First Read 02/14/2020

February 14, 2020
Latest News
New York City officials awarded the Queens nonprofit Childrens Community Services a $359 million contract to shelter homeless families in hotels – even after questioning everything about the nonprofit, from loans to a massive hiring spree.
In an apparent effort to tamp down on leaks, the New York City Police Department subpoenaed a New York Post reporter’s Twitter data – oddly citing a post-9/11 anti-terrorism law to try to force the tech company to comply.
James Quinn, a veteran prosecutor who backs Trump’s reelection bid, believes his opposition over bail reform and the planned closing of the Rikers Island jail complex could put him over the top in the Queens borough president race.
The New York City Housing Authority has struck an agreement to bring nearly 6,000 apartments in Manhattan and Brooklyn under private management in a deal that will raise more than $1.5 billion for repairs.
New York City officials and the union representing school administrators reached a tentative agreement on a three-year labor contract that includes a 7.5% raise, paid family leave and more money for principals working in “hard to staff” schools.
Days after it was revealed that the state attorney general was probing the state Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, its chairwoman, Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, posted a letter to members trying to smooth over potential concerns about the group’s finances.
The convicted domestic abuser and former state Sen. Hiram Monserrate has a new ignominy to add to his list of public disgraces: $26,473 in fines from the New York City Campaign Finance Board for violations during his failed 2017 City Council run.
A year after Amazon abandoned its plans to build a campus in Queens, state lawmakers who opposed the project are looking to rein in the subsidy programs that New York City officials used to lure the company.
Trump appeared to link his administration’s policies toward New York to a demand that the state drop investigations and lawsuits related to his administration and his personal businesses and finances.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and President Donald Trump met behind closed doors at the White House, but emerged with no deal as the governor sought to convince the president to lift a ban that prohibits New Yorkers from enrolling in federal travel programs.
Former Rep. Chris Gibson was named as the 12th president of Siena College, Gibson’s alma mater located in the Albany suburbs, and will serve a five-year term.
A coalition of New York City lawyers representing kids with learning disabilities are pushing back on a state proposal to allow judges without law degrees to hear student complaints in order to address a judge shortage.
The New York City Police Department missed a deadline set by Attorney General James to provide data and policies on its subway policing, raising concerns the NYPD is trying to evade scrutiny into its racially disproportionate enforcement tactics.
New York City schools Chancellor Richard Carranza has increased his personal security detail after receiving threats to his safety, and is traveling with two bodyguards after receiving menacing messages.
State Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday backed a measure that would legalize paid surrogacy, making her the latest high-ranking state official to endorse the proposal.
Two members of the Queens state Senate delegation – state Sens. Joseph Addabbo and Toby Ann Stavisky – say they are open to a compromise plan that would eliminate cash bail but give judges discretion to send people to jail.
Half of adult New Yorkers lived in poverty in recent years, according to a stark study from Columbia University and the nonprofit Robin Hood that also found at least one in five of them were impoverished in 2018 alone.
The New York City Council ethics committee formally opened another investigation into City Councilman Andy King – the third probe into misbehavior that has already earned the Bronx lawmaker the harshest punishment in the body’s history.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a campaign to promote a measure meant to eliminate cost differences in products and services aimed at women versus the cost of similar products for men.
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who failed to gain traction during a brief presidential campaign of his own, will endorse U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont for the Democratic nomination, according to people familiar with the plans.
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Editorial Pages
In a creative move that could help ensure at least some level of professionalism in Erie County’s jails, the County Legislature is considering a measure to require the Sheriff’s Office to provide a report whenever an inmate dies or requires hospitalization for an injury.
The state Legislature is poised to pile on more costs and regulatory burdens on the real estate industry, on the bizarre theory that financially destroying landlords who offer affordable housing will create more affordable housing, Jay Martin, executive ­director of the Community Housing Improvement Program, writes.
A call by New York State Police stifled an activist’s criticism of ethics enforcement, so whatever credibility the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics had left hinges on a proper investigation.
Thank you, state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and fellow senators who, much to the consternation of their fellow Democrats in the Assembly, are listening to legitimate criticism and proposing adjustments to the flawed bail reform law.
From City & State
National Politics
Judy Shelton, Trump’s nominee for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, appears to be in danger of rejection by the GOP-controlled Senate after she struggled to defend what one Republican senator called her “outlier” views during a confirmation hearing.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr delivered an extraordinary rebuke of Trump, saying that his attacks on the Justice Department had made it “impossible for me to do my job” and that “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.”
The Justice Department won’t charge former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe with lying to investigators about a media disclosure, ending a long-running inquiry into a top law enforcement official who authorized the bureau to investigate Trump.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr has assigned an outside prosecutor to scrutinize the criminal case against President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
In Depth
The back-and-forth between Trump and Bloomberg on Twitter, at rallies and in statements by their campaigns and surrogates calls to mind two smart-alecky kids yelling insults at each other from their respective stoops.
Michael Bloomberg’s sexism, like that of fellow New York City billionaire Donald Trump, has been prolific and well-documented, but for some reason, the stories about him don’t seem to have taken hold.
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