First Read – May 18, 2017

WEATHER: HOT downstate, and mostly sunny across the state. New York City, high 91; Albany, high 92; Buffalo, high 76.



* We spoke with U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley and New York City Council members Jimmy Van Bramer, Daniel Dromm, I. Daneek Miller and Julissa Ferreras-Copeland about large development projects and long-standing issues in Queens.

* Melinda Katz has been Queens borough president since 2014 and she spoke with Jeff Coltin about airport congestion, what to do about Rikers Island and how she hopes to bring a soccer stadium to Queens.

* Bruce Gyory, a senior adviser at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP, highlights three upcoming races, including the May 23 special election in the 9th Assembly District that features two powerful Democratic unions going up against the GOP’s vaunted Nassau County machine.



* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has a big lead over challengers in this fall’s election and his job approval rating has risen to 60 percent, its highest since taking office, a new Quinnipiac University poll showed, The Wall Street Journal reports.

* A record 73,000 New York City kids applied for seats in publicly funded, privately run charter schools in 2017, which is up 7 percent from last year, as state lawmakers consider raising the cap on charters, the Daily News reports.

* De Blasio’s PROSE school program, billed as the city’s answer to charters, has produced lackluster results, lagging behind charter schools in the rate of growth for English proficiency, according to a report by a charter advocacy group, the New York Post reports.

* Following an outcry from gay rights activists, Democratic National Committee vice chairman and Assemblyman Michael Blake is requesting a refund of his $1,000 campaign contribution to state Sen. Rubén Díaz Sr., who opposed same-sex marriage, the Post reports.

* The federal government pays private landlords so U.S. Reps. Gregory Meeks and Grace Meng can rent offices in their Queens districts, but they also rent campaign headquarters in the exact same buildings at far, far lower rates, raising ethical questions, the Observer reports.

* More news below …



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* De Blasio said he will march in the Puerto Rican Day Parade as usual this year, when the event honors Oscar López Rivera – who spent decades in prison as a member of a group that set off a series of deadly bombs in New York City, the Daily News reports.

* Oscar López Rivera, the co-founder of the group FALN, walked free from house arrest in Puerto Rico Wednesday and was greeted by a beaming New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the Post reports.

* Westfield Corp., which operates the mall at the World Trade Center transit hub, has filed a new lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court against the Port Authority and the developer for the right to maintain its large, red logo throughout the hub, the Post reports.


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* The Daily News offers Gov. Andrew Cuomo quick fixes for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, like keeping chairman and CEO as one position, moving sick passengers off trains, running more trains and push the Move New York congestion pricing plan.

* Limousine liberals like Mark-Viverito and her circle can afford to romanticize the lost cause of Puerto Rican independence and ignore the lives shattered in its name, but too bad they have the power to ruin the Puerto Rican Day Parade in their selfishness, the Post writes.

* Unless the city simultaneously addresses the unfairly low wages of early education teachers in nonprofit centers, the universal pre-K for 3-year-olds initiative could inflict a fatal blow to an already fragile system, Union Settlement's David Nocenti writes in the Daily News.


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.




* Republican candidate for New York City comptroller and former New York Jets defensive lineman Michel Faulkner joined the New York Slant podcast to share why he left the mayoral race and why he thinks he’s a better option than incumbent Scott Stringer.



* Michel Faulkner was caught with a case of grade deflation on Tuesday’s New York Slant podcast. The Republican New York City comptroller candidate criticized incumbent Scott Stringer, claiming his office received a D grade in the comptroller’s annual roundup of contract spending with minority- and women-owned business enterprises, or MWBEs. “He gave himself a D as it related to MWBE contracts,” Faulkner said on the podcast. “In his own office, they rated themselves, their own internal audit. He gave himself a D.” In fact, the comptroller’s office has never received a D since Stringer took office in 2014. It received a B for fiscal year 2016, and a C each of the two previous years. Faulkner used the poor grade as an example of how Stringer has not done anything about poverty or education in communities of color. The grade is based on agency spending with minority- and women-owned companies. Overall, the report gave the city government a D+. Faulkner’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.


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HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Yossi Gestetner, public relations consultant and political operative … and to Clyde Haberman, New York Times columnist.


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



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Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will deliver remarks at the New York City Police Foundation Gala.

6 a.m. – “The Joe Piscopo Show” features Alan Dershowitz, U.S. Rep. Peter King, professor Jeanne Zaino and Lou Dobbs, AM 970.

8 a.m. – New York City Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen attends the Sharing Cities Summit welcome breakfast, New Lab, 19 Morris Ave., Building 128, Cumberland Gate, Brooklyn.

8 a.m. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Chief Counsel Alphonso David meets with the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce board, MetLife, 277 Park Ave., Manhattan.

8 a.m. – New York City Jimmy Van Bramer delivers remarks at the United Federation of Teachers 2017 City Council Breakfast, Shanker Hall, 52 Broadway, second floor, Manhattan.

8:30 a.m. – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, New York City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal and others to speak at the Lincoln Square Business Improvement District’s 20th Annual Meeting, Fordham University School of Law, 150 W. 62nd St., Manhattan.

9:30 a.m. – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer visits the picket line of striking members of Local 3 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, outside Spectrum/Time Warner Cable headquarters, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer delivers remarks at the 28th Precinct Community Council Fellowship Breakfast, Canaan Baptist Church of Christ, 132 W. 116th St., Manhattan.

10 a.m. – The New York City Council Committee on Public Housing and Committee on Finance hold a joint executive budget hearing on New York City Housing Authority, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – New York City Public Advocate Letitia James hosts an event: Growing and Preserving Jobs: The Benefits of Transition to Employee Ownership, Grand Central Oyster Bar, Grand Central Station, Manhattan.

10 a.m. – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul makes Middletown Downtown Revitalization Initiative announcements, Paramount Theater, 17 South St., Middletown.

10:30 a.m. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes an announcement, The Prince George Ballroom, 15 E. 27th St., Manhattan.

10:30 a.m. – The state Public Service Commission holds its regular session, 19th floor boardroom, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany.

10:30 a.m. – State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon hosts an Excelsior Scholarship information session, Morrisville State College, Drake Field Athletic Stadium, Hospitality Suite, 80 Eaton St., Morrisville.

10:30 a.m. – State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and others host a press conference and ceremony for the dedication of Route 25A in honor of George Washington's Spy Trail, The Brewster House, Route 25A and Brewster Hill Road, Setauket.

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

11 a.m. – Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. hosts the annual Bronx Week Family and Senior Day, Bronx County Building, Veterans' Memorial Hall, 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx.

11 a.m. –  New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer delivers remarks at a press conference for the releasing center for Popular Democracy’s Justice for Sale report, outside Wells Fargo Bank, 437 Madison Ave., Manhattan.

11:15 a.m. – Public Advocate James delivers remarks at a press conference on mandatory arbitration, outside Wells Fargo Bank, 437 Madison Ave., Manhattan.

12 p.m. – The New York City Council Committees on Technology, Land Use and Finance hold a joint executive budget hearing on the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

12 p.m. – Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer speaks at the Harlem Tech Summit, MIST Harlem, 46 W. 116th St., Manhattan.

12:30 p.m. – Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announces a consent decree with a major landlord in the Buffalo region, 69 Winspear Ave., Buffalo.

12:30 p.m. – Assembly members Ron Kim and Yuh-Line Niou and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announce the formation of a new Asian Pacific American Legislative Caucus, Flushing Town Hall, The Garden, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Queens.

1 p.m. – The New York City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation and Committee on Finance hold a joint executive budget hearing on the Department Parks and Recreation, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – Kings County Democratic Party Chairman Frank Seddio, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James and others announce their endorsement of Mayor Bill de Blasio for re-election, Brooklyn Borough Hall steps, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

2 p.m. – State Sens. Jesse Hamilton and Marisol Alcantara host a roundtable discussion on broken windows policing with City Council members Ritchie Torres and Carlos Menchaca, acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and others, 250 Broadway, 19th floor, Manhattan.

2 p.m. – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul delivers the commencement address for the Schenectady Community College graduating class, Proctors Theater, 432 State St., Schenectady.

2:15 p.m. – State Sen. Tony Avella stands at the Utopia Parkway exit of the Cross Island Parkway to call out the Department of Transportation for their decision to paint a double arrow on the roadway, 14th Road and Utopia Parkway, Queens.

3 p.m. – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate James, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, Assemblyman Walter Mosley and others make an announcement on Bedford-Union Armory, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

3 p.m. – Local 3 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers members on strike rally to call for Spectrum/Charter to contribute to workers’ pension and benefit programs, and to bargain in good faith with workers, Charter’s New York City headquarters, 120 E. 23rd St., Manhattan.

5:30 p.m. – Crown Heights residents, housing advocates, members of The Black Institute, the Crown Heights Tenants Union and others oppose the Bedford-Union Armory development and protest City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo’s State of the District address over her lack of support to a community led plan, outside Ingersoll Community Center, 177 Myrtle Ave., Brooklyn.

6 p.m. – State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan hosts a fundraiser, Huntington Country Club, 483 Main St., Huntington.

6 p.m. – New York City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo delivers her State of the District address, Ingersoll Community Center, 177 Myrtle Ave., Brooklyn.

6 p.m. – New York City Jimmy Van Bramer attends the Democratic Organization of Queens County’s Annual Spring Dinner, Autun’s, 96-43 Springfield Blvd., Queens.

6 p.m. – State General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito hosts an Excelsior Scholarship information session, Mohawk Valley Community College, Rome Campus, Plumley Complex, Room 150, 1101 Floyd Ave., Rome.

6 p.m. – Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. hosts Bronx Week 2017 Parent Leaders Appreciation Event, The Bronx County Building, Veterans’ Memorial Hall, 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx.

6:30 p.m.City & State hosts its Queens Borough Series event keynoted by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and honoring 25 of the boroughs influentials in different sectors, Central Lounge, 20-30 Steinway St., Queens.

7 p.m. – New York City first lady Chirlane McCray addresses the congregation about the issue of substance abuse as part of the Weekend of Faith for Mental Health, Reformed Church of Huguenot Park, 5474 Amboy Road, Staten Island.

7 p.m. – Public Advocate James participates in a How Women are Changing the Gender Dialogue panel, Neuehouse, 110 E. 25th St., Manhattan.

7 p.m. – State Sen. Martin Golden hosts a town hall meeting tomorrow regarding the rise of heroin and opioid use in Gerritsen Beach and Marine Park, P.S. 277, 2529 Gerritsen Ave., Brooklyn.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – “Road to City Hall” features New York City mayoral candidate Paul Massey Jr., NY1.


Queens Borough Reception Tonight! Join City & State, government leaders, business professionals, and the 25 “Influentials” from Queens to celebrate their borough on May 18th! Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Senator Michael Gianaris will deliver remarks to kick off the reception! Join us at Central in Astoria to mix and mingle with people from the borough and people who helped shape the borough. Last chance to RSVP - CLICK HERE

KICKER: “Avoid driving whenever humanly possible. For our subways – look, there’s work that has to be done. But they’re still a hell of a lot more reliable than driving on the streets.” – De Blasio, on subway delays, via the Times.