First Read - July 4, 2014

WEATHER: Happy Independence Day! Heavy rain downstate during the day, a chance of rain in Central New York and mostly dry and cloudy in Western New York. New York City, high 79; Albany, high 77; Buffalo, high 71.


WINNERS AND LOSERS: All we had to do to find our winners and losers this week was follow the money, from $8K for a sham marriage to an alleged $50K to pad the salary of a lawmaker's son to a $2.2 billion windfall from the BNP Paribas deal:

BASE REPORT: Cmdr. Elvis T. Mikel, commanding officer of Naval Support Activity Saratoga Springs, discusses the impact the base has on the local community and efforts to make the base more efficient:



* An education group filed a lawsuit Thursday against New York’s teacher tenure laws following a landmark California ruling finding similar legislation unconstitutional, The New York Times reports:

* Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, the chair of the Assembly Health Committee, is seeking a probe of double-digit rate increases that New York insurers are requesting for new Affordable Care Act policies, the New York Post reports:

* New York City Council staffers deliberately withheld some budget documents from lawmakers for more than six hours on the night of last week’s budget vote, The Wall Street Journal writes:

* In the wake of a new contract that incentivizes teachers to retire, more New York City educators applied to leave last month than in the same period in recent years, Capital New York reports:

* In an audit, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer found that the school system could not prove it sought competitive bids for an $88.1 million custodial supply contract and then failed to monitor overpayments, the Post writes:

* Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano submitted a new financial plan to the county’s financial control board which banks on speed camera revenue and other fees to help pay rising union wages, Newsday reports:

* The new Buffalo Board of Education hasn’t even had its first business meeting yet, but old divisions have already returned as a new Board president was elected, the Buffalo News reports:

* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned residents of heavy rains that could continue through Friday afternoon, but some July 4 festivities were scheduled to go on, the Daily News writes:

* De Blasio for the first time hosted a weigh-in ceremony at City Hall for Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog-eating contest, the Daily News writes:



* Although Cuomo has embraced a controversial new treatment to combat HIV, only time will tell if the effort is effective in achieving a sharp reduction in cases, writes the Times’ Josh Barro:



M Public Affairs Expands New York Team -- M Public Affairs welcomes Thomas Meara, Jaclyn La Barbera, Elie Jacobs, Adam Steinberger, and Ben Rubin to its fast growing New York team led by CEO Maggie Moran and Managing Director Richard Bamberger. The addition of these four experienced strategic professionals builds upon MPA’s accomplished track record of developing and executing innovative public affairs strategies throughout New York and the United States. Learn about us at:




* The Daily News digs into the mystery of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s “untaxing and lucrative” position as a personal injury attorney, which earned him as much as $750,000 last year:

* In the Times’ “Room for Debate,” a number of experts weigh in on the student-led approach to reading and writing known as “balanced literacy” that is making a comeback in New York City: 

* If we don’t make greater efforts to teach civics and U.S. history, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance won’t do much good because citizens won’t understand the principles they’re pledging allegiance to, the Lexington Institute’s Ashley Bateman writes in the Post:



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* Check out interviews with some of this year's Albany 40 under 40 Rising Stars, including Gannett’s Joseph Spector, Jessica Todtman from SUNY, Saima Anjam of Environmental Advocates of New York and Nora Niedzielski-Eichner of the New York State Afterschool Network:

* You can now follow us on Twitter for the latest videos— @CityAndStateTV


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

Director of Government Relations, Planned Parenthood of NYC

Description: Planned Parenthood of NYC is seekingafull-time Director of Government Relations, who will direct the lobbying activities of PPNYC and serve as primary liaison to NY State and NYC elected representatives. Requires Bachelor’s degree, 4-6 years of government affairs and advocacy experience, and a commitment to women’s reproductive health.

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


Associate State Director- Advocacy, AARP

Salary: Commensurate with experience

Description: As the Associate State Director – Advocacy, you will work to ensure AARP is a powerful force in helping people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthen communities and fight for the issues that matter most to families such as health, financial and retirement security. Responsibilities include- developing strategy, writing campaign plans, and managing grassroots advocacy efforts on multiple issues; creating and implement advocacy tactics with staff and volunteers; overseeing budgeting of multiple issue campaigns.

Further Info: To view full job description and to apply, click HERE



Description: Established Albany government affairs firm with diverse clients seeks an experienced lobbyist with strong writing, advocacy and organizational skills.  Demonstrated experience working successfully in the Legislature and Executive agencies is a prerequisite; a background in business or association work is a plus.  Law degree preferred, but not required.  

Further Info: Please email resume and cover letter to


Assistant Scheduler/Administrative Assistant for Constantinople & Vallone Consulting LLC

Salary- Commensurate with experience

Description: Constantinople & Vallone Consulting LLC is seeking a detail oriented assistant scheduler and administrative assistant.  Responsibilities include handling outgoing and incoming schedule requests, assisting with logistics for local and regional travel, and administrative office duties as assigned.  Excellent organizational, prioritization, time management, communication and computer skills required.  Proficiency in excel and google calendar required.  Previous scheduling and political experience a plus.  

Further Info: Please email resume, references and cover letter to


HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Today, to Candace Sandy, communications director for Rep. Gregory Meeks … to Gregg Bishop, deputy commissioner for the New York City Department of Small Business Services … and to Jugba Santi, a New York State Young Democrats committeewoman … on Saturday, to Rep. Nita Lowey … to financier Steve Rattner … to Heather Grossmann, associate publisher at DNAinfo … to Julie Shapiro, a news editor at DNAinfo … to Chris Keeley, Health Republic Insurance of New York’s vice president for government affairs … and to Danny Ross, chief of staff to Assemblyman David Buchwald … and on Sunday, to Andrew Kurzweil … to Selah Eric Spruiell … and to Cynthia Keyser, special projects manager at the New York City Economic Development Corporation … and belatedly, on Thursday, to Daniel Tishman, chairman and CEO of the Tishman Construction Corporation … to Phil Lentz, director of public affairs at NYU … to City & State reporter Azure Gilman … and to environmental consultant Alex Matthiessen.


MOVING ON: Seny Taveras, former chief of staff for New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, was named executive director of CUNY in the Heights … Rodriguez’s former legislative and budget director, Carmen De La Rosa, was promoted to chief of staff, while Russell Murphy was named deputy chief of staff for public affairs and Yokarina Duarte was named deputy chief of staff for community relations.


IN MEMORIAM: Robert Van Etten, the Port Authority’s inspector general, has died.


CORRECTIONS: In yesterday’s First Read, we incorrectly wished happy birthday to Assemblyman Karim Camara, NYPIRG’s Gene Russianoff, and the Related Companies’ Jessica Scaperotti. Their birthdays are on June 3, not July 3.



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

9 a.m. - Republican candidate for attorney general John Cahill marches in an Independence Day parade, Southampton.

10 a.m. - Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino marches in a Port Jefferson Independence Day parade, Main Street to Barnum Avenue, Port Jefferson.

11 a.m. - The Capitol Pressroom features Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and Dr. Sandra Stotsky, professor emerita at the University of Arkansas and an original member of the Common Core Validation Committee, on Common Core standards, WCNY,   

12:15 p.m. - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and then marches in Travis 4th of July Parade, 4108 Victory Blvd., Staten Island.

6 p.m. - Astorino attends the Pearl River Fireworks, East Central Avenue ball field, Pearl River.



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KICKER: “The insurance carriers may have low-balled their premiums last year in order to grab market share on the health exchange. This is not unheard of. They should not be rewarded if that’s what’s going on.” – Assemblyman Richard Gottfried on proposed rate increases for Affordable Care Act policies in New York, via the Post