First Read - November 25, 2015

WEATHER: Sunny across the state. New York City, high 51; Albany, high 48; Buffalo, high 49.



* Seniors are the fastest growing segment of New York City’s population, so elected officials should keep their needs in mind, in particular the benefits of having accessible, culturally-competent services and high-quality affordable housing, Stuart Kaplan writes:

* Basil A. Smikle Jr., executive director for the New York State Democratic Party, discusses the 2016 presidential nominating process and the next class of potential presidential candidates in an interview with Editor-at-large Gerson Borrero:



* With a parents revolt on his hands, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will reportedly make an about-face and push for the role of test results in establishing teacher performance evaluations to be reduced, possibly even to zero, the New York Times reports:

* Shortly after deliberations began in the corruption trial of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, two jurors sent notes to the judge, one pleading to be excused from the jury and the other clarifying whether or not giving New York State funds for “something in return is illegal,” the Times reports:

* A raise in salary for Adam Skelos, the son of former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, at AbTech Industries was tied to a $12 million storm water treatment contract in Nassau County, according to testimony heard during the corruption trial of Skelos from AbTech CEO Glenn Rink, the Times reports:

* Former state Sen. Thomas Libous was sentenced to two years of probation, six months of home confinement and a $50,000 fine for lying to federal agents during a corruption investigation, avoiding jail time due to his terminal prostate cancer, the Times reports:

* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed shrinking the number of horse-drawn carriages allowed to ply Central Park from 220 to just a few dozen, and moving their home from the West Side of Manhattan to a stable inside Central Park, the Times reports:

* The New York State Court of Appeals opted to consider developers' appeal of a New York City decision that cast into doubt the $3 billion Willets Point project to build a shopping mall and 23 acres of housing, parks, retail and a hotel around Citi Field, Crain’s reports:

* Cuomo said that the state had come to an agreement to keep open an Alcoa plant in Massena on the St. Lawrence River after promising the company nearly $70 million in state subsidies, the Times reports:  

* De Blasio called on Albany, the federal government and the private sector to address New York City’s growing hunger crisis, citing a new report that said nearly half of New Yorkers who can’t afford enough food and are of working age are employed, the Wall Street Journal reports:

* Cuomo and de Blasio squabbled again over the causes of New York City’s homeless crisis, with the governor saying it’s an issue not of money but of management and smarts, while the mayor pointed out that the state, under Cuomo, had cut funding for rental assistance in 2011, the Observer reports:

* The Syracuse City Council voted unanimously to override Mayor Stephanie Miner's veto and provide $15,000 for the Citizen Review Board to hire consultants to help investigate complaints of police misconduct, the Syracuse Post-Standard reports:



* Private sector jobs in New York state increased by 168,600 from October 2014 to 7,859,000 in October 2015, an all-time high, with the unemployment rate dropping to 4.8%, according to a new report from the New York state Department of Labor:



* In a four-part special report, City & State and City Limits look at the troubling problems facing Rikers Island, proposed reforms, the growing calls for the correctional facility to be shut down and the impact that could have on New York City:


* EDITOR’S NOTE: There will be no Last Read this week and there will be no First Read on Thanksgiving and on Friday. We will be sending First Read out this weekend.



MetroPlus Health Plan, a subsidiary of NYC Health + Hospitals, is the only NYC health plan to actually lower its premiums from the previous year. MetroPlus has the lowest cost health plans online. The new Essential Plan has no annual deductible and offers the same essential benefits as other plans, including free preventive care. Consumers pay just $20 a month per adult or $0. depending on their income.




* With two key rezoning efforts in De Blasio’s affordable housing plan facing opposition from many of the city’s community boards, the Daily News’ Juan Gonzalez writes that the mayor should consider taking control of the Battery Park City Authority from the state to increase funding for affordable housing:

*  While de Blasio and horse carriage ban supporters may view their newly proposed deal of shrinking the number of horse-drawn carriages and moving horses to a stable inside Central Park as a compromise, it is anything but that, writes the Daily News:

* The Daily News wonders how jurors on the Sheldon Silver could be stressed out or have patience for Silver’s New York way of governing, considering all of the damage his actions have done to the city and state:

* Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s re-establishment of the long-defunct Welfare Advisory Board brings together a formidable committee of seven individuals long involved in working with the poor and disadvantaged that can make a difference in solving Buffalo’s poverty crisis, the Buffalo News writes:

* With Thanksgiving approaching, Christine Quinn, CEO of Win and former speaker of the New York City Council, writes for the Daily News that New Yorkers need to not only continue donating, but also push for more support for agencies that can help break the city’s cycle of homelessness:



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* New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres discusses his push for civil forfeiture reform through increased transparency in the process, and the fight he expects to face from the NYPD in a video interview:



CITY & STATE CAREERS - WHO’S HIRING: To advertise your employment opportunities with City & State, email or call 646-442-1617. Visit www.CityandState.Careers to view all jobs.

Director of Data Analytics, Office of the NYC Comptroller

Seeking an exceptional candidate to lead a division responsible for generating independent research, performing predictive modeling, and providing analysis of programmatic, budgetary and economic issues regarding City’s financial conditions. Ideal candidate will have strong financial/budgetary quantitative data analysis skills and demonstrated experience analyzing large, complex data sets. View full listing here.

Political Director – 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

Political Director will direct electoral, legislative and issue based campaigns, lead the political staff, manage department and PAC budgets, build and maintain relationships with political figures, including federal, state and city elected and appointed officials, employers, labor unions and community organizations, and help build membership programs.   View full job description/apply. Submit Resume by 11/27/15



HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Caroline Garcia, director, Business Controls, New York Power Authority … to Gail Collins, New York Times op-ed columnist … to David Poleto, a partner at Park Strategies LLC … to Barbara Bush and Jenna Hager, presidential daughters … to Joe Dinkin, national communications director for the Working Families Party … to Amit Bagga, deputy commissioner of external affairs at New York City Department of Consumer Affairs … On Thursday to Anthony Constantinople, principal at Constantinople & Vallone … to Roberto Perez, deputy commissioner, Mayor's Community Affairs Unit … to Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton … to Erin Drinkwater, former executive director of Brooklyn Community Pride Center … to Nicole Robinson-Etienne, assistant director, government and community affairs, Wildlife Conservation Society/NY Aquarium … to Yoni Bokser, economic development assistant to Queens Borough President Melinda Katz …

On Friday to Assemblywoman Janet Duprey … to New York City Councilman Daniel Dromm … to New York City Councilwoman Liz Crowley … to Louise Dankberg, district leader 74th AD, Part C … to Maria Guastella, a commissioner on the New York City Board of Elections … to photojournalist Brigitte Stelzer … to Charlie Albanetti, Citizen Action of New York communications director … and to Katie Honan, a reporter with DNAinfo.


MOVING ON: Kathy Clarke will rejoin The Real Deal as senior national reporter … Sarah Goodyear, a freelance writer and contributor to The Atlantic’s CityLab site, will join the New York Daily News as a senior writer on the new digital longform team … David Lyons is being promoted to vice president of business services of PSEG Long Island … Christopher Black is being promoted to director of legislation for New York State United Teachers … and Hayne Yoon, counsel to U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, will join the Vera Institute of Justice as government affairs director.



Entergy has announced the company will close its FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Upstate New York. If that happens, it will be a devastating blow to a regional economy that’s already lagging behind the rest of the state.

Now the Governor and state leaders need to save Upstate New York’s energy jobs by making a deal with Entergy or making it possible for a new owner to operate FitzPatrick. See our video at




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

7:05 a.m. - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane appear live on Good Day New York with Rosanna Scotto, Fox 5, WNYW.

7:33 a.m. and 9:33 a.m. - De Blasio and McCray appear on NPR’s Morning Edition, NPR.

10 a.m. - New York City Coalition Against Hunger releases annual survey on demand at soup kitchens and food pantries and new findings on food insecurity and hunger in the city and the state, PATHHSEO Soup Kitchen, Caldwell Temple A.M.E. Zion Church, 1288 Reverend James A. Polite Ave., Bronx.

11 a.m. - “The Capitol Pressroom” features Vin Bonventre of Albany Law School, Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, Mark Dunlea of Green Education and Legal Fund and Larry Levy of Hofstra University, WCNY.

11:30 a.m. - Public Advocate Letitia James participates in a fried turkey giveaway, 21 Nassau Avenue, Brooklyn.

12 p.m. - Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Jerrold Nadler and Nydia M. Velázquez join airport workers on fast for $15 wages and union rights, LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal Parking Lot 1, Queens.

12 p.m. - State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell and New York City Councilmen Ydanis Rodriguez and Mark Levine attend Thanksgiving lunch for seniors, La Marina, 348 Dyckman St., Manhattan.

12:30 p.m. - Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer attends Asian Americans for Equality Annual Thanksgiving Luncheon, Golden Unicorn, 18 East Broadway, Manhattan.

1 p.m. - New York City Coalition Against Hunger releases annual survey on demand at soup kitchens and food pantries and new findings on food insecurity and hunger in the city and the state, Affinity Health Plan (SNAP outreach site), 41-46 Main St. Flushing, Queens.

5 p.m. - Mayor de Blasio delivers remarks at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon inflation press conference, 77th Street and Central Park West, Manhattan.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. - “Inside City Hall” features the Rundown with Gerson Borrero and Curtis Sliwa, Time Warner Cable News NY1.

8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. - “Capital Tonight” airs, Time Warner Cable News.



What’s Your Purpose? Find it at Metropolitan College of New York. Join us at our Grad Info Session on Thursday, December 3 from 6 – 8pm and learn how a master’s degree from MCNY can empower you and our community. Learn how to advance your career from industry leader Assemblyman Victor Pichardo. Availability is limited. RSVP here.



KICKER: “I’m feeling pressured, stressed out ... told that I’m not using my common sense, my heart is pounding and my head feels weird. I am so stressed out right now that I can’t even write normally. I don’t feel like I can be myself right now! I need to leave!” - An unidentified juror on the political corruption trial of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, in a note submitted to the judge shortly after deliberations began, via the Times.