First Read – March 22, 2017

WEATHER: Windy downstate and in Albany, and sunny in Western New York. New York City, high 37; Albany, high 29; Buffalo, high 24.



* Still six months away, political organizations are wasting no time honing in on potential candidates for the 2017 New York City Council primaries and, as Sarina Trangle reports, some endorsements will be tied to a candidate’s policy positions.

* We’ve compiled a rundown of the most notable New York City Council districts that could be competitive this fall, including seats that will be vacated due to term limits, others where the incumbent is already facing a challenge and the big-name challengers who could jump in.

* City & State contributor Bob Hennelly confronts the lack of urgency among everyday New Yorkers and elected leaders in doing their part to help solve New York City’s worsening homelessness crisis.



* U.S. Rep. Chris Collins has long loathed Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and he ignored Cuomo’s phone call about a Collins-sponsored provision in the GOP’s federal health care bill that may blow a $2.3 billion hole in Cuomo’s budget, Politico New York reports.

* It’s not that surprising that the national fight over Medicaid has suddenly focused on New York, given that the state has long had one of the nation’s most expensive Medicaid programs and about one-third of the state’s residents are covered by it, The New York Times reports.

* Cuomo included reforms aimed at increasing low turnout in New York elections in his proposed budget, but he said that the measures may have to wait until after this year’s budget is passed, the Times Union reports.

* A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers are urging the state to consider a $25 million tax credit for music studios and video game developers, many of whom are incubated in state colleges but often leave for the West Coast, the Times Union reports.

* Susan Mittler, a retired Ithaca teacher and former policy board member of the New York State United Teachers union, will join the state Board of Regents next month after receiving more votes from state lawmakers than another nominee, the Times Union 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.



* A new report by the Coalition for the Homeless found that more homeless families are being denied permanent shelter in New York City and are being forced to reapply multiple times before the city finds them eligible to enter the system, the Times reports.

* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration issued guidelines to city Department of Education employees detailing what to do if federal immigration agents attempt to enter schools, Newsday reports.

* Former NYPD detective Bo Dietl formally launched his bid for New York City mayor, and attacked de Blasio on everything from his fundraising to his height during a press conference delivered almost entirely in a near-yell, the Daily News reports.

* New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said she would ask state lawmakers to allow the city to deploy traffic speed cameras outside of school hours and in new locations, such as “high crash corridors,” the Daily News reports.

* New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña strongly denied claims that the city was dragging out its investigation of yeshivas so as to not upset the politically powerful Brooklyn Hasidic community, the New York Post reports.



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* The Times Union writes that votes by Republican members of Congress on the president’s American Health Care Act will show what they value most and whether they are willing to let thousands of their constituents lose health coverage.

* The Buffalo News writes that Collins’ amendment shifting Medicaid costs from the county to the state is “disastrous” because it could hurt hospitals, and essentially offers up “blood money” that New York’s members of Congress should reject.

* The Daily News writes that the health care bill confirms President Donald Trump is a “turncoat” by forcing his own city to potentially swallow billions in new costs atop billions in cuts already on the table.

* The Post writes that everything Cuomo says and does must be seen through the prism of him having kicked his 2020 presidential campaign into a higher gear, as evidenced by his rhetoric on health care and hiring former President Barack Obama’s staffers.

* New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Lisa Robb, executive director of The Center for Arts Education, write in the Daily News that the president’s proposed budget would hurt thousands of arts, cultural and heritage organizations.



Rebuild New York Now, a broad coalition of elected officials, environmental groups, labor and businesses seeking to raise public awareness about New York's infrastructure challenges, has launched a statewide campaign calling for investments that will ensure the safety of New York families who worry daily about the quality of the drinking water in their homes and children's schools. It's time to invest in our water like our lives depend on it. Because they do.




* New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito speaks about her plans after she leaves office, including the possibility of something on the national level – “some sort of a role in the work that needs to get done to push back” against President Donald Trump.



Mark Weprin, former Deputy Secretary of Legislative Affairs for Governor Cuomo, NYC Council Member, and NYS Assemblyman, has joined Greenberg Traurig’s dynamic Government Law & Policy Practice. Mark joins the firm’s deep roster of attorneys with experience in government and elected positions, and is part of a one-stop team of a multidisciplinary attorneys representing real estate clients, corporations and non-profit organizations in legislative, regulatory,  real estate, land use, zoning, government, environmental and tax matters.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Andrew Hawkins, transportation reporter at The Verge … to Andrea Glick, first deputy executive director at the New York City Office of Payroll Administration … to Sean Mahar, assistant commissioner of public affairs for the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation … to Richard Mulieri, senior director of government and community affairs at MTA Capital Construction … and to DNAinfo photojournalist and reporter Ben Fractenberg.


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.



MOVING ON: Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced 27 new appointees Tuesday, including the hiring of former Deputy Chief of Staff and Counselor to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch Carolyn Pokorny as chief special counsel for ethics, risk and compliance, and former Xerox Legal and Compliance Solutions Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Christopher O’Brien as director of special projects … The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families has named Anita Gundanna and Vanessa Leung co-executive directors.


CORRECTION: In yesterday's First Read, we gave the incorrect title for Charles John O’Byrne. He is now executive vice president for policy at Related Companies.


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.

Policy Associate for Research and Data Analysis, Citizens’ Committee for Children

Unique opportunity to serve as part of the team managing NYC’s premiere child well-being database. Support CCC’s research, community education and advocacy by providing data collection, analysis, mapping, and producing data reports.  Candidate must have experience analyzing large data sets and proficiency in ArcGIS.




Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and Albany.

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

The state Legislature is in session.

8:30 a.m. – The New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College hosts a seminar titled, “Inner Workings of New York City's Water,” CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities, Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work, 2180 Third Ave. second floor, Manhattan.

9 a.m. – Homeless New Yorkers, community groups and advocates converge on Cuomo’s New York City office to demand that he follow through on his promise to build the first 6,000 units of his 20,000 unit supportive housing commitment, 633 Third Ave., Manhattan.

9:30 a.m. – New York City Councilman Carlos Menchaca, United Neighborhood Houses and others call for the city to invest in English classes as low-literacy immigrant communities make sense of immigration policy and learn their rights, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The MTA board holds a public meeting, MTA Board Room, 2 Broadway, 20th floor, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul promotes Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship affordability program, SUNY Binghamton, Innovative Technologies Complex Engineering and Science, Room 2008, 85 Murray Hill Road, Vestal.

10 a.m. – The state Senate Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Correction holds a public meeting, state Capitol, Room 123, Albany.

10 a.m. – The New York City Council Committee on Immigration holds a preliminary budget hearing, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – State Sen. Rich Funke, Assembly members Francisco Moya and Phil Palmesano, New York Farm Bureau and others ask Cuomo to fund the “Farm to Food Bank” bill in the final state budget plan, state Capitol, Room 124, Albany.

11 a.m. – City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito speaks at an event to highlight the City Council's School Food Pantries initiative, HS 271 East Bronx Academy for the Future, 1716 Southern Blvd., Bronx.

12 p.m. – Lt. Gov. Hochul promotes Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship affordability program SUNY Cortland, Brockway Hall, 35 Graham Ave., Cortland.

12 p.m. – New York City Public Advocate Letitia James delivers remarks at a rally for increased funding for the city Commission on Human Rights, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

12 p.m. – Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer speaks at the Harlem Community Newspapers Uptown Women Business Owners event, Alhambra Ballroom, sixth floor, 2116 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., Manhattan.

12:30 p.m. – Assembly members Jeffrey Dinowitz, Amy Paulin, Steve Englebright and Brian Kavanagh call for answers regarding the New York state Public Service Commission’s Zero-Emissions Credit program, Legislative Office Building, LCA Room 130, Albany.

12:30 p.m. – Labor, community and faith groups call on Cuomo and the state Senate majority to join the Assembly in supporting fair-share tax policies on billionaires and millionaires in this year’s budget, Million Dollar Staircase, state Capitol, Albany.

12:30 p.m. – State Sens. George Amedore, Fred Akshar, and John DeFrancisco, along with Assemblyman John McDonald, will join school and municipal officials and business groups to call on this year’s state budget to include meaningful workers’ compensation reforms, Room 124, state Capitol, Albany.

1 p.m. – Mark-Viverito and The Legal Aid Society call on Albany to enact reforms that fully raises the age of criminal responsibility in New York state, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – The New York City Council Committee on Civil Rights holds a preliminary budget hearing, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – Brewer attends the funeral for Jimmy Breslin, Church of the Blessed Sacrament, 152 W. 71st St., Manhattan.

1 p.m. – Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill announce criminal charges against an interstate gun-trafficking ring, One Police Plaza, second floor press room, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer attends the Queens Delegation meeting, Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens.

2 p.m. – New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez announces his final decision on whether or not he will vote to grant city landmark status to the historic Loew's United Palace Theatre, 175th Street and Broadway, Manhattan.

3 p.m. – The state Senate is in session, Senate Chambers, state Capitol, Albany.

3 p.m. – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul promotes Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship affordability program, SUNY Oswego, Sheldon Hall Ballroom, 301 Washington Blvd., Oswego.

4 p.m. – Van Bramer attends the IS 125Q Multicultural Festival, IS 125Q, 46-02 47th Ave., Queens.

6 p.m. – Brewer, New York City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, and Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings Commissioner Fidel del Valle host a town hall on how to navigate the city's process for contesting summonses, P.S. 124's Yung Wing auditorium, 40 Division St., Manhattan.

6 p.m. – New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams presents a citation to Nnegest Likké, the director of “Everything But a Man,” at the 19th Annual African American Women in Cinema Film Festival, National Black Theater, 2031 Fifth Ave., Manhattan.

6 p.m – New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña attends a meeting of the Panel for Educational Policy, The High School of Fashion Industries, 225 W. 24th St., Manhattan.

6:30 p.m. – Public Advocate James delivers remarks at the NAACP Women's History Month event, Lenox Terrace, Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Community Center, 34 W. 134th St., Manhattan.

7 p.m. – Brewer attends the Mott Hall School and Multicultural Music Group symphonic orchestra concert, Aaron Davis Hall, Convent Avenue between 133rd St. and 135th St., Manhattan.

7 p.m. – Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams gives remarks on New York City's smart gun initiatives at a screening of the documentary “A Smarter Gun,” followed by a Q&A with Brian Anderson, the host of the film; Lara Heintz, the producer of the film; and Erika Soto Lamb, the chief communications officer for Everytown for Gun Safety, Nitehawk Cinema, 136 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn.



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KICKER: “The best news is that he’s not going to get re-elected next year. I’m sure a new governor is going to have no problem with this.” - U.S. Rep. Chris Collins on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s complaints about a federal proposal that would shift New York counties’ Medicaid costs onto the state government, via The New York Times.