First Read - April 17, 2014

WEATHER: Sunny across the state. New York City, high 51; Albany, high 53; Buffalo, high 52.



* After more than two years since its last contract expired, Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the MTA appear to be nearing a new contract that would likely give workers a sizable raise, The New York Times writes:

* As part of New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s new Sandy Oversight Unit, he is launching an audit of the Build it Back program, which has served few Superstorm Sandy victims, the Daily News writes:

* State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office sent a first round of subpoenas to a group of high-frequency trading firms as part of an investigation into whether some have an unfair advantage over other trading firms, The Wall Street Journal reports:

* The de Blasio administration is aiming to build support at the state level for property tax breaks for Superstorm Sandy victims who have to rebuild or repair, though there are just six weeks to get something passed before property tax bills go out, the Journal reports:

* County clerks part of a pilot program to allow handgun permit holders to recertify their weapons early, as required under the SAFE Act, say that program has been seemingly put on hold, the Times Union writes:

* The MTA awarded two East Side Access contracts—valued at roughly $628 million—for companies to line new tunnels with concrete walls and install communications systems in Grand Central Terminal, Newsday reports:

* A legal challenge from a Buffalo resident seeking to oust Buffalo businessman and city Board of Education member Carl Paladino from the board was quashed by state Education Commissioner John King in March, the Investigative Post writes:

* Mayor de Blasio has been struggling to find a qualified candidate willing to take the job as his director of communications, the New York Post reports:

 * A woman who used to work under New York City Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery when he was Children’s Aid Society CEO is suing him for allegedly firing her because he thought she was too old, the Post writes:



* The abandonment of an inquiry into legislators’ outside income through the disbanding of the Moreland Commission shows how great a price Gov. Andrew Cuomo paid for the little that he got, the Times writes:

* In an extended interview with the Times, former mayor Michael Bloomberg discussed the NRA, gun control and current Mayor Bill de Blasio:

* In The Nation, City Limits executive editor Jarrett Murphy analyzes the de Blasio administration’s successes and shortcomings over the mayor’s first 100 days in office:


CITY & STATE WINS PRESS AWARDS: The New York Press Association recognized City & State’s coverage in 2013 with four awards, including first prize for best coverage of elections and politics:



BUILD IT NOW! The development of 3 World Trade Center will keep the promise we’ve made to rebuild.  NYC’s building trades unions are ready to finish the job.  The lower Manhattan community deserves nothing less.  We urge the board of The Port Authority of NY & NJ to approve this project.  Create 3,000 union construction jobs, $400 million of contracts for minority and women owned businesses, and $4 billion of revenue for regional transportation improvements. BUILD IT NOW!




* The New York Times writes that NYPD Commissioner William Bratton did the right thing by dissolving the Demographics Unit, but to prevent similar practices in the future, the city should create an authority to review investigations into those engaged in political activity:

* The Daily News writes that former mayor Michael Bloomberg, who plans to commit $50 million to launch an organization to push for better gun laws, represents a potent force emerging to inject sanity into our politics:

* The Post writes that Mayor Bill de Blasio could do horse-drawn carriage drivers a big favor by reversing his stance on banning the rides, or, at the very least, finding a compromise that lets drivers continue offering rides:

* In The Washington Post, Harold Meyerson questions why New York Democrats want to re-elect Gov. Andrew Cuomo when Democrats everywhere are seeking to diminish economic inequality but Cuomo has adopted policies that widen economic gaps:



70% of consumers prefer to shop online. Why should wine be an exception? Buying wine online means lower prices, greater convenience and better selection. That’s why 21st Century Consumers, a national advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the interests of consumers who use modern technology to buy their goods and services, urges the State Liquor Authority to approve pending applications for online wine sales. Visit us at and tell the state that you support online wine sales.




* On Wednesday, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James sat down with a small group of reporters to discuss her first 100 days on the job and her vision for the office going forward. But first James is hoping that the additional funding Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed in his preliminary budget for her office remains in the final agreement. “It’s difficult to continue to operate with twenty staff members,” she said. James also emphasized she wanted to have more of a role in her old stomping ground at the City Council, hoping to “remove the divide” and play a more active role in policy. “Operating in silos will no longer continue,” James said. As for her evaluation of the mayor’s first 100 days, James was mostly complimentary, giving him a B+ grade, citing paid sick leave, stop-and-frisk reform, and universal pre-K as big wins. "Were there some missteps in Albany? Yeah. But Albany is a strange place, and they live by a different set of rules, and it’s really hard to get accustomed to those rules in your first 100 days.” Her evaluation of Governor Andrew Cuomo was considerably more brief; James noted that his polling numbers were up, and declined to comment further. 



City & State’s Upcoming April 23 Issue Spotlight: ENVIRONMENT

Promote your organization’s environmental objectives and benefits to NY’s public officials in this strategic political communications venue. City & State magazine’s comprehensive special section will feature: Public Officials Q&A with Joe Martens, Rep. Paul Tonko, Kathryn Garcia, Judith Enck and Donovan Richards (officials pending confirmation); Featured Editorial: Gov. Cuomo & Environmental State Issues  | Mayor de Blasio’s Environmental Course | Scorecard: Key Players, Issues and Stats.  The ad deadline is April 21.  For advertising information, please contact or call 212-284-9714.




* In late March, City & State hosted our “On Technology” forum featuring Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Councilman Ben Kallos and others. You can watch it here:


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


Executive Director, Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen Alliance

Description: The newly-formed Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen Business Improvement District (BID) is seeking an Executive Director. The BID will be responsible for maintaining and operating the future Hudson Park & Boulevard (to open in late 2014), advocating for funding and implementation of additional park expansion, developing district-wide services to support the emerging mixed-use neighborhood (including traffic control, sanitation, pedestrian safety and streetscape improvements), and advocating for neighborhood issues.

Further Info: For full job description To apply, send resume and cover letter before 4/30/14 to:



Description: CPC, a non-profit mortgage lender providing reliable capital to underserved NYS neighborhoods since 1974, seeks candidates for three Upstate positions: Senior Mortgage Officer, Mortgage Officer, Assistant Mortgage Officer.

Further Info: View the job descriptions & apply:


State Policy Advocate, Innocence Project

Description: The Innocence Project is seeking a State Policy Advocate to facilitate the initiation, leadership and execution of state-level advocacy campaigns in multiple states. The ideal candidate will have state-level advocacy experience, with a background in cultivating broad stakeholder support for policy initiatives. Experience working on criminal justice issues preferred.

Further Info: For full job description visit,, To apply, send cover letter and resume to:


Columbia University’s Master of Science in Sustainability Management  

The program provides practical training to both part- and fulltime students seeking to further their careers or transition into a sustainability related field.  To learn more about our program, please join us for an online information session on April 17th and the deadline to apply is May 15th.  For more information about the program and how to apply, please visit our website:


HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Assemblyman James Brennan … to Paul Fernandes, chief of staff at the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York … and to Kristin Misner, former chief of staff to former Deputy New York City Mayor Linda Gibbs.


CONGRATULATIONS: To City & State columnist and former Bronx assemblyman Michael Benjamin and Susan R. Wong, a celebrity fitness trainer and professional videographer, who were engaged last week.


IN MEMORIAM: Basil Paterson, a longtime Harlem political leader and father of former Gov. David Paterson, has died.



Columbia University’s Master of Science in Sustainability Management  

The program provides practical training to both part- and fulltime students seeking to further their careers or transition into a sustainability related field.  To learn more about our program, please join us for an online information session on April 17th and the deadline to apply is May 15th.  For more information about the program and how to apply, please visit our website:




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

8 a.m. - Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Judith Enck gives the keynote speech at the State University of New York’s 2014 Green Infrastructure Summit, SUNY Plaza, 353 Broadway, 3rd Floor, Federal Building, Albany

8:50 a.m. - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appears on Hot97, 97.1FM.

9 a.m. - The State University of New York hosts a Green Infrastructure Summit including officials from various environmental groups, SUNY Plaza, Federal Building, 353 Broadway, Albany.

10 a.m. - New York City DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and other elected officials make a traffic safety announcement, intersection of 183rd Street and Grand Concourse, Bronx.

10:30 a.m. - Enck and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan promote the Earth Day #NatureSelfie photo project, Washington Park, Albany.

10:30 a.m. – New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray reads to children at Kings County Hospital Pediatric Center, Building E, 541 Clarkson Ave., Brooklyn.

10:40 a.m. -The Geraldo Rivera show features Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of NYCLU, and state Sen. Phil Boyle, WABC 770AM.

11 a.m. - The Capitol Pressroom features NYSUT President Karen Magee, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Carol Levine, director of the Families and Health Care Project for the United Hospital Fund of New York, and James Tallon Jr., president of the United Hospital Fund of New York, WCNY.

11 a.m. - State Sen. Tony Avella host a press conference to announce a tax relief program for homeowners, renters, co-op and condo owners in the 2014 state budget, Glen Oaks Co-Op, 70-33 260th St., Queens.

11:30 a.m. - Various community groups rally from 250 East 53rd Street to the Real Estate Board of New York, 250 E. 53rd St., Manhattan.

12 p.m. - Clergy members and community groups gather to access New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first 100 days in office, and request that de Blasio appoint more African Americans for government positions, at City Hall, Manhattan.

12:30 p.m. - 4 p.m. - The state Department of Labor hosts a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Career Fair, Empire State Plaza, Convention Center, Albany.

12:45 p.m.  – De Blasio hosts press conference to make announcement, Build It Back Center, 1976 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island.

1 p.m. - Assemblyman Karim Camara, foster care and workforce development agencies and foster youth hold a foster youth roundtable, The Children’s Aid Society, Next Generation Center, 1522 Southern Blvd., Bronx.

1:30 p.m. - Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino will be a guest on the John Gomez Show, Long Island News Radio 103.9.

3 p.m. – State Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo and others announce legislation requiring large groups of underage bus revelers to be accompanied by at least one chaperone, Villa Barone Manor, parking lot, 737 Throggs Neck Expressway, Bronx.

3:45 p.m. – New York City comptroller Scott Stringer speaks at “Face to Face 2014” Arts in Education Roundtable, City College, Shepard Hall, 160 Convent Ave., Manhattan.

5:20 p.m. - Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is a guest on the Pat Kiernan show, WABC 770AM.

5:30 p.m. - Rep. Charles Rangel hosts a College Mentoring Info Session, Aguilar Library, 174 E. 110th St., Manhattan.

5:30 p.m. - Rep. Paul Tonko delivers the keynote address at the Bethlehem Democratic Committee’s annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Reception, Milestone Restaurant, 9 Frontage Road, Glenmont.

6:00 p.m. – De Blasio speaks at Speakers on the Square, NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Place, Manhattan.

6:30 pm - Stringer attends the Council of Urban Professionals 7th Annual Leadership Gala, Cipriani Dolci, 89 E 42nd St., Manhattan.

7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. - Inside City Hall features an in-depth look at the mayor’s new plan to overhaul Hurricane Sandy rebuilding efforts, plus Clyde Haberman and Les Payne, Time Warner Cable News NY1.

8:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. - Capital Tonight features Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Chris Gibson and Conservative State Party Chair Mike Long, Time Warner Cable News.

8:30 p.m. - MetroFocus features state Education Commissioner John King on Common Core standards and testing, THIRTEEN.



KICKER: “Everybody knows the horror story post-Katrina. I’m not suggesting we are anywhere near that but the goal here has to be that we don’t have people hit twice—once by the storm and once by bureaucracy and government inefficiency.” – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer on his plans to audit the city’s Build it Back program, via the Daily News.