First Read - May 22, 2015

WEATHER: Windy in New York with a slight chance of rain in Albany and Buffalo. New York City, high 74; Albany, high 67; Buffalo, high 54.  


WINNERS AND LOSERS: Memorial Day is a time when we honor those who paid the ultimate price in protection of our country. But before you head off for the long weekend, vote in our roundup of those who had the best and worst week:

FUTURE JUSTICE: State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman writes in City & State that while the repeal of the Rockefeller drug laws marked significant progress, we must provide true alternatives to incarceration:

BANKING, FINANCE & INSURANCE HONOREES: City & State Reports is proud to announce the winners of its corporate social responsibility awards for New York’s banking, finance and insurance sectors:



* Gov. Andrew Cuomo, known for his hard-nosed brand of politics, has shown a softer side in photos with his partner Sandra Lee, who underwent a double mastectomy this week, The Wall Street Journal reports:

* The first phase of the long-planned, $4.45 billion Second Avenue subway project, aimed at alleviating congestion on the Lexington Avenue line, is 82 percent complete and on track to open by December 2016, the Journal writes:

* Mayor Bill de Blasio assisted a street-paving crew on Staten Island dressed like a road repair worker, and got an earful from residents, as part of a press conference promoting the mayor’s repaving initiative, the Post writes:

* The state Education Department’s decision to reject all 15 applications for new charter schools has astonished lawmakers, even some who are allies of charter foes like Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, the Post writes:

*People are already lobbying Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and the Common Council for positions in school district leadership should a “mayoral intervention” bill pass the state legislature, The Buffalo News reports:

* Karen Hinton, de Blasio’s incoming press secretary, closed her Twitter account after first deleting a tweet in which she called braking technology on trains supported by her new boss a “dud,” the Post reports:

* The hard feelings were apparent during a debate in the race for the Public Employees Federation presidency, with President Susan Kent and challenger Wayne Spence trading barbs, the Times Union writes:

* State senators have opted to use Apple tablets as their electronic bill-tracking devices about a month after Assembly members began using Hewlett Packard tablets to keep track of legislation, the Times Union writes:

* The Daily News’ Juan Gonzalez tells the story of a man arrested on a dismissed warrant, reflecting a flaw in “broken windows” policing that costs New York City when wrongly detained residents file lawsuits: 

* The Buffalo Niagara job market’s hot streak is continuing, with a 1.4 percent increase in jobs over the last year putting the region on pace so far this year to grow twice as fast as it did in 2014, The Buffalo News reports:



 * Last week’s deadly Amtrak crash had many similarities to a 2013 Metro-North derailment, with both trains entering a corner at too great a sped and running off the tracks, the Journal writes:



For too long, New Yorkers have lived with a broken housing system. Seventy years of rent control has not solved the housing shortage nor helped with affordability. New York needs new solutions, ones that support the operations and rehabilitation of apartments and ones that don’t subsidize the wealthy. Let’s Rethink Housing. Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP): Housing Advocates Since 1966. Join our mailing list




* The Post writes that the state Department of Education needs to avoid playing politics with charter school applications, and wonders why there is a cap on the number of schools at all:

* The Post writes that the New York City Council’s rental tax reform plan would stifle the growth of middle-class jobs, even if some smaller businesses would benefit:

* 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:



Projects getting millions of dollars in tax breaks to build housing aren't ensuring that workers who build it earn a middle class wage. Irresponsible developers like L+M are using reckless contractors with track records of stealing workers’ wages.

People who work in this city should be able to afford to live in this city. Public funds come with public responsibilities. Tell Albany. It's time to fix 421a. Visit to learn more and take action.




* New York State Budget Director Mary Beth Labate spoke about the importance of making the state more affordable for baby boomers and Generation X at an event releasing an AARP report on retirement savings:

* New York City Housing Authority Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye sat down with City & State Executive Editor Michael Johnson ahead of the announcement to discuss her plans for the embattled housing authority:

* As state Department of Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky prepares to leave office, we look back at our interview with him from earlier this year:



WHO’S HIRING: To advertise your employment opportunities in City & State First Read, or call 646-442-1662.  


Executive Assistant, Albany Lobbying Firm

Description: Albany-based lobbying firm seeks Executive Assistant comfortable working in fast-paced environment.  Successful candidate has administrative support experience and proficiency in Microsoft Office. Responsibilities: opening office, directing calls, monitoring daily news of interest, managing primary lobbyist’s schedule and call list, outgoing and incoming meeting requests, and general support for firm’s lobbyists.

Further Info: To receive more information about this opportunity, please send resume and any other qualifying documentation to


Senior Advocacy Advisor for State Affairs, UJA-Federation of New York

Description: The Senior Advocacy Advisor for State Affairs will organize and execute activities that will deepen UJA-Federation’s relationships with government and community leaders, enhance the government resources available to UJA-Federation beneficiary agencies, and be UJA-Federation’s primary lobbyist in Albany. As appropriate, the Senior Advisor will work with lay representatives and senior professionals of the Financial Resources Division and the Department of Government and External Relations to develop appropriate public affairs programming and advocate efforts that enhance the ability of UJA-Federation agencies to serve the poor and vulnerable. This position will require significant travel to and time in Albany during the legislative session.

Further Info: To apply, please send resume and cover letter to:


Labor Relations Specialists – Long Island/Hudson Valley Region, CSEA

Salary: $54,587 w/ excellent benefits/career ladder

Description: Hudson Valley and Long Island Regions of New York State CSEA, New York's leading union, is seeking resumes for Labor Relations Specialists serving the Long Island areas of Nassau and Suffolk counties and the Hudson Valley areas of Ulster, Westchester, Sullivan, Orange, Rockland, Dutchess and Putnam counties. Requires knowledge of labor relations, ability to negotiate/administer contracts, resolve employer/employee conflicts. Operate independently & schedule workload. Drivers license/car for business use.

Further Info: To view the full job description and apply, please visit:


Chief of Staff to the Deputy Commissioner for Licensing and Standards for the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC)

Description:  TLC is seeking a Chief of Staff, Licensing Division to work closely with the Deputy Commissioner for Licensing and Standards.  The Division of Licensing and Standards ensures that those seeking to participate in the for-hire industry in New York City comply with the City’s high standards for safety, fitness to serve the public, and customer service. The Chief of Staff will assist in managing the 156 person division; identify opportunities to improve the efficiency and/or customer service in the Division; and, represent the Division with industry stakeholders.

Further Info:  Interested candidates may submit cover letter and resume to: Search for Job ID# 192747


Trade Association Communications and Event Manager, Community Housing Improvement Program

Salary: $45 to $60,000 depending on qualifications.

Description:  Produce and arrange seminars, meetings, trade show participation, fundraisers, public official forums, networking and other event duties including: Negotiations and Execution of contracts for event space, prepare presentation materials and ensure appropriate setting. Client outreach by developing lists of potential clients and making standard contact. Website management. Membership support and retention activities. Produce written materials as needed to support any company activity including testimony and marketing materials. Analysis and research in support of written materials.

Further Info:  Bachelor’s degree; three years of administrative/events experience; demonstrated ability to communicate at a high level in writing, by phone and in person; examples of ability to work collegially. Experience in Real Estate or Law preferred. Please send resume and cover letter to  



HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Ronald Canestrari, former assemblyman … to Assemblyman Harry Bronson … to state Sen. Kenneth P. LaValle … to Pablo Rivera, consultant, Empire Public Affairs … and to Dan Slippen, vice president for government affairs at the Museum of Natural History.


IN MEMORIAM: Jim McFadden, a first year student at the George Washington University Law School and former director of communications for New York State Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, has died.



In 2014, New York Gaming Association (NYGA) Members have made a huge economic impact in New York State. NYGA members have generated nearly $900 million for education funding, supported 30,000 jobs and generated more than $238 million for racing and breeding. Learn more about the economic impact NYGA members have made for New York by reading this year's report.




Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

10 a.m. - The Brian Lehrer Show features columnist Fintan O’Toole, former national coordinator for security and counterterrorism Richard Clarke, Monmouth University Associate Professor Robert Scott and Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer, WNYC.

10 a.m. - U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko attends the Albany Post Office Memorial Day ceremony, 30 Karner Road, Colonie.

11 a.m. - Elected officials and street safety advocates hold a press conference to unveil a bill to regulate the operation of motor-driven cycles used for commercial purposes, Dunningham Triangle, Queens.

11 a.m. - Buffalo faith leaders and advocates hold a press conference to urge the passage of paid family leave legislation, Pilgrim-St. Luke’s and El Nuevo Camino United Church of Christ, 335 Richmond Ave., Buffalo.

11 a.m. - The Capitol Pressroom features City & State’s Jon Lentz for winners and losers of the week, Times Union reporter Rick Karlin, NYSSBA’s Executive Director Timothy Kremer and the Boyd Company Inc.’s Principal John Boyd Jr., WCNY, listen here:

11 a.m. - Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul joins local officials at a ribbon cutting for the first summer season at The Canals at Canalside on the City of Buffalo's Waterfront, Immigrant Steps, Canalside, Buffalo.

11 a.m. - Tonko attends the Edison-Steinmetz Statuary project unveiling, Erie Boulevard and South Ferry Street, Schenectady.

12 p.m. - State Sen. Tom Croci and Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky make an announcement on behalf of Sandy victims regarding the New York Rising Program and the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, 230 Forest Road West, Mastic Beach Village, Hauppauge.

12:45 p.m. - Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer speaks at Community Board 9 seniors forum, Rio III Gallery at Sugar Hill, 898 St. Nicholas Ave., Manhattan.

1:30 p.m. - Elected officials and Clarkstown residents hold a press conference to call for stricter laws against sex offenders, Nella Di Nouvo Daycare, 66 Lenox Ave., Congers.

2 p.m. - Assemblyman Ron Kim announces the annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration in Albany, the garden at Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing, Queens.

2:30 p.m. - Mayor Bill de Blasio hosts a press conference, Boardwalk and Beach 94th St., Rockaway Beach, Far Rockaway, Queens.

7 p.m.  - New York City Public Advocate Letitia James attends funeral for Dr. Derrick E. Griffith, 1659 E. Gun Hill Road, Bronx.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. - Inside City Hall features Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, and the Friday Reporters Roundtable Azi Paybarah, Ben Max, Nikita Stewart and Alyssa Katz, Time Warner Cable News NY1.



The United Spinal Association, Taxis for All Campaign, Disabled in Action of Metropolitan NY, and the 504 Democratic Club invite you to attend a legislative breakfast on Wednesday May 27th to discuss the need for asafe, 100% wheelchair accessible fleet of taxis and liveries throughout New York City. May 27th10 - 11:30am, City Hall Restaurant, 131 Duane Street. RSVP to:



KICKER: “Can you really look me in the eye and say we don’t want to save people’s lives? Do you really believe that? This is making a difference already. We see it in the number of pedestrians who have been saved already.” – Mayor Bill de Blasio reacting to an accusation from a Staten Island resident that speed cameras are a money grab and have nothing to do with public safety, via the Daily News.