First Read – August 15, 2017

WEATHER: Cloudy in New York City, a chance of showers and thunderstorms in Albany and a slight chance of afternoon showers in Buffalo. New York City, high 82; Albany, high 81; Buffalo, high 80.



* Christina Greer, associate professor of political science at Fordham University, joined the New York Slant podcast to discuss President Donald Trump’s delay in condemning white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, and if New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has fulfilled his own progressive promises.

* New York has been front and center in the national discussion on health care. The man leading the state department of health, Howard Zucker, spoke with City & State to discuss his career in public health, the deepening opioid crisis and the state’s medical marijuana program.

* New York City’s taxi industry has been trying for years to comply with an accessibility program that is fundamentally broken, but it can be strengthened if de Blasio and his Taxi and Limousine Commission make sensible reforms, writes David Pollack, president of the Taxicab Service Association.



* Thousands of protesters lined the streets around Trump Tower late Monday, providing a resounding chorus of dissent as President Donald Trump returned to his high-rise penthouse on Fifth Avenue for the first time as president, The New York Times reports.

* Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s support for congestion pricing will be a heavy lift for state legislators, but it will be impossible to fully assess its prospects until more is known about the governor’s actual plan and the extent to which he’ll embrace his own trial balloon, Politico New York writes.

* Top New York Democratic officials rallied in Harlem on Monday to show their support for state Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and to criticize a hedge fund manager who had attacked her using racially inflammatory language over the weekend, the Times writes.

* John O’Hara, a candidate for Brooklyn civil court judge, is filing a federal malicious prosecution lawsuit against former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, who O’Hara says used staffers and politicians to wrongfully prosecute him for voter fraud, the Daily News reports.

* Democrats for Education Reform President Shavar Jeffries, one of the charter school sector’s most prominent black leaders, resigned from the Success Academy Charter Schools’ board of directors earlier this summer after criticizing U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Politico New York reports.

* More news below …


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* Mark Elliott is suing White Plains Democratic City Committee leaders for striking his name from a petition supporting a Democratic challenger for mayor because he put his address down as being in “WP” instead of spelling out White Plains, the New York Post writes.

* Cuomo plans to sign legislation on Tuesday that was adopted by the state Legislature in June, and will require all nonprofit animal shelters and rescues to register with the state in an effort to crack down on puppy mills, the Daily News writes.

* A former project manager for PSEG Long Island said he was discriminated against because he is black and was fired after he attempted to expose an alleged improper billing scheme by a contractor, according to a recent federal lawsuit, Newsday reports.

* As the job market lags and unemployment rates increase in upstate New York, a bid to boost the region’s struggling tourism industry has set up a battle between several Adirondack towns and local conservation groups, The Wall Street Journal writes.

* The Niagara Falls Water Board, whose wastewater treatment plant was the source of a large, black discharge in the Niagara River two weeks ago, announced on Monday that it has hired the firm AECOM to investigate the incident, The Buffalo News writes.



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* Assemblyman Denny Farrell is reportedly the latest machine politician to leave office before his term expires, but after the filing date for the Democratic primary, therefore assuring that county party leaders, not voters, get to pick the next candidate, the Post writes.

* Having made the brave decision to support congestion pricing, Cuomo must now use his considerable powers of political persuasion to get the state Legislature to agree to the plan and devote the proceeds to improving MTA subway and bus service, the Daily News writes.

* When an apparently hate-filled motorist plowed into a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump squandered an opportunity to rise to the office of president, and any words denouncing racist ideology now come too late, the Times Union writes.

* Trump should be commended for giving the nation on Monday what it had been seeking for two days, a blistering condemnation of the white supremacists – but next time, the nation needs Trump to do the right thing right from the start, Newsday writes.

* A report filed by federal officials condemning an upstate retirement facility for mistreatment proves that regulators, including the state and federal governments, need to do a better job in flagging deficiencies in nursing homes, The Buffalo News writes.



“Instant” teacher licensing is a threat to charter students and the teaching profession

By Michael Mulgrew

New York State requires prospective cosmetologists to receive 1,000 hours of specialized instruction, and real estate brokers to get 120 hours of instruction and two years of field experience.

But the State University of New York, driven by the powerful charter lobby, seeks to allow some charter schools to create their own, special teaching license for anyone who finishes 30 hours of instruction and works 100 hours in a classroom.

If adopted, these changes will send a cynical message to charter parents: your children do not deserve a fully qualified teacher. Find out more HERE.




* Nearly five years after Superstorm Sandy, Staten Island Borough President James Oddo is working to repair the damage.The New York Slant podcast traveled to Staten Island to speak with Oddo about the recovery and the entrenched bureaucracy of city government.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Jorge Fanjul, senior policy adviser at New York City Office of the Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives … Lauren George, vice president at Constantinople & Vallone Consulting LLC … Rachel Haot, managing director at 1776 … Jake Herring, chief of staff and counsel, New York City Mayor’s Office of State Legislative Affairs … Juliet Linderman, Her Girl Friday co-founder and Associated Press reporter … Gil Quiniones, president and CEO of the New York Power Authority … state Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer … and to Ryan Toohey, senior managing director at FTI Consulting.


MOVING ON: Sue Ellen Dodell retired from her position as general counsel to the New York City Campaign Finance Board after 17 years … Empire State Development announced that Ross D. Levi has been promoted to executive director of tourism, where he will lead the iconic “I Love New York” tourism program and help coordinate marketing efforts to increase awareness and promote statewide tourism.


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Policy And Advocacy Director, Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York

Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, Inc. (CCC) is a 73-year-old non-profit, multi-issue child advocacy organization whose mission is to ensure that every New York child is healthy, housed, educated and safe.  Our unique approach to child advocacy is fact-based, relies on partnerships between our professional staff and our lay and professional volunteers on CCC’s Board and Advocacy Council, and requires the ability to effectively engage elected and appointed government officials, City and State agency leaders, direct service colleagues, philanthropic partners, and New Yorkers at large.

Inspector General, Department of Investigation -297000

The Inspector General (IG) will be expected to supervise highly confidential and sensitive investigations regarding allegations of fraud, bribery, sexual abuse, assault, and other corrupt activities involving, primarily, New York City Department of Correction (“DOC”) officials and persons or entities doing business with this agency. In addition to other responsibilities, the IG manages a staff including investigators and administrative personnel.

Governmental Relations Representative, NYS School Boards Association

NYSSBA, the statewide voice for the interests of public boards of education, seeks an experienced individual for our Latham, NY office to:

•         Be a high profile, visible advocate for NYSSBA’s legislative agenda.

•         Review and analyze legislation in assigned committees.

•         Maintain regular contact with school board members around the state.

•         Represent the Association in coalitions and other meetings.




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

9:30 a.m. – Citi Bike is opening its new flagship operations facility in Gowanus with a ribbon-cutting alongside local transportation advocates, elected officials and Transport Workers Union members, 77 14th St., Brooklyn.

10 a.m. – The New York City Board of Standards and Appeals holds a public hearing, 22 Reade St., Manhattan.

10 a.m. – New York City Public Advocate Letitia James hosts a press conference announcing the banks that fund the Worst Landlords Watchlist, 101 Lincoln Road, Brooklyn.

10 a.m. – “The Brian Lehrer Show” features ProPublica staff reporter A.C. Thompson, WNYC reporter Cindy Rodriguez, New Yorker staff writer Adam Davidson and New York magazine’s Vulture contributor Kat Rosenfield, WNYC.

10:30 a.m. – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul greets students and discusses science, technology, engineering and mathematics education at the Women in Technology and Entrepreneurship in New York, Summer Guild Program, Microsoft Building, 11 Times Square, fifth floor, Manhattan.

11 a.m. – New York City Parks Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Martin Maher joins City Councilman Brad Lander and local community members to celebrate the groundbreaking of St. Mary’s Playground, Smith Street and Nelson Street, Brooklyn.

11 a.m. – Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran holds a press conference to call for more frequent county police training and hiring more officers, Nassau County Police Department First Precinct, 900 Merrick Road, Baldwin.

11 a.m. – In the wake of the white supremacist and Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to the deaths of three people, Rev. Khader El-Yateem and local community activists will gather to demand that the Fort Hamilton Army Base rename General Lee Avenue and Stonewall Jackson Drive, 101st Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway, Brooklyn.

11 a.m. – “The Capitol Pressroom” features Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi; Susan Welber, staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society; Thomas Rumsey, vice president of external affairs at Competitive Power Ventures; and Circa Senior Producer Reed Dunlea, WCNY.

4:15 p.m. – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul highlights the state regional economic development council investment during a tour of Ghetto Film School Summer Program, 79 Alexander Ave., Bronx.

5 p.m. – MinKwon Center for Community Action, New York Immigration Coalition and Columbia County Sanctuary Movement mark the five-year anniversary since the start of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Trump Tower, 52nd Street and Fifth Avenue, Manhattan.

6:30 p.m. – Assemblyman David Weprin honors several people and organizations at the Queens Jewish Community Council’s Testimonial Dinner, Young Israel of Jamaica Estates, 8310 188th St., Queens.

7 p.m. – Rep. John Katko hosts a public forum focused on Wayne County’s vast agriculture economy, Community Room, Wayne County Public Safety Building, 7376 State Route 31, Lyons.

7 p.m. – State Sen. Brad Hoylman and Rep. Jerrold Nadler host an evening for constituents to learn how to take action to keep the Hudson River clean, Patagonia Meatpacking, 414 W. 14th St., Manhattan.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – “Road to City Hall” features the NY1 Wise Guys, NY1.

8 p.m. – New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams appears on “News with Ed Schultz” to discuss protests and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, RT America.


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KICKER: “If you want people to think you are a decent human being, wear an ‘Impeach Trump’ button.” – Bennett Weiss, a retired jeweler, advertising his anti-Trump buttons at a protest outside of Trump Tower on Monday, via the Times.