First Read – May 1, 2017

WEATHER: A chance of light rain in New York City, isolated showers and a chance of thunderstorms in Albany and rain and thunderstorms more likely in Buffalo. New York City, high 74; Albany, high 75; Buffalo, high 70.



* Growing up as one of eight children, Letitia James negotiated on behalf of her sisters and brothers. Now she’s bringing her litigation skills to the public advocate’s office and putting some teeth into the role, Samantha Gross writes in a profile of the Brooklyn native.

* The rezoning of East New York, the first under sweeping changes ushered in by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, was approved last year. A year later, City Councilman Rafael Espinal hails it as a success, but others are more skeptical.

* As union members age, union leadership will say privately their central challenge is engaging younger generations and as Bob Hennelly writes, it begins with making history – like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire – matter to millennials.



* As New York City’s subway faces a deepening crisis over delays, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says that modernizing the signals is a top priority, but the rollout of a new signal network is unfolding at a glacial pace, The New York Times reports.

* Now up for re-election, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to add thousands of pre-kindergarten classroom seats for 3-year-olds, which would be among the largest public investments in preschool for children that young, The Associated Press reports.

* Various Democratic officials and political operatives said if Gov. Andrew Cuomo is serious about a 2020 run for president, he might want to forgo a re-election campaign in 2018, which would allow him to immediately throw himself fully into a national campaign, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett reports.

* Congress reached a $1 trillion bipartisan budget deal Sunday night that avoided a government shutdown and allocated money to reimburse New York City for protecting Trump Tower, with a $68 million protection package that the city will likely split with Florida, the Daily News reports.

* Democrats have introduced a bill in the Assembly and state Senate that would require the state to release five years of state tax information for any president or vice president who files a New York state return, aimed at surfacing President Donald Trump’s tax information, The Associated Press writes.

* More news below …



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* Cuomo’s James A. Farley Post Office Building renovation is a step in the right direction, but he has brushed off more sweeping proposals that might tackle once and for all the whole panoply of problems that plague New York Penn Station, the Times writes.

* The race may be more than a year away, but former New York City Councilman Robert Jackson is already getting support from an old foe, Micah Lasher, for his planned 2018 primary challenge against freshman breakaway Democratic state Sen. Marisol Alcantara, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett writes.

* The state Health Department “flagged” 52 hospitals for patient infection rates that greatly exceeded the state average, and 15 of them are in New York City, though the agency said it hopes the consumer report will urge hospitals to do better, the New York Post writes.

* Native Americans are urging Trump to undo a century-old injustice by rectifying a broken promise made by President Howard Taft in 1913 to build a national Indian Memorial on Staten Island, the Post reports.



* State officials released results of testing for lead in New York City schools’ water supplies, showing 8 percent of outlets had lead levels above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s action level of 15 parts per billion and 83 percent had at least one outlet above the threshold, the Times reports.

* De Blasio said the city won't fund lawyers for immigrants facing deportation if they have been convicted of 170 specific crimes – the same ones on which the city cooperates with federal detainers that start deportation proceedings, the Daily News reports.

* The Nassau County Republican Party is now supporting former state Sen. Jack Martins for county executive instead of incumbent Edward Mangano, who faces corruption charges and has not said if he will run for re-election without the GOP’s support, Newsday reports.

* Four of New York's five medical marijuana companies filed suit against the state Health Department to stop it from licensing additional operators to take part in the medical marijuana program, arguing it would tank the nascent industry, the Times Union writes.



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Over the next two years, Target will create 500+ additional jobs for New Yorkers – each with the potential to become a lifelong career. Offering flexible schedules allows us to attract a diverse and talented pool of team members – from college graduates starting a career to adults looking for part-time work to students or retirees – and makes Target a great place to work. Learn more about how our team is strengthening NYC:




* Among the many benefits of technology and innovation are the ease of shopping online and, when we do go to brick and mortar stores or elsewhere, the savings of incredibly fuel-efficient cars, but unless we find ways to equitably tax both our communities will suffer, the Times Union writes.

* Penn Station faces long-term infrastructure upgrades, but its security needs are immediate, though political and financial complexities involved in wresting control away from Amtrak mean local and state officials have little choice but to work with federal officials, Newsday writes.

* State Senate Republicans are being hypocritical in the fight to extend mayoral control of schools by refusing to give de Blasio long term control over the system while in the past supporting local control of schools in other areas of the state, the Daily News writes.

* A measure to restore oversight powers to state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli should be a no-brainer for both chambers to get behind the reform, as major public spending ought to be done in a transparent and accountable way - which requires independent oversight, the Post writes.

* It has become ever clearer that worker exploitation is an equal opportunity evil that cannot be condemned just once a year and more time and resources should be devoted to filling current labor gaps if we hope to secure a safer and stronger workplace for our children, New York City Department of Consumer Affairs Lorelei Salas writes in Gotham Gazette.


What drives family homelessness in NYC? The Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness has released “On the Map: The Dynamics of Family Homelessness,” an in-depth data analysis of factors that impact family homelessness in NYC to inform policy makers, elected officials, educators, health care professionals, service providers, grant makers, community members. Data is presented by City Council district, community board. To obtain a free copy, go to



PODCAST presented by Metropolitan College of New York:

* NY1 statehouse reporter Zack Fink's job is to ask our state leaders uncomfortable questions, and he had plenty to say on the New York Slant podcast about Melissa DeRosa, the budget tug of war and the “anger” he saw in the Capitol this year.


Hear from New York’s female leaders at the State of NY Women forum featuring Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, and Polly Trottenberg, Commissioner of the NYC Dept. of Transportation. Topics of discussion include women entrepreneurship, breaking through in male-dominated industries, and women’s role in health care. Click here to register for the May 25th forum at the New York Academy of Medicine.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Henry Stern, former New York City Councilman and city parks commissioner … to Jeff Wice, redistricting and election law attorney … to former Queens Community Board 7 District Manager Marilyn Bitterman … and to Frank Marino, president and CEO of Marino.


MOVING ON: Thom Kleiner, a Hudson Valley regional representative for the state Labor Department, has resigned to run for supervisor of the town of Orangetown in Rockland County.


CORRECTION: In Friday’s First Read, we incorrectly referred to Paul Thomas as an executive vice president at The Parkside Group. He has been promoted to partner.


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.

The state Legislature is in session.

7:30 a.m. – Community members from Make the Road New York, Center for Popular Democracy and others march against a corporation supporting President Donald Trump’s agenda, Bryant Park, 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, Manhattan.

8:25 a.m. – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio greets New York City Ferry commuters on the first day of service as boats arrive at Manhattan’s Pier 11/Wall Street dock, South Street, Manhattan.

8:30 a.m. – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul delivers opening remarks at the Small Enterprise Alliance of Western New York’s Small Business Week breakfast, Tonawanda Castle, 69 Delaware St., Tonawanda.

8:30 a.m. – New York City Council candidate Rev. Khader El-Yateem holds a press conference outside of the closed Bay Ridge Avenue train station to demand MTA shuttle bus service and increase B9 service during the length of the closure, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

8:45 a.m.De Blasio appears live on the “PIX11 Morning News,” WPIX-TV.

10 a.m. – Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner welcomes the local Vietnamese-American community for a flag raising in celebration of Vietnamese-American Heritage Day, City Hall front steps, 233 E. Washington St., Syracuse.

10 a.m. – The Assembly Committees on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions; Consumer Affairs and Protection; Energy; and Environmental Conservation hold a joint public hearing on the Clean Energy Standard established by the state Public Service Commission, Legislative Office Building, Hamilton Hearing Room B, Albany.

10:30 a.m. – Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and the Capital Region Chamber commemorate the completion of the Mental Health Association in New York State’s Capital Region Training Center with a ribbon-cutting, 194 Washington Ave., Suite 415, Albany.

11 a.m. – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer hosts a press conference, subway stop at 72nd Street and Broadway, Manhattan.

11 a.m. – U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney joins the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce’s Jessica Walker to kick off National Small Business Week and announce the site of the Chamber’s Second Avenue Street Fair, outside of Eneslow Shoes & Orthotics, 1504 Second Ave., Manhattan.

11 a.m. – U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey and environmental leaders host a news conference on local effects of President Donald Trump’s climate change agenda, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Gary C. Comer Geochemistry Building, 61 Route 9W, Palisades.

12 p.m. – Hochul highlights details of Cuomo's SUNY scholarship plan, University at Buffalo North, Student Union, second floor, Room 210, Amherst.

12:30 p.m. – State Sen. Marisol Alcantara, Independent Democratic Conference members and labor leaders announce legislation to combat tactics used in right-to-work states, third floor, outside Senate Chambers, state Capitol, Albany.

12:30 p.m. – Restaurant Opportunities Centers United march with workers in the May 1 General Strike, Washington Square Park S., Manhattan.

1 p.m. – Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, state Sen. David Carlucci and others announce legislation aimed at closing the pay gap for women and minorities by prohibiting employers from inquiring about salary history, LCA Room 130, Legislative Office Building, Albany.

1 p.m. – Hochul speaks at a ribbon-cutting for the new Walnut Avenue homes, 607 Walnut Ave., Niagara Falls.

1:45 p.m. – Fast-food workers, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and others take part in a May Day fast-food action in support of immigrants’ rights and workers’ rights, McDonald’s, 18 E. 42nd St., Manhattan.

2:30 p.m. – New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña addresses members of the Assembly Education Committee, Speaker’s Conference Room, state Capitol, Albany.

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

4 p.m. – State Sen. Jeff Klein, Assembly members Marcos Crespo and Mark Gjonaj and Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. attend the fifth annual Bronx Day in Albany, Hart Theater Lounge at The Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany.

4:30 p.m. – Community Voices Heard hosts a press conference calling on the Poughkeepsie Common Council to approve the budget amendment to fund the city bus system for the rest of the year, Poughkeepsie City Hall, 62 Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie.

5 p.m. – Stringer delivers remarks at Rise Up New York 2017 May Day rally and celebration hosted by Minkwon Center for Community Action, Foley Square, Manhattan.

5:30 p.m.De Blasio delivers remarks at the Rise Up New York 2017 May Day rally, Foley Square, Manhattan.

6:30 p.m. – The State University of New York’s board of trustees holds an executive session, Nassau Community College, 1 Education Drive, Garden City.

6:30 p.m. – The Lower East Side Preservation Initiative, Historic Districts Council and others host a candidates night on historic preservation issues for New York City Council Districts 1 and 2, Third Street Music School, 253 E. 11th St., Manhattan.

6:30 p.m. – Hochul delivers remarks at Bronx Day Reception, The Egg, Albany.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – “Road to City Hall” features a special town hall on Trump’s impact on New York, featuring de Blasio, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James and City Councilman Joseph Borelli, NY1.

7:30 p.m. – Brewer speaks at the Museum of the City of New York’s Clara Lemlich Awards, 1220 Fifth Ave., Manhattan.


Nominations are open for the Albany 40 Under 40! Every year, City & State recognizes 40 individuals under the age of 40, who have made remarkable strides in their career. The Class of 2017 Rising Stars will be profiled in a special print publication of City & State Magazine and celebrated at a reception in June 2017. Do you know a rising star in Albany's government, advocacy, business, labor, or media sector? Nominate them now!

KICKER: “It would be a strong signal of his intentions. Staying in office could very easily perpetrate the ‘Hamlet on the Hudson’ image that plagued his father.” - An anonymous Democratic consultant on Cuomo’s presidential ambitions and running for re-election in 2018, via the Daily News.