First Read 11/08/2019

November 08, 2019
Latest News
New York state tax officials are restoring a measure of secrecy for condo owners who buy units without disclosing their names publicly through limited liability companies, in a reversal of a policy that drew fire from the real estate industry.
Six current and former New York City Police Department employees are accused of being part of a citywide medical insurance fraud ring that sent thousands of car accident victims to specific health clinics, doctors and lawyers in exchange for kickbacks.
Loree Sutton, New York City’s former veterans’ services commissioner, couldn’t tell de Blasio that she was resigning because he was too busy running for president, saying she wanted to have a sit-down months ago when she decided to step down and run for mayor.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $12 million supervised release program to entice accused criminals back to court would gift them with everything from movie tickets to cell phones.
A hard-fought agreement between New York City Hall and unionized caretakers at NYCHA was supposed to be part of a dramatic turnaround of the public housing system, but a recent report indicates the accord has, thus far, created a host of problems.
Bart Schwartz, the federal watchdog for the New York City Housing Authority, signed off on the agency’s plan to use $450 million in state aid to replace decrepit boilers and elevators in its developments.
State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins is defending Long Island Democrats against criticisms that they aren’t progressive enough, after a liberal group launched a new ad saying those six state senators are beholden to real estate.
The relatively peaceful coexistence Ruben Diaz Jr. and Rubén Díaz Sr. have carved out in the New York City political ecosystem is in peril and their Shakespearean family drama is being thrust into the spotlight just as both eye higher office.
The state attorney general’s office dropped part of its securities fraud case against Exxon Mobil Corp. on the final day of a rare climate change-related trial that has pushed the oil giant’s accounting practices into public view.
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Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is actively preparing to enter the Democratic presidential primary and is expected to file paperwork this week designating himself as a candidate in at least one state with an early filing deadline.
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Metro-North commuters may soon be paying more to park under a revenue-raising plan being pushed by the commuter rail – parking fees would jump an average of $42.75 per year east of the Hudson River and Saturday parking would no longer be free.
Developers and landlords of a luxury Brooklyn apartment building must cough up nearly $3 million in back pay and damages for getting a property tax break without following wage requirements.
The Brooklyn Lambda Independent Democrats chose to endorse Rep. Jerrold Nadler after hearing from both the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and primary challenger Lindsey Boylan, who failed to impress members with her pitch.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced it will join the Paris Climate Accord, and will develop a plan to reduce its carbon emissions in an effort to keep global warming this century under 2 degrees Celsius.
A federal judge in Buffalo sided with an arbitration panel that earlier this year said the Seneca Nation of Indians wrongly withheld at least $255 million in casino revenue payments to New York state.
New York City’s housing market hasn’t kept up with its stellar job growth, and that discrepancy is exacerbating displacement and homelessness – most significantly in Brooklyn and Queens.
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Democrat John Mannion will make a second bid for a soon-to-be-vacant state Senate seat in the Syracuse area after he lost to state Sen. Bob Antonacci last year, and will publicly announce his intentions in Syracuse next Wednesday.
A legal challenge by Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns to the new state law that will allow undocumented immigrants living in New York to apply for and receive driver’s licenses was rejected by a federal judge.
As former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg moves toward running for president, big Wall Street donors say they love the idea of a President Bloomberg, but they have a hard time seeing him surviving a leftward-lurching Democratic primary with a win.
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Editorial Pages
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was displaying an all-too-common bigotry in her recent Bronx town hall meeting when she bemoaned “historically Puerto Rican” Williamsburg’s transformation into “Disneyland for hippies.”
Protest politics often attracts opportunists, many of them with communist, anarchist or socialist affiliations, and something like that is happening in New York’s criminal justice reform movement, Errol Louis writes.
We don’t normally begrudge people disaster aid, but when New York state is handing out $50,000 grants for people to repair their vacation homes on flood-prone waterfront land, something is not quite right.
A knock against Letitia James during her campaign for state attorney general in 2018 was a concern that she would be too cozy with Albany power brokers, and disappointingly, the concern was warranted.
There’s an old saw in politics: When you don’t want to fix a problem, appoint a commission; unfortunately, the state Public Campaign Financing Commission appears poised to make election problems worse.
From City & State
National Politics
Nearly three years into office, Trump’s attempts to match the lofty campaign promises he made on immigration are in disarray – and over at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a bitter dispute recently erupted over who should head the agency.
The senior State Department official in charge of Ukraine told impeachment investigators last month that he was alarmed at President Donald Trump’s insistence that Ukraine “initiate politically motivated prosecutions.”
Trump suggested that the United States and China may not complete a partial trade deal this year, raising fresh doubts about the prospects of a commercial truce that once was expected to be signed next weekend.
John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, knows about “many relevant meetings and conversations” connected to the Ukraine pressure campaign that House impeachment investigators have not yet been informed about, his lawyer says.
In Depth
Bloomberg’s actions illustrate the problem with even the most progressive billionaire – there are limits to his benevolence beyond his resistance to paying more taxes, like his hard line stance on criminal justice issues as mayor of New York City.
Experts and advocates say New York City’s new community jails plan is taking an appropriate approach to that issue of inmate mental health, but also insist that it provides a novel opportunity to rethink how the criminal justice system deals with the mentally ill.
So-called hostile architecture has flourished in New York City which increasingly has drawn backlash from critics who say that such measures are unnecessary and disproportionately target vulnerable populations.
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