Mayor Bill de Blasio had a pretty good week last week — from getting to talk about the Simpsons in the pages of the New York Times and with the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to several days of positive national news coverage about the ideas he rolled out in his sixth State of the City address.
Some people inside City Hall are saying the mayor seems like a new man these days — one who’s in pretty good spirits, holding multiple press conferences a week — for the first time in three-and-a-half years.
But even as the mayor preps a whole new slate of ideas and programs, three quarters of the way into his mayoralty he’s facing the same problems every other lame duck has faced — losing the long-time commissioners and deputies he’s relied on in more trying times.
Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen , Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler and Taxi and Limousine Commission Chair Meera Joshi have all announced their plans to leave.
And now, Bob Linn, a career labor negotiator who worked for Ed Koch, is stepping down next month from his post as labor relations commissioner, our Sally Goldenberg reports.
While former Mayor Michael Bloomberg left a $2 billion surplus, negotiations with unions had stalled during his third term and the entire city workforce was operating under expired contracts by the time Bill de Blasio became mayor in 2014. Linn settled every contract, using a pattern of raises that budget watchdogs, who are typically leery of the current administration, considered fiscally responsible.
Even with everything Linn accomplished during his tenure, the loss of such a well-respected commissioner is a real one. And de Blasio’s new ideas — expanding healthcare access for the city’s uninsured, requiring paid vacation, addressing the city’s transit woes— will require some degree of stability from the agencies overseeing them. Hanging on to top talent to administer this vision may be one of the most crucial tasks facing the mayor as he serves out the rest of his term.
WHERE’S ANDREW? In Albany with no public schedule.
WHERE’S BILL? Making an announcement about the NYC Ferry expansion and holding a press conference. He keeps holding press conferences!
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Don’t laugh,” — State Sen. Zellnor Myrie, on being a fan of the dullard rapper Post Malone’s song “Sunflower.”
VIDEO OF THE DAY: “Struggle of Our Times: Mouse Runs Epic Odyssey Down the Up Escalator at Rockefeller Center”>
A message from AT&T:
An AT&T poll of NYC teens and parents found device use is increasing with children as young as three and two-thirds of teens have engaged in risky behavior online. In response to these findings, AT&T introduced
Today's tabloids: — New York Post: "HOUSE OF HORROR" — Newsday: "TRASH on the TRAIN" — El Diario New York: "We want to be part of the business” — See Them
Today's Broadsheets: — New York Times: — 3 col., above the fold: "Barr Could Embolden a Limit-Pushing President" — 3 col., below the fold: “Ocasio-Cortez Helps Propel Her Party to the Left” — Wall Street Journal: — 3 col., above the fold: "White House Asked Pentagon For Options To Strike At Iran" — 2 col., above the fold: "PG&E Chief Quits Amid Fire Crisis" — See Them
STAT OF THE DAY: “Nearly 90 percent of state LGBTQ kids said they regularly heard hostile slurs in schools and were subject to other forms of discrimination.”
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO IS ONCE AGAIN DISTANCING HIMSELF from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that, by all appearances, he effectively controls. Cuomo budget director Robert Mujica issued a statement to the media Sunday afternoon calling for a “blunt, truthful” discussion about how Cuomo doesn't actually control the MTA. The statement came at the same time the MTA announced an emergency meeting to discuss the governor's plan to avoid an L train shutdown — a meeting called for by the governor this month, about a plan he personally unveiled. “[The] Governor is not going to represent to the people of the state that he is responsible for the MTA when he isn’t,” Mujica said in his statement. At the same time, MTA interim chair and Cuomo appointee Freddy Ferrer sent an email to the rest of the MTA board alerting them that he would hold an emergency meeting about the new L-train plan this Tuesday. Cuomo requested just such a meeting one day after announcing his L train plan. POLITICO’s Dana Rubinstein
“THE MTA’S TOP OFFICIAL WILL HIRE AN INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT to review plans to avoid the full shutdown of the L train subway tunnel connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan. MTA Acting Chairman Fernando Ferrer said in an interview Saturday evening that a review is needed to explore significant concerns posed by the new construction method, such as health risks from silica dust. Such dust, which will be produced during the work, can cause fatal lung and kidney diseases, according to the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The consultant will also look into the cost, duration and longevity of the proposed fix as well as other issues such as alternate service planning.” Wall Street Journal’s Paul Berger
— “The Transcendent Incompetence of the L Train Fiasco” — New York Times’s Jim Dwyer
CITY HALL CALLED OFF A PLANNED DRUG SWEEP IN THE BRONX HOURS AFTER THE STRATEGY BECAME PUBLIC, officials said. The call for “enhanced enforcement” in the south Bronx parks came after the New York Post published a series of stories on the de Blasio administration's failed plan for safe syringe disposal, prompting the city to send in more NYPD officers for a raid starting on Monday, said two individuals familiar with the matter. “It was a situation where the city was being reactive, and that's not good for anyone,” said Council Member Diana Ayala (D-Bronx). “I have been told there will be no sweeps, there will be no arrests. We will infuse the area with more service workers to provide more outreach.” The decision was reversed after POLITICO ran a story on the raid, detailing its contradictions with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s own rhetoric on making New York the “fairest big city” in the nation. POLITICO’s Amanda Eisenberg
“A NEW PLAN FOR PUTTING BANKING SMART CHIPS IN NYC IDS HAS ADVOCATES TERRIFIED that City Hall is inadvertently creating a backdoor for the feds to go after undocumented immigrants. And that’s not the only thing that’s fishy about the proposed IDNYC card modification. The Daily News has learned that the initiative is being overseen by a deputy mayor with ties to financial services giant MasterCard...Despite those concerns, the chip project is moving ahead under Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson — who The News has learned was previously paid to issue reports for MasterCard on the benefits of such banking cards...Whichever debit-card platform wins the bid will cash in big from transaction fees charged to merchants and banks.” Daily News’s Alyssa Katz and Jillian Jorgensen>
SIENA POLL: DEM AGENDA POPULAR. The major policy proposals that Democratic legislators plan to pass in the coming weeks remain overwhelmingly popular among New York’s registered voters, a poll released by the Siena College Research Institute on Monday found. Respondents, however, were not fans of the recent decision to grant pay raises for state officials. And despite his two recent landslide wins en route to his third term, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s numbers remain middling. No issue was more popular than the Child Victims Act, which would eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual offenses committed against minors. That was backed by 77 percent of respondents and opposed by only 16 percent. GENDA, which would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression, was backed 68-26, codifying Roe v. Wade was supported 63-23, and closing the “LLC loophole” was favored 60-36. POLITICO’s Bill Mahoney
WHAT CUOMO WANTS: Gov. Andrew Cuomo will include a measure to ban single-use plastic bags and expand the five-cent fee on some recyclable bottles to encourage recycling and protect the environment in his budget, he announced on Sunday.The bag ban echoes a proposal that was panned by environmental advocates last year, after Cuomo signed a bill overruling New York City's fee on single-use bags. Details were not provided, so it's not clear if this measure will include the loopholes criticized by environmentalists and local officials. Most support a hybrid ban-and-fee measure to reduce both plastic and paper bag use.
On Friday he said he would include the Child Victims Act in his executive budget — although the Legislature may pass it before the spending plan is finalized. And on Saturday he proposed raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco or e-cigarette products to 21 from 18 years of age. Nick and Marie J. French
“STATE SEN. MIKE GIANARIS has been consistently speaking out against Amazon’s decision to locate a new office campus in the Long Island City portion of his Queens district, and last month made his case in two taxpayer-funded mail pieces. ‘Join the fight against Amazon,’ says one flier, which was sent to us by a reader in Astoria. It directs residents to Mr. Gianaris’s Senate website to learn about community forums. … The mailers were approved last year, when Republicans controlled the chamber. The Senate’s guidelines for mail prohibit soliciting campaign contributions or the depiction of party officials. Mr. Gianaris said the pieces met those criteria.” Wall Street Journal
“FIVE NEW ELECTED STATE SUPREME COURT JUDGESHIPS were added this month in Suffolk County, in the Hudson Valley and New York City after questions were raised over the long-standing practice in which governors appointed many of these criminal and civil judges even though the state constitution says voters must choose them.These are the first new elected state Supreme Court judgeships created in 20 years...” Newsday’s Michael Gormley
“MEET THE NEW STATE DEMOCRATIC BOSS, SAME AS THE OLD BOSS. Gov. Cuomo is set to announce Monday that Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs will replace Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown as state party chairman, the Daily News has learned. Jacobs first headed the state party under then-Gov. David Paterson in 2009 and continued on in the role under Cuomo until resigning in May, 2012. In returning Jacobs to the role, Cuomo noted that in 2018 Jacobs, as Nassau’s long-time Democratic chairman, helped flip the state Senate by pushing for the election of five Democratic senators in the traditionally GOP-dominated county." New York Daily News
— Comptroller Tom Dinapoli is also drawing Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s ire over the pay raise controversy.
“THE LEGALIZATION OF ADULT MARIJUANA USE is on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2019 agenda for the first 100 days of his new term...Regardless of changes to state law, college students 21 or older may need to consult a different set of guidelines — institutions of higher education in New York may continue to ban marijuana use on campus and punish students who smoke on school grounds, several sources indicated to Gotham Gazette.”Victor Porcelli for Gotham Gazette
THE GALL TO HAVE IT ALL: “Talk about a master class in ‘How They Do Things in Albany.’ To keep a legislative pay increase but lose new restrictions on lawmakers’ outside income, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is piggybacking onto a lawsuit by a conservative legal group that is seeking to overturn the raise. In case you haven’t been following at home: During budget negotiations last year, the New York Legislature created a committee composed of current and former state and New York City comptrollers to determine whether members of the Assembly and State Senate deserved a raise, their first in 21 years. In December, the committee recommended a $50,500 raise, to $130,000 by 2021, along with a provision that lawmakers’ outside income could not exceed 15 percent of their pay — an important ethical reform to avoid conflicts of interest.” New York Times
#UpstateAmerica: A notorious Niagara Falls killer will return to New York after earning parole in Canada.>
A message from AT&T:
ScreenReady ℠ invites parents and caregivers concerned about their children’s use of mobile devices and online media to visit AT&T retail stores in the New York metro area - regardless of their wireless carrier. A specially-trained retail associate will provide:
- Free hands-on help with parental controls and content filters on phones and tablets.
- Customized age-specific tips addressing online safety concerns available on a new AT&T website.
AT&T is also expanding its Upstander ambassador peer-to-peer training program to public schools across NYC. This spring, AT&T will collaborate with students at CUNY's Hunter College to work directly with public high schoolers across the five boroughs of NYC to practice how to comfort and standup for classmates experiencing teasing and abuse on social media.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO WON’T RULE OUT PRESIDENTIAL BID: During the mayor’s appearance on CNN's State of the Union show on Sunday, host Jake Tapper asked the mayor several times if he was considering a presidential run and each time de Blasio declined to say yes or no. Tapper then rephrased the question and asked de Blasio if he would rule out a presidential run. “I never rule things out because you never know what life brings,” de Blasio said, “but I’m focused on the work I’m doing now.” De Blasio also discussed several policies he proposed in his State of the City message last week, including a universal guaranteed health care plan and a proposal to provide paid time off for all workers. The mayor said these proposals focus on helping workers and people struggling to make ends meet. That’s what the Democratic Party should focus on in the coming national campaign, he said. POLITICO’s Gloria Pazmino
— REACTION: NYT’s Shane Goldmacher: "There has been little to no sign that Bill de Blasio is actually preparing to run for president. There has been ample signs that Bill de Blasio doesn’t mind being asked about a run for president.”
“NEW YORK SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND ON SATURDAY SIGNALED to a group of about 20 influential women that she will run for president, according to a person familiar with the meeting. Gillibrand made her intentions clear, said the source, who asked not to be identified to speak about the event. Gillibrand said that she needed their help if they would offer it to her. The closed-door gathering was attended by feminist Gloria Steinem, the source said. A second source reached by BuzzFeed News confirmed the meeting took place but would not elaborate on what was said.” BuzzFeed’s Darren Sands
AOC WATCH: “Asked about Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s splashy entrance into Congress, [Rep. Hakeem] Jeffries instead went through the names of every other incoming New York member, listing her last...“I don’t think singling out one over the other is the appropriate thing for me to do, at least at this moment,” Mr. Jeffries said as he left a recent gathering of the New York Democratic delegation that she also attended. As for the primary-challenge matter, he said he and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had not spoken about it. ‘I’ve said hello,’ Mr. Jeffries said. ‘We haven’t talked about any particular issue beyond the logistics of her arrival into the United States Congress.’” New York Times’s Shane Goldmacher
“THE NUMBER OF UNACCOMPANIED MINORS WHO MOVED TO LONG ISLAND DECLINED by more than 50 percent last year, even as more crossed the United States border with Mexico, new federal data shows. The decrease came as fewer migrant children were released from federal custody and spent more time in government shelters under President Donald Trump's efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, according to data and experts. The number of unaccompanied minors who settled with relatives and sponsors in Nassau and Suffolk counties in fiscal year 2018 dropped by 54 percent to 830, compared with 1,804 in 2017, according to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement.” Newsday’s Rachelle Blidner
“THE SHUTDOWN IS HITTING GOVERNMENT WORKERS IN NEW YORK SO HARD — they’ve been reduced to eating like college kids. Furloughed Williamsburg-based federal worker Keith Polite, 55, has been tightening his purse strings by chowing down on Ramen noodles since the shutdown began, he said at a rally Sunday. ‘I’m staying home, eating Ramen noodles, you know, that college food,’ the National Museum of the American Indian security guard said at an anti-shutdown rally in downtown Manhattan. ‘I’m learning how to cook because I eat out all the time, a typical New Yorker,’ added Polite.” New York Post
“DOCTORS SEEKING TO PRESCRIBE BUPRENORPHINE, a drug to manage opioid addiction, are being blocked by the ongoing partial federal government shutdown, Sen. Chuck Schumer said Sunday. Physicians must get approval from the Drug Enforcement Agency but staff there are locked out as the nation’s largest-ever shutdown enters its 23rd day.” Daily News’s Thomas Tracy, Elizabeth Elizalde and Reuven Blau
Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation to try to prevent Trump from declaring a national emergency over the border wall.
MAKING MOVES — Jennifer Blatus, most recently communications director for Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.), and former communications director at the Advance Group, is joining Stu Loeser & Co. as a media strategist. ...
Jonas Edwards-Jenks is now communications director for Rep. Rose. He previously was press secretary for former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). ... The Planned Parenthood Federation of America has hired
Marisa Raphael as VP of public health and strategic operations. She previously was a deputy commissioner at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. …
… Samantha Kupferman has returned to West End Strategy Team as VP of business development and marketing. …
Bobby Meyer has been named senior director of annual giving at Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital. He most recently was director of annual giving at Fordham.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Maureen Dowd ...
Shepard Smith is 55 ...
Bill Plante is 81 …
(was Sunday): ABC News’
Ginger Zee … Fox News’
Christina Robbins ...
(was Saturday): Christiane Amanpour ...
Howard Stern turned 65 ...
Stephanie Rigizadeh, MSNBC planning producer ...
Eliza Hanson ...
Taylor Foran …
Dana Miller Acton ...
Sophie Pauze Peper
WHAT THEY’RE DOING NOW …“Anthony Scaramucci joins ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ cast,” by Mark Moore in Page Six.
OUT AND ABOUT — Pool report from a tipster: “The 5th anniversary of the Broadway hit ‘Beautiful’ (The Carole King Musical) brought out, in addition to Carole King herself (who finished the show as, well, herself — to the delight of a stunned audience), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), among others. New York Post’s Cindy Adams was overheard telling Gayle King [about Schumer], ‘I’m a Republican and he’s a Democrat, and I’m three rows closer to the stage and in a much better seat. You do the math.’
“Adams, who is a longtime Trump supporter, has also taken to referring to Schumer in her column as ‘Senator Schemer.’ When challenged by an audience member, the legendary columnist demurred, ‘This is New York, honey. We’re all friends and he’s been to my apartment like 30 times.’ For his part, Schumer greeted Adams jovially, and told songwriter King after the show, ‘this is the best three hours I’ve had in awhile.’”
— SPOTTED: James Comey at the sold-out matinee of “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway. He was greeted with applause and was seen signing autographs, according to a tipster.
— Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop has an idea for how New York City can lower its EMS response times.
— A man from Harlem beat his summons for turnstile jumping by using Metrocard data.
— “For the first time in modern history , New York will have five House members in charge of committees. Since 1949, there have been four instances when New York had three chairs, but five at one time is an anomaly.”
Nita Lowey went from the Queens PTA to being the most powerful New York congresswoman.
The Mount Vernon mayor, internet star Fat Boy and an accompanying entourage visited the high school without telling anyone and later had to be escorted out by security.
The Tappan Zee Bridge demolition has been rescheduled for Tuesday.
“WHEN THE DE BLASIO ADMINISTRATION CARRIED OUT ITS REZONING OF INWOOD earlier this year, local residents strenuously protested, evenoccupying Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez’s officeto warn that allowing taller construction could displace existing tenants. But at the same time as neighborhood advocates were complaining that city officials were turning a blind eye to their concerns about the plan, it turns out, for-profit developers had regular communications access to the city-controlled agency that led the rezoning efforts — and many of their requests were later incorporated into the city’s final plan. Emails from December 2016 through just before the city council vote in August 2018, obtained by Gothamist via a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request, show that developers Taconic Investments Partners LLC and their paid lobbyists were able to call and meet frequently with officials from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, a quasi-governmental organization whose president is appointed by the mayor. In many instances, they advocated for specific zoning codes, coordinated strategies with the EDC for selling the rezoning at public hearings, and shared design plans.” Gothamist’s Jake Shore
— “The ghostly remnant: Or how a 19th-century UES church popped up in all its majesty when a private school razed an old parking garage — and why its resurrection could prove fleeting”: “A monumental and long-forgotten Yorkville treasure has resurfaced from out of the past on a quiet crosstown block on East 90th Street — but it is quickly expected to disappear from sight. Upper East Siders wishing to glory in its grandeur and other-worldliness must not tarry: At an unspecified date, later this year or in 2020, it is set to vanish — perhaps for generations, perhaps indefinitely. If and when that happens, the last vestige of an historic superblock that once offered meals and housing and schooling and Catholic discipline to impoverished orphans of German origin will be gone forever.” Our Town’ Doug Feiden
Sixers 108, Knicks 105: Another win in relative terms. Kevin Knox, still 19 years old, scored a career-high 31 points. The Knicks battled back from a massive deficit to take this one to the final minute. A Sixers team that is not quite whole again after the Jimmy Butler trade, but still among the East's elites, couldn't really shake the Knicks off all afternoon.
The day ahead: the Celtics come to Brooklyn, giving the Nets another chance to show they've progressed beyond mere spoilers. The Sabres are in Edmonton.