/De Blasio big money conundrum — Special needs students stuck with bus delays — NYC’s Camp Warren politicians
De Blasio big money conundrum — Special needs students stuck with bus delays — NYC’s Camp Warren politicians

De Blasio big money conundrum — Special needs students stuck with bus delays — NYC’s Camp Warren politicians


Shot: Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a sweeping plan on Thursday he says will combat the influence of big money in politics.
Chaser: One of de Blasio’s many, many fundraising scandals came back to haunt him, reminding New Yorkers how deep-pocketed developers used their big money to influence the mayor.
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De Blasio has always fancied himself a champion of campaign finance reform, going back to his days crusading against the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. But when it comes to his own fundraising efforts, he has often played fast and loose with the rules.
And so here we are: De Blasio wants a public campaign finance matching funds system for the country similar to the one New York City has long used in its own elections.
He’s also calling for $1 billion for non-partisan voter registration, and establishing voting by mail and in-person early voting nationwide.
Even if his presidential campaign never catches fire, “maybe he could be the next Jay Inslee on climate change except for anti-corruption,” suggests Vox, which first reported de Blasio’s new campaign pitch.
That might be a tough sell. On the same day de Blasio released the new plan, the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics announced three new settlements with developers who gave the mayor political donations while pursuing business with his administration. They’ll cough up $65,000 for improperly donating to the Campaign for One New York, the group de Blasio set up to push his agenda, fueled mostly by donors with business before the city.
While the group was shuttered in 2016, de Blasio’s fundraising foibles are not behind him. In his presidential campaign, he’s faced at least two complaints charging that he violated rules by doubling a state political action committee as a presidential exploratory committee. Nor has he seen the end of the JCOPE probe: the state commission said its investigation is still going.
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WHERE’S ANDREW? Speaking at the Cornell Tech Conference in New York City.
WHERE’S BlLL? Appearing on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show,” then marching at the youth climate strike.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Yes I do. It’s a little obsessive but it brings me joy at the same time.” — Gov. Andrew Cuomo, telling WAMC’s Alan Chartock that he personally polishes his license plates
“A NEW YORK CITY judge ordered a landlord to pay a $5,000 fine to the city and $12,000 in damages to a tenant for threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers on the tenant. New York’s Commission on Human Rights brought the complaint against the Queens landlord to an administrative judge. The commission alleged that the landlord texted and emailed the tenant that she would call ICE if she didn’t pay her rent. Threatening to call immigration enforcement is classified as discrimination under New York City’s human-rights law, according to the commission. Lawyers for the commission said they believe it is the first case in the country where an individual was fined for threatening to call immigration authorities.” Wall Street Journal’s Tyler Blint-Welsh
“MAYOR DE BLASIO has boasted about the city’s “universal health care” system on the campaign trail — but a new report by his own administration shows the Big Apple’s public health system is unwell. The number of people visiting city hospitals is down, membership in the public option MetroPlus is declining, and patient satisfaction is at the lowest point in five years — even though spending, staffing levels and overtime are all rising. ‘It’s pretty difficult to increase the number of people taking advantage of the city’s hospitals when your healthcare plan doesn’t actually increase the pool of New Yorkers with access,’ said Jake Sporn, a former staffer for City Council health committee chair Mark Levine. The Mayor’s Management Report, released earlier this week, found that 1,080,000 people visited the city’s 11 hospitals, known as NYC Health + Hospitals, in fiscal year 2019—compared to 1,112,000 the previous year.” New York Post’s Julia Marsh
— The city is giving out fewer free NYC condoms.
“FINISHING THE MTA’s cavernous new Long Island Rail Road stop beneath Grand Central Terminal will cost another $798 million, the agency projects in its new capital budget plan. It’s another cost increase for the giant project, which the Metropolitan Transportation Authority expects will be finished in 2022, 13 years behind schedule. The project’s cost has ballooned to $11.1 billion — a jump of $6.8 billion over its original projected cost. The agency detailed the new East Side Access pricetag in an update Thursday to its $51.5 billion capital plan. The broad strokes of the plan were announced Monday.” New York Daily News’ Clayton Guse
— The MTA is cutting service on one of the city’s busiest bus lines, the B46 in Brooklyn.
CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN and other religious leaders gave their blessing Thursday to the push to shut down Rikers Island. The head of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York, standing with a group of rabbis and ministers outside Manhattan Supreme Court, called it a moral imperative to close the violence-plagued jail complex. “Rikers has got to go. It is contrary to the Bible’s teaching to treat folks like this so harshly. It’s contrary to our American values of fairness and hope and justice. And you know what? It’s just plain contrary to common sense,” Dolan said. “In the name of our good God, let’s tear down this place.” The city is pursuing a plan to close Rikers and replace it with four smaller jails, a blueprint which has become embroiled in controversy as it winds its way through the City Council. POLITICO’s Erin Durkin
— City officials will be touring jails in Oslo, Norway and Amsterdam, Netherlands to get ideas on building more humane lockups.
PARENTS OF STUDENTS with special needs are still grappling with bus delays and communication breakdowns even as the city Department of Education undertakes reforms to its often troubled busing infrastructure. Since the beginning of the school year, parents told POLITICO their children are spending up to two hours on buses for what should typically be 10-minute commutes, exacerbating their medical issues and creating a ripple effect throughout their academic performance. They said efforts to get information and assistance from bus matrons, drivers and bus companies, as well as the schools’ Office of Pupil Transportation have been mired in bureaucracy and often futile. “My daughter is academically behind,” said Jamaica resident Jacklyn Tomlin, whose 11-year-old daughter has an anxiety disorder, has ADHD and is dyslexic. “She’s a special needs child and I don’t need any other factors to actually come into play to make things any more painstaking than it already is.” POLITICO’s Madina Touré
“BROOKLYN DSA’S ELECTORAL WORKING GROUP recommended four New York State Assembly and Senate candidates for endorsement in a closed meeting Wednesday night. The candidates would present primary challenges in seats currently held by: Velmanette Montgomery in the 25th Senate District (who reportedly may retire); Félix Ortiz in the 51st Assembly District; Erik Martin Dilan in the 54th Assembly District; and Walter Mosley in the 57th Assembly District. The candidates are Jabari Brisport in the 25th, Marcela Mitaynes in the 51st, Boris Santos in the 54th and Phara Souffrant Forrest in the 57th.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle’s Emma Whitford
“NO DOUBT, bettors love pro football. The first week of the National Football League season saw sizable increases in sports betting activity at New York’s four private casinos, according to numbers filed with the New York Gaming Commission. ‘The NFL is king when it comes to sports gaming,’ said Justin Moore, vice president and general manager of The Rivers Casino. At Resorts World Catskills in Monticello and Tioga Downs Casino Resort in Nichols, ‘gross gaming revenue’ — the house take after payouts — from the sports betting operation quadrupled over the previous week’s total. At del Lago Resort Casino in Waterloo and the Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady, revenue doubled when wagering began on the NFL’s season openers. ‘It was electric,’ Lance Young, executive vice president and general manager of del Lago, said of the atmosphere on opening Sunday of the NFL season. Gannett’s Jeff Platsky
“HOMEOWNERS across New York are dealing with confusion or mistakes involving the state’s several rebate programs as most towns have a Sept. 30 deadline to pay their school taxes. They are awaiting either a state check to pay their bills or are grappling with errors in their Enhanced STAR rebates for seniors, according to tax assessors across New York. Some assessors said seniors in particular have dealt with problems this fall with their Enhanced STAR, which provides an upfront break on school taxes.” Gannett’s Joe Spector
#UpstateAmerica: Josh Allen fan merch is up more than 200 percent after the Bill’s QB endeared himself to Upstate, declaring there’s just one New York team.
CITY COUNCIL MEMBER Jimmy Van Bramer and Elizabeth Warren shared a personal moment when they met at a small gathering organized by New York City political player Mark Green, at his swanky Manhattan pad last year. Warren, who was running for re-election to her Massachusetts Senate seat at the time, was being introduced to potential supporters when she and Van Bramer discovered they were both children of janitors. The Queens politician, now a candidate for borough president, recalled the connection as he explained why last week he joined the growing list of New York Democrats endorsing Warren over Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Brooklyn native and darling of the left — or, for that matter, hometown candidate Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“While I obviously have great respect for Bernie Sanders, and as a gay man certainly love Pete Buttigieg, for me the battles that we’ve been fighting, I just feel like Liz Warren is a candidate that this time demands,” Van Bramer said ahead of Warren’s visit to New York City Monday night to speak inside a packed Washington Square Park about combating political corruption. Among the thousands in attendance were some of the 17 New York politicians who have endorsed her. Many of them are seeking higher office and wanted to telegraph to their own voters that they are squarely in Camp Warren. POLITICO’s Sally Goldenberg and Erin Durkin
BERNIE SANDERS supporters complained in 2016 that New York’s strict party registration deadline locked many of them out of the presidential primary, because state voters must be signed on as Democrats six months before Election Day to participate. In 2020, Sanders’ campaign is determined to avoid a repeat. Sanders’ campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, sent a letter to the Democratic National Committee on Thursday urging it to demand that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo approve legislation to extend the state’s voter registration deadline, which is less than a month away. “In 2016, countless voters across the state of New York were disenfranchised by the state’s arcane and inexcusable early party affiliation deadline — countless voters whose first attempt to engage with the Democratic Party saw them turned away,” Shakir wrote. POLITICO’s Holly Otterbein
“DONALD TRUMP sued Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. as New York state prosecutors seek eight years of the president’s tax returns in a probe of whether the Trump Organization falsified business records. ‘In response to the subpoenas issued by the New York County District Attorney, we have filed a lawsuit this morning in federal court on behalf of the President in order to address the significant constitutional issues at stake in this case,’ Jay Sekulow, the president’s lawyer, said in a statement. The suit was filed Thursday in Manhattan federal court and also names Mazars USA, Trump’s longtime accounting firm.” Bloomberg’s Chris Dolmetsch and Greg Farrell
“REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ is fighting to block a massive booze retail store that critics call the “Walmart of Liquor” from opening on her turf in College Point, Queens. The firebrand freshman congresswoman, whose opposition helped scare Amazon away from opening a new campus headquarters in Long Island City, urged state Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley to deny Total Wine & More a license to open because its rock-bottom prices would undercut smaller neighborhood liquor merchants. ‘My district enjoys many of the benefits of a vibrant small business economy: job creation for and by community members, socio-economic mobility for immigrants and new Americans, and long-lasting relationships between proprietors and their customers,’ Ocasio-Cortez said in the Sept. 17 letter to Bradley obtained by The Post.” New York Post’s Carl Campanile
“THE MOTHER OF Eric Garner, Gwen Carr, and the Rev. Al Sharpton urged Congress Thursday to set federal standards on cops’ use of excessive force that cannot change when a new presidential administration takes over. Their plea was made before the House Judiciary Committee a month after Police Commissioner James O’Neill decided to fire Officer Daniel Pantaleo for his role in Garner’s 2014 death on Bay Street, a decision that took the NYPD five years to make. ‘What we really seek is this committee to begin moving toward federal law and federal standards that would define clearly where the line is in terms of excessive force and take this argument from a state and local level to where there’s federal standards that all must obeyed by,’ Sharpton said.” Staten Island Advance’s Sydney Kashiwagi
“A NEW HOUSE BILL filed late Wednesday takes aim at vaping and smoking by not only banning flavors in electronic cigarettes and tobacco products, but also by tripling the federal taxes on them to discourage use by younger people. Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and his co-sponsor, Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), proposed the legislation amid a growing concern about lung illnesses and death from use of e-cigarettes and a growth in the number of high school students vaping.” Newsday’s Tom Brune
— Rep. Tom Reed collapsed Thursday afternoon at the U.S. Capitol as he was getting ready to do a live interview with Fox News. He’s fine, his office says.
— Legal challenges to the state’s law ending the religious exemption for vaccines are alive and well.
— New York Attorney General Tish James recused herself from a lawsuit backed by the Conservative Party challenging the campaign finance commission.
— A guerrilla campaign is countering the MTA’s anti-fare evasion ads with ones urging New Yorkers, “Don’t snitch. Swipe.”
— Response times to fires and medical emergencies have gone way up.
— New York has widened its lead over London as the world’s strongest financial market.
— “A New Jersey man trained in bomb-making and intelligence-gathering by Hezbollah spent years scouting sites like Times Square and New York’s airports, tunnels and bridges for how to do the most harm in an attack, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.”
— The effort to ban floating billboards echoes a fight 80 years ago between Fred Trump and Robert Moses.
— An Upper West Side school playground was closed after wet concrete fell from a controversial condo project.
— The Metropolitan Opera will stage its first opera by a black composer.
— Teachers at city schools have been barred from leading field trips to Friday’s climate march.
By Daniel Lippman
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Ainsley Earhardt, co-host of “Fox & Friends” … CNN commentator Van Jones is 51 … Bloomberg’s Drew Singer … CNN’s Rachel GlasbergHenry Samueli is 65 … Deborah Roberts is 59 … Ali Bogdonoff (h/t Stephanie Benedict) … Valerie Lapinski, managing producer for video at Vox … Greg Nantz (was Thursday): Monica Crowley Joe Kristol Barry Scheck turned 7-0 … Harold Rhode
MEDIAWATCH — Curtis Tate has started as senior travel reporter at USA Today. He previously was transportation reporter at the Bergen Record.
“DAYS BEFORE THE PASSAGE of the new rent law, Cea Weaver and a group of tenant advocates were huddled in a conference room in the State Capitol. While they were piecing together rumors from their trusted sources in the Senate, the phone rang: Gov. Andrew Cuomo wanted to meet. But Cuomo refused to include upstate tenants in the meeting, despite Weaver’s demands that they be present. So, Weaver and the coalition ultimately declined his invitation. She wasn’t going to leave anyone behind to make a backroom deal — even when New York’s top politician was calling. Celia ‘Cea’ Weaver was the only staff person hired by the tenant coalition, the Upstate/Downstate Alliance, on a $45,000 nine-month contract. She shaped and executed the coalition’s strategy, and had a hand in the development of the Democratic Socialists of America’s template for electoral success.” The Real Deal’s Georgia Kromrei
“AS HOME SALE PRICES continued to drop across the city, rents have risen at some of the fastest rates since 2016, StreetEasy found in its August rental-market report. Rents rose in every submarket of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, with some of the most significant increases being found in the most expensive areas of each borough. Looking at StreetEasy’s rent index shows that Northwest Brooklyn experienced the fastest rate of rent growth in the city, rising 3.5% since last year to $3,115.” Crain’s Lizeth Beltran
Yankees 9, Angels 1: The Yankees are AL East champions for the first time since 2012. The team did not celebrate the title with a customary dogpile on the pitcher’s mound. The injury-wary Yankees simply hit four home runs, clinched the division crown, and headed onto what they hope are bigger things ahead.
The day ahead: The Mets travel to Cincinnati 3.5 games back of Milwaukee for that final wild card spot with 10 games to play. The Yankees host Toronto.
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