First Read - February 12, 2016

WEATHER: Increasing clouds in New York City and Albany and a lake effect snow warning in Buffalo. New York City, high 24; Albany, high 24; Buffalo, high 22.



* During her State of the City address, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito made police and correction proposals to decrease the Rikers Island populations to the point that closing them would be feasible:

* Ray LaHood, the former U.S. secretary of transportation, spoke with City & State about his recent book, his relationships in Congress, raising the gas tax and the Tappan Zee Bridge project:

* Two big national winners this week were U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, who dominated the New Hampshire primaries. But did they make our Winners & Losers list?



* With a video surfacing showing a Success Academy teacher belittling a student for not correctly answer a question, and more current and former employees coming forward with similar stories, the charter network is facing new scrutiny, The New York Times writes:

* NYPD Officer Peter Liang was convicted of manslaughter for killing an unarmed Akai Gurley in the stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project in a case that highlighted concerns over police accountability, the Times reports:

* The NYPD called a New York Civil Liberties Union report on cell phone data used to track people “misleading,” saying that the department uses a higher legal standard and restricts the information it collects, The Wall Street Journal reports:

* While New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mayor Bill de Blasio share a similar political vision, the speaker has denied the mayor key victories, making for a sometimes strained relationship, the Journal writes:  

* The New York City official in charge of homeless policy, Steve Banks, all but accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office of playing politics over homeless shelter safety after the murders of a woman and her two young children on Staten Island, Politico New York reports:



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* Cuomo sat down with editors and reporters at The Buffalo News to address multiple topics, including falling stock prices at SolarCity, his proposed budget and school receivership:

* The Buffalo school district filed a lawsuit alleging LPCiminelli, which managed its massive school renovation project, withheld financial information as part of “a scheme to conceal the excessive profits it was pocketing,” The Buffalo News reports:

* Sealed documents regarding evidence in former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s criminal trial, portions of which will be redacted before they are released, will be unsealed in the coming weeks, the Post reports:

* Onondaga County's Democratic Committee members designated Colleen Deacon as their candidate to run against incumbent Rep. John Katko in the 24th Congressional District, the Post-Standard writes:

* Democratic New York City Councilman Vincent Gentile has been asking de Blasio  for a judgeship or job within the administration before his third four-year term expires at the end of 2017, the Post writes:



New York Music Fact of the Week:

Did you know that 100,000 New Yorkers statewide work in the music industry, many as individual entrepreneurs? Sadly, these jobs are moving to places like Toronto, Los Angeles, and Nashville that entice music production to leave New York through powerful incentives.

Bipartisan legislation passed by the Assembly last year can reverse this trend and boost New York’s economy without additional costs to taxpayers. Learn more at and take action here.




* The Daily News writes that while there can be no satisfaction after such a tragedy, the conviction of Liang, the NYPD officer who shot and killed a man in a dark housing project stairwell, is a just outcome in a terrible situation:

* The Post writes that Mark-Viverito’s proposal to offer amnesty to 700,000 New Yorkers with outstanding warrants for low-level crimes is a big mistake that will bring the city back “to the dark days when New York was the national symbol of urban squalor and decay”:

* The Buffalo News writes that while ticket scalping may not be the most pressing matter on Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s to-do list, it is an area well worth pursuing as unscrupulous actors are ripping off the public:

* The Post writes that cronyism and patronage are to be expected in politics, but it is disappointing to see so many friendly hires in Carmen Farina’s New York City school system, where many children are being failed by the administration:

* The Times Union writes that while the vote on capital improvements at Albany High School yielded the result the paper had hoped for - approval - the voting process, marred by uncertainties, needs to be redone:


New York State wants CUNY to keep providing a top-tier education to almost half a million low-income New Yorkers, but it keeps cutting the funds needed to do it. If funding to CUNY had grown in proportion to the state budget, the University would have $637 million more funding for senior and community colleges. Tell Albany to fully fund CUNY and invest in our professors, staff and students.




* Alexis Grenell calls for changes to the 8.8 percent sales tax on tampons and criticizes New York state’s tax code for treating menstruation as an elective function but exempting condoms as “medical equipment”:

* In a special podcast, Grenell spoke with journalist and author Melissa Gira Grant and Kate D’Adamo of the Sex Workers Project about the politics of commercial sex and human trafficking:



CITY & STATE CAREERS - WHO’S HIRING: To advertise your employment opportunities with City & State, email or call 646-442-1617. Visit www.CityandState.Careers to view all jobs.

Regional Directors, Reclaim New York

Regional Director will develop and grow Reclaim’s relationship with community partners, represent Reclaim at local events, lead effort to facilitate community level education on issues. Public Policy/Grassroots experience preferred along with regional experience, preference given to bilingual candidates. (Long Island and Hudson Valley-based).

Digital Communications Specialist, Open Primaries

Open Primaries seeks a Digital Communications Specialist who will help guide the strategy and implement all internal/external digital communications, website, supporter and stakeholder messaging and collateral to organize and build support for Open Primaries’ mission. Position based in NYC. Email resume/cover letter to

Senior Director of National Organizing, Open Primaries

Open Primaries seeks a SD of National Organizing, responsible for developing and implement organizing campaigns and strategies designed to grow and cultivate our national supporter base, identify and train local and state leaders, expand our donor base, and interact with spokespeople. Position based in NYC. Email resume/cover letter to

Vice President, NYC Government Affairs, Partnership for New York City, Inc.

Seeking NYC Government Affairs VP to develop public policy priorities and manage relationships with elected officials, government staff, and administration officials at the city level; as well as with member company government affairs staff, trade associations and business organizations. Please email resume to



HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Today, to New York City Councilman Barry Grodenchik … and to former Brooklyn Community Board 1 member Heather Roslund … on Saturday. to former Assemblyman Speaker Sheldon Silver … to Ronnie Croce, chief of staff for New York City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz … to Assemblyman Alfred Graf … to Glenn Riddell, principal at the Riddell Group … to New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich … and to Jacob Gershman, reporter for The Wall Street Journal … and on Sunday, to Diane Green, Manhattan Democratic district leader … to consultant Steven Volynets, consultant … to Marty Markowitz, former Brooklyn borough president … to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg … to Robert Doar, Morgridge Fellow in poverty studies at the American Enterprise Institute … to Gabe Pressman, senior correspondent at NBC . . . and to Chris Bombardier, a lobbyist at Ostroff Associates.



Mayor de Blasio's Zoning for Quality and Affordability and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing proposals  won't improve affordability or quality in new construction: We need real answers to our city's affordability challenges that respect neighborhood character and don't make a flood of oversized market-rate developments the price for a fraction of new affordable housing. City Council: listen to more than fifty community boards, and vote NO.




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

9 a.m. - New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli hosts the state pension fund’s ninth annual Emerging Manager and Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise Conference, Hilton Albany, 40 Lodge St., Albany.

9 a.m. - New York City Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi visit P.S. 144 in Queens in advance of Pre-K for All application deadline on March 4 and spotlight a program building a strong school community, P.S. 144, 93-02 69th Ave., Queens.

9:30 a.m. - Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul discusses economic development with General Mills plant leaders, 54 South Michigan Ave., Buffalo.

10 a.m. - The New York City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation holds a public meeting, 250 Broadway, Committee Room, 16th Floor, Manhattan.

10 a.m. - Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer speaks at Chinatown Headstart Lunar New Year event, 180 Mott St., fourth floor, Manhattan.

10 a.m. - Upstate Revitalization Initiative Director Rich Tobe outlines Cuomo's 2016 State of the State agenda, Town of Tonawanda Municipal Building, 2919 Delaware Ave., Kenmore.

10 a.m. - Public Advocate Letitia James hosts Pre-Valentine's Day safe and health sex event, 15th Street and Union Square East, Manhattan.

10:30 a.m. - Deputy Secretary of State for Economic Opportunity Jorge Montalvo outlines Cuomo's 2016 State of the State agenda, Mosholu Montefiore Community Center, 3450 Dekalb Ave., Bronx.

10:30 a.m. - The Assembly Committee on Cities holds a public meeting on infrastructure needs relating to cities, Lubin Dining Hall, Harold and Muriel Block Building, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Ave., Bronx.

11 a.m. - Hochul promotes services to protect animals at Erie County SPCA, 205 Ensminger Road, Tonawanda.

11 a.m. - New York State Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito outlines Cuomo's 2016 State of the State agenda, Common Council Chambers at City Hall, 198 N. Washington St., Rome.

11 a.m. - Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams host a Valentine’s Day celebration, Brooklyn Borough Hall, Community Room, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

11 a.m. - Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. hosts 9th Annual Bronx Sweetheart Luncheon honoring couples married 50 years or more, Villa Barone Manor, 737 Throggs Neck Expressway, Bronx.

11 a.m. - New York City first lady Chirlane McCray visits P.S. 253, P.S. 253, The Magnet School of Multicultural Humanities, 601 Oceanview Ave., Brooklyn.

11 a.m. - “The Capitol Pressroom” features City & State Albany Reporter Ashley Hupfl, Politico’s Scott Waldman, Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, Elmira attorney Chris Denton, and Bob Williams, director of Environmental Studies at the Barnes-Williams Environmental Services in Binghamton and vice president of the Joint Landowners Coalition of NY, WCNY.

12 p.m. - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio hosts press conference, 356 E. 8th St., Manhattan.

12 p.m. - New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Matt Driscoll outlines Cuomo's 2016 State of the State agenda, Syracuse Rotary, Justin’s Grill, 6400 Yorktown Circle, East Syracuse.

12 p.m. - New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon outlines Cuomo's 2016 State of the State agenda, Rogers Island Visitor Center, 11 Rogers Island Drive, Fort Edward.

12 p.m. - New York City Councilman Donovan Richards and Rosedale civic leaders respond to the death of 16-year-old girl who was killed by a hit-and-run driver and call on the Department of Transportation to add speed cameras at the intersection, the intersection of Francis Lewis Boulevard and Sunrise Highway, Queens.

1 p.m. - New York Public Service Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman outlines Cuomo's 2016 State of the State agenda, The NYIT Old Westbury Student Government Association, Room 135, Harry Schure Hall, Northern Boulevard at Valentines Lane, Old Westbury.

3 p.m. - Hochul highlights New York state investment in Buffalo's East Side at Varsity Theatre grand opening, 3165 Bailey Ave., Buffalo.

6 p.m. - The New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators hosts its  45th Annual Legislative Conference, Albany.

9 p.m. - City & State hosts a Caucus Weekend Kickoff Reception, The State Room, 100 State St., Albany.



8 a.m. - The New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators hosts its  45th Annual Legislative Conference, Albany.

8 a.m. - State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli hosts a breakfast in honor of the 45th NYS Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, The Hart Lounge - The Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany.



8 a.m. - The New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators hosts its  45th Annual Legislative Conference, Albany.

5 p.m. - Assemblyman Keith Wright, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan host a Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus cocktail party, Albany City Hall, 24 Eagle St., Albany.



Get your ticket! City & State's must-read NYC Power 100 List debuts soon at the special Power 100 Luncheon Networking Reception, gathering top brass from City Hall, media, business and more for a networking opportunity you do not want to miss. Be the first to know who made the cut, who got dropped, who gained power and who lost it by attending in person to receive the Power 100 specialty publication. RSVP here.



KICKER: “It’s this culture of, ‘If you’ve made them cry, you’ve succeeded in getting your point across.’” - Jessica Reid Sliwerski, a former teacher and assistant principal at a Success Academy school, on the harsh treatment of students allegedly encouraged by the charter network, via the Times.