First Read – December 14, 2017

WEATHER: Mostly cloudy after morning snow in New York City, mostly cloudy in Albany and partly sunny in Buffalo. New York City, high 35; Albany, high 25; Buffalo, high 20.



* In a spotlight on casinos, City & State spoke with John Bonacic, who chairs the state Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, and Gary Pretlow, who chairs the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee, about the expansion and struggles of casinos in New York.

* The state’s newest commercial casinos have failed to meet projected revenues, creating uncertainty around the opening of a fourth casino next year. In an interview with City & State, Alan Woinski of Gaming USA Corp. discusses what New York’s casinos need to do to survive.



* The operating budget for the MTA has a major hole in it, about $430 million in funding for its plan to upgrade subway service, a shortfall which New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to cover, the Daily News writes.

* More than two years into his tenure, a court-appointed monitor overseeing changes to the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policies has found that some officers still fail to document the encounters as required, according to a new report, The New York Times reports.

* Joe Percoco, a former senior aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo accused of participating in two separate bribery schemes, was in federal court along with the others involved to enter not guilty pleas on a litany of charges ahead of their federal corruption trial next month, Politico New York reports.

* Outgoing Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino, who touted an ethics reform agenda while in office, gave questionable raises and transfers to nearly 200 workers and made sweeping amendments to the town’s labor contract on his way out, the New York Post reports.

* State Sen. Marty Golden, who recently made the news after his driver allegedly nearly ran over a bicyclist while driving in the bike lane, has three unpaid violations on his car, including an incredibly overdue one for speeding in a school zone, the Post writes.

* More news below …



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* A federal judge sentenced former Ramapo supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence to 30 months in prison for fraud involving the financing of his pet project, the town’s $58 million baseball stadium, the Journal News reports.

* Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke is emerging as front-runner among four Democrats scrambling to succeed Michael Kearns, who was recently elected to the Assembly, as county clerk in a special election early next year, The Buffalo News reports.

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Will Seniors Get the Social and Support Services They Need?

New York City’s senior population is expected to increase by 40% between 2010-2040.  In order for the city’s seniors to be able to stay comfortably and safely in the homes and neighborhoods they love, they must have access to the social and support services they need.  AARP NY is looking forward to working with the mayor and City Council in 2018 to make social and support services for seniors a priority. Learn more at




* Under state law, criminal charges against an accused molester must be filed before a victim is 23, and although legislators have had a bill in front of them for years to realign that time frame, state Senate Republicans have failed to bring it to a vote once, the Journal News writes.

* New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is pushing the City Council to pass a last-minute bill boosting the number of street food vendors and there’s a case to be made for the change, but not as stealth legislation, the Post writes.

* Teachers in Buffalo may think the district is too lenient toward students who disrupt class, but out-of-school suspensions hurt students more than they help and should be reserved only for the most severe infractions, The Buffalo News writes.



* New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, considered to be a long-shot candidate in the council speaker’s race, gained some endorsements this week from political activists. Williams, who has a reputation as a progressive, received support from Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour, leaders of the Women’s March on Washington. Mallory tweeted that “as it relates to the NYC Council’s Speaker race, #notanyblackwilldo.” Sarsour tweeted that Williams is the “bold, unflinching activist politician” the city needs. Other new Twitter endorsements came from Kirsten John Foy of the National Action Network, New York Communities for Change’s Jonathan Westin and Communities United for Police Reform’s Joo-Hyun Kang. In response, Williams said in an email to City & State, “I’m honored to have the support of so many voices that are fighting for New Yorkers on the ground.” However, they won’t be voting on Jan. 3 – council members will. Even so, Williams said he will continue to use his activism “to elevate the issues that matter to New Yorkers and produce meaningful legislative change in City Hall.” Williams isn’t the only candidate to get endorsements this month – seven labor unions banded together to support three candidates for council speaker: Ritchie Torres, Mark Levine and Donovan Richards.



The Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY), on behalf of NY's 16 medical schools, thanks Governor Cuomo, the State Senate, the State Assembly, and the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus members for a banner year. In 2017, with their support, AMSNY launched a scholarship to improve diversity in medicine and secured a $20M investment in biomedical research that will enable NYS to remain a global leader in the development of next generation therapeutics, treatments and cures. More info at




* Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein defended the character and impartiality of Robert Mueller, the special counsel, as he came head-to-head with an increasingly aggressive campaign by Republicans to discredit Mueller’s inquiry, the Times writes.

* Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith has been selected for a one-year term in the U.S. Senate by Gov. Mark Dayton to replace U.S. Sen. Al Franken, who announced he will resign amid allegations of sexual harassment, CNN reports.



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HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To former Rep. Nan Hayworth … to Dan Hendrick, documentary producer and director of external affairs for NRG … to Joni Yoswein, president and CEO of Yoswein New York … to Jason Weingartner, executive director of the state Republican Party … to Assemblyman Jose Rivera … to Christine Johnson, chief of staff to New York City Councilwoman Debi Rose … to Lindsey Melfi, program manager at Human Animal Bond Research Institute … and to Gloria Chin, first deputy press secretary and director of strategic media relations at the New York City Department of Transportation.

IN MEMORIAM: Former Manhattan Assemblyman Brian Murtaugh died Sunday.

MOVING ON: City & State Editor-at-Large Gerson Borrero has decided to leave the magazine … Deputy Bronx Borough President Aurelia Greene announced she will retire at the end of the year … and Elizabeth Smith, a former assistant commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, has been named the president and CEO of Central Park effective March 1, 2018.

CONGRATULATIONS: To Nicole Arrindell, 2016 City & State 40 Under 40 Rising Star and associate general counsel at the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, and her husband Travis on the birth of their son Isaiah Nicolas Arrindell on Dec. 7.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Michael Clendenin, the former Daily News reporter and editor who died Tuesday, was survived by his son, also named Michael Clendenin, who is director of media relations at Con Edison.

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A BROOKLYN CENTURY!  The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce turns 100 in 2018!  Our Centennial Gala takes place February 10, 2018 at the New York Marriott at The Brooklyn Bridge, and kicks off a year of historical and forward-looking programming – talks, tours, exhibitions and more -- all celebrating the City’s most populous borough! Count down with us and be part of our Anniversary festivities!  For more information visit


City & State Jobs

Senior Lobbyist, Malkin & Ross

Malkin & Ross, a 34-year Albany-based government affairs firm seeks an experienced/motivated lobbyist with advocacy and organizational skills. Demonstrated experience working successfully with the Legislature, the Executive and state agencies, a prerequisite; a background in health, human services, criminal justice, and environment a plus. Law degree preferred, but not required. Email resume and cover letter to:




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

8:30 a.m. – Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer hosts a meeting of the Manhattan Borough Board, 1 Centre St., 19th floor, Manhattan.

9:30 a.m. – The board of trustees of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System meets, New York City Employees’ Retirement System, 335 Adams St., 22nd floor boardroom, Brooklyn.

10 a.m. – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker join AARP officials to announce an initiative that will make the state a national leader, Senior Planet Exploration Center, 127 W. 25th St., Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The New York City Campaign Finance Board meets, 100 Church St., Joseph A. O’Hare S.J. Board Room, 12th floor, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The New York City Committee on Waterfronts meets, City Hall, Committee Room, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The New York City Committee on Transportation meets, City Hall, Council Chambers, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – “The Brian Lehrer Show” features The New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino, author Lucinda Franks, Stony Brook University’s Michael Kimmel, Pythia Public Affairs’ Alexis Grenell and WNYC’s Kai Wright, WNYC.

10:30 a.m. – The state Division of the Budget holds formal public hearings on the fiscal year 2019 executive budget, state Capitol, Room 124, Albany.

10:30 a.m. – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development joins Asian Americans for Equality and Enterprise Community Partners to preserve historic affordable building in Chinatown, 81 Madison St., Manhattan.

11 a.m. – The Assembly holds a public hearing on supports for foster parents and relative and nonrelative caretakers, Legislative Office Building, Roosevelt Hearing Room C, Albany.

11:30 a.m. – The Assembly holds a public hearing on oversight of the state fiscal year 2017-2018 state budget for New York State Homes and Community Renewal, 250 Broadway, Room 1923, Manhattan.

11:30 a.m.Make the Road New York, the National Immigration Law Center and Yale Law School’s Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic hold a press conference after a hearing in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on challenging the termination of DACA, 40 Centre St., Manhattan.

12:15 p.m. – Hochul delivers remarks at New York Women in Film & TV Muse Awards, Hilton Midtown, 1335 Sixth Ave., Manhattan.

1 p.m. – The New York City Committee on Health and the Committee on Public Safety hold a joint oversight hearing on examining forensic science practices in the NYPD crime lab and office of chief medical examiner, City Hall, Committee Room, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – The New York City Subcommittee on Senior Centers and the Committee on Aging hold a joint oversight hearing on seniors’ access to nutritional and culturally competent congregate and home delivered meals, 250 Broadway, 14th floor committee room, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – The New York City Committee on Economic Development holds an oversight hearing on the economic impact of vacant storefronts, with testimony from Brewer, 250 Broadway, 16th floor committee room, Manhattan.

1:15 p.m. – Hochul highlights the state’s efforts to combat heroin and opioid addiction at the Bronx Odyssey House Recovery Center ribbon-cutting, 2038 Davidson Ave., Bronx.

2:30 p.m. – Assemblyman Dan Quart, joined by anti-online harassment advocate Meaghan Barakett and exoneree advocate Jeffrey Deskovic, unveil a package of legislation to address cash bail reform, online harassment and re-entry services to those who were wrongfully convicted, 250 Broadway, 22nd floor, Manhattan.

3 p.m. – Hochul, along with the state Energy Research and Development Authority and the state Department of Transportation, announces the winner of the Green Cities Commuter Competition, New Rochelle City Hall, Rotunda, 515 North Ave., New Rochelle.

5:30 p.m. – Progressive activist groups target Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s birthday fundraiser over failed policies benefiting his donors over New Yorkers, Cipriani Wall Street, 55 Wall St., Manhattan.

6 p.m. – The Bronx Democrats host their annual holiday party, 1125 Grand Concourse, Bronx.

6 p.m. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 60th birthday party features Jon Bon Jovi and former President Bill Clinton, Cipriani Wall Street, 55 Wall St., Manhattan.

7 p.m. – A vigil marking the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre and advocating for an end to gun violence nationwide with New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, the New York Coalition to End Gun Violence and a coalition of dozens of other groups, Rutgers Presbyterian Church, 236 W. 73rd St., Manhattan.

8 p.m. – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio hosts a town hall meeting with City Councilman Carlos Menchaca for residents of the 38th Council District, 544 Seventh Ave., Brooklyn.

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Run Free with NYRR Open Run

Come out this winter and run with New York Road Runners’ free initiative, NYRR Open Run. NYRR works with community leaders to bring free weekly runs to local neighborhood parks all over New York City. Most runs are about three miles, and runners of all ages and experience levels, as well as babies in strollers and dogs on leashes are welcome! Learn more and find Open Run in a park near you by visiting



KICKER: “Who wields the scimitar? It’s the city of New York’s mayor. Put your money where your mouth is, Mr. Mayor.” – MTA board member Charles Moerdler, on de Blasio needing to match state funding to repair the subway system, via the Daily News