First Read – April 20, 2017

WEATHER: Light rain likely in New York City, mostly cloudy in Albany and a chance of afternoon showers in Buffalo. New York City, high 66; Albany, high 65; Buffalo, high 63.



* New York boasted an 800 percent growth rate in the number of state-supported solar projects installed between the end of 2011 and 2016, and although that growth was impressive, those numbers might not be enough to attain the high clean energy goals set by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

* There are only 35 affordable apartments for every 100 low-income families in New York City, and insufficient federal funding will only push thousands more to the brink of homelessness, writes Jacquelyn Simone, a policy analyst at Coalition for the Homeless.



* Gov. Andrew Cuomo said businesses in the Start-Up NY tax break program should continue reporting to the state how many jobs they create and how much they invest in their operations, despite no longer being required to do so, Newsday reports.

* Cuomo announced the state will invest $213 million on efforts to combat the statewide heroin and opioid epidemic, which he described as the “worst drug scourge” the nation has ever faced, the Daily News reports.

* The state budget will reform the public defense system for poor criminal defendants, and advocates view the final deal with optimism, even though the recent agreement fell short of a full state takeover of public criminal defense costs, the Times Union reports.

* A state audit revealed that traffic forcing some LaGuardia Airport travelers to walk down the highway could have been avoided if New York City wasn’t nearly a decade late in performing $100 million in road projects, the New York Post reports.

* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he does not plan to release a long-awaited list of donors who didn’t get what they wanted from city government, but will instead write an op-ed that presents a few examples, Politico New York reports.

* More news below …



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* Cuomo is willing to put $25 million toward a new train station in Buffalo, and according to several sources, a station selection committee is slated to announce that the best spot for the station is near the current downtown station, The Buffalo News reports.

* The Buffalo School District is receiving funding increases from the city and state that will leave the district with a $10.2 million deficit for the coming year, and facing some tough choices about how to reduce its expenses, The Buffalo News reports.

* Protesters interrupted Wednesday night’s meeting of the Buffalo Board of Education and said they would continue to disrupt the proceedings until Carl Paladino is removed from the board for making racially charged comments four months ago, The Buffalo News reports.

* New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene data shows the amount of particulate matter in the air has fallen 18 percent since 2009 and sulfur dioxide fell 84 percent over the past seven years, the Daily News reports.


Spring/Summer Internship Program: City & State is now accepting spring/summer internship applications from college or graduate students seeking journalism experience for college/grad school credit. Two positions are available starting May 15 in the editorial department and will involve research, reporting, posting on social media, assisting the multimedia department and other related responsibilities. Please send resume, cover letter and published writing samples by May 1 to Managing Editor Ryan Somers:



What drives family homelessness in NYC? Join the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness for an in-depth look at the data as we launch the 2017 “On the Map: The Dynamics of Family Homelessness” with a panel discussion featuring leaders in the field. The moderator is WNYC’s Mirela Iverac. Introduction by Dr. Ralph da Costa Nunez. Thurs. 4/20, 9 am. Free. Details and registration here. To obtain the report, email




* The Wall Street Journal writes that former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara is on a media vindication tour and has left others to clean up his messes, including an ongoing legal crusade against David Ganek, an investor who alleges law enforcement violated his civil rights with an insider trading raid on his hedge fund.

* The New York Times writes that de Blasio shows his inner President Donald Trump when he shuts down reporters for doing their jobs, and so far, de Blasio looks like he’ll be remembered for his petulant whining.

* The Daily News writes that something is very wrong when a teacher steps beyond the legal line with a child and their union, with support of the state law, stands in the way of their termination.

* The Post writes that if Orthodox Jewish community leaders refuse to keep their word and do not help identify mohels who infected infants with herpes, de Blasio will have no excuse for holding off on outlawing a circumcision practice that has been linked to infant herpes.

* The Buffalo News writes that the controversy surrounding Paladino’s membership on the Buffalo Board of Education is moving toward some resolution, and it would be fair for an upcoming state hearing to take up issues from all four petitions seeking his removal.


Tobacco use kills approximately 12,000 people each year in New York City. Nearly 9,000 licensed tobacco retail outlets citywide are making it harder for tobacco users to quit and contributing to youth starting to smoke. Two-thirds of those outlets are within 1,000 feet of a school. Read the new ACSCAN report here and tell city leaders that it is time to protect the health of New Yorkers by reducing the oversaturation of tobacco retail outlets.



PODCAST presented by Metropolitan College of New York:

* Two of the biggest players in the report on closing Rikers Island, former New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and Greg Berman of the Center for Court Innovation, talk about becoming “radicalized” on shutting down the island’s jails.


AMSNY: Thank you Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for investing $20M in research at the state’s 16 medical schools.  We are ready to hit the ground running to create high paying research jobs and make medical discoveries that improve the lives of NY residents. Learn more here.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Stephen Louis, executive assistant and chief of legal counsel at the New York City Law Department … and to Tania Dissanayake, legislative director at Wilson Elser.


MOVING ON: Janno Lieber, of the Silverstein Properties real estate firm, will be joining the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as chief development officer.


Have a birthday, career change, birth or death to announce? Let us know and we’ll include it in First Read – just email



CITY & STATE CAREERS – WHO’S HIRING: To advertise your employment opportunities with City & State, email or call 212-268-0442 ext. 2022. Visit www.CityandState.Careers to view all jobs.




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

8:15 a.m. – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City School Chancellor Carmen Fariña visit P.S. 516 for Pre-K for All Acceptance Day as New York City parents get their first round pre-K offers for the 2017-2018 school year, 4222 Fourth Ave., Brooklyn.

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

9 a.m. – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer hosts the Greek Community Breakfast, Stathakion Cultural Center, 22-51 29th St., Queens.

9 a.m. – New York City Council members and advocates rally in support of a bill to require city Department of Homeless Services’ employees to be trained to prevent opioid overdose deaths, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

9 a.m. – U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez speaks at the New York Housing Conference Congressional Delegation Affordable Housing Breakfast, Nixon Peabody LLP, 437 Madison Ave., Manhattan.

9:30 a.m. – The New York City Rent Guidelines Board holds a public meeting, Landmarks Preservation Commission Conference Room, David N. Dinkins Manhattan Municipal Building, 1 Centre St., Manhattan.

9:30 a.m. – Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney signs an official statement of support for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, encouraging employers to act as advocates for employee participation in the military, Headquarters Building, Stewart Air National Guard Base, Newburgh.

10 a.m. – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul makes an announcement, EmergenceTek, Brisbane Building, 403 Main St., Lafayette Square.

10 a.m. – The New York City Council Committee on Higher Education holds a public oversight hearing on CUNY Start, 250 Broadway, 14th floor committee room, Manhattan.

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

10 a.m. – “The Brian Lehrer Show” features Washington Post staff writer Amy Goldstein, New York City mayoral candidate Robert Gangi and professor Mark Kleiman, WNYC.

11:45 a.m. – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul provides the Hanover Chamber of Commerce highlights of the state budget, The Colony Restaurant, 876 Main Road, Irving.

11 a.m. – The New York City Council Committee on Land Use holds a public meeting, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

12 p.m. – The #NoCuts Coalition, an alliance of dozens of grass-roots groups, civic organizations, faith leaders and labor unions, rally against the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 26 Federal Plaza, Manhattan.

12:15 p.m. – The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council meets and Moynihan Station Development Corp. President Michael Evans presenting the second phase of the Moynihan Station, New York Metropolitan Transportation Council office, 25 Beaver St., Suite 201, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – The New York City Council Committee on Economic Development holds a hearing examining the economic impact of President Donald Trump’s proposed travel bans on New York City’s economy, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – The state Public Service Commission will meet, 19th floor, Board Room, 3 Empire State Plaza, Albany.

1 p.m. – State Sen. Tony Avella and residents call on the city to transfer control of a vacant lot to the parks department so that a new park can be created, 39th Avenue and 234th Street, Queens.

1:30 p.m. – New York City mayoral candidate Paul Massey Jr. discusses education policy and tours the Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School, 710 E. 37th St., Brooklyn.

1:30 p.m. – Communities United for Police Reform and others host a press conference to announce legal action opposing the NYPD’s policies on body cameras, plaza outside of City Hall gates on Brooklyn Bridge side, Manhattan.

2 p.m. – New York City Councilman Mark Treyger, Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency Director Jainey Bavishi and others release report detailing effective strategies to increase neighborhood resiliency, Coney Island Cathedral, 2816 Mermaid Ave., Brooklyn.

3:30 p.m. – New York City Public Advocate Letitia James appears on “CNN Newsroom,” CNN.

6 p.m. – New York City first lady Chirlane McCray will speak about mental health at the Phyllis L. Kossoff Lecture, Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, 47-49 E. 65th St., Manhattan.

6 p.m – Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and the Queens Parent Advisory Board meet for a workshop on “The College Admissions Process and How to Fund Your Child’s College Education,” Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard, Queens.

6 p.m. – Public Advocate James hosts Talk to Tish, Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education, 928 Simpson St., Bronx.

6 p.m. – Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer hosts the opening reception for Gallery35 exhibit of paintings and drawings in the Maggi Peyton Gallery, Borough president’s office, 1 Centre St., 19th floor, Manhattan.

6 p.m. – Velázquez hosts the Immigration Know Your Rights forum in Sunset Park, P.S. 1 Beacon School, 309 47th St., Brooklyn.

6:30 p.m. – U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries hosts a town hall meeting on the Trump presidency, Boys and Girls High School, 1700 Fulton St., Brooklyn.

6:30 p.m. – The 2nd Congressional District hosts a town hall meeting to express concern over U.S. Rep. Peter King’s support of the Muslim and refugee ban, Make the Road NY, 1090 Suffolk Ave., Brentwood.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – “Road to City Hall” features author and journalist Chris Hayes, NY1.

7:30 p.m.De Blasio delivers remarks at the Hispanic Federation Annual Gala, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West and 79th Street, Manhattan.

10:30 p.m. – Public Advocate James appears on MSNBC's “The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell,” MSNBC.



Bill de Blasio is failing our city's students and their families:

30% of New York high school students don’t graduate. Of those who do, half aren’t taught the skills to go to college or get a job.

Paul Massey will make sure families have the choices they deserve. New York needs innovation with education grants, tax credits, scholarships and savings accounts. Families deserve to choose among the public, charter, private and parochial schools that work in their neighborhoods. Learn more.


KICKER: “I’m not going to go back over three years of the administration and tell you how every single thing worked out. I can tell you a blanket rule: we don’t do things because of contributions. Period.” – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on his decision not to release a list of donors who did not get what they wanted from city government, via Politico New York.