First Read - March 12, 2014

WEATHER: Rain downstate; freezing rain upstate; heavy snow in western New York. New York City, high 56; Albany, high 37; Buffalo, high 33.


NYC TAKES FIRST STEP ON LABOR TALKS: New York City's municipal labor leaders held an initial meeting with city labor negotiators to look for healthcare cost savings, writes City & State’s Nick Powell:



* Letters from New York City and state politicians bashing nutritional supplement company Herbalife are raising questions about if the officials played a role in a hedge fund manager’s campaign to drive down the company’s stock price, the Daily News writes:

* A preliminary New York City budget hearing turned tense when City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley pressed Queens Library President Thomas Galante on the details of a closed-door meeting for trustees last Thursday, the New York Times reports:

* City Council Education Committee Chair Daniel Dromm plans to call charter school leader Eva Moskowitz and other executives to a hearing to find out how they spend public funds, just in case there is any corruption within the system, the New York Post writes:

* The State Board of Elections voted to open an investigation of alleged campaign finance violations by a fundraising committee, the WNY Progressive Caucus, closely tied to Buffalo political operative G. Steven Pigeon, the Buffalo News writes:

* Data shows that the racial demographics for incoming students at some New York City specialized schools remained stagnant, prompting Mayor Bill de Blasio to call for increased diversity at schools, The New York Times writes:

* President Barack Obama’s visit to New York City included a short shopping trip and a pair of fundraisers that raised more than $1.5 million for Democrats, the Times reports:

* A new report by the Coalition for the Homeless shows that the number of people staying overnight in New York City shelters has hit a record of 53,615, with a 12 percent increase in the number of newly homeless families in the system, the Times writes:

* New York City Public Advocate Letitia James is calling for city public schools to offer free lunches to all students, an idea schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said she welcomes, though the city does not have any set plans to implement such a program, the Daily News writes:

* De Blasio touted a reduction in crime during the early part of his tenure, with homicides down 21 percent from the same time period a year before and overall crime down 2 percent, the Daily News reports:

* U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said New York City is taking its sweet time dispensing Superstorm Sandy relief money to homeowners, though he said he wants to give de Blasio time to get his people in place, the Daily News reports:

* Presidents of the three major New York City library systems came to the preliminary budget hearing with some funding because de Blasio already baselined money to Fiscal Year 2014 levels in his preliminary budget, City & State reports:

* In a Syracuse-area speech, Donald Trump said Republicans have a chance to win the state, which he argued could turn around the psyche of the country, the Post-Standard reports:


CASINOS, ENERGY, ALBANY AND MORE: Have a casino, energy/environment or state government tip? Contact Albany Bureau Chief Jon Lentz or 518-427-5846.



What's the next big storm that's going to impact New York City? Read the Center for an Urban Future’s new report on a wide range of infrastructure vulnerabilities facing the city—from roads and subways to water mains, steam pipes, public schools, bridges and homeless shelters. While the devastating effects of Super Storm Sandy focused much-needed attention on critical issues, there are a number of infrastructure needs which have little to do with storm-preparedness that could wreak as much havoc on New York City’s economy and quality of life as the next big storm. Download the ABNY and RBC Capital Markets-sponsored study today. Caution Ahead: Overdue Investments for New York’s Aging Infrastructure




* While a blind eye was turned to some Bloomberg-era school policies—and negative ones were cheered—everyone from the governor to charter backers wants to stop Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plans to reform charter schools, the Daily News’s Juan Gonzalez writes:

* The Post writes that with elections behind them, the state Board of Regents has a duty to fix the Common Core rollout, though it should resist watering down the standards while keeping in mind they cannot please their loudest critics:

* The Daily News writes that with the Assembly and Gov. Andrew Cuomo supporting the Dream Act, the least the state Senate can do is bring the legislation to a vote:

* The Daily News writes that de Blasio should protect horse-carriage industry workers as he continues to work toward cutting the industry out of the city:



The Environmental Protection Fund has been making our communities healthier and more sustainable for 21 years. Every $1 invested in EPF land and water conservation programs returns $7in natural goods and services to New Yorkers.  Growing the Fund in this year’s budget will protect clean water and valuable natural resources for future generations.  The Environmental Protection Fund works. Find out more at




* Attorney and Community Board 8 member Rebecca Alice Seawright is exploring a candidacy for the State Assembly seat currently held by Micah Kellner, who is not seeking re-election. Seawright, a former assistant district attorney who currently chairs the Board of Directors of the Feminist Press at CUNY, is being encouraged to run by women community leaders and others, in a field thus far of solely male candidates.  Seawright has lived in the 76th Assembly District, which includes the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, for nearly two decades and is known as a protégé of the late Texas Governor Ann W. Richards and "Roe v. Wade" attorney Sarah Weddington.  Seawright, who has registered an exploratory committee with the state Board of Elections, largely declined to comment on her possible candidacy, stating only that it was premature to do so and that she was consulting with supporters and well wishers in the district.



New York’s Association of Proprietary Colleges would like to thank the members of the legislature for their time and attention during our visit to the Capitol yesterday.  Today we are back on campuses across the state with more than 50,000 classmates, educators and professionals. Your continued support of TAP provides our students with a chance to succeed. Restore TAP for all students. Please visit and follow us on Twitter @APCColleges.




* Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo talks about fighting for resources in the city’s smallest borough and getting up to speed on issues on the island’s North Shore and South Shore:


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


Account Director, Nicholas & Lence Communications

Description: NLC is growing! Our communications and PR firm features diverse NYC based clients. An experienced Account Director with 5-7 years of NYC PR agency experience is needed, who can secure media coverage and brainstorm and execute strategic PR plans. Strong writing skills, personal media contacts and social media strategy knowledge are required. Applicant must reside in NYC/NJ area.

Further Info: Please email resumes and cover letters to Shin-Jung Hong at


Government and Public Affairs Position for Major NYC Construction Trade Association

Salary:  Competitive compensation and benefits package

Description:  NYC Construction Association seeks Chief of Staff to the President and CEO. Responsibilities include development and implementation of association’s legislative and public policy agenda for NYC and NYS. Will provide support to association committees, communications program and special events. Qualifications include excellent written and oral communications skills. Must be hands on and comfortable in a team-oriented environment.

For More Information: Send cover letter, resume and sample of writing ability to


Digital Project Manager for Political Media Company

Salary: range of $45,000 - $50,000 / year, with possible incentives

Description: City & State NY seeks driven, experienced individual to consult on digital and rich media efforts, with specific emphasis on web and email execution and management. Candidates should have knowledge of HTML, general web development, ad opps and email marketing. Knowledge of ModX CMS and Sailthru a plus. Duties to include: Coordinating all emails and digital marketing, enhancing overall web experience, growing online audience, helping drive digital revenue opportunities. Previous experience at a news organization also a plus. Relevant degree preferred, but not required.  

If you are interested please send a cover letter, resume and salary requirements to  


HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan … to state Sen. Andrew Lanza … to Elizabeth Misa, Medicaid deputy director for the office of health insurance programs at the state Department of Health … and to New York City Councilman Andy King.


MOVING ON: Jarret Berg is the new legislative director for Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh … Joseph Ponte has been named commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction … Ana Bermúdez has been appointed commissioner of the New York City Department of Probation … Elizabeth Glazer has been named director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice … Vincent Schiraldi has been appointed senior adviser to the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice … Michael WineripNina BernsteinRuss BuettnerN.R. “Sonny” Kleinfield and David Chen have joined The New York Times Metro Investigations and Projects Team … Susan Del Percio has been appointed as a special adviser to Gov. Andrew Cuomo … and Mark Prentice, Rep. Nita Lowey’s press secretary, is joining Americans for Responsible Solutions as press secretary.



City & State’s Upcoming 3/24 Issue Spotlight: TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE

Promote your organization’s infrastructure objectives and benefits to NY’s public officials in this strategic government relations communications venue. City & Statemagazine’s comprehensive special section will feature: Public Officials Q&A with Joan McDonald, Tom Prendergast, Polly Trottenberg, Pat Foye and Joseph Robach (officials pending confirmation); Featured Editorial: MTA Capital Plan | Top Projects in Bridges, Highways, Ports and Railroads | Scorecard: Key Players, Issues and Stats.  The ad deadline is March 20.  For advertising information, please contact or call 212-284-9714.




Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio meets with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson in the morning and with Mayor Michele Napoletano of Airola, Italy, in the afternoon, City Hall, Manhattan.

8:30 a.m. – State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli releases his Annual Wall Street Bonus Report at an Association for a Better New York forum, Roosevelt Hotel, Terrace Ballroom, 45 E. 45th St., Manhattan.

8:30 a.m. – Vera Institute of Justice hosts a discussion entitled “Cops, Courts, and Corrections: Can NYC’s Justice System Help Those With Mental Illness?”, 233 Broadway, 12th floor, Manhattan.

8:30 a.m. – New York City Public Advocate Letitia James attends a YWCA Women’s History Month Discussion and Annual Reception, 345 Park Ave., Manhattan.

9 a.m. – A statewide coalition of pro-business organizations host Small Business Day at the Capitol, Empire State Plaza, Meeting Room 4, Albany.

9:15 a.m. – The New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board Administrative Prosecution Committee meets, 40 Rector St., 2nd floor conference room, Manhattan.

9:30 a.m. – AARP members lobby state legislators to support an independent utility consumer advocate and increased funding for family caregiver support services in the state budget, State Capitol, Albany.

10 a.m. – The New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board meets, 40 Rector St., 2nd floor conference room, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – State Sen. Diane Savino leads a public meeting on the Compassionate Care Act, Legislative Office Building, Hearing Room A, 181 State St., Albany.

10 a.m. – New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, elected officials, anti-gun violence advocates and others announce June as Gun Violence Awareness Month and launch the NYC Campaign to Raise Gun Violence Awareness Across the State, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – Kenneth Adams, commissioner, president and CEO of Empire State Development, delivers a regional budget message, Mariners Harbor Library, 206 South Ave., Staten Island.

10 a.m. – The Brian Lehrer Show includes interviews with New York magazine’s Chris Smith about the search for a city parks commissioner, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli on housing and bonuses, Bloomberg’s Gary Putka on irregularities at Mount Sinai and Deputy Sanitation Commissioner Ron Gonen on organic waste, WNYC.   

10:30 a.m. – The New York City Council Finance Committee meets, City Hall, Committee Room, Manhattan.

10:30 a.m. – The New York City Council Rules, Privileges and Elections Committee meets, City Hall, Council Chambers, Manhattan.

11 a.m. – The Capitol Pressroom features Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, National Federation of Independent Business Director Mike Durant and Unshackle Upstate Executive Director Brian Sampson, and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips’ Bruce Gyory, WCNY.

11 a.m. – New York City Council members Ritchie Torres, Mark Treyger and Carlos Menchaca, community groups, and NYCHA residents release information and surveys regarding to post-Superstorm Sandy housing public housing conditions, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

11 a.m. – State Sen. Tony Avella and the New York League of Humane Voters hold a press conference to address the DEC revision of its plan to eliminate the state’s mute swan population, Legislative Office Building, LCA Press Room, Room 130, 181 State St., Albany.

11 a.m. – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence Commissioner Rose Pierre-Louis and activist Gloria Steinem attend the grand opening of the Manhattan Family Justice Center, 80 Centre St., 5th floor, Manhattan.

11 a.m. – Former New York City comptroller John Liu announces a federal challenge to the Campaign Finance Board’s power to deny matching funds to municipal candidates, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, 20th floor, Manhattan.  

11 a.m. – New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray attends a Manhattan Family Justice Center press conference, 80 Centre St., 5th floor, Manhattan.

12 p.m. – Attorney General Eric Schneiderman joins Rensselaer County Executive Kathy Jimino, state Sen. Neil Breslin, Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan and others to make an announcement regarding his efforts to help struggling homeowners, Troy Rehabilitation & Improvement Program, 415 River St., 4th floor, Troy.

12 p.m. – The Educational Conference Board holds a press conference announcing opposition to the proposed property tax freeze, Legislative Office Building, LCA Press Room, Room 130, 181 State St., Albany.

12 p.m. – New York City Councilman Stephen Levin joins the Coalition for the Homeless for the release its annual State of the Homeless report, 129 Fulton St, 4th floor, Manhattan.

12 p.m. – Low-wage workers from Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island join Make the Road New York and the New York Coalition to End Wage Theft to denounce wage theft and call on the state Labor Department for help, 86-22 Whitney Ave., Queens.

1 p.m. – UFT President Michael Mulgrew holds a news conference to release the findings of a UFT report on teachers that left the New York City education system, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor, Manhattan.

1:30 p.m. – The New York City Council meets, City Hall, Council Chambers, Manhattan.

1:30 p.m. – Students and parents join the Alliance for Quality Education to call for more funding for public schools, War Room, 2nd Floor, State Capitol, Albany. 

2 p.m. – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio meets with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Committee of the Whole, City Hall, Manhattan.

3 p.m. – The state Senate convenes, State Capitol, Senate Chambers, Albany.

3:10 p.m. – De Blasio attends Transit District 4 Roll Call with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and DHS Commissioner Taylor followed by a 3:30 p.m. press conference, Transit District 4, Union Square Subway Station, Manhattan. 

3:30 p.m. – The New York State Gaming Commission meets, Empire State Development Corporation, 37th floor, conference room, 633 3rd Ave., Manhattan.

4 p.m. – The state Department of Transportation holds an open house on the High Speed Rail Empire Corridor, Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center, 12 Vassar St., Poughkeepsie. Public hearing follows at 6 p.m.

4:45 p.m. – Citizens Defending Libraries and the Library Lovers League holds a NYPL Trustees Meeting Rally, New York Public Library steps, Manhattan.

5 p.m. – Straus Media-Manhattan Editor Kyle Pope and Publisher Jeanne Straus hand out copies of new, revamped West Side Spirit, including to Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Broadway and 72nd Street, Manhattan.

6 p.m. – Stringer hosts a Women’s History Month Celebration and Awards Ceremony, Emigrant Bank Building, 49-51 Chambers St., Manhattan.

7 p.m. – New York City Councilman Andy King delivers his State of the 12th District Address, Co-op City Community Center, Auditorium, 177 Dreiser Loop, Bronx.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – Inside City Hall features Secretary to the Governor Larry Schwartz, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and the Political Rundown with Curtis Sliwa and Gerson Borrero, Time Warner Cable News NY1.  

7:15 p.m. – McCray attends the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Special Girls Learn International Celebration, Trinity School, 101 W. 91st St., Manhattan.

7:30 p.m. – New York City Public Advocate Letitia James attends a Women’s information Network Event, Fulbright & Jaworski, 666 5th Ave., Manhattan.

7:50 p.m. – McCray attends a Children’s Defense Fund New York Beat the Odds Event, The Pierre, 2 E. 61st St., Manhattan.

8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. – Capital Tonight features DiNapoli and Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, Time Warner Cable News.

8 p.m. – Gotham Talk Radio with Brad Gerstman and David Schwartz features State Sens. David Carlucci and Michael Gianaris, WSNR 620 AM.

9:30 p.m. – City Talk features Joseph Viteritti, author of “Summer in the City: John Lindsay, New York, and the American Dream,” and Sam Roberts, author of “America’s Mayor: John V. Lindsay and the Reinvention of New York,” CUNY TV.


KICKER: “We need accountability, we need transparency, and we need to know who is giving them the money and what they’re doing with that money. This is an opportunity, if corruption were to exist .?.?. I can’t just let it go.” – New York City Council Education Committee Chair Daniel Dromm on his plans to hold a hearing for charter school executives, including Success Academy leader Eva Moskowitz, about how they spend public funds, via the Post.