NY same-sex couples face more legal headaches. Page 8
Vol. 1, No. 1
Why Joanie Mahoney is Cuomo’s favorite Republican. Page 7
December 5, 2011
ANDREW SCHWARTZ/JOEY CAROLINO
Twitter’s favorite Senate bromance. Page 6
Dean Skelos struggles to reach out to Latinos. Page 10
The future of hydrofracking is being fought in the courts. Page 9
Mark Poloncarz takes a victory lap. Page 23
The New City & State gives a quick and sometimes lighthearted look at the news, with new features like In The Trenches—a profile of someone who’s always in the news but not well-known—as well as The Footnote, which annotates a press release with the rest of the story. At the end of the paper, you’ll find our traditional Back & Forth back-page interview with a New York newsmaker, complemented by our new Procurement Page—a look inside the multibillion-dollar business of government contracts, purchasing and proposals. Not all the changes are here in your hand, however. Our new website at www.cityandstateny.com provides an easy-
New York Income Tax Revenue
Something’s different. The newspaper you’re holding looks and feels a lot like the City Hall and The Capitol you’re used to reading, but it’s not. And we think it’s a lot better. This is the first issue of City & State, the only publication devoted solely to covering government and politics in the city and state of New York. We’ve merged the resources you’ve previously seen split between City Hall and The Capitol, and we’re using them to publish a twice-monthly newspaper that will be the ultimate source for the politics, policies and personalities that Adam Lisberg drive New York. We think the new City & State is a smart way to serve readers like you who care about government decisions just as much as you care about political gossip. With City & State, you’ll finally find them all in one place. As you flip through the pages of this issue, you’ll see some of the features you’ve come to expect from City Hall and The Capitol, as well as some new ones we’re pretty proud of. You can still expect the tough and detailed in-depth reporting we’ve spent five years honing, the industry spotlights that focus on how politics and governance interact with the business world, and the offbeat items that show the human side of a serious business. Our Upfront section in the first three pages
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EDITORIAL Editor: Adam Lisberg email@example.com Managing Editor: Andrew J. Hawkins firstname.lastname@example.org Reporters: Chris Bragg email@example.com Laura Nahmias firstname.lastname@example.org Jon Lentz email@example.com Copy Editor: Helen Eisenbach Photography Editor: Andrew Schwartz ADVERTISING Associate Publishers: Jim Katocin, Seth Miller Advertising Manager: Marty Strongin Senior Account Executives: Ceil Ainsworth, Monica Conde Director of Events & Special Projects: Andrew A. Holt Executive Assistant of Sales: Jennie Valenti PRODUCTION Art Director: Joey Carolino Production Manager: Ed Johnson Ad Designer: Quarn Corley MANHATTAN MEDIA President/CEO: Tom Allon CFO/COO: Joanne Harras Director of Interactive Marketing and Digital Strategy: Jay Gissen
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Amounts in millions. State figures are for fiscal years ending March 31; city figures are for fiscal years ending June 30
AROUND NEW YORK
The best items from the City & State First Read morning email City & State First Read delivers every day’s headlines, schedules, birthdays and “Heard Around Town” news nuggets like these into your inbox before 7 a.m. Not getting City & State First Read? Sign up for free at www.cityandstateny.com/first-read.
Albany County District Attorney David Soares, who has clashed with Gov. Andrew Cuomo in recent weeks over his refusal to prosecute Occupy Albany protesters arrested for violating curfew laws, said his office has received “death threats” related to the anti–Wall Street demonstrations. “We received some very radical emails, faxes that, quite frankly, I’m shocked people would say things like that in writing,” Soares told City & State. “It goes along with public service.”
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the public face of an advertising campaign to keep the Indian Point nuclear plant open, says the city needs that supply to eliminate the risk of blackouts, which he said were one of his biggest fears as mayor. “I can’t tell you how many days we almost had a blackout,” Giuliani said at an energy conference. “We are operating in a dangerous situation. We’re pushing it.” But Sen. Michael Gianaris, an Indian Point supporter, said the four blackouts since 1994 that Giuliani cited don’t prove his point. “I’m very cautious about ringing the alarm bell on the need for greater supply,” Gianaris said. “The mayor outlined a number of blackouts that we had. I can speak authoritatively about 2006, 2003 and even the 1997 one in Washington Heights. None of those had anything to do with a lack of supply. They all had to do with transmission problems.”
MANHATTAN The Battery Park City Authority’s sudden layoff of 19 staffers only occurred after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration signed off on them, two sources said. The Nov. 9 layoffs came with no notice, and sparked grumbling that authority Chairman Bill Thompson, who brought in his own staff, was targeting appointees with ties to past governors. Spokeswoman Anne Fenton—a Thompson hire—cited an ongoing restructuring and consolidation. The state Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation also let six people go in the last month, but spokeswoman Betsy Feldstein refused to say when they were “separated from service.”
MADISON New York’s regional economic development councils include members from business, academia, labor, nonprofits, finance and local governments—but not Indian tribes. “No Indian nation has been included, and we’re the third-largest employer in the 16-county region in central New York,” said Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter. “We put nearly $1 billion into this development that we have here, and we’ve been operating for 18 years.” Empire State Development Corporation spokesman Austin Shafran said the agency took pains to hear from everyone who wanted to submit ideas and proposals: “There was an extraordinary opportunity for the public to get involved.”
DECEMBER 5, 2011
JAMES PARROTT Fiscal Policy Institute’s chief economist talks about how he became the left’s leading voice on economic issues hen James Parrott moved to New York in the early 1980s, he was finishing up his economics dissertation. And as a Midwesterner living in a big city for the first time, he didn’t plan to stick around long. But one thing led to another, and now, as chief economist for the Fiscal Policy Institute, he’s one of New York’s leading progressive economic experts, sometimes spending half his day talking to reporters about the importance of government spending and fair tax policies. “We work to create a strong economy in which prosperity is broadly shared,” Parrott said, outlining the mission of his think tank. “People should benefit from the prosperity that the broad economy creates.” For example, he said, “We should probably have a maximum wage, because I don’t know how anybody can defend the compensation levels that people experience in this economy.” Parrott, 59, is married, with two children, and commutes on the R train from Park Slope to his office near City Hall every day. Growing up in Jacksonville, Ill., Parrott became fascinated with the interplay of economics and politics. That interest eventually led him to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he plodded through a “gauntlet of a lot of highly quantitative and theoretical courses” on his way to a Ph.D. in economics.
“I realized that political power and economic power are inseparable, and that to understand how the economy works, you have to understand how public policy and the institutions that are prominent in our society operate, and how they’re shaped by politics,” he said. His first job in New York was with the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, where he became an assistant to the union’s president and met with governors, mayors, lawmakers and other public officials. Overseeing an innovative economic development program for the garment industry landed him next in the Dinkins administration, where he developed similar programs tailored to create jobs in other industries. In the late 1990s he worked for the state comptroller monitoring New York City’s budget and tracking broader economic trends. In 1999 he joined the Fiscal Policy Institute, which he says is a perfect fit. “This is the ideal job for me, because I like being a practicing economist, I have a progressive orientation, and this position allows me to continually monitor the economy in terms of how it affects average working people.” —Jon Lentz email@example.com
THE FOOTNOTE: A real press release, annotated Sent 12:42 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, from Mayor Michael Opponents of the project say breaking it into “phases” was an illegal end run around a judge’s order requiring the city to conduct a traffic survey on proposed new ramps at the Van Wyck Expressway. One person noticeably absent from the press release is Marshall’s predecessor, Claire Shulman, a key player in initially pushing the project who was later rapped for her unreported lobbying work at the FlushingWillets Point-Corona Local Development Corporation. The support of the Building Trades, 32BJ and RWDSU — and the expectation prevailing and living-wage jobs at Willets Point—were key in the City Council’s overwhelming approval in 2008. But it’s likely only construction workers and building workers will likely end up getting those jobs, after a falling-out between RWDSU and the city’s Economic Development Corporation. Disgraced ex-Sen. Hiram Monserrate was the councilman when the redevelopment passed the City Council.
DECEMBER 5, 2011
A May 2009 press release from the EDC stated that the Bloomberg’s press office project would create a total of 18,000 construction jobs RE TU UC ASTR and 5,000 permanent jobs. ON $50 MILLION IN INFR
EAKS GROUND R FUTURE MAYOR BLOOMBERG BR YING GROUNDWORK FO LA T, IN PO S ET LL WI IMPROVEMENTS AT S OF JOBS EATION OF THOUSAND CR D AN T EN PM LO VE DE ild-Out of 62-Acre Site
ms Will Allow for Full Bu -Related Jobs Sanitary and Sewage Syste bs and 4,600 Construction Jo t en an rm Pe 00 1,8 te ea Will Cr First Phase of the Project Queens, ture work at Willets Point in
Queens State Sen. Tony Avella is irked that the big payday is going to a company based in New Jersey.
ruc initial phase of critical infrast s, which g today broke ground on the outfall. These improvement and er sew rm sto a of Mayor Michael R. Bloomber n ctio tru ons ic infrarec bas and in this has always lacked a sanitary sewer ma including construction of ment of Willets Point, which lop eve red a major ic s tor ent his res the rep t estment, suppor eens. The work also constitute a $50 million inv Stavisky’s son is ed-use neighborhood in Qu mix new t ran vib a of n the creatio a principal at the … site structure, and will allow for ted ina am for g-cont the groundwork ntal remediation of the lon Parkside Group, sector investment, and lay ate priv ze first step in the environme aly cat r s, job afte – first physical steps astructure will create which lobbied in the infr rk in nt ma me nts est me inv est jor inv ma ese “This idential yor Bloomberg. “Th res Ma and l said ,” favor of the project. rcia ood me orh com t ghb ran nei lets Point as a vib New York City’s next great leaders – in reimagining Wil al loc h wit er eth tog g rkin years of planning and wo lated struction or construction-re million, provide over 350 con community.” $50 tely ough If the city can ima thr r rox obe app t Oct of cos s to ected ween the month Infrastructure work is exp ction will primarily occur bet n overcome ongoing stru ctio con stru The con 3. its h 201 wit in n ted be comple ld. The City, in coordinatio Fie i Cit nt jobs, and both sewers will ace adj z litigation by the the Cru at up, has selected s during the baseball season r Roberts Construction Gro nte Hu holdout property s, ces March to prevent any impact pro ent em cur sen through a public pro owners, it will finally manager for Willets Point cho es. rad a t upg e hou tur wit s ruc develop a piece of cannot become realitie m the necessary infrast for city per ire to ent LLC the s, for tor e trac vid Con city’s sewer land it has sought efits that it will pro the ben ing the and and nt Exp rs. Poi yea lets ny Wil ma ded for “The development of ements that have been nee pment on a firm to build upon since nt in infrastructure improv issues and put new develo ing and gst lon s res multimillion dollar investme add Robert Moses tried l wil a are the in ge ina rm water dra to turn the area into all. rsh network and increasing sto Ma en y Hel ent State Senator Tob a park and parking said Queens Borough Presid ding a constant problem,” floo h wit t,” lec foundation for the future,” neg n st nig mo “be astructure and suffered from not so lot for the 1964 ment, provide essential infr “For years, Willets Point has l help clean up the environ wil t jec pro World’s Fair. nt me lop eve red er sew is “Th y. visk Sta Ann d-working har the for s new at s.” gre job is al ent importantly help create loc economy, today’s announcem Council. … ction has been slowed by the g and Construction Trades ldin Bui the of ent “At a time when new constru sid Pre , era arb LaB y responsible a Gar in er said nt work togeth five boroughs,” industry, labor and governme men and women across the ate est l rea the del for our en mo n wh ed -wi iev win is can be ach 32BJ SEIU. “It “Willets Point shows what Mike Fishman, President of said ts,” jec pro ent pm elo ’s dev d.” and equitable way on our city good jobs New Yorkers nee agreeeconomy and for creating the our ents– the City has control or ss, ine tlem bus set for ted d otia goo is neg t h oug city tha thr ty per pro ng uiri s remaining. ble progress in acq nine private property owner The City has made considera the Phase 1 area, with only in d lan the of t cen per 90 Federally indicted lobbyist Richard Lipsky ments to acquire nearly continues to lead opposition to the project on the Willets Point United blog.
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WEIGHT-LOSS SECRETS OF THE POLITICAL STARS How three New York political heavyweights got a little lighter It’s holiday time again, which for many of us means family feasts, office parties and expanding waistlines. We asked three pols who have lost weight—and kept it off—how to make it through the season. NAME: Sen. Gustavo Rivera NAME: Sen. Shirley Huntley
LOST: 22 pounds
LOST: 18 pounds
HOW: “Moderation. You can’t change your dietary habits from one day to the next and expect to be able to maintain it. The important thing is to make small changes that incrementally will have a good impact. Smaller portions, less fat, less sugar, less salt, lots of water, regular exercise and long-term goals—that’s how I did it.”
HOW: “When my clothes started getting tight, that was my first warning. I can’t afford to buy more, so you gotta stop eating. I walk five miles a day. I don’t eat any sweets anymore at all. I drink diet drinks. I use no sugar. I eat small portions.” HOLIDAY EATING ADVICE: “I just follow the rules. If I know the holiday is coming, I’ll have my regular coffee, juice, slice of wheat toast; lunch; maybe a piece of fruit; and then save up room for dinner.”
HOLIDAY EATING ADVICE: “There’s always times, particularly with family, when you’re not able to not eat the things that are just high in calories and not that healthy for you. As long as you don’t do it every day, it’s all right. But I would say, just don’t overeat. Moderation—you can’t say that enough. Moderation, moderation, moderation.”
NAME: Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson LOST: 25 pounds HOW: “No sort of crazy crash-diet. A mixture of increased exercise, eating less and eating better—cutting down on starches, dramatically on fried foods. Biking, spin classes, running; you’ve got to keep up your exercise. Try to find the time to do it.” HOLIDAY EATING ADVICE: “Try to avoid the grazing. It’s hard. And alcohol is all empty calories. I’m very sympathetic to people who struggle with this.”
TWITTER’S ODD COUPLE Craig Johnson and Carl Marcellino bro down online They are the Statler and Waldorf of Long Island politics: Former Democratic State Sen. Craig Johnson (@ HonCraigJohnson) and Republican Sen. Carl Marcellino (@Senator98), former adversaries who have found common ground teasing each other on Twitter. One day a few years ago in the Senate Chamber, Johnson learned Marcellino’s Twitter handle during a session lull in, and “immediately friended him,” he said. “He started leaving messages on Twitter,” Marcellino recalled. “I wasn’t into it all that much then.” Marcellino has since picked up the habit. Like Johnson, he writes his own tweets. He likes the feedback. “You get an email, or someone retweets you. Sometimes someone stops you in the street, and says ‘I saw your picture. You look younger in your picture,’ ” Marcellino said. And while Johnson’s 1,160 followers number almost twice as many as Marcellino’s 513, the two regularly engage in a spirited back-and-forth on Twitter—
over politics, sports or even just to wish each other a happy holiday. After Johnson was defeated in a narrow race in 2010, Marcellino began to miss his former colleague’s willingness to engage in a little postpartisan banter. “When [Johnson] left the Senate, I was pleased that Jack Martins coming on board put us in the majority,” Marcellino said, with a hint of dolor. “But I was sorry to see a person of quality leave.” They take aim at any number of targets on Twitter, but their pointed criticisms of each other are never ad hominem. They both say they yearn for the bygone days when a Republican and a Democrat could have a fun conversation. “We had some good debates,” Marcellino said. “I found his arguments intelligent, on point. It was never nasty.” Apropos of nothing, Johnson ventured, “Would I vote for Carl?” “Now I’m out of office, I would think long and hard about voting for him as a member of the Senate,” he went on. “Our relationship based on
mutual respect has grown since I’ve been out of office.” Marcellino guffawed. “He’s not in my district! He’d have to move!” He paused a second and decided, “I
have to tweet him that I have a house for sale in my district. That would make Jack Martins very happy.” —Laura Nahmias firstname.lastname@example.org
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DECEMBER 5, 2011
Party Crasher At war with fellow Republicans, Onondaga Executive Joanie Mahoney stands with Cuomo By RoBeRt HaRding
ov. 22 was a busy day for Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney. That morning, the Syracuse PostStandard wrote that the county’s highestranking Republican was embroiled in a civil war with leaders of her own party. It cited a grand jury probe led by William Fitzpatrick, the county’s Republican district attorney, into claims that she violated election law by appointing her brother and sister to the county Republican committee. Later that day, Onondaga County Republican Chairman Tom Dadey—
“it has caused me grief with the party. the local Republican Party hasn’t supported my effort to work in a bipartisan way.” whose complaint to Fitzpatrick started the investigation—put out a press release harshly critical of Mahoney and calling for answers. And that night, Mahoney cohosted a fund-raising event for the reelection campaign of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Held at the Skaneateles Lake home of developer Michael Falcone and cohosted by the Business Council of New York State, the event raised more than $162,000 for the state’s most powerful Democrat. In other words, that single Tuesday encapsulated Mahoney’s political life these days—battling with her expected allies while helping a governor who would otherwise be an opponent. “I have not had the ability to talk to governors and members of their administration the way I have Andrew Cuomo and his team,” she said. “If he hears about a problem, he looks for a solution, and our ability to have those conversations with him is invaluable.” Mahoney first crossed party lines to support Cuomo in 2010, calling him the “clear choice” for the post, and noting that the relationship should pay off for her Onondaga constituents. Mahoney was first elected county executive in 2007 after defeating the Republican Party-endorsed candidate, Dale Sweetland, in a primary. She ran unopposed for her second term last month. Now she blames the frayed ties to her fellow Onondaga Republicans on her growing relationship with Cuomo.
“It has caused me grief with the party. The local Republican Party hasn’t supported my effort to work in a bipartisan way,” she said. “But when I ran for this job, I told the people that I was asking to vote for me that I would work with anyone who was
willing to move us forward.” “I think people are tired of the partisan bickering,” she added. “I committed, out of respect for the voters, that I would work with anyone else that they sent. I’ve kept my word on that, and I have very good relationships with Republicans and Democrats.” Dadey did not respond to repeated requests for comment on Mahoney. He was less restrained, in the press release he sent, about what he claimed were her “potentially serious election law violations,” which he said he was obliged to share with the county prosecutor.
“I have no interest in getting into a tit for tat public battle played out in the media,” Dadey wrote. “I am not interested in ‘framing’ this story in a way that protects certain individuals. I am interested in getting to the bottom of what really happened and letting the justice system work.” The release added, “At a time when people have become more and more disillusioned with government, Onondaga County residents deserve answers, not political spin.” email@example.com
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First Comes marriage, Then Comes Taxes New marriage rights in New York state conflict with federal denials By Laura Nahmias
t age 18, Krista Merget served in the U.S. Air Force as a crew chief refueling air tankers. Now that she’s 55 years old, she’s thinking about where to be buried when she dies. “My father was in the service, and my grandfather was in the police department, his brothers were all in the service, my mother’s brothers were all in the service, and they’re all buried in national cemeteries, and their wives are buried with them,” said Merget, who would like to be interred with her father and her relatives at Calverton National Cemetery, near her home on Lindenhurst, Long Island. “It’s unfortunate and it’s unfair,” Merget said, “that my wife can’t be buried with me.” As an armed forces veteran, Merget is entitled to be buried in a national cemetery, but the federal laws that govern those cemeteries don’t recognize her wife, whom she’s been with for 13 years, even though the state of New York does. After the euphoria of attaining samesex marriage in New York, gay and lesbian couples—and the companies that employ them—are now confronting mundane but maddening red tape because the federal government doesn’t recognize their unions. Wrestling with complications from income tax returns to health insurance plans to estate tax planning, businesses have sought outside help from consul-
DEcEmbEr 5, 2011
tants and training courses to learn how to comply with contradictory state and federal laws for their gay and lesbian employees who marry. “We have a schizophrenic form of government on this issue,” said Long Island accountant William Stevenson. “New York doesn’t have a marriage resi-
York, planning for same-sex couples will become more complicated,” the guide says. Stevenson cited a litany of examples to illustrate the complications. Same-sex couples have their partners’ health insurance benefits taxed, because they have to claim their partners as dependents on federal tax returns. They also can’t pass
“They’re all buried in national cemeteries, and their wives are buried with them. it’s unfortunate and it’s unfair that my wife can’t be buried with me.” dency requirement, and we’re going to have people coming from all over the country to New York to get married, and we’ll have these national tax issues that are far broader than people realize.” Accountants were some of the first to realize it. In the days after the marriage bill became law on June 24, dozens of New York accounting firms published guidelines establishing new tax policies to comply with the law. One guide, written July 7 by Anchin, Block and Anchin LLP, noted that while a same-sex couple could file their income taxes jointly in New York, they would be required to file single federal returns separately—requiring extra work from their accountant and higher fees for the couple. “Although it seems that many rights were won by the gay community in New
their estates to a partner without incurring the federal estate tax. Empire State Pride Agenda President Ross Levi said the group has seen an upswing in businesses asking for help figuring out whether to keep their domestic partnership plans. Many assumed that same-sex marriage would allow them to stop offering domestic partnerships to employees, but ESPA is urging unions and businesses to wait—saying the taxes and legal tangles are so great, they might deter some people from getting married. “It has been counterintuitive for some companies to hear all of this,” Levi said. “They assumed that the natural thing for every same-sex couple to do would be to get married, where because of this federal law, that may not be the case for everyone.”
Ernst & Young LLP, for example, did not at first offer domestic partner benefits in states that legalized same-sex marriage, but added them back after it realized the complications, said the company’s Chris Crespo: “It was a big ‘aha’-moment.” Same-sex couples who were married in other states are already aware of the challenges. Jeff Friedman and his husband, Andy Zwerin, who married in California in 2008 and lobbied to pass the marriage bill in Albany last spring, can put a price tag on it. Zwerin makes $150,000 per year and receives health benefits for both himself and his husband from his job at HBO; while Friedman, a former attorney, is a stay-at-home dad for their 7-year-old adopted son, Josh, in their Tudor-style home on Long Island. If their marriage were legally recognized by the federal government, they would have paid $6,000 less in income tax last year. Their health benefits are also taxed because Zwerin has to count Friedman as a dependent on federal tax returns. “I call these things the ‘gay penalty tax,’” said Friedman, who also stands to get nothing from Social Security if he outlasts his husband. “I’m raising a family, and Social Security was made so that a person could stay home and get a joint Social Security amount, a couple’s amount, in the end,” he said. “My fear is that I last longer than my husband, because I can’t afford that.” firstname.lastname@example.org
B E YO N D T H E C A P I TO L
In The Zone? Who has the final say on where to drill—the state or the town?
By SUSAN ARBETTER
GLENN DAVID FRESCH
n early November, attorneys met in Tompkins County Supreme Court to argue a case that could determine the future of hydrofracking in New York. Lawyers for both Anschutz Exploration Corporation, a drilling company, and the Town of Dryden were arguing a case of “first impression” in New York, legalese for an issue that’s never seen the inside of a courtroom. The key question in the case revolves around who gets the final say on where to drill for natural gas: the state, when it issues a drilling permit, or the locality, through zoning? Anschutz says the state makes the law, while attorneys for Dryden argue that zoning amendments prohibit the controversial drilling practice. The outcome of Anschutz Exploration Erica Levine Powers Patricia Salkin Corporation v. Town of Dryden based driller decided to sue because of Assembly about whether or not this was could ultimately make hydrofracking in New York less profitable for the drilling investments it had already made in the intended to override local zoning.” Plus, Salkin says there’s no one to town. industry—or make it easier. “We picked Dryden because Anschutz verify his claim: “He recounts a conversa“The town has amended zoning regulations to say that oil and gas drilling has 22,200 acres under lease in the town, tion he had with a state senator who is no isn’t permitted in the town,” said Patricia so they were directly affected by the longer with us. He’s deceased.” Attorney Chris Denton, who repreSalkin, a land-use expert who heads up ban,” he said. Like other companies looking to drill sents coalitions of landowners, is just the Government Law Center at Albany Law School. “State statute says, ‘Here’s in New York, Anschutz didn’t think local as unimpressed with the case being presented by Dryden. a framework for regulating oil and gas towns had any say over drilling. “If you look at letters and correspon“There’s been an assumption by the drilling in New York State.’ So the question is whether the state law trumps the industry that the only permits they need dence between the town and the DEC, it becomes apparent the whole regulation are from the state,” Salkin explained. local law.” Assumptions get a bad rap, but this is an afterthought,” Denton said. Anschutz attorney Tom West has been He points to a long-existing well in critical of the state Department of Envi- one comes from a long-standing interpreronmental Conservation’s draft statement tation by industry of the language in the Dryden referred to as “Cook 1” to make on hydrofracking, saying it’s too stringent DEC’s 1981 Oil, Gas and Solution Mining a point. “That was allowed before anyone on about “set-backs and prohibitions”— Law. West calls this law’s language “a very industry terms for the rules that govern clear directive from the Legislature that the town board said boo about anything,” the location of well pads. If Dryden wins in oil and gas is hands-off to municipalities he said. “That’s a real inconsistency in their position.” court, West said it would make those rules except for roads and taxation.” Like Dryden, the Town of Middlefield To support this claim, Anschutz’s “more onerous” for the fracking business. Upstate residents have an awkward but lawyers submitted an affidavit by envi- in Otsego County made changes to its growing awareness that hydrofracking— ronmental consultant Gregory Sovas, a land-use law to prohibit hydrofracking. a process that pumps chemicals, water retired 30-year veteran of the DEC who And like Dryden, Middlefield was sued in and sand underground at high pressure directed its Division of Mineral Resources. a case still pending in the courts. But the to remove natural gas from subterranean Sovas claims he’s the “primary author” of language of its ordinance, and the planpockets—has the potential to change the amendments to the Oil, Gas and Solution ning that went into it, may give it a greater chance of prevailing. character of their communities. Some Mining Law of 1981. The plaintiff in this case, CooperWhile Sovas says the intention of the upstaters hail it as a multibillion-dollar economic boost; others fear it will be an preemption language was to ensure the stown Holstein Corporation, is not state had the right to supersede local a gas-drilling company. Erica Levine environmental disaster. Back in August, Dryden Town Super- zoning laws, his claims don’t hold much Powers, an adjunct professor at the University of Albany, described it as visor Mary Ann Sumner said the commu- water with Salkin. “That’s his opinion,” Salkin said. “He “a landowner/farmer/grantor of gas nity “clarified” a long-standing ordinance that prohibited heavy industry—meaning wasn’t a member of the Legislature, and leases” in an article. “I am impressed with the Town of drilling. This zoning “clarification” was there really isn’t anything on the bill jacket the legal equivalent of a swift kick to the that would indicate what was the conver- Middlefield Zoning ordinance,” Powers gut to Anschutz. West said the Denver- sation and debate in the Senate and the wrote. “It is consistent with modern
notions of comprehensive planning, with a focus on existing and potential uses in the context of the community, including tourism, agriculture and viniculture.” In other words, “When you’re trying to win at litigation, you choose a case where the facts and the law are to your advantage.… Middlefield did a lot of careful planning.” The community started land-use planning back in 2002 with the help of Nan Stolzenburg, founder of Community Planning & Environmental Associates, and one of the only planners around who specializes in rural communities. “This was before anyone had ever heard about hydrofracking,” she says. “Years later when the community had concerns about drilling, they asked me to look at what they needed to do to protect themselves.” Stolzenburg was able to use that 2002 plan as a launching point for an updated regional plan that includes Cooperstown, Springfield, Cherry Valley and Middlefield. “My speculation is that Middlefield was not chosen by the gas industry because of the great depth and comprehensiveness that that town put into its decision-making process. The case is harder to make because they did their fact-checking and analysis beforehand,” says Stolzenburg. The stakes are high. In a boon to opponents of the drilling method, the DEC recently extended its public comment period on hydrofracking by one month— enraging drillers who want to get to work quickly. But regardless of whether Anschutz or Dryden wins in Tompkins County Supreme Court, there are likely more delays ahead until the central question in that town is decided statewide by the Court of Appeals.
Susan Arbetter reports from the Capitol in Albany for Central New York’s PBS station, WCNY in Syracuse. She hosts a daily live radio show, “The Capitol Pressroom,” and produces The Capitol Report, broadcast daily on television across New York. DECEMBER 5, 2011
Dean Skelos, left, and Marty Golden joined Nicole Malliotakis, who is of Cuban descent, at Skelos’ “Unidad Latina” conference in October.
DESUNIÓN Latina Skelos’ jobs-focused outreach to Latinos faces hurdles By JON LENTZ
ith a declining Republican base threatening his hold on power, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is reaching out to Latinos, many of them small-business owners and social conservatives with views that mirror those of the Republican Party. But Skelos’ inaugural “Unidad Latina” conference in New York City in October highlighted a lack of unity with the growing segment of the state’s population, as every one of Skelos’ Latino colleagues in the State Senate boycotted the event. “He understands, obviously, that with the changes that are happening in the state, he needs to reach out to Latinos,” said State Sen. Gustavo Rivera, one of the six Latino senators who skipped the event. “He didn’t really want to talk about issues that impact the Latino community at his conference. If he is really concerned about the Latino community, why didn’t he organize this last year?” New York Republicans insist their policies will attract Latino voters, but the chasm dividing Skelos and his Latino colleagues in the Senate reflects the hurdles Republicans face in their outreach. One glaring weakness for Skelos is that his conference has no Latino members. A few Republican Assembly members have Latino roots, including Nicole Malliotakis and Peter Lopez, but they are a rare breed among New York lawmakers. Another challenge is that Latinos, whose population grew by more than half a million in New York over the past
DECEMBER 5, 2011
decade, tend to vote Democratic. Former Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have enjoyed some success in garnering Latino votes as Republicans, but Skelos could have a harder time repeating that feat in 2012 since most Republican presidential contenders are taking a hard line on illegal immigration. Latino lawmakers have also blasted Skelos for his party’s policies, from
Americans are worried about. “We’re absolutely trying to reach out,” said Scott Reif, a spokesman for the Senate majority. “We had a very successful ‘Unidad Latina’ conference, focusing primarily on job creation and helping entrepreneurs. We’ve made efforts to recruit Latino candidates, and I expect that we will be doing that in the future as well.” Reif said Senate Republicans will introduce a jobs package next year that
“If he is really concerned about the Latino community, why didn’t he organize this last year?” failing to extend the millionaires’ tax and so protect programs that benefit lower-income minorities to ignoring immigrants’ rights issues at his “Unidad” conference. And while many voters may not be aware of Skelos’ role in redrawing state district lines a decade ago, his plan was sharply criticized for breaking up communities of Latino voters. “Ten years ago he was the main senator on LATFOR, the task force that designed districts that go out of their way to minimize the potency of the Latino vote across the state, particularly in Long Island,” Rivera said. But Republicans said their message of job creation, promoting small business and improving schools would appeal to Latinos, whose concerns are not limited to immigration and are not so different from core issues other
will resonate with Latino voters, along with other yet-to-be-announced initiatives. The party will continue its “twoway conversation” with Latinos on issues that matter to them, he added. Malliotakis, whose mother fled Castro’s Cuba and met her Greek father in New York City, said the fact she is the first person of Latino descent elected on Staten Island shows that Democrats don’t have a monopoly on the Latino vote. Her background allows her to communicate in Spanish and to connect based on a shared cultural background with other Latinos, who she says make up 10 to 15 percent of her district. “I think that as Republicans offer more opportunities for young elected officials such as myself, who are of Hispanic descent, to run for office and become a face of the Republican Party, they will build a stronger base within the Hispanic
community,” Malliotakis said. Juan Reyes, a Republican who was a top choice to run in the special Congressional election to replace former Rep. Anthony Weiner, is another rising star in the party who said he would be interested in running for office next year. Reyes said recent immigrants from Mexico are more likely to be swing voters, which could benefit Republicans. “It doesn’t really matter, necessarily, whether they’re from the highest or lowest tax bracket,” Reyes said. “I think it has a lot to do with family values, because a lot of the families are really religious, whether they’re Catholic or Protestant, and they tend not to stick to one party or the other. They’ll listen to what the issues are and what they think is the best way to govern.” Malliotakis and Reyes are exceptions to overall voting patterns, but they also represent the types of Latinos who could be receptive to Republicans. Cubans are unique among Latinos in their tendency to vote Republican, though they do not make up a large share of the state’s population. Other Latinos who vote Republican generally are more assimilated into the broader culture. “The Latinos who come here, they usually are fairly concentrated when they are just off the airplane,” said Andrew Beveridge, a sociology professor at Queens College and a demographic consultant. “The ones you’ll get to vote Republican are the ones that are basically white Latinos who are assimilating. So you don’t have to make the Latino appeal to get those people.” The party may also have better chances outside of New York City, a Democratic stronghold where more than two-thirds of the state’s Latino population live. “With the Hispanic population moving out from the city on an ongoing basis over a number of years, there are very good opportunities out in the New York suburbs and New York City exurbia,” said Ed Cox, chairman of the New York Republican State Committee. Of course, the state’s growing Latino population could have less of an immediate impact on either party than expected. The population of Latinos in New York grew by nearly one-fifth between 2000 and 2010, and now makes up 17.6 percent of the population. But since many are immigrants who are not naturalized citizens and not eligible to vote, Latinos only make up 11.4 percent of the state’s eligible voters, according to Beveridge’s analysis. “There’s a misconception on the part of Latinos that they’re going to get a lot more seats because they’ve grown,” Beveridge said. “Though there has been big growth, it doesn’t translate into votes.” email@example.com
Occupy Albany, Cuomo and the Millionaires’ Tax
The Moody’s Center For Cardiovascular Health Moody’s Center At NewThe York Downtown Hospital For Cardiovascular Health At New York Downtown Hospital
forces. A discreet silence of the kind the Cuomo operation has perfected over the he Bloomberg raid on Zuccotti last five years seemed in order, yet the Park is forcing an international administration took a high-profile and early movement to confront its future. position against the occupiers. So far no Occupy Wall Street has a functioning harm has been done to either side. But the fight about New York’s millionnetwork of over 1,000 locations across aires’ tax is probably the strathe world, and has become tegic concern that motivated a visible and invisible part of all this. The Assembly and the movements everywhere. But labor unions, though pushing it is now wrestling with how— forward with a lot of energy and whether—it will evolve into and skill, have not yet broada force for change. ened the base of support for The Tea Party had the the tax beyond their tradisame transitional moment. It tional allies. decided to shed its populist Richard Brodsky If the various Occupy moveroots, took enormous sums of money from the Koch brothers and stra- ments across New York become a real tegic advice from Republican Majority electoral force, they can tip the balance Through the generosity of the Moody’s Foundation, we were able Leader Dick Armey, and converted itself toward anti-rich populism that can sweep into the enforcer for the corporate wing a millionaires’ tax into the next budget. to create a comprehensive, state-of-the-art center that focuses on Beheading the Occupiers before the new of the Republican Right. the prevention, early detection, and treatment of cardiovascular Its successes are visible, if only in proposed budget is produced in January disease through a holistic, of integrative approach. Our team of able Through the generosity the Moody’s Foundation, we were watching the Republican presidential candi- could be looked at as a smart way to stop physicians works with you to assess your cardiovascular risk to create a comprehensive, state-of-the-art center that focuses on dates try to develop a political argument that trouble before it begins. and design individualized treatment plans that of allow you to live the prevention, early detection, and treatment cardiovascular There are signs that Cuomo’s absolute can attract enough voters to win without adisease healthier, more aactive life.integrative Additionally, our cardiovascular offending the crazy right. It’s entertaining, in opposition is weakening, but it’s a highthrough holistic, approach. Our team of specialists can perform procedures at NewYork-Presbyterian risk strategy for the Cuomo folks. A New a macabre sort of way. physicians works with you to assess your cardiovascular risk Occupy Wall Street won’t go down York millionaires’ tax might save jobs, Hospital —individualized Weill Cornell Medical Center, allowing and design treatment plans that allowour youpatients to live that path, largely because it is explicitly keep tuition down, keep local property access to innovative treatment options. a healthier, more active life. Additionally, our cardiovascular much more grassroots, but also because taxes down and respond to Occupy Wall specialists can Rehabilitation perform procedures NewYork-Presbyterian Our Cardiac Centerathas been recognized for big money is emphatically not attracted Street’s cri de coeur about fairness and UILDING FOR A EALTHIER OMORROW Hospital — Weill Cornell Medical Center, allowing our patients shared sacrifice. by its message. its high level of service, and we offer Cardiovascular Wellness access to innovative treatment options. For individualNew members of the Even without a physical occupation Evaluations designed to attain approach to of medical conditio York Downtown Hospital is a center of excellence for a multi-faceted prevention and treatment near Wall Street, it retains two enor- Assembly and Senate, it will be important achieving your best health. UILDING FOR Aand aEALTHIER OMORROW Wellness and Prevention, inpatient ambulatory care, common women; digital for mammography; com Ourand Cardiac Rehabilitation Center has to been recognized mous assets. Its message has swept to guess Occupy Wall Street’s transformaUILDING FOR A EALTHIER OMORROW leader in the field of emergency preparedness. non-invasive cardiovascular assessment; and cance itsWe high of service, and we Cardiovascular Wellness YorkreelecDowntown Hospital is level acommitted center of excellence for offer prevention and of medical seeking through societies across the world and tion right. Each memberNew are to providing a superior leveltreatment of care and patient conditions and detection through Downtown Hospital’s af Evaluations designed multi-faceted approach to mammography; Wellness and Prevention, inpatient and ambulatory care, and common tothe women; digital compr a general election, is widely embraced in the United States: tion, in a primary or New York Downtown Hospital is a and center of excellence foraamore prevention and treatment of medical conditio service, invite youto toattain learn about services we offer. You will find an efficient and effective health care experience at Strang Cancer Prevention Center. leader in the preparedness. non-invasive cardiovascular assessment; and cancer s the politics offield the of emergency Its 1-percent-versus-the-99-percent vision will try to anticipate achieving your best health. UILDING FOR Aandand OMORROW Wellness and Prevention, inpatient and ambulatory care, aEALTHIER common to women; digital mammography; com Consultative appointments testing services are easily scheduled New York IfDowntown Hospital and will have the best of both and detection through Downtown Hospital’s affil voters. they can of politics and government crosses ideo- millionaires’ tax on leader in the field of emergency preparedness. non-invasive cardiovascular assessment; and canc with aare single phone call, and in most cases can be arranged and New York is acommitted center of excellence for prevention and treatment of medical worlds: the support of your Hospital own private physician along with the latest medical research, mostconditions up-to-da to providing a superior level of care Center. and patient You will findDowntown an efficient andWe effective health care experience at Bringing Strang Cancer Prevention playing in the nittylogical lines. And its technological power enlist a powerful ally and detection through Downtown a performed within 24 toservices. 48 hours. Most major insurance plans are Hospital’s Wellness and Prevention, inpatient and ambulatory care, and common toand women; digital mammography; comp the latest developments in preventive care and specialty techniques, the newest technological advancem New York Downtown Hospital and will have the best of bothamore service, and invite you to learn about the services we offer. gritty of campaigns, it becomes easier to is unlike any other movement in history. You will find an efficient and effective health care experience at Strang Cancer Prevention Center. leader inthe thesupport field of of emergency non-invasive cardiovascular assessment; and accepted, andphysician convenient appointments are including of Lower Manhattan, our Wellness andcancer Preve worlds: your ownpreparedness. private along with Bringing theavailable, latest medical research, most up-to-date It may or may not turn into a big player wait out a budget stalemate. Consultative appointments and heart testing services are easily scheduled New York Downtown Hospital and will have the best of both and detection through Downtown Hospital’s affi the latest developments in early preventive care and specialty services. techniques, and the newest technological advancemen Wellness and Prevention Team provides a broad range of will advise you on how to preserve your single mos morning and late afternoon visits. If Occupy WallOur Street successfully in the 2012 Presidential race. If it does, with a single phone call, inatmost cases can be arranged and most up-to-da worlds: the support of your own private physician alongand with Bringing the latest medical research, You will find an efficient and effective health care experience Strang Cancer Prevention Center. heart of Lower Manhattan, our Wellness and Preventt services including Women’s Health Program, dedicated to the asset…your good health! This is our commitment its megaphone at athe Obama’s chances brighten considerably. transforms and puts performed within 24 toservices. 48 Most major insurance plans are the latest in preventive care and specialty andon the newest technological advancem Newdevelopments York Downtown Hospital and will have best of hours. both Our Wellness and Prevention Team provides athe broad range of techniques, will advise you how to preserve your single most i tax folks, But its transition will have a major impact disposal of the pro–millionaires’ accepted, and convenient appointments are available, including heart of Lower Manhattan, our Wellness and Preve worlds: the support of your own private physician along with Bringing the latest medical research, most up-to-date including the budget politics of 2012services will change. But a Women’s Health Program, dedicated to the asset…your good health! This is our commitment to on the politics of the Empire State. the latest developments in early preventive care and specialty services. techniques, andon thehow newest technological advanceme Our Wellness and Prevention Team provides a broad range of will advise you to preserve your single mos morning and late afternoon visits. Can Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Cuomo’s insistence on killing the tax has heart of Lower Manhattan, our Wellness and Prevent services including a Women’s Health Program, dedicated to the asset…your good health! This is our commitment Republican-controlled Senate continue to recognizable political benefit: Opposing Our Wellness and Prevention Team provides a broad range of will advise you on how to preserve your single most i shrug off the message and the messenger? taxes is popular, and so is keeping your services including a Women’s Health Program, dedicated to the asset…your good health! This is our commitment to Can the Democratic-led Assembly find a campaign promises. But there’s a downway to ride the wave back to dominance side to more service cuts, fee increases A community hospital committed to meeting the healthcare needs of people who visit, live, and work in Lower M crises. over the budget and policy process in the and local-government A transformed, organized, grassroots Capitol? Each member of the LegislaA community hospital committed to meeting the healthcare needs of people who visit, live, and work in Lower Ma ture—as well as the governor—is trying version of Occupy Wall Street might be the difference maker for Obama—and to figure that out. A community hospital committed to meeting the healthcare needs of people who visit, live, and work in Lower M Occupy Wall Street has appeared on maybe for Cuomo, too. 83 Gold Street, Newcommitted York, NY 10038 312-5000 www.downtownhosp 170 William Street, New York, 10038 A community hospital to meeting theTelephone:(212) healthcare needs of people whoNY visit, live, and work in Lower Ma Albany’s radar screen in other ways, too. 83 Gold Street, New York, NY 10038 Telephone:(212) 312-5000 www.downtownhospita Telephone: (646) 588-2526 The bizarre machinations over use of Richard Brodsky is a Senior Fellow www.downtownwellness.org Academy Park in Albany, which pitted at Demos, a NYC-based think tank, School of Public Cuomo’s aide Larry Schwartz against and at NYU’s Wagner83 Gold Street, New York, NY Telephone:(212) 312-5000 www.downtownhosp 17010038 William Street, New York, NY 10038 the Street, New York, NY 10038 Occupy Albany and its unlikely ally Administration. He served 83inGold Telephone:(212) 312-5000 www.downtownhospit Telephone: (646) 588-2526 Mayor Gerald Jennings, made for a need- state Assembly from 1983 to 2010 www.downtownwellness.org less tactical skirmish that puzzled most and chaired the corporations and environmental protection committees. observers. There was no obvious legal or political He appears regularly as a contributing reason to rout the anti–Occupy Albany editor on WRNN-TV. By RICHARD BRODSKY
Wellness & Prevention Center
Wellness & Prevention Center
DECEMBER 5, 2011
AFTER ZUCCOTTI New York politics braces for Occupy Wall Street By ANDREW J. HAWKINS Photos by ANDREW SCHWARTZ
DECEMBER 5, 2011
ccupy Wall Street protesters called the Nov. 17 demonstration that drew thousands of supporters to Foley Square a “Day of Action,” but it had all the makings of a high school pep rally— glossy signs, catchy chants and arrests prearranged with the faculty (or in this case, the NYPD). Union workers with earpieces controlled the crowd as a band played a groovy mix of backpack rap and soul. Thousands of Occupy Wall Street supporters clapped their hands, danced and chanted along with the band. “All day, all week, occupy Wall Street!” One police officer edged closer to the barricade surrounding the stage, nodding his head with the rhythm. “I play those myself,” he said, pointing to the drummer. Behind the stage, labor bosses and progressive operatives mingled with clergy members—many of whom were there to plug a rally in support of a living-wage mandate in the Bronx the following week. All the major players were represented—1199 SEIU, the Communication Workers of America, the United Federation of Teachers, United NY, VOCAL, the Strong Economy for All Coalition, the Hotel Trades Council—a regular who’s who of New York’s progressive elements. Like clockwork, the crowd began to surge toward the Brooklyn Bridge, where several City Council members were arrested. By the end of the night, the only surprise came when some rogue technicians projected a giant “99 percent” symbol on the side of the Municipal Building. But if Nov. 17 was the pep rally, Election Day 2012 will be the big game—leaving candidates, fund-raisers and operatives to parse the events of the last year for political cues. Will Occupy Wall Street change the New York landscape enough to affect who gets elected next year, just as the Tea Party movement did in 2009 and 2010? Or will its amorphous, occupation-obsessed and politically averse membership repel candidates who want to embrace its message, for fear of being tagged as anarchists allergic to capitalism? “With action there’s a reaction,” said Bill O’Reilly, a GOP consultant who helped engineer Congressman Bob Turner’s surprise victory in September. “Occupy Wall Street was a reaction, possibly, to the Tea Party, to bailouts and other things. There will be a reaction to Occupy Wall Street, and it’s going to move in a more conservative direction.” Camille Rivera, executive director of United NY and an organizer of the Nov. 17 demonstration, said the goal of Occupy—which she insisted she in no way spoke for—was not to influence electoral outcomes or change the composition of the state Legislature but to force all candidates to embrace the “99 percent” message. “Occupy will not influence candidates. That’s not their goal,” she said. “Their goal is to change the country.”
ut while Occupy itself may be reluctant to wade into the 2012 elections, candidates running for office next year who ignore the movement’s central message do so at their own peril, said Bruce Gyory, a political consultant at Corning Place Communications and an adjunct professor of political science at SUNY Albany. “The Republicans should not make the same mistake with regard to Occupy Wall Street that liberals made with the Tea Party,” he said. Gyory argues that a core segment of voters—the 40 percent of moderates within the larger block of 40 percent of the electorate who identify as Independents—swung the vote for Republicans in 2010. The Tea Party convinced those voters that debt, deficits and President Barack Obama’s stimulus and healthcare bills were their primary issues, Gyory said—and early polling suggests Occupy Wall Street is having a similar effect. “When you break it out, that group of 15 to 17 percent
of the electorate…has been swinging one way or the other,” he said. “Whatever triggers their anger reflex is what’s driven the outcome.” The impact of Occupy will vary from race to race, political observers agree. It may motivate progressive operatives to retake the handful of Republican Senate seats in New York City, but it may also galvanize conservative grassroots groups to pull out the stops for Long Island Republicans running for Congress. It may tip the balance for Democrats running on a message of taxing millionaires but hurt candidates seeking to impose more regulations on the financial industry. Some of the most closely watched races next year will be those for the State Senate. Republicans hold a shaky two-seat majority, but with the redistricting process
charges and violent clashes with police—were enough to spur many city governments across the country to crack down on the encampments. Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan was cleared out by the NYPD two days before the Nov. 17 Day of Action. And while protests and demonstrations have kept apace since the eviction, the loss of Occupy Wall Street’s symbolic center has led to some soul searching and questions within the movement about next steps. Republicans, meanwhile, are itching for the chance to attack any candidate who strays too close to the tents and drum circles. Their hope is that the anarchistic and hippie elements will drive voters away from candidates who endorse the movement’s goals, no matter how temptingly populist they may seem.
“Speaking about the 99 percent is helpful, but you need to do more to win the hearts and minds of blue-collar, outer-borough voters.” still in flux, the candidates for many districts remain up in the air. Evan Stavisky, a consultant at the Parkside Group, which ran many Democratic Senate campaigns in 2010, said while Occupy Wall Street’s message resonates among voters, the real question is whether a candidate can incorporate that message in a campaign platform without alienating key constituencies. “Speaking about the 99 percent is helpful, but you need to do more to win the hearts and minds of bluecollar, outer-borough voters,” Stavisky said. “The question is: How well does Occupy Wall Street, how well does Occupy Albany, how well does Occupy Rochester relate to blue-collar workers who feel uncertain about the economy and the anger they feel toward large institutions?” He added, “Will that anger be channeled appropriately, as the movement manifests itself and it graduates from drum circles to visuals that are more comfortable for blue-collar, middle-class voters?” Those visuals—of sick protesters, sexual-assault www.cityandstateny.com
O’Reilly, thinking of his Republican candidates, acknowledged Occupy Wall Street could boost Democratic turnout next year. But he said the direct line from Occupy Wall Street to lefty groups like the Working Families Party and New York Communities for Change could turn off many moderate voters—minimizing the movement’s impact during the election. “The question is whether it’s sustainable going into 2012. It’s got to last for more than a year,” O’Reilly said. “It will rile up both the left and the right: The left will be riled by the income disparity, and the right will be riled by the snot-nosed kids playing revolutionary.”
ccupy Wall Street is already shaping up to play a unique role in one race next year. Albany County District Attorney David Soares’ decision not to prosecute Occupy Albany’s nonviolent protesters has earned him the enmity of Gov. Andrew Cuomo—who tried to convince the state police to evict the demonstrators from the city’s december 5, 2011
Academy Park earlier in the month—but it may also come back to haunt Soares when he runs for reelection next year. Lee Kindlon, an attorney running against Soares in the Democratic primary, intends to turn the DA’s vow not to prosecute protesters into a full-bodied embrace of the movement’s liberal agenda. “It’s a barefaced political calculation to curry favor with far-left activists and donors who are influential in Democratic primaries,” said Sherman Jewett, a consultant working on Kindlon’s campaign. “It reeks of desperation from an
“It will rile up both the left and the right: The left will be riled by the income disparity, and the right will be riled by the snot-nosed kids playing revolutionary.” incumbent who knows he’s on the ropes. And when you’re on the ropes politically, you run to the base and hug them.” He added, “Would Mr. Soares choose not to prosecute antichoice activists or the Westboro Baptist Church crowd engaged in the same activities?” Soares said his decision was based not on politics but on a need to pinch pennies. “Resources are going to become more and more depleted within our offices for prosecution,” Soares said. “It is rather silly to focus those resources on peaceful protesters. The Occupy movement, so long as we were not seeing damage to property or a tax on law enforcement or the public in general, it was just not a place we’re going to go.” That said, Soares says he sees a connection between Occupy and social and political movements in the past. “I’m glad that certain rules with respect to lunch counters and other local ordinances weren’t abided by back in the day,” he said. “But that’s my personal opinion.”
hether Soares will pay a price for allowing Occupy to occupy a public park will offer a stark example of the movement’s impact on an election. For hundreds of other candidates in state and local races, the force of Occupy may be harder to measure at first: The movement is in its infancy and constantly evolving. Yet as Democrats, labor unions and progressive groups around New York put their organizational expertise and millions of dollars into a “99 percent” message for the 2012 cycle, they may tread delicately around Occupy Wall Street itself. The forces that first took Zuccotti Park and slept in it for months have no intention of anointing anyone as the “Occupy Wall Street candidate”—and the mainstream left’s adoption of their message may only fuel their dissatisfaction and anger about politics itself. “It is a corrupt system, and it’s the system that needs to change,” said Ed Needham, a member of the Occupy Wall Street press team. “That’s the kind of stuff we’re good at talking about…not necessarily trying to get someone elected.” firstname.lastname@example.org
DEcEmbEr 5, 2011
Library of Congress
What the Bonus Army’s demands teach about Occupy Wall Street’s lack of them By Laura NahmIas A couple of weeks ago, historians Paul Dickson and Thomas Allen, coauthors of a book called The Bonus Army: An American Epic, traveled down to the Occupy D.C. encampment in Washington to hand out copies of their book, in hopes the protesters might learn a thing or two about what makes a successful movement. “In the case of the Bonus Army, it was ‘Give me my bonus,’ ” said Allen. “With Vietnam, it was ‘End the war.’ In this case, the protesters are saying, ‘Hey, Wall Street, stop being greedy.’ That’s a tough one.” The Bonus Army is a good analog to Occupy Wall Street, the authors say. In 1932, a massive group of World War I veterans descended on Washington to demand payment of bonuses promised them by the federal government. The veterans and their families and supporters, 43,000 strong and traveling from as far as Oregon, were given space in abandoned buildings by the D.C. police, where they pitched tents and pledged to stay until their demands were met. The movement attracted little notice at first. But when Congress grew tired of them, the protesters were chased out by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who pushed them across the Anacostia River and burned their camp. The flames leapt off the front page of The New York Times the next day; then presidential candidate Franklin Roosevelt was said to have woken up in bed in Hyde Park, N.Y., read the headlines, and exclaimed, “I don’t even have to mention Hoover’s name. I’ve won the election.” (Roosevelt was right; the Bonus Army debacle proved disastrous for President Herbert Hoover’s reelection, and he lost in a landslide.) So far, President Barack Obama has resisted unleashing the National Guard on Occupy Wall Street. And the president’s enemies see him as a supporter of what they call “Obamavilles,” even though the Occupy protesters are often as quick to reject both Democratic and Republican politics. Still, Dickson and Allen said the Occupy protesters could learn a lot from the Bonus Army. Like the Occupiers at Zuccotti Park, the Bonus Army vets were initially seen as rabble-rousers, and conservative politicians scoured the group for signs of communism and anarchist tendencies. At the time, veterans were held in lower regard—presidents from Calvin Coolidge through Hoover and even F.D.R. scoffed at the idea of paying bonuses to soldiers. www.cityandstateny.com
But a key difference between the Bonus Army and the Occupy protesters, historians say, is the absence of political demands. Occupiers have taken great pains to avoid articulating demands. They want massive social change—better income distribution, an end to the dollar’s rein over politics, etc.—but don’t trust the system enough to advocate for any particular candidate or piece of legislation. The Bonus Army veterans wanted exactly that: a bill in Congress that would give them the extra money they thought they deserved. The Occupy movement, from its infancy to the present, has actively resisted calls to clarify its demands, although specific grievances about student loans, 401(k)s, campaign-finance reform and mortgage foreclosures generate the greatest sympathy from outside observers. Even with the loss of the physical camp in Zuccotti Park, other protests have popped up across the country, a victory that shows the physical goals of occupation can be met as long as there’s some pull behind the campers’ ideology. But the movement has begun to fascinate the pundits who initially pooh-poohed it, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, one of the country’s most prominent Democrats, appears to be reconsidering his opposition to tax increases for the wealthy. “The impact, if you just look at New York City, is one thing,” said Dickson. “But…there’s an Occupy Indianapolis! In that sense, there may be a greater impact on the country at large, and that’s comparable to the Bonus Army. It didn’t just affect Washington; it affected the whole country.” After several years of camping, the Bonus Army protesters finally got their bonuses. And in the interim years, they created a generation of people who had grown up afraid of how the government treated its veterans. As the nation entered World War II, Congress confronted the prospect of hundreds of thousands of young veterans agitating for benefits. Allen said this led to the passage of the G.I. bill, a piece of legislation that was instrumental in the creation of the postwar middle class. A specific demand can change the system that way, Dickson and Allen said. “The very things that Occupy Wall Street is talking about, the death of the middle class, the death of opportunity, those are exactly the sorts of things the G.I. bill provided,” Dickson said. “It set in motion this huge social change in America.” email@example.com
Occupy Wall Street: Sept. 17—Nov. 15, 2011 An observer of the occupation writes its obituary By Harry Siegel I came to report on the occupation of Zuccotti Park expecting it would pass in a matter of days, like the stillborn movements before it. In spite of its self-celebrated cosmopolitanism, New York after 9/11 has become an arid environment for protest under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. The press and the public yawned through the massive anti–Iraq War march in 2003 and the excessive police response to the 2004 RNC protesters (the city is still dealing with those lawsuits). Even after the Wall Street meltdown, an eerie silence prevailed. Zuccotti was something else: a physical presence, symbolically charged by its location a stone’s throw from both Ground Zero and Wall Street, with no end date to wait out and no demand to be placated. While the act of occupation had little to do with the broader complaint—at the core, unhealthy economic distribution perpetuated by increasingly unresponsive elected “representatives”—it proved a dramatic setting for airing them, and for bringing participants together. For one season the park took on a life of its own, before reverting to a place for “passive recreation.” In the course of that season, though, the scene aged badly. With a big push from the Bloomberg administration and tabloid coverage fixated on civic order, Zuccotti Park descended from a new public commons to a fever dream. I surveyed the scene for the first time about a week after it started. In that first of what became many such visits, I stayed from early afternoon through the next morning, listening to professors, students, union members, veterans, homeless women, eccentrics, lunatics, librarians, old colleagues from other newspapers, members of various working groups and even a neighbor from Brooklyn there to take it in. Occupy Wall Street had yet to draw the high-profile NYPD abuses and errors— the pepper spraying and Brooklyn Bridge arrests—that would give them a shape and purpose they couldn’t sustain themselves. But amid the drum circles and music festival “model society” absurdity of the park, people who’d been at a loss until now about how to express an array of concerns sensed an opening. I was less interested in the protest itself than in the creation within Zuccotti of the sort of freewheeling commons New York City has lost under this mayor, even as the Internet and mobile devices eroded what was left of a shared café culture. That shift is epitomized by the increasing commercialization of public spaces like the generator-powered gift market at Union Square. But it left a hole that the occupiers briefly filled. The handmade cardboard signs, the
conversations with engaging strangers, the library, even the General Assembly all seemed like flashes of the participant city that’s hunkered down to wait out an unpopular mayor. Bloomberg has built an ever-expanding safe space for the very welloff at the expense of the rest of us, using his
strably nonviolent marches that crime rates went up elsewhere. In turn, the occupiers became fixated on the police department. At each march, rumors would swirl about brutality, arrests and reports that “they’re taking the park.” Crowds would at times work themselves
amid the drum circles and music festival “model society” absurdity of the park, people who’d been at a loss until now about how to express an array of concerns sensed an opening. private fortune to encourage New Yorkers to simply leave the city’s civic life in his hands. Problems in Zucotti stemmed in no small part from the massively disproportionate police response, intended in part to limit the size and scope of the protests by warning the economically marginal, the physically frail, and the meek about the bad things that might happen to those who participated. That tactic backfired. As the occupation grew, the would-be political participants found themselves starved for space, overwhelmed by their own tents and by an excess of hangers-on, panhandlers and carnival-goers unsober in all senses. They were ringed by barricades and police officers, blinded by spotlights aimed into the park at all hours, and eyed at all times by dozens of NYPD cameras carried by officers and atop a 20-foot pole on an unmarked police truck. “Just because you’re paranoid,” one Occupier said, sweeping her arm across the park, “doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.” The NYPD response was a far more significant disruption to the life of the city than the protesters themselves— for the first time since 9/11 penning off streets to those without IDs to prove they “belonged” there, erecting barricades that starved businesses of customers, sending so many officers to “protect” the demon-
into mobs, facing off with the NYPD as though they were in Oakland or Egypt. Yet they failed to notice—let alone respond to—the tactics used to manage them, like complicated penning schemes that broke bigger groups into smaller ones or tricked protesters into separating themselves from the rest of the city instead of showing they were just like everyone else. After I reported that the police were exacerbating a split between participants and nonparticipants in Zuccotti by encouraging drunks and rowdies to head down there, the NYPD’s main mouthpiece issued a tepid denial. “Not true,” he said, without specifying what exactly wasn’t true, adding that those types would of course find their way there. Explaining his decision to finally clear the park, Bloomberg pointed to the EMT who broke his leg on the sidewalk just outside the park (but inside the barriers separating the police from the protesters) a week earlier, in the middle of the night. I was the only reporter on the scene when that happened. My colleagues had dispersed around the park to track a spate of seemingly contagious violent incidents on an especially ugly night. Two very large OWS “community watch” members were patiently working to calm down and eject from the park a crazed 20-year-old, Joshua Ehrenberg, who I was told had punched his girlfriend
in the face earlier that night. Just outside the barriers separating the sidewalk from the street, officers watched the crowd swelling around the scene. The police ignored requests to move on as Ehrenberg kept playing to them, spitting out slogans of the occupation: “The process is being disrespected” since “the community hasn’t consented to this,” trying to get friends to form a human chain with him. As ever, the gawkers accused each other of being infiltrators and police agents. As that scene played out, two huge men in still another fight emerged behind us, inside the park, throwing ineffective haymakers at each other, nearly toppling tents. One of the OWS security members left to try to handle that, while his partner finally asked the police, watching from outside the barriers, to come in and remove Ehrenberg. Despite the invitation, the crowd swarmed around the entering officers, yelling “Pig!” and the like as the police carried the struggling, still slogan-shouting would-be Occupier out by his arms and legs. An EMT there to take him for a psychiatric evaluation, walking backward just ahead of the swollen group of police, protesters and park campers, put his foot through the rungs of a ladder that for some reason was leaning against the sidewalk. As he wailed in agony, the crowd gave no space—even as the police calmly asked them to give him room, pushing those who wouldn’t listen back with measured force. In press reports about the incident, a city spokesperson incorrectly claimed that the EMT was shoved or assaulted, while Occupation sources peddled the line that this was just one of those things, an unavoidable accident unrelated to the occupation. Did he fall or was he pushed? Yes. Would the Occupation movement— really, a moment—have collapsed under its own weight without the city’s heavy-handed help? Thanks to that help, we’ll never know. december 5, 2011
S P OT L I G H T : N E W YO R K TO U R I S M
Bloomberg, on the rooftop of the Z Hotel in Long Island City in November, is pushing to make all five boroughs tourist destinations.
Room At The Inn? Hotel development is booming in New York, but for how long? By Andrew J. HAwkins
n a beautiful day in early November, Mayor Michael Bloomberg stood on the roof of one of the city’s newest hotels to sing the praises of New York’s $31 billion-a-year tourism industry. The setting, the swanky Z Hotel in Long Island City, was carefully selected to highlight a key aspect in Bloomberg’s tourism strategy: promoting tourism not just in Manhattan but in all five boroughs. And that strategy, he said, was working like gangbusters. “There are now 17 hotels in this vibrant Queens neighborhood alone, including eight built in the past two years, representing a total of 1,500 rooms,” Bloomberg said. “People think it’s just Manhattan. It is not.” Like Wall Street and the fashion industry, tourism is fast becoming one of the main economic drivers for the city and the state. A $31 billion industry that employs over 320,000 people, tourism has also become one of Bloomberg’s go-to success stories, highlighting the mayor’s core beliefs that a clean, safe city with plenty of cultural attractions is good not only for residents and businesses but also for the tens of millions of travelers who make New York a destination every year. And with the boom in tourism has come an accompanying boom in hotel development. New hotels are opening in all five boroughs, even as occupancy rates hold steady at 85 percent. The metropolitan region has over 100,000 hotel rooms and more than 7,400 more under construction, according to an October STR/McGraw Hill report—making it the largest hotel-development pipeline in the world. But with that distinction comes a
DEcEmbEr 5, 2011
number of potential pitfalls. Concerns about overdevelopment and the amount of money the city spends encouraging hotel development are beginning to crop up in some corners of the hotel industry, which for the most part has had nothing but praise for the Bloomberg administration’s efforts to grow tourism. “Obviously we welcome additional hotel development,” said Joseph Spinnato, president and CEO of the Hotel Association of New York City. “It certainly causes one to think about ‘How are we going to fill these rooms?’ ” Spinnato said that while the explosion in hotel development is good, both as a job creator and as a revenue generator, it did raise questions about how sustainable the growth could be. “I don’t think it’s going to continue to grow at this rate,” he said. “In Manhattan you’re going to see what we’ve been seeing for the past two years: little boutique hotels down in Chelsea and downtown, on the lower West Side and the Lower East Side…. But that kind of frenetic development I don’t think is going to last.” In an interview, Bloomberg doubled down on his belief that the market would prevent any overdevelopment. “They are what an economist would call problems of success, not problems of failure,” Bloomberg said. “There’s a lot of cities all over this world that would love to have our overcrowding.” That said, the mayor acknowledged it wasn’t always appropriate for the city to subsidize hotel development, unless it wanted to encourage a developer to build somewhere off the grid. “The average hotel does not get any subsidies,” Bloomberg said. “This administration’s policy, with the exception
of the film and television business, has always been: You don’t buy jobs; you make it a more livable city where the intellectual capital exists.” That may be true, but there are still a number of examples of the city providing
“Obviously we welcome additional hotel development. it certainly causes one to think about ‘How are we going to fill these rooms?’” financing, or spending cash on renovations, for hotels: NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith is constructing a hotel on 125th Street with financing from an industrial development agency; Two Trees management company is about to open a DUMBO hotel that received IDA financing; development company Dermot is just starting construction on the Battery Maritime Hotel, in a building renovated by the city Economic Development Corporation; and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation has mandated that its Pier 1 development include a 175-room hotel. “The city’s economic development dollars are finite,” said one labor operative. “Why throw them at an industry that is ripe with growth and private investment?” Bloomberg also acknowledged that his thinking has changed on the city’s hotel tax, which the City Council raised in 2009 over his objections. At the time, the mayor argued raising the rate to 5.875 percent from 5 percent could hurt the tourism industry. But last month he asked
NYC MaYor’s offICe
the Council to temporarily extend the tax, citing the city’s shaky budget situation. The hotel association argues the tax could damage the city’s competitive edge, but the mayor disagrees. “For tourists, it’s a marginal increase,” he said. “There’s no evidence that for an extra couple bucks a night, anybody stays away. There’s no evidence that it’s hurting tourism. After all, we’re going to have a record number of hotels, record occupancy and record rates. So from that standpoint, it doesn’t hurt. It’s egalitarian. It’s fair. Everyone that comes pays it.” The city’s planning commissioner, Amanda Burden, has expressed concern that growing hotel development could encroach on the city’s industrial and commercial zones—areas the city wants to nurture in an effort to revitalize the sagging manufacturing sector. But for the mayor, that is another problem that should be left to the marketplace. “We do worry about this all the time,” he said. “Let’s assume there’s a neighborhood where hotels want to be built, and that drives something else out. That’s what capitalism is all about. If more people want to stay there than manufacture there, do you let some bureaucrat make that decision or do you let the market make that decision?” For Bloomberg, there is more riding on the city’s tourism industry than just occupancy rates and trendy boutiques. Ensuring the city remains a top destination for both U.S. and international travelers is also about converting tourists into future New Yorkers: Think of it as residential recruitment effort by way of Broadway and the Bronx Zoo. “Those people are the tourists of the future, but they’re also those who will move here and create jobs here and get their medical care and get their education here,” Bloomberg said. “In some sense I would argue every tourist that comes here goes home as a walking billboard for us, good or bad.” He added, “So we’ve got to make sure that it’s good.” firstname.lastname@example.org
BUILDING A BETTER AIRLINE, NOT JUST A BIGGER ONE. With airline mergers constantly in the news, it’s easy to forget that size alone isn’t enough to lead this industry. No one who flies is waiting for a bigger airline; they’re waiting for one that’s committed to making flying better. To that end, we’ve taken a look at every part of the experience - from buying a ticket to getting your bags - and dedicated ourselves to constantly improving it. That’s an ambitious goal, especially at a time when air travel is under pressure from all sides, but the challenges of this industry have always been its fuel; that was true at Kitty Hawk, and it’s true today. So while we’re proud to offer over 5,000 flights a day, we won’t rest until each one of them is as convenient, comfortable, and hassle-free as possible.
S P OT L I G H T : N E W YO R K TO U R I S M
THE CENTER CANNOT HOLD…ENOUGH PEOPLE
The Javits Center was headed toward an overhaul before the Great Recession derailed that plan.
Bloomberg wants to overhaul the Javits Convention Center, and he’s not the only one By ANDREW J. HAWKINS
Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have accepted the defeat of his proposed football stadium and convention center on the far West Side of Manhattan, but that doesn’t mean he has to like it. “Why don’t we build an addition to the Javits Center?” he said in a recent interview. “That is what the convention business needs—a very big, flexible space. And, as a matter of fact, if we could get somebody who would pay for the whole thing in return for maybe using it 13 Sundays in the fall, wouldn’t that be a great thing for New York City?” The mayor’s tongue may have been firmly in his cheek, but there is no question many of the state’s powerful business and political interests are fed up with the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, the 675,000 square-foot boxy pyramid-shaped convention space adjacent to the Hudson Yards development site. Too small, too hard to get to, too expensive to renovate. For an example of a convention center done right, Bloomberg says look no further than Chicago, with its 6 million-square-foot McCormick Place convention center.
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“You could fit the Javits Center inside the McCormick center and they’d still have plenty of room for conventions,” the mayor groused. “We are hopelessly behind.” The desire for a new convention center permeates the top levels of New York’s city and state government. Robert Steel,
before the Great Recession derailed that plan. In 2008 then Gov. David Paterson, citing the rising costs of construction, downgraded Javits’ $1.7 billion expansion to a mere $465 million renovation project. But business leaders, tourism experts and city officials have serious doubts the
“You could fit the Javits Center inside the McCormick Center and they’d still have plenty of room for conventions. We are hopelessly behind.” Bloomberg’s deputy mayor for economic development, is said to be interested in building a new space. So is Pat Foye, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent pick to head the Port Authority, which has taken charge of the Moynihan Station project to turn the post office near the Javits Center into a train station. “It could be a good legacy project for Cuomo—a massive construction project like a convention center would create tens of thousands of short-term construction jobs,” said one labor operative. Javits was headed toward an overhaul
renovation will make Javits any more palatable to those large-scale marquee events that the city wants to attract, like the trade shows that fill convention centers in Chicago and Las Vegas. At a recent meeting of New York City’s regional economic development council, the Regional Plan Association made the case for selling and demolishing Javits and splitting the city’s convention space between two locations. Hope Cohen, a director at RPA, said such a plan would generate about $4 billion to redevelop Moynihan Station as compact Manhattan
convention space and build a much larger convention center elsewhere, like Willets Point in Queens. “Recognize the different functionalities, and separate them,” Cohen said. “This would capture not only high-end conferences that we might be already getting in New York but, more importantly, the conferences that we’re not getting in New York because we have no such facility…like the three-day conventions for the [American Medical Association] or the Lung Association that have been going to other cities.” But without enough money to build, many believe the plan won’t get much further than the drawing table. “I think it’s over and done with,” Bloomberg said. “We’ve built a lot of the things around there. The space is now dedicated to office buildings. It’s going to be built over the rail yards.” Still, the temptation remains. “The McCormick center in Chicago is an enormous percentage of Chicago’s business,” Bloomberg mused, “and if we had that, a lot of that business would come here.” email@example.com
Moderated by ADAM LISBERG Editor of City & State
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lease join us in welcoming Seth Pinsky for a next edition News Makers. Seth was appointed President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in February 2008, seven months before the collapse of Lehman Brothers ushered in one of the most significant economic downturns in generations. Seth has worked to meet the challenge presented by the crisis by re-evaluating the agency’s strategy for expanding the City’s economy and redoubling existing efforts to position the City as the international center for innovation in the 21st century. NYCEDC’s agenda includes an aggressive slate of programs aimed at diversifying the City’s economy, helping legacy industries transition to 21st Century business models, and expanding entrepreneurship to ensure that the City is well-represented in the fields of tomorrow. The more than 60 programs launched during Seth’s tenure focus on industries such as the arts, bioscience, fashion, finance, green services, manufacturing, media, and technology and include: incubator spaces providing hundreds of low-cost work stations and business development services to startup companies; the first City-sponsored investment fund outside the Silicon Valley; and international competitions aimed at spurring the creation of new business plans and smart-phone applications using long-neglected government data. An attorney by training, prior to joining NYCEDC, Seth was an associate at the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in the Real Estate practice and a financial analyst at the Mergers & Acquisitions boutique, James D. Wolfensohn Incorporated. Seth is a graduate of Columbia College, where he majored in Ancient History, and Harvard Law School.
december 5, 2011
S P OT L I G H T : N E W YO R K TO U R I S M THE ISSUES TAXES
DANIEL S. BURNSTEIN
Bloomberg initially opposed raising the hotel tax from 5 to 5.875 percent in 2009 but now supports extending the enacted fee, after determining the raise has done little to slow down the multibillion-dollar tourism industry. Meanwhile, a recent audit from city Comptroller John Liu’s office chides the city for failing to collect $8.9 million from some 90 hotels over the last decade.
HOTELS New York has the strongest hotel-development pipeline in the world, with over 100,000 rooms available and 7,459 more in construction. Some groups worry about overdevelopment, while others fret over possible hotel foreclosures. Analysts are predicting an increase in hotel foreclosures next year as debts come due and little financing is available. And the new supply may weigh on occupancy and room rates, with some predicting a 1 to 2 percent decline in revenue per available room, an industry measure of occupancy and rates.
Bloomberg has staked much of his legacy on growing tourism in the city.
KEY PLAYERS MICHAEL BLOOMBERG The boom in tourism has been one of the Bloomberg administration’s success stories, and credit goes to the mayor himself for making it a personal priority. By taking advantage of a weak dollar and aggressively marketing New York City as a cultural playground for travelers, Bloomberg was able to increase the number of hotel rooms by 50 percent in 10 years. 50
NYC & COMPANY
Total Visitors to NYC 2000–2010* 46M
45 40 IN MILLIONS
The city’s marketing and tourism arm is a nonprofit corporation that functions like a business, not a government agency, funded by a $103 million, five-year city contract. With about 150 staffers working out of its expansive offices on Seventh Avenue in Midtown, the agency is charged with selling the city to the rest of the world. Its CEO, George Fertitta, credits the mayor for pushing to grow the industry toward the goal of 50 million visitors by 2012 (recently moved up from the previous target year of 2015).
Outside of New York City, tourism is mainly concentrated around the Adirondack and Catskill mountains. Most tourist destinations upstate are only reachable by car travel, so road maintenance and infrastructure are big concerns. Business groups would like to see the state devote more money to marketing upstate as a tourist destination. Several of the governor’s regional economic development councils have included tourism strategies as part of their pitch to the state for $200 million in funding.
EMPIRE STATE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION The state economic development agency gives grants and subsidies to local tourism boards around New York, to help them develop marketing campaigns and other projects designed to bring more tourists to New York State.
Total Visitors 36.2M
33.03 M 33.8M
20 15 10
What started in the late ’70s as a way for Tim and Nina Zagat to compile their friends’ opinions on local restaurants has since expanded to 70 cities, with reviews of museums, airports, cultural institutions and zoos that can be read online or on a mobile device. The company remains a New York arbiter, even after Google bought Zagat in September.
4.8M International Visitors
*Note: totals may not agree due to rounding; 2010 figures are forecasts subject to change.
New York City’s Top International Markets (2010 figures)
REGIONAL PLAN ASSOCIATION
Israel 190,000 Argentina India 205,000 185,000 South Korea 223,000 Ireland 225,000 PRC (China)/Hong Kong 266,000
The group submitted a plan to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s regional economic development council to sell off and bulldoze the muchmaligned Jacob Javits Center in favor of developing Moynihan Station and a second site, possibly Willets Point in Queens, to replace the hulking ’80s-era convention space.
United Kingdom 1,055,000
Eastern Europe 298,000
Total visitor spending from New York City tourism in 2009
Total wages generated by New York City tourism in 2009
Total NYC jobs supported by visitor spending in 2009
Total taxes generated by visitor spending in 2008
$1,200 IN TAX SAVINGS
Each New York City household benefited by an average of $1,200 in tax savings as a result of travel and tourism.
All Middle East 406,000
SOURCE: NYC & CO.
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35.3M 30.2 M
Germany 528,000 Italy 469,000
E X P E R T R O U N DTA B L E : N E W YO R K TO U R I S M
president and CeO, nYC & COmpanY
deputY maYOr fOr eCOnOmiC develOpment
Chair, assemblY COmmittee On tOurism, parks, arts and spOrts develOpment
Chair, senate Cultural affairs, tOurism, parks and reCreatiOn COmmittee
Q: What the city has done through policies to grow tourism? GF: They clearly gave us greater funds. Our original five-year contract was for $103 million over five years, which is greatly enhanced from what it was before, from when it was the original NYC & Company— they were only receiving about $7 million a year, and we’re receiving substantially more, which has allowed us to do many things. It’s allowed us to build an infrastructure, hire the right people, attract the best talent.
Q: Is the growth in the tourism industry sustainable? RS: This is an industry that’s just been growing, even during a period when there’s been economic headwinds. I think the mayor really figured this out. It also fits with the other ambitions the mayor has. We want to make New York where people want to live, work—and the third leg of that stool is to visit. They all fit together. Safe city, clean streets, exciting attractions.
Q: What challenges face the state’s tourism industry today? MM: It’s the need to increase tourism dollars for the marketing of New York State as a whole. Prior to being elected, I was the director of tourism for the borough of Queens. I actually started the tourism program for the borough. I have a little bit of experience in the industry, and I know how important it is to have the right financial support. Whether you’re in Manhattan or the rest of the state, those dollars are very important.
Q: What’s your impression of the tourism industry outside the city? BL: While many people fly into New York City, for the rest of the state, most people drive. We’re finding that the bigger market is those that can drive. Identifying the market is something that we recently had done with a survey that was conducted by Cornell students. We’re also looking at trying to develop more regional marketing than individual county marketing. Regionally you can get to more people for less money by combining your efforts. The Adirondack Regional Tourism Council is one of the best in the state, and I’m not just being biased because it’s in my district. What’s helpful is when the state will give them money, the counties match that money and promote tourism.
Q: Will those resources be maintained? GF: We’ve had some cuts. And we understand these cuts, because of the financial situation, have got to be something we adhere to. Now, it’s a disappointment. But I think we have enough presence as a threshold to continue doing our job. And I’ll tell you, we’ve created much more of a public-private partnership than has ever existed before. So now we have millions of dollars’ worth of underwriters, from American Express, American Airlines, Google, AT&T, Travelocity. They magnify our opportunity to proliferate our message. Q: How does the city monitor tourism? GF: The single most important thing is our market share of overseas visitation has gone from 28 percent to almost 33 percent. Each share point is worth $600 million in direct spending and $900 million in indirect impact. That differential of five share points is an additional $3 billion to New York City. Q: Will it continue to go up? GF: We lost a little bit in 2009, but compared to every other destination, it was nothing. This year we’re on target for a record-breaking year. So we are clearly going to be victimized by a world economic downfall. There’s no question that the feeder economies, like Western Europe, when their economic situation gets tough, it affects us. However, when you look at Brazil, we grew 77 percent from Brazil. This year we’re going to have 600,000 visitors from Brazil. The average spent there is over $4,000 a person. It balances out some of the weak spots, especially in Europe. I have some fears that January through March are going to be weaker. I’m somewhat cautious that our growth will continue.
Q: You mention economic headwinds. How will that affect the industry? RS: Today, tourism employs 320,000 people and is one of the top five employers in the city. It’s really exciting. And that’s why there’s been a dampening effect of the recession, because of this driving it. We still have challenges; unemployment’s too high. But tourism has been a bulkhead to help our economy stay as strong as it has. Q: How does your office track hotel development? RS: I receive a flash report every week from George [Fertitta] which outlines just what’s going on in the hotel world. Every week I get a number of rooms in the city, what the occupancy rate and room rate is. We monitor this like a health chart for the hotel industry. Occupancy is very strong. Room rate is what we want to see improve next. Q: Some in the hotel industry are voicing concerns about possible foreclosures. Is that something you’re concerned about? RS: I haven’t heard too much about it. New hotels are getting built. We recently put out the RFP for Brooklyn Bridge Park, which included a hotel, and we got some nice responses on that. So my impression on the heartbeat of the hotel industry is that it’s pretty good. Q: What are the chances of building a new convention center in the city? RS: That’s something the mayor is focused on. It’s clear our capacity and quality could be improved. I think that’s something we’re focused on. We’ve been thinking broadly about it.
Q: What can be done to better promote tourism outside the city? MM: It goes back to money. I was in upstate New York, on the Canadian border. I saw how desperate people are for jobs, for a stronger economy. It had a major impact on me. I saw a different New York. The only thing I can do is try to get more money for their tourism-promotion agencies, so they can market to the people in New York and surrounding states. You’re not going to get someone from Germany or Japan to go to an upstate county unless they’ve already seen Manhattan. Q: Is there any money available? MM: I’m meeting with my program and council people to talk about the budget process and how we can get some more money for tourism. I’m trying to get ahead of the game. The tourism marketing program has $7.6 million; the local tourism matching-fund program has $3.8 million. It sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. Q: Is this on the governor’s agenda? MM: We’re going to put it there! We’re definitely going to make an effort for the governor, and the Senate and Assembly, as well. We’ll let them know how important the state is, and how important it is to increase the budget.
Q: What opportunities for tourism are presented by the governor’s regional economic development councils? BL: Tourism is definitely a part of it. We don’t promote visiting the Albany area as the state capital very much. It is an investment, but these councils are looking for that. I know the Finger Lakes had a presentation on the wineries and the wine business, and for tourism as well. Q: What about agritourism? BL: There used to be grants for agritourism, small grants, but they would help people if they were having a corn maze or something like that. You pick apples and strawberries. We have a lot of goat farms in Washington County, doing some of those things to bring people from the city and encouraging them to come up. Their children can experience farm life. Q: Any legislative opportunities? BL: I think we’re doing okay legislatively. We have a bed tax, and most of that money goes toward tourism. It’s more about financial investment in tourism than it is about legislation. Many tourism businesses have difficulty getting loans, especially when [they’re] just getting started. The regional councils are talking about a $100 million fund that would be used for promotion.
december 5, 2011
the PROCUReMeNt Page Inside the multibillion-dollar business of government contracts, purchasing and proposals. CURRENT OPPORTUNITIES: STREET REPAIRS: The Suffolk County Department of Public Works seeks a company to install sidewalk curb ramps, resurface asphalt, smooth pavement markings and reconstruct traffic signal loops. Bids due Dec. 15. More information available by writing Theresa D’Angelo, email@example.com. AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS: The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development seeks nonprofit organizations to provide after-school programs. Proposals due Dec. 16, 2011. More information available by writing Michael Owh, firstname.lastname@example.org. VACANT LAND: The New York City Economic Development Corporation is selling an 8,600 square-foot vacant lot at 307 Rutledge St., Brooklyn, to a company that can create jobs there. Bids due Dec. 19, 2011. More information available by writing Maryann Catalano, 307RutledgeRFP@nycedc.com. LAB CERTIFICATION IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services–Office of Criminal Justice Operations–Latent Print Unit seeks a part-time consultant to assist with ASCLD/ LAB International Accreditation. Bids due Dec. 20. More information available by writing Debra Taber, procurement.officer@ dcjs.state.ny.us. PARENTAL GUIDANCE: The New York City Department of Education wants vendors to train parents and school administrators to provide guidance to the city’s public-school children. Bids due Dec. 28, 2011. More information available by writing Vendorhotline@ schools.nyc.gov. LEOPARDS AND A CAROUSEL: The New York City Department of Design and Construction needs a company to build a leopard exhibit and carousel at the Staten Island Zoo. Bids due Dec. 28, 2011. More information available by calling Ben Perrone, 718-391-2614. AUTOMOBILES FOR SALE: The MTA– Metro-North Railroad wants to sell a variety of trucks at Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. Bids due Dec. 28. More information available by writing Linda O’Brien, email@example.com. DRUG TREATMENT: Rockland County needs a company to manage the District Attorney’s Misdemeanor Drug Court and Road to Recovery/DTAP programs for those incarcerated there. Bids due Dec. 29. More information available by writing Debbie Connelly, connelld@ co.rockland.ny.us. PROSPECT PARK TENNIS HOUSE: The New York City Parks Department needs a company to rebuild the tennis house east of the West Drive near 8th Street in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Bids due
DEcEmbEr 5, 2011
From Carts To Carousels How the city Parks Department chooses concessionaires The New York City Parks Department contracts with 75 businesses and 400 mobile concessions in city parks, from the most humble hot dog carts to marquee properties like golf courses, skating rinks and Central Park restaurants. Betsy Smith, assistant commissioner for revenue and marketing, and Charles Kloth, director of concessions, explained to City & State how they evaluate proposals and select concessionaires. What follows is an edited transcript. City & State: How did you get into this business? Charles Kloth: I’ve been in this position for about 14 years. I’ve worked for the Parks Department for 27 years, in various sections. Betsy Smith: We’re very happy that happened, I’d like to say. I’ve been working for the city for nine years. My background is in finance. I started my career at J.P. Morgan, and then was in the private-equity business for the next 15 years. C&S: What kind of contrast have you seen between working in the private sector and coming into the Jan. 4, 2012. More information available by writing Juan Alban, Juan.Alban@ parks.nyc.gov. ROSSVILLE MUNICIPAL SITE REDEVELOPMENT: The New York City Economic Development Corp. wants a company to redevelop the 33-acre Rossville Municipal Site in Staten Island for maritime industrial use that will create quality jobs. Expressions of interest due Jan. 18, 2012. More information available by writing Maryann Catalano, RossvilleMunicipalSiteRFEI@ nycedc.com.
RECENT AWARDS: DOMESTIC HOT WATER BOILERS: Security Supply won a bid to supply domestic hot-water boilers to the state Department of Environmental Conservation for $18,910 on Nov. 30.
public sector? BS: Working for the public good actually is something that resonates with me. It is very bureaucratic. It’s hard to get things done. It’s hard to make changes. It is more difficult than the private sector, but it’s surprising the amount of change that we have been able to institute with the process and our relationships with the private sector. It takes a really long time to get through the government process. C&S: If you’re from the private sector and Charles has spent 27 years in government, do you find yourselves coming from opposite mind-sets sometimes? CK: No, I don’t think so. Our goal here is to get these services provided for the public. But we also understand that if we want to have successful businesses in our parks, we have to look at the needs of the business community that we serve. So we have to balance everything that we do. C&S: What are some common errors you see in response to requests for proposals that people would be wise to avoid?
CK: The first thing would be to put in a proposal based on the things that we ask for. Give us not just a responsive proposal but, really, a good overall proposal that we can rate. The most important advice is to read carefully the request for proposal [RFP] and make sure that you’re providing us with the information that we asked for in that. BS: We have concession rules that are very specifically spelled out. And if we can’t rate it with what we’re looking at, it’s very hard for us to make an award. So a great company making a proposal that doesn’t respond to our specific questions puts us in a tough spot. C&S: Do some of the high-profile concessions get treated like college applications, where it’s not just an essay anymore; there’s a video included? CK: We have gotten videos. It’s kind of cool. I can’t think of an example now— maybe it was with an ice rink, where they sent a video of other ice rinks they operate. The proposal can’t be [just] that on a DVD, but any additional material can help show who the proposer is and what their vision is. C&S: What are the most memorable concessions you’ve worked on? BS: The most exciting concessions to work on are the ones where the city is getting something really great and new, or something dramatically improved. We spent a lot of money on renovating the pavilion in Union Square. It’s looking absolutely beautiful, and we’re going to put a small café there. C&S: When concessionaires apply to operate a restaurant, do you get to have a food tasting? BS: We usually do, and it’s great. —Adam Lisberg firstname.lastname@example.org
CITY OUTHOUSES: Call-A-Head Corp. of Queens won a bid to supply portable toilets across New York City for $597,180 on Nov. 29.
International LLC of Suwanee, Ga., won a bid to supply New York State with laboratory equipment for $200,000 on Nov. 21.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ASSISTANCE: The New York Asian Women’s Center of Manhattan won a bid to provide services to New York City victims of domestic violence for $264,987 on Nov. 28.
TRASH CHUTE IN BROOKLYN: AMA Construction/NY Inc. of Staten Island won a bid to construct a trash chute for the Auburn family residence in Brooklyn for $213,817 on Nov. 21.
BRONX LAWN CONSTRUCTION: Let It Grow, Inc. of River Edge, N.J., won a bid to construct a performance lawn overlooking Soundview Park in the Bronx for $1,296,073.37 on Nov. 25. ROOF REPLACEMENT: A-1 Construction of Buffalo won a bid to replace a Thruway Authority roof for $15,850 on Nov. 22. LABORATORY SUPPLIES: VWR
EMERGENCY SEWER FIXES: The EnTech Corp. of Closter, N.J., won a bid to fix sewers and sanitary facilities across New York City for $5,827,570 on Nov. 18. DIESEL RETROFITS: Atlantic Detroit Diesel-Allison won a bid from the University at Albany-SUNY to retrofit diesel engines for $99,598.86 on Nov. 18. —Michael Mandelkern email@example.com
B AC K & F O R T H
Executive Promotion Mark Poloncarz notched one of the state’s big upset wins this year by knocking out Erie County Executive Chris Collins. The Erie County comptroller’s come-from-behind victory also bolstered Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who helped Poloncarz campaign to oust Collins, a potential gubernatorial challenger for the Republicans in 2014. Now comes the tough part for Poloncarz, who envisions better relations with unions, stronger efforts to combat Medicaid fraud, and a united Democratic Party in Erie County. What follows is an edited transcript.
CS: What influence do you have over Collins’ budget? MP: It’s his budget that’s proposed. The Legislature has the ability to make modifications to it, and I will be submitting suggestions in the next week or so for the Legislature. We believe that there are areas where the current county executive made certain cuts to county government, and social service delivery, and funding to the arts and cultural institutions of our community that can be funded in the current budget. CS: In what shape are the county’s finances? MP: Erie County has been running surpluses for the last few years, some of which have been predicated on stimulus dollars. Erie County had a serious financial crisis in 2004 and 2005. I was elected comptroller to help clean up that crisis, and I’m glad to say we did. Erie County made some very difficult decisions back then, such as cutting services, eliminating over a thousand jobs, as well as raising taxes to offset that deficit. As a result of the things that were done in 2006 and 2007, Erie County was put on stronger financial footing. CS: You’ve talked about reducing Medicaid costs. How would you do that? MP: First of all, we want to be more vigilant in going after Medicaid fraud on the provider end. Erie County has not been working in concert with New York State to go after provider fraud. I think that’s wrong. Secondly, we had two health clinics in the city of Buffalo that were closed by Mr. Collins. Those helped manage costs associated with Medicaid recipients. As a result, we believe we’ve seen an increase in costs associated with Medicaid expenses at the Erie County Medical Center Corporation, which is partially subsidized by Erie County. Instead of individuals going to the health clinic, where they’re managing their care and we can reduce the costs associated with their business, they’re going
to hospital emergency rooms, which of course have no incentives to reduce costs. We’re going to look at trying to reopen one of those clinics in the first year. CS: What do you think about the governor’s property tax cap? MP: I’m going to be working with him within the parameters of the law. The property tax cap is in place, and we’re going to do everything possible to ensure that we don’t have to raise taxes—and if I wanted to, the cap is there to pretty much prohibit Erie County from raising taxes at this point. I don’t believe it is as big a problem in the county as it is in smaller school districts and towns, because the vast majority of Erie County’s revenues do not come from property taxes. They come from sales taxes. Right now our sales growth has been approximately 4.25 percent for the past year, so we are getting a substantial amount of new revenue from the sales-tax growth. CS: Some county executives have called for mandate relief. Is that less of an issue in Erie County? MP: It’s an issue, especially as it pertains to Medicaid, and I’m looking forward to discussing these issues with the governor and his staff as I go forward. I’m hopeful there will be more mandate relief. I think there was a discussion on the tax cap, that mandate relief would then be coming afterwards, and I hope those discussions still go on. CS: How important was Cuomo’s support in this race? MP: I believe that the governor’s support was very important. Not only did it send a message to the community that this popular governor was supporting me—and said that I was the individual that he wanted to work with to rein in these costs—but it allowed us the opportunity to use some of his field staff from the New York State Democratic Committee that was on site for weeks. CS: What will resolve the feud among Erie County Democrats, particularly between Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Len Lenihan, the county leader? MP: I think those issues will get resolved. As I remind folks, the only time Erie County had ever been united previously was when a Democrat was in the office of Erie County executive. That will be happening as of Jan-
uary 1. Right now I’m focused on transition. I’m focused on the 2012 budget. I think all those issues will be resolved. Truthfully, there is unity in the Democratic Party. Everyone was united behind my candidacy. Mayor Brown came in a little later than others, but in the end everyone was united. CS: You also looked into running for Congress in the special election that Kathy Hochul won. How did the two of you decide who would run for which seat? MP: In the end, I was more interested in county executive and she was more interested in Congress. At first I looked at it, and people were telling me to look at it, but then I realized it wasn’t the right race for me. And Kathy and I have always had a very good relationship. So in the end, the way things worked out, by her having the opportunity to run for Congress, it then pretty much guaranteed that I’d be running for county executive. We both had open doors. I thought I was going to be a better candidate for county executive, and I truthfully thought that she would have been the better candidate to run for Congress in that district. CS: So will you send a thank-you to former Rep. Chris Lee for opening things up? MP: I don’t think I’ll be sending a thank-you note to Chris Lee. In the end, it was something unexpected that had an impact for the whole community in western New York. CS: What strategy will you take in negotiating expiring union contracts? Will you be more sympathetic to unions since they boosted your campaign? MP: I think I’m going to be fair. I think that’s what Mr. Collins never was—to anybody, not least the unions—was fair. Many of them never really even had an opportunity to bargain with him. What he put down as a proposal was just going to be unacceptable, no matter what. I understand that I represent the people of the community, and I’m going to negotiate fairly. I’m not going to give the unions the keys to the candy store just because they helped me out on my campaign, but I think they’ll have someone who understands that they’ll have a right to be sitting across the table negotiating fairly.
Poloncarz for Erie County
City & State: What do you hope to accomplish first? Mark Poloncarz: Right now we’re in the process of working with the Erie County Legislature to make modifications to the current county executive’s proposed 2012 budget. So when I get in on January 1, we are going to be focusing on job development and renegotiating the lease for the Buffalo Bills.
CS: What is your view on legalizing gambling in New York? MP: I don’t look at casino gambling as being this silver bullet that’s going to save communities. There’s a large gaming facility in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and I’m fine with it there. The Senecas also have a large facility in the Southern Tier on their own land in Salamanca, and I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t think that, if we start to bring casino gambling to New York State, that that’s going to really benefit western New York or Buffalo or Erie County. We need to build on small business. We need to build on our close relationship with Canada, and be going after the Canadian companies that are opening subsidiaries in the United States, more than casino gambling. CS: How is your relationship with the Erie County Legislature? MP: The new Erie County downsized to only 11 members, and it will be a 6 to 5 Democratic majority, so there’s one more Democrat. I believe I have a good relationship with all the current members and the two new incoming ones. CS: Will you take any time off before you take office in January? MP: It doesn’t look like it’ll be possible to take a week off, with the transition, as well as the passage of the 2012 county budget. But if I can take a day off here and there, I might, just to decompress and get a little relaxation myself. But I have a feeling I’m going to be working hard between now and January 1, and then of course after January 1 when I get sworn in. —Jon Lentz firstname.lastname@example.org december 5, 2011
The December 5, 2011 issue of City and State . Targeting the politicians, lobbyists, unions, staffers and issues which shape New York City...
Published on Dec 5, 2011
The December 5, 2011 issue of City and State . Targeting the politicians, lobbyists, unions, staffers and issues which shape New York City...