First Read – January 12, 2018

WEATHER: Heavy rain in New York City, rain in Albany and rain changing over to a wintry mix in Buffalo. New York City, high 60; Albany, high 56; Buffalo, high 52.



* There are no women leading the most powerful committees in the New York City Council and relatively few in its leadership ranks, a further sign of the waning influence of women in the city’s legislative body, City & State reports.

* Beyond improving labor relations, an electric school bus worker cooperative would help sustain our environment and protect the health of New Yorkers, New York City Councilman Rafael Espinal writes.

* Was anyone a bigger winner than New York City Councilmen Daniel Dromm and Rafael Salamanca? Did anyone have a worse week than Assemblywoman Pamela Harris or state Sen. Jeff Klein? Make your picks for this week’s Winners & Losers here!



* State Sen. Jeffrey Klein may have violated the Senate’s sexual harassment policy when he said he heard a “rumor” that he forcibly kissed a staffer in 2015, but did not refer the matter to anyone for investigation, the Daily News reports.

* Klein has asked the quasi-independent Joint Commission on Public Ethics to investigate an accusation that he forcibly kissed a then-staffer amid calls for an independent investigation, Politico New York writes.

* Former Cuomo administration attorney Alessandra Biaggi and Bronx attorney Lewis Kaminski are running against Klein, and Biaggi said her campaign is helping the Democratic Party after its 2016 losses, The Wall Street Journal reports.

* New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson accused police officers and federal law enforcement agents of acting violently during an immigrant rights protest in which two council members and more than a dozen other demonstrators were arrested, The New York Times writes.

* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s monuments commission decided after months of deliberations not to tear down the Christopher Columbus statue, but the city will put up new historical markers in and around Columbus Circle to “continue the public discourse,” the Daily News reports.

* More news below …



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* The number of New York City public school students taking the SATs shot up last year by more than half, after the city offered the test for free during the school day, the Times writes.

* The NYPD is bracing for another round of high-level reshuffling that is expected to force some veteran brass into retirement in an attempt to reshape the department to embrace Commissioner James O’Neill’s neighborhood policing concept, amNewYork reports.

* U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand said nearly three dozen Long Island programs working to end homelessness will share $9 million in federal funds that can be spent to “quickly rehouse” homeless individuals and families and help them become independent, Newsday reports.

* Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and state Sen. Diane Savino, who both gave campaign contributions to now-indicted Assemblywoman Pamela Harris amid a grand jury probe into fraud, said they had no idea she was under investigation at the time, the New York Post reports.

* More than a dozen alleged members of the MS-13 gang on Long Island have been indicted on a range of crimes, including murder, conspiracy and drug trafficking in connection with an investigation that spanned five states and El Salvador, the Journal reports.

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Congratulations to newly elected Speaker Corey Johnson and the recently elected and reelected New York City officials!




* The Child Victims Act should have been passed on its merits long ago, but since it hasn’t, Gov. Andrew Cuomo needs to step up and demonstrate the leadership he has shown on many other divisive issues in recent years, such as same-sex marriage, the Times writes.

* The #MeToo reckoning that hit Harvey Weinstein’s Hollywood, that roils Capitol Hill, that emptied TV anchors’ chairs, thunders upon a state Legislature in Albany pathetically ill-equipped to protect women, the Daily News writes.

* As predicted, de Blasio’s monuments commission turned out to be a massive waste of time, its only achievement was allowing him to find a way to escape from his overheated vows to uproot historical statues that defy politically correct thinking, the Post writes.

* State lawmakers have a way of backing down on ethics laws that would govern their own behavior, especially when accusations are levied against power players, but that should not happen this time amid the latest Albany scandal surrounding Klein, Newsday writes.

* Cuomo’s proposed payroll tax solution to address the impact the federal tax plan on New York has too many pitfalls and problems to work, Randy Levine writes in the Empire Report, but establishing certain nonprofit entities to fund certain services could be a viable solution.



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* Immigration talks on Capitol Hill foundered after the White House and some GOP lawmakers rejected a tentative deal from a bipartisan Senate group – and President Donald Trump made incendiary remarks about people from developing countries, The Washington Post reports.

* Trump has again stopped short of pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, two people briefed on his decision said, but he is expected to give Congress and European allies a deadline to improve the deal or the United States will pull out of it, the Times reports.



City & State Announces Partnership with Leading Recruitment Firm Phillips Oppenheim

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Staten Island Borough President James Oddo … to Basil Smikle, president and founder of Basil Smikle Associates and former executive director of the state Democratic Party … to Joe Malczewski, deputy director of intergovernmental affairs at the state Attorney General’s Office … to Gregory Joseph, director at Spitfire Strategies … to George Hulse, vice president at Healthfirst … and to Marty Schmid, program and research assistant at Exchange Place Alliance.

MOVING ON: Nick Benson, press secretary for the New York City Department of Small Business Services, begins as deputy communications director for the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services next week … Liza Acevedo, the former press secretary for state Sen. Michael Gianaris, is the new deputy press secretary to New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy … Jon Paul Lupo has been named director of intergovernmental affairs in New York City … Sherif Soliman has been named senior adviser to the New York City first deputy mayor … Simonia Brown has been named director of state legislative affairs for New York City … Jeff Lynch has been named director of city legislative affairs for New York City … and Eduardo Castell is the new managing partner at the MirRam Group, replacing Luis A. Miranda, who is stepping down from the position.

Have a birthday, career change, birth or death to announce? Email us:



City & State Jobs

Press Secretary, New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS)

New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) seeks to hire Press Secretary. Candidate must be a critical thinker and excellent communicator, with the ability to work with all levels of agency to establish a strong rapport and forge relations with the community and press. Responsibilities include planning and directing agency’s press strategy, responding to media inquiries, pitching stories, sending press releases and managing press events.

Account Executive, Marino PR

Marino, a full-service strategic communications firm, is seeking an account executive to join its industry-leading land use and economic development practice. Minimum 2 years of experience in PR or government required. Experience working in a campaign-style environment and some understanding of NYC’s ULURP process preferred. Responsibilities include project management, drafting/distribution of press materials, development of campaign materials and research.




8:30 a.m. – “Good Day New York” features Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr., FOX 5, WNYW-TV.

9 a.m.Rep. Adriano Espaillat hosts his annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day policy breakfast, with remarks from New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building, 163 W. 125th St., Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The Assembly Insurance Committee holds a public hearing for the examination of recent title insurance regulations in the state, Legislative Office Building, second floor, Hamilton Hearing Room B, Albany.

10 a.m. – “The Brian Lehrer Show” features New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, WNYC.

10 a.m. – Rep. Dan Donovan meets with his Brooklyn Veterans Roundtable, 1305 86th St., Brooklyn.

10:30 a.m. – Hoosick Falls residents and advocates demand a new source of clean drinking water for their town, state Capitol, outside the state Senate Chambers, Albany.

11 a.m. – “The Capitol Pressroom” features City & State Editor-in-Chief Jon Lentz, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos, WCNY.

12 p.m. – The Long Island Association is holding its annual State of the Region Report with state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone, Crest Hollow Country Club, 8325 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury.

12 p.m. – State Sen. Tony Avella and Assemblymen Robert Rodriguez and Ron Kim stand with Damon Bae, owner of Fancy Cleaners, to call on New York City to offer Bae market value for his property, which it plans to acquire through eminent domain, 2319 Third Ave., Manhattan.

2 p.m. – Donovan holds a press conference to discuss his amendment that would require the U.S. Department of Defense to reanalyze its housing assistance formula for Staten Island veterans who are attending school, College of Staten Island, 2800 Victory Blvd., Building 1P, Room 116, Staten Island.

4:30 p.m. – Rep. Nita Lowey delivers remarks at vigil for eighth anniversary of Haiti earthquake, Konbit Neg Lakay Community Center, 16 E. Church St., Spring Valley.

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Join NYN Media for Nonprofit BoardCon on January 24th at the Museum of Jewish Heritage for a day of informational session on the collaboration between boards and staff. We will have executive leaders of New York’s nonprofits and board members engage in lively discussions ranging from: Responsibilities, Governance, Diversity, Recruitment and Retention and more. For more details and ticketing please click here.



KICKER: “Your people were out of control!” – New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, addressing a senior police officer about aggressive police action during an immigrant rights protest, via the Times