, Sharpton Over Noerdlinger and Racial Divide; Clueless Press
The Racial Divide, A Tale of Two City's Black and White

Upstate Casino Market Satuated
.@MoodysRatingssays upstate casinos entering an "over saturated" market.  *Upstate is expected to have four new gambling casinos in the next two years. But with casinos also coming online in nearby states, New York’s projects will be entering what Moody’s Investor Services describes as an “over saturated” market that is already pinching some operations and which has forced others to close.* A Moody’s report described the region as “oversaturated” with casinos and notes that a total of eight new projects, including four in upstate New York, are expected to open by the end of 2018, the Times Union reports:
More on NY Gambling 

Friends, moneyand progressive politics (NYDN) Where the prosecution stitches together a criminal conspiracy, Silver claims he engaged in unrelated and lawful acts like giving state grants for cancer research to a doctor, who then referred lucrative mesothelioma patients to a law firm that then paid Silver cash for each one. His lawyer protested that the feds have “twisted” into a crime “the fact that friends might do favors for friends.” Echoing “The Godfather: Part II,” he declared: “This is the system New York has chosen.” It’s a system in which candidates and elected officials game campaign finance and ethics rules to benefit themselves and their allies.  After NY1’s Grace Rauh reported this spring on the mayor’s outside advisors — some of whom meet with him more often than top city officials — de Blasio said of Jonathan Rosen of powerhouse progressive PR firm BerlinRosen (who’s also the spokesman for The Campaign for One New York):  Then there’s de Blasio ally Melissa Mark-Viverito, who accepted free help from the politically wired Advance Group when she ran for City Council speaker. Boss Scott Levenson ( later fined for his role in the shady Trojan and carriage horse politics of 2013) “volunteered” their services, explaining when The News exposed that arrangement that they were “just helping” a friend as “a long-standing progressive firm.”  In 2013, few saw the outside money flood coming. Now, we all know the new rules of the New York game.

New Yorkers, step up and run: As the Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos trials demonstrate, we've got big problems and small politicians (NYDN) “We will never bring disgrace on this our city by an act of dishonesty or cowardice,” goes the pledge, which was cited by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia at his first inauguration and Rudy Giuliani at his second. “We will revere and obey the city’s laws, and will do our best to incite a like reverence and respect in those above us who are prone to annul them or set them at naught. We will strive unceasingly to quicken the public’s sense of civic duty. Thus, in all these ways, we will transmit this city not only, not less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.” Wonderful words. If only we could find more people — including voters — willing to take seriously the ideas behind them. More and better citizens need to consider sacrificing their comfortable lives to learn the ropes and stand for public office. And we in the public must use the time before every election to nudge and nag politicians about their ideas, their ethics and their alliances. There’s too much at stake to do otherwise.

Nobody Asked Me But . . . 

1.   What Daily News Reporter Siegel should have wrote after "Said de Blasio’s press secretary: The group “does not engage in politics” but “exists solely to advance the administration’s agenda.” Was that Bill Hyers who works for the One NY PAC slush fund is still being paid by the mayor 2013 campaign committee.
2.    Siegel Wrote: :Then there’s de Blasio ally Melissa Mark-Viverito, who accepted free help from the politically wired Advance Group when she ran for City Council speaker. Boss Scott Levenson ( later fined for his role in the shady Trojan and carriage horse politics of 2013) “volunteered” their services, explaining when The News exposed that arrangement that they were “just helping” a friend as “a long-standing progressive firm.”  Siegel did not write the the city's conflict of interests board was still sitting on their investigation of Advance Illegally Helping Mark-Viverito to win the speakership.  Siegel should have also said it was a joke for advance to be fined $15,000 for Funneling money into dozens of campaigns by a secret company created by the UFT to cover-up Advance's Involvement 
3.  Errol Louis or his headline writer wrote: "New Yorkers, step up and run: As the Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos trials demonstrate, we've got big problems and small politicians" Louis ran for office long before the lobbyists consultants and their PACs Hijacked NY's Election and he knew how hard it was to beat the machine way back when.


Cuomo Pick New Chief Judge 
Cuomo Nominates Westchester DA For Chief Judge (YNN) Gov. Andrew Cuomo has nominated Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore as the state’s next chief judge on the Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court.* Gov. Andrew Cuomo nominated Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore to serve as the top judge on the state Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, potentially replacing Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, who is retiring, The Wall Street Journal reports: *  Gannett Albany reviews the career of DiFiore, Cuomo’s nominee for the state’s chief judgeship, who would be the second woman to hold the position if she is confirmed * DiFiore would be only the second woman to head the state’s highest court. The first was Judith Kaye, who was selected by Cuomo’s late father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.* Gov. Cuomo called DiFiore “tremendously qualified,” while she said she is “humbled by the incredible honor” of being nominated.*  Sen. John Bonacic, a Hudson Valley Republican and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was muted in his reaction to DiFiore, a Republican-turned-Democrat who experts believe would bring a center-to-left vision to the court, saying merely that he would “reserve comment until we have the opportunity to do our due diligence.”* Janet DiFiore, Westchester Prosecutor, Is Nominated as New York’s Chief Judge (NYT) Ms. DiFiore, the current district attorney in Westchester County, has served as a State Supreme Court justice and has also led the chief ethics panel in Albany.

Slow Shake Up In Cuomo Office
Of the 20 staffers whose names appear the most often on the governor’s schedules between February 2011 and August 2015, only six still work for him, though such turnover is not unprecedented or atypical, Politico New York reports:  * From the new @PoliticoNY Magazine: @NYGovCuomo schedulesunderscore departures by top aides

Cuomo Dancing FOIL Reform
In Looming FOIL Fight, Cuomo Admin Consults Freeman (YNN) * Analysis: Executive Order Weaker Than FOIL Bills (YNN) * Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed two bills intended to make it easier for New Yorkers to get information from their government, instead directing state agencies to hasten their court appeals when a judge orders them to disclose something, the Associated Press reports:  * Cuomo to Hold FOIL Summit (YNN) * Cuomo vetoes bills meant to prompt government disclosures  * Cuomo's FOIL Order Has More Limited Scope Than Vetoed Bills  * Cuomo's FOIL Order Has More Limited Scope Than Vetoed Bills  * The Glens Falls Post-Star: “For anyone still in doubt about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s hostility toward open government, his vetoes on Friday of two bills to buttress the state’s Freedom of Information Law remove all doubt.” * The Journal News: “(I)n the wake of the high-profile convictions of two of Albany’s former legislative bosses, Cuomo’s (FOIL) plan does not go far enough. Besides, we’ve heard Cuomo come up with lofty legislative plans to make important social change early in the year, only to see efforts fizzle out by the legislative session’s close in June.”

Is de Blasio's Dumping Bertha Lewis? 
She Knows A Lot of Sectets
At a rally outside City Hall, the Black Institute’s Bertha Lewis, a former de Blasio ally, criticized the mayor for his administration’s poor performance in contracting with minority- and women-owned businesses, theObserver writes: * Bertha Lewis, founder of the Black Institute and a former de Blasio ally, called the administration “incompetent and immoral” and said it “doesn’t care about minorities and black people.”

Two Arms: Its Time for News Yorkers To Take Back the City From the Real Estate Barron and Their Hired Gun Lobbyists Who Control the Election Process and Run A Shadow Government

S.E.C. EYES ABTECH— New York Times’ Susanne Craig: “AbTech says it has been assured by federal investigators that it is not a target of the investigation. Still, the company’s stock has fallen more than 70 percent since The New York Times first reported in April that AbTech was entangled in it. In recent weeks it has seen work suspended on a big contract, one it won in Nassau County with the help of Adam Skelos. Separately, AbTech says the Corvias Group, a developer, construction and property management firm, canceled a partnership it had with it. In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission has begun to scrutinize AbTech, according to a person briefed on the matter but who insisted on anonymity because the investigation is continuing. The full scope of the investigation is not known, although the person said that the commission was examining the terms of the Nassau County contract, which required state legislation to be completed, and whether this information was properly disclosed to AbTech investors.”

Affordable Housing De Blasio administration shifts stance on housing subsidies(Crains) The mayor's office will allow double-dipping in an effort to achieve deeper affordability.  n a change from last year, the de Blasio administration will let some residential developers double or even triple-dip into subsidy pools by using the same group of affordable apartments to qualify for a variety of programs—a practice it initially pledged to eliminate. * No consensus on de Blasio’s latest affordable housing plan (Capital)

Airbnb wants City Council to amend legislation that could fine users up to $50K (NYDN)

Sen. Liz Krueger made a “Lord of the Rings” reference on Twitter in relation to Airbnb.

NYC will spend $10M to crack down on illegal hotels 

Albany Corruption

John M. Murphy, who represented Staten Island in Congress for 18 years before being caught taking a $50,000 cash payment in the Abscam sting operation in the late 1970s,died yesterday at a Staten Island hospital. He was 88.

Bertha lewis
  • Bertha Lewis, a longtime ally of de Blasio, is knocking statistics the mayor issued last week claiming city contracts with minority-and women-owned businesses exceeded $1.6 billion, which puts it on pace to reach its 10-year goal, the Post reports:

Bertha Lewis, a longtime ally of de Blasio, is denouncing as “bulls–t” statistics the mayor issued last week claiming city contracts with minority-and women-owned businesses exceeded $1.6 billion. “The numbers don’t add up,” she said.

“Everyone here is so nice … so nice that maybe we won’t arrest anyone tonight.” – US Attorney Preet Bharara in Poughkeepsie.


Thank super lawyer Alan Dershowitz — at least in part — for Rep. Charlie Rangel suddenly reversing his decision to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s contentious March 3 address to Congress.
Rep. Charlie Rangel is withholding an endorsement in the race to replace him because he thinks it’s too crowded and believes the ranks of candidates will eventually thin.

Brooklyn DA

  • Detective investigators were not given bonuses by their employer, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, despite others in the department getting checks of between $1,800 and $2,000, the Daily News writes:

OU,UJA and Agudah unite for all kids

Both the Assembly, (which went first), and the Senate are now totally paperless, as per the passage of a constitutional amendment last year.

New York Archdiocese Will Close 7 More Churches (NYT) The closings — three in the Bronx, one in Manhattan and three north of the city — are part of the biggest reorganization in archdiocese history.

NY Archdiocese Begins Church Mergers, Closures Under Restructuring Plan (NY1)

The New York Archdiocese is starting a series of church mergers and closings, effecting 74 churches altogether.

City Council
* At least 10 New York City Council members have more than $10,000 in credit card debt, including Council members Vincent Gentile, Karen Koslowitz, Mark Levin, Ben Kallos and Inez Dickens, the Daily News reports:

Closing Hospitals

Some New York hospitals make so many medical mistakes that patients aren’t safe in them. Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn earned a big fat F in the Spring 2015 Hospital Safety...

LICH supporters rally in Brooklyn as Appellate Court mulls appeal | Brooklyn Daily Eagle


Cranes $48.3 Million Jury Award
‘King of Cranes’ lawyer to jury: ‘He’s not good looking’ (NYP) b A jury awarded the families of two victims of a 2008 crane collapse accident in New York City more than $48.3 million for their economic losses and pain and suffering, the Times reports:   * One of the longest civil trials in New York City history ended when a jury found the owner of a crane company responsible for the deaths of two people killed when a tower crane collapsed in Manhattan seven years ago, awarding the families of the two victims more than $48.3 million for their economic losses and pain and suffering. * One of the longest civil trials in New York City history ended when a jury found the owner of a crane company responsible for the deaths of two people killed when a tower crane collapsed in Manhattan seven years ago, awarding the families of the two victims more than $48.3 million for their economic losses and pain and suffering. * $48M in punitive damages awarded to families of 2 who died in crane collapse (NYP)  * Jury Awards Another $48 Million to Families of 2008 Crane Collapse Victims (NYT)A jury in Manhattan awarded punitive damages on top of the $48.3 million given last week for economic losses and pain and suffering.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is gaining access to data that will help his office better track fraud and abuse.

Sony, News Corp, Glenwood, REBNY, Chase, BoA, Citigroup = $ for Andrew Cuomo … #QuidproCuomo

SonyNews CorporationREBNY, now the banks - who doesn't Cuomo hit up in the Quid Pro Cuomo game?

“I sort of thrive on this — there’s something wrong with me,” LG Kathy Hochul said of her jam-packed schedule. “I’m energized by it. I’m energized by the stimulation of meeting new people and the adventure of each day.”

The Daily Freeman’s Alan Chartock explores the likelihood of a third term for Cuomo, noting the governor’s fundraising capabilities and asking whether a challenger strong enough to knock him off would come forward:

State Senate Democrats increasingly are distancing themselves from and criticizing the man who leads their party: Cuomo.

 Andrew Cuomo's job approval rating sank again this month, a new poll shows, as voters continue to see corruption as a major problem in state government. A Siena Research Institute survey released Tuesday found 41 percent of voters approve of Cuomo, a Democrat who is in the first year of his second term. The same poll found 90 percent of the 695 registered voters surveyed still think corruption is a serious problem, but a solid majority—57 percent—said it's roughly the same as ever. While people like former Gov. David Paterson have speculated, it's unclear if there's a link between Cuomo's erosion and the high-profile arrest and ouster of the State Legislature's leaders, Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver. In addition to his job approval—which dipped to 37 percent in a Marist College poll earlier this month—Cuomo's favorability rating also fell.

@davidsirota reports that Gov. Cuomo has tried repeatedly to cut funding for NY's major cancer screening pgm …

GOVERNOR ON THE SPOT—Capital’s Jimmy Vielkind: There were still many more questions than answers by the time the governor arrived, to see for himself how two inmates pulled off the first escape from a maximum security prison in a decade. It’s the latest example of Andrew Cuomo, Man of Action. The Democratic executive genuinely enjoys a hands-on approach to emergency response, people who know him say, as a natural outgrowth of boyish curiosity and a tight, controlling management style.

On Saturday, rather than an expected appearance at the Belmont Stakes, Cuomo retraced every step of the escape from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora—from the inmates' cells to a manhole cover. Professionals in government and public relations gave mixed reviews of the current application of Andy-on-the-spot, noting a prison break is a very different situation than a natural disaster.


New York City is getting a new medical school in Harlem with the goal of training more doctors to practice in underserved communities across the state.

* Cuomo’s office announced a new medical school run by the City University of New York will open with its first class in fall 2016 after receiving preliminary accreditation, the Times reports:

A fascinating look at Brooklyn College Academy, where 100% of the school’s black students graduated on time: 

  • Gannett Albany breaks down the State University of New York’s push for a 14 percent increase in funding, detailing how the university system plans to spend the money in its effort to increase graduation rates:

de Blasio
Bill de Blasio heading to D.C., California

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has nominated Janet Alvarez, a critic of the administration’s Latino outreach, to serve on the city’s tax commission, setting her up to be the first Latina to serve in that agency since it started keeping records more than 30 years ago.

* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sees the failure of the Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections as a sign that they were not progressive enough, but his big ideas might be too aggressive to be successful, the Atlantic writes:  

Newt Gingrich blasts de Blasio and his ‘Liberal Contract with America’(NYP)

DE BLASIO DISMISSES REV. BUTTS’ COMPLAINTS -- ‘Get more up to date on the facts’ -- Capital’s Azi Paybarah: After the Rev. Calvin Butts went on NY1 to complain about his inability to schedule meetings with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s staff to discuss criminal justice, education and housing issues, the mayor told reporters in Albany, “He had a meeting weeks ago,” and said the Harlem pastor needed to get "up to date on the facts." De Blasio … said he told Butts all about the “extensive” work his administration is undertaking in the field of criminal justice. That included cleaning up Rikers Island, reducing marijuana arrests and stop-and-frisks, retraining for cops and testing body cameras for officers. “I think he should get more up to date on the facts, and he might feel differently,” the mayor said.

Meanwhile, de Blasio has forged a friendship with the mayor of Rome, Italy.

  • In a second bid to satisfy cops and firefighters upset over a loss in disability pension benefits, Mayor Bill de Blasio is offering to boost the amount the most seriously injured receive, but the unions still say it’s not enough, the Daily News reports:

Appearing for the first time on “Face the Nation”, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio backedDemocratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on voting rights, encouraging her Republican opponents to engage her ideas to expand access to the polls. (He did not, however, endorse her 2016 run). 

  • De Blasio said New York City must be “the spark of change” when it comes to climate change, poverty and other problems while addressing mayors from across the world at an annual forum, the Daily News reports:

de Blasio Wife
NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray showed her sense of humor in a video posted on Facebook, in which she answered what she said were the most common questions the public asked her – including whether she’s still a lesbian. (Actually, that got no answer, merely an eye roll).

De Blasio finally gets security clearance for classified info (NYP) De Blasio has finally obtained security clearance to get classified federal intelligence on terror threats — a year after The NY Post reported that he didn’t even bother to apply for the special access.

Ms. McCray, the wife of Mayor Bill de Blasio, was in Florence as part of a three-day conference to address a topic she has considered since her youth in Massachusetts.

  • New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray will return to Italy, attend a conference and give opening remarks on black portraitures, and her trip will be financed by New York University, the Post reports:
NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray is heading back to Italy for four days — with NYU picking up the $6,500 tab. Her husband is skipping the trip to travel to Albany.
McCray will attend an NYU-sponsored conference on black images in art, and also stop to visit a mental health center for kids with the Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella.

Chirlane McCray's aides have pretty light schedules via chief of staff earns more than Obama's???


With so many super-tall towers rising, this developer will build smaller to recoup his $870M via Bloomberg

Manhattan apartment prices reached new highs in 2015, with the typical price of a co-op or condominium topping $1 million for the first time as the year drew to a close.

  • The Real Estate Board of New York released a report on new tall, slender residential towers that have caught the attention of many community groups and elected officials for changing neighborhood aesthetics:

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 today.

* The city’s plan to seize about 75,000 square feet of land in Coney Island won some support at a public hearing where even those who oppose eminent domain in principle said it is finally time to put long-dormant property to better use, the Post reports:

@GothamGazette De Blasio sells out small business owners in favor of landlords #SBJSA 

Developer Extell has put up for sale a block of 38 rental apartments in One57, the 1,004-foot-high tower on West 57th Street ranked as the city’s most expensive condominium. The price: about $250 million.


 The Daily News gives credit to de Blasio for keeping the city’s industrial business zones off limits to developers and trying to save blue collar jobs and create new tech sector jobs:

* City Hall’s focus on industrial and manufacturing jobs is misplacing priorities to the “miniscule” sector, and limiting hotels in the zones is just a concession to labor leaders, writes the Post’s Steve Cuozzo:

NY #2 worst! Hawaii 7th worst state to do business, Chief Executive magazine says … via @Pacificbiznews
City Council’s tax-hike plan would signal a new war on jobs (NYP Ed)

Chicago = NYC without billionaires and their tax revenues. … #GlobalCities2015

  • Three New York cities—led by New York City at No. 1—made a list of the 10 worst places to retire in the country compiled by, Gannett Albany reports:

A New York official reached out to General Electric about moving its headquarters back to the Empire State as company executives speak out against a tax hike proposal in Connecticut, a lawmaker there said.

A New York official reached out to General Electric about moving its headquarters back to the Empire State as company executives speak out against a tax hike proposal in Connecticut, a lawmaker there said.

* New York’s nuclear energy landscape is poised to shift dramatically in 2016, as it shrinks by one reactor and as Gov. Andrew Cuomo readies a policy that would recognize nuclear as a key bridge fuel to a renewable-powered future, Politico New York reports:
* One of the state's largest independent suppliers of electricity and gas for residential customers has agreed to refund nearly $1 million to New Yorkers to resolve complaints about its billing practices, the Post Standard writes:

* Polystyrene foam food containers are not going away in New York City soon, as a state appeals court denied the de Blasio's administration challenge to a recent court decision vacating the mayor’s attempted ban, Politico New York reports:

* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to speed up its review of whether General Electric's massive $2 billion six-year dredging project on the Hudson River was effective in cleaning up PCB contamination, The Associated Press reports:

* New York must really consider if it wants to have General Electric’s headquarters back in the state after the damage the company did to the Hudson River and its continued dodging of its cleanup responsabilities, the Times Union writes:

Cuomo announced that the state has proposed a new regulation meant to improve air quality and protect public health by placing limits on emissions from diesel generators and natural gas-fired engines.

The NY Post: “Any energy plan that clearly recognizes the role nuclear energy has in reducing dangerous emissions should be welcomed by all New Yorkers — and would be if it wasn’t clear that the state is picking and choosing which nuclear-power facilities should stay open at the expense of taxpayers, especially those in New York City.”

 A new study found apartment buildings contribute a larger share of carbon emissions than other building types in New York City because their old, inefficient heating systems were designed for coal, rather than oil and gas, the Times reports:

* Officials say one of the Indian Point nuclear power plant’s reactors was safely shut down because several control rods lost power, with no radiation released into the environment, The Associated Press reports:

* A small amount of bacteria that can cause Legionnaire's disease was found in water in cooling towers at St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, though hospital officials say no one has been sickened as a result, the Post-Standard writes:

Rep. Chris Gibson is taking heat from environmentalists for supporting a House measure that would block the EPA’s authority to enforce climate change rules on coal-fired power plant emissions. Up until he cast his vote, the congressman had been the GOP darling of the environmental advocacy world — proof that limits on global warming can be bipartisan.

Cuomo will count nuclear power as renewable energy, at least temporarily, when the state issues new rules next year requiring utilities to procure half their power from renewable sources by 2030. But that plan doesn’t seem likely to convince Entergy to keep the FitzPatrick plant in Oswego County open.

According to a new study, cutting back on energy waste in NYC — and cutting carbon emissions in the process — can take just a few simple fixes, like installing a tiny plate in each radiator’s valve to slow the release of steam; adding insulation and a temperature sensor; and affixing a control knob on the exterior of each radiator.

Advocates and Regulators Press for Cleaner New York City Waterways (NYT)

The Cuomo administration has denied Entergy, the owners of the Indian Point, a certification, a decision that could complicate their efforts to renew federal licenses for the nuclear-power plant north of New York City.

The Department of State said the plant is incompatible with the estuary’s ecology and safety of New York City 24 miles downstream. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is prohibited from relicensing the Indian Point reactors unless the U.S. commerce secretary overrides the objection on appeal, Secretary of State Cesar Perales wrote.

Cuomo killed a 3-year-old proposal to build a liquefied natural gas terminal 19 miles off Jones Beach on Long Island amid fears that it could cause an environmental catastrophe or become a terrorist target.

GE won approval from the EPA to shut down a 100-acre plant the company has used during a seven-year project to treat polluted sediment dredged from the bed of the Hudson River.

EPL/Environmental Advocates say they gave the “Oil Slick Award” to Sen. John DeFrancisco because of his criticism of Cuomo’s efforts to incorporate more renewable energy sources into the state’s grid. DeFrancisco has pushed the governor to provide a cost-analysis of the efforts.

  • Winery owners and environmentalists in the Finger Lakes are protesting a plan by New York City to bring trainloads of trash to the region as part of a 20-year, $3.3 billion deal with the Seneca Meadows landfill, the Democrat & Chronicle reports:
Upstate vintners believe de Blasio’s plan to ship New York City’s trash to a dump in the Finger Lakes is a bunch of garbage — and one is fighting back by naming a waste-inspired wine “No Trash! de Blasio Blush.”

  • The New York Times writes that Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is trying to lure G.E. to New York with generous subsidies, is selling out the Hudson River by refusing to join the fight to get the company to finish the clean up job in the river they polluted:
GE has won approval from the EPA to shut down a 100-acre plant the company has used during a seven-year project to treat polluted sediment dredged from the bed of the Hudson River.

 A study and interactive map published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows just how much of New York City will be under water in the next decades if carbon emissions are left unchecked, the Observer reports:

More stringent regulations governing water quality standards are expected soon from state environmental officials.

  • The Times writes that the state and Gov. Andrew Cuomo need to push General Electric to do further environmental cleanup in the Hudson River, where the company is set to wrap up a remediation project this year:
  • The Times Union writes that a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report on the safety of fracking shows a lot remains unknown and New York did the right thing by holding off on using the tactic:
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration urged New Jersey officials to reject a proposed $225 million pollution settlement with Exxon Mobil because it “appears wholly inadequate,” the Times reports:
* The de Blasio administration is moving to expand the city’s food composting program by requiring arenas, large hotel restaurants and food wholesalers to compost all their food scraps, The Wall Street Journal writes:

* Two dozen state Senate Democrats, along with GOP Sen. Bill Larkin, have signed on to a letter calling on General Electric Co. to continue and expand its cleanup of PCB-laden muck from the Hudson River, State of Politics writes:


* New York’s unemployment rate dropped below the national average, dipping to 4.8 percent last month, down from the 5.1 percent rate in September, according to the state Department of Labor, Gannett Albany reports:

* Following a decade in which New York City lost an average of 9,600 manufacturing jobs a year, that sector has begun to grow again, gaining some 880 jobs between 2011 and 2014, according to a report by the Center for an Urban Future:

Water Increase Not My Fault de Blasio

De Blasio sought to distance himself from an administration document that projected the city would continue a practice he criticized as a candidate that involves enriching New York City’s budget at the expense of water ratepayers.  * Mayor Bill de Blasio distanced himself from a projection that showed the city would continue to raise water rates, a practice he had criticized, while the city offered new projections, The Wall Street Journal writes *  While running for mayor, de Blasio criticized his predecessor for rising rent payments from the New York City Water Board to the city, but the payments are expected to grow 32 percent by 2019, the Journal reports

Andrew Cuomo's war on jobs  via @nypost

"From March 2014 until March 2015, NYC gained 60,000 jobs, but the rest of the state actually lost 50,000 jobs." 


  • Rep. Chris Gibson described Common Core curriculum as “a mistake” and called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to “start over” and bring parents, teachers and administrators into the discussion, The Daily Star reports:
NYC students have a serious penmanship problem

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher urged state leaders to support another round of potential tuition increases and rolled out a series of initiatives to help students and staff.

* The state high-school graduation rate inched up in 2015, with 78.1 percent of New York public-school students graduating on time last June, up from 76.4 percent, marking a slight increase for the third consecutive year, Gannett Albany reports:

Queens Sen. Toby Stavisky criticized Cuomo’s decision to veto a bill that would require the state to cover mandatory costs of CUNY and SUNY, which include salary increases, fringe benefits, utilities and building rentals.

A state judge approved a settlement brokered by AH Eric Schneiderman’s office that ends a bitter legal battle over tuition at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, allowing the college to charge students in the short run while developing a plan for returning to its traditional tuition-free model.

NYC schoolkids find their classroom breakfast meals so unappetizing that they throw out as much as 70 percent of the food they are served, union officials said.

Most New York City Elementary Schools Are Violating Disabilities Act, Investigation Finds

Eighty-three percent of the facilities are not “fully accessible” to people with disabilities and six districts do not have a single fully accessible school, the government said.

Gary Lavine, a lawyer at a prominent central New York firm, Bousquet Holstein, and member of its three-person “government relations” team, is also a JCOPE commissioner.He insists there’s no conflict of interest at play.

The Buffalo News: “Cuomo has talked a good game on ethics reform and, in fact, he has produced some changes. But not nearly enough to accomplish what New Yorkers need. If ever there was a time to go all in, surely this is it.”

 The state Joint Commission on Public Ethics said consultants who take actions related to lobbying efforts must register as lobbyists, even if they do not directly ask officials to take action on bills,the Times Union reports


Carnegie Deli’s closing leaves tenants without gas or hot water
ONE EVIL PLAN: Brooklyn beautician dumped gasoline in apartment to cause blast that destroyed building, killing her and neighbor (NYDN)


  • The Post writes that Cuomo is failing science and economics by ignoring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s report on hydrofracking as well as the economic benefits authorizing it would bring:
The DEC is expected to make a decision soon on major pipeline proposals that could bring more gas fracked in Pennsylvania through New York.


* Con Edison could face fines and legal action after a 20-month Public Service Commission investigation into the East Harlem gas explosion that killed eight found almost a dozen violations against the power company, Politico New York reports:
In the wake of the March 2014 gas explosion in East Harlem that killed eight people, federal officials have told New York City, state regulators and Con Edison they must improve pipeline safety features by the end of September. In separate letters, the National Transportation Safety Board said the changes are essential to ensuring public safety.

* The state Gaming Commission awarded casino licenses to Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady, Montreign in the Catskills and Lago in Seneca County after a specifically appointed location board recommended the three projects last year, the Times Union writes:

The awarding of a license to the Lago Resort & Casino in the Finger Lakes Region cappeda 25-year quest by developer Thomas Wilmot, who has spent millions of dollars, formed multiple alliances with Native American tribes and at one point learned Spanish in his effort to cash in on gambling.

The state Gaming Commission will vote today on whether to issue licenses to the proposed casinos in Schenectady; Thompson, Sullivan County; and Tyre, Seneca County. This comes a year after the state Gaming Facility Location board selected the three projects from 16 developers who were looking to build up to four casinos outside the New York City area.

Tioga Downs Casino & Racing is on its way to becoming a Las Vegas-style casino – a huge win for many in the Southern Tier who felt they were slighted in last year’s casino selection process.

Sen. David Carlucci, an IDC member, signed on to a bill that would give the state Gaming Commission jurisdiction over fantasy sports, allowing it to regulate them as it does horse racing or the state lottery. Previously, the bill had only been introduced in the Assembly.

This decision comes after the board did not recommend the casino for a license last year and then after getting pushback from local leaders and the governor, re-opened the bidding process.
“While I wasn’t happy with the decision ten months ago, the bottom line is that in the overall scheme of things it’s actually a better project now,” said Tioga Downs owner Jeff Gural, who was the lone applicant this time around.

  • Jeff Gural, whose Tioga Downs slot parlor in the Southern Tier is on track to receive a casino license, called U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara an “awful human being” for his prosecution of former state Sen. Tom Libous, Politico New York reports:


  • Tale as old as time: artists in Gowanus are being pushed out by rents that have increased nearly ten-fold in the last 15 years and building owners who are not offering lease renewals, Politico New York reports. This spring, developer Eli Hamway purchased a block of three Gowanus buildings for $21.2 million which “contained studio spaces used by more than 250 artists, none of whom were offered lease renewals.”

  • South Bronx Rebranding Begins With Billboard Proclaiming ‘The Piano District’

  • Sietsema pays one last visit to Market Diner: …

  • In a step toward transforming East New York, Brooklyn, de Blasio will announce the start of a public review process that will set the stage for the neighborhood to be redeveloped by early 2016, the Daily News writes:
Former Mars Bar becoming a "wellness center" with yoga & meditation classes: 

A developer is applying to demolish part of one of the buildings that made up the former Streit’s Matzos factory on the Lower East Side.

Priced out of BrooklynManhattan may be a better value: 
Anti-Gentrification Ghosts Haunt Luxury Flatbush Development

Gentrification spreads an upheaval in San Francisco’s mission district 

Shop Owners in a Changing Brooklyn Decide to Call It Quits (NYT) Richard Zawisny is the co-owner of Eagle Provisions, a market that sells Polish meats, beer and other groceries in South Park Slope. Mr. Zawisny and his brother, John, have decided to close and sell their property.

After decades of anchoring a neighborhood, some business owners have found that they no longer quite belong.

#BedStuy is getting a gourmet grocery store by the folks at farm-to-table eatery Eugene & Co 

Park Slope Patch: Another Brooklyn Library Prepares to Be Swallowed by Housing Development

MILESTONE -- “Goodbye F.A.O. Schwarz: Toy Lovers Prepare for Store’s Closing,” by James Barron on Times 19: “Toys ‘R’ Us, the chain that has owned F. A. O. Schwarz since 2009, said this month that the store would shut down on July 15, even though the lease is far from up. ...As for what happens next, Toys ‘R’ Us said the F. A. O. Schwarz brand would continue in Toys ‘R’ Us stores and online. Toys ‘R’ Us had reportedly looked at space on the lower level of the office building at 1633 Broadway, close to Times Square, but F. A. O. Schwarz is leaving Fifth Avenue with no fixed destination. ... The store began as Schwarz Brothers Importers soon after the Civil War. It was the Manhattan outpost of a family-run operation from Baltimore, but the other brothers disappeared from the marquee in a few years. The one who remained, Frederick August Otto Schwarz, made the store his.”

Brooklyn-based artist hits the streets with "GENTRIFICATION IN PROGRESS" tape: 


  • Flanagan said Republican Fred Akshar’s big lead in polls ahead of the Senate District 52 special election bodes well for other Senate Republicans in next year’s elections, as the GOP looks to maintain its Senate majority, State of Politics reports:

* GOP State Sen. Martin Golden deleted a joke about same sex marriage from his Facebook page, and the Bay Ridge Democrats have called on him to apologize for sharing “a crass joke,” the Observer reports:


  • Rep. Nydia Velazquez was joined by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams - all potential future mayoral candidates - as she unveiled a federal gun control bill, the Post reports:  

* Lax federal gun laws weaken tougher measure in other states, such as New York, and better gun laws cannot exist until we enforce those we already have to do just that, and disarm the opposition, the Times Union writes:

 Health Care

A judge ruled that the New York City health department could not require young children to be vaccinated for the flu to attend city-licensed preschools and day care centers, striking down one of the more ambitious public health initiatives of the Bloomberg administration.
Some customers of the collapsing health insurance co-op Health Republic may lose their contraception coverage, amid a scramble by the state to line up a replacement.

In a largely symbolic step, the state Assembly voted 89-47 for a single-payer health bill – the first time in more than two decades the chamber has taken up the measure. The bill now heads to the Republican-controlled Senate where it is not expected to pass.

* New York City could become the first U.S. city to require a warning label on high-sodium menu items in chain restaurants, with the city Health Department set to propose new rules on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports:

* Health insurance rates will increase an average of 7.1 percent next year after state regulators reviewed higher rates sought by private insurers, which asked for an average increase of 13.5 percent, Gannett Albany reports: 

* The pending demise of Health Republic, the largest of the nonprofit cooperatives created under the Affordable Care Act and the only co-op in New York, removes a significant player from the state’s insurance industry, The Wall Street Journal reports:

Doctors in New York City will soon be asking new mothers some extra questions during medical visits. Along with “How’s your baby?” they’ll also ask, “And how are you?” The new initiative to screen all pregnant women and new mothers for maternal depression was announced by NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray.

* Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb said the chamber’s speaker, Carl Heastie, should pay attention to all of the upstate region and not just visit communities represented by Democrats, State of Politics reports: 

Best of 2015: Ride to the top of the World Trade Center & watch 515 years of history unfold

Cuomo gives NYC one week to clean up homeless shelters thatregularly have code violations (NYDN)

City Hall, NYPD ponder strategy as attacks by homeless increase  (Fox 5) As the city and police prepare to tackle homelessness, two recent violent attacks highlight the urgency to go after the issue as soon as possible.

Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, who chairs the state Assembly’s committee on social services, urges New York to embrace a “proven long-term solution to our homelessness crisis by creating and adequately funding 35,000 units of supportive housing over the next 10 years.”

The killing in April of Ana Charle — the first shelter worker known to be slain in the NYC shelter system — has focused attention on these employees in recent months and prompted city officials to review security measures at the city’s 256 homeless shelters.

Homeless City Hall, NYPD ponder strategy as attacks by homeless increase  (Fox 5) As the city and police prepare to tackle homelessness, two recent violent attacks highlight the urgency to go after the issue as soon as possible.* CBS2 Demands Answers From Mayor On New York City's Homeless Crisis With a recent spike in violence by the homeless, the mayor has vowed to get more aggressive with aggressive street people. But why are there more people living on the streets? * E. Village residents blast NYPD guard tower: ‘Bums are still here’ (NYP) * NYPD’s Big Brother watch tower removed from East Village (NYP)

New York City and New York state are reportedly in talks to create a new program that would provide more housing and support services for homeless individuals in the city. Such a program would mark a moment of policy cooperation between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who have traded barbs over a range of policy issues for several months.

  • The killing of a homeless shelter worker this spring has prompted New York City officials to review security measures at 265 such facilities, some of which are operated by nonprofits, the Times reports:

  • The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation has notified patients that their personal info may have been improperly accessed when a former staffer emailed her new employer, Capital New York reports:
* Refreshed development plans for the Long Island College Hospital site in Brooklyn will be publicly released and are generating opposition and anger, much like earlier versions of the proposed project for the borough’s Cobble Hill neighborhood, the Journal reports:

*Hospitals could face more than $150 million in costs associated with the shutdown of New York’s largest private health insurer in its exchange, Health Republic, which will leave 200,000 customers in search of new coverage, Gannett Albany reports:

The state is cracking down on New York City landlords who have illegally removed central heating systems in rent-regulated buildings and replaced them with individual meters, forcing tenants to pay for their own heat.


Tenant Leaders Dispute Their Role in Shaping NYCHA Development Plans #NYC 

* The New York City Housing Authority is suing its insurers and alledging they failed to provide millions of dollars in coverage – or even the promise of the funds – necessary to address Hurricane Sandy-damages, the Daily News reports:


New York City also stands to gain in the transportation bill, which the US Senate is expected to approve shortly.
The New York Times says “sustained and vigorous federal pressure will be needed” to change the “deplorable” prison system in New York, adding: “(A)nd even then, it won’t be enough without leadership and commitment from New York’s top political figures.”

* New York should cheer fresh possibilities for the thousands of low-level offenders who have proven they are worthy to receive clemency from Cuomo, the Daily News writes:

Minors and older prisoners will be separated in New York’s state prisons, according to a plan announced by Cuomo.

The Democrat and Chronicle says Cuomo’s plan to pardon people convicted of nonviolent crimes while they were 16 or 17 years old and have stayed out of legal trouble for a decade “is a good step for New York and a potential new start for former juvenile offenders.”
The state has also expanded its ban on shackling pregnant inmates to exclude restraints eight weeks after delivery.

This was an action the governor promised to take after a broader legislative effort was blocked earlier this year by Republicans in the state Senate. Cuomo still wants to see the state take the overarching step of raising the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 years old.

* 16- and 17-year-old minors serving time in New York state prisons will be housed separately from adult prisoners under an executive order signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, The Wall Street Journal reports:

* A bill signed into law by Cuomo will prohibit the use of restraints during travel for inmates who are pregnant or within eight weeks after the delivery or outcome of the pregnancy, save for extraordinary circumstances, State of Politics reports:

Cuomo Approves Transfer Of Juvenile Offenders

* The Times writes Cuomo told a bold step this week when he announced his administration will pardon thousands of people convicted of nonviolent crimes while juveniles, but New York still needs to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18:

* The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said it has begun to electronically log complaints against guards to monitor accusations of misconduct by staff members and change bad practices, a project that will be completed in 2016, the Times reports:

* The Times Union calls the idea of giving Albany teachers the training and authority to use alternative methods to suspension an enlightened approach, and the initial cost is made up for in savings – in dollars and human potential:

* Ignorance of brutality and misconduct at New York prisons is no longer an excuse, The Times writes, and it is a disgrace how little elected officials and prosecutors have done to prevent inmates from dying at the hands of prison guards:

 Under a larger agreement on solitary confinement, the serving of nutraloaf to prisoners will end, in a move some a symbolic victory for inmates’ advocates and state officials seeking more humane treatment, the Times reports:

 The then-89 year-old late U.S. ambassador Anthony Marshall experienced “atrocious and horrific treatment” on Rikers Island in 2013 including being left to sit in his own urine and feces, according to a lawsuit filed by his family, the Times reports:

NYPD chiefs say life at Rikers hardens teen 'crews' into full-fledged gangs behind high number of Brooklyn shootings: …

The five-year, $62 million agreement is expected to reduce the number of inmates in solitary confinement by at least a quarter and usher in a range of reforms, including limiting the time served to three months in most cases and providing the prisoners with certain privileges, like monthly phone calls and group recreation.

NYCLU and the Cuomo administration announced a settlement designed to greatly reduce the use of solitary confinement in state correctional facilities. The agreement ends a 2012 lawsuit, Peoples v. Fischer, brought by prisoners who endured hundreds of days in solitary, AKA: “The Box.”

* New York has agreed to a major overhaul in the way solitary confinement is administered in the state’s prisons, with the goal of significantly reducing the number of inmates held in isolation, The New York Times reports:

New Officers Add to Hope for Reform at Rikers Island (NYDN) Nearly 600 correction officers were sworn in to their jobs on Friday, part of a wave of recruits that New York officials see helping to change a brutal, corrupt culture at the jail complex.

* Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association President Norman Seabrook gave a 20-minute tirade against City Hall and the department's top brass, most of whom were on stage as Seabrook spoke at the Department of Correction graduation ceremony, Politico New York reports:
Norman Seabrook, president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, delivereda 20-minute tirade against City Hall at today’s DOCs graduation, de Blasio, (who had already left), and the department’s top brass – most of whom were sharing the stage with him when he spoke.

  • Reforms at Rikers Island are doomed to fail because many protocols were issued without consulting corrections officers and are now making jails more dangerous, the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association President Norman Seabrook writes in the Post:


As chief judge, Jonathan Lippman has built the reputation of an active reformer who is traditionally liberal. He will retire at the end of this year.

Barrett puts a damper on praise for retiring Chief Judge Lippman; I suggest eminent domain case also should provoke skepticism

* As Lippman finishes his seven-year run presiding over the Court of Appeals, his success expanding legal services for the poor and championing a host of other court reforms stands out even more than his decisions as a jurist, the Times writes:

* The Times Union writes that a fitting tribute to the Lippman would be to enact statewide policies that he proposed to allow nonviolent offenders to be released without posting bail, reforming a system that most often hurts the poor:

* Lawyers in New York will be subject to a uniform disciplinary process under new rules Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced, a move aimed at standardizing a system long hampered by regional differences, The New York Times reports:

  • The state’s judicial nominating panel released a new slate of seven candidates to replace retiring Associate Judge Susan Read on the state Court of Appeals, one of two nominations to the court the state Senate is due to consider early next year, State of Politics reports:

ALBANY’S TOP 10 LOBBYISTS: City & State features the top 10 lobbying firms in Albany in 2014, including a summary of each and an introduction to their key players in Albany

Mental Health 
* New York nonprofit Catholic Charities is seeking other agencies to take over 24 residences it created more than 40 years ago as a solution to horrible conditions at large state-run institutions, Crain’s writes:


Republican consultant Bill O’Reilly knows the new JCOPE recommendations about who needs to register as a lobbyist as important, but he’s having difficulty understanding – and focusing on – the fine print.

* New York City’s Independent Budget Office released a report that found spending on correctional mental health services has not kept up with demand as the mentally ill population at Rikers Island continues to increase, Capital New York writes:

  • The Daily News writes that a series of recent crimes in New York City involving mentally ill people highlight the need for Cuomo, de Blasio and other leaders to address issues in the state’s mental health system:

lobbying laws to register with the commission, which oversees lobbying. It’s unclear when JCOPE may put the guidelines into place.


Members of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board are expected to consider a proposal today to bring back the W subway line, which was eliminated during 2010 service cuts.

Veronique Hakim, the head of New Jersey Transit, is leaving the agency to lead New York City Transit as the subway system struggles with chronic delays brought on by booming ridership and aging infrastructure.

After Cuomo’s deal with de Blasio to pump a total of $8.3 billion in state money towards the MTA’s five-year capital program, the governor’s budget proposal only included an IOU. Transit groups rallied at the Transit Museum yesterday to criticize the budget maneuver.

MTA Will Completely Close 30 Subway Stations For Months-Long "Revamp"

Travelers taking Amtrak between New York City and Philadelphia are now being protectedby a new crash-prevention system. The national passenger railroad over the weekend activated its version of so-called positive train control between the two cities, the last stretch of its tracks on the busy Northeast Corridor to get the system.

NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign release top 10 best and worst moments for transit in 2015.

  • The annual Pokey Awards study put out by the transit advocacy group, the Straphangers Campaign, found that the number of chronically unreliable New York City buses increased 68 percent over the past year, the Post reports:

  • The annual Pokey Awards study put out by the transit advocacy group, the Straphangers Campaign, found that the number of chronically unreliable New York City buses increased 68 percent over the past year, the Post reports:

There are now 32 major MTA bus routes that regularly operate with notable gaps in service, making it impossible for riders to plan their commutes, according to the Straphangers Campaign, which released its annual Pokey Awards yesterday.

* The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said a record 6,217,621 people rode the subways Oct. 29, which is about 50,000 more than the previous record reached last year, Gannett Albany reports:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said that a record 6,217,621 customers rode the subways on Thursday, Oct. 29 – about 50,000 more people than the previous high one year early.

* Proponents of the Gateway project, which calls for building two new train tunnels under the Hudson River, said a federal transportation bill will let Amtrack use surpluses to pay for part of the $20 billion initiative, The Wall Street Journal reports:

M.T.A. Contract Workers Push for Higher Wages and Better Working Conditions (NYT) Citing inadequate pay, discrimination and a bedbug-ridden office, call center workers for Access-A-Ride have filed a class-action lawsuit and threatened to strike. * Workers who handle calls for the MTA’s service for disabled riders, called Access-A-Ride, have threatened to strike, and the MTA has launched an inquiry into their persistent complaints, The New York Times reports:

Near the site where a new rail tunnel could one day run under the Hudson River, officials said that a recently passed federal transportation bill would make it easier to secure funding for the long-awaited project.

Veronique Hakim Is Named President of New York City Transit (NYT)Ms. Hakim, currently the executive director of New Jersey Transit, will start her new role in December. She will lead the agency that operates the city’s bus and subway service.

  • NJ Transit’s board will lead the environmental study for a project to build a new train tunnel under the Hudson River, which will take two to three years and will be paid for by Amtrak, the Times reports:  
  • Floyd Lapp, a former New York City transportation official, writes in the Times that the Port Authority should coordinate studies for rail and freight train tunnels planned between New York and New Jersey
* Despite the high drama and heavy lawyering, the Cuomo-de Blasio pact on capital funding for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority solves nothing that really mattered and at best settles only their latest turf squabble, Bill Hammond writes in Politico New York

MTA Cuomo, MTA pressure de Blasio to increase transit funding to $3.2B (NYDN) *Cuomo Wants MoreMoney From the City to Fund MTA Capital Plan (DNAINFO) * Cuomo’s Plan to Close M.T.A. Funding Gap Revives Familiar Debate (NYT)The governor’s update on a five-year capital plan for the state-run transportation agency raised once again questions about the proper scope of New York City’s role in its own transit destiny.*  The battle between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has opened up two new fronts: MTA funding and Uber.*  The Times writes that the city has been paying too littleto support the MTA system’s capital needs, but that the city and state must sit down and sort out the agency’s budget without their respective executives feuding: * MTA Chief: NYC must pay fare share for MTAupgrades  * Who Will Fund the M.T.A.? (NYT Ed) The state and the city should seize this moment to find more lasting ways to sustain and upgrade the system. MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast writes in Newsday that it is only fair for New York City to contribute more to the public transit system, noting that the state took on a larger role amid the 1970s fiscal crisis: 

  • After Gov. Andrew Cuomo's pledge to chip in $8.3 billion to the MTA capital plan, officials are citing the needs of roads and bridges in upstate communities, hoping to have a shot at state funding for improvements during in next budget, the Times Union reports:

New Jersey Transit’s board voted to allow the agency to lead the environmental study for a project to build a new train tunnel under the Hudson River, an important early step as officials move forward on the plans. The environmental review could take two to three years and will be coordinated by New Jersey Transit but paid for by Amtrak.

  • Am New York applauds the alternative effort by the police department and mayor's office to provide performance and professional development opportunities to subway and street performers but keeps subways under control:

* The Empire Center for Public Policy has filed a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in an attempt to compel the agency to release payroll data, Capital New York writes:

* A Metropolitan Transportation Authority report of an October accident concluded that a slower turn at a Bronx intersection by a bus driver could have saved the life of a 64-year-old man, the Daily News reports:

* Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams wants the MTA to allow a free transfer at two subway stations in a section of East New York that is primed to become the area’s next development hot spot, the Daily News reports:

  • The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is evaluating technology that would give drivers an alert system for pedestrians and bicyclists, warning them when a bus is turning into their path, the Daily News reports:

* A healthy MTA is vital to the city’s future and Cuomo must take charge and curtail the agency’s rising payroll costs and decreasing service quality, especially given the $15 billion shortfall in the MTA’s capital spending plan, the Post writes:

  • Writing in the Daily News, Transport Workers Union President John Samuelsen urges New Yorkers not to believe “lies, distortions and fear-mongering” from press outlets blaming MTA bus drivers for pedestrian fatalities:

Doubts raised on Second Avenue subway. Can you believe it? 

-- TWU's response: "What's pitiful is the mayor walking away from his responsibility to contribute to the state of good repair that keeps New York City's working families safe that ride the subway and bus system," said TWU Local 100 president John Samuelsen. "That's what's pitiful."


NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to require all city chain restaurants to label high-sodium foods on their menus has drawn criticism from opposing corners. Some public-health professionals described the measure as too weak, while the restaurant industry has denounced it as too onerous.

  • Elected officials are demanding to know why a top NYCHA official said boilers are turned off overnight even when the temperature drops to 21 degrees, after the policy came to the attention of officials last month, the Daily News writes:

Four NYCHA senior managers canned after selling off MILLIONS of dollars of brand new, unused supplies: officials (NYDN) The New York City Housing Authority Chairwoman Shola Olatoye announced that four managers overseeing the sale of millions of dollars of new, unused supplies have been “relieved of their duties

Cuomo is turning to Albany legislators to help decide how to spend $100 million in state funds for improvements at the beleaguered New York City Housing Authority.

NYCHA Officials commit nearly $80M to upgrade 15NYCHA developments — but records show others may need them more (NYDN) * Angry Residents Swarm Housing AuthorityChairwoman at Harlem Event (NYO)

* New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of putting political favors ahead of the emergency repairs needed at NYCHA developments, the Daily News reports:

LESSON LEARNED? Former HPD official Wendell Walters will soon be sentenced for his role in a major bribery scandal, but it’s unclear if housing officials have learned from past lapses, Jarrett Murphy reports for City & State:

SELLING NYCHA -- Authority says some public housing land could be sold -- Capital’s Dana Rubinstein: City Councilman Ritchie Torres asked a top public housing official whether he could ensure there would be “absolutely no sale of public housing land” under the city’s ambitious plan to stabilize the public housing authority. New York City Housing Authority general manager Michael Kelly was unambiguous in his response. “No, we cannot assure the committee that,” he told Torres, who chairs the public housing committee. What could happen: Rather, he could assure the committee that “we will be driven by the three major principles of ensuring affordability—making sure that we are looking at NYCHA’s dire financial situation and what it takes to stabilize that and ensuring that we’re in the driver’s seat in the actual construction of the agreements.” Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his 10-year “Next Generation” plan to stabilize the NYCHA, the city’s largest landlord, and the country’s largest public housing authority. One key element of the plan is to lease out underutilized NYCHA land to private developers, who will build affordable and market-rate housing there, with any ensuing revenue going back into public housing.

Unclear plans: “So where exactly are you envisioning the sale of public housing land in the city?” Torres pressed. “I imagine that you’ve given some thought to the subject.” Kelly said the NYCHA was still working out the particulars. When Torres asked which NYCHA land would be used for market-rate private housing development, versus affordable, Kelly said the authority would prioritize “those sites that have the highest market value,” but again declined to elaborate.


* June was also a good month for the FDNY, with no deaths due to fire recorded for a full month for the first time in the department’s 150-year history, the Daily News writes:

The FDNY has begun diversity training for all 10,800 firefighters, part of an initiative to make the overwhelmingly white and male force more welcoming to racial minorities and women.


  • * New York City would be required to outfit cops with only up-to-date bulletproof vests under a New York City Council bill set to be introduced and sponsored by Councilman Mark Levine, the Post writes:
The NYPD sergeants’ union released a video challenging the Black Lives Matter movement — and singling out Quentin Tarantino and the Rev. Al Sharpton for their anti-cop comments.

* The monitor overseeing the New York City Police Department wants to tweak the pilot program for testing the use of body cameras in five precincts with the highest number of stops since some of the precincts identified no longer have the highest number of stops, the Post reports:

The attorneys for NYPD Officer Peter Liang may allow a jury, not a judge, to determine whether his behavior leading to the death of Akai Gurley was criminally reckless.

A panel of state lawmakers is examining the benefits and concerns associated with the use of body cameras on police officers. Three different Assembly committees plan to meet Tuesday in New York City to review the use of the technology by law enforcement.

  • * The NYPD announced that New York City is on track to have fewer than 100,000 felony crimes this year, driven by an 8.5 percent decline in June to a record low for the month, the Daily News reports:

  • Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch faces an election fight and union members are slated to receive ballots May 21, with the tally expected by June 5, The New York Times reports:

Prosecutors caved to judge on no-jail deal for cop slay suspect(NYP) Bronx prosecutors were poised to send Tyrone Howard to the slammer over a jailhouse drug bust, but caved to a Manhattan judge who gave him a chance him at rehab — only to see the career criminal charged with killing NYPD cop Randolph Holder, The Post has learned.

* The state Legislature’s 2009 overhaul of drug laws reducing penalties for low-level crimes is under increased scrutiny after a police officer was shot and killed by a man who may have been in prison were it not for the reforms, Bill Hammond writes in Politico New York:

A Manhattan judge, Edward McLaughlin
A Manhattan judge, Edward McLaughlin, approved Howard for a “diversion” program that offers treatment instead of prison time, and another Manhattan judge, Patricia Nuñez, signed off on the deal in May.

The two judges who allowed the career criminal to enter a drug treatment program in May, Edward McLaughlin (l.) and Patricia Nunez.

Drug Gang Wars Killed the Gov Aide
Cuomo aide was casualty of bloody gang war (NYP) They once were brothers in crime — two small bands of street thugs who shared drug corners and gang customs, like wearing their hats to the right and greeting one another with, “All is one.” But about five years ago, members of Folk Nation and Eight-Trey Crips, who had cooperated in cornering the pot and heroin trade at the Ebbets Field Apartments and two other housing complexes in Brooklyn, turned on each other, sparking a feud that claimed the life of Gov. Cuomo’s aide Carey Gabay.* Four months after a deadly weekend in New York City, where five were killed and five wounded in gunfire, recuperation remains a chore for injured victims and pain lingers for those who lost loved ones, the Journal reports:

CBS2 Exclusive: Mother Of Slain NYPD Detective Brian Moore Speaks Out, Calls For Change 

Peter King: 'Everyone in America Should Be Giving Medals to the Cops'  (VIDEO)

Patrick Lynch, Police Union Leader, Faces Election Fight (NYT) The combative qualities that have long defined Patrick Lynch’s leadership of the New York Policemen’s Benevolent Association may now be liabilities.

No NYPD uniform, but big role for plainclothes cops (SI Advance)

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries suggested that de Blasio had gone too far in claiming credit for ending stop-and-frisk, and criticized the mayor for continuing to support a strategy of Broken Windows policing.

 ‘People Were Brutalized': Pols and ActivistsBlast Police Tactics Used During Protest (NYO) * Governor Says He Has ‘No Reason to Second Guess’ NYPD After Mass Arrests (NYO) * NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, drawing praise from some of his critics and rebukes from his political base, defended the NYPD’s handling of a Baltimore-related protest that turned into a melee Wednesday night as dozens of people were arrested. * De Blasio met with the Rev. Al Sharpton, who criticized the heavy-handed police response to the protests, and – according to a Sharpton spokesman – the mayor “submitted” to getting answers. * De Blasio Defends NYPD After 143 Arrested at Baltimore Solidarity Protest (NY1)

CIVIL JUSTICE COORDINATOR APPROVED -- Capital’s Gloria Pazmino: The City Council on Wednesday passed a bill to create the city’s first Office of Civil Justice Coordinator to help New Yorkers facing eviction, bankruptcy or child custody proceedings receive legal counsel. The bill, which was co-sponsored by Councilman Mark Levine, would create an office within the Human Resources Administration and have a budget of about $2 million. The office would work with city agencies to collaborate with nonprofits, pro bono programs and advise the mayor on implementing legal services as well as make budget recommendations.

* The New York Police Department breathalyzer machines were taken out of service more than 20 times over a four-year period due to exposure to HIV and other potentially infectious substances, the Daily News writes:

'BROKEN' POLICY: Glitchy police system can't clear old warrant, leads to repeated wrongful arrest of Bronx man who's taking the city to court again for the error (NYDN)

* The New York Police Department breathalyzer machines were taken out of service more than 20 times over a four-year period due to exposure to HIV and other potentially infectious substances, the Daily News writes:

  • Black NYPD fleet service staffers filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the NYPD, alleging the city routinely denied them promotions for mechanic jobs that go to primarily white people, the Post reports:
  • With former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly saying New York now feels less safe, the News’ Harry Siegel says Kelly is no villain but it’s a shame that he’s playing into the suggestion that he had “cops hassle black men for kicks”:
* Actor Mark Ruffalo writes in the Daily News the city should reject New York University’s plan to bulk up its Greenwich Village presence with new towers and instead protect public parkland:

City pension fund managers made $708 M. in FY15-first time this stat has been calculated in teh CAFR. fascinating. 

Port Authority 
Port Authority Approves Subsidies for Murdoch via

Port Authority chairman questions agency’s potential contribution to Penn Station revamp

Patrick Foye, who led the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey during one of its most turbulent periods, is stepping down as the agency’s executive director early next year.

* The state and the Port Authority are proposing incentives worth tens of millions of dollars to two firms controlled by the Murdoch family in an attempt to kick start construction of 2 World Trade Center, Politico New York reports:

In a “dear colleague” letter, Foye said that he had opted to leave when the agency’s board decided to extend its search for a chief executive – a new position that he had unsuccessfully sought.

* The Port Authority is starting a new search for a CEO, after the first one failed and executive Pat Foye who vied for the position in the first search will take his name out of the running and step down in four months, Politico New York reports:
Port Authority officials made their most confident predictions yet that the long-delayed overhaul of an aging terminal at La Guardia Airport would take a key step forward within the month.

Port Authority announces team to build new La Guardia Airport terminal for NYC

  • A group of ministers and elected officials is calling on Cuomo to ensure that 30 percent of the $4 billion plan to rebuild LaGuardia Airport is handled by firms owned by minorities at the highest levels of the project, DNAinfo reports:

La Guardia Airport’s operator selected a development team to replace an aging terminal building – a major step as officials said they would consider increasing the cost of the delayed project by hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for a grand entryway.

* 32BJ President Hector Figueroa writes in the Daily News that the Port Authority must act now to keep its word in agreeing to come up with a plan for increasing LaGuardia Airport workers’ wages and giving them benefits:

* The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey selected a developer for the $4 billion overhaul of the Central Terminal building at LaGuardia Airport, setting in motion one of the agency’s largest projects, Crain’s reports:

Real Estate

Corruption in NYS with Pay to Play - Real-estate developer played role in Skelos, Silver case 

* A controversial proposed redevelopment plan for the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Heights branch, which includes the construction of affordable housing, received a community board’s approval, with provisions, the New York Times writes:

  • The real estate giant at the center of these scandals, Glenwood, has wielded immense clout in Albanywith stealth campaign finance contributions to many outside groups in an attempt to impact elections, the Times Union’s Chris Bragg writes:
These two developers are poised to buy the last huge property in Williamsburg
The 11-acre site of seven-alarm fire has attracted some of the largest developers, and its owner says he's been entertaining offers of more than $250 million.

Jobs For New York | Real Estate Campaign Donations

Median rents rising faster than median income is a serious problem in NYC.

* With the debate about the renewal of New York's rent laws heating up, Make the Road New York has released a report highlighting the centrality of stronger rent regulation for immigrant New Yorkers:
* The Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, Inc. has released the 2015 edition of its annual risk chart analyzing the risk posed to affordable housing in New York City neighborhoods:

Promised a Supermarket Five Years Ago, a Housing Project Is Still Waiting (NYT) The Farragut Houses, a city housing project in northwest Brooklyn, suffer from economic and physical isolation.
De Blasio's Trojan Horse of Affordable Housing Imposes aFuture of "Hyper-density" 

  • Rent Stabilization Association President Joseph Strasburg writes in the Daily News that the affordable housing crisis is a result of inadequate incomes and not excessive rents, blasting de Blasio’s supposedly pro-tenant proposals:
  • In the Daily News, City Councilman Jumaane Williams and former gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout call on Cuomo to convince the GOP-led state Senate to back stronger rent regulations to increase affordability and keep neighborhoods intact: 
Real Estate Developers, Tax Breakes and Politics
The whole thing about Brooklyn was its randomness and scrappiness. Now it’s orderly, normalized and banal. …

The Price of Housing Preservation: Linden Plaza’s Saga (City Limits)

  • City Council members Dan Garodnick, I. Daneek Miller and Donovan Richards write in Crain’s that the city should not lose sight of renovating and stabilizing foreclosed homes as they push to build new affordable housing:

Developers score $725 million loan to build another super-tall tower on Billionaires' Row

JDS Development and Property Markets Group, which have secured a loan from AIG and Apollo, will have four years to sell 60 pricey condos.

  • East New York will receive a new 1,000-seat school and up to 1,200 new affordable housing units under an ambitious plan set forth by the de Blasio administration, the Daily News reports:  
NYU expansion plan approved by state court 


* The former director of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty was sentenced to a year of weekends in jail for his role in a $9 million scam centered on a longtime friend of Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, the Daily News writes:


Rent stabilized apartments to see ‘lowest ever’ increases (NYP)  * Rent Guidelines Board votes to consider hikes (NYDN) * Possible rent increases this year for New York City’s rent-stabilized apartments will run up to 3.5 percent on two-year leases, with a possibility of a rent freeze also on the horizon for one-year leases, according to a vote by members of the Rent Guidelines Board.

  • Lawyers still disagree on whether the rent control laws passed at the end of this year’s legislative session unexpectedly expands tenant protections by making it harder for landlords to remove apartments from rent regulation, The Wall Street Journal reports:


  • By the end of 2014, New York City spent just 16 percent of the money it received for Hurricane Sandy related projects, but some initiatives were added late and the federal funding came later, the Post reports:

NYC’s ambitious goal to send zero waste to landfills by 2030 makes two controversial garbage transfer stations — including one on the Upper East Side — unnecessary, and a waste of $390 million, a group of pols charged.

  • New York City is trying to spur a “garbage revolution” that has swept Europe and occurred in some American cities, where nutrients and energy are extracted from trash, the Times reports:

The Columbia University doctor who was allegedly involved in a criminal patient-referral scheme with former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is suing to stop Columbia University from ending his employment there next month.

@SenatorSkelos fundraiser in NYC last night "was like sitting shiva," one attendee said. …

TRIP TRANSPARENCY: City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s decision to not release records from the city's Conflicts of Interest Board regarding her trip to Israel alarms good government groups, City & State reports:

Law Suits  Legal payouts by New York City are forecast to spike 17.5 percent by the 2018-19 fiscal year, even as the de Blasio administration has pumped millions of dollars into a new war on so-called frivolous litigation, Newsday reports: 

* New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office has grown at twice the rate of the rest of the government over the past two years, and its budget went from $71 million in fiscal year 2013 to $86 million, the Post reports:

State Senate
A closely watched town supervisor race on Long Island that may have implications in the battle for control of the Senate next year might be decided in court.

* The tristate’s most generous political donors are mostly Republican and current or former hedge fund managers, while overall, GOP super PAC’s and politicians outraised Democrats $33 million to $22 million, the Observer reports:

* According to former and current U.S. officials and experts familiar with the incident, Iranian hackers infiltrated the control system of a small dam less than 20 miles from New York City two years ago, sparking concerns that reached to the White House, The Wall Street Journal writes:

Qaeda Member Pleads Guilty in Brooklyn on Terrorism Charges (NYT) Saddiq Al-Abbadi, who led a firefight in Afghanistan in 2008 that killed an Army Ranger, faces a possible penalty of life in prison when he is sentenced later this year.

De Blasio finally gets security clearance for classified info (NYP) De Blasio has finally obtained security clearance to get classified federal intelligence on terror threats — a year after The NY Post reported that he didn’t even bother to apply for the special access.

A western New York man traveled overseas in a bid to join the Islamic State group after buying night-vision goggles, a machete and body armor and pledging his loyalty to the militant organization on Twitter, federal authorities said. More here.


As Uber looks to expand its operations upstate, a number of disability-rights groups are set to join a coalition today pushing legislation allowing the ride-sharing application to operate legally here. Detractors of Uber have criticized its drivers for lacking handicap-accessible vehicles, but the supporters say the service has actually been a major boon to the disabled.
Uber Said to Plan Another $1 Billion in Fund-Raising 

* Starting in January, New York City’s taxi fleet was supposed to get a whole lot more accessible to people in wheelchairs, but a lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court makes that prospect more dubious, Politico New York reports:

Hail progress (NYDN Ed) Ten years ago, New York’s fleet of yellow taxis included just three cabs capable of offering transportation to passengers who got around in wheelchairs. The number was both meaningless and insulting, prompting this page to steadily advocate that, as a public accommodation, the city’s taxi service needed far greater accessibility for people with disabilities. The politically connected industry fiercely resisted. As a result, progress was slow. Today, 581 of the 13,587 yellow cabs, roughly 4% of the fleet, can serve passengers in wheelchairs. Hailing one on the street is a longshot. Summoning one by phone often entails a wait of at least half an hour. Next up: Uber and other smartphone-based ride services. They include not a single accessible car. In time, they will. Just wait and see. Next up: 

* Uber, the ride-sharing app that has been pushing for legislative action to allow it to expand its operations outside New York City, is launching an online campaign to highlight the benefits it says it will bring to upstate, State of Politics reports:

  • Taxi drivers can circumvent their 12-hour shift limit by taking a break, and nobody has ever been fined for breaking the rules, even after a driver hit and killed an 88-year-old some 16 hours after starting work that day, the Post reports:

  • Cuomo indicated he backed a statewide regulatory framework for riding sharing services like Uber and Lyft, which are currently seeking entrance into the upstate market, State of Politics reports:
  • A Bay Area start-up called Flywheel aims to challenge Uber’s dominance in the New York City market by breaking into the yellow taxi market and replacing the meter equipment with smartphone payment technology, Politico New York reports:

* Amid competition from Uber and Lyft, the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade has launched a resource center aimed at helping medallion owners and drivers navigate the city bureaucracy, the Journal reports:

* Members of the Taxis for All Campaign, an advocacy group for blind and wheelchair-users, hosted a “roll-in” outside Uber’s Chelsea headquarters to protest what it says is the company’s lack of accessible vehicles, Capital New York reports:

A bill sponsored by NYC Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, a Brooklyn Democrat, would require taxis and car services like Uber to have a back-seat panic button that could summon the police to a passenger in peril.

A bill sponsored by NYC Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, a Brooklyn Democrat, would require taxis and car services like Uber to have a back-seat panic button that could summon the police to a passenger in peril. 

Ride-hail service Lyft will pay $300,000 as part of a settlement with state AG Eric Schneiderman and the New York State Department of Financial Services.

Taxicab classics: Back on the road with Checker and DeSoto

Members of the Taxis for All Campaign, an advocacy group for blind and wheelchair-using passengers, hosted a “roll-in” outside Uber’s Chelsea headquarters to protest what it says is the company’s lack of accessible vehicles.

* Taxi-industry lawyers aiming to slow down Uber have won a victory in Chicago that could boost New York City's yellow-cab interests in their fight for survival, Crain’s reports:

* Fines for hit-and-run drivers will jump under legislation passed by the City Council, with civil penalties as high as $20,000 for repeat offenders in a crash where someone is killed, though most drivers are never caught, the Daily News reports:

TLC to Change Policy on How Drivers are Fined When They Run Red Light Cameras

.@BilldeBlasio defends Vision Zero traffic safety plan despite rash of deaths (from @AP) …


Transit advocates are asking Cuomo to “hop out of his muscle car and ride the subway with them to experience the MTA’s needs first-hand.”

Political and religious ads were banned entirely from the transit system following a fierce debate on Wednesday, about a week after a federal judge ordered the MTA to allow anti-Muslim posters.

n Tuesday, the MTA holds its annual auditions for its Music Under New York program, which guarantees coveted spots in busy subway stations to selected performers.


* Cuomo is preparing to impose new regulations on New York state banks to prevent illicit money from flowing through Wall Street and into the hands of militants and criminals, The New York Times writes:

* As Cuomo’s summit on the state’s email retention policy approaches it remains unclear who will attend and what will be discussed, with some observers wondering what the purpose of the meeting will be, Gotham Gazette writes:

NYC Council members are pushing a bill that would create a new city department to provide veterans services. The legislation, which would replace the current Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs with a full-fledged city agency, has gained 41 sponsors in the Council — a majority of the body.
Assemblywoman criticizes 'sneaky' de Blasio for opposing veterans bill  Assemblywoman Amy Paulin of Scarsdale is accusing Mayor Bill de Blasio of not "understanding the military," after the mayor declined to support a bill that would allow servicemembers to purchase credit toward the public retirement system based on their years of service.

* On this Veterans Day, the Times Union calls for an end to injustices against those who served, and push state lawmakers to act on a bill establishing GIVE Back NY to set aside 10 percent of legislative positions for wounded soldiers:
New York City is starting a new government agency dedicated to veterans amid criticism that they were being underserved. The Department of Veterans’ Services will help veterans get access to health benefits, mental-health services and jobs, city officials said.

  • According to a report released by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, nearly three-quarters of the about 890,000 veterans living in New York served during wartime, including 31 percent in the Vietnam War-era and highlighted the programs and services available to veterans:

A new report from the NYC Voter Assistance Advisory Committee shows an inverse relationship between advances in technology and the proportion of citizens who get involved in elections.


Cuomo’s administration has made little headway in filling the top job at New York’s banking regulator, a financial watchdog over which the governor’s staff has sought to exert greater control.

Wall Street

* With the leadership of the state’s aggressive financial regulator in turmoil, Wall Street firms are going over the agency’s head more often, seeking a more sympathetic ear in Gov.Andrew Cuomo’s office, the Wall Street Journal reports:

 Water Rates

The Cost of Water: Growing Calls to Fix City’s Water Rates 

Woman Party

JP Updates ·
The Women's Equality Party remains in debt  

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