First Read - March 31, 2014

WEATHER: Rain likely downstate; less of a chance upstate; sunny in Western New York. New York City, high 51; Albany, high 48; Buffalo, high 42.



* Though all of the state budget’s appropriations bills were printed before midnight Friday, other bills were printed later, leaving question as to if the budget will be on time because those bills won’t have aged before the April 1 deadline, The Wall Street Journal reports:

* The state budget includes a provision that strips state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of control of the remaining $440 million the state will receive as part of a settlement with JP Morgan Chase, the Daily News reports:

* The state budget includes a provision requiring patients to be given advance notice when an out-of-insurance-network doctor will be treating them and would require only a co-pay if they are stuck with a surprise bill for such a doctor, The New York Times writes:

* While the campaign finance reform in this year’s state budget covers the state comptroller’s race, advocates say it should extend to all state-level offices, the Daily News reports:

* New York Communities for Change has withdrawn an anti-charter school lawsuit, helping keep the group aligned with de Blasio’s position on charters, the New York Post writes:

* Officials are pushing back against bills that would require CUNY and SUNY research foundations and campus foundations to be subject to the Freedom of Information Law, the Times Union’s Jim Odato reports:

* State Rifle and Pistol Association President Tom King says he won’t attend Tuesday’s gun law protest at the Capitol because he fears that the rhetoric at gatherings is becoming more “contentious and threatening,” The Daily News’s Ken Lovett writes:

* Jonathan Soros, son of billionaire George Soros, reportedly warned legislative leaders that if they didn’t include campaign finance reform in the budget, he would launch TV campaigns against them, the Post’s Fred Dicker writes:



* The state budget deal requires New York City to find space for new charter schools, which the state would approve, meaning de Blasio would be virtually powerless to stop their growth while trying to balance space for charters and his programs, the Times writes:

* De Blasio has wagered that his missteps will be forgotten if his prekindergarten program is successful, and with the state budget providing funding, it’s up to his administration to deliver in five months, the Times writes:

* Westchester County Executive and gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino may face a tough test in Republican-heavy Nassau County because of party leaders’ and lawmakers’ close ties with Cuomo, Newsday reports:



* State leaders agreed on a $138 billion budget that includes $300 million for New York City prekindergarten, an upstate property tax rebate, Common Core changes and campaign financing for the state comptroller race, the Times writes:

* De Blasio announced that New York City will reallocate $100 million to help residents rebuild homes destroyed by Superstorm Sandy and appointed three officials to guide the recovery process, the Times reports:

* The de Blasio administration will expand its communications team, including hiring a director, although supporters say the mayor has already lost too many public relations battles, the Daily News writes:

* Two former Vito Lopez staffers refiled a lawsuit in civil court seeking to hold the state responsible for alleged sexual harassment by the former assemblyman, the Post reports:

* A lawsuit charges that Metro-North Railroad bosses retaliated against a supervisor who complained that a train was pressed into service despite an electrical short that could have caused an explosion, the Journal News reports:


ISSUE SPOTLIGHT: In our Last Read email, check out the new spotlight section with links to must-read stories on education (on Monday), energy and environment (Tuesday), healthcare (Wednesday), infrastructure (Thursday) and labor (Friday).



UNION CONSTRUCTION PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY TO EXPAND MIDDLE CLASS CAREERS: A newColumbia University report calls The Edward J. Malloy Initiative for Construction Skills “a national model” and “the most successful construction industry pre-apprenticeship program in the country” that delivers “an extraordinary return on investment for minority youth.”   1,485 NYC residents placed in union apprenticeships.  89% are minorities.  80% remain actively employed.  THIS IS WHAT UNION CONSTRUCTION LOOKS LIKE.  SHOULDN’T IT BE WHAT ALL CONSTRUCTION LOOKS LIKE? Click HERE to download the full report.




* The New York Times writes that the state won’t suffer from a budget that is a little late, so lawmakers should take the time to address flaws in the spending plan:

* The Daily News writes that the bidding plan designed to keep Long Island College Hospital a full-service hospital could replace one money-losing white elephant with another:

* The Post writes that state lawmakers will make history when they pass the budget, which ensures a future for charter schools:

* The most amazing part of the early federal primary season may be that Rep. Charles Rangel is running for re-election long after his time in politics seemed to be over, Newsday’s Dan Janison writes:



We Can End the Tale of Two Cities. NYC can create good jobs with family-sustaining wages and build affordable housing at the same time.  The Domino Sugar project proposed by Two Trees Management is the place to begin.  Let’s make sure the Domino Sugar rezoning raises up our communities with good jobs for all workers, real affordable housing, and community benefits for all. Sign the petition: Ironworkers Local 46



HEARD AROUND TOWN:                                                                        

* After a weekend of voting, Rep. Charles Rangel and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman were neck-and-neck for winner on City & State’s winners and losers list. Rangel’s re-election campaign was boosted last week by an endorsement from U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, while Schneiderman scored another big-bank settlement, this time with Bank of America and its former CEO. The race for loser of the week was far less competitive, with Assemblyman William Scarborough holding a comfortable lead over Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Scarborough had his office and home raided by the Feds as legislators’ per diems came into the spotlight last week.

* Environmentalists’ reaction to the state budget deal reached this weekend centered on the Environmental Protection Fund, which got a welcome boost of $9 million. But another key environmental issue—the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program, which expires in 2015—was left out. Questions have been raised about the effectiveness of the program, which is aimed at cleaning up contaminated sites and promoting redevelopment, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a measure in his executive budget proposal to reform the program and extend it for a decade. “We’re definitely disappointed that it didn’t happen in the budget, but we are determined to work with legislative leaders to make sure it gets done this year,” said Katherine Nadeau, the policy director at Environmental Advocates of New York. “This is really our window of opportunity to reform the program before it sunsets in 2015. While we’ve always supported the program and its tax incentives to redevelop toxic properties and get the blight out of our communities, the program itself is off target and out of control and needs to be reformed.”



Don’t be fooled: replacing carriage horses with electric cars is a myth, not a solution. Opening Central Park to cars throughout the day would endanger the park’s walkers, joggers, and cyclists, which is why advocates for Central Park and its pedestrians oppose the idea. Banning carriage horses means losing 300 middle-class jobs. Join park advocates, labor unions, and tourists in supporting New York's carriage horses.




* City & State recently interviewed NYCHA’s Vilma Huertas, Heidi Springer from New York Grant Company and the New York City Police Foundation’s Susan Birnbaum at an Above and Beyond reception honoring 25 women of “public and civic mind”:


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


Deputy Director, New York Immigration Coalition

Description: We seek an experienced, dynamic candidate to work closely with the Executive Director to provide leadership for the NYIC, the nation’s largest statewide immigrant rights coalition. The Deputy Director will have key internal responsibilities – operations, communications, finance and fundraising – as well as important external responsibilities – advocacy and strategy, support for Coalition members, and management of political relationships.

Further Info: To view the full job description, please visit:  Please send a cover letter and resume to


Government Relations Associate

Salary: Competitive salary commensurate with experience and excellent benefits.

Description: Leading NYC-based government relations firm is looking for experienced, highly-motivated, organized professional who will thrive in a fast-paced environment. Responsibilities: Manage multiple accounts and provide strategic support to our diverse client base. Qualifications: Candidates must demonstrate an understanding of NYC/NYS government affairs and the political landscape; 4+ years’ experience in NYC/NYS government/politics strongly preferred.

Further info: Email resumes and cover letters to


HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Anat Gerstein … to Bob Liff, senior vice president at George Arzt Communications … to LaMon Bland, senior adviser for state Sen. Adriano Espaillat’s congressional campaign … to former Senate candidate Carlos Ramos … to Assemblyman David McDonough … and to business analyst and author Ron Insana.


MOVING ON: Tara Martin, director of communications, has left the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.


CORRECTION: In Thursday’s First Read we incorrectly wrote that ATU Local 1181 was holding a rally to speak out against Employee Protection Provisions. The rally was to speak out in support of the provisions.



City & State’s Upcoming April 7 Issue Spotlight: AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Promote your organization’s affordable housing objectives and benefits to NY’s public officials in this politically strategic communications venue. City & State magazine’s comprehensive special section will feature: Public Officials Q&A with Alicia Glen, Vicki Been, Keith Wright and Shaun Donovan (officials pending confirmation); Featured Editorial: Domino Deal | Defining Affordable Housing | Astorino vs. HUD | Scorecard: Key Players, Issues and Stats.  The ad deadline is April 3.  For advertising information, please contact or call 212-284-9714.




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

9 a.m. and 9 p.m. – CUNY TV holds an Immigration and Social Justice in New York forum with Citizenship Now’s Allan Wernick, Baruch College political science professor Els de Graauw, journalist Carolina Gonzalez, the Manhattan Institute’s Heather MacDonald and Bob Liff, CUNY TV.

10 a.m. – The Brian Lehrer Show features Ester Fuchs, director of the urban and social policy program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, WNYC education reporter Yasmeen Khan and others, WNYC.

10 a.m. – The New York City Council Housing and Buildings, Environmental Protection, and Recovery and Resiliency committees hold a joint oversight hearing on housing recovery post-Sandy, City Hall, Council Chambers, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – Rep. Joseph Crowley holds a press conference to announce legislation requiring a state to create strategies to address pedestrian safety in high-risk areas, 80th Street and Northern Boulevard, Queens.

11 a.m. – The Capitol Pressroom features former assemblyman Jerry Kremer, WCNY.

11 a.m. – Gubernatorial candidate and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino makes an education announcement,  

11:45 a.m. – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a media availability before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch and attending the New York Mets’ opening day game, Press Conference Room, Citi Field, 123-01 Roosevelt Ave., Queens.   

2:45 p.m. – Rep. Charles Rangel and others attend a public briefing highlighting the Free File tax program, Frederick Douglass Academy, 2581 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., Manhattan.

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

4 p.m. – New York City Councilman Daniel Dromm holds a press conference to encourage immigrants who have been victims of serious crimes to cooperate with law enforcement and apply for U visas, in front of Dromm’s office, 37-32 75th St., Queens.

6 p.m. – New York City Public Advocate Letitia James attends a Women’s History Month Celebration, City Hall, Council Chambers, Manhattan.

6:30 p.m. – Astorino attends Fordham University's 13th annual Founder's Award Dinner, Waldorf-Astoria, Manhattan.

6:30 p.m. – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer attend an East Harlem Building Collapse Relief Effort Fundraiser, Gran Piatto D’Oro Restaurant, 1429 5th Ave., Manhattan.

7 p.m. – New York City Councilwoman Debi Rose holds a Women in History celebration, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Music Hall, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island.

7 p.m. – Rep. Grace Meng hosts a Jewish and Korean-American Intercultural Dialogue forum, Queensborough Community College, Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives, 222-05 56th Ave., Queens.

7 p.m. – Rep. Yvette Clarke hosts a cocktail reception and awards program honoring young professionals, KAI studio, 1011 Dean St., Brooklyn.

7 p.m. – New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and others hold a Brooklyn Vision Zero Town Hall meeting, Brooklyn Borough Hall, Brooklyn.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – Inside City Hall airs, Time Warner Cable News NY1. 

8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. – Capital Tonight features the latest on the state budget, Time Warner Cable News.  


KICKER: “Let all these other groups go out and do what they want to do, because they don't want to listen anyway. I just don't want to be a party to anything that may happen.” – state Rifle and Pistol Association President Tom King on not attending Tuesday’s planned rally against state gun laws, via the Daily News.