First Read – December 13, 2017

WEATHER: Partly cloudy in New York City, a chance of snow in Albany and scattered snow showers in Buffalo. New York City, high 35; Albany, high 25; Buffalo, high 22.



* Democrats are targeting a half dozen Republican House members in New York. Here are the candidates lining up to challenge them in 2018 and how competitive the races look according to three leading election analysts.

* The grim reality is that the states that depend the most on the tax deductions that would be capped or eliminated under Congress’ tax reform plan are broke, which could allow public sector unions to attack out-of-state Republican lawmakers, Nicole Gelinas writes.

* As the race for New York City Council speaker begins to draw to a close, there are few indications as to who party leaders will choose, so we look to Twitter to assess which candidates have been trending up and down the past two weeks.



* The man accused of detonating a homemade pipe bomb strapped to his body in one of New York City’s busiest transit hubs faces federal terrorism charges, according to a complaint filed Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reports.

* The Human Services Council, which represents the New York City’s nonprofit providers, is releasing a survey that gave New York City and state middling grades when it comes to dealing with human services organizations, citing a lack of government funds, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett reports.

* For five days the week after Christmas, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will close a subway tunnel under the East River that carries the E and M lines between Manhattan and Queens to lay new track and fix signals around the clock, a drastic step to speed up repair work, The New York Times reports.

* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio isn’t quite ready to join U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in asking President Donald Trump to step down over allegations of sexual assault, instead suggesting the president should resign if, after a full investigation, the allegations are found to be true, the Daily News writes.

* U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said he was the victim of a fake news hit on Tuesday, and has turned over to U.S. Capitol Police a document sent to reporters that purports to detail lurid sexual harassment accusations by a former staffer, accusations that she says she never made, Axios reports.

* More news below …



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* On Monday, a federal magistrate judge in Brooklyn gave preliminary approval to a class-action settlement in which New York City agreed to pay $5 million to 470 people who were put in solitary confinement under an old Rikers Island policy deemed inhumane and a violation of due process, the Times reports.

* The state Board of Regents voted to recommend a statewide increase in financial assistance for the 2018-19 school year of $1.6 billion, which is down substantially from the $2.1 billion increase recommended last year, Newsday reports.

* The top education adviser in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office touted the newest college affordability program, the Excelsior Scholarship, which will help some 23,000 students in the state supplement their student aid packages, State of Politics writes.

* De Blasio said Tuesday he didn’t preapprove a program funded by New York City that gives criminal suspects $15 Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards for taking a survey about their courtroom experiences, the New York Post writes.

* Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse pushed back on calls that he resign in the wake of a Times Union story detailing information that he has been the subject of domestic abuse allegations for decades, with a new witness confirming the abuse, the Times Union writes.

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Hey, all you Albany experts! We’re putting together a list of hotspots for capital newcomers, and we want to know what you think. Best breakfast/lunch/dinner in Albany? Best bar/nightlife? Best hotel? Best barber/hair salon? Best cultural attraction? Best professional clothing store? Best dry cleaners? Email



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




* De Blasio should forget about the millionaires tax, a repeated failure in the state Legislature, and get on board with congestion pricing to fund New York City subway repairs if he wants to avoid yet another fare hike for his constituents, the Daily News writes.

* After witnessing the failures of the New York City Department of Correction and the horrors at Rikers Island, City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley writes in the Daily News that the city is at another crossroads, and de Blasio is failing to lead us in the right direction.

* De Blasio’s new plan to convert private housing to affordable housing via eminent domain to house homeless people may help him catch up on his goal to open 18 to 20 new shelters by March, but only by raising the specter of future seizures of private property, the Post writes.



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




* In a stunning setback for the Republican Party, Democrat Doug Jones was elected Alabama’s next senator on Tuesday, flipping a deeply red state after a campaign that showcased the increasing power of sexual misconduct allegations, The Washington Post reports.

* Republican lawmakers are coalescing around a federal tax reform plan that would slightly raise the corporate tax rate from a previous proposal, lower the top rate on the richest Americans and scale back the existing mortgage interest deduction, drawing them closer to an agreement, the Times reports.

* Senior FBI officials who helped investigate Trump’s presidential campaign last year wrote in text messages that Hillary Clinton “just has to win” and described a potential Trump victory as “terrifying,” according to texts released Tuesday night, the Times reports.



Capalino+Company is the leading strategic consulting and government relations firm in New York City, providing insight and expertise to drive long-term, sustainable growth for both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.
Our Legislative + Political Affairs team lobbies elected officials, as well as City and State agencies on behalf of businesses and nonprofits on matters related to regulation, legislation and public policy, and assists our clients with  securing public funding for operations, programs and capital construction.
Learn more here.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Devaney Brown, deputy chief of staff and director of community and economic development for New York City Councilman Donovan Richards … to Ilene Marcus, founder and CEO of Aligned Workspace … to Marty Preston, assistant commissioner for special events for the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services … to Buffalo Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder … to Amy Slattery, legislative and budget director for New York City Councilman Mark Levine … and to former New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr.

IN MEMORIAM: Michael Clendenin, a former Daily News reporter and editor, died Tuesday.

Have a birthday, career change, birth or death to announce? Email us:



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

Director of Communications & Legislation

Brooklyn NYS Assemblymember is looking for a communications and policy Director to lead all communications and legislative policies and bills. Responsibilities include lead writing of press releases, op-eds, eblasts, remarks, social media and managing all media relations (TV, radio, print, blogs, social media). Also draft legislation with key understanding of NYS policies. Must have excellent writing skills with ability to raise profile through all media channels.

Deputy Director, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance

The New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) seeks a Deputy Director.  The Deputy Director is responsible for co-designing and co-managing the deployment of NYC-EJA’s advocacy and campaign work. These efforts include working with the Executive Director on: fundraising; designing research methods; development of campaigns and projects; co-managing staff; and authoring policy briefs and research documents.

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:




New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is in New York City with no public schedule.

8 a.m. – The MTA Diversity Committee meets, 2 Broadway, 20th floor, Manhattan.

8:30 a.m. – The MTA Safety Committee meets, 2 Broadway, 20th floor, Manhattan.

8:30 a.m. – SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson provides opening remarks at SUNY’s 2017 Research Council meeting, SUNY Global Center, 116 E. 55th St., Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The MTA board meets, 2 Broadway, 20th floor, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The Assembly holds a public hearing on immigrant access to health care, 250 Broadway, Room 1923, Manhattan.

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

10 a.m. – The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission holds a public meeting, 33 Beaver St., 19th floor, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The National Action Network holds a press conference alongside construction worker Walter Franks to condemn discriminatory and hostile workplace practices in the industry, 1590 Troy Ave., Brooklyn.

10 a.m. – Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosts a Hanukkah celebration and menorah-lighting ceremony, 5625 Arlington Ave., Bronx.

10 a.m. – “The Brian Lehrer Show” features The Nation’s Joan Walsh, Politico’s Elena Schneider, The Guardian’s Lois Beckett, Center for an Urban Future’s Tom Hilliard and more, WNYC.

11 a.m. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces the 2017 Regional Economic Development Council Awards, Albany Capital Center, 55 Eagle St., Albany.

11 a.m. – The New York City Council Subcommittee on Landmarks meet, Public Siting and Maritime Uses meets, 250 Broadway, 16th floor committee room, Manhattan.

11 a.m. – State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli visits Ridgewood Savings Bank, 1035 Fulton St., Brooklyn.

12 p.m. – Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and Public Works Commissioner Tom Meier announce the details of $4 million in renovations to the Nodine Hill Water Tower, Prescott Street and Elm Street, Yonkers.

12:30 p.m. – The Correctional Association of New York releases a new report about Southport Prison, alongside state Sen. Jamaal Bailey, Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry, advocates, survivors and family members, 250 Broadway, 22nd floor, Room 2225, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – The New York City Council Committee on Higher Education and Committee on General Welfare meet, 250 Broadway, 14th floor committee room, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – The New York City Council Committee on Governmental Operations meets, City Hall, Committee Room, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – The New York City Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions meets, 250 Broadway, 16th floor committee room, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams joins Rabbi Baruch Yehudah and members of Congregation B’Nai Adath Kol Beth Yisrael to announce thousands of dollars in donations to help rebuild their fire-damaged synagogue, 1006 Greene Ave., Brooklyn.

1 p.m. – Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer hosts a budget information session for community-based organizations, Harlem State Office Building, 163 W. 125th St., second floor, Manhattan.

2 p.m. – DiNapoli visits Spring Bank, 69 E. 167th St., Bronx.

2:30 p.m. – The New York City Franchise and Concession Review Committee holds a public meeting, 2 Lafayette St., 14th floor conference room, Manhattan.

4:45 p.m. – Workmen’s Circle and five other Jewish organizations gather at the #NotTheWhiteHouseChanukahParty to recommit to fighting for justice in the year ahead, Trump Tower, 725 Fifth Ave., fifth floor, Manhattan.

5 p.m. – Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams celebrates the 40th anniversary of the film “Saturday Night Fever” by reopening the Bay Ridge site that was home to the memorable lighted dance floor, 802 64th St., Brooklyn.

5:30 p.m. – The New York City Voter Assistance Advisory Committee holds its annual meeting, 100 Church St., 12th floor, Manhattan.

5:30 p.m. – Brewer speaks at the New York City Commission on Human Rights peer mediation program closing ceremony, Murray Hill Academy High School, seventh floor library, 111 E. 33rd St., Manhattan.

6:30 p.m. – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at a Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Event, TD Bank, 125 Park Ave., Manhattan.

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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: “The MTA is not known for being MIT, but this is really pushing it. What genius thought of that?” – Michael Fisher, a Queens resident, on the shutdown of a subway tunnel between Queens and Manhattan for a week after Christmas, via the Times