First Read - March 18, 2014

WEATHER: Sunny across the state. New York City, high 43; Albany, high 38; Buffalo, high 43.


BYPASSING ALBANY: New York’s Native American tribes have the sovereign power to lead as lawmakers and can set the stage for substantive reform in the rest of the state by legalizing marijuana on reservations, writes City & State’s Morgan Pehme:



* The state Dream Act, which would have granted state tuition aid to undocumented immigrants, failed in the Senate after a 30-29 vote, leaving the legislation two votes shy of passage, The New York Times writes:

* Nineteen Harlem charter school parents filed a federal lawsuit against New York City that claims Mayor Bill de Blasio “repeatedly and publicly expressed targeted animosity” toward Eva Moskowitz, which they argue hurt their children, the Daily News reports:

* Data shows that the 10 people killed in collisions with New York City buses last year were an increase from the 8 deaths in 2012, and five people have already been killed in 2014, the New York Post reports:

* A Harlem woman has become the first to file suit against Con Edison and one of the property owners of the building involved in the East Harlem explosion, and a high school student has filed paper work that could lead to a suit against the city, the Post writes:

* State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is asking for Entergy Corporation, the owner of Indian Point power plant, to publish semi-annual reports detailing major safety incidents at its 10 nuclear power plants, the Journal News reports:

* A Rochester developer has backed away from plans to redevelop a former Albany food packing plant into a casino after receiving poor support for the idea from area officials, the Times Union writes:

* State lawmakers say they aren’t far apart on the budget proposals facing the Legislature, though what happens behind closed doors—not at public hearings—is likely to be important to the final product, the Buffalo News reports:

* New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s 2013 campaign manager was sent emails, including a letter from Fort Lee’s mayor, about the George Washington Bridge lane closures while they were occurring, The Wall Street Journal writes:



* Gov. Andrew Cuomo is upping his push to make inroads with Republicans, which some say is about everything from trying to keep donors away from his challenger to showing he can work with both sides if he decides to run for president, Newsday reports:

* Westchester County Executive and gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is looking to use Spanish to engage with potential voters and possibly earn votes, the Journal writes:


ON TECHNOLOGY: On March 20 at 5 p.m., City & State holds a tech forum featuring Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Center for an Urban Future’s Jonathan Bowles, Girls Who Code’s Reshma Saujani, P-TECH’s Rashid Ferrod Davis and city and state officials, 7 World Trade Center, Manhattan. For more details or to RSVP,



Support Scaffold Safety and Real Insurance Reform: Weakening safety standards to solve insurance problems isn’t good business. It’s just weak. Illinois lost 35,000 construction jobs from 1995-2012 after repealing its scaffold law. New York gained 60,000 construction jobs during the same time. Let’s create good jobs with solutions that work, not failed policies.  Join advocates for workers, minorities and new immigrants most at risk on dangerous projects. Support The Construction Insurance Transparency Act -A8745/S6700.




* The Daily News writes that in disqualifying Jon Liu from receiving taxpayer subsidies for his mayoral campaign, the Campaign Finance Board distorted election results for no valid reason, and Liu’s court fight will surely get him fairer treatment from a federal judge:

* The Times Union writes that charter schools are public schools that spend public money, so they’re finances should be open to the public:

* Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fight with charter school executive Eva Moskowitz has all the markings of a petulant tyrant holding low-income students hostage, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal writes in the Post:



New Yorkers are resilient, and the Environmental Protection Fund ensures our communities are, too. Natural systems like floodplains, marshes, coastal dunes and wetlands are a cost-effective first line of defense. Conserving and restoring them creates jobs and boosts the economy. Growing the EPF in the budget will help strengthen our natural infrastructure and our communities. The Environmental Protection Fund works. Find out more at





Henry Berger, a longtime New York City election lawyer, has been hired by the de Blasio administration as special assistant corporation counsel and adviser to the mayor, a position in which he will provide legal counsel to the mayor and staff at City Hall. The hiring reunites the mayor with Berger, who played a key role in ensuring that then-councilman Bill de Blasio had a spot on the 2009 public advocate ballot—although Berger was also responsible for de Blasio being kicked off in the first place. In July of 2009, the Board of Elections initially ruled that de Blasio made an error on the cover sheet for his ballot petitions—listing 131 volumes of petitions when there were really 132. On "Good Day New York" several days later, de Blasio said, "Our lawyer...just did his math wrong," referring to Berger. At the time, Berger stated that in 35 years practicing election law, he had never seen such a case. The Board of Elections eventually voted unanimously to allow de Blasio on the ballot, and he went on to win the public advocate's race, using the office as a launching pad for his 2013 run at City Hall.

* An email going out today from New York City Public Advocate Letitia James and feminist icon Gloria Steinem asks roughly 200,000 New Yorkers to sign a petition calling on Gov.Andrew Cuomo to insist that public financing of elections stay in the state budget this year. “Passing public financing of elections into law would help fix Albany,” James and Steinmen write. “Governor Cuomo has included it in his proposed budget. Will you join us in telling the Governor that we must KEEP public financing in the budget and enact it into law?” The email argues that public financing would pave the way for more women to get elected, which in turn could make it easier to pass legislation “for women,” such as the Women’s Equality Act and paid family leave. The reason for the lack of progress on certain bills “is simple and shameful—women make up less than 20 percent of the State Legislature,” they write. “Our voice is being drowned out by big-dollar donors who rule the roost in Albany’s “pay-to-play” politics—often just a backroom of men.” The Assembly also included public financing in its budget resolution, while the state Senate included vague language that would “modify” the governor’s proposal.



CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR 25 ABOVE & BEYOND HONOREES and join City & State, our partners AlliedBarton, and this year’s honorees at the 3rd annual Above & Beyond Awards gala to fete their accomplishments. Festivities will take place at Broad Street Ballroom in downtown Manhattan! Starting at 6:30pm the Champagne will flow; Michael Arenella and crew will be playing all your favorite hits from the twenties, thirties and forties; and we will be live on City & State TV interviewing our amazing 25 women of public and civic mind. Dinner served at 8:00pm. For more information on sponsorships and congratulatory ads email




* New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, the MTA’s William Wheeler, Global Gateway Alliance’s Stephen Sigmund and others participate in City & State’s recent panel discussion on transportation in the city:


WHO’S HIRING: To advertise your employment opportunities in City & State First Read, email or call 646-442-1662.  

Director, Foundation Support and Grants Management

Salary:  $50,000 to $75,000 based on experience

Description:  The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce is seeking a Director, Foundation Support and Grants Management.  The position is a direct report to the President and CEO and is charged with identifying and securing support from corporate, foundation and other grant sources to support both current programs and new initiatives.  The position develops and implements fund raising strategies, both public and private, for Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce programming and that of its economic development affiliate, The Brooklyn Alliance.  

Further Info: Please send resume, cover letter, and salary history    


Government and Public Affairs Position for Major NYC Construction Trade Association

Salary:  Competitive compensation and benefits package

Description:  NYC Construction Association seeks Chief of Staff to the President and CEO. Responsibilities include development and implementation of association’s legislative and public policy agenda for NYC and NYS. Will provide support to association committees, communications program and special events. Qualifications include excellent written and oral communications skills. Must be hands on and comfortable in a team-oriented environment.

For More Information: Send cover letter, resume and sample of writing ability


Digital Project Manager for Political Media Company

Salary: range of $45,000 - $50,000 / year, with possible incentives

Description: City & State NY seeks driven, experienced individual to consult on digital and rich media efforts, with specific emphasis on web and email execution and management. Candidates should have knowledge of HTML, general web development, ad opps and email marketing. Knowledge of ModX CMS and Sailthru a plus. Duties to include: Coordinating all emails and digital marketing, enhancing overall web experience, growing online audience, helping drive digital revenue opportunities. Previous experience at a news organization also a plus. Relevant degree preferred, but not required.

If you are interested please send a cover letter, resume and salary requirements  


HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To former New York City Rent Guidelines Board Chair Jonathan Kimmel.


MOVING ON: Christopher Goeken has joined the New York League of Conservation Voters as director of public policy and government relations … former New York City Council spokesperson Zoe Tobin has joined The Marino Organization as a senior account executive … and Cesar Cardenas, a former counsel in former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Office of Human Capital Development and the New York City Workforce Board, has joined Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin as a senior government relations specialist.


CORRECTION: In Monday’s First Read, we misstated Pakhi Sengupta’s title. Sengupta works in Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli’s office as a senior adviser for youth and children’s services.



How do you reach thousands of the most powerful and influential people in New York? Place your advocacy or promotional messaging in City & State’s First Read or Last Read daily emails! Our clients have used advertising space in this email to push for legislation in the NY City Council, the NY State Legislature and Washington D.C., to build event interest and attendance, and to promote strategic corporate initiatives, charity drives and more. To learn more about advertising in City & State’s First Read and Last Read email




Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule.

8:30 a.m. – Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams hosts the first meeting of the Brooklyn Economic Exchange, Brooklyn Borough Hall community room, Brooklyn.

9 a.m. – Attorney General Eric Schneiderman delivers the keynote address at a New York Law School event entitled “Insider Trading 2.0: A New Initiative to Crack Down on Predatory Practices,” New York Law School, 185 West Broadway, Manhattan.

9 a.m. – New York City Public Advocate Letitia James attends the Senior Umbrella Network of Brooklyn 11th Annual Membership Breakfast, 1030 86th St., Brooklyn.

9:30 a.m. – The New York City Council Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee meets, 250 Broadway, Committee Room, 16th floor, Manhattan.

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

10:30 a.m. – The state Senate Transportation Committee meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 804, 181 State St., Albany.

10:30 a.m. – State Sen. James Sanders Jr. and Assemblyman David Weprin announce support for a bill to prohibit religious attire discrimination in the workplace, State Capitol, outside the Senate Chambers, Albany.

11 a.m. – The New York City Council Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses Committee meets, 250 Broadway, Committee Room, 16th floor, Manhattan.

11 a.m. – New York Secretary of State Cesar Perales, New York Immigration Coalition’s Steven Choi, Catholic Charities NY’s Msgr. Kevin Sullivan and New Americans’ Sylvia Jimison recognize state investments in immigrant communities, Albany Public Library, 161 Washington St., Albany.

11 a.m. – The Capitol Pressroom features Cardinal Timothy Dolan, state Sen. Liz Krueger, Jody Kass of New Partners for Community Revitalization, and Anne Kress of Monroe Community College and member of Cuomo’s Common Core panel, WCNY.

11 a.m. – Westchester County Executive and gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino speaks at the New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation’s Legislative Day, Empire State Plaza, Convention Center, Albany.

11 a.m. – New York City Council Members Ritchie Torres, Mark Levine, Annabel Palma and Ydanis Rodriguez join tenants to call for a community-based plan to take over buildings, improve conditions and preserve affordable housing, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

11:10 a.m. – Rep. Steve Israel announces legislation to help small businesses save for times of economic downturn after touring three local Queens small businesses, Usha Foods Inc., 255-03 Hillside Ave., Queens.

11:45 a.m. – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer visits the Bay Eden Senior Center, 1220 E. 229th St., Bronx.

11:45 a.m. – New York City Public Advocate Letitia James attends a rally against widespread wage theft at McDonald’s, 341 E. 5th St., Manhattan.

12 p.m. – The state Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 810, 181 State St., Albany.

12 p.m. – The Building Trades Employers Association’s Louis Coletti and Rev. Jacques DeGraff of 100 Black Men join the Alliance for Minority and Women Construction Businesses and Get New York Building to call for Scaffold Law reform, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

12:30 p.m. – The state Senate Higher Education Committee meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 807, 181 State St., Albany.

12:30 p.m. – Stringer visits the Bronx House Senior Center, Bronx House, 900 Pelham Parkway South, Bronx.

1 p.m. – The state Senate Local Government Committee meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 945, 181 State St., Albany.

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

1:30 p.m. – The state Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 816, 181 State St., Albany.

1:30 p.m. – Rep. Gregory Meeks and others speak out of the need to protect and grow New York City public schools, New Jerusalem Baptist Church, 122-05 Smith St., Queens.

2:30 p.m. – The New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation delivers a letter of constituent concern to Cuomo’s office as part of its Legislative Day, State Capitol, 2nd floor, Albany.

3 p.m. – The state Senate convenes, State Capitol, Senate Chambers, Albany.

4:15 p.m. – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a meet and greet with students participating in Good Shepherd Services’ after-school programs, bullpen, City Hall, Manhattan.

4:30 p.m. – The SUNY Board of Trustees meets, State University Plaza, 353 Broadway, Albany.

6 p.m. – New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña attends a Department of Education Panel for Educational Policy meeting, Prospect Heights Educational Campus, 883 Classon Ave., Brooklyn.

6 p.m. – Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams honors Brooklyn’s “she-roes” at a Women’s History Month celebration, Brooklyn Borough Hall Courtroom, Brooklyn.

6 p.m. – Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus gives his State of the County Address, Orange County Emergency Services Center Auditorium, 22 Wells Farm Road, Goshen.

6:30 p.m. – Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Immigration Advancement Matters Director Alexandra Ruiz and One Flushing Director John Choe present at a The Future of Flushing & Our Borough event, St. Ann Church, 58th Avenue and 146th Street, Queens.

6:30 p.m. – New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres joins North Bronx residents, labor groups, health advocates and hospital officials to discuss the reopening of North Central Bronx Hospital’s labor and delivery services with HHC, 17th floor, 3424 Kossuth Ave., Bronx.

7 p.m. – De Blasio and Stringer attend the Richmond County Democratic Committee St. Joseph's Day Dinner, La Strada Restaurant, 139 New Dorp Lane, Staten Island.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – Inside City Hall features Rep. Charles Rangel, Diane Ravitch, and the NY1 Wise Guys with Alfonse D'Amato, Betsy Gotbaum and Bill Thompson, Time Warner Cable News NY1.

8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. – Capital Tonight features the Empire Center’s Tim Hoefer, Time Warner Cable News.  


KICKER: “Just being able to say a few words in Spanish isn't enough to earn the support of Latinos. We're smarter than that." – Democratic state Sen. Gustavo Rivera on Westchester County Executive and gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino’s Spanish language skills possibly helping him win votes, via The Wall Street Journal.