First Read - November 25, 2014

WEATHER: A chance of rain/flurries in Western New York. Mostly sunny in the rest of the state. New York City, high 59; Albany, high 57; Buffalo, high 39.


THE TRAPPINGS OF POWER: Politicians are only too happy to accept perks like a security detail because such trifles make them feel powerful, writes City & State’s Morgan Pehme:


COMBATING MWBE FRAUD: With fraud plaguing government efforts to award more contracts to minority- and women-owned businesses, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced a tougher approach, City & State reports:



* The Ferguson decision echoed all the way to New York, where protesters took to the streetsMonday night following the announcement that Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted, the New York Post reports:

* The lawyers for a controversially named Schenectady food cart complained to a federal judge that the Cuomo administration purged the emails of a top aide who had warned that allowing the Wandering Dago to remain at Saratoga Race Course represented "a problem waiting to blow up,” the Times Union reports:

* Fears of disastrous flooding from a rapid meltdown of the Buffalo area's 7 feet of snow eased on Monday, but high winds became a menace, threatening to knock down trees and power lines, the Associated Press writes:

* New Yorkers would be able to identify as more than one race on city documents under legislation set to be introduced in the New York City Council on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reports:

* The chairman of the Council's public housing committee wants answers as to why stairwell lights weren't functioning at the Brooklyn housing project where an unarmed man was shot by a cop, the Daily News reports:

* Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani caused a firestorm of controversy Sunday when he questioned why people protest the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown but not black-on-black crime, the Daily News writes:

* Richard Baker, the chief executive of the Hudson’s Bay Company announced that Hudson’s Bay had taken out a loan against the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship that values the department store at nearly $4 billion, making it one of the most valuable retail properties in the country, the Times reports:

* Officials said Monday, a former member of Community Board 2 in lower Manhattan has agreed to pay a $10,660 fine for accepting 10 years of free membership to the exclusive Soho House in the Meatpacking District, the Post writes:



* Long Island billionaire and co-founder of Home Depot Kenneth Langone was interviewed on Fox Business Network this weekend and talked about Buffalo, hydrofracking and the governor’s Buffalo Billion program, the Buffalo News writes:


Have a tip or story idea about energy or the environment? Email policy reporter Wilder Fleming



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* The Gaming Commission’s casino site selection decisions should not be unduly influenced by politicians, but based on community support, economic viability of the projects, and the need of the host communities for economic development, the Times Union writes:

* More research is needed to understand attrition and entrance patterns in charter schools in New York City, however there is little more than anecdotal evidence supporting the argument that charter schools pressure difficult-to-educate students out the door, Manhattan Institute’s Marcus Winters writes:

* Real change in the New York City Police Department will come from chiefs going out in the field with their troops and exerting leadership, especially by setting an example, Citizens Crime Commission’s former president Thomas Reppetto writes in the Post:



ALERTSetting the Agenda Part 1 Print Spotlight / Ad deadline is December 8th at 10am.

City & State magazine will feature comprehensive coverage of issues vital to New York’s health care; energy / environment; and education industries. Issue features an introduction to the industry; influential public officials to the industry or issue; a 2014 analysis + 2015 legislative forecast; and perspectives from industry sector representatives. To advertise your organizations issue in advance of the 2015 legislative session email or dial212-894-5422.




40 UNDER 40 INTERVIEWS: City & State Editor-in-chief Morgan Pehme interviewed some of the 40 Under 40 New York City Rising Stars at our cocktail reception in October:

Danna DeBlasio, managing director of New York City Council lobbying with Patricia Lynch Associates:

Jonathan Westin, executive director for New York Communities for Change:



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

Policy Associate for Food and Income Security, Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, Inc.

Salary: Commensurate with experience. Competitive benefit package

Description: Job responsibilities center on the three components of our work: fact-finding, community education and advocacy. This will include analytic work to evaluate the impact of polices, budgets and legislation on children; testifying at city and state legislative hearings; meeting with elected and appointed government officials; participating in coalitions with colleagues; and developing and administering survey instruments that ultimately lead to the development of findings and recommendations. Key areas of focus in this portfolio include: school meals; summer meals; options to bring healthy affordable food into communities; asset development; child savings accounts; and access to public benefits such as public assistance, WIC and SNAP/food stamps.

Further Info: Please send a resume, three references, a writing sample and salary history to Lorraine Tate,


Manager, Benchmark Polling Center (NYSUT)

Description: Polling Center Manager with knowledge and experience to effectively utilize analytical skills, collect data, draw valid conclusions and convey technical information to a non-technical audience. Must have a demonstrated ability to draft polls, develop and implement process enhancements including technology and software. Present the services provided to outside organizations.

Further Info: Email for job posting or to apply


External Affairs + Digital Media Coordinator

Description: Large transportation trade association seeks an External Affairs Coordinator and Digital Media Manager. Responsibilities include developing partnership opportunities, working with key constituencies, communicating with the public affairs team, and creating and maintaining web and social media content. The ideal candidate has 3-7 years of experience. Proficiency in digital media outreach is a must.

Further Info: To apply, please email with resume and cover letter.


Regional Political Organizers (7 positions statewide), NYSUT

Description:  Responsible for mobilizing and engaging NYSUT’s members and locals around NYSUT’s Legislative and Political Action objectives.  Organize and track member voter registration and turnout in campaigns. Engage members around PAC fundraising. Candidates must possess a proven background in union organizing, progressive politics and/or political campaigns with an emphasis on organizing.

Further Info: Email for job posting or to apply



HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Caroline Garcia, strategic initiatives director for energy policy at the New York Power Authority … to The New York Times op-ed columnist Gail Collins … to David Poleto, a partner at Park Strategies LLC … to former President George W. Bush’s daughters Barbara Bush and Jenna Hager ... to Joe Dinkin, national communications director for the Working Families Party … and to Amit Bagga, deputy commissioner of external affairs at New York City Department of Consumer Affairs.


MOVING ON: The Vera Institute of Justice promoted Krista Larson to be director for its Center on Youth Justice.



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10 a.m. - The New York State Assembly Banks Committee and the Subcommittee on Banking in Underserved Communities hold a joint hearing on identifying alternatives to high-cost financial products, Room 1923, 19th Floor, 250 Broadway, Manhattan.

10 a.m. - The New York City Council Finance Committee considers resolutions on annual expenditures for various business improvement districts and designation of organizations receiving funding in the expense budget, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

10 a.m. - Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, joins New York City HRA Commissioner Steven Banks and elected officials to release the group’s annual survey on demand at soup kitchens and food pantries and new findings on food insecurity, New York City Human Resources Administration SNAP Office, 12 W. 14th St., 5th Floor, Manhattan.

10 a.m. - The Brian Lehrer Show features a discussion of New Jersey’s outgoing pension fund overseer, Ira Glass and Alec Baldwin, William Frey of the Brookings Institution on U.S. demographic shifts, and more, WNYC.

10 a.m. – The Geraldo Rivera Show airs, WABC.

10:30 a.m. – NY1’s Zack Fink joins Fred Dicker on Live from the State Capitol to talk about his cover story in the current issue of City & State about Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie’s unlikely alliance, TALK 1300 AM.

10:30 a.m. - New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray participates in the Commemoration of the International Day to End Violence Against Women, United Nations headquarters, Economic and Social Council Chamber, Manhattan.

11 a.m. - The Capitol Pressroom features David Kidera, director of the Authorities Budget Office, Ossining Superintendent Raymond Sanchez, Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and Ulster County Executive Michael Hein, WCNY.

11 a.m. - New York City Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez, Julissa Ferreras, Daniel Dromm and Mark Weprin discuss legislation requiring livery base agreements before dispatching the drivers of other bases, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

11 a.m. - New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Members Costa Constantinides and David Greenfield praise the Astoria Cove agreement before the full Council votes, City Hall Park, Brooklyn Bridge side, Manhattan.

11:30 a.m. – New York City Public Advocate Letitia James attends state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s press conference on holiday shopping, 120 Broadway, Manhattan.

12 p.m. - Community, faith, and labor leaders call on the state Legislature to raise the wage for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who are working but still poor before giving themselves a pay increase, State Capitol, 3rd floor outside Senate Chamber, Albany.

12:30 p.m. - New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams applauds the expected passage of his pro-voter bill during the Speaker’s pre-stated press conference, Red Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

12:45 p.m. - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and McCray greet volunteers and distribute food, PATHHSEO Soup Kitchen, basement of Caldwell AME Zion Church, 1281 Chisholm St., Bronx.

1 p.m. - Parents of students demand an apology from New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña for remarks that charter schools recruit only students with high test scores, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – PA James attends a New York City Council stated meeting, City Hall, Manhattan.

1:30 p.m. - The New York City Council holds its Stated Meeting and considers pro-voter and accessible pedestrian signal legislation, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

2:30 p.m. - The New York City Coalition Against Hunger and elected officials release the group’s annual survey on demand at soup kitchens and food pantries and new findings on food insecurity, Council of Jewish Organizations Food Pantry, Temple Emanuel, 984 Post Ave., Staten Island.

4 p.m. – PA James attends a coat giveaway with the Uniformed Officers Association, 225 Adelphi St., Brooklyn.

5 p.m. - Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer attends Momentum Project’s 27th Annual Dinner at Manhattan St. Peter's Lutheran Church, 619 Lexington Ave., Manhattan.

6 p.m. - New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña attends a meeting of the Panel for Educational Policy, The High School of Fashion Industries, 225 W. 24th St., Manhattan.

6 p.m. – New York City Councilman Rory Lancman will speak on judicial administration reform at the New York City Bar Association Council on Judicial Administration, 42 West 44th St., Manhattan.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. - Inside City Hall features the NY1 Wise Guys and a panel on hunger in New York City, Time Warner Cable News NY1.

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



VOTING & CIVIL RIGHTS: A Secular, Labor and Religious Discussion - Looking Ahead to 2016

The Latino Leadership Institute has invited Reverend William Barber, North Carolina founder MoralMonday, Craig Becker, General Counsel (AFLCIO), Juan Cartagena, President, Latino Justice, Jerry Goldfeder, Esq., Rev. Gabriel Salguero, and Ana Oliveira, President, NY Women Foundation to discuss important issues related to the recent US Supreme Court decisions that have dramatically debilitated the fundamental rights of individuals in the areas of voting, labor and civil rights. When: December 11th at 6 PM at Union Theological Seminary. RSVP to this FREE event here:  



KICKER: “It’s amazing that with all the challenges we face ... we’re focused on allowing people to check off three or four different races on a form.” – Mike Long, state Conservative Party chairman, on the city Council’s proposal to identify as multiracial, via the Journal