First Read - February 17, 2015

WEATHER: Flurries downstate this morning, cloudy in Albany and partly sunny in Western New York. New York City, high 24; Albany, high 19; Buffalo, high 15.


STATE OF OUR CITY: City & State hosts its annual State of Our City event, featuring panel discussions on technology and the sharing economy, education, and affordable housing. Watch a livestream of the event here:



* Port Authority commissioners have not resigned nearly two months after Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie called for all 11 to do so following the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal, The Wall Street Journal reports:

* Lawyers say more than 500 engineering reports assessing Hurricane Sandy damage in homes were altered, and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has opened a criminal inquiry into the matter, The New York Times reports:

* A transit group called Move NY will release a proposal today to toll those driving across 60thStreet in Manhattan and four East River bridges, but lower the fare on other crossings, the Times reports: 

* Advocates and elected officials plan to boycott the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade while criticizing organizers’ decision to allow only one gay and lesbian group to march, the Journal reports:

* The NYPD Civilian Complaint Review Board is battling the city comptroller in court for the right to access transcripts of hearings involving police misconduct without a court order, the Daily News reports:

* The de Blasio administration agreed to pay $3.24 million to settle a five-year-old lawsuit contending cops stopped and arrested people for trespassing on NYCHA property without probable cause, the Post reports:

* New York City’s municipal ID program allows for applicants’ personal information to be destroyed at the end of 2016 to protect undocumented immigrants should a conservative assume the White House, the Post reports:

* A $1.5 billion South Street Seaport redevelopment plan has stalled because nearby residents and elected officials dislike a 494-foot-tall condo tower that is planned as part of the project, the Times reports:

* Despite U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigations, more than three dozen state lawmakers and party leaders are planning fundraisers during the budget negotiation season, the Post reports:

* U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer wants to have Oneida County designated a federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which he believes will help address a rise in heroin usage and related crime, The Associated Press reports:



* Cuomo reflected on the state’s history, his political career and the arrest of elected officials on corruption charges while giving NY1’s Errol Louis a tour of the Hall of Governors:



For too long, New Yorkers have lived with a broken housing system. Seventy years of rent control has not solved the housing shortage nor helped with affordability. New York needs new solutions, ones that support the operations and rehabilitation of apartments and ones that don’t subsidize the wealthy. Let’s Rethink Housing. Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP): Housing Advocates Since 1966. Join our mailing list at




* The Daily News writes that the app-based car service Uber should be more transparent about its operations and should add more wheelchair-accessible vehicles: 

* New York’s “Code Blue” program aims to bring the homeless inside when temperatures fall helps, but the city’s outreach workers should require people to go to a shelter or hospital for their safety, the Daily News writes:

* George Miranda, president of Teamsters Joint Council 16, writes in Gotham Gazette that a New York City bill that would cap the amount of trash sent to any one neighborhood is fair:

* The Buffalo News writes that interim schools Superintendent Donald Ogilvie will either deserve credit or blame for helping the school board come up with a compromise plan for four struggling schools:

* The Poughkeepsie Journal writes that the governor’s proposal to eliminate printing proposed constitutional amendments in newspapers and instead list them on state websites “simply won’t do”:  



Human services organizations provide bridges for opportunity and critical services to NY’s children, hard-working families and older adults, but a lack of money to fix leaky roofs, upgrade buildings, replace computers and boilers is hurting them. Governor Cuomo’s budget includes a $50m investment for human services infrastructure, but more is needed. Join UJA-Federation of New York, United Neighborhood Houses and Human Services Council in calling for $500m for nonprofits from New York’s $5 billion surplus:



CITY & STATE TV:                 

* Check out interviews from City & State's hub at the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators’ annual conference weekend, with New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, state Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and advocates like Rev. Jacques DeGraff:



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

Director of Corporate Communications, Cablevision

Description: Cablevision seeks a Director of Corporate Communications to develop corporate communications and media relations activities in support of the company’s corporate, financial and key business developments. Strong background in traditional corporate communications and media relations, public affairs/government support, crisis communications and social media tactics.

Further Info: Click here to apply


High profile NYC elected official seeks Press Secretary

Description: Ideal candidate has at least two years of experience in government, politics, media, or non-profit sector and exceptional verbal and written communication skills. Those seeking a challenging but rewarding opportunity to advance their career and make a difference,.

Further info: To apply, please send resume and cover letter to


Lobbyist, Albany Government Affairs Firm

Description: Established Albany government affairs firm with diverse clients seeks an experienced lobbyist with strong writing, advocacy and organizational skills.  Demonstrated experience working successfully in the Legislature and Executive agencies is a prerequisite.  Law degree preferred, but not required.  Position is Albany based.  

Further Info: Please email resume and cover letter to


General Counsel, Queens Library

Salary: Commensurate with experience.  Competitive benefit package.

Description: Reporting to the President and Chief Executive Officer, General Counsel researches, advises and makes recommendations to the President and CEO, Board of Trustees and Executive staff on all legal matters. Provides legal direction and advises on matters of legal strategy, Library procurement, construction contracts, ethics issues, litigation, EEO and labor law, technology, intellectual property and real property matters; oversees a team that manages the workflow of legal matters, including responding to FOIL requests and appeals.

Further Info: Experience in the supervision of other attorneys, in an administrative, managerial or executive capacity, and in performing highly complex and significant legal work required. For more information please visit our website at



HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Larry Schimmel, general counsel for investments and options for New York City Public Advocate Letitia James … to New School President David Van Zandt … to Peter Crouse, Albany director of government relations at Davidoff, Hutcher & Citron … to Scott Klenet, senior analyst at Davidoff’s Washington, D.C. office … and to Gregory Davidzon, president and CEO of Davidzon Media, Inc. 


MOVING ON: Marlene Peralta, senior political reporter at El Diariois joining the Progressive Cities consulting firm as a senior associate.


CONGRATULATIONS: To NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt and Brigid Bergen, WNYC’s City Hall and politics reporter, who were engaged this past weekend.



New York City is building a dangerous truck ramp to send 150 garbage trucks daily between a toddler playground and the ball playing fields of Asphalt Green. This will bring 400,000 children face-to-face with these trucks each year, A safety nightmare. That's not Vision Zero - it's Zero Vision. Fortunately, there is an alternative plan that moves the ramp just one block which The New York Times said "could go a long way toward making parents and children breathe easier." Learn about Asphalt Green's safer plan and urge Mayor de Blasio to move the ramp by clicking here.




Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

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

8:05 a.m. - WVOX morning show host John Marino features state Sen. George Latimer, WVOX 1460-AM.

9 a.m. - City & State hosts its 5th Annual State of Our City forum convening New York City leaders in government, business and advocacy to discuss key issues in 2015, with panels on technology and the sharing economy, education and affordable housing and development, NYU Grand Hall, 238 Thompson St., 5th Floor, Manhattan.

10:30 a.m. - New York City Public Advocate Letitia James attends coat drive at LGBTQ Homeless Shelter, 321 W. 125th St., Manhattan.

10:30 a.m. - State Sen. David Carlucci unveils his Investing in Our NY Seniors proposal, Nanuet Library, 149 Church St., Nanuet.

11 a.m. - The New York Immigration Coalition holds a press conference to call on the New York City Department of Education to improve translation and interpretation services for immigrant parents, 137-139 W. 25th St., 12th floor, Manhattan.

11 a.m. - The Capitol Pressroom features a “best-of” show with the Brennan Center’s Lawrence Norden on Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Retail Council of New York State’s Ted Potrikus on the minimum wage, Derrell Bradford of the education group NYCAN on the governor’s school reform proposals, and state Sens. Patrick Gallivan and Daniel Squadron on the Nurse Family Partnership program, WCNY.

11 a.m. - New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chain unveil a pedestrian safety action plan for Queens, Hammond PS 82, 88-02 144th St., Queens.

11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. - City & State hosts its New York City Power 100 kickoff and unveils its latest list of the most powerful people in city politics and government, NYU Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square S., Room 914, Manhattan.

11:50 a.m. - New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray delivers remarks at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Black History Month event, 42-09 28th St., Queens.

1 p.m. - State Sen. Tony Avella joins local business leaders to demand that a construction company provides traffic control at local site, 39th Avenue and Union Street, Queens.

1 p.m. - New York City Councilman Daniel Dromm, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and activists reaffirm their boycott of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

2 p.m. - State Sen. Gustavo Rivera, Assemblymen Jeffrey Dinowitz and Michael Blake and New York City Economic Development Corp. officials announce the launch of the Bronx Business Bridge Incubator, CUNY on the Concourse, 2501 Grand Concourse, Third Floor, Bronx.

7 p.m. - New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer speaks at General meeting of the Queens Civic Congress, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadow-Corona Park, Queens.

7 p.m.  and 10 p.m. - Inside City Hall features city Small Business Services Commissioner Maria Torres Springer, a panel on fashion and politics, and the NY1 Wise Guys, Time Warner Cable News NY1.



127 public charter schools across the state still have to redirect operating funds away from the classroom in order to pay for facilities. These are the most underfunded schools in the state. The New York City Charter School Center urges the legislature to pass fair facility funding. Every public school should have funding for its schoolhouse.



KICKER:  “You’ve always had and you probably always will have some level of corruption … Power corrupts, and government is a source of power, you have it in the City Council, you have it in the state Legislature, you have it in the Congress of the United States, so, that continues.” – Gov. Andrew Cuomo, via NY1.