First Read – January 20, 2017

WEATHER: Mostly cloudy with light rain in the afternoon in New York City and Buffalo, while it will be mostly cloudy in Albany. New York City, high 47; Albany, high 44; Buffalo, high 45.



* Wayne Barrett, the legendary New York political reporter who died yesterday, wrote several investigative stories for City & State and was a guest on video and podcast interviews. In honor of Barrett, we invite you to remember him through his own words.

* In an interview, New York City GOP mayoral candidate Paul Massey Jr., who made headlines this week for raising more money than Mayor Bill de Blasio, gave his thoughts on the incumbent mayor, Donald Trump, Michael Bloomberg and more.

* The biggest winner this week is Donald Trump, and the biggest loser is Hillary Clinton. But they’ve become such national – even global – figures that we limited it to more local folks for this week’s Winners & Losers.



* On the eve of the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, thousands of protesters, a group of celebrities and Mayor Bill de Blasio took to the streets in New York City in what was meant to be a show of unity, The New York Times reports.

* Most New Yorkers say homelessness has worsened under de Blasio, underscoring the political risks of an issue that has dogged the mayor, The Wall Street Journal writes.

* Next week, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will recommend a 25-cent increase to the base fare that would make it $3 per swipe, passing on another option that would have kept it at $2.75, the Daily News reports.

* A report found that the nonprofit agency that oversaw a Bronx apartment where two baby sisters were killed by steam from a faulty radiator has racked up a city-high 185 open violations at a separate site it manages for the homeless, the Post reports.

* The Daily News writes that Rudy Giuliani took a swanky Thursday luncheon as a golden opportunity to tell a sex-filled “locker room” anecdote about the worst terror attack in U.S. history, a recording has revealed.

* More news below …



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* The partner of the NYPD cop who fatally shot unarmed Bronx teen Ramarley Graham in 2002 said during a department trial that he “100 percent” believed Graham had a gun, the Post reports.

* Two dozen criminal justice advocates rallied in front of City Hall yesterday to push for a change in the state law that automatically charges 16- and 17-year-olds accused of crimes as adults, the Daily News writes.

* A pair of 17-year-old girls are seeking a total of $3 million, claiming cops roughed them up – even breaking one of their arms – just half a block from their Brooklyn high school, the Daily News reports.

* A progressive organization is urging freshman U.S. Rep. Thomas Suozzi to skip today’s presidential inauguration, saying that attending would “dignify or legitimize” Trump’s actions, but Suozzi responded by confirming his attendance, Newsday writes.

* On Tuesday, the education committee of the New York City Council will hold an oversight hearing on teacher recruitment and retention, Gotham Gazette writes.

* Gov. Andrew Cuomo condemned anonymous bomb threats directed at three Jewish Community Centers in New York, including one in Albany, which are believed to be part of a series of incidents aimed at JCC facilities across the country, State of Politics reports.

* Hardened criminals locked away in city jails can now look forward to getting some inner peace through stress-reducing transcendental meditation classes, courtesy of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the Post reports.



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* With Donald Trump set to enter the White House with the lowest favorability ratings of any incoming president in modern history, it won’t be long until even his true believers have second thoughts, Karen Hinton writes.



* Criminal justice activist Anthony Papa of the Drug Policy Alliance joins the Slant Podcast to discuss his recent pardon from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, life behind bars and the ineffectiveness of the United States’ drug war.



* After Gov. Andrew Cuomo nominated Rowan Wilson for the state Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, state Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman John Bonacic said he would meet with the nominee on Tuesday and that he is currently reviewing his credentials and background. In the past, Bonacic has expressed displeasure in Cuomo’s selection process, but ultimately all of the governor’s nominees have been confirmed by the state Senate. Unlike with some past nominees, Bonacic would not say whether he expects Wilson to be supported by state Republicans and easily confirmed. Wilson, who would be only the second black man to sit on the court, has worked for the private law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore for three decades and would take the place of former Judge Eugene Pigott, who was forced to retire after he reached the state’s age limit for the court last year. If Wilson is confirmed, Cuomo will have appointed every member to the current state Court of Appeals. State Senate Republicans have 30 days to either confirm or reject Wilson.



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* The New York Post questions Cuomo’s move to rebrand Start-Up New York, a 2013 program offering tax breaks to new companies, in light of its mediocre results luring jobs upstate.

* In joining more than 60 other congressional members boycotting the inauguration, U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter is demonstrating a great degree of integrity, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle writes.

* Though Albany lawmakers would have to cooperate and allocate the money, and property owners, some intractable, would have to agree to sell, but if Cuomo’s plan to develop prime land near Niagara Falls succeeds, it may prove his biggest victory yet, The Buffalo News writes.



Trump Administration’s Education Secretary – A Threat to New York City Children

By Michael Mulgrew, President, United Federation of Teachers

Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Education Secretary, has a track record of seeking to privatize education, and has shown little interest in strengthening neighborhood public schools. Hundreds of thousands of New York City students will suffer if DeVos makes good on Trump’s campaign pledge to pull billions of federal dollars away from public schools to pay for private vouchers. Read more here.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Michael Powell, New York Times columnist … to former U.S. Rep. Bill Owens … to Alaina Gilligo, first deputy New York City comptroller … to Rebecca Weintraub, a member of City & State’s 2014 class of New York City Rising Stars … Ben Geyerhahn, CEO and founder of BeneStream … and to Jeffrey Schanback, general counsel at Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City.


IN MEMORIAM: Wayne Barrett, the legendary investigative reporter and columnist for the Village Voice who held New York’s power brokers, including Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani, in check with his reporting, died on Thursday in Manhattan. He was 71.


Have a birthday, career change, birth or death to announce? Let us know and we’ll include it in First Read – just email  



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Chief of Staff, City Council Member

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Policy Associate for Research and Data Analysis, Citizens’ Committee for Children
Unique opportunity to serve as part of the team managing NYC’s premiere child well-being database. Support CCC’s research, community education and advocacy by providing data collection, analysis, mapping, and producing data reports.  Candidate must have experience analyzing large data sets and proficiency in ArcGIS.




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

9:30 a.m. – Sam Hoyt, regional president of Empire State Development, delivers regional budget briefing, Niagara Falls Council Chambers, 745 Main St., Niagara Falls.

9:30 a.m. – Sabrina Ty, president and CEO of New York state Environmental Facilities Corp., delivers regional budget briefing, Columbia/Greene Community College, Saland Forum Professional Academic Center, 4400 Route 23, Hudson.

10 a.m. – “The Brian Lehrer Show” features New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, actress and activist Rosie Perez, and Katherine Siemionko, Women’s March on NYC chairwoman, WNYC.

10 a.m. – Eleanor’s Legacy hosts a political engagement and campaign workshop for women who want to learn the fundamentals of political engagement, offices of Abrams & Fensterman, 1 MetroTech Center, suite 1701, Brooklyn.

10 a.m. – Roberta Reardon, commissioner of New York state Department of Labor, delivers regional budget briefing, Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, 20 W. 44st St., Manhattan.

10:30 a.m. – Assemblymembers Steven Cymbrowitz and William Colton and NYCHA Chairwoman and CEO Shola Olatoye announce the delivery of new stoves and refrigerators for tenants of Marlboro Houses, Marlboro Senior Center, 2298 W. 8th St., Brooklyn.

10:30 a.m. – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul highlights the governor’s State of the State and budget proposals, Jamestown Gateway Train Station, 211-217 Second St., Jamestown.

11 a.m. – RoAnn Destito, commissioner of New York state Office of General Services, delivers regional budget briefing, SUNY Geneseo, Hunt Room, MacVittie College Union, 1 College Circle, Geneseo.

11 a.m. – Richard Ball, commissioner of New York state Department of Agriculture and Markets, delivers regional budget briefing, The American Hotel, 192 Main St., Sharon Springs.

11 a.m. – Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, state Sen. Neil Breslin, Health Care for America Now, Health Care for All New York, Citizen Action of New York, AFSCME, New York State Nurses Association, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, Statewide Senior Action Council, and New York state Council of Churches hold “Save My Care” rally to oppose Congressional Republicans’ repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Lafayette Park, Albany.

11 a.m. – U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, state Sen. Marisol Alcantara, Assemblywoman Carmen de la Rosa and New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez host a “Standing Together, United As One” community event, The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, 3940 Broadway, Manhattan.

11 a.m. – “The Capitol Pressroom” features City & State’s Ashley Hupfl on Winners & Losers, Politico New York education reporter Keshia Clukey, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett, the Community Service Society’s Elisabeth Benjamin, Hobart and William Smith’s Betty Bayer, and Women’s March and Rally co-organizer Melina Carnicelli, WCNY.

11:15 a.m. – New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, City Councilman Carlos Menchaca and state Sen. Marisol Alcantara take part in an act of civil disobedience to protest President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, Trump Tower, 721 Fifth Ave., Manhattan.

11:15 a.m. – Maria Vullo, superintendent of New York state Department of Financial Services, delivers regional budget briefing, Jewish Community Center, 1466 Manor Road, Staten Island.

11:30 a.m. – President-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.

12:15 p.m. – Jamie Rubin, commissioner of New York state Homes and Community Renewal, delivers regional budget briefing, Fort Greene Council, Inc., 966 Fulton St., Brooklyn.

12:25 p.m. – Hochul presents the governor's State of the State and budget proposals at the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce annual luncheon, Shorewood Country Club, 4958 W. Lake Road, Dunkirk.

4 p.m. – Ball delivers regional budget briefing, Northeast Classic Car Museum, 24 Rexford St., Norwich.

5 p.m. –  The NYC Coalition to Resist Trump hosts a rally followed by a march to the Trump building at 40 Wall Street, Foley Square, 11 Worth St., Manhattan.

5 p.m. and 6 p.m. – “MetroFocus” features Women’s March on NYC organizer Katherine Siemionko, WLIW21 (5 p.m.) and WNET Thirteen (6 p.m.).

5:30 p.m. – Karim Camara, executive director of New York state Office of Faith Based Community Development Services, delivers regional budget briefing, Jamaica Muslim Center, 85-37 168th St., Queens.

6 p.m. – Public Advocate James delivers remarks at The GB Project's G&N panel discussion of "Very Young Girls,” Mercy College, 1200 Waters Place, Bronx.

6 p.m. – Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer attends Arts in Action Student Art Show Gala, Arts in Action VAP studio, 711 Amsterdam Ave., Manhattan.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – “Road to City Hall” features FiveThirtyEight’s Clare Malone, Maria Hinojosa of NPR, political strategists Rebecca Katz and Bill O'Reilly, Azi Paybarah of Politico New York, Jeff Mays of DNAinfo, David Goodman of The New York Times, and Brigid Bergin of WNYC Radio, NY1.

8 p.m. – Public Advocate James delivers remarks at The Flushing Chinese Business Association 35th anniversary gala, Terrace On the Park, 52-11 111th St., Manhattan.



On Public Safety Forum! On February 1st at 8am, City & State will present a half-day policy forum to discuss New York public safety and security at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Police Commissioner James O’Neill will deliver a keynote address to kick off the discussion. Featured speakers from the NY Police Department, FBI, NY Fire Department, Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and more will discuss how the community can participate in creating a safer city, the ways to maximize New York security including cyber security, and how to prepare for emergencies such as fire, infrastructure failure, and natural disasters. Check out the full agenda! Discounted tickets available for Nonprofit and government employees. CLICK HERE TO RSVP


KICKER: “No one ever said the obvious, but the obvious is that this is a race button that Donald has pushed.” - Wayne Barrett on Trump’s campaign style, via City & State.