First Read Tonight – March 22, 2017

WEATHER: A clear and cold night across the state. New York City, low 20; Albany, low 13; Buffalo, low 17.

 

NEW THIS AFTERNOON:

* The 28-year-old man arrested for fatally stabbing a black stranger in midtown Manhattan was an Army veteran and a member of a documented hate group, telling police he came to New York City to kill African-Americans, the Daily News reports.

* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told NY1 he’s retaining the same election lawyer whose campaign fundraising legal advice put him under the scrutiny of federal and state prosecutors, the New York Post writes.

* Regarding the fundraising scandal, New York City Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey Jr. demanded that de Blasio use the taxpayer funds he gets for his campaign to pay the city back for legal fees from the fundraising cases, the Daily News reports.

* New York City Public Advocate Letitia James said the city Department of Education is breaking state law by moving to close one of its struggling Bronx Renewal Schools without a vote from the local education board, the New York Post reports.

* State Sen. Robert Ortt was scheduled to voluntarily testify before an Albany County grand jury Wednesday in connection with the ongoing probe of former state Sen. George Maziarz and his campaign finances that has also produced its first guilty plea, The Buffalo News reports.

* More news below …

 

************

Homeownership rates remain at historic lows, and New Yorkers are finding it difficult to save for their first home.  A proposal to help first-time home buyers, NY First Home (A.5616-Ramos/S.4058-Little), passed the State Senate unanimously in 2016 and has broad public support (84% of New Yorkers – Siena Research poll).  Tell state lawmakers in Albany to pass NY First Home to incentivize homeownership and provide another reason to call New York home.

************

 

* De Blasio is considering letting the “Fearless Girl” statue become a permanent downtown fixture, after it was installed by one of the world’s largest asset managers across from the “Charging Bull” and is set to be removed next month, the Post reports.

* The Sheridan Expressway, brainchild of the former city planner Robert Moses, displaced thousands of people and divided neighborhoods when construction began in 1958, but today not everyone in the Bronx thinks the highway is a mistake, The New York Times reports.

* After successfully repealing the sales tax on feminine hygiene products, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal wants to make tampons and other feminine hygiene products free in low-income schools, homeless shelters and prisons, the Daily News reports.

* State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office announced a settlement with Freedom Stores, a now-defunct Virginia-based retailer and financing firm that’s been accused of ripping off military members from New York, the Daily News reports.

* Once a hotbed of punk rock and drug trafficking, New York City’s Lower East Side is undergoing a condominium boom, attracting a mix of investors and affluent young professionals, The Wall Street Journal reports.

 

************

Too many innocent New Yorkers have lost their freedom because of wrongful convictions. Eyewitness misidentification and false confessions are the leading factors that put innocent New Yorkers behind bars. New York State legislators can make sure it never happens again by mandating recorded interrogations & eyewitness ID procedures. Tell Albany to join Governor Cuomo and support wrongful conviction reforms. Click here

************

 

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION:

* President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics, The Associated Press reports.

* The U.S. Secret Service requested an additional $60 million in funding for next year to cover the escalating costs of travel and protection resulting from the unusually complicated lifestyle of the Trump family, The Washington Post reports.

* U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he didn’t even want his new political job, crediting his wife as the person who pushed him to accept the position, the Independent Journal Review reports.

* Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn did not sign a mandatory ethics pledge before his forced resignation in February, raising questions about the White House’s commitment to the lobbying and ethics rules it has imposed, the Daily News writes.

 

************

The Professional Staff Congress/CUNY welcomes Albany’s focus on free tuition. But affordability won’t be meaningful without new investment in quality education. Students like Fatime Uruci of John Jay College are making the most of their CUNY opportunity. But CUNY needs 4,000 more full-time faculty and funding to support its 12,000-adjunct faculty. This is the year to invest more in CUNY classrooms so students like Fatime can realize their dreams.

************

 

IN DEPTH:

* New York City spends $1.2 billion a year on homelessness, yet the problem is only getting worse, with 71 percent of the shelter population made up of families, a third of whom have a head of household who is working, New York magazine writes.

* After the 2016 elections, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer suggested he could work with Trump, but following a series of controversial proposals he’s taking a harder line as of late, leaving many to wonder if Schumer can be a check on the president, New Yorker writes.

* This week marks the 30th anniversary of the infamous Long Island garbage barge that was set out to sea on a voyage that would change how the region collects and disposes of its refuse for years to come, Newsday writes.

 

************

The Parkside Group is excited to announce that it has recently won multiple national awards for its creative work. Campaigns & Elections Magazine presented Parkside with a Reed Award for “Best Direct Mail Piece for a Congressional Candidate”. Last week, the American Association of Political Consultants awarded Parkside with a Pollie Award in the category of “Best Use of Contrast Mail”. To find out how the Parkside Group can help you achieve your goals, visit www.theparksidegroup.com
************

 

TONIGHT’S SHOWS:

5 p.m. and 6 p.m. – “MetroFocus” features U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat on his bill to have cops and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents wear body cameras, New York City Councilman Dan Garodnick and Columbia University’s Steven A. Cohen, WLIW21 (5 p.m.) and WNET Thirteen (6 p.m.).

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – “Road to City Hall” features the political rundown with Curtis Sliwa and Gerson Borrero, NY1.

8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. – “Capital Tonight” features Healthcare Association of New York State’s Bea Grause, Assembly members Addie Jenne and Sean Ryan, and Michelle Jackson of the Human Services Council with Fiscal Policy Institute’s Ron Deutsch, Spectrum News.

 

TONIGHT’S GAMES:

8 p.m. – The Rangers host the Islanders, NBCSN.

10:30 p.m. – The Knicks visit the Utah Jazz, ESPN, MSG.

 

************

New York City’s charter schools are committed to helping all public schools improve. In fact, one charter network is training new teachers from over 40 district schools throughout Brooklyn as part of the Department of Education’s district-charter partnership program. New York needs more quality public schools – charters are part of the solution. Support Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget and lift the cap on charters in NYC!  Learn More

************

 

TOMORROW’S SKED:

The state Legislature is in session.

9:30 a.m. – The state Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications holds a public meeting, Legislative Office Building, Room 611, Albany.

10 a.m. – The New York City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings holds a public meeting, 250 Broadway, 16th floor committee room, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The New York City Council Committee on Environmental Protection holds a preliminary budget hearing, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – New York City first lady Chirlane McCray, Deputy Mayor Richard Buery and Small Business Commissioner Gregg Bishop announce new policy initiatives to benefit the City’s MWBEs, Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn.

10 a.m. – Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. hosts his annual Women’s History Celebration honoring City Councilwoman Annabel Palma, Black Institute founder Bertha Lewis and others, Manhattan College, Kelly Commons Building, 3900 Waldo Ave., Bronx.

11 a.m. – The state Senate is in session, Senate Chambers, state Capitol, Albany.

11 a.m. – “The Capitol Pressroom” features Jim Malatras, president of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, political analysts Bob Bellafiore and Steve Greenberg and former state Sen. Seymour P. Lachman on his new book, WCNY.

3 p.m. – Assemblyman Richard Gottfried hosts a presentation by the Medicare Rights Center to discuss benefits and programs that help pay Medicare costs and how they may be of benefit to seniors and caregivers, Newman Conference Center Baruch College, 151 E. 25th St., Room 763, Manhattan.

5 p.m. – The Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement calls on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature to pass the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act, outside the Tompkins County Library, 101 E. Green St., Ithaca.

5 p.m. – New York City Councilman Ben Kallos and Sotheby’s hold an art show featuring public school artwork, Sotheby's, 1334 York Ave., Manhattan.

5:30 p.m. – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul keynotes New York City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson’s Women’s HerStory Celebration, Mullaly Park Recreation Center, 1020 Jerome Ave., Bronx.

5:30 p.m. – The New York City Council hosts an Irish Celebration, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

6 p.m. – U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley and Assemblyman Francisco Moya host a town hall on immigration, St. Leo Catholic Academy, 104-19 49th Ave., Queens.

6 p.m. – The Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement calls on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature to pass the Humane Alternatives to Long Term Solitary Confinement Act, Staten Island Ferry Terminal, 4 Whitehall St., Manhattan.

6 p.m. – The Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement calls on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature to pass the Humane Alternatives to Long Term Solitary Confinement Act, Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, 48 Shelter Rock Road, Manhasset.

6:30 p.m. – New York City Council members Helen Rosenthal, Mark Levine and Bill Perkins, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. co-host a community discussion on how to respond to hate crimes, West Side High School, 140 W. 102nd St., Manhattan.

6:30 p.m. – Assemblyman David Weprin hosts an informational town hall with city and state agencies, Hillcrest Jewish Center, 183-02 Union Turnpike, Queens.

7 p.m. – U.S. Rep. José Serrano hosts an immigration info session, Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx.

 

************

The Black Car Fund protects for-hire drivers and their passengers in New York by providing workers’ compensation for drivers, driver background checks, defensive driving courses and CPR training--making hundreds-of-thousands of rides a month safer for New Yorkers. The Black Car Fund: Anywhere from everywhere. Safely. Learn More

************

 

TOP TWEET: .@CarlHeastie, like, totally schools @ZackFinkNews on what really happened in "The Wrath of Khan." #SpeakerTrekkie pic.twitter.com/W0sXF5iq0K


- Matt Ryan @MMR_MattRyan