First Read - November 20, 2014

WEATHER:  Snow continues in Western New York. Mostly sunny in the rest of the state. New York City, high 43; Albany, high 37; Buffalo, high 28.


BUFFALO BRACES FOR SECOND BLAST: Western New York has been pummeled by a surprisingly savage snowstorm, and it isn’t isn’t out of the woods yet, City & State’s Chris Thompson reports:


ART OF ADVOCACY: Watch the livestream of City & State’s Art of Advocacy forum starting at8:30 this morning:   



* A government finance expert warned the nearly $4 billion Tappan Zee bridge replacement project will almost certainly double the $5 toll currently charged on the existing bridge by 2019, the Times Union reports:

* State officials said New York State saw a significant drop in the number of candidates who passed teacher certification tests last year as tougher exams were introduced, The New York Times reports:

* A commissioner of the Port Authority, Kenneth Lipper, proposed inserting two more highly paid executives into the agency’s top ranks to help with the “dysfunctional organization” at the agency, the Times writes:

* A former policy analyst for the New York City Council filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesdayclaiming he was fired in September for publicly voicing his criticism over testimony given by NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton at a public hearing, the Times writes:

* In an email sent Tuesday, state Medicaid Inspector General James Cox said he will leave the watchdog agency at the end of the year, the Times Union reports:

* Former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion says he’s returning to the Democratic Party he once spurned to run for mayor on the Independence Party line last year:

* Between January and June, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer met privately seven times, according to a copy of Stringer’s schedules obtained by the Daily News through a Freedom of Information request:

* De Blasio picked a 101-member committee for an all-out push to win the Democratic National Convention to be held in Brooklyn in 2016, the Daily News reports:

* Law enforcement sources told the New York Post the National Action Network executive, who accused lawyer Sanford Rubenstein of raping her after a birthday bash for the Rev. Al Sharpton, was not drugged:



* Transit advocates and some MTA officials say steeper toll increases or service cuts are on the horizon if the authority can’t secure new, more stable funding, The Wall Street Journal reports:

* As college officials across the country are rushing to meet new government standards, a specialized class of lawyers are speaking out on behalf of the students they describe as most vulnerable: not those who might be subjected to sexual assault, but those who have been accused of it, the Times writes:

* Globe-trotting city Parks Department Commissioner Mitchell Silver has taken flak for being too tied up to meet with local community groups since he took office, but his busy schedule didn't stop him from rubbing elbows with celebrities and billionaires, DNAinfo reports:


If you have tips or story ideas about the state Legislature, email Albany Bureau Chief Jon Lentz



Working families are already overtaxed for almost everything we buy.  Yet the New York City Council is considering a bill that would make even our groceries more expensive by taxing grocery bags. Plastic bags are 100% recyclable, convenient and highly reused.  Taxing our grocery bags would have no meaningful impact on the environment, but a hugely negative impact on our wallets.  Tell the City Council not to over-tax working New Yorkers. Take action




* De Blasio’s defiant style leaves an open question for New Yorkers: whether or not you agree with the mayor, would you prefer he stick to his principles, even if it is arguably at the expense of other priorities, or would you prefer a purely political approach that is perhaps more effective? Brooklyn Strategies’ Evan Thies writes in am New York:

* A recent Quinnipiac University poll only confirmed what should already be obvious from the miles-long charter school wait lists: People know there’s a better model of public school out there, and they want more of them, the Post writes:

* Gov. Andrew Cuomo should sign legislation that would require state prisons to refer inmates who have been treated for mental illness to care upon release, plus authorize parole officers to seek Kendra’s Law court orders for dangerous ex-cons, the Daily News writes:



It’s time to increase transit investment to grow our communities. Transit systems throughout New York State are in dire need of additional investment to preserve existing infrastructure and meet rising ridership. Lack of investment has resulted in declining conditions threatening the safety and reliability of key transportation systems.  A statewide capital funding program for all transit systems will ensure more reliable service and create jobs!  Learn more at




40 UNDER 40 INTERVIEWS: City & State Editor-in-chief Morgan Pehme interviewed some of the 40 Under 40 New York City Rising Stars at our cocktail reception in October. We’ll be rolling them out all week, so stay tuned:

Avi Leshes, director of neighborhood business services, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce:  

* Camille Joseph, deputy comptroller for public affairs, Office of the New York City Comptroller:

Mary Elkordy, producer of the Geraldo Rivera Show, The Ride Home with Pat Kiernan and Rita Cosby, and The Joan Hamburg show:



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

Policy Associate for Food and Income Security, Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, Inc.

Salary: Commensurate with experience. Competitive benefit package

Description: Job responsibilities center on the three components of our work: fact-finding, community education and advocacy. This will include analytic work to evaluate the impact of polices, budgets and legislation on children; testifying at city and state legislative hearings; meeting with elected and appointed government officials; participating in coalitions with colleagues; and developing and administering survey instruments that ultimately lead to the development of findings and recommendations. Key areas of focus in this portfolio include: school meals; summer meals; options to bring healthy affordable food into communities; asset development; child savings accounts; and access to public benefits such as public assistance, WIC and SNAP/food stamps.

Further Info: Please send a resume, three references, a writing sample and salary history to Lorraine Tate,


Executive Director, Unshackle Upstate

Description: Get involved in making Upstate New York a better place to live and work. Unshackle Upstate, a non-partisan, pro-taxpayer advocacy organization seeks a qualified, motivated candidate to fill the role of Executive Director. The qualified candidate must have demonstrated experience in government relations, grassroots advocacy, public speaking skills and media relations. Awareness about key issues including taxes, business regulations and other economic conditions is important.

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


Manager, Benchmark Polling Center (NYSUT)

Description: Polling Center Manager with knowledge and experience to effectively utilize analytical skills, collect data, draw valid conclusions and convey technical information to a non-technical audience. Must have a demonstrated ability to draft polls, develop and implement process enhancements including technology and software. Present the services provided to outside organizations.

Further Info: Email for job posting or to apply


Regional Political Organizers (7 positions statewide), NYSUT

Description:  Responsible for mobilizing and engaging NYSUT’s members and locals around NYSUT’s Legislative and Political Action objectives.  Organize and track member voter registration and turnout in campaigns. Engage members around PAC fundraising. Candidates must possess a proven background in union organizing, progressive politics and/or political campaigns with an emphasis on organizing.

Further Info: Email for job posting or to apply



HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Yoel Lefkowitz, community outreach coordinator for New York City Public Advocate Letitia James … to Kenny Agosto, a Democratic state committeeman in the Bronx … to Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski Jr. … to Greg Serio, former New York Insurance superintendent and partner at Park Strategies LLC … to Laura Caruso, chief of staff at 32BJ … to state Sen. Liz Krueger … to Pat Kiernan, NY1 anchor … and to Faith Corbett, director of public relations at New York City College of Technology, CUNY.


MOVING ON: Timothy Killeen, head of the State University of New York’s research arm, is leaving to become president of the University of Illinois … Catherine Guerriero, who ran for Public Advocate last year, was appointed the new president of La Salle Academy … and Fran Reiter, executive deputy director for State Operations for the Cuomo administration, is leaving to rejoin government relations firm The Reiter Giuliani Group, LLC.



ALERTSetting the Agenda Part 1 Print Spotlight / Ad deadline is November 21st at 10am.


City & State magazine will feature comprehensive coverage of issues vital to New York’s health care; energy / environment; and education industries. Issue features an introduction to the industry; influential public officials to the industry or issue; a 2014 analysis + 2015 legislative forecast; and perspectives from industry sector representatives. To advertise your organizations issue in advance of the 2015 legislative session email or dial212-894-5422.




Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Erie County to monitor storm progress.

7:30 a.m. - State Assemblyman David Buchwald is the keynote speaker at the AJC Westchester/Fairfield Thanksgiving Diversity Breakfast, Manhattanville College, Benzinger Hall, 2900 Purchase St., Purchase.

8:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. - Crain's Future of New York City Conference: Innovation Central, with keynote Alicia Glen, deputy mayor for housing and economic development, business leaders and policy makers, Sheraton New York Times Square, 811 7th Ave., Manhattan.

8:15 a.m. - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy visits New York City to speak at first ministerial- and CEO-level Cookstoves Future Summit, Conrad Hotel, 102 North End Avenue, Manhattan.

8:30 a.m. - Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer chairs November meeting of the Manhattan Borough Board, 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor South.

8:30 a.m. – New York City Public Advocate Letitia James attends the New America Alliance 14th annual Wall Street summit, 301 Park Ave., Manhattan.

9 a.m. – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer speaks at New America Alliance Pension Fund Diversity Day, Waldorf Astoria, Vanderbilt Room, 301 Park Ave., Manhattan.

9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. – Councilman Andy King hosts a free affordable healthcare enrollment sign-up session, 940 East Gun Hill Road, Bronx.

10 a.m. - The Brian Lehrer Show features David Zaff, meteorologist at the National Weather Service (Buffalo), WNYC.

10 a.m. - Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin, Flatiron Partnership/23rd Street Business Improvement District Director Jennifer Brown, and Flatiron-based businesses Eataly New York and Athleta kick off the 2014 holiday shopping season, Flatiron’s South Public Plaza (23rd Street, Broadway and Fifth Avenue), Manhattan.

10 a.m. - The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission holds its monthly public meeting at 33 Beaver Street, 19th floor, Manhattan, streamed live at or

10 a.m. - Creating Community Schools: the United Federation of Teachers hosts a panel discussions on what is working in existing New York City community learning schools, Community Health Academy of the Heights, 504 W. 158th St., Manhattan.

10:30 a.m. - Gale Brewer attends MTA ribbon cutting ceremony for Mother Clara Hale Bus Depot, Lenox Ave. (between West 146th and 147th Streets)

10:30 a.m. - Queens Borough President Melinda Katz holds regular Public Hearing on Land Use, Queens Borough Hall, Borough President’s Conference Room, 120-55 Queens Boulevard, 2nd floor.

10:35 a.m. - The Geraldo Rivera Show features Ambassador Ido Aharoni, consul general of Israel in New York, WABC.

11 a.m. - The Capitol Pressroom features state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, CNY Fair Housing's Executive Director Sally Santangelo, Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Regent James Tallon, WCNY.

11 a.m. - Press conference to unveil research by Healthy Schools Network illustrating the risk that crude oil trains pose to children in the Hudson Valley, Kingston Home Port and Education Center on the grounds of the Hudson River Maritime Museum, 50 Rondout Landing, Kingston.

11 a.m. – Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez helps distribute hundreds of turkeys as part of Community Healthcare Network's second annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaway to patients at its Helen B. Atkinson Health Center; 81 West 115th Street, Manhattan.

11:45 a.m. - Mayor Bill de Blasio hosts a media roundtable with Commissioner Joseph Ponte to discuss Department of Correction reforms, Blue Room, City Hall.

12 p.m. – Stringer speaks at Grand Street Settlement Coalition for Seniors Thanksgiving Luncheon, 80 Pitt Street, Manhattan.

12 p.m. - Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. invites you to celebrate Puerto Rican Heritage & Culture, Don Coqui, 565 City Island Avenue, Bronx.

12 p.m. – PA James attends the AFSCME luncheon, 125 Barclay St., Manhattan.

4 p.m. - Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance participates in multiple panel discussions at the two-day “Justice, Race, and Prosecution” symposium convened by Harvard Law School and the Vera Institute of Justice, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA.

5:00 p.m. - The Brooklyn Community Pride Center hosts 4th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, including a march across the Brooklyn Bridge, Columbus Park North Plaza (in front of the U.S. District Court Building), Manhattan.

5:20 p.m. - The Ride Home with Pat Kiernan and Rita Cosby features Bruce Castor, a former district attorney in Montgomery County, Penn., and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, WABC.

6 p.m. - Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams calls for greater youth involvement in civic matters, part of his proposed community board reforms, Al Vann Library of Boys and Girls High School, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

6 p.m. - Brewer attends NYPL Community Engagement Town Hall on Roosevelt Island to discuss ideas for new public library there, Good Shepherd Community Center, 543 Main Street, Roosevelt Island.

6 p.m. - Sen. Greg Ball’s 4th Annual Veterans Hall of Fame, Mahopac Falls Elementary School, 100 Myrtle Ave., Mahopac.

6:30 p.m. - Annual Community Food Drive, Teen Challenge Center, 444 Clinton Avenue, Brooklyn.

7 p.m. - New York City hosts town hall for immigrant-owned businesses featuring Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin and Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer, Sunset Park Recreation Center, 7th Ave., Brooklyn.

7 p.m. - The Chelsea Reform Democratic Club hosts Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh to discuss his election reform legislation, which includes the Voter Friendly Ballot Act, Hudson Guild, Elliott Center, 441 West 26th Street (between 9th and 10th Aves.), Manhattan.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. - Inside City Hall features author Gay Talese and David Ehrenberg, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Time Warner Cable News NY1.

7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. - MetroFocus features New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, senior correspondent Mike Schneider with Sandy victims in Sayreville, N.J., and City Councilmember Daniel Dromm, WLIW21 at 7 and NJTV at 10:30.

7:30 p.m. - The Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association meets, Carmine Carro Community Center (Fillmore Ave. & Marine Pkwy.), Marine Park, Brooklyn.

7:45 p.m. - New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform, a campaign coordinated by the New York Immigration Coalition, holds viewing parties in Manhattan, Westchester, and Long Island for community members to watch President Obama make a historic announcement, Manhattan: 32BJ SEIU Office, 25 West 18th St, 5th Floor Auditorium; Westchester: Neighbor's Link Northern Westchester, 27 Columbus Ave, Mt. Kisco; Long Island: Make the Road Long Island, 1090 Suffolk Ave., Brentwood.

8 p.m. - Former Mayor David Dinkins receives Ted Weiss Lifetime Achievement Award, Schwab House, West End Ave. between 73rd and 74th St., Manhattan.

8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. - Capital Tonight airs, Time Warner Cable News.



Jobs. Safety. Infrastructure. NY can’t afford to wait. Visit to join the fight.



KICKER:  “Here’s a guy who turned his back on the people that nurtured him, to join the likes of Rick Santorum and Mitch McConnell. His political career in New York should be over.” – A senior Democratic Party operative, on Adolfo Carrion rejoining the Democratic Party, via the Daily News