First Read Tonight – April 19, 2017

WEATHER: Showers likely in New York City and Albany, with a chance of showers in Buffalo. New York City, low 49; Albany, low 45; Buffalo, low 47.



* G. Steven Pigeon, the former Erie County Democratic Party chairman accused of illegally funding local political races, pleaded not guilty Wednesday, as did his two longtime associates, to three counts of attempting to evade rules governing campaign contributions, The Buffalo News reports.

* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio threw his support behind a series of initiatives to cut tobacco use, including raising the minimum price of a pack of cigarettes to $13 and taking steps to eventually reduce the number of stores that can sell tobacco products, The New York Times writes.

* New York police detectives have discovered a video showing Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam walking alone toward the Hudson River in Manhattan the night before police found her body floating in the water, The Wall Street Journal reports.

* Responding to state Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox’s criticism of Melissa DeRosa, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new top deputy, former Democratic Party Executive Director Charlie King made a lewd double entendre aimed at the Republican chairman, State of Politics writes.

* Criminal justice advocates are hoping to head off a possible crackdown against New York City Housing Authority tenants spurred by a report by the city Department of Investigation that said NYCHA was failing to keep out criminals, CityLimits reports.

* More news below …



AMSNY:  Thank you New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, and particularly Assembly Members Blake, People-Stokes, and Chair Perry for funding the creation of a new Medical School Scholarship program for students who are underrepresented in medicine.  Together, we will help close the diversity gap! Learn more here.



* The state’s health care helpline saved New Yorkers roughly $3 million by investigating nearly 3,000 consumer complaints, with people commonly asking for help following incorrect medical billing, improper processing of health insurance claims and wrongful termination of health insurance, the New York Post reports.

* The Erie County Water Authority board hired the Phillips Lytle law firm on an "emergency" basis late last year at an hourly rate of $400 to $435, but refused to say why the firm was hired or what it has cost the agency so far, The Buffalo News reports.

* State Sen. Jesse Hamilton urged for the full implementation of the Raise the Age agreement in the state budget, including the provision that would remove 16- and 17-year-old inmates from Rikers Island, State of Politics reports.

* New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is heading to Spain this week to participate in the first World Forum on Urban Violence Education for Coexistence and Peace to discuss policies that could reduce violence and promote urban environments, Politico New York reports.



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.




* U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is making aggressive law enforcement a top priority to crack down on illegal immigrants and drug traffickers, but he still does not have a single U.S. attorney in place to carry out his tough on crime agenda, The Washington Post reports.

* Exxon Mobil Corp. has applied to the U.S. Treasury Department for a waiver from U.S. sanctions on Russia in a bid to resume its joint venture with a state-owned Russian oil company in the Black Sea region, the Journal reports.

* President Donald Trump will host Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on May 3, furthering his administration’s efforts to pursue “a conflict-ending settlement between the Palestinians and Israel," the Daily News writes.

* Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the powerful House Oversight Committee, told supporters that he would not seek re-election to Congress – or any other office – in 2018, the Times writes.



After surviving three tours in a war zone, Laurie’s son Christian was killed working on a New York City construction site. Over the past two years thirty-three construction workers have died in New York City. Laurie believes if construction workers received appropriate training, the rate of injuries and deaths would be much less. She is pleading with New York City legislators to pass Intro. 1447 because these deaths are preventable. Learn more here.




* On a mild evening in early March, Paul Massey Jr. took the stage at the Brooklyn GOP Mayoral Candidates Forum to announce his candidacy to take on de Blasio – and the extremely long odds of victory, the Commercial Observer writes.

* Replacing Amtrak’s Exchange Street station in Buffalo was supposed to be a six-month process, but it has touched off a sharp debate touching on several issues, including transportation, urban planning, politics and nostalgia, Politico writes.


Explore the current health care topics at our On Health Care forum next Thursday, April 27th from 8:00am to 12:00pm at The Columbia University Faculty House. Learn about the impact of new healthcare reforms, how New York can address epidemics, and the collaboration across government sectors for public well-being. Featured speakers include Dr. Oz, Host of The Dr. Oz Show, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, State Assembly Health Committee Chairman, Senator Kemp Hannon, Senate Health Committee Chairman, and Public Advocate Letitia James. Click here to register!




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 Joe Martens of the Open Space Institute and Manna Jo Greene of Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Syracuse mayoral candidate Ben Walsh and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Spectrum News.



City & State’s upcoming 4/24 Issue Spotlight: Transportation Infrastructure

Educate and influence NY’s Public Officials on your organization’s infrastructure objectives and benefits in this strategic legislative ad/messaging venue.  The Special Section’s Public Officials Q&A Features: Matthew Driscoll | Polly Trottenberg | Veronique Hakim | Ydanis Rodriguez | Stephanie Miner.  Featuring Coverage of: Design-Build | Trump’s Infrastructure Pledge | LaGuardia Airport.  Ad deadline: April 21. For further information, please contact




7:05 p.m. – The Yankees host the Chicago White Sox, YES.

7:10 p.m. – The Mets host the Philadelphia Phillies, SNY.



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

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 Corporation 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.

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.

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.

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


TOP TWEET: Post-budget update:
Heastie – Shaves goatee
Flanagan – Grows goatee

Make of this what you will.

Nick Reisman @NickReisman