First Read - April 24, 2015

WEATHER: Partly sunny in Buffalo and New York City. Chance of rain and snow in Albany. New York City, high 53; Albany, high 50; Buffalo, high 39.  


WINNERS & LOSERS: Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new sustainability plan has plenty of commendable goals—but we’ll hold our judgment until we see more concrete details. But read on… there’s judgment aplenty in our weekly Winners & Losers:

SCHOOLED: A Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled that New York City's failure to open city schools' leadership team meetings to the general public is “arbitrary and capricious and contrary to law,” City & State reports:  

BUFFALO’S PUBLIC HOUSING PLAN: The beleaguered Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority is now waiting on HUD to approve a plan that officials hope will solve its vacancy and solvency issues, City & State reports:



* Federal prosecutors filed a new charge against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, alleging he did official favors for an investor in exchange for access to investment opportunities, The Wall Street Journal reports:

* Gov. Andrew Cuomo lunched in Cuba with a government official, Gustavo Machin Gomez, who was expelled from the U.S. in 2002 in retaliation for Cuban efforts to spy on the United States, the Daily News writes:

* Republican Daniel Donovan has raised more than three times as much money as Democrat Vincent Gentile in the race for the congressional district that covers all of Staten Island and a sliver of Brooklyn, the Journal reports:

* State lawmakers in the Assembly have passed a bill that would crack down on certain chemicals in children's products as part of a lineup of Earth Day bills, the Times Union writes:

* Records show a recycling company with some $1.5 billion in New York City contracts is a chronic violator of environmental regulations, racking up at least seven fines and penalties since 2009, the Post reports:

* New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said his office found that nearly a third of express buses sampled over a few months in late 2013 missed their scheduled departure times, the Journal reports:

* Advocates sued the Utica City School District over the diversion of refugee students into weaker alternative programs, and the attorney general is probing Utica and other districts, The New York Times reports:

* A coalition of parents’ groups that organized a boycott of state English and math exams is calling on Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch to resign, claiming she has left New York’s education policy in shambles, the Post reports:

* Interim Superintendent Donald Ogilvie is calling off the search for a deputy superintendent, and the Buffalo School Board majority will appoint the person it wants as his replacement—James Weimer Jr.—directly to the top position, the Buffalo News writes:

* A day after City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito criticized Curtis Sliwa for making sexist comments about her on TV, the Guardian Angels founder refused to back off and made comments perceived as sexist, the Daily News reports:



The General Contractors Association of New York (GCA) will host a conversation on NYC’s Ten-Year Capital Programfeaturing NYC DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora, NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and NYC DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd. April 30th, 8am at Club 101. For more information and to register, visit





* Instead of focusing on more education reforms in K-12 education, advocates should refocus some reformist passions on early childhood education for children aged 0 to 5, the Times’ Nicholas Kristof writes:

* Sliwa’s comments about Mark-Viverito bring a new level of offensiveness and are quite stunning in the depths of their ignorance, former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn writes in the Daily News:

* Tisch’s call to delay the new teacher evaluation system gives teachers unions nearly a year to find more ways to prevent the state from implementing a comprehensive evaluation system, the Post writes:

* Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor in the Post criticizes Cuomo’s Start-Up NY program and argues real economic growth occurs when free enterprise plays a lead role and the government takes a back seat:



No parent would feed their child arsenic or lead, but toys and pacifiers in the kids’ aisles can contain these and other toxins, putting our children at risk for a wide range of medical conditions, including cancer and learning disabilities.  Multiple reports have shown that toxic chemicals areavailable in the kids’ aisles across New York.  Tell Albany to stand up to the special interests and pass the Child Safe Product Act at




* Judi Kende, vice president and New York market leader for Enterprise Community Partners, discusses the green housing initiatives in the city, what she'd like to see in the updated PlaNYC program, and the future of NYCHA: 

* As the Coro New York Leadership Center celebrates its 30-year anniversary, Executive Director Scott Millstein discusses the program's benefits with two Coro alums—New York City Council Members Helen Rosenthal and Carlos Menchaca:



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

Communications Specialist – Long Island Region, CSEA

Starting salary $53,481

Description:  New York’s leading union, is seeking resumes for a Communications Specialist based in our Long Island Region office in Commack, NY. The multi-faceted position works with the staff and leadership of the union to advance strategic communication objectives with various audiences, including the membership, news media, public policy makers and the general public.

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


Senior Vice President and Project Manager, Open Primaries

Description: Open Primaries, a new national 501c4 nonprofit political reform organization, is seeking a Senior Vice President and Project Manager. The Senior Vice President will work closely with the President to manage the activities of all active campaigns and provide political direction for future campaigns at Open Primaries. He/She should have experience working at a high level, with the ability to meet independently with potential partners and other organizations, and make sound judgments on behalf of Open Primaries.

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


Senior Auditor, NYC Business Integrity Commission

The Business Integrity Commission (“BIC”) has oversight of the private carting industry, wholesalers and businesses operating in the designated public wholesale markets, and shipboard gambling.  The BIC seeks a Senior Auditor to conduct in-depth forensic examination and analysis of complex and sophisticated financial records and recordkeeping systems.

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


Environmental Analyst, The NYC Independent Budget Office

Description: Seeking an experienced budget and policy analyst for its environmental portfolio, including responsibility for examining the programs and funding of the city’s departments of Parks and Recreation, Sanitation, and Environmental Protection, as well as broader environmental and sustainability issues. A successful candidate must be self-motivated, a critical and rigorous analyst  of public policy questions, able to write clearly about complex policies, and have advanced quantitative and policy analytic skills. Commitment to impartial examination of public policies and spending is essential. Experience with large datasets and SAS (or similar statistical software) is preferred. Salary range $52,000-$65,000, depending upon experience.

Further Info: Send cover letter and resume by May 8, 2015to: or fax to 212-442-0350. No phone calls, please.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Today, to 32BJ SEIU Political DirectorAlison Hirsh … to Upper East Side AssemblywomanRebecca Seawright … to Lawrence Fuchsberg, principal attorney and no-fault counsel at the New York State Department of Financial Services … and to Stephannia Cleaton, communications director for New York City Councilman Andy King … on Saturday, to Kelly Vasquez, scheduling director? for Councilman Andy King … to Assemblyman Philip Palmesano … to Mike Neppl, New York Library Association director of government relations and advocacy and general counsel … to Aaron Hecht, managing director for campaigns, Red Horse Strategies … to former New York City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin … to Ernest Logan, president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators … and to Mark Cannizzaro, executive vice president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators … and on Sunday, to the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence CommissionerRosemonde Pierre-Louis … and belatedly, on Thursday, toLisa Wager, director of intergovernmental relations at Fashion Institute of Technology.




Click Here to Learn More

Greenberg Traurig’s team offers real government and business experience. We understand key players’ priorities and have an established record of executing “win-win” strategies.




New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio departs for Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

8:30 a.m. - Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers remarks at a breakfast meeting of the Association for a Better New York, Grand Hyatt New York, 109 E. 42nd St., Manhattan.

8 a.m. to 4 p.m. - The Regional Plan Association hosts its annual Assembly, featuring New York City First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, and many more, The Waldorf-Astoria, 301 Park Ave., Manhattan.

9 a.m. - Erie County Executive Marc Poloncarz joins representatives from over 50 area businesses and governmental groups to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable’s formation, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Knox Room, 665 Main St., Suite 200, Buffalo.

10:30 a.m. – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer joins Councilman Chaim Deutsch for press conference on claims settlements, northeast corner of Avenue M and Ocean Avenue, Brooklyn.

11 a.m. - DEC Commissioner Joe Martens attends an Arbor Day celebration, Tivoli Park, Albany.

11 a.m. - The Capitol Pressroom features Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens, Regent James R. Tallon, and Roger Downs of the Sierra Club and John Sheehan of the Adirondack Council, WCNY, listen here:

11:45 a.m. - NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering Dean Katepalli Sreenivasan and elected officials hold an interactive event showcase of the top innovations from the NYU School of Engineering, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, MetroTech Commons, 6 MetroTech Roadway, Brooklyn.

12 p.m. - Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Meera Joshi and Bronx elected officials hold press conference after a meeting at Sen. Ruben Diaz's District Office to discuss problems facing the taxi’s non-medallion industry and its driver, 900 Rogers Place, Bronx.

12 p.m. - New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina attends an NYU Alumni Association luncheon, Grand Hyatt New York, Empire Ballroom, 109 E. 42nd St., Manhattan.

1 p.m. - Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner recognizes national service organization volunteers, Atrium at City Hall Commons, 201 E. Washington St., Syracuse.

2 p.m. – New York City Councilman Donovan Richards and Judith Enck, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator, join awardees and distinguished guests at Environmental Champion Awards Ceremony, Region 2 EPA office, 290 Broadway, Manhattan.

6 p.m. - Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer attends PS 361/The Children’s Workshop School “Schoolapalooza” fundraising celebration, Manny Cantor Center, 197 East Broadway, Manhattan.

7 p.m. - Brewer attends Eleanor Roosevelt High School gala and auction, Mt. Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden, 421 E. 61st St., Manhattan.

7 p.m. - New York City Public Advocate Letitia James gives remarks at the Brooklyn Neighborhood Improvement Association, Inc. Gala, Grand Prospect Hall, 263 Prospect Ave., Brooklyn.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. - Inside City Hall features Scott Millstein, executive director of Coro New York, Brooklyn Councilman Carlos Menchaca, Majora Carter, David Bolotsky, founder & CEO of UncommonGoods, and the Friday Reporters Roundtable featuring Gloria Pazmino of Capital New York, Michael Grynbaum from the Times and Michael Saul of the Wall Street Journal, Time Warner Cable News NY1.

7:30 p.m. - Brewer attends Teachers College Community School Parent Association fourth annual parent social and auction, The Imagination Raw Space Art Gallery, 2031 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., Manhattan.



Join Empire State Pride Agenda to celebrate 25 years of advancing equality and justice for LGBT New Yorkers and our families. With our partners in government and advocacy, we’ve won marriage equality, civil rights protections, and resources for LGBT youth.  Together, let’s celebrate our achievements and our shared commitment to pass GENDA and the bill to protect LGBT youth from conversion therapy.  Monday, April 27 from 6 to 8 p.m.Prime. 677 Broadway, Albany NY.




KICKER: “I think she’s extraordinarily hot. If I’m going to be scorched for being a sexist or misogynist for being attracted to her in her red dress, then I’m guilty.” – Curtis Sliwa, about City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, via the Daily News.