First Read 07/12/2019

July 12, 2019
Latest News
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio went after Joe Biden for voting in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement as a U.S. senator in 1993 – and urged fellow Democrats to block President Donald Trump’s plan to replace the controversial trade deal.
New York’s elite private school community is “furious” over a state proposal to give the New York City Department of Education oversight of their kids’ curriculum – primarily intended to ensure that ­yeshiva students get quality secular instruction.
New York City Councilman Mark Gjonaj has asked state Attorney General Letitia James to open an antitrust investigation into Grubhub, requesting she revisit the terms of a 2013 settlement allowing the food delivery app to acquire competitor Seamless.
New York City has less than three years to drastically slash the number of rats, mice, cockroaches and bedbugs in public housing developments – but pest control experts think the target set in a federal agreement is impossible.
The MTA’s wish list for the next two decades – covering everything from new subway cars to eventual subway expansion – likely won’t be made public until the end of the year, which would make it more than a year late.
Rising home prices near the planned Amazon headquarters in northern Virginia amounted to a dose of vindication for New Yorkers who opposed the tech giant coming to New York City, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and state Sen. Michael Gianaris.
The New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board said in a report that the NYPD didn’t fulfill roughly 40% of its requests for body-camera footage in 2019 in connection with its police misconduct cases.
A new report shows U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand as the Democratic presidential candidate who is currently most engaged with candidates for state office, while New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is second to last.
For decades, Alan Kaufman and Tony Georgiton controlled the fortunes of more yellow cab drivers than almost anybody else in the business, but on Thursday, they were arrested and accused in a bribery scheme.
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Eight former members of the defunct state Senate Independent Democratic Conference have paid $275,000, a significant sum for a New York election law case, to settle allegations they took millions in unlawful campaign donations.
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New York City’s top lawyer and de Blasio’s key legal advisor, corporation counsel Zachary Carter, is retiring next month after nearly six years leading the Law Department.
More than 50 Democrats in the state Assembly signed onto a letter to President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General William Barr urging the federal administration improve conditions at migrant detention facilities near the southern border.
Queens Democratic boss and 11-term Rep. Greg Meeks urged fellow Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to back off her feud with party leaders or face a fight for her political life, leaving the door open for a primary challenge against her.
The Blackstone Group is pulling back on apartment renovations and other planned work at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in response to the sweeping changes to the state's rent-regulation laws passed in Albany.
Elected officials and advocates are calling on de Blasio to bail out debt-burdened taxi medallion owners, arguing the city played a role in the crisis when it auctioned off medallions at sky-high prices, despite signs that the industry was heading toward a decline.
NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said that the department's longstanding practice of ticketing cyclists at the site of deadly crashes involving cyclists is "absolutely insensitive," adding that enforcement will not focus on bicyclists.
Cuomo signed a bill adding hairstyles and traits historically associated with race to the state’s anti-racial discrimination laws, amending the state’s human rights law and the Dignity For All Students Act to add new sections on the definition of race.
A state judge rejected a request to temporarily block a law ending New York’s religious exemption to vaccination requirements, days before a state deadline requiring parents to immunize their children in order to remain in school or daycare.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo fired off a letter to MTA executives Friday they address the homeless crisis in the city’s subways – saying he’s “never seen it this bad,” adding that 2,713 homeless people were found living in the subway in 2019.
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Héctor Figueroa, one of New York City’s most influential labor leaders who represented thousands of service workers as president of 32BJ Services International Union, died Thursday night of a heart attack at 57 years old.
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Editorial Pages
The reimagining of Belmont Park is not only about hockey and horse racing; the effort to develop land adjacent to the Belmont racetrack is a lesson in how stakeholders can listen to one another and get development done smartly.
Add the NYPD and Manhattan district attorney’s office to the long list of institutions that bobbled the ball in the decade since Jeffrey Epstein escaped proper prosecution and punishment for alleged sex crimes against dozens of girls.
De Blasio’s attack on a program in Brooklyn that keeps young people who’ve been convicted of having an unlicensed gun out of prison was a strange move, since the program could be held up as an example of the city’s success at incubating reforms, writer Emily Bazelon writes.
Addressing great failures that affect poor, powerless minorities – including Rikers Island, poor schools and NYCHA – should be the cornerstone of a true progressive agenda, and yet they continue to languish, Gov. Andrew Cuomo writes.
From City & State
National Politics
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned her caucus about President Donald Trump’s planned immigration raids this weekend, urging members to spread information about undocumented immigrants’ legal rights.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a preemptive lawsuit ahead of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids on undocumented immigrants that will reportedly occur on Sunday.
The House voted to prevent Trump from launching into war with Iran without getting congressional approval first, after more than two dozen Republicans joined Democrats to include the provision in the House’s annual defense authorization bill.
The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a $10 billion bill to renew the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, and the bill now goes to the Senate, where Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he will bring it up for a vote.
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Trump’s embattled labor secretary, R. Alexander Acosta, announced his plans to resign as controversy lingered over his handling of a sex crimes case involving Jeffrey Epstein when Acosta was a federal prosecutor in Florida.
In Depth
A city housing program to rehabilitate blighted and abandoned properties is the target of a City Council investigation, as critics say it used overly broad criteria that let the city repossess and transfer ownership of homes from longtime property owners.
In the fiscal year ending in June 2018, ICE’s New York field office, which covers New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley, carried out 3,476 arrests – almost double the 1,847 arrests it carried out in fiscal year 2016.
New York’s ambitious effort to fight climate change by virtually eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is underway, but the aggressive new plans could mean a fundamental reimagining of one of the world’s most recognizable high-rise cities.