Saturday, June 24, 2017

After the Dropped Investigations the Lobbyists are Back Running the 2017 Campaigns

Get Used to de Blasio Ducking Serious Problems and Reporters After the Election Suckers

De Blasio takes taxpayer-funded trip to Miami Beach amid schools crisis (NYP) Hizzoner fled New York’s concrete jungle Friday for a taxpayer-funded trip to Florida — soaking in Miami sunshine and shmoozing with other mayors as the fate of 1.1 million city students hangs in the balance.  Mayoral control of city schools expires in only one week, but that didn’t stop de Blasio from pushing his progressive agenda at swanky beachfront hotels and eateries as part of the 85th-annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors.  He’s attending with First Lady Chirlane McCray and seven staffers, including policy experts and his photographer, according to a City Hall representative who declined to give the cost of the trip.   McCray brought along two staffers of her own, and three city commissioners also attended.  De Blasio’s sunny getaway left education advocates steaming.*

Pressman demanded answers from the powerful, the famous, the infamous, the ordinary. And usually got them.  Never one to gladly suffer foolish press conferences in air conditioned rooms — though he did his share of that — he was our eyes and ears as history happened.  He was there when the Andrea Doria, the Italian oceanliner bound for New York, sank in the waters off Nantucket, killing 46.  He was there for Woodstock, and for the civil rights movement.  He was there when City Hall went begging, and when the Bronx was burning.  He was there when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, and when they did so again.  Mayors O’Dwyer, Impellitteri, Wagner, Lindsay, Beame, Koch, Dinkins, Giuliani, Bloomberg and de Blasio — that’s 10 of them — all got grilled by Pressman.  He didn’t have a slogan or a signoff, and he spent no time in the anchor’s chair. Gabe Pressman, who died Friday at the age of 93, was a journalist, and he was always, always, always there.

Mayor de Blasio admitted that the lifting of a deed restriction at Rivington House, which led to the $116 million sale into condos, was a “mistake, and ridiculous.” He also admitted that there is no possibility of “recouping the property” for return to the community. Instead, he reiterated his commitment to creating 200 beds of senior affordable housing in a new proposed project on Pike Street as compensation since “it wasn’t right.”  The stop-work order was partially rescinded last week to allow for “exploratory work” on-premise.  Chin, meanwhile, repeated her alleged commitment to fighting the Rivington House luxury conversion.


Red Horse, Hill Top, Advance Group at the Center of Federal and State Investigations That Was Abruptly Dropped Running Dozens Even DA Campaigns in 2017

Why Did the NYP Leave Out the Illegal Spending of the UFT's PAC in the 2013 Election?
UFT scores big as school spending rises (NYP)   There is one clear winner as school spending costs rise each year: the United Federation of Teachers.  No group in the city has amassed more political clout than the teachers union, which has scored a new contract for its members, helped block charter schools from expanding, pushed for the renewal of mayoral control of city schools, and ensured the city education budget continues to soar.   The union, which represents 200,000 city teachers, staff and retirees, has poured $359,450 into city political campaigns since 2009 while splurging more than a quarter-million dollars per year on lobbyists to influence the city budget.  Each fall, thousands of UFT members knock on doors and call voters on behalf of favored candidates.  The UFT backed Mayor de Blasio’s campaign and was an early beneficiary of de Blasio’s good will, earning a nine-year, $5.5 billion contract a mere four months into his term. The contract included a 4.5 percent raise that went into effect on May 1 — higher than the current rate of inflation.

UFT Illegal PAC United for the Future
de Blasio Details of UFT Pact 5 CUNY SUNY

2017 Mayoral Race Update
Will the Next David Dinkins Please Stand Up? (NYT)  The lack of an African-American challenger in the mayoral race highlights the absence of a rising generation of black politicians in New York. *
De Blasio Is in Unfamiliar Territory in 2nd Run: Way Out Front (NYT) * Faith leaders furious after big names skip mayoral candidate forum (NYP) 

Mayoral candidate wants to fix your hellish commute (NYP) “His neglect of our city infrastructure is a travesty and it is making life a nightmare for New Yorkers.”  One element of the plan would create a G train loop that extends the current Brooklyn and Queens route to Manhattan.  The G line currently runs from Court Square in Long Island City to Church Avenue in southern Brooklyn.  Connecting to Manhattan would improve access and reduce travel time for residents of northern Brooklyn, who must navigate closure of the L train beginning in April 2019.  Massey also proposes a PATH Expansion that would connect the west shore of Staten Island to New Jersey via light rail over the Bayonne Bridge, to help relieve traffic congestion on the island’s roads and bridges and provide another mass transit option into Manhattan.  The MTA recently set aside $4 million in its budget to study the feasibility of light rail between Staten Island and New Jersey. The borough has no direct rail connection to the rest of the city or Jersey. Most borough residents commute to Manhattan via the Staten Island Ferry or express bus service and drive to Jersey over tolled bridges.


Lobbyists Capalino Shadow Govt Starting to Build The Luxuary Building Replacement to the Rivington Nursing Home

City quietly lifts parts of stop-work order on controversial nursing home (NYP)  The Buildings Department quietly lifted portions of a stop-work order on the Rivington House Nursing Home — infuriating neighborhood activists and elected officials who fear that opens the door for luxury condos.  The move comes 14 months after the city placed a full stop-order at 45 Rivington St., the Lower East Side health care facility that sparked numerous probes of the de Blasio administration after top officials facilitated its controversial sale.  While the permitted work is limited in scope, advocates say they’re leery after already getting bamboozled by the city and the developers. 
Huxley and Cohen’s group, Neighbors to Save Rivington House, are holding out hope that a longstanding probe by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office will uncover misconduct by one of the private parties involved in the property sale so it can be reversed.  A spokesman for Schneiderman confirmed the probe is ongoing but declined to discuss details.

Another Issue That Will Not Be Discussed in the 2017 Camapign: Does NYC Get A Bang for Its Education Bucks?

The Millions the UFT on Campaigns Has Something to Do With the Cover-Up of the High Costs of Education in NYC
Money for nothing: the ugly truth about NYC’s schools (NYP) The feds report that New York’s public schools are awash in cash, a conclusion impossible to dispute. Now the question becomes this: When it comes to education spending, how much is enough?  Here’s one answer: Anything short of all the money in the world will never be enough to satisfy New York’s parasitical public-education cartel.  And never mind, say, the city’s corroding mass-transit system.  Here’s the latest news, courtesy of the US Census Bureau and the Empire Center for Public Policy’s E.J. McMahon: Per-pupil public-school spending in 2014-15 exceeded the national average by a breathtaking 86 percent. And total school spending ($64.8 billion) was greater than the entire current state budgets of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined ($59.5 billion).  More to the point, says the Empire Center, “School spending in New York [state] was driven primarily by instructional salaries and benefits — which, at $14,769 per pupil, were 114 percent above the national average of $6,903, the census data show.” * New York's school-spending insanity (NYP)  Empire State public schools (not counting charters) spent a whopping $21,206 per student in the 2014-15 school year, the latest Census figures show. That’s the highest of any state — and nearly twice the $11,392 national average.  And the city’s even more extreme: It spent $21,980 per kid.  Notably, 70 percent ($14,769 per child) of New York’s $64.8 billion total went to salaries and benefits for the adults running the schools. That’s a revealing $6,903 (or 114 percent) more than the nation’s average.  Heck, Utah spent less per kid on all school costs than New York did on just staff. *

Obama’s education secretary throws de Blasio a charter school curveball (NYP) Former Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan threw Mayor de Blasio a curveball Tuesday when he joined Hizzoner on a teleconference to back renewal of mayoral control of schools — but said he also supports adding charter schools. While Duncan made it clear he’s not familiar with the specifics of the end-of-legislative-session battle in Albany, his broad position that charter schools should be a part of a political compromise aligns with that of state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, who is battling the mayor on the renewal.  “In politics there’s always some compromise. I hope there’s some compromise there,” said Duncan.

Cuomo expressed pessimism that the state Legislature will be able to come to an agreement on mayoral control of New York City schools before the end of the legislative session next week, the Daily News writes.

A Tale of Two CFBs: Albanese vs Campaign PAC NYCLASS,UFT's United for the Future

UFT Illegal PAC United for the Future


Mayoral Control of Schools A Game of Albany Chicken With Charter Schools As A Chip and Block 

The mayoral control emergency: What New York City schoolparents and elected officials should do now (NYDN)
Does It Matter Who Runs New York City’s Schools? (NYT)  Mayoral control of education in New York City is in limbo. Experts say school boards can also be effective, but may be less accountable in a city challenged by poverty.

Board of Ed. making a comeback would be bad news for de Blasio (NYP) * Charter schools still face challenges if mayoral control ends (NYP) * Cuomo threatens to call special session over mayoral control (NYP) * Does de Blasio really want to keep control the city's schools?  (NYDN Ed) * No Deal, Just Blame, on Mayoral Control of New York City Schools  (NYT)The day was full of pointed language from lawmakers, the mayor and the governor, and no plans were made to return to Albany to seek a compromise.

De Blasio's pushback on charter schools may cost him control (NYP)

What if Mayor’s School Control Lapses? A 2009 Episode Offers Clues  (NYT)  Dire warnings from the de Blasio administration notwithstanding, the last time the law on mayoral authority was allowed to expire, chaos didn’t reign.

New York City Officials Raise Pressure Over Mayoral Control of Schools  (NYTY) As the legislative calendar nears an end, officials are resisting the use of the issue as a bargaining chip.

Mayor de Blasio Waits (and Waits) for a New Mandate to Run New York’s Schools  (NYDN) Without an extension from the State Legislature, the power that the mayor has to choose the city school chancellor and set educational policy will expire at the end of June.

Why won’t de Blasio compromise to save mayoral control? (NYP)
Cuomo says de Blasio is likely to lose control of city schools (NYP)
'Compromise can be made' in NYC schools battle: Cuomo (NYP)  Cuomo on Thursday proposed a compromise in the battle over mayoral control of New York City public schools, suggesting a three-year extension that includes an expansion of charter schools.  Mayor de Blasio’s authority over the city school system expires on July 1 without action from Albany.  “There is a compromise to be made. There should be a multiple-year extension of mayoral control. You can’t do this year to year,” Cuomo told NY1.  With a just a week left before Legislature recesses for the summer, Cuomo said “I would bet against” re-authorization of mayoral control.  “They could have made this compromise a long time ago. . . .The Senate won’t do it without charter schools. The Assembly won’t do it because they don’t like charter schools and they have a component [of Democrats] that doesn’t want mayoral control,” he said.
De Blasio still jostling for control of city schools  (NYP) ALBANY — Mayoral control of New York City’s schools is no closer to a resolution with just five days of the legislative session remaining.
NY spends more money per-student than any other US state (NYP)
* The state Senate voted to give New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio five more years of control over city schools, but with conditions the Assembly refused to back, leaving the fate of mayoral control uncertain as the end of the session nears, the Post reports.  *

New York’s school-spending insanity (NYP Ed) Empire State public schools (not counting charters) spent a whopping $21,206 per student in the 2014-15 school year, the latest Census figures show. That’s the highest of any state — and nearly twice the $11,392 national average.
And the city’s even more extreme: It spent $21,980 per kid.
Notably, 70 percent ($14,769 per child) of New York’s $64.8 billion total went to salaries and benefits for the adults running the schools. That’s a revealing $6,903 (or 114 percent) more than the nation’s average.  Heck, Utah spent less per kid on all school costs than New York did on just staff.  Don’t blame New York’s high prices, either. As fiscal expert E.J. McMahon notes, the per-pupil outlay here topped that in other high cost-of-living states, exceeding New Jersey by 16 percent, Connecticut by 15 percent and Massachusetts by 36 percent.

Eva Moskowitz’s urgent lessons (NYDN) Eva Moskowitz is on a nice little roll. On Friday, a state appeals court handed her network of Success Academy charter schools a victory — and $720,000 — in ruling that New York City overstepped its authority trying to impose its pre-K contract on the network. 
State Senate Republicans are prepared to end the legislative session next week without extending the law giving New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio control over the city school system if the Assembly won’t negotiate
State pols must negotiate for Mayor de Blasio to get extended control of city schools (NYDN) State Senate Republicans are prepared to end the legislative session next week without extending the law giving Mayor de Blasio control over the city school system if the Assembly won’t negotiate, one insider warns.  The Assembly, over Senate GOP opposition, included a two-year extension of the expiring mayoral control law in a bill that also contained dozens of local taxes in counties across the state.  While the Senate Republicans, who have been warring with de Blasio, have sought to link mayoral control to pro-charter school initiatives and other issues, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie insists he will not wheel-and-deal on the issue.  “If the Assembly refuses to come to the table, they run the risk that nothing gets done,” said a source close to Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County).  The high-stakes political game of chicken comes as the legislative session is scheduled to wrap up on June 21.  One bill would extend the law five years but also enact a controversial education investment tax credit that’s vehemently opposed by Assembly Democrats and the state teachers union.  The other two would extend mayoral control by one and two years, respectively. All three bills would also loosen restrictions on charter schools — a move opposed by Assembly Democrats and the teachers union.*
De Blasio needs to compromise if he wants to keep control of schools (NYP) Do Mayor de Blasio and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie want to save City Hall’s control of the schools — or do they want to keep standing in the way of a deal?  Last week — with mayoral control set to expire this month, absent an agreement by the June 21 close of the legislative session — the mayor finally spoke about it with Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. He reached out again Monday.  Yet de Blasio shows no willingness to compromise: “We are all for a clean extension of mayoral control that doesn’t play politics or horse-trade off of the backs of our kids,” mayoral spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein told The Post.*
Protestersargue DOE lacks budget transparency (NYP)
State Lawmakers Leverage Their Power Over de Blasio’s Schools Role (NYT)

De Blasio calls John Flanagan to end mayoral control standoff (NYP)

  Senate Ethics Committee Meets for the First Time in 8 Years to Cover Up Illegal Lulus 
8 Years of Rust Show as New York Senate Ethics Panel Finally Meets (NYT) *State Senate Ethics Committee blocks lulu reforms at first meeting in eight years (NYDN) Meeting for the first time in eight years, the state Senate Ethics Committee punted over the issue of controversial stipends that were paid to non committee chairmen.  Senate Democrats tried to push a motion that going forward would bar the stipends meant for committee chairmen — known as lulus — from being paid to anyone else.  The effort was blocked. Senate Ethics Committee Chairwoman Elaine Phillips (R-Nassau County) noted the issue is the subject of litigation, but then corrected herself to use the word “inquiries.”  But a source in the room said GOP Counsel David Lewis quietly told her there was litigation and that the Senate hired a lawyer. A Senate GOP spokesman had no comment.  
Between ethics meetings, eight state senators sent to prison (NYP) After eight years, the state Senate’s Ethics Committee finally held a hearing Thursday — for about an hour. When the committee last met on June 2, 2009, holding the gavel was Sen. John Sampson (D-Queens), later imprisoned over an embezzlement scandal.  Those eight years have seen five other Democratic and two Republican senators convicted on charges ranging from mail fraud and bribery to nonprofit-looting and obstruction of justice.

Three more of the convicts — Sampson, Malcolm Smith and Pedro Espada Jr. — had been either the leader of the Senate Democratic caucus, or actual majority leader.

A Political Stunt by Albanese and Eisenbach Forced deB Into An Overcrowded Subway Yesterday
Mayoral hopeful Sal Albanese tries to get an elusive deBlasio to ditch SUVs and ride subway for once (NYDN) Mayoral candidate Sal Albanese headed for Mayor de Blasio’s Park Slope gym Wednesday to try to goad Hizzoner into finally taking the subway.  But de Blasio — who often works out in the late morning at the YMCA after being driven in city SUVs the 12 miles there from Gracie Mansion, a routine that has drawn mockery — opted instead to rise early and give Albanese the slip, driving off from the gym before he arrived.  His primary challenger nonetheless brandished a MetroCard he had brought for the mayor and said de Blasio should try getting around like regular New Yorkers — noting it’s just a 25 minute ride from the gym to City Hall.  “It may be cheap symbolism in his eyes but basically, I think if he got onto the system, he would find out that people are packed in like sardines, there are delays on a regular basis,” he said, calling it hypocritical “for a guy who claims he's a progressive not to take the subway, even just once in a while to share the experience.”

NYT: A Rare Underground Appearance By de Blasio in 2013 the Mayor's Political Prop Was the LICH Hospital

Welcome to our hell, de Blasio (NYP) de Blasio decided to ditch his SUV Wednesday and get some first-hand experience of just how dreadful the city’s hot and crowded subway system has become. The mayor was accompanied by his entourage on the C train platform at 33rd Street in Manhattan Wednesday afternoon and was forced to let two jam-packed subway cars pass him by — before finding some room on the third attempt. * De Blasio Makes a Rare Underground Appearance (NYT) 

Democratic rival finds a way to get de Blasio out of bed early (NYP)   Someone finally got Mayor de Blasio to wake up early.  Democratic mayoral candidate Sal Albanese boasted Wednesday that he forced de Blasio to work out before his usual late-morning start time by threatening to confront him outside the Park Slope YMCA about the deteriorating subway system.  While Hizzoner is known to regularly leave the gym in his old neighborhood at 10 am or later, he was spotted pulling away around 8:40 am Wednesday by a photographer — 20 minutes before Albanese’s scheduled press conference.“We’ve already achieved a major milestone. Bill de Blasio had the earliest workout – I’m convinced – in the history of his workouts,” said Albanese.“What I wanted to do was ask Bill to take the subway: On behalf of all New Yorkers, he should experience what I’ve experienced many times. The system is in disarray and the mayor should take the subway once in a while. So we’re here to spur him on.”*


Why Are the Women's Rights Groups Allowing Vito Lopez Sexual Abuse Hush Fund Enabler to Be Appointed By Heastie to Ethics Panel JCOPE?
In Albany, sleaze never goes unrewarded  (NYP) File this under Classic Albany Sleaze: On Friday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie placed a top aide to convicted felon Shelly Silver on the state ethics panel —  even though the panel said the aide helped pave the way for a sexual-harassment case.  In naming ex-judge and Assembly counsel Jim Yates to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, Heastie proved yet again that Albany pols simply have no shame.  Yates ran the Assembly counsel’s office under Speaker Silver — when it arranged secret hush-money payments to two of then-Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s sexual-harassment victims. But as Silver, Yates & Co. tried to sweep the issue under the rug, two more women came forward to accuse Lopez of sexual harassment.  Worse, according to JCOPE, Yates allowed Lopez to hire three more women — including the two who later lodged new complaints against him.  OK, maybe Yates couldn’t be sure Lopez would continue to misbehave. But why risk putting more women in that position? Maybe because the Albany culture is to look the other way at such abuse? As Kevin Mintzer, an attorney for two of Lopez’s victims, tweeted: “One might think that being counsel for Sheldon Silver would disqualify a person from being an ethics enforcer. But then again, Albany.”  In a sense, adding Yates to the panel is fitting — because JCOPE itself acts more as an enabler of political sleaze than a watchdog. It takes just three of its 14 members to block a JCOPE probe, and the Assembly and Senate majority conferences each appoint three members. No wonder it has yet to crack down on any major corruption.  Yet this is what passes for a state ethics panel. As we said, Classic Albany Sleaze.

Vito Lopez Uses Government Funds to Run His Machine, Sexual Abuse

Even A Pro County Blog Says Nobody Votes for District Leaders Wonder Where They Got That From?

The Future of District Leaders (Kings County Poltics)  District Leaders in Brooklyn are elected political party positions tasked with nominating judicial candidates to State Supreme Court, registering voters, increasing voter turnout in all elections, hiring Election Day workers to staff polling sites and finding jobs for folks.  In the 2016 Presidential Election, we witnessed a continuing trend in recent years and that was the pattern of low voter participation. Some blamed district leaders for the low voter turnout. Some believed district leaders hadn’t done enough to inspire voter participation. Today, many believe its time for a wide-ranging public discussion on the role of district leaders in the Kings County political realm and beyond.

Low Single Digit Voting Caused by NY’s Undemocratic Voter Suppression Election Law Has Turned Modern Party Bosses into a New Tammany Hall
The power of today’s Tammany party bosses is a result single digit voting for party offices. Just 3% of the registered Democrats participated in electing the party boss and district leaders in 2016.  2% in Queens, 4% in Brooklyn,0% in Staten Island, 4% in Manhattan and 5% in Queens.  Less than .005% of the county committee which selects county leaders in the major parties were challenged in 2016.  Most county and district leaders in both the major parties stay in their seats for decades unchallenged. The voting participation in the GOP and the other minor parties is even lower.  Low or no voting in party elections keep political bosses in power.   It’s the district leaders who pick the county committee members to run for office, who then elect party bosses in the Democratic and Republican parties in NYC.  Flatbush District Leader Jacob Gold has been in office for over 40 years.  Long time Queens district leader and campaign consultant Even Stavisky lives in Rockland with his wife who is the Democratic Rockland County Leader. His father was a long time Queens Assemblyman.