First Read 11/26/2019

November 26, 2019
Latest News
New Yorkers offered a more skeptical take a day after billionaire former Mayor Michael Bloomberg formally kicked off his campaign for the Democratic nomination, with many on the left panning his bid.
Police across the state will soon receive special training to help departments and municipalities better recognize and respond to hate crimes, after Cuomo signed a new measure into law.
The New York City Council will vote this week on nine bills to crack down on widespread parking placard abuse, making city employees apply for placards that the NYPD would electronically track.
The New York City Department of Transportation warned FedEx to “terminate” any operation of its delivery robots in the Big Apple, after a fleet of androids was spotted rolling around lower Manhattan last week.
A group representing thousands of contractors sued New York state and the state-controlled Metropolitan Transportation Authority over rules that punish firms for delays and cost overruns on infrastructure projects.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was deluged with hate mail following the collapse of his $3 billion deal to build a giant Amazon headquarters in Queens – with many of the missives mocking the fact he’d been bested by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
A new report alleges that employees at Amazon’s warehouse on Staten Island suffer from injuries at a rate that far outpaces the national average, fueling calls for increased worker protections heading into the punishing holiday season.
With New York City moving closer to potential development atop Queens’ sprawling Sunnyside Yard, apprehensive residents and a trio of local politicians are gearing up for a fight echoing the battle against Amazon.
Some barely concealed horse trading led to several surprise proposals as members of the state Public Campaign Financing Commission hammered out the final details of their legally binding recommendation to revamp New York’s election laws.
A state panel controlled by Democratic appointees has given the final OK to the workings of a $100 million public campaign financing program for political candidates while also making it harder for minor parties to automatically appear on the ballot.
Amid a spike in cyclist deaths, New York City Council members Carlina Rivera and Ydanis Rodriguez plan to introduce a bill to establish an Office of Pedestrians and an Office of Active Transportation.
A new bill introduced by Republican state Sen. Phil Boyle would compel the state Board of Elections to draw up guidelines for the way taxpayer funds can be used in political campaigns.
Cuomo told the progressive Working Families Party and other minor parties that to stay alive in New York, they’ll have to put in the work, following a vote to raise the threshold required for minor parties to stay on the November ballot.
MTA officials are taking their time on forming a “major construction review unit" tasked with exploring a controversial form of subway signal technology, with the agency being months behind on announcing the members of the group.
Cuomo again defended his controversial policing surge in New York City’s buses and subways, despite the outrage over the arrest of a churro vendor and the ticketing of a city artist.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo – bombarded by hate mail saying he got bested by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over the Amazon HQ2 debacle – claimed that AOC “had nothing to do” with the online behemoth’s decision to nix moving to Queens.
The New York City Housing Authority’s federally imposed watchdog, Bart Schwartz, is billing the cash-strapped agency nearly $600 an hour under the terms of his company’s contract, which is worth $12 million this year alone.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries once led the fight against former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s signature stop-and-frisk policing policy, but now, Jeffries said of Bloomberg’s entry in the presidential race, “the more the merrier."
A new tenant protection law enacted by the state may already be paying off for tens of thousands of New York City renters, as the number of eviction cases filed by landlords has plummeted.
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A bill to ban flavored e-cigarettes was approved by the New York City Council, passing by a vote of 49-2, and making the city the first municipality in the country to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.
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New York and three other Northeast states announced that they are appealing a judge’s decision rejecting their challenge of the Trump administration’s 2017 tax reform package that they contend unfairly targets Democratic states.
Editorial Pages
Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign is premised on the idea that, as his launch video says, Trump is a “menace,” so if Bloomberg News can’t pledge to cover both parties equally, it would be better not to cover the election at all.
Cuomo likes to boast about how he’s tamed the state budget, yet the financial plan update he put out Friday highlights some alarming mismanagement, such as a $4 billion Medicaid spending gap.
Back on Sept. 11, 2019, perhaps for the first time ever, I agreed with President Donald Trump when he announced he would ban flavored e-cigarettes – but two months later, there’s no such policy, Rep. Nita Lowey writes.
Memo to future energy suppliers that are contractually bound to serve the state: Don’t be like National Grid and try to hold homes and businesses hostage in service of an unrelated agenda that happens to be a boon to shareholders.
National Grid’s moratorium, it seems, was nothing more than a raw political ploy, a game that put some current and many future customers in an unnecessarily precarious situation, and in the end, the utility lost – in a big way.
From City & State
National Politics
Despite three days of explosive testimony in House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Trump last week, none of the revelations appear to have moved the needle much when it comes to swaying voters.
The front-runners for the Democratic presidential nomination are moving away from the charter school movement, and black and Latino families ask why their concerns are lost.
The U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked an appeals court ruling that required Trump’s accounting firm to turn over financial records to a House committee.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand teamed up with her former 2020 rival, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, and U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono to introduce legislation that would increase federal support for existing affordable housing programs.
As Trump’s White House battles impeachment, the president turned to a familiar face last week: Mark Penn, one of former President Bill Clinton’s top strategists, who brought polling data and impeachment advice for Trump.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee sued U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for refusing to produce subpoenaed documents regarding Trump’s failed attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
The House Judiciary Committee announced it will hold its first public impeachment hearing next week, and invited President Donald Trump and his lawyers “to participate."
In Depth
There is a direct line between former Rep. Anthony Weiner, named the most important politician of the 2010s, tweeting a nude photo of himself and the rise of far-right media, the current state of the country’s biggest city and the election of Donald Trump.
For two months, Rep. Jerrold Nadler has been the isolated Maytag repairman of the House impeachment inquiry, but now, as the focus of impeachment shifts to the Judiciary Committee, Nadler will be back in the spin cycle and up to his elbows in hot water.
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