First Read 02/11/2019

February 11, 2019
Latest News
New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez is set to introduce a nonbinding resolution that would call on the state to allow undocumented residents to obtain driver’s licenses, arguing it would make the roads safer.
The campaign for Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who is planning to run for Congress in 2020, said that her past electoral successes make her the GOP’s best option to beat freshman Democratic Rep. Max Rose.
The average monthly Long Island Rail Road ticket will have doubled in price over 20 years under the MTA’s latest proposed fare hike, far outpacing inflation and income growth in Nassau and Suffolk counties over the same period.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new census czar Julie Menin is courting tony East Side political clubs to help solidify a future run for Manhattan district attorney at the same time she’s supposed to be finding ways to improve city participation in the census.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Director Lynne Patton told radio host John Catsimatidis she’s decamping her ritzy Trump Tower apartment to live in New York City’s crumbling public housing system for four weeks starting Monday.
Outgoing New York City Housing Authority interim Chairman Stanley Brezenoff called the deal unfair that the city made with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to appoint a monitor to oversee NYCHA without any new federal funding.
As anti-Amazon activists rallied in Queens and then gathered signatures for a petition aimed at derailing the online behemoth’s plans for a campus in Long Island City, others in the borough ripped the resistance as shortsighted.
Things were easy between state lawmakers and Cuomo during the first five weeks as they passed numerous bills – but as the focus shifts to the state budget, the governor is pushing back on calls to increase taxes and spending on social programs.
New York City Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr., after recently making homophobic comments, said that he would rather give up his powerful committee assignments than apologize to openly gay Speaker Corey Johnson.
Despite a series of legislative victories in January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s standing with New York voters fell to a new low in both favorability and job performance, according to a new Siena College poll.
Assembly Democrats were said to be split last week when privately discussing the idea of congestion pricing as a way to raise money for the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
A group of six Long Island Democratic state senators this weekend expressed fears to Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins that they could be harmed politically if the deal to bring Amazon to Queens unravels.
New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres will introduce legislation this week to make the Department of Investigation publicly track whether the city agencies it investigates actually follow the recommendations it issues after probes.
Over the weekend, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown cited the Reproductive Health Act as the reason for dropping an abortion charge related to the murder of a pregnant woman.
Cuomo lashed out at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in a speech last week, singling out its decision to use Tide detergent to clean subway stations, but riders don’t care how it’s done, they just want to see improvements.
The New York City Council will unveil a slate of legislation this week to root out parking placard corruption and the street chaos it causes, a practice that has expanded under Mayor Bill de Blasio.
As questions over gutting private health insurance percolate on the federal level, the legislators leading New York’s single-payer health care movement remain undeterred, even in the face of a budget gap and a sense of uneasiness from voters.
Upstate lawmakers said that if New York City does not want Amazon to build a headquarters in Queens, they would gladly accept the company following outspoken opposition from several downstate politicians.
Cuomo said he backs the ultimate goal of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” proposal to eliminate carbon emissions, but he indicated he has concerns about how best to achieve such an ambitious target.
New York City Councilman Rubén Díaz Sr. said critics of his claim that the gay community controls the City Council owe him an apology, adding that he has been the victim of harassment and bullying following his controversial remarks.
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo is heading to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to talk taxes with President Donald Trump and will press him to roll back the $10,000 cap on federal deductions for state and local taxes.
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Editorial Pages
One of the enduring shames of New York is that its laws let prosecutors hide evidence from defendants until the eve of the trial, which effectively means the 98 percent of defendants who plead guilty do so with precious little knowledge of the case against them.
New York should aggressively pursue its own transition to renewable energy, as Cuomo pledged in his 2019 agenda to ban oil drilling, and lead by example and demonstrate that America’s energy future won’t come from under the ocean floor.
Here’s hoping the threat to scrap the Amazon deal shuts down the extortionists so Amazon can get down to the business of settling on a final deal that looks more like free market capitalism and less like corporate welfare.
From City & State
National Politics
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota leapt into the 2020 presidential race on Sunday, becoming the first Midwestern state official to join the field taking on President Donald Trump.
Congressional efforts to reach a border security deal ahead of another government shutdown broke down over Democratic demands to limit the detention of undocumented immigrants.
Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota apologized for what many saw as anti-Semitic comments perpetuating the stereotype that Jews control politics with money after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats condemned her statements.
Democratic and Republican negotiators will meet in a last-ditch effort to salvage faltering government funding talks amid a raging debate over immigration policy ahead of the Friday deadline.
In Depth
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Oxiris Barbot is reorganizing her department to provide better health care services in New York City, calling her approach “a different way of doing business."
Short-term electric scooter rentals might be coming to New York state this year and the electric scooters are getting the backing of Cuomo and some lawmakers who want to see the devices operating from Buffalo to Manhattan.
While classrooms in New York and elsewhere have increasingly focused on preparing children for jobs in a tech economy, the recently opened Brooklyn STEAM Center has taken it a step further by locating next to companies where students might actually work.
In New York City, there are 550,000 residents who have difficulty walking and two-thirds of them live far from an accessible subway station, but the number of New Yorkers who have problems accessing the subway is likely to be much higher.
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