New York City’s Top Ten Lobbyists Revealed
March 10, 2014
8,000 union apprentices go to work in New York Cityâ€™s construction industry every day
live in the five boroughs
Shop Steward, Laborers Local 79 Completed apprenticeship in 2009 Recording Secretary, 100 Black Construction Workers Bronx resident
Journeyman, Steamfitters Local 638 Completed apprenticeship in 2008 Staten Island resident
3rd Year Apprentice, Metallic Lathers Local 46 Queens resident
Union apprentices get the training needed to work with the highest level of skill and safety, and real opportunity to pursue careers that pay middle class wages with health insurance and retirement security. This kind of opportunity only comes when we build responsibly with developers and contractors committed to investing in good jobs.
of these local residents are minorities
THIS IS WHAT UNION CONSTRUCTION LOOKS LIKE. SHOULDNâ€™T IT BE WHAT ALL CONSTRUCTION LOOKS LIKE? Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York Gary La Barbera, President www.nycbuildingtrades.org
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Brooklyn College alumna Commissioner, White House Commission on Lisette Nieves Rosalyn Yalow Educational Excellence for Hispanics Brooklyn College alumna Hunter College alumna Commissioner, White House Commission on Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Rosalyn Yalow Excellence for Hispanics InEducational Memoriam Hunter College alumna Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Rosalyn Yalow In Memoriam Hunter College alumna Nobel Laureate in Medicine, In Memoriam
Ayodele Oti Jenny Rivera
Hunter College alumna Nobel Laureate in Medicine, In Memoriam Gertrude Elion Iyanla Vanzant Hunter Medgar Evers College, CUNY LawCollege School alumna alumna Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Memoriam Best-selling author,InInspirational Iyanla Vanzant Speaker Medgar Evers College, CUNY Law School alumna Best-selling author, Inspirational Iyanla Vanzant Speaker Medgar Evers College, CUNY Law School alumna Best-selling author, Inspirational Speaker
Macaulay Honors College at City College of New York Oti Truman Ayodele Scholar 2011 Macaulay Honors College at City College Ayodele of New York Oti Scholar 2011 MacaulayTruman Honors College at City College of New York Truman Scholar 2011
Brooklyn College alumna
White House Commission on Gertrude Elion Commissioner, Lisette Nieves Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Gertrude Elion Lisette Nieves
Hunter College alumna Nobel Laureate in Medicine, In Memoriam
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Brooklyn College alumna United States Senator Rita DiMartino Barbara Boxer College ofCollege Staten alumna Island alumna Brooklyn CUNY Trustee; Chair, Bronx Lebanon Hospital United States Senator Rita DiMartino Board; Former AT&T VP of CongresCollege of Staten Island alumna sional Relations CUNYDiMartino Trustee; Chair, Bronx Lebanon Hospital Rita Board; Former AT&TIsland VP of CongresCollege of Staten alumna sional RelationsChair, Bronx Lebanon Hospital CUNY Trustee; Board; Former AT&T VP of Congressional Relations
Brooklyn College alumna United States Senator
Martina Arroyo Barbara Boxer
Hunter College alumna International Opera Star Ruby Dee Martina Arroyo Hunter College alumna Award-winning of stage Internationalstar Opera Star Ruby Dee and screen Hunter College alumna Award-winning star of stage Ruby Dee andalumna screen Hunter College Award-winning star of stage and screen
Martina Arroyo Barbara Boxer
Hunter College alumna International Opera Star
City College of New York alumna Brooklyn College alumna National Science Foundation Scholar 2013 Former Congresswoman and Candidate for Ru Chen Shirley Chisholm Democratic Presidential nomination City College of New York alumna Brooklyn College alumna In Memoriam National Science Foundation Scholar 2013 Shirley Former Congresswoman Ru Chen Chisholm and Candidate for Presidential nomination City College of New York alumna Democratic Brooklyn College alumna Memoriam National Science Foundation Scholar 2013 In Former Congresswoman and Candidate for Democratic Presidential nomination In Memoriam
City & State
MARCH 10, 2014
Party Poopers O
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Contents Page 6 ........... CITY
De Blasio’s media stumbles By Nick Powell
Page 8 ..........
STATE The race to replace Rep. Bill Owens By Matthew Hamilton
Page 10 ......... WHOSE COMMON CORE IS IT,
ANYWAY? By Susan Arbetter
INDUSTRY Taking the N train to LaGuardia?… De Blasio’s labor negotiators… Obamacare’s impact on small businesses.
Page 18 .........
IS MORE MONEY THE ANSWER? The clash over education funding in the state budget By Jon Lentz
Page 32 ........
NEW YORK CITY’S TOP LOBBYISTS
PERSPECTIVES Assemblyman Karim Camara on charter schools… Nicole Gelinas on Kerry Kennedy’s aquittal… Lionel on “snow-competence”… Plus, Jeff Smith’s advice column.
Page 55 ......... BACK & FORTH
A Q&A with Christine Todd Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey Cover: Photography: Marcin Zurawicz Model: Fiona Pehme
city & state — March 10, 2014
n August 26, 1664, four English warships dropped anchor off the southern coast of Brooklyn, armed with the firepower to level the colony Peter Stuyvesant had labored seventeen years to build up. Despite being massively outgunned, the Dutch director general was defiant, tearing up the letters sent by the British inviting him to surrender peacefully. Stuyvesant was ready to go down in flames and take all of New Amsterdam with him. By Morgan Pehme Fortunately, even back then people in this neck of the woods weren’t shy about speaking up. Ninety-three prominent citizens, including Stuyvesant’s own son, presented their leader with a petition, requesting that he capitulate. Deserted by the public, Stuyvesant had little choice but to listen and shortly thereafter ceded control of the colony to the English without so much as a single shot fired. As the heirs to that great city in the making, which the following month, on Oct. 20, would be renamed New York, we should all be grateful to Stuyvesant for coming to his senses. Far too often politicians conflate their own interests with those of their constituents. Take the Democratic minority in the state Senate. For more than 15 months, hostilities have seethed between Jeff Klein’s Independent Democratic Conference and Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ herd of regulars—and they have only grown more heated with the recent defection of Sen. Tony Avella to the IDC. Earlier this month former state attorney general Oliver Koppell fired off a statement that encapsulates the minority’s mentality, accusing the IDC of “apparently declar[ing] war on Democrats across the state” by threatening Stewart-Cousins and Co. with primary challenges, even though Koppell is actively contemplating launching just such a challenge against Klein with the minority leadership’s blessing. Koppell’s rhetoric asserts, in essence, that the 24 members of the minority conference (not counting Malcolm Smith and John Sampson, who are in the wilderness) are the only real Democrats in the Senate. Sen. Martin Dilan has made this argument explicitly by seeking to banish the IDC’s five members from the party. This logic is an insult to the millions of Democrats across New York whose beliefs span the spectrum from liberal to conservative and fill in every niche in between. The party does not belong to its leadership, but to its members, and yet time and again those in office act if the inverse were so. The Democrats in the Senate minority are no truer Democrats than those in the IDC. Just because the members of the IDC have determined that it is in the best interest of their constituents (and themselves) to share power with the Republicans, does not make them any less principled or worthy of carrying their party’s standard. Let us not forget that only five years ago the lofty-minded Senate Democrats—most of whom are still in office—voted to embrace as their leader Pedro Espada, a felon currently behind bars, so that they could regain their precious majority with Sampson, who could soon follow Espada to the slammer, as their conference chairman. What audacity the regular Democrats have to declare their moral superiority with a recent track record such as theirs! If the foremost aim of the Democrats in the minority is really to pass their progressive agenda—as so often they have insisted is the case—they should welcome the IDC back into the fold, accept Klein as their leader and achieve their objective. To do so would require swallowing their pride and giving up power, but as the people of New Amsterdam told Stuyvesant, “It’s not about you, it’s about us.”
the Editor The Good Old Days of Tammany Hall
Is the de Blasio Mandate Exaggerated?
January 29, 2014
N E W
T H E YO R K
C I T Y
POWER 100 The Most Powerful People in New York City Politics
city & state — March 10, 2014
In the cover story, City & State issued its second annual list of the 100 most powerful people in New York City politics. As could be expected, the rankings generated great debate, and also provoked reflections on the current makeup of the city’s power structure. Do you know of any other member of New York’s congressional delegation who has brought in more money to his or her district than Rep. Carolyn Maloney? I don’t. While I am delighted that you mentioned Rep. Maloney as one of the top 100 power people in New York City [Maloney came in at #72], the information you provided about her omitted many of the reasons I believe she has earned a significant place on the list. Her advocacy and leadership has brought more money to New York City than any other member of the delegation. Most of the largest infrastructure projects in the city are in Maloney’s district and have resulted in an inflow of billions in federal funding, including $1.3 billion for the Second Avenue Subway, $670 million for the Kosciuszko Bridge, $2.3 billion for East Side Access and $300 million for high speed rail. Maloney authored the 9/11 James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act, the first entitlement program since Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, which will provide $4 billion to sick and injured responders and survivors of 9/11. Furthermore, the Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights is being credited with saving consumers as much as $20 billion over
10 years. In my humble opinion, a better approach would be to ask each legislator to list their capital programs and projects they funded and legislative proposals they’ve successfully enacted into law. This would provide more credibility to your extremely important report. After all, what good is power if you don’t deliver for the people of New York? Isn’t that the purpose of public service? —Nancy Ploeger President, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Of the 100 most politically powerful New Yorkers identified by City & State magazine, nine were Latinos. Heading the list was New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who ranked first among the Latinos and 4th among the 100. The Latinos identified as the most politically powerful in the city reflect a major shift in power relations within the Latino community. The selection of Mark-Viverito to head the City Council, as part of the political changes brought on by the election of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, reflects the weakening of the usual Latino power bases in the Bronx and upper Manhattan. Although Puerto Ricans are the largest group among the top nine identified (four, or 44.4 percent), the majority were other Latinos (two Cubans, one Mexican, one Spaniard and one Dominican). Puerto Ricans remain the largest Latino population group in the city, making up about 30 percent of the total, but Dominicans and Mexicans are quickly catching up as the Puerto Rican population continues to decline. The Dominican community has made great gains in political representation and [in] their overall profile in the city’s politics. There have also been some positive developments in this regard among the city’s Mexican population, with one of their own just appointed deputy mayor and the first elected to the City Council this past year. The former role of Puerto Rican politicians, especially those in the Bronx, being gatekeepers for the other Latino groups is moving into a situation where greater power sharing among different Latino communities appears to be emerging. It is encouraging to see that, of the nine most powerful Latinos identified, the majority (five) are women. The problem of the historic underrepresentation of Latina women has been a perennial one, but the strong leadership role of Latina women in the de Blasio Administration and the City Council represents a significant change along gender
lines within the Latino community. However, of the nine most powerful Latinos, most (seven) were elected and appointed government officials, and the remaining two were labor leaders. The absence of influential Latinos from the business community, religious institutions, the nonprofit sector and the media reveals a Latino leadership that is narrowly based mostly in government and not as diverse as that of other communities. City & State also identifies those individuals who were off the current list from the past. Among the Latinos, the most prominent was the former publisher of El Diario–La Prensa, Rossana Rosado, who they identified as being “Out of Orbit.” Also off their list because of “Shifting Tides” is New York State Senator Adriano Espaillat. Former New York City Council[man] Joel Rivera was also off the list, the reason being that he was term-limited from office. It is also significant to note that most of the “Bloomberg Alums” were off the list but that Bloomberg’s highest-ranking Latino, Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Roman, or any Latino from his administration, never made it. —An excerpt from a National Institute for Latino Policy’s email to its subscribers A look at some of the more unusual bills in the state Legislature pertaining to animals drew this reader response. For those of us who make Albany our home and work hard to make the city a better place to live, work and play, and to attract visitors to the Capital, being referred derogatorily by New York City dwellers and opinion makers as “up in Albany” (most recently in your Wild Things “cartoon” by Matthew Hamilton), alienates goodwill, self-esteem, and thwarts our progress as a city. When things happen in the Legislature, in state politics, etc., would it not be more productive for all to name those institutions by their names and not by the city that hosts them? Albany is the state capital, but it is also a city with a vibrant past, and the heart of a region that has a lot to offer to residents and visitors. —Gabi Sarhos, Albany, N.Y. Matthew Hamilton responds to Ms. Sarhos: I read your letter with great interest because I, too, call Albany home. I love this city and this region, and have no reason to refer to either derogatorily. In fact, “up in Albany” refers simply to the geographic difference between Albany and New York City, where many of our readers are. I grew up in the North Country 20 minutes from the Canadian border, so the “up in” phrase has been used by me and by others to describe my home region for my entire life. I’m proud to say I currently live “up in Albany,” even if that does have a different meaning to some residents “down in the city.”
To have your letter to the editor considered for publication, leave a comment at www.cityandstateny.com, tweet us @CityAndStateNY, email email@example.com or write to 61 Broadway, Suite 2825, New York, NY 10006. Letters may be edited for clarity or length. cityandstateny.com
THE MAYOR AND THE MEDIA MAYORAL MEDIA GROWING PAINS NOT UNIQUE TO DE BLASIO
ROB BENNETT FOR THE OFFICE OF MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO
By NICK POWELL
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announces the appointment of his administration’s press team, lead by Press Secretary Phil Walzak (to the mayor’s immediate left) and Special Advisor Rebecca Kirszner Katz (second from the mayor’s right) at a press conference in the City Hall Blue Room in January.
city & state — March 10, 2014
ealing with the media is a delicate dance for a new mayor and his press office. It requires having an ear fixed to the rhythm of the populace, knowing when to transition from a two-step to a waltz, but also anticipating the move of one’s partner—in this case, the New York City press corps. To that end, the early months of a mayoral administration can give hints to whether a communications team has two left feet, and if so, if they can recover quickly enough to lead rather than follow. In recent weeks Mayor Bill de Blasio and his press office have stumbled in dictating the tempo of the news cycle despite the mayor’s best efforts at projecting confidence in his ability to determine what news the public truly cares about. “I think there has to be a different
examination of what matters and what doesn’t matter in the scheme of things,” de Blasio told reporters early last week in response to a question about whether he has been treated unfairly by the media. “Too much of the time, the debate veers away into sideshows.” Yet there have been several instances when the sideshows have been amplified by a puzzling media strategy—from the mayor not immediately taking questions about his police caravan speeding through the streets of Queens to the selective announcement of events on his public schedule to his irritating disregard for punctuality. Are these the normal growing pains of a green communications team that is still finding its footing? Or are such missteps the consequence of a
candidate and a campaign that was hardly battle-tested and received far less scrutiny than certain rivals? Each of the last four mayors endured bumps in the road dealing with the media during the early days of their administrations, of course. Michael Bloomberg was once lectured by a City Hall reporter on how to properly take questions at a press conference. In the early days of his first term, Rudy Giuliani overstepped his authority by directing an ambulance to take a victim of a traffic accident to a specific hospital, an aide recalled. David Dinkins’ first press secretary, Al Scardino—a former New York Times reporter—was reportedly so reviled in City Hall’s Room 9 that Dinkins was forced to replace Scardino in the second year of his administration. Even the effervescent Ed Koch fired seven
deputy mayors after the first 18 months of his administration. It is important for a new mayor to avoid underestimating the importance of his relationship with Room 9 in developing a messaging strategy, said Leland Jones, Dinkins’ press secretary after Scardino. Jones explained that a press office has to “feed the beast” by giving the media populist, digestible news—Giuliani’s early campaign against “squeegee men,” for example—as much as the big picture initiatives integral to a mayor’s agenda, such as de Blasio’s push for universal preschool. “There’s this tension when you come in of, ‘Do I start big, do I go small, do I do something in between?’ ” Jones said. “Maybe you start big with one thing, and then you do a couple of small things and get a feel for how cityandstateny.com
untrustworthy,” said Doug Muzzio, a professor of public affairs at Baruch College. Many members of the press have grumbled at the lag in response time from the mayor’s press secretaries when a comment or response is needed for a story, for instance. Other reporters note that Bloomberg’s press secretaries had specific portfolios of agencies and areas of coverage that they dealt with, making it easier for a member of the press to know exactly whom to contact for a specific story. Evidently de Blasio’s press officers have not yet been handed delineated portfolios, and political observers suggest that it may be owing in part to the fact that the mayor has been slow in naming commissioners to numerous city agencies, which has made it more difficult to coordinate a unified media strategy. Moreover, political communications teams often meld and develop in the crucible of a campaign—and, as an underdog for the majority of the Democratic primary, de Blasio did not go through the same gauntlet of media vetting and opposition research that some of the other mayoral candidates had to endure. And because his Republican challenger, Joe Lhota, ran such a lackluster campaign in the general election, de Blasio went on cruise control—sharply cutting his public events and parachuting into the fray only when it was convenient for him. “I’m not taking anything away from his campaign—they were very good, they were focused, they were building his coalition,” said Bill Cunningham, who ran Bloomberg’s communications office during his first term. “But as everybody else fell down, he became stronger and stronger, and ultimately he won. Everybody in that pack had problems, and he was always in the right place to benefit from it.” Some de Blasio defenders said they expect the new mayor to find his footing. George Arzt, a communications consultant and former press secretary to Ed Koch, said that the media inevitably would become less reactionary and—to extend the dance choreography metaphor—allow the mayor to find a suitable rhythm in interacting with the press. “You gain confidence, and there is more certainty in how you face the day,” Arzt said. “You can’t always guarantee what’s going to happen during that day, because there are so many uncertainties about this job, about crime, about accidents. We didn’t elect a robotic human.”
By: David R. Jones, Esq., President and CEO, Community Service Society
New Cuny Chancellor Must Address Low Enrollment of Blacks and Latinos in Four-Year Colleges For a span of 14 years the City University of New York (CUNY) has had one chancellor. That will change this June when James B. Milliken, president of the University of Nebraska since 2004, takes the helm of the nation’s third largest public university. CUNY wields tremendous institutional and political clout in New York. As such, the chancellor and the policies he advances not only impact nearly half a million students in 23 colleges and institutions, but tens of thousands of public school graduates who hope to further their education there. What remains unclear is whether the new chancellor intends to build on the contested legacy of his predecessor, Matthew Goldstein, or set a new course for this crucial institution. Mr. Goldstein is perhaps best remembered for raising admissions standards at CUNY’s top four-year colleges. While those changes boosted CUNY’s national rankings, they came at the expense of plummeting enrollment rates of black and Latino public school graduates. In 2012, my organization documented the major declines in the number of black and Latino freshmen at CUNY senior colleges since the Recession. At the time, students and families seeking more affordable college options during the economic downturn were applying to CUNY in droves. CUNY responded to the increased demand by raising its SAT requirements for admission. This disproportionately impacted blacks and Latino applicants, who represent 72 percent of public high school students in New York City and the same percentage of CUNY students overall, but just 29 percent of students at CUNY’s most selective campuses. Harvard University had a higher percentage of black students in its freshmen class than Baruch College—a comparison most everyone should find appalling given the fact that Baruch is part of a public university system with a mission of providing access and academic excellence to local students.
In the two years since our report was released, black freshman enrollment across CUNY senior colleges has continued to decline, from 23 percent in 2010 to 22 percent in 2012. The decline in blacks and Latinos at the top CUNY colleges also continues: Baruch went from 18 to 17 percent; Hunter went from 28 to 26 percent; City College went from 45 percent to now just 40 percent. And today, only 13 percent of the freshmen at City College in Harlem are black. Given this trend it’s reasonable to ask whether CUNY’s commitment to diversity applies to only its community colleges—where most black and Latino students end up enrolling—rather than to all of its college campuses. And while community college is supposed to serve as a steppingstone to enrollment in four-year schools, the track record at CUNY is abysmal: fewer than one in ten students who enters a CUNY community college will graduate with a four-year degree. By all accounts Mr. Milliken has been an effective college administrator credited with expanding the number of low-income students at the University of Nebraska while raising huge sums of money for the university. He also ostensibly believes affirmative action can be an effective tool to equalize educational, employment and contracting opportunities having publicly opposed a 2008 Nebraska ballot initiative that prohibited such policies, which was ultimately passed. In a recent New York Times article, Mr. Milliken said CUNY has a “history of doing what public universities at their best do extremely well, which is offer education opportunity and economic opportunity to great numbers of people who wouldn’t otherwise have it.” For decades, CUNY has wrangled with the issue of how to balance access and excellence. Mr. Milliken is now in the unique position to set the course of how CUNY will strike that balance in the years to come. We are hopeful that the new chancellor’s tenure will be marked by a commitment to providing opportunity for all New Yorkers at all of CUNY’s campuses.
LEARN MORE www.cssny.org
city & state — March 10, 2014
ROB BENNETT FOR THE OFFICE OF MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO
the ball’s bouncing up against the wall: ‘How good are the people I’ve got delivering [the message]? Are we figuring out where all the kinks are?’ Because when all is said and done, that relationship between Room 9 and the mayor’s press office is, in my opinion, fundamental to the democracy in New York.” De Blasio’s staffers—especially those new to city government, as many in de Blasio’s press office are—will also have to “let the Kool-Aid wear off a little bit,” Jones suggested. In fact, several communications experts and political observers said that de Blasio’s press team has too many “true believers” and not enough sober, experienced voices. So far the messaging seems to be more about satisfying the mayor’s big-picture progressive vision than managing the daily news cycle, these insiders note. “I don’t begrudge [the de Blasio communications team] their spin— ‘It’s historic’—go for it, that doesn’t offend me,” said one communications strategist. “They seem to think that life is visionary … but on the day-to-day stuff they just can’t get their act together.” Others suggest that part of the problem is that the de Blasio communications team carried over too many members from its campaign press operation. Of de Blasio’s press team, only deputy press secretaries Wiley Norvell, Maibe Ponet and Angela Banks—a mayor’s press office veteran since 1995—have city government experience, with Norvell and Ponet holdovers from de Blasio’s public advocate office. Phil Walzak, the mayor’s press secretary; Marti Adams, the first deputy press secretary; and Rebecca Kirszner Katz, the mayor’s special advisor on long-term media planning, have extensive experience as campaign operatives and, in some cases, in federal government communications offices. But they are untested in the battleground of city government, with its breadth of agencies, commissioners and $70 billion budget. That inexperience can make it more difficult to put out a small media brush fire before it turns into a fouralarm blaze. “When you have a lot of green folks who don’t have that press contact or press experience, you’re gonna run into problems, because there’s a learning curve, and sometimes it takes a long time. And by that time you’ve antagonized folks—and once you’ve antagonized folks, the narrative emerges that [de Blasio] is secretive or
S TAT E
WILD, WILD NORTH
OWENS RETIREMENT CREATES SCRAMBLE OF CANDIDATES By MATTHEW HAMILTON
city & state — March 10, 2014
in such an expansive district, could pose a serious obstacle to Woolf’s candidacy. One Democratic insider seemed apprehensive about his chances. “You’ll hear grumbling from the chattering class about him not being ‘out there,’ ” the insider said. “I think what people don’t understand is he was thrown into this. … Elise and Matt had time to prepare and plan and be deliberate about how they announced. [Woolf] was just thrown out there. … Everyone is still in wait-and-see mode: See if he can raise money, see if he can be effective on the campaign trail.” Of course, all of the candidates face the challenge of campaigning across a 12-county district that is geographically the largest east of the Mississippi River. While Owens said the geography presents primarily an issue in terms of canvassing the district on a daily basis—“You can’t visit with as many people as you would like to because the distances between things are so great,” he said—it also has created a unique political structure. Owens said the district is filled with “Rockefeller Republicans and Reagan Democrats” who have differing focuses from region to region. In the Watertown area the focus is on the Fort Drum Army base; in the Plattsburgh area, it’s about Canadian trade, Owens said: In the Adirondacks, tourism takes precedence and in the Glens Falls area, the focus is on medical manufacturing and paper mills. “But ultimately the question that the average citizen is asking me is, ‘How do you continue to grow jobs in our community?’ ” the congressman said. The Affordable Care Act is also an issue that could be a factor in the coming election for the swing voters who helped put Owens in office. But Owens said jobs and the economy were the focus of a telephone town hall conducted late last month. Voters polled
pegged those two concerns as paramount more than 40 percent of the time, while healthcare registered in the teens, he said. With narrow outcomes in the last three elections— two regular elections and the 2009 special election— appealing to voters on both sides of the political fence could be key for Republicans and Democrats alike. Owens said that moderate voters in the district will be seeking candidates sincere about following through on their centrist campaign pledges. It’s too early to tell how close the margin of victory will be this time around, but the Democratic insider argued that the national Republican model is not necessarily well tailored toward winning over North Country voters. “If you look at [former Rep.] John McHugh and what he represented, labor supported him. If you look at [former Assemblywoman] Dede Scozzafava, she was a prominent Republican loved by the party but also loved by labor,” the source said. “Those types of people are not in existence anymore and are being run out of the party. Elise and Matt are not Dede or John McHugh.” The positions of the Republican candidates could be swayed by where the bulk of their campaign contributions comes from. While Doheny historically has had deep pockets, Stefanik has shown flashes of an ability to raise money from powerful places. Her trip to Colorado to garner support from Singer could be an indicator of things to come. “It’s a group of donors that are looking to take a different approach toward things,” the Republican insider said. “I’ve been hearing that Paul Singer and some of those guys are looking to have more control [of] how the money is spent in terms of where it’s going, and not just let it go business as usual, because they have not been happy with the party’s direction.”
hen Rep. Bill Owens announced his retirement in mid-January, a wave of political speculation quickly swept through the North Country. On the day Owens, who has represented the hotly contested 21st Congressional District since he won a 2009 special election, announced he would be leaving the House of Representatives to spend more time with his family, party insiders on both sides of the aisle tossed around the names of possible successors for the swing seat like Frisbees. Nearly two months later, the speculation hasn’t stopped. As of the first week of March, three candidates led the pack of potential hopefuls. At the top of the Republicans’ list are newcomer Elise Stefanik and Matt Doheny, who twice challenged Owens, losing by fewer than 2 percentage points in 2012 against the incumbent after falling short against him in 2010 by only approximately 2,000 votes. On the Democratic side is another first-timer: Aaron Woolf. For district watchers, it is anybody’s race. Stefanik, arguably the front-runner, reportedly met with Republican billionaire Paul Singer recently and has the support of a slew of local Republican committees and national figures like Rep. Paul Ryan. In January she said she was focused on securing the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines. But one insider said it is possible that Doheny, a strong wild card candidate, will take the Conservative and Independence lines—he already has the latter’s endorsement—if Stefanik gets the Republican nod, thus splitting the party. One GOP insider said Doheny was surprised that county Republican committee chairs did not jump ship from Stefanik to back him instead when he made a late entry into the race in February. The source said the chairs seemed to think Doheny had already had his opportunities to win, and that this cycle it was time for someone new. That appraisal also seems to be germane to the Conservative line. State chairman Michael Long has a track record of sticking by the candidate he favors, and as such he may be leaning toward backing Stefanik. Long said a decision will not by made by the state executive committee until April. While some county Conservative leaders have thrown their support behind Doheny, Long said the fact that Stefanik has been active for the past six months gives her a leg up in the contest. While Doheny has high name recognition, Woolf, a relatively unknown Brooklyn filmmaker who splits his time between New York City and Essex County, has already garnered support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The 21st District race, with Woolf’s name attached as the Democratic candidate, was recently given the designation of “emerging” by the DCCC. Being largely unfamiliar to voters, especially
Democrat Bill Owens is retiring from Congress after only a little more than two terms in office. cityandstateny.com
1. Elise Stefanik (Republican) Hometown: Willsboro, Essex County Stefanik has had her name out there since last year and has the backing of prominent members of the national party. She has begun fundraising with big Republican names, and currently is perceived to be the front-runner out of any candidate, Republican or Democrat. Rumors peg her as the pick of the state Conservative Party, too. 2. Matt Doheny (Republican, Independence) Hometown: Watertown, Jefferson County No stranger to 21st Congressional District politics, Doheny challenged Owens in both 2010 and 2012, losing by close margins in both instances. He has the backing of the Independence Party, though local Republican chairs are sticking with Stefanik. With deep pockets and the name recognition of past election cycles, Doheny has
a real chance of winning, though he will lack the same backing this time around.
of Stefanik or Doheny, and far-right Tea Party stances might hurt him in a district that plays more moderate.
3. Aaron Woolf (Democrat) Hometown: Elizabethtown, Essex County; Brooklyn Woolf has the backing of local Democratic chairs, but he has little else. He is a relative unknown to most voters, and even Owens said that he still wants to see what positions the newcomer takes on key issues. One simple question in a column from Watertown Daily Times’ City Editor Perry White the day after Democrats backed Woolf may best have summed up his candidacy: “Huh?”
5. Paul Maroun (Republican) Hometown: Tupper Lake, Franklin County Maroun has been rumored to be considering a run but has not yet declared. He is the mayor of the tiny Village of Tupper Lake and a Franklin County legislator, so he is not new to area politics, though district-wide he falls into the long-shot category.
4. Joseph Gilbert (Tea Party) Hometown: Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County Gilbert declared his candidacy in August, but his name has been a footnote in the media so far. He lacks the profile
6. James Waller (Republican) Hometown: Lake Pleasant, Hamilton County Waller made the local news when he announced he would run at the end of January, but he has received few, if any, mentions since. He is from a very rural spot—even by 21st District standards.
map_future How will you reach your career goals? Find your answer at the FREE Map Your Future Open Workshop for graduate students. Explore degree and certificate options in media, policy, urban studies, sustainability, and more. Chart a course of study that can start as soon as this fall. Map Your Future Open Workshop Saturday, March 15 at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, March 26 at 6:00 p.m. 55 West 13th St., NYC Register today at www.newschool.edu/mapyourfuture
THE NEW SCHOOL
An Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Institution Photo: James Ewing
city & state — March 10, 2014
A Message From Héctor J. Figueroa, President of 32BJ SEIU
Anyone who has tried to find an apartment recently is all too aware of how well the real estate industry is doing right now. Average rents have soared to a record high, topping $3,100 a month for the first time. Hopeful homeowners are also facing sticker shock -- median prices are approaching $1 million for a one-bedroom condo in Manhattan.
WHOSE COMMON CORE IS IT, ANYWAY?
For the people collecting these rents and building new apartment towers, times are good. But these kinds of housing costs can be tough even on people with good jobs. Anthony Williams, a doorman in Brooklyn, works a second job at the airport to cover his family’s rent, even though his wife also works in retail. As 32BJ looks forward to our second round of bargaining with the Real Estate Advisory Board, there is no doubt about the industry’s health, and we fully expect the RAB’s offer to reflect that fact. For us, this contract is about two things. First and foremost, it’s about making sure that the men and women who make New York home can continue to call it home themselves. But equally important is the process of rebuilding the middle class in this city, which means more non-union workers have access to union jobs, with all the benefits and respect that comes with it. These are the kinds of jobs that we need to close the income gap and change the tale of two cities. Building service jobs are one area of the economy where there should be no conflict with employers making money and workers having a decent standard of living.
Manhattan is well known for its sky-high real estate prices. Indeed median prices for condos in the borough jumped 14% in the last year, a 25-year record high. And the price per square foot for new buildings spiked by close to 18% over the same time period. But it’s not just the glimmering island where times are good for real estate investors. The average price of an apartment in areas like Williamsburg and Greenpoint soared above $900,000. Even in the once affordable neighbor-hoods of Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights and East New York, average sales price passed the half-million mark last year. And high prices are not stopping people from buying. Condos and co-ops in Brooklyn are flying off the rack. Newly built condos and co-ops in the borough stayed on the market for an average of about two months last quarter, which was a 40% decrease from the year before. Meanwhile rents in Brooklyn rose 10% on average in 2013 – including 7% in Bed-Stuy and 11% in Crown Heights.
city & state — March 10, 2014
These are neighborhoods where many 32BJ members live. While we are happy to see the economy and the real estate industry in such a healthy state, our members are dealing with these rising rents, as well as the rising cost of living in the city. In the four years since the last contract, the consumer price index in the New York City area has gone up by 10% and is higher than any other major city in the U.S. Costs for everyday items have skyrocketed – milk is up 33%, meat jumped by 21% and MetroCards rose by 22% since 2010. Apartment building workers work hard to keep residents safe and comfortable. We are asking that the Real Estate Advisory Board do the same in return. Given the booming real estate market, we believe the RAB will live up to its commitment to creating and maintaining good jobs. With 145,000 members in 11 states and the District of Columbia, including 75,000 in New York City, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country
ob Lowry shared a story. “I dropped my daughter off at school last year after the April school break, and she said to me, ‘I wouldn’t mind going back, except for all the testing.’ The thing is, my daughter was in tenth grade, past the 3 through 8 tests.” In other words, Lowry’s daughter wasn’t stressed about the tests associated with the Common Core; she was concerned about the tests the district had implemented to comply with teacher evaluations. At the time, only students in grades 3 through 8 were subject to both Common Core and Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) testing. It’s a nuance many parents may not understand. Lowry, who serves as deputy director for advocacy and communications for the New York State Council of School Superintendents, stresses that an obstacle to lowering tensions over testing is that APPR is not just a State Education Department (SED) policy but a law the Assembly and Senate passed, the governor signed, the SED supported and New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) agreed to. Said Lowry, “I’ve heard legislators criticize the Regents and the State Education Department. Some of the criticism is fair, but some of it arises from a law many of them voted for.” That is to say, when Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino calls it “Cuomo’s Common Core,” he’s wrong. It would be more accurate to say “Albany’s APPR.”
he Annual Professional Performance Review is a stategoverned process, one that
school districts were motivated to adopt because of the governor’s carrot-and-stick approach to policy: Either negotiate and approve a teacher evaluation plan by Jan. 17, 2013, or incur a state aid penalty of 4 percent. This year stress around teacher evaluations was compounded by the simultaneous rollout of the Common Core standards by the State Education Department. While it may not be accurate to blame public anger on the Common Core, it has become the catchall term for the myriad problems facing the state’s education system in the same way fracking is used by the public to refer to the entire process of shale gas drilling. Elected officials have shown skill at taking advantage of that confusion. After a Regents working group released 19 recommended reforms to both the Common Core implementation and the teacher evaluation process, Gov. Cuomo issued a statement saying the Regents “used anger over the Common Core to stop the teacher evaluation process.” While the statement accurately makes a distinction between the two issues, the governor failed to acknowledge that the added testing around teacher evaluations is in large part to blame for the public’s anger. “I understand recommendations to alleviate the anxiety of parents [and] of students on the Common Core, because it was not implemented properly, because there was not the right transition. So the anxiety is up,” the governor told The Capitol Pressroom. “But that’s separate from the teacher evaluations.” While it is separate, parents are complaining about both. cityandstateny.com
one of this leaves the New York State Department of Education and the Board of Regents off the hook. Last year’s 3–8 tests were too long, and poorly designed. Even before the pass rates were released, it was widely reported that highachieving students complained they didn’t have time to finish the tests, and struggling students just gave up. Once the grades were made public, parental anger caught fire. Additionally, at the start of the last school year, SED had very few of the curriculum modules available to help schools teach the new Common Core standards. And now that they are available, they are seen as uneven in quality and usefulness. The crisis in New York over the Common Core and APPR isn’t happening in a vacuum. At the same time, school districts continue to be burdened by the 2010 Gap Elimination Adjustment, which was instituted during the economic downturn. This year the GEA has cost school districts $1.63 billion dollars. Money, says Dr. Rick Timbs of the Statewide School Finance Consortium, is the real issue. “Economically, the Core is more of a problem in schools that lack the resources to retool. I’m talking about teachers, staff development, equipment, time. They all equal money,” says Timbs. “This inequity is being overshadowed by the distraction of testing.” He and other education advocates like Billy
Easton of the Alliance for Quality Education have been fighting for more state aid for years. “We have shrinking classroom resources,” says Easton. “We are actually cutting the quality of the curriculum. The focus is not on teaching and learning, which is what resources are designed to drive. Instead, the focus is on testing. That drives a hyper-focus on teaching to the test.” Michael Rebell, the attorney who successfully argued the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case, goes further. In a new lawsuit, New Yorkers for Students’ Educational Rights v. State of NY, which Rebell filed this month in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, he argues that state officials have failed to live up to their constitutional obligation to provide an adequate education for New York students. The governor has been clear that more money is not forthcoming, saying recently, “It ain’t about the money.” That assessment doesn’t sit well with education advocates. “Even if one believed there is enough money overall in the system—and there isn’t—some school districts have it, and clearly others do not,” argues Rick Timbs. “The disparity is not only huge, it’s shameful.”
Susan Arbetter (@sarbetter on Twitter) is the Emmy award-winning news director for WCNY Syracuse PBS/NPR, and producer/host of the Capitol Pressroom syndicated public radio program.
S TAT E
With the governor unwilling to acknowledge problems with APPR, parents may be stuck with it, since any change in the law will require agreement from the Assembly, the Senate and the governor.
North Rockland School District in the Red After Losing Power Plant By Ileana Eckert
The North Rockland School District offers a cautionary tale about the financial impact of losing a local electric power generator. In 2003, the Lovett, Bowline 1 and Bowline 2 Generating Stations were the largest taxpayers in our community, accounting for $46 million annually. Six years later, under pressure from the State Attorney General and environmental activists, Lovett’s owner did not find it economical to retrofit the plant with pollution-control technology and agreed to shutter it. But the story doesn’t end there. A court ruled in August 2006 that the three plants had been overassessed for many years and awarded its owner a $224 million tax refund. To repay, the district took $30 million out of its reserves. The $194 million balance was financed with 30-year bonds at 4.2 percent interest. Total cost to the district: $375.2 million. Our debt service from tax certiorari refunds for the 2013-2014 school year alone tops $11. 5 million, and a settlement earlier this year for over-charges between 2009 and 2013 added $4.6 million to what we owe. The impact has been devastating. Since 2007, the district has closed two schools and one administrative building, cut staff by 24 percent, increased class size in all grades, and reduced student activities. The lawsuit and reduction in assessment has hit middle-class homeowners especially hard. In 2003, 64 percent of the district’s tax levy was commercial property owners and 36 percent residential property owners; last year those percentages were reversed. Over the last decade, property owners in Haverstraw saw their taxes rise 104.3 percent, on average; in Stony Point, it was 72 percent.
Today our school district faces crippling debt, loss of tax revenue from its previously largest property owner and the loss of a company that helped stimulate the local economy. Other communities that are home to power-generating facilities must heed the hard lessons we have learned and note that this is also what can happen when a business doesn’t re-invest in its infrastructure and becomes obsolete. Perhaps, there needs to be a better way to protect communities from these complicated and expensive proceedings. There should be clear guidelines that prevent these liabilities from saddling school districts with millions in debt because that burden will fall on your families, your children and their schools for generations to come. Ileana Eckert is the North Rockland Superintendent. North Rockland School district is made up of eight schools. S P O N S O R E D
S E C T I O N
The New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance (New York AREA) is a diverse group of business, labor, environmental, and community leaders working together for clean, low-cost and reliable electricity solutions that foster prosperity and jobs for the Empire State. W W W. A R E A - A L L I A N C E . O R G cityandstateny.com
city & state — March 10, 2014
S P E C I A L
PLANES & TRAINS ADVOCATES CALL FOR TRAIN LINK TO LAGUARDIA AIRPORT
LICA’s Annual Federal & State Infrastructure Summit Friday, March 14, 2014 | 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT)
Chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
Featuring casual conversations with invited members of the Long Island Congressional and State Legislative Delegations.
Fox Hollow 7725 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury, NY 11797 | 516-921-1415
city & state — March 10, 2014
Meeting registration includes breakfast LICA Members: Registration fee included as part of your 2014 annual dues Non-LICA members: Registration fee $50 per person
Sponsorship Opportunities: Bridge Sponsor: $1,000 (includes banner, two tables) Highway Sponsor: $500 (includes banner, one table) Please make checks payable to LICA and mail to 150 Motor Parkway, Suite 307, Hauppauge, NY 11788 Or submit payment by clicking the “Pay Online” tab at LICA’s website, www.licanys.org For additional information call 631-231-LICA or email firstname.lastname@example.org
eep beneath Manhattan’s East Side, massive cylindrical drills are churning through eons-old mounds of earth, turning the past into the future. The East Side Access project will connect that side of the island and the Long Island Railroad deep beneath Grand Central Terminal. While the MTA’s most recent timeline for the project extended its completion date until 2021 or beyond—at a possible cost of more than $10 billion— talks have already begun about what should be the next transformative endeavors to ameliorate New York City’s ever-changing transportation landscape. All modes from rail to ground to air transportation are poised for upgrades once thought to be futuristic reveries. A panel of transportation experts discussed the latest developments and proposals at City & State’s Feb. 27 State of Our City forum, including what could be an integral piece of the state’s latest massive New York City transportation infrastructure project: airport reconstruction, specifically at LaGuardia International Airport. In January, echoing Vice President Joe Biden—who compared LaGuardia to a third-world airport— Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would take over the reconstruction of both LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International Airport from the Port Authority. While JFK already has a service connection to the subway system in Queens via the AirTrain, LaGuardia has no link to that critical mode of mass transit. Instead it has dedicated bus lines. Though those buses connect the airport to subway stops in Queens, LGA’s only direct connection to Manhattan is a bus line that runs through the neighborhood of Astoria to 125th Street in Harlem. And even that line terminates on the Upper West Side rather than going directly into the
city center. In the early part of the millennium, there were talks about extending the N train to LaGuardia, but the possibility of doing so was poohpoohed by area residents opposed to the new elevated tracks running through their neighborhoods that the project would have entailed. At City & State’s conference, the idea was revived by Global Gateway Alliance Executive Director Stephen Sigmund, who pointed out that airports like Washington, D.C.’s Ronald Reagan National Airport and Chicago’s Midway have direct rail connections to their respective city centers. “It is very realistic. I mean, 14 years ago it was a plan, not a proposal,” Sigmund said. “It is extremely important. LaGuardia is really the only close business airport in the country that doesn’t connect directly to mass transit. … A plan that was in the works and so far along really should be revived. Particularly around the conversation of the Central Terminal Building at LaGuardia, [it] presents an opportunity to really remake the airport.” But at a time when the Port Authority is already expanding its PATH train system from lower Manhattan to Newark Liberty International Airport and the MTA is focused on the behindschedule and over-budget East Side Access Project, how and when an N train extension would be built is anybody’s guess. The MTA’s current capital program doesn’t include projects near or regarding LaGuardia. Port Authority spokesman Ron Marsico said the airport’s new Central Terminal Building is planned to be compatible with rail access, though no specific rail project is planned. MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said the authority has not developed rail extension plans to LaGuardia since it cityandstateny.com
3/3/14 8:55:36 AM
By MATTHEW HAMILTON
met opposition the first time around. But he added that both the Q70 bus that takes riders from train stations in Queens to LaGuardia and the M60 bus from the Upper West Side to the airport are both running well. With a number of major capital improvement projects under way, the goal is to see those to completion before moving on to anything new, Lisberg said. Still, New York City Councilman and Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez indicated that he wants to see the governor’s transportation commitment include a LaGuardia connection. “With the $4 billion that the governor committed to LaGuardia, the question is: How can we also connect some and span some of the selectable service or bring all of the selectable service to LaGuardia, too?” Rodriguez said. Time is also an issue. Even if an extension is planned, discussed and approved, it could take years if not decades before work begins, let alone is completed. William Wheeler, the MTA’s director of special project development and planning, said the city’s mass transit ridership is already at a high point, with more people taking the subway now than in post– World War II 1946, another peak. That volume of usage means any new project requires a balancing
of priorities to weigh other potential benefits of a line with the MTA’s limited resources. And development is a lengthy process. “When we were developing the original idea for the East Side Access … when we started the environmental process, my son was in grade school,” Wheeler said. “We didn’t finish the environmental process and get into design until he was almost done [with] high school. Those megaprojects, which capture the imagination … they take too darn long to build. The challenge now is to try to make the best use out of the existing system.” Without an expansion of the rail system, the city would likely be left with the bus-lines-to-subway approach currently in place. However, with airport redevelopment already in the works, advocates say it might be time to bite the bullet and find a better way to connect. “The quickest alternatives are the ones that can take advantage of the current infrastructure,” Sigmund said. “Our larger point of view is that as you do bigger redevelopment of the airport—in particular this kind of major project that’s going to stand in as a proxy for the rest of the airport— you have to figure out a way to connect it, to stop isolating it as a mass transit piece from the rest of the city.”
“LaGuardia is really the only close business airport in the country that doesn’t connect directly to mass transit.”
City & State City Hall Bureau Chief Nick Powell (far left) moderated a panel on transportation at C&S’ recent State of Our City conference featuring (from Powell’s right) William Wheeler, the MTA’s director of planning, Michael Woloz, a principal of Connelly McLaughlin & Woloz, Kevin Hatfield, the North American co-president of Hailo, and Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee.
Reading, Writing & Reliable Energy By Joseph Hochreiter
A critical, but so often overlooked, aspect of the discussion about the future of the Indian Point Energy Center is the enormous contribution it makes in educating Westchester County’s children. This single facility does much more than just generate the electricity that keeps the lights on in our schools. It employs 1,100 full-time workers plus 150-1,000 on-site contractors for various projects. Many are our neighbors and the parents of our students. The majority of those jobs are skilled positions that pay good wages and benefits, generating substantial tax revenue that supports our school district and keeps the community strong. In the Hendrick Hudson School District alone, Indian Point’s PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) accounts for nearly 30 percent of our educational budget. This helps keep and attract top teachers and maintain smaller class sizes, and results in a better educational experience. Imagine how much more burdensome an already steep county tax bill would be without Indian Point. Our community couldn’t ask for a better corporate citizen. Local charities and civic organizations, including the Hendrick Hudson Community Educational Foundation and the Hendrick Hudson Free Library, among others, receive generous support from Indian Point. Plainly put, many of the educational programs that benefit our community and children would not exist without that support. Inside the classroom, that support has helped us introduce the latest educational technology, including interactive whiteboards, computers, printers, and video equipment, to enhance the learning experience. In the last several years, our partnership with Indian Point has expanded to include employee involvement in our science curriculum at Hendrick Hudson High School. Our students are interacting on a regular basis with scientists, engineers and technicians from Indian Point through tours of the facility, classroom visits and interactive presentations where students receive constructive reviews of their projects from a practical industry perspective.
These tools and invaluable experiences are better preparing our students for higher education and to compete in the global workforce. Those who favor keeping Indian Point open know how important it is to our regional energy needs. The facility generates 25 percent of Westchester’s and NYC’s electricity and about 11 percent of all the electricity used in New York State. Closing Indian Point would have a devastating impact on our community in terms of lost jobs, higher taxes, the end of community programs, and major cuts to education budgets. That is something our community, our school districts, our children and our families cannot afford, now or in the future. Joseph Hochrieter is superintendent of the Hendrick Hudson School District, made up of five schools: three elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. S P O N S O R E D
S E C T I O N
New York AREA’s membership includes some of the state’s most vital business, labor and community organizations including the New York State AFL-CIO, Business Council of New York State, Partnership for New York City, New York Building Congress, National Federation of Independent Business and many more. W W W. A R E A - A L L I A N C E . O R G cityandstateny.com
city & state — March 10, 2014
S P E C I A L
DE BLASIO’S LABOR TEAM
Tony Salerno came from Italy 29 years ago to drive carriages in New York City. He is from three generations of carriage drivers. Salerno and his horse Spartacus are ready for customers
city & state — March 10, 2014
egotiations between many of New York City’s municipal labor unions and the city government are under way, or at the very least in the preliminary stages. The outcome of these negotiations will have a wide-ranging impact on not only Mayor Bill de Blasio’s agenda but also on the executive budget and the city’s overall health. Given the magnitude of these consequences, who will be the key players on the administration’s side working day and night to hammer out a favorable compromise for the city? Several labor insiders expect that de Blasio’s first deputy mayor, Anthony Shorris, and the mayor’s director of intergovernmental affairs, Emma Wolfe, will play a role—especially as the two sides get closer to a deal. Here are some of the other members of de Blasio’s team who will be in the trenches: Bob Linn: Linn, the mayor’s director of labor relations, has a long history at the bargaining table, having served in the same role under former mayor Ed Koch. Labor insiders and officials consistently use the words “well-respected” and “professional” when describing him, which could help Linn smooth over the often contentious relationship between the Bloomberg administration and labor, which, as one union leader described it, left “a real bad taste in the unions’ mouths.” On the other hand, Arthur Cheliotes, president of the Communications Workers of America Local 1180, told City & State he felt Linn had only a rudimentary understanding of the city’s workforce when he was working under Koch, a sentiment echoed by some other insiders. It behooves Linn to demonstrate otherwise to his union counterparts in order to facilitate productive bargaining sessions without any lingering acrimony. Stanley Brezenoff: The unsettled labor contracts may be the “great unknown” for de Blasio as he puts together his budget; the same can be said for Brezenoff and his role in the upcoming labor negotiations. The mayor jointly announced Linn’s and Brezenoff’s appointments back in December, naming Brezenoff an unpaid adviser to Shorris with a focus on resolving the expired contracts. Brezenoff is another Koch
administration veteran, having run the Health and Hospitals Corporation, and has since been active in healthcare and hospitals in the private sector, most recently as the CEO of Continuum. Brezenoff’s appointment raised some eyebrows in the labor community, with some fearing he could influence the mayor and Linn to encourage unions to pay more for their healthcare benefits. Most union officials do not anticipate seeing Brezenoff at the bargaining table, but rather expect him to be an influential voice behind the scenes. Renee Campion and Richard Yates: Campion and Yates are holdovers from the previous administration, having served as assistant commissioner and deputy commissioner, respectively, under Bloomberg’s director of labor relations, James Hanley. Labor insiders say Linn was wise to keep Campion and Yates on, as both have the institutional knowledge to bring Linn up to speed on how the workforce has changed and evolved since his time in city government. Some union officials believe Campion will be tasked with negotiating contracts with the civil service workers and Yates will be charged with negotiating with the uniforms—police, fire, corrections, sanitation. A later addition to the Bloomberg labor staff, Campion is generally viewed in a favorable light. Yates, who delayed his retirement to help Linn settle the contracts, is not expected to play a huge role in the negotiations but instead will be leaned on in a more advisory capacity, according to one insider. Barbara Logan: While technically not an employee of the Office of Labor Relations, Logan—a labor consultant who partnered with Linn in starting their own consulting firm, Linn & Logan Consulting—will play an integral role in hammering out the healthcare side of negotiations with the municipal unions, labor sources say. Logan, formerly a consultant with the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes of New York, specializes in health-benefits cost containment and plan design (among other areas)— another sign that de Blasio and Linn may look to find cost savings in healthcare benefits in return for salary increases for some of the city’s unions. cityandstateny.com
NEW YORK STATE OF HEALTH
By NICK POWELL
More frontline workers offer reality check for the real “New” New York LOCAL 1000 AFSCME, AFL-CIO DA N N Y D O N O H U E , P R E S I D E N T
“Our children should not be forgotten or left behind.” Jennifer Colon is a direct care professional at Sagamore Children’s Psychiatric Center, Long Island’s only long term treatment center for children. The facility, targeted for closure last year recently received a short-term reprieve. But mental health services are shamefully inadequate and the future continues to be murky for people in need and the dedicated people who provide care.
Reuben Simmons is a maintenance worker in the City of Beacon. Like many other cities across New York, years of being shortchanged by state budgets, has undermined the ability to adequately maintain deteriorating roads, water and sewer systems.
“It’s harder and harder every day just to keep up.”
“ The needs are far greater than our limited resources can address and it’s getting worse.” “Ove” Overmyer works in Rochester’s public Library system. It’s getting harder to provide help and resources to a public that not only needs them but has almost no other alternative. When access to knowledge is cut off, it harms our democratic society.
Take a good look at the proposed state budget…
big tax breaks for banks and the wealthiest New Yorkers will further erode essential public services that people and communities depend on. NEW YORK CAN DO BETTER – WITH A BUDGET THAT WORKS FOR ALL OF US.
TOUGH PILL TO SWALLOW
NEW YORK SMALL BUSINESSES FACE OBSTACLES IN MEETING OBAMACARE RULES By ALLISON HIBBS
city & state — March 10, 2014
These distinctions can even differ between federal and state law, Steele added. Under federal law, some workers employed on a contractual basis may actually be considered employees in New York State. “If you think you have a contracted employee, you better be very, very certain that they are,” he said. In response to concerns by business owners, the IRS allows a few different methods of computation for employees who may be new hires or who work variable hours. It is up to the employer to ascertain which method best serves their workforce and business. “It’s a whole new world,” said Steele. “Especially with the 30-hour threshold. It really adds up quickly.” Miscalculating the number of full-time employees or failing to comply with new legislative requirements can result in significant financial penalties. Failing to satisfy mandated percentages in coverage or in fulltime employees covered will also result in fines. In some cases, however, those penalties would cost the employer less than providing coverage. Companies with fewer than 50 employees are not required to provide insurance, but many still choose to do so to attract and retain staff and to keep their workers healthy and productive. Such employers have the option of utilizing the New York State of Health website, the interface for the state’s health exchange, and buying their small-group plans directly from the same website individuals and families do.
According to Colacino, most small-business owners have chosen to stay with their original provider, opting to pay the higher premiums or drop benefits. The state’s exchange, while sometimes confusing to navigate and requiring more work from the employer, offers a much wider array of choices. An employer can choose one plan from one provider, a specific tier from a variety of providers, an array of both providers and tiers, or simply pay a set amount and let their employees decide which level they want to assume the additional personal cost to select. Across providers, tier levels offer essentially the same benefits, experts say. The difference to consumers lies in the choice of care providers and access to pharmaceuticals, which appear in different tiers from provider to provider, making them more or less expensive depending on the selected plan. In 2012 the Urban Institute predicted that 450,000 small business employees in New York would get insurance through the state’s health exchange. As of this month, according to a state estimate, more than 200,000 had enrolled. As for businesses with more than 50 full-time employees, some experts fear that the continued delays in enforcement will have the effect of lulling some business owners into a false sense of security that the deadline may never arrive and does not require the preparation that he insists is necessary. “It’s really not as intuitive as you’d think it might be,” Colacino said.
New York’s health exchange has already enrolled over half a million residents. Below is a screenshot from the New York State of Health website.
NEW YORK STATE OF HEALTH
tate officials have plenty to tout about the rollout of the Affordable Care Act in New York: Over half a million New Yorkers are already enrolled in health plans through the state’s new exchange, formerly uninsured individuals are benefiting from new—and often subsidized— coverage, and the state is on track to sign up 1.1 million residents by 2017. But the transition for small businesses that have to comply with the new regulations under Obamacare has proven slower, trickier and, in many cases, more costly. “Most small employers have already had to change to some sort of different plan,” said Dan Colacino, a member of both the New York State Association of Health Underwriters and a regional advisory committee established by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that makes recommendations regarding implementation of the federal healthcare reform. Under the Affordable Care Act, small-group plans offered by healthcare providers are now required to meet certain “actuarial costs,” or percentages of average medical costs. The four levels of coverage are platinum, which covers 90 percent of average medical costs; gold, which covers 80 percent; silver, 70 percent; and bronze, 60 percent. “Plans that did not fit into those levels had to be altered so that they would,” Colacino said. “If you had a plan in 2013, for example, that was 85 percent of average medical costs, they had to change it to bring it up to 90 or down to 80 percent.” When a plan is dropped to a lower level, various benefits are often lost, prompting some employers to opt for the next level up rather than go without them. “Most employers have been seeing cost increases,” said Colacino, who is also an insurance broker with the firm Rose & Kiernan in Albany. In addition to contending with a new menu of mandated offerings from healthcare providers, small-business owners must also weigh whether to comply with the new law or face penalties. A key factor is the number of full-time employees, a designation under the ACA defined as those working 30-plus hours per week. Under the new requirements, companies with 50 full-time employees or fewer are not subject to the employer mandate in the law. For companies with more than 100 employees, the mandate and resulting penalties will take effect in 2015. For businesses with between 51 and 99 full-time employees, the Obama administration decided last month to give those employers yet another year to learn to navigate the new system and pushed the enrollment deadline to 2016. “It’s not an easy determination for some companies,” said Joshua Steele, an attorney at Harris Beach in New York City. “It can get confusing. Not to mention for companies that hire per diem, parttime or contracted employees.”
New Yorkers Say Yes to Their Libraries. On an average day at New York’s 756 public libraries:
people went to their library
people used public computers
children attended programs
books, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks and periodicals were borrowed
hits were clocked at library websites
Go to protectnylibraries.org and become a Library Champion. Tell the Governor, the Senate and the Assembly that libraries deserve full funding under the state education law. Libraries are Essential for New York State.
New York’s access
New York’s public libraries are a core component of our state’s educational infrastructure, but Governor Cuomo’s budget cut library aid to 1997 levels. This hurts children who go to story time, teens who get homework help, and seniors who stay vital at their local libraries.
essential for success
Voice of the Library Community. Paid for by the New York Library Association. www.nyla.org 518-432-6952. Statistics based on 2011 Library Statistical Reports to the Division of Library Development, New York State Department. of Education.
city & state — March 10, 2014
hen the Great Recession hit and New York slashed education spending, Bob Libby began to regret his decision to become a school administrator. As the schools superintendent for the small city of Cohoes in Albany County, Libby was forced to cut staff while scraping together enough money to keep the city’s public schools open. Federal stimulus dollars helped the district squeeze by during the 2008–09 school year. Then, the following year, “it just fell off.” Apart from affecting the civic role schools play in providing an educated citizenry, the budget cuts made it harder to prepare graduates for good-paying middle class jobs, Libby said. Just 12 miles from Cohoes is the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, and 15 miles away is GlobalFoundries’ local semiconductor plant. “We need to be able to provide a labor force for the kind of industries that those two entities represent,” he said. “That will be the new middle class, and the way things are going, we won’t be able to do that.”
delivering the resources that these high-needs districts need to give their kids the chance to achieve state standards, Common Core standards, or the next iteration of standards, we’re simply going to be continuing to tread water and not making any real progress.” The concerns voiced by Sciarra, Libby and many other education advocates are predicated upon the assumption that the more money invested in schools, the better they will be. Though for many people this arithmetic may seem intuitive, not everyone agrees. With the state finally finding its financial footing, the governor demanding continued fiscal restraint and advocates insisting that schools are underfunded, government officials at all levels and across the branches—the judiciary, the Legislature, the executive chamber—are once again confronted with a critical question: Is more money the answer?
“The education industry has said the same thing for decades: more money, and more money, and more money, and it will change. We spend more money per pupil than any state in the nation; we’re number 32 in results. It’s not just about putting more money in the public school system, it’s trying something new and that’s what charter schools are all about.”
lthough it is just a short drive from Cohoes to the State Capitol, the rhetoric about school funding in Albany makes it feels like a completely different world. At a massive demonstration of charter school supporters on the Capitol steps earlier this month, Cuomo took aim at those calling for more money for education. School districts, unions, lobbyists and public relations specialists run the “education industry,” the governor asserted, which they use to benefit themselves, not students. “The education industry has said the same thing for decades: more money, and more money, and more money, and it will change,” he told the cheering crowd. “We spend more money per pupil than any state in the nation; we’re number 32 in results. It’s not just about putting more money in the public school system, it’s trying something new and that’s what charter schools are all about.” New York has consistently been at or near the
top among the 50 states when it comes to education spending. In the fall of 2011 the state allocated an average of $19,513 for each public school student, according to the National Education Association, lagging behind only Vermont. The national average, by contrast, was $11,946 per pupil. The governor’s office now puts the state’s outlay at $19,076, the highest in the nation. At the same time, one in four New York public school students does not graduate in four years, and only 35 percent of high school graduates are ready for college or a career, according to the governor’s office. Faced with middling test scores and graduation rates, Cuomo has taken on the mantle of reformer. In 2012 he tied state funding to the adoption of teacher evaluations by local districts. Although he has distanced himself from assuming responsibility for the controversial Common Core, he defends the new national standards. In this year’s budget he announced a $2 billion “Smart Schools” bond act that, if approved by lawmakers and voters, would pay for innovative technology such as faster Internet connections and tablet computers. He has pushed to expand prekindergarten, albeit funded by less money than a rival proposal backed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. And in what was widely seen as an attempt to upstage de Blasio, Cuomo has positioned himself as a champion of charter schools, touting them as laboratories for innovation and experimentation just days after the mayor rejected several charter co-locations in New York City. Of course, the governor’s budgets have included substantial funding increases for education, an indication that he agrees, at least tacitly, that more money is in fact part of the solution for improving schools. Even as Cuomo made painful cuts during his first year in office, he prioritized healthcare and education by allowing for higher rates of spending growth moving forward while holding down other state costs, such as spending by state agencies. State officials also note that most school districts that have not reached their pre-recession peak in state aid have also had significant declines in enrollment, with 88 percent of these districts seeing enrollment decline by 7 percent, on average. “In terms of where the money is going, what we enacted in statute a couple years ago specifically says that health and education are going to get the largest component share of growth,” said state Sen. John Flanagan, a Republican who chairs the Senate Education Committee. “Environment doesn’t get it, transportation doesn’t get it, parks doesn’t get it. People with disabilities don’t get it. So it’s clear earmarking for driving more money to education.”
ducation advocates insist that money is a big part of the answer when it comes to the problems facing New York’s schools, and there is a legal precedent to back up their claim. In 1993 the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, a coalition of public school parents, sued the state over what it said was an underfunding of poor schools in New York City. The lawsuit hinged on the statistic that at the time New York City schools received only $10,469 per student, compared to $13,760 in nearby suburbs. CFE v. State of New York wended its way through the courts until 2006, when the New York State Court
city & state — March 10, 2014
ix years on, with New York’s economy recovering and surpluses projected in the state budget, the public school system in Cohoes is still struggling. Nearly $7 million in promised state aid over the years never materialized, and while costs have increased, the district reports receiving less aid now from Albany than it did four years ago. Another large portion of the district’s funding comes from local property taxes, but even if Cohoes were to pass a 1 percent hike, according to local officials, it would only generate about $144,000 for the upcoming school year. Meanwhile, enrollment has held fairly steady at 1,900 to 2,000 students, however one in five staff positions have been eliminated, from teachers and teacher aides to administrators, secretaries and janitors. Even Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed introduction of universal prekindergarten could cause the district difficulties, compelling it to shift scarce dollars away from existing kindergarten classes to satisfy the requirement, Libby said. “We’re at the point now where academic intervention services have been reduced to the extent where it’s going to be a challenge,” Libby said. “The state’s got this magic number of 80 percent walking across the stage every summer—that’s the cohort that entered as freshmen. Four years later they need to walk across the stage in numbers that equal 80 percent of that cohort. We’ve been able to do that three of the last four years. But it’s getting increasingly more difficult to provide the services that will help those last five or six students get across the stage and make the 80 percent magic number.” The situation in Cohoes is not unique. Statewide, nearly $6 billion in anticipated state aid to schools has been withheld since the start of the recession. In his first year in office, when he faced a $10 billion budget deficit, Gov. Cuomo slashed education funding. He has restored some school aid each year since, most recently proposing an $807 million increase—a 3.8 percent bump—in his latest executive budget. Yet for many, that amount is simply not enough. The New York State Board of Regents called for $1.3 billion in new spending this year. Some education advocates, who are lobbying for a $1.9 billion increase, note that even as funding levels rise they are still far below what was required by a 2007 law that was passed to comply with the landmark Campaign for Fiscal Equity ruling. While battles over Common Core standards, prekindergarten expansion and charter schools dominate the headlines this legislative session, an underlying funding fight simmers between the governor and the school districts and their allies. Several new lawsuits—including one set to go to trial in the fall—argue that the state is failing to meet its constitutional obligation to provide a sound education to New York’s public school students. “The problem is that the foundation isn’t there,” said David Sciarra, the executive director of the Education Law Center, which has taken on the Campaign for Fiscal Equity initiative. “The foundation of having the resources that would give [school superintendents] the ability to get their kids to achieve those [Common Core] standards isn’t there. So this is a fundamental, foundational problem, on which the success of standards-based education— whether it’s in terms of how the Common Core plays out or otherwise—is at risk. So the connection here is deep, it’s interrelated. If we don’t get the financing system straightened out, and get it connected to
DARREN MCGEE/OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at an Albany rally for charter schools. The governor has highlighted education reforms while dismissing calls for more funding.
city & state — March 10, 2014
of Appeals sided with the advocates, ruling that the state is constitutionally required to provide students with a “sound basic education.” Determining how to implement a fairer funding formula was left to state lawmakers, and in 2007 they approved Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s $7 billion multi-year spending boost for schools, most of it benefiting New York City. The legislation also established the Foundation Aid Formula with the aim of making funding decisions more equitable. But during the Great Recession, revenues dried up and lawmakers froze spending levels. The so-called Gap Elimination Adjustment was put into place in 2010, which reduced school aid to balance the state budget. Under Cuomo, the state also put a cap on aid to schools. This year, the governor is already taking claim for a projected $2 billion in extra revenue, and a wide range of special interest groups want a share of it. Cuomo has earmarked the surplus to pay for his election-year tax cut package, but advocates are demanding that some of that extra cash be spent on schools—and they are again turning to the courts to make their case. The advocacy group New Yorkers for Students’ Educational Rights announced last month that it was filing a lawsuit against the state for failing to comply with the 2006 CFE ruling. The lawsuit seeks $1.6 billion for local school districts. Meanwhile, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and the nonprofit Alliance for Quality Education coalition are gathering information for a second potential lawsuit. And yet another case, brought in 2008 to expand the CFE ruling to small city school districts, is set to go to trial in late September. “The governor says that money doesn’t matter in education. We, as AQE, fundamentally disagree with that,” said Chad Radock, the Alliance for Quality
Education’s campaign coordinator. “We think it’s an absurd notion that money doesn’t matter in education. Otherwise, people would live in Schenectady and send their kids to Schenectady schools instead of sending them to Niskayuna schools. Additionally, if you look at areas where they have different course offerings—such as 29 AP courses, Mandarin Chinese in elementary, and all kinds of different courses— those kids are in wealthier districts that spend more money on education. ... Money does matter in education. The more money you spend on a student’s education, the better education they get.”
t a press conference in Albany earlier this month, a group of state lawmakers gathered with eight school superintendents and several education advocates to make the case for more money in this year’s state budget. Over the previous week, the Alliance for Quality Education and the Campaign for Fiscal Equity went on a fact-finding tour of 14 school districts to document the impact of budget cuts. Overcrowding was a common problem, said Billy Easton, AQE’s executive director, with average class size often exceeding 25 students, and in some cases more than 30. Districts had reduced their staffs by 20 percent or more, and each district on the tour had flat or growing enrollment. Summer school programs were cut, libraries were closed, and fewer arts and music classes offered. Preschool programs, a hot topic in Albany this year, have also been scaled back in some districts. “Everyone understood that in 2008 we had a downturn in the state’s economy. We have to be realistic, we can’t spend more than we have,” said Democratic Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, the
chair of the Assembly Education Committee and the host of the press conference. “Having said that, as the economy comes back, we’re not seeing the attention paid to these kinds of real setbacks for kids.” Libby, the Cohoes superintendent, said that the governor’s emphasis on the state’s per-pupil spending is misleading, since the cost of living is so high in the downstate region. “The long and the short if it is, we have very high cost [areas like] Westchester, New York City and Long Island,” Libby said. “So of course when you start talking about, ‘Well, we’re the highest cost state in the union,’ or however he phrases it, well, there’s a reason for that. I look at the home I bought in upstate New York at $168,000 and compare it to the one my daughter bought in Port Washington in Nassau County, at about $750,000. [That’s] a big difference. It’s a higher cost of living, and you need higher salaries.” Even if the state is unlikely to immediately restore the full $6 billion withheld through the Gap Elimination Adjustment, Nolan said that more should be done to divert resources to districts that are struggling the most. “It’s never a perfect world, but we’re trying to work very carefully to do things: make sure the funding formula is fair, that it goes to the neediest districts,” the assemblywoman said. “We’ve made a lot of progress on that. When I got here 30 years ago it was sort of like if you were a powerful member, you could get some extra money for your district. We’re trying to have a formula that has some objectivity to it, that uses things like reduced price lunch to be the driving force. We’re also trying to put more money generally in the pot. … You keep pushing, you keep pushing—that’s what we’re here to do.” cityandstateny.com
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E D U C AT I O N
PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES EYE A NOVEL APPROACH TO EASING RISING COSTS By MICHAEL JOHNSON
city & state —March 10, 2014
saying you should put $250 million a year into faculty, which isn’t a bad idea if we had it. But are we supposed to put money away, keep it in a fund, spin off interest and use that? So it was totally unclear and unspecific,” Glick said. She added, “That’s not happening in the short run, especially when we don’t really know what they’re thinking.” Kowal said his union would like to see the endowment funded over the next few years with a goal of reaching $1 billion. The interest, which UUP estimates would be $30–40 million, would then be used to fund faculty and staff. He suggested several potential funding sources, including drawing upon some of the roughly $2 billion surplus Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the state will have. Revenue from expanding casino gambling could also be used, Kowal suggested. Nationally, most endowment funds do yield significant money in interest for schools. The National Association of College and University Business Officers, which gathered data from 835 U.S. colleges and universities in 2013, found that the endowments returned an average of 11.7 percent, with participating institutions receiving 8.8 percent of their operating budget from the funds. Nonetheless, the endowment system has come under fire in the past, with some members of Congress accusing schools of hoarding money and not reinvesting enough in tuition relief or improving facilities.
FIVE LARGEST PUBLIC UNIVERSITY ENDOWMENTS IN 2013
University of Texas System $20.45 billion
University of Texas A&M University System $8.73 billion
University of Michigan $8.38 billion
Additional reporting by Jon Lentz UUP President Fred Kowal testifies at a joint legislative budget hearing in February.
University of California $6.37 billion
University of Virginia $5.116 billion SOURCE: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY BUSINESS OFFICERS cityandstateny.com
t’s hard not to notice one growing trend in higher education: Tuition is going up, at both private and public schools. The State University of New York and City University of New York systems have addressed the rising costs in recent years by implementing “rational” tuition, a plan that locks in tuition hikes over several years, allowing students to plan for the future. State funding for higher education has steadied in recent years, following the economic downturn in 2009, when the system faced major budget cuts. This year Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a .08 percent increase in funding, with another 2.2 percent increase slated for the 2015–16 budget. Even so, United University Professions, the state’s largest union of college and university employees, fears the cost burden will continue to move onto students. “What you see is a shift—a gradual shift, but very discernable—away from public dollars to tuition funding of public higher education,” said UUP Executive Director Fred Kowal. This trend has resulted in the increasing use of adjunct professors, Kowal explained. “At some of our campuses fully 40, 50, and in some cases 60 percent of the teaching is done by adjuncts. These adjuncts are highly qualified, very committed—there is no question about that—but the fact is that the university is really built on longterm full-time teaching faculty and support staff,” he said. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher agrees that the state needs more full-time faculty members. In her testimony at a budget hearing before the state Legislature, she called for additional state funding to hire 250 additional full-time faculty members with a focus on high-need and high-demand programs like Engineering, Healthcare and Information Technology. “We will work with you and our other stakeholders to develop the best vehicle to get these faculty hired,” Zimpher said. “Including the ‘endowment program’ for full-time faculty forwarded by UUP and others. I am excited by this concept, and I look forward to learning more about it in the days ahead.” “In essence this would create a foundation that would fund long-term investment in faculty and staff,” Kowal said. “This would put New York in line with states all around the country.” He pointed to the state of Minnesota, where the university system has an endowment just above $2 billion with fewer than half the students of the SUNY and CUNY system. The proposal of an endowment has some support in the state Legislature, Kowal said. Assembly Higher Education Chair Deborah Glick called the idea “interesting” but said she needed more details, specifically about how it would be funded, and for how long. “They’re more or less
Keep New York a state of
mind n Over the last five years, SUNY and CUNY have been cut by nearly $2 billion — driving up tuition and endangering quality affordable higher education for all New Yorkers. n Our public colleges and universities are under intense pressure to eliminate programs and courses, erode quality and slash opportunities for students in need.
n Public higher education’s mission of teaching, research and health care is key to a bright future for all New Yorkers. New York State must invest now — in faculty, staff and student support — to keep our public colleges and universities great.
Take action! Defend quality. www.nySut.org/ qualityhighered
Public Higher Education Quality Initiative n NYSUT
n COMMUNITY COLLEGES
A COMMON PROBLEM
STATES UNITED ON COMMON CORE ISSUES, BUT TAKING DIFFERENT APPROACHES By MATTHEW HAMILTON
city & state —March 10, 2014
n January, a bill to kill the Common Core and force the state to rewrite its education standards was introduced in the state Legislature. Less than a month later, roughly 400 demonstrators gathered inside the Capitol to denounce the Common Core and urge lawmakers to take legislative action. Neither of those scenes happened in New York. In fact, the former happened more than 750 miles from Albany, and the latter played out 2,000 miles away. Battles over the Common Core standards are far from unique to the Empire State. They are unfolding in many of the states that adopted the standards beginning in 2010. The aforementioned bill to rewrite state standards is making its way through the legislative process in Indiana, where it has passed both the Senate and the House and is pending tweaks before it is finalized. That legislation would keep Indiana from following Common Core as it was originally adopted. The bill’s author, state Sen. Scott Schneider, was unavailable for comment. The mid-February demonstration noted above took place in Utah, where Utahns Against Common Core supporters filled the Capitol’s Hall of Governors, according to a news report. Of course, concerns about the Common Core have sparked rallies and legislation in New York too. The Assembly passed a bill to overhaul the implementation of the Common Core, which includes a provision to delay the program’s high stakes testing element. And last month the Board of Regents voted to hold off on making students pass Common Core requirements to graduate until 2022. While it is sometimes misconstrued as a set of national standards, the Common Core is designed for adoption by individual states. So far only five states have opted out, with one of them—Minnesota— electing to accept just the Core’s English Language Arts standards. While nearly the entire country is now following the standards, some states stand out for their struggles in implementing the Common Core, according to American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. “New York is one of the worst,” she said. “It is similar in some other states, but in the spectrum, with Massachusetts having the fewest amount of problems, New York has a lot of problems. I’m seeing problems in New Jersey, I’m seeing problems in Connecticut, I’m seeing deep problems in Louisiana, problems in lots of other states, but New York is the worst.” New York and Indiana are not alone in considering legislative action to solve those problems. National Common Core critic Sandra Stotsky, a University of Arkansas professor emerita, said she is not sure how many of the 20 to 25 states debating legislation to
modify the Common Core will ultimately take action, but she emphasized that regardless of the individual outcomes the volume of challenges evidences the magnitude of the opposition to the standards across America. “State legislators are hearing from their constituents,” Stotsky said. “There are all different kinds of bills. … There are a few states where there are huge battles taking place.”
“I’m seeing problems in New Jersey, I’m seeing problems in Connecticut, I’m seeing deep problems in Louisiana, problems in lots of other states, but New York is the worst.” Still, many state education departments have dug in and continue to press forward with the Common Core. In New York, Education Commissioner John King has repeatedly weathered intense criticism not only of the standards and their implementation but of his effectiveness as a leader as well. King has withstood calls for him to step down and continued to assert his commitment to the Common Core, even while admitting that the initial rollout of the standards could have been handled better. Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch echoed that sentiment to City & State in a recent interview, insisting that if New York backs off Common Core, it will fall behind not only other countries but other states too. The difficulties surrounding New York’s rollout have not been universal. Weingarten highlighted California as one of the states that has best introduced the standards. There, the state Legislature passed a slowdown of implementation while throwing caution to the wind by ignoring a federal requirement that it receive a No Child Left Behind waiver to do so. So why haven’t other states followed California’s model? “The chest-thumpers thought they would look better than the people who rolled up their sleeves to make it work,” Weingarten said. “In this instance what you saw was the chest-thumpers winning the day over the people who roll up their sleeves and say, ‘Let’s get it right for kids,’ as opposed to, ‘Let’s do it fast.’ But I think that that’s changing now.” New York may be working its way through some
of the same challenges other states are encountering, but at the same time there are states that could potentially benefit from studying New York’s approach, Tisch maintained. “New York did a couple of things that other states didn’t do. And even though we had a few speed bumps along the way, I think they will be beneficial to us,” Tisch said. New York also has reviewed what other states have done, she noted. “For example, New York State did not wait for the new federal test aligned with these standards to come on board. We built our own state tests. There are now several states around the country that have come to us to ask us if we would be interested in letting them use our state tests.” As election season once again heats up, the debate over Common Core is moving beyond legislative chambers to the political arena, where it has become a focal point of early campaigns in some parts of the country. In New York, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, in announcing his run for governor earlier this month, said he would do away with the Common Core if elected and develop a new set of standards. At the same time, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is defending the standards in a new television ad. In Florida, one of the many states where Common Core could have an impact at the ballot box, Gov. Rick Scott unveiled in January changes he wants to see made to the standards, and political observers say his stance will have a bearing on his support as he vies for re-election. On the federal level, potential candidates for president in 2016 are already staking out ground on the issue, with former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush continuing to be one of the most outspoken advocates in favor of the Common Core. Michael Cohen, president of Achieve—a group that helped develop the Common Core standards— said he sees the standards being politicized, especially within the Republican Party. While he said most of the disagreements pertaining to the Core have less to do with the quality of the standards and more to do with components like testing, Republican incumbents, in particular, wary of facing primary challenges, have reduced the Core to a political football they can run with to score points with voters. Regardless of which side of the field politicians across the country ultimately set up on in the months and years ahead, it is parents who continue to beat the drum the loudest for the standards to be reevaluated. “This is not going to stop, because what is at stake for parents is their kids’ education,” Stotsky said. “Having been a mother of five kids in the local public schools, I can tell you, you don’t give up. It’s your kids’ education. These parents are getting frantic, because if their kids lose a year or two of their education, it can’t be made up easily.” cityandstateny.com
Imagine this: You are the oldest of three children in a family living in New York City on $30,000 a year. Your dream of going to college is coming true at The City University of New York. But after one year, you wonder if you will make it to graduation. Tuition is increasing, and even with financial aid you are struggling to pay for school. You work two part-time jobs to help pay for books, subway fare and your family’s expenses. You love your introductory biology class, but there are only 20 lab stations for 30 students. You feel you are slipping behind. Your professor tries to spend time with you individually, but she teaches parttime at two CUNY campuses and has to run out right after class. You dreamed of helping your whole family by earning a college degree, but you’re afraid you will have to drop out if tuition keeps going up and you can’t get the academic support you need.
Or imagine this scenario: You are the first-generation child of parents who came to this country to escape poverty, civil war or genocide in their homeland. Your admission to the State University of New York symbolizes hope and achievement for your family, and vindicates the sacrifices your parents made to give you a better future. But to pay for college, you need the financial aid and special academic support that comes with the state university’s Educational Opportunity Program. Then you find out that, against all expectations, you cannot be an EOP student because budget cuts in the SUNY system have eliminated thousands of EOP slots. About 2,500 undergraduate students will be admitted to EOP this year — fewer than one in three of all those who are eligible. Heartbreaking examples like these abound in our public higher education system. New York’s public community colleges, four-year colleges and universities have historically been a source of hope and inspiration for students and families for whom a college education was otherwise out of reach. That hope is fading. With years of budget cuts, overcrowded classes and a declining number of full-time faculty, we cannot avoid the question: How much does our state government value its
public higher education system? Against great odds, “To keep New York a faculty and staff have done a state of mind, we need tremendous job defending and to act now to invest in providing quality — but the system is at a crisis point. our biggest asset, one This is why NYSUT — the that undergirds every statewide union for teachers, industry, artistic school-related professionals endeavor and social and the faculty and staff at enterprise: public New York’s public colleges, universities and community higher education.” colleges — is calling on our elected leaders to support the Quality Public Higher Education Initiative. We are asking Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to support the initiative’s three main tenets: the establishment of a publicly funded endowment to increase full-time faculty and professional staff; an increase in state funding this year, after years of flat or nearly flat budgets; and significant new investment in student financial aid and opportunity programs at a level that reflects actual need. New York state needs to recommit itself to investing in our public colleges and universities. The new economy is based on knowledge, and the greatest resource this state has is its intellectual capital. New York cannot afford to lose a whole generation of aspiring students. When a CUNY student drops out or a SUNY student cannot get into an opportunity program, whole families lose their hope of a better life. We are asking our lawmakers — many of whom are graduates of SUNY and CUNY — to unite to end the state’s five-year trend of disinvestment in our future. To keep New York a state of mind, we need to act now to invest in our biggest asset, one that undergirds every industry, artistic endeavor and social enterprise: public higher education. Barbara Bowen President Professional Staff Congress
AFTER-SCHOOL EXPANSION PROVIDES ANOTHER SET OF CHALLENGES FOR DE BLASIO By NICK POWELL
“The proposed plan will provide $190,000,000 in new funding for school year after-school services. The school year expansion will place programs in all public
schools serving the middle grades that have no after-school services at the present time, as well as in additional non-public school sites like community centers and libraries.” The $190 million allocated for the program is contingent on the mayor’s ability to convince the state Legislature and the governor to allow New York City the ability to impose an income tax surcharge on city residents who make over $500,000. The tax would yield the $540 million necessary to fund the pre-K and after-school programs. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has countered with a plan that would provide universal preschool for the whole state at a cost of $1.5 billion, which could mean that de Blasio would not be able to implement the universal preschool and after-school programs to the extent that he wants.
Despite Cuomo’s reluctance to raise taxes during an election year—even solely in New York City—de Blasio has remained firm in pushing for the increase. De Blasio recently attended a rally for universal pre-K, and after met with Cuomo for two hours, where presumably the pre-K and afterschool issue came up. “The city has also gained experience from the array of other after-school programs now operating in public schools, such as Beacon Community Center programs and 21st Century Learning Centers.” The Beacon Community Centers were born out of former mayor David Dinkins’ “Safe Streets, Safe City” program, which, like de Blasio’s push for universal preschool, required the mayor and then City Council
Did You Know? Combining New York State’s investment in the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and the Association of Proprietary Colleges’ financial commitment in grants, scholarships and aid to its students make a degree a reality for 45,000 students. Together, we are providing students across New York with a chance to succeed.
Speaker Peter Vallone to convince the Legislature to allow them to apply a surcharge to the personal income tax. The surcharge expired after seven years, after which the city funded the centers through the budget, similar to de Blasio’s proposal that the surcharge on high-income earners would sunset after five years. Originally the plan involved asking the state for funding solely to hire more police officers. Dinkins was adamant that a youth initiative be coupled with hiring more police officers, in order to give children an outlet to keep them off the streets, which led to the creation of the Beacon Centers. “A recent review by Child Trends concluded that after-school programs are more effective at helping middle school students attain precursor outcomes than academic achievement outcomes. Precursor outcomes include
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On average, APC’s 25 member colleges have been operating, educating and preparing students for a brighter future for more than 80 years. We employ 6,500 dedicated educators and professionals. In recent years, APC Colleges have awarded students more than $123 million in grants, scholarships and aid.
To learn more about APC Colleges, please visit our website at www.apc-colleges.org and follow us on Twitter @APCColleges. cityandstateny.com
city & state — March 10. 2014
great deal of the coverage of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s universal pre-K proposal has focused on how the city will implement the vast expansion of pre-K programs—from finding adequate space to training quality teachers. Another key component of the proposal has received far less attention, however: after-school programs, which UPKNYC (the mayor’s moniker for the plan) omits. De Blasio may have eschewed a snappy acronym for his after-school initiative, but the white paper report he released on the subject provides insight into his perspective. We took the opportunity to factcheck key excerpts of the document.
E D U C AT I O N
IT’S NOT JUST PRE-K
E D U C AT I O N
UFT President Michael Mulgrew:
How the universal pre-K plan can be successful By Michael Mulgrew President, United Federation of Teachers
Anyone who teaches young children will tell you this: Kids who have been through high-quality prekindergarten programs are much more likely to be successful in school. Since I became a teacher more than 20 years ago, I’ve heard the promise that universal pre-K will soon be a reality. It’s time for that promise to be fulfilled, but if we expect the program to be effective, it needs the following elements:
It must be truly universal In New York City, only about 25% of 4-year-olds are lucky enough to get a seat in a full-day pre-K program, even though parents and educators know full-day sessions carry the most impact. Another 39,000 have seats in halfday programs, but as any working parent can tell you, that really means only about 2 1/2 hours a day.
If we are serious about giving children the best academic start, we need to offer full-day sessions to all children in every neighborhood, so when the city’s roughly 73,000 kindergarten students come to school, all of them have a solid pre-K experience under their belts.
It must have high-quality teachers We need to have a certified early childhood teacher in every classroom. Early childhood teachers have the training to provide children with the right mix of academics and school skills — how to hold a pencil, how to stick with a task, how to get along with others. As educators, we recognize the period from birth to age 5 is critical for a child’s later learning.
It must have a substantive curriculum With so much on the line, the city’s Department of Education needs quality control over these pre-K programs. The best way to do that is to make sure that every classroom is using an age-appropriate, vetted curriculum — written for what 4-year-olds need.
city & state —March 10, 2014
The Department of Education can and should recommend a menu of approved early childhood curriculum resources and then provide training and followup.
It must have long-term financial support The unfortunate history for too many programs is that money is provided, then political priorities change and the money dries up. School districts cannot create quality programs if next year’s funding is always in doubt. We need to provide a designated revenue stream, one set aside for pre-K and nothing else. We have the chance now to do this. We owe our children that chance. This column is reprinted from the New York Daily News
increased attendance at school, higher rates of homework completion, reduced incidents of disruptive behavior, and improved study habits. These outcomes generally precede the attainment of academic achievement outcomes like higher grade point averages, higher standardized test scores, and the acquisition of knowledge and skills required to succeed in college. Increasingly, leaders in education and after-school are collaborating to integrate their resources and best practices to intentionally focus activities on academic skill-building goals.” In making the case for universal preschool, the mayor has repeatedly cited the “decades of research” substantiating that early childhood education makes a fundamental difference in improving student outcomes later in life. The mayor’s white paper report did not include such research to help make the case, however, perhaps an indication of a higher level of confidence in the demonstrable efficacy of preschool than in the advantages of after-school. “Staff costs are the primary driver of overall program costs, and [Department of Youth and Community Development’s] evaluations of the current [Out-ofSchool Time] system underscore the relationship between program quality and staff credentials, as well as the importance of dedicating time to program planning and analysis during non-program hours. At $3,000 per program slot, more programs will be allowed to hire certified teachers to serve as educational specialists and to retain more highly educated and experienced activity specialists—such as professional artists and graduate students in science—who can be paired with youth workers to offer engaging, project-based learning activities.” The uncertainty surrounding the outcome of contract negotiations between the city and the municipal unions could have a major impact on the cost of not only the afterschool program but the universal preschool program as a whole, specifically with regard to teacher pay. The “high quality” certified teachers de Blasio wants to attract could receive significant raises, not only retroactively for the previous bargaining round—when they were left without a contract—but for the
current bargaining round as well. Hiring more certified teachers for OST offerings could also provide a backdoor way for the city to increase teacher pay. “The enhanced model will increase the annual price per program slot to bring more equity to the current system in which large organizations contribute private funds to support higher quality programming, while small organizations rely solely on city funding and struggle to meet program standards; connect payment to contractor performance; bring more school resources to the after-school programs; and actively target struggling students.” The description of the enhanced after-school program is modeled after the expanded learning opportunity programs (ExpandedED) offered by the After-School Corporation—a nonprofit based in the city. The program requires collaboration between schools and nonprofit providers to align after-school programs with school-day instruction to create a “seamless” day for a student. A 2013 study conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based Policy Studies Associates looked at the implementation of the expanded learning programs across the country, including at five schools in New York City. The report states that ExpandedED builds on existing relationships with community partner (or community-based) organizations in providing youth programming, but that it was a challenge for some of the CBOs to shift the perception of their organization from after-school providers to partners in wide-ranging school reform. The study also found that having a strong principal to take ownership of the initiative was difficult, noting that none of the school system representatives interviewed played a strong role in the program’s implementation. Additionally, the study found that encouraging parents to embrace an integrated, expanded school day was a challenge in nearly every school that was evaluated. While clearly the result of a small sample size, with only 10 schools surveyed, the findings of the report illustrate the challenges de Blasio faces in reforming how after-school activities are delivered, particularly in such a short period of time. The mayor has said the first of the expanded slots will be available by the next school year in September. cityandstateny.com
CUOMO BACKS SOLVING CHARTER SPACE ISSUE WITH LEGISLATION FROM CHALKBEAT NEW YORK
By PHILISSA CRAMER
wo days after promising to “save charter schools” at a rally in Albany, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he was considering a legislative solution for New York City’s charter school space issues. For years, New York City has let many charter schools share space without paying rent in public school buildings under a policy known as co-location. New mayor Bill de Blasio pledged during his campaign to rein in co-location, and recently he announced that of the dozens of plans approved under the Bloomberg administration, he would stop nine from moving forward, including three involving charter schools. Co-location is a “technical issue” with several possible solutions, Cuomo said during an appearance on the Capitol Pressroom radio show last week. He emphasized the role of charter schools as engines of educational innovation and said he was already
speaking with lawmakers about how to ensure that the schools can operate without being crippled by rent costs. “The question becomes, ‘What should the criteria for co-location be?’ And if you’re against co-location, then what’s the alternative for a charter school?” Cuomo asked. “Because charter schools don’t get reimbursed for rent or capital money. So that’s a question that has to be answered, and it has to be answered legislatively.” Whether Cuomo will have sufficient support from legislators to change the state’s charter schools law is unclear. Several leading legislators, including the two heads of the Senate, appeared with him at the charter school rally. But Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose support is crucial to pushing bills through the Assembly, said that he did not think targeting charter school space issues was a top priority. “When you want to talk about
school construction, there are children who are sitting in trailers for years because we don’t have the physical facilities to put them into buildings,” Silver said. “We should talk about those children first.” Cuomo’s comments came as a fullpage ad appeared in The New York Times calling attention to the co-location issue. The ad, placed by Families for Excellent Schools, the charter advocacy group that organized last week’s rally, features every student at Harlem Central Middle School, which de Blasio said last week could not expand as planned in public space. The 194 students at Harlem Central are the only ones negatively affected by de Blasio’s charter school policies so far. The other two charter school co-locations that de Blasio canceled were for Success Academy schools that have not yet admitted any students. Meanwhile, de Blasio defended his approach in a radio interview on Hot
97. “Of course we’re going to work with the charter schools, and there’s a lot of very good charter schools, but we’re going to treat them … the same way we treat traditional public schools,” he said, echoing comments he had made on the campaign trail and more recently. “We’re not going to favor them the way the Bloomberg administration did.” Chalkbeat New York is a nonprofit news organization covering educational change efforts in the communities where improvement matters most. The Chalkbeat network has bureaus in New York, Colorado, Indiana, and Tennessee. Its mission is to inform the decisions and actions that lead to better outcomes for children and families by providing deep, local coverage of education policy and practice. Visit ny.chalkbeat.org for more information.
EnDow nEw YorK’s FuTurE
Because of years of state underfunding, SUNY students are paying more for tuition—and they’re getting a lot less for their money. They face crowded classrooms, fewer courses and delayed graduations, all because the state refuses to pay its fair share of the cost for a quality public higher education. And students fear their studies will leave them buried in debt. It’s enough to discourage many from achieving their dreams.
United University Professions The union that makes SUNY work President Frederick E. Kowal, Ph.D. cityandstateny.com
There is a solution. Tell state lawmakers to increase state aid to SUNY. Tell them it’s time to create a public higher education endowment to rebuild academic departments at SUNY and CUNY. The endowment will be used to hire more full-time faculty and professional staff and ensure the quality of a public college education for years to come. The state must be willing to spend more today for a better tomorrow. Our students deserve nothing less.
Tell lawmakers to establish a Public Higher Education Endowment in this year’s state budget.
city & state — March 10. 2014
These are the faces of New York’s future. They are the workers, healers and leaders of tomorrow. But state funding cuts to SUNY could make their futures a lot less secure.
E D U C AT I O N
Chair, New York City Council Education Committee
New York City Councilman, former teacher
Chancellor, New York State Board of Regents
Q: What is the biggest flaw of the Common Core standards? DD: The biggest problem with the Common Core is its implementation. They did testing of the students based on the Common Core before they actually even gave the curriculum to the teachers. Then the complaint I was getting from teachers, starting in September, was that they hadn’t seen the full curriculum; they got it month by month, never knowing what it was all going to lead up to. Having a Common Core curriculum is important so that everybody is getting the same base of knowledge. The problem here has been the expectations, and then the use of the testing to determine how it’s been implemented. Standardized tests can tell you fairly accurately about where a kid stands at a certain moment in time. But what has happened is the tests have been used for other things—teacher salaries are based on it, school ratings are based on it—that was never the way that these tests were intended to be used. It’s one picture of where a child is at, not the complete picture.
Q: As a former teacher and teacher trainer, what is your opinion on the new teacher evaluation system imposed by the city? ML: The new teacher evaluations are a step forward. Moving from simple pass/fail to more nuanced grading systems can make evaluation a more useful tool for teachers themselves. Test scores should only be one component of how students and teachers are evaluated, with classroom observations, portfolios of work and other measures factored in as well. We also need to be careful that the process doesn’t become too burdensome to score. We need to make sure that we are keeping our teachers in the classroom giving instruction rather than grading tests. A good teacher is able to take the Common Core curriculum and creatively tailor it to the needs of each of the students. However, there are many factors in a student’s life that are out of the control of a teacher.
Q: Aside from the issues related to the Common Core standards, what is the biggest education issue facing the state? MT: There is a large question to be asked about how districts use their resources. The governor often says that we spend $54–55 billion a year on education, and yet our outcomes are not what we hope they would be. It’s not only a question of more resources but it’s a question of how we allocate our resources, how we take the money that we’re spending and use it directly in classrooms to enhance academic outcomes for students, to enhance professional development for teachers, to enhance the whole academy of K–12 education. That is a very big challenge. How do we have that conversation about how resources are deployed to get best results?
city & state — March 10, 2014
Q: Mayor de Blasio claims his universal pre-K program would be ready by September. Do you think this is an ambitious timeline? DD: It is an ambitious program, but it is something that the city desperately needs, and it is the one thing that we know works with kids to get them out of poverty and to get them an adequate education. The question then becomes: In districts like mine, where we don’t have the space available or the seats, are the CBOs going to be able to handle it? I know a number of CBOs that have found space and are ready to move forward. It is my hope and expectation that we will be able to implement fully by September. Q: What is your priority as education chair? DD: I was proud to co-sponsor with the Speaker the recent UPK resolution that we did in the Council, supporting the mayor’s objectives and the ways in which to get the funding for the UPK stuff. I also have some legislation I’m looking at in terms of trying to reduce class size and overcrowding in our schools. Then there are several other pieces about arts in education, looking at how we can ensure that we get arts education included in the curriculum, because that’s the one thing that has been cut out over the last 12 years, and there’s less emphasis on it.
Q: You are trilingual—should New York City schools place more emphasis on language proficiency? ML: Our city is uniquely positioned with a densely populated diverse demographic that should be leveraged in our children’s education. [More than] 150,000 of our public school students are English Language Learners (ELL) and [more than] 100,000 of them are Spanish speakers. This is an enormous opportunity for a cross-cultural immersion where ELL students can learn English and native English speakers could learn Spanish, which is necessary for our students to compete in a global economy. As a part of the Common Core, each of our public schools should have to include a bilingual component that’s based on the needs of the community and the viability of that language in the global market. Schools should have the option of choosing from Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish or French to incorporate into their curriculum.
Q: With the state dealing with pre-existing issues like funding gaps and the Common Core standards implementation, in what ways can lawmakers effectively focus on adding statewide universal prekindergarten? MT: As I go through the state, I often hear a pushback about pre-K. A lot of it has to do with districts that don’t even have full-day kindergarten. But from our perspective, there is no question that high quality pre-K yields real results, especially as it becomes a bridge to high-quality kindergarten and K-12 education. For the past 10 years we’ve been advocating for pre-K, and our advocacy has always been around quality programs. I just don’t want programs to open for the sake of saying “We opened a pre-K program.” The quality of what happens in those environments on a daily basis, having to do with the safety of the kids, having to do with what materials are there, having to do with what happens during the time that the youngsters are there—these are all very important ingredients. So our emphasis should be on quality, quality, quality.
Q: De Blasio also wants to expand after-school programs. Is there enough demand? ML: Among the 1.1 million students in New York City, we can certainly find some interest to fill the 11,000 extra slots for middle school children. There is a huge waiting list for middle school programs all over the city. The challenge with the middle school age bracket is that they have a choice, so the program needs to be created to entice the student to attend. cityandstateny.com
THE CITY Education is a top issue for many, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has made expanding prekindergarten and after-school programs—to be funded by a tax hike on the wealthy—a key part of his agenda. The schools chancellor is Carmen Fariña, who briefly served as a deputy chancellor under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, though her appointment reflects de Blasio’s departure from his predecessor’s policies. De Blasio is expected to have a more cordial relationship than Bloomberg did with the United Federation of Teachers, headed by Michael Mulgrew. City Councilman Daniel Dromm took over as chair of the Education Committee this year. StudentsFirstNY, Families for Excellent Schools and the New York City Charter School Center, led by James Merriman, advocate for charter schools. Eva Moskowitz, founder of the Success Academy charter schools, has been a lighting rod on the issue. THE STATE Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New NY Education Reform Commission, headed by retired Citigroup chairman Dick Parsons, released a report that serves as the governor’s template for education reforms. Merryl Tisch is the chancellor of the state Board of Regents, which supervises education all across New York, and the state’s education commissioner is John King, who has been under fire for the rollout of new Common Core standards. Key lawmakers include Senate Education Chair John Flanagan, who has drawn attention to concerns about Common Core, and Assembly Education Chair Cathy Nolan. Richard Iannuzzi is president of New York State United Teachers, which represents school and college employees across the state. The Alliance for Quality Education is a leading education advocacy group in Albany.
THE ISSUES CHARTER SCHOOLS Charter schools took off in New York City during the Bloomberg years, and although they still educate only a small fraction of the city’s students, the privately run schools have been facing an aggressive backlash from some parents, unions and civic groups. Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for some charter schools to pay rent for city space, and he recently blocked three charter schools entirely, although he allowed a number of co-locations to move forward. But many charter networks have powerful allies, impressive fundraising networks, and the approval of newspaper editorial boards—and they recently found a new ally in Gov. Cuomo, who defended charter schools at a major rally in Albany this month. EDUCATION STANDARDS While some state education officials, lawmakers and advocates still support the new Common Core standards, there has been a growing chorus of complaints about how they were introduced, prompting the governor to call for a commission to improve their implementation and spurring some lawmakers to consider a moratorium. The long-term impact is unclear, especially if student test scores do not improve over time and the state sticks to holding school districts and teachers accountable to the more challenging tests. But if scores eventually start to go up, the new standards could have the effect of improving students’ college readiness in later grades. STUDENT PRIVACY One issue that has been linked to Common Core is the collection of student data. The state Education Department has been moving student information to inBloom, a nonprofit data collection service, but some parents and advocates fear that the system could be breached or that information could be misused. State officials note that affluent districts already use such third-party providers to store data, which makes it more accessible to teachers and parents, and that a statewide system would bring equity to districts with fewer resources. cityandstateny.com
“We know that too many public schools are failing. Over 200 failing schools—6 percent grade level for reading, 5 percent grade level for math. We need new ideas. Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result.” —Gov. Andrew Cuomo
BY THE NUMBERS
Gov. Cuomo’s executive budget includes a distribution of $21.9 billion in state aid to school districts around the state. An analysis of per-pupil spending by the Citizens Budget Commission shows some variation in how individual districts made out. New York City Department of Education Total aid per student, FY 2014: $7,982 Total aid per student, FY 2015: $8,099 Change: +1.45 percent
Buffalo City School District Total aid per student, FY 2014: $16,924 Total aid per student, FY 2015: $16,696 Change: -1.34 percent Rochester City School District Total aid per student, FY 2014: $14,862 Total aid per student, FY 2015: $15,730 Change: +5.84 percent Syracuse City School District Total aid per student, FY 2014: $13,268 Total aid per student, FY 2015: $12,967 Change: -2.26 percent Yonkers City School District Total aid per student, FY 2014: $8,888 Total aid per student, FY 2015: $9,055 Change: +1.87 percent Source: Citizens Budget Commission
city & state — March 10, 2014
E D U C AT I O N
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city & state — March 10, 2014
BOLTON ST. JOHNS
The New York City Clerk’s Office releases a report every year on March 1 that provides a wealth of data about the city’s lobbying industry, including a ranking of its top lobbyists by compensation, the largest firms by number of employees, the clients who spent the most on lobbying, and analyses of political consulting and fundraising reports. In our inaugural lobbying supplement, City & State highlights the top lobbying firms in 2013 by overall dollar compensation, and asks the principals at each firm to explain their strengths, their firm’s biggest highlights from 2013 and the most significant changes in New York City’s lobbying industry in recent years.
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One-Stop Service: Real Estate, Land Use, Government and Environmental Law Greenberg Traurig’s Real Estate, Land Use, Government Law & Policy and Environmental practices provide a unique skill-set built on real government and business experience. Our approach includes collaborating with government decision-makers and understanding key players’ priorities to foster “win-win” strategies that help our clients achieve their economic goals. Greenberg Traurig’s Government Law, Real Estate, Land Use & Zoning, and Environmental attorneys work as a team. NYC GOVERNMENT LAW & POLICY
ED WALLACE | Co-Chair, GT NY; Served as NYC Council Member and a VP at Boston Properties; listed on City & State’s 2014 NYC POWER 100 List, Super Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in America firstname.lastname@example.org | 212.801.9299
ROBERT IVANHOE | Co-Chair, Global Real Estate Practice; Named New York Post Top 4 commercial real estate lawyer, NY Super Lawyers Top 10 and The New York Observer “Top 100 Most Powerful People in New York Real Estate” email@example.com | 212.801.9333
STEVEN RUSSO | Chair, NY Environmental Practice; Former Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation firstname.lastname@example.org | 212.801.9200
JOHN MASCIALINO | Chair, NY Government Law & Policy Practice; Served as First Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and as Counsel/ Deputy Chief-of-Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Operations email@example.com | 212.801.9355
STEPHEN RABINOWITZ | Co-Managing Shareholder, GT NY; Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA Guide and Super Lawyers magazine; Member of the Board of Trustees, East Harlem Tutorial Program and Lupus Foundation of America firstname.lastname@example.org | 212.801.9295
ROBERT HARDING | Shareholder; Former NYC Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Finance and Former Director of the NYC Office of Management and Budget email@example.com | 212.801.6750
MICHAEL RISHTY | Chair, NY Real Estate; Listed as a NY Super Lawyers “Rising Star,” and a winning team member for Chambers USA Award for Excellence in Real Estate in 2013 firstname.lastname@example.org | 212.801.6492
LAND USE & ZONING JAY SEGAL | Co-Chair National Land Use Practice; Listed in The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers magazine in recognition of 35 years of land use practice email@example.com | 212.801.9265 DEIRDRE CARSON | Shareholder; More than 25 years of land use law experience; named a Real Estate New York “Women of Influence” in 2009; served as an Assistant to Mayor Koch firstname.lastname@example.org | 212.801.6855 NICK HOCKENS | Shareholder; Worked as an urban planner before practicing law. He has a Ph.D. from Northwestern University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School email@example.com | 212.801.3088
Greenberg Traurig is a service mark and trade name of Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Greenberg Traurig, P.A. ©2013 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Attorneys at Law. All rights reserved. Contact: Ed Wallace, John Mascialino or Robert Harding in New York at 212.801.9200. °These numbers are subject to fluctuation. 22974
#1 FOUNDED: 1996 - TOTAL COMPENSATION IN 2013: $6,618,302.00 - 2012 RANK BY COMPENSATION: #1
KEY PLAYERS: Every member of the Kasirer Consulting team plays a vital role in delivering success for our clients. Our team includes Suri Kasirer, Julie Greenberg, Omar Alvarellos, Peter Krokondelas, Cynthia Dames, Shane Myers, Robert Sanna, Tracy Fletcher and Tyesa Galloway
WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST STRENGTHS AS A FIRM? We consistently get positive results for our clients. That about sums it up. Our record of success on behalf of our diverse clientele is unmatched. Our focus is always on those we represent and the end result. Our clients do not just want our advice, counsel and reasoned judgment; they want results, and we know how to achieve them. That’s why we rank at or near the very top in our profession. We deliver our services with a combination of hard
work, integrity, professionalism, a deep knowledge of how government functions, a reservoir of contacts across the city and, very importantly, our superb relationship with elected and senior government officials as well as business, community and civic leaders. Our team has real experience working inside government at the highest levels and also in the political world, so we understand how things work and are uniquely positioned to achieve our clients’ objectives. WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF 2013 FOR YOUR FIRM? Four very significant and complex projects stand out. Over the past year, we have assisted Cornell University in securing the final approvals from the city and state to begin construction of its new $2 billion tech campus on Roosevelt Island. We have also assisted Delta Airlines in moving forward
with its $1.4 billion renovation of a new terminal at JFK Airport. We also successfully handled the ULURP process for the Greenpoint Landing redevelopment project on the north Brooklyn waterfront. This important rezoning was achieved by working collaboratively with local residents, the City Council and other important stakeholders in the community. Kasirer Consulting also successfully guided the Howard Hughes Corporation through a Landmarks Preservation Commission approval process and ULURP for the transformation of Pier 17. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN THE LOBBYING INDUSTRY IN NEW YORK CITY OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS? The lobbying industry in New York City has become increasingly professionalized over the last several years. We are proud to hold ourselves
to the highest standards. New Yorkers have also increasingly demanded broader and meaningful stakeholder participation when key decisions are made that affect the public good. This is a healthy expectation overall, but one that requires skilled professionals to make certain that everyone’s views are taken into account and that consensus is developed in order to move a project forward. Having an effective government and community relations strategy is now viewed as an essential part of any successful project that requires government approval or oversight. Community bloggers have also become more active across the city in recent years. This increased activity on the part of bloggers, many of whom are also community activists, has resulted in greater public scrutiny for all projects, both large and small. This is a trend that we expect will continue.
city & state — March 10, 2014
FOUNDED: 1983 - TOTAL COMPENSATION IN 2013: $4,670,526.50 - 2012 RANK BY COMPENSATION: #2 KEY PLAYERS: James Capalino, Chief Executive Officer; Travis Terry, Chief Operating Officer; Mark Thompson, Senior Vice President; George Fontas, Senior Vice President; Brooke Schafran, Senior Vice President; Tom Gray, Vice President; Ben Kleinbaum, Associate Vice President WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST STRENGTHS AS A FIRM? Our biggest strength is our people. For each engagement, the Capalino+Company team brings a myriad of experiences
and perspectives to the table that, when combined, allow our clients to achieve long-term institutional success. We also judge our services on one simple fact: results. Those results, in our opinion, immediately achieve our clients’ goals, maintaining and enhancing their image and brand so they can enjoy long-term success in the City of New York. WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF 2013 FOR YOUR FIRM? 2013 was a year of great success for us, so it is hard to pick just one highlight. If we had to point to one,
however, it would be the land use approval of the Kingsbridge National Ice Center at the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx, soon to be the world’s largest ice sports recreation facility. Working collaboratively with a great client, an impressive group of local elected officials, community and civic leaders, and a dedicated administration, we helped create a project that will have a profound impact on the city, the Bronx and the local community. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN THE LOBBYING INDUSTRY IN NEW YORK CITY
OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS? It’s really the expectations of the clients. We take each engagement seriously and carefully examine not only the way to achieve our clients’ goals but also how their project, product or service will impact the city. Clients—rightfully—expect a lot out of their consultants, as well as an honest and fair commitment to helping them. In many ways, lobbyists are also important strategic advisors to their clients, since our work requires a complex interaction with government that needs to be approached ethically and thoughtfully. cityandstateny.com
Since its founding in 1975, Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP has grown to be one of New York’s preeminent Government Relations firms in Albany and New York City. At the core of DHC’s practice is an exceptional team of government affairs professionals led by founding partner Sid Davidoff, all of whom possess extensive experience working across city, state, and federal levels of government. Rooted in experience on the front lines, the firm enjoys a well-deserved reputation as one of New York’s most effective government affairs firms, with unsurpassed experience in lobbying the legislative and executive branches of government and an all-encompassing administrative law practice. The firm works closely with local and state legislative leaders, along with city and state agencies, boards and commissions. Similarly, the expansion of our Washington D.C. office enhances our ability to interact with federal executive departments and both houses of the United States Congress.
The knowledge, information and contacts developed and maintained by the members of our government relations practice group have proved to be of exceptional value to our clients and a hallmark of the firm’s well-deserved reputation among government affairs professionals. We have successfully advocated on behalf of a countless number of businesses, trade associations, service organizations, educational institutions, government authorities, community-based groups and not-for-profit organizations. In addition to our advocacy on behalf of the firm’s clients, DHC provides continual, up-to-date monitoring of federal, state, and local government actions and regularly reports to our clients on the implications and effects of these developments, as well as assists clients in strategic planning to respond to such developments. The firm also takes great pride in the pro bono work DHC performs for small non-profit corporations and charities.
605 Third Avenue
200 Garden City Plaza, Suite 315
New York, N.Y. 10158
Garden City, N.Y. 11530
150 State Street
1211 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Albany, N.Y. 12207
Washington, DC 20036
#3 FOUNDED: 1992 - TOTAL COMPENSATION IN 2013: $2,834,637.60 - 2012 RANK BY COMPENSATION: #4 KEY PLAYERS: The firm’s six partners include Emily Giske and Michel Keogh, who are based out of New York City, and Giorgio DeRosa, Bill McCarthy, Tom Connolly and Ed Draves, who are based out of Albany. Additionally, our Buffalo and Western New York office is led by Jack O’Donnell.
WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST STRENGTHS AS A FIRM? One of our top strengths is the wide diversity of experience and backgrounds of our lobbyists, who come from careers in government, labor, nonprofits and campaigns. These backgrounds reflect the range in relationships that we hold with electeds and officials, as well as community, civic and labor leaders throughout the five boroughs. Our firm has extensive experience and expertise in the legislative process, including drafting and helping shape legislation. We
provide expertise regarding the city’s annual budget process, having worked every year with both the mayor’s office and the City Council on capital and discretionary budget issues. We have represented clients with regulatory issues before city agencies, such as the Board of Health and Department of Consumer Affairs. Bolton-St. Johns also has a unique specialty in covering transportation, taxi and livery industry-related issues. We have years of experience representing numerous stakeholders in these industries, especially before the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission. Finally, we provide comprehensive strategy and research services for our clients. We provide insight for understanding how and why electeds and officials position themselves on issues, and analysis of the political nuances that affect business and industry across the city. WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF
2013 FOR YOUR FIRM? Bolton-St. Johns works with approximately 100 clients at any given time on a wide range of issues. We work year-round on behalf of our clients— some are concerned with short-term issues and goals, while some of them are long-term clients with multiyear strategies and projects. 2013 marked a real emergence of new start-ups and technology companies in New York City. Never before have there been so many new technology and start-up companies providing previously unimaginable innovative services, while also being forced to interact with outdated laws not designed for the new wave of 21st century business. Bolton-St. Johns is very proud and excited to be a translator between these companies and New York City government, so that tech companies can continue to be of service to and help New Yorkers. In 2013, BSJ also advised on the siting of a major league
sports stadium within New York City. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN THE LOBBYING INDUSTRY IN NEW YORK CITY OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS? The lobbying industry is much more competitive today than it has been in the past. Lobbyists more and more must focus on servicing clients and delivering consistent and ongoing results; prestigious firm names and previous records of success only go so far. The breakneck speed of technological innovation is also having a significant effect on the nature of lobbying and the types of clients in need of our services. Lobbying is now a 24/7 job because of the ubiquity of smartphones and mobile Internet access. We have the ability to receive information and results from legislative bodies and government agencies instantaneously, and can be in constant contact with our clients during emergencies.
#4 FOUNDED: 1997 - TOTAL COMPENSATION IN 2013: $2,661,992.00 - 2012 RANK BY COMPENSATION: #3
city & state — March 10, 2014
KEY PLAYERS: Former Speaker Peter Vallone Sr., Tony Constantinople, Perry Vallone, Anthony Constantinople, Keith Powers WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST STRENGTHS AS A FIRM? The firm’s strength comes from the values of the partners and from Peter Vallone’s long record of public service. Peter’s motto in government was “do the right thing”—and in private practice that translates into working with clients that we know can help New York City and New York State. We have the ideal mix of expertise—legal, governmental, business and financial—to best understand our clients’ goals and develop and implement strategies
to achieve them. We are also proud of our ability to offer personalized care to a wide range of clients, from global organizations such as Waste Management, Walgreen Co., JCPenney and TD Bank to nonprofits like Quality Services for the Autism Community, the College Board, Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation, New York Junior Tennis & Learning, the Queens LGBT Network and Citizen Schools. WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF 2013 FOR YOUR FIRM? It’s hard to reflect upon 2013 without thinking of the damage and devastation that Superstorm Sandy inflicted upon our area and its residents. However, we were extremely proud of the way that
our clients rallied to help New York City after we were struck by the storm—and happy to assist them in their efforts. Waste Management labored to remove hundreds of tons of debris from our city (thanks to the heroic work of the Department of Sanitation) while Duane Reade/ Walgreens immediately provided home healthcare relief and prescriptions to those in stormravaged neighborhoods. In addition, TD Bank dispatched mobile bank branches to those areas that had a lack of basic services (and whose residents found it difficult to leave), and Elmhurst Dairy rushed to Jamaica, Queens, with water and milk. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST
CHANGE IN THE LOBBYING INDUSTRY IN NEW YORK CITY OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS? Social media, blogs and new political media outlets have created a two-way dialogue between elected officials and their constituents. All-inclusive news compilations (such as City & State’s First Read) have become an important daily resource, compiling all government related news items in one place, and ensuring wider coverage of political news. However, with this abundance of—and increasing demand for—real-time information, we must be nimble and respond to political developments as they occur. Our strategic relationships and the ability to anticipate issues before they transpire allow our clients to stay one step ahead. cityandstateny.com
Capalino+Company is a full service government and community relations firm in New York City. Combining unparalleled experience, a broad range of relationships and a deep knowledge of government processes, we collaborate with our clients to successfully navigate the complex rules, regulations and politics of local and state governments.
w w w. c a p a l i n o . c o m 212.616.5810
#5 FOUNDED: FIRM: 1967; NEW YORK OFFICE: 1991 - TOTAL COMPENSATION IN 2013: $2,578,733.55 2012 RANK BY COMPENSATION: #5
KEY PLAYERS: Edward C. Wallace, Co-Chairman, New York City office; John Mascialino, Chair, New York Government Law & Policy Practice; Robert M. Harding, Shareholder, New York Government Law & Policy Practice; Steven Russo, Chair, New York Environmental Practice; Jay Segal, Co-Chair, National Land Development Practice; Deirdre Carson, Shareholder, Land Development Practice; Nick Hockens, Shareholder, Land Development Practice WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST STRENGTHS AS A FIRM? GT’s New York Government Law & Policy Practice has on the ground presence in both New York City and Albany. Our attorneys are part of a national practice named “Law Firm
of the Year” in the U.S. News–Best Lawyers 2014 edition of Best Law Firms for Government Relations, and have been consistently ranked among the top five law firm lobbying practices in New York State by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and its predecessors, and consistently ranked among the top five lobbying practices in New York City by the City Clerk’s Office. Greenberg Traurig provides a unique skill set built on real government and business experience. Our approach includes collaborating with government decision-makers and understanding key players’ priorities to foster “winwin” strategies that help our clients achieve their economic goals. Our team, complemented by attorneys in our Real Estate, Environmental and Land Development practices,
provide government affairs assistance to companies in a wide range of areas, including environmental, energy, government, healthcare, procurement, technology, transportation, construction, education and taxation. Whether defending against executive or legislative action or working to create and implement an initiative or opportunity, our lawyers and lobbyists craft strategies tailored to the specific needs of our individual clients. WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF 2013 FOR YOUR FIRM? Greenberg Traurig’s Government Law & Policy, Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental practices had several successes including the approval of Waterview at Greenpoint, a 720-unit waterfront project with 28 percent
affordable housing. We were also joined by former DEC Counsel Steve Russo. Our practices provide the only one-stop service for major real estate development projects, which includes transactional, land use, government and environmental lawyers. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN THE LOBBYING INDUSTRY IN NEW YORK CITY OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS? Over the past five years, there have been changes to the law and increased compliance obligations. In addition, the “hot” issues and city officials have changed. Still, at the end of the day, lobbying remains the hard work of learning the issues, understanding how to present your client’s issues to the city and working with the city to ensure a fair result for your client.
city & state — March 10, 2014
Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP Named One of the Top 10 Lobbying Firms in New York City Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP, founded in 1975, is one of New York’s most respected commercial law and government relations firms. The firm has melded its multi-discipline law practice, with its distinguished government relations practice handling legal and lobbying matters from the routine to the complex. New York 605 Third Avenue New York, N.Y. 10158 T 212.557.7200 F 212.286.1884
Long Island 200 Garden City Plaza, Suite 315 Garden City, N.Y. 11530 T 516.248.6400 F 516.248.6422
Albany Government Relations 150 State Street Albany, N.Y. 12207 T 518.465.8230 F 518.465.8650
Washington, D.C. Government Relations 1211 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20036 T: 202.347.1117 F: 202.638.4584 cityandstateny.com
Kasirer Consulting Kasirer Consulting thanks all of our clients thanks all of our clients for making 2013 for making 2013 our most successful our most successful year ever! year ever! Also, congratulations to our team of wonderful professionals, Also, congratulations to our team thewonderful reason that Kasirer Consulting of professionals, is consistently ranked Consulting the reason that Kasirer the top-lobbying firm is consistently ranked in New York City. firm the top-lobbying
in New York City. Results. Integrity. Commitment.
Results. Integrity. Commitment. For more information about Kasirer Consulting, please visit us on the web at: www.kasirerconsulting.com
For more information about Kasirer Consulting, please visit us on the web at: www.kasirerconsulting.com
Suri Kasirer Julie Greenberg Suri Kasirer Omar Alvarellos Julie Greenberg Cynthia Dames Omar Alvarellos Tracy Fletcher Cynthia Dames Tyesa Galloway Tracy Fletcher Peter Krokondelas Tyesa Galloway Shane Myers Peter Krokondelas Robert Sanna Shane Myers Nondita Singh Hazari Robert Sanna
Nondita Singh Hazari
321 Broadway, Suite 201 New York, NY 10007 Tel: (212) 285-1800 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
321 Broadway, Suite 201 New York, NY 10007 Tel: (212) 285-1800 Email: email@example.com
#6 FOUNDED: LOS ANGELES OFFICE: 1965, NEW YORK CITY OFFICE: 2003 TOTAL COMPENSATION IN 2013: $2,238,197.00 - 2012 RANK BY COMPENSATION: #6
KEY PLAYERS: Claudia Wagner, John Albert, Katie Schwab, Rose Christ, Joshua Bocian WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST STRENGTHS AS A FIRM? The New York City government practice team includes individuals who worked for Mayors Koch and Dinkins and for the current comptroller and Manhattan borough president. With only one exception, all members of the team make the city their home
and understand the workings and the complexities of the city from both a professional and personal basis. We understand the structure of New York City government and the politics that drive it. We focus on details and understand the intricacies of the city budget and the legislative and regulatory processes.
renovation and expansion of the USTA [Billie Jean King] National Tennis Center in Queens. We coordinated the review by six community boards, the Queens borough president, City Planning Commission and the City Council, and secured state legislation to allow the city to lease additional property to the USTA.
WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF 2013 FOR YOUR FIRM? In 2013 we secured approval for the
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN THE LOBBYING INDUSTRY IN NEW YORK CITY
OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS? The biggest change in the last five years is that lobbying has become a dirty word, even though it is a critical component of any government action. The mayor “lobbies” Albany, Albany “lobbies” Washington. The unions lobby every elected official. But retained lobbyists are banned by executive fiat from serving on advisory committees or from being appointed to boards or commissions.
city & state — March 10, 2014
Informed. Focused. Effective. Manatt is proud to be a part of the city and state of New York: as government advisors, as neighbors, as citizens.
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, llp
FOUNDED: 2008 - TOTAL COMPENSATION IN 2013: $2,101,864.89 2012 RANK BY COMPENSATION: LAST RANKED IN TOP 10 IN 2011
KEY PLAYERS: Our lobbying team is led by Vincent F. Pitta. Bob Bishop serves as head of our Albany government relations and lobbying practice; Jon Del Giorno is the head of our New York City government relations and lobbying practice. Vincent Giblin is not active in our lobbying practices, but is an integral part of our government relations and crisis management practice groups.
WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST STRENGTHS AS A FIRM? We are very experienced; politically diverse; we have our eyes on the future and the “big picture” at all times; and we listen. Three of our associates— Carlos Beato, Vito Pitta and Tina Ward—have been recognized on City & State’s “40 Under 40” list. We have an eclectic client list that includes unions, not-for-profits, trade associations, healthcare institutions, government agencies, real estate owners, managers
and developers, and individual business concerns, including several M/WBEs. Before we are retained, we educate ourselves about the history of our prospective clients, and listen intently to their articulated current and future needs and goals. Once we fully understand the circumstances and are retained by our clients, we move forward expeditiously and work with them as our partner, creating a synergy and a shared comfort level. These are the keys to our development of strong relationships with, and successful advocacy on behalf of, our clients. WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF 2013 FOR YOUR FIRM? There were several highlights for us in 2013. We take great pride that once selected by Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, we were successful in creating a very effective grassroots campaign in her successful pursuit of the speakership. We were
successful on other New York City and state fronts as well. Our lobbying and advocacy efforts averted the planned layoff of 1,100 New York City nonpedagogical school workers. And in Albany, we helped keep more than 300 Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Specialists (SAPIS) employed in our schools. We were able to secure the funding which allowed AHRC New York City to continue its Job Connection Center for Dually Diagnosed Individuals; and we helped Richmond University Medical Center—the only trauma center on the north shore of Staten Island—obtain more than $1.4 million in state and city funding for capital development and improvements to their trauma center. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN THE LOBBYING INDUSTRY IN NEW YORK CITY OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS? The 2010 voter approval of term limits was a game changer. “Government
relations” is all about relations, relationships and understanding the institutional history of government and how it works and can work. Since 2010, and over the course of the last two citywide elections, we’ve seen a near complete turnover within city government. We have a new mayor, comptroller, public advocate and 40 new Council members. There is an obvious challenge both in building relationships, sometimes from scratch, with new leaders, who lack institutional government knowledge, and in familiarizing them with our clients and the issues that are important to our clients, and sometimes to the city as a whole. In the vastly changed city landscape, our relationship-building abilities are key to our advocacy efforts, as is our reputation for honesty and integrity, since newly elected and appointed government officials will usually know our reputation, even before they get to know us.
#8 FOUNDED: 1975 - TOTAL COMPENSATION IN 2013: $2,035,683.25 - 2012 RANK BY COMPENSATION: #10
city & state — March 10, 2014
KEY PLAYERS: Sid Davidoff, Arthur Goldstein, Howard Weiss, Sean Crowley, Charles Capetanakis, Ron Mandel, Steve Malito WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST STRENGTHS AS A FIRM? Our collaborative team approach based on experience with all quarters of city government. Through local roots across all five boroughs, we have maintained for over four decades important relationships with elected officials and the heads of the city’s commissions, boards and departments and their senior staffs. These relationships foster a robust environment for creative solutions to meet the needs of the firm’s clients. As lawyers and government affairs professionals, we work across a broad
spectrum of government-related issues to provide “one-stop shopping” for our clients combining multidisciplined experience to undertake time-sensitive and complex projects. As one of the handful of New York City firms with full-time government affairs offices in Albany, Long Island and Washington, D.C., the city group leverages its reach through all levels of government, in an innovative and cost-effective way. WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF 2013 FOR YOUR FIRM? Seaside Park And Community Arts Center: DHC fast- tracked the approval of a $54 million amphitheater and park at the Coney Island boardwalk. Within a year, the firm’s combined land use and government outreach efforts led to approvals from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Public
Design Commission, the City Planning Commission and the City Council. Hunts Point Produce Market: We negotiated a lease extension with the city to secure the continued operation of the world’s largest wholesale produce market, which employs 10,000 workers at its 130-acre Bronx facility. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN THE LOBBYING INDUSTRY IN NEW YORK CITY OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS? The last five years marked some significant changes affecting government relations professionals in New York City. Through legislative and administrative actions, there has been a continued emphasis upon transparency through lobbyist registration and periodic reporting
regarding the activities of those who seek to influence the government decisions that affect our clients. At DHC, we have long felt that such openness serves the interests of all those who are stakeholders in the decision-making process. At the same time, however, the varying state and municipal requirements at times are conflicting and have created a degree of uncertainty in meeting the spirit and the letter of the lobbyist registration requirements. We continue to attempt to work with state and city officials to try to ensure that these obligations imposed on government affairs professionals achieve the legitimate objectives of the registration requirements without being unnecessarily burdensome and intrusive regarding our professional activities. cityandstateny.com
Experience. CMW has successfully delivered for its clients for 25 years.
Customized Solutions. CMW provides a full suite of customized public affairs services allowing the firm to finely tailor solutions to fit our customer’s needs.
Hands-on. CMW principals work directly with our clients to provide specialized expertise and service.
A public affairs firm for today’s New York Strategy is at the core of every CMW campaign, whether it’s getting a skyscraper built, partnering with City Hall on policy initiatives, or protecting businesses that help New York thrive.
Our firm employs former journalists, communications directors & social media experts who are well-versed in the art of developing press PUBLIC strategies & representing RELATIONS our clients in the media.
Community engagement is necessary to achieve success for New York projects. We know the five boroughs, having lived here, worked here & interacted with the community’s leaders.
THE WOOLWORTH BUILDING 233 BROADWAY STE 2310 NEW YORK, NY 10279
Lobbying with integrity, intelligence & conviction is our firm’s method. It is how CMW has stayed among New York’s most respected lobbying firms.
PHONE: 212 437 7373 FAX: 212 437 7378
#9 FOUNDED: 1968 - TOTAL COMPENSATION IN 2013: $1,742,264.60 - 2012 RANK BY COMPENSATION: #8
KEY PLAYERS: Paul S. Pearlman, Managing Partner of New York office; Gary R. Tarnoff, Partner; Paul D. Selver, Partner; Michael T. Sillerman, Partner; Elise Wagner, Partner; Jeffrey L. Braun, Partner; Michael Paul Korotkin, Senior Counsel; Jay A. Neveloff, Partner; Charles S. Warren, Partner ABOUT KRAMER LEVIN: Kramer Levin is a full-service law firm with extensive capabilities and substantial experience. From our offices in New York, Silicon Valley and Paris, we represent clients from Global 1000 companies to emerging growth entities across a
wide range of industries. In addition to our well-known litigation and corporate capabilities, we have top tier practices in many other areas including corporate restructuring and bankruptcy, intellectual property, real estate, land use, mutual funds, tax, employment law, individual clients, employee benefits and business immigration. Our clients regard us as a true business ally. We enjoy long-term relationships with many companies, institutions and individuals who trust us to provide practical counsel that looks beyond the immediate legal issues to larger business implications. Through periods of
rapid change—through shifts in political, economic and regulatory climates—these clients have valued our ability to understand their goals and bring the right resources to meet the challenges they face. We prize efficiency, bringing a sensible costbenefit approach to every project. In staffing matters, we favor quality over quantity, with small teams characterized by an unusually high level of senior involvement. Our approach is dynamic and flexible, and we often reach across practice areas to assemble the most effective interdisciplinary team for the matter at hand. Creative thinking, pragmatic solutions, nimble
efficiency, and the ability to adapt to shifting circumstances are qualities that characterize Kramer Levin. We value these qualities in our people, and our clients value them in us. AWARDS AND RECOGNITION: Benchmark Litigation named Kramer Levin in the top tier of litigation firms in New York and nationally as a leading litigation firm, recognizing partners Barry H. Berke, Nicholas L. Coch, Michael J. Dell, Kenneth H. Eckstein, Thomas Moers Mayer, Gary P. Naftalis and Harold P. Weinberger as “Litigation Stars.” Source: KramerLevin.com
#10 FOUNDED: 2000 - TOTAL COMPENSATION IN 2013: $1,658,500.00 - 2012 RANK BY COMPENSATION: #9
city & state — March 10, 2014
KEY PLAYERS: Harry Giannoulis, President; Evan Stavisky, Partner; Paul Thomas, Vice President & Director of City Government Relations WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST STRENGTHS AS A FIRM? Our firm’s greatest strength in municipal lobbying is our proven ability to win the toughest policy and political battles in every corner of every borough. Thanks to our political consulting work—along with our advocacy on behalf of a diverse array of corporate, labor and nonprofit clients—we understand the city’s diverse constituencies, and how best to engage them in support of our clients’ objectives. Combining this expertise with the years of experience that the members of our team have in New York politics and government, enables us to plan, execute and win high-
stakes efforts at the local, boroughwide, or citywide level. Whether the issue is land use, legislative, budgetary, regulatory or procurement in nature, we are uniquely positioned to win the toughest fights. That’s why the Daily News said we are “among the state’s most influential lobbyists for years,” and The New York Times described one client’s hiring of our firm as “inarguably money well spent.” WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF 2013 FOR YOUR FIRM? While our political consulting work and our Albany lobbying practice enjoyed tremendous success in 2013, our greatest city lobbying victory was the Willets Point project. In support of the Willets Point development, we built a broad coalition of labor, business, environmentalists and community groups to support our client’s proposal. Working closely
with Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, we secured final City Council approval of a $3 billion project—the largest private investment in Queens history—that will create more than 19,000 jobs and clean up a century of accumulated pollution. While the neighborhood symbolized urban blight for more than 40 years, every previous redevelopment project stalled. In 2013, however, we overcame a half-century of inertia to approve the project, and we are proud to have played a role in creating New York’s next great neighborhood. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN THE LOBBYING INDUSTRY IN NEW YORK CITY OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS? Thanks to the confluence of term limits, public financing of elections and the rise of independent expenditures, New York City is
constantly reinventing itself every few years, and so too are smart government relations firms. While understanding how government works remains essential, the ability to advance your clients’ agendas necessitates a fresh approach. When the Times called us “a new breed of lobbyist-consultant,” it was because we brought this fresh approach to the industry. Now, any successful firm must shape public debate and mobilize constituencies, rather than just pigeonhole an elected official. And through the growth of citizen engagement tools, the ability to connect constituents with policymakers grows every day. In short, the era of the smoke-filled backrooms is over—thanks in part to reforms, but also to the Smoke-Free Air Act of 2002, which we helped pass on behalf of a coalition of public health groups. cityandstateny.com
WhenSuccess Success When is the Only is the Only Option Option
LOBBYING PUBLIC RELATIONS ADVERTISING PUBLIC AFFAIRS CAMPAIGN MANAGEMENT
LOBBYING PUBLIC RELATIONS ADVERTISING PUBLIC AFFAIRS CAMPAIGN MANAGEMENT
nyc clerk’s office
COMPARISON OF COMPENSATION REPORTED BY LOBBYISTS FROM 2009-2013 $70.00
city & state — March 10, 2014
same goes for the client’s annual report. And if the relationship ends before the end of the year, make sure you document that you told the client that completing the report is their responsibility.
In advance of its March 14 seminar entitled “2014 Update on Lobbying Laws & Compliance in New York State and New York City,” the New York Advocacy Association offered these 10 tips for veteran advocates and those looking to step into the lobbying arena.
10. Read the lobbying law and keep in mind the intent of the law. 9.
Alert new clients about registering and reporting requirements.
For accurate city reporting, log lobbying targets each day you lobby.
When in doubt, over-report.
Keep records of conversations with regulators. Not all policies are committed to paper, and you will need records to back up any actions you took based upon advice from regulators.
The regulators will change and their policies will change, but you (and, hopefully, your clients) will remain. Keep notes, and maintain a consistent approach, until you are instructed to change.
Keep track of when client reports are due and stay on top of the clients to make sure they do them, even if the are the client’s responsibility. The
When a relationship ends, make sure the client and you do what’s needed to record
Never forget that the right to petition the government for the redress of grievance is in the same section of the Bill of Rights as freedom of speech, press and religion.
Be prepared for the press to report on your lobbying fees.
The New York Advocacy Association’s “2014 Update on Lobbying Laws & Compliance in New York State and New York City” seminar will take place on Friday, March 14, 2014 at the Friars Club, 57 East 55th Street (between Park and Madison Avenues) from 8:15 a.m. to 12 p.m. To attend, contact Arthur Goldstein of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-4283280.
happens by accident.”
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin LLC
Government Relations, Lobbying, Consulting, Strategic Planning, Business Development, Crisis Management, Campaign Finance Compliance, Community and Public Relations New York
120 Broadway, 28th Floor New York, NY 10271 Telephone: 212.652.3890 Facsimile: 212.897.8001
111 Washington Avenue, Suite 401 Albany, NY 12210 Telephone: 518.449.3320 Facsimile: 518.449.5812
city & state — March 10, 2014
TOP TEN LOBBYING TIPS
the termination; otherwise fines may ensue.
STATE OF OUR CITY Government officials, business and advocacy leaders, consultants and academics joined City & State for its fourth annual State of Our City conference on Thursday, Feb. 27. The discussions centered on transportation, healthcare and housing and development.
24-16 Queens Plaza South RM 503 Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 784-4343
“Getting In, Out and Around New York City”
Stephen Sigmund (above, left), executive director of the Global Gateway Alliance, an organization whose goal is to improve metro-area airports, called for a revival of a plan to extend the N subway line to LaGuardia Airport, a plan originally included in the MTA’s 2001 capital budget but that was scrapped after community pushback. Also discussed at length was Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan, which aims to eliminate traffic-related fatalities in the five boroughs.
“Health for New York City’s Most Vulnerable Populations”
city & state — March 10, 2014
MTBOT fights for the rights of our passengers to ride safely, comfortably & affordably to their destinations.
MTBOT has provided safety training, driver services & programs including “scholarships” for women & veterans.
(MTBOT) is a 60-year-old trade association that represents 5,250 yellow medallion taxicabs with over 20,000 taxi drivers and provides services to its drivers and the riding public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
While traveling in yellow taxis is safer than traveling in one’s own private vehicle, more must be done to improve overall safety.
A discussion of the current healthcare landscape for New York City’s most vulnerable populations shifted to medical marijuana, as Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (above, left) used the opportunity to promote the Compassionate Care Act, a bill that he is sponsoring in the Legislature with state Sen. Diane Savino. “It is very similar to what the state of Colorado is doing in their medical marijuana program,” he said. “What we’re proposing is more tightly regulated than morphine, codeine, and valium.”
“Arrested Development: Building in the New New York”
As taxi operators we have a supreme obligation, not only to ensure the safe transport of our passengers, but to ensure the safety of our drivers as well as all drivers, cyclists and pedestrians with whom our taxis co-exist on these crowded city streets. MTBOT is proud to support Vision Zero and will continue to work with the City to make our streets safer for all New Yorkers.
New York City Council Housing Committee Chair Jumaane Williams and Zoning and Land Use Subcommittee Chair Mark Weprin agreed with pro-development panelists that more affordable housing is key, but that developers in New York City need to be able to make some profits. “Clarity is what the real estate community wants,” said former councilman and Greenberg Traurig co-chair Ed Wallace (above, right). “You give them rules and let them make a dollar, they will go and build. If you make it murky or uncertain, then they will hesitate.” cityandstateny.com
5901 Palisade Avenue Riverdale, New York 10471 Phone: 718 581-1000 HebrewHome.Org
!"#$%&'()#'' *+,'-)#./0'' 1+%$)#0' The Hebrew Home at Riverdale (HHAR) is a nationally recognized pioneer of geriatric care with close to 100 years of expertise helping our City’s most vulnerable seniors. HHAR provides housing services, home care, managed care and community programs to over 10,000 seniors of all income levels, life stages and backgrounds across the five boroughs.
HHAR makes NYC more age-friendly by helping seniors age in place, allowing older citizens to stay healthy, active and safe while remaining close to their families and connected to the communities they know and love. HHAR provides New Yorkers with several options for aging in place, including independent senior housing, subsidized lowand middle-income housing, rehabilitation services, assisted living, a home care division called ElderServe and soon the City’s first Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).
HHAR has been at the forefront of providing meaningful, lifeaffirming approaches to care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders. HHAR’s ElderServe “AtNight” program offers Alzheimer’s patients and their families an all-night outpatient care program, giving patient’s caregivers rest, while keeping patients safe and improving quality of life.
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention, located at the Hebrew Home, is the nation’s first emergency residential shelter for victims of elder abuse and has served as a model for ten other centers across the country. Since its opening in 2005, the Center has provided nearly 50,000 shelter nights to elder abuse victims in New York City. The Center also provides invaluable on-site trainings, legal advocacy and psychological counseling for victims.
During citywide emergencies, HHAR is often a safe haven for the community. During Hurricane Sandy, HHAR provided shelter to over 400 evacuated and displaced New Yorkers. HHAR also operates Project HOPE, a vocational program that provides thirty Bronx special education students each year with the opportunity to study and work at HHAR. Since its founding in 2004, 200 students have graduated from the program.
t’s tempting to think that Kerry Kennedy beat a Westchester drugged-driving rap last month because of her name. The outcome points to a deeper problem, though: It’s hard to convict a driver of bad driving—or even to get them off the road— before he or she maims or kills someone. It’s even hard to do it after. As news accounts of the trial reported, the facts were clear: On an early summer morning, Kennedy took Ambien, a sleep “aid,” and got behind the wheel of her SUV. She crashed into a truck. But the jury agreed
THREE KEYS TO IMPROVING EDUCATION
ew policy discussions are more important—and contentious— than the issue of education. In this ongoing debate, whether the topic is traditional public schools, public charter schools or universal prekindergarten, we must remember that we are ultimately talking about children, especially children in neighborhoods that feel the full impact of poverty. Too often our politics get bogged down by sideshows or by cheap political points at the expense of progress and concrete transformative initiatives. But in this historic moment,
Kennedy wasn’t at fault. She had mixed up her medication, taking bedtime pills when it was time to wake up. Was this celebrity justice? The six jurors likely weren’t starstruck but the opposite: They identified with Kennedy, seeing themselves or a family member in her. Though Kennedy did talk about her harrowing childhood—losing her father to an assassin—her defense was she is an overscheduled suburban mom. She has to carry three bags to the gym to squeeze in a little exercise time before work, work, work and kids, kids, kids. And like most suburban moms, Kennedy lives in her car. She has to commute to her workout session rather than just exercising as part of her commute. Jurors may have succumbed to “there but for the grace of God go I” empathy—a common phenomenon. Doctors write 60 million prescriptions for sleep-med drugs each year. And with even more people on antianxiety pills, anti-ADHD pills and all kinds of other medications that can impair judgment, jurors can identify with Kennedy’s hectic morning mix-up in a way that they couldn’t identify with someone high on heroin. As Dr. Barron Lerner writes in his One for the Road drunk-driving history, “there but for the grace of God”
sympathy was once common even in drunk-driving cases—and still exists. Lerner tells readers of a 2009 case in which Cleveland Browns player Donte Stallworth hit and killed a pedestrian in Miami after drinking at a hotel bar. Stallworth served 24 days. And as Lerner quotes one layperson: “If any of you have ever driven after ... a few drinks, or you rode with someone else who did, you [are] no better than Stallworth or anyone else.” And though few people think of Lindsay Lohan—a DUI recidivist—as glamorous, even affluent parents look at Lohan and worry their own children will make bad decisions. If people felt that way in 2009 about drunks driving, you can imagine how they feel when faced with convicting a sober mom, even one who kills. Another problem is that even after conviction, penalties are low. Had the jury convicted Kennedy, she likely would have served little to no jail time (the maximum is a year), and a threemonth license suspension. Lohan spent minutes in a crowded California jail after conviction. Even when impaired drivers kill, prosecutors are lucky to secure a sentence of a few years. Kennedy didn’t hurt anyone. But the goal should be to get bad drivers off the road before they harm someone.
The goal of broken-windows policing is to stop people from, say, carrying illegal guns before they shoot someone. Some change may be coming. New York City lawmakers have introduced a slew of bills to deter dangerous driving. State Sen. Michael Gianaris and Assemblywoman Margaret Markey would make it a felony to hurt or kill someone while driving with a suspended or revoked (or no) license. That it’s not already a serious crime to kill someone with a car you’re not supposed to be driving seems startling. But this incremental progress may propel another needed change. The Gianaris-Markey bill—and inevitable high-profile prosecutions under it for deaths and injuries— would help people understand that driving a potentially deadly weapon with a permit is similar to carrying a potentially deadly handgun without a permit. That, in turn, would cause more people to remember that driving is a serious privilege—and to ask themselves if they’re able and willing to obey the law before they get behind the wheel.
we cannot allow politics to get in the way of our children’s education—in essence, our nation’s future. Now is the time to implement effective state policy to improve our education system and really open possibilities for minority students. Implementing universal prekindergarten, increasing education spending and supporting charter schools need not be competing ideas. They can all contribute in strengthening and supporting a more comprehensive education system. Creating access to high quality education and giving every child the opportunity to succeed academically and socially should be our principal goal. We can make great strides in this process with three fundamental commitments: (1) We must make a longterm commitment to universal prekindergarten. The existing data is clear: It convincingly shows the positive impact that quality early childhood education can have on a child’s academic development and success. For our society to address and close the persistent achievement gap in the performance of students in lower- income neighborhoods, we must give every 4-year-old child in New York the opportunity to enter school ready to learn. A child from Crown Heights in Brooklyn or Mott
Haven in the Bronx or Black Rock in Buffalo deserves to have access to the same educational resources and opportunities as any other child from the wealthiest parts of our state. (2) We must ensure equity in education. At the core of our educational crisis lies the issue of inequity. We can ensure equity by demanding fair allocations of resources to all our schools. Clearly, the ways resources are divided has contributed to “leaving behind” children who live and attend schools in lower-income communities. Schools in poor communities often have fewer computers, meager libraries and outdated textbooks, among other issues. We must fund all our schools equitably in order to equip every child with the knowledge and skills that will help them to succeed in the new world market economy. (3) We must acknowledge that charter schools do have a place and a role in a comprehensive education system. The overwhelming majority of our students will attend traditional public schools, and public schools will remain the primary vehicle for educating our citizenry. Charter schools are not a magical panacea to fix all that’s wrong with education. Yet they have proven to be successful in educating children who often would be trapped in a school that is failing or
in decline. When parents are deciding where to send their children to school, they simply want to find the very best option for their child and their family, whether it is a traditional public school or a public charter school. The educational challenges we face are not new. It has been three decades since the National Commission on Excellence in Education published the report A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform. Since then there has been a dizzying array of national reforms to fix America’s education crisis overall. We have transitioned from No Child Left Behind to Race to the Top, yet the educational crisis for our neediest students has not been resolved. Our children’s future, which means our city and state’s future, is at risk. All stakeholders must work diligently to help create a comprehensive educational system where every child receives a high quality education regardless of zip code or socioeconomic status.
Nicole Gelinas (@nicolegelinas on Twitter) is a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal.
Assemblyman Karim Camara, who represents parts of Crown Heights, Lefferts Gardens and East Flatbush in Brooklyn, is chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.
city & state — March 10, 2014
THE KENNEDY TREATMENT?
ayor Bill de Blasio would do well to consider enlisting the services of a perception czar—someone appointed to step out of the more historically administrative role of stewarding an aspect of urban governance, and direct the mayor’s actions accordingly, in order to craft and steer the public’s perception of Hizzoner. The mistakes made in de Blasio’s initial weeks of mayordom weren’t that of a corrupt administration or even an incompetent one—far from it—but rather one nescient as to perception and image. He seemed clueless, tone-deaf, detached and disconnected—he went from one gaffe to another at incredible speed. Two of the mayor’s more interesting errata are analyzed herein. Snow-competence. Even the historian tyro knows full well that if there’s one thing that will incite the pitchfork and torch brigade, it’s a mayor who fails to possess minimum standards for snow-
city & state — March 10, 2014
Print. Mail. Win.
competence, loosely translated as the ability to appear to know what you’re doing, especially and particularly after major snowfalls. It’s not so much that you actually do anything or have the slightest clue as to what you purport to do; just look like you know. Remember: It’s perception. There’s nothing worse than having your name word-associated with a less than favorable image. Try it. What comes to mind when I say “Betty Ford,” “Tommy John,” “Shinola”? I think: rehab, surgery and an inability to recognize the difference between said bootblack and … well, you know. Now think John Lindsay. I think of a dearth of snow-competence. What the newly minted Mayor de Blasio was supposed to do, at the first sign of a snowflake, was don an appropriately badged and brightly lettered sanitation jersey (perhaps a Christie fleece) with MAYOR emblazoned prominently, channel Rudy Giuliani—and own it. Look also to the dashing exploits of Newark’s caped crusader Cory Booker, who while mayor braved the snow and charged into a burning building to save its helpless and hapless occupant, all the while tweeting of his valor nonstop. That’s perception perfection. Mayor de Blasio missed that one. And what was worse was to have a -gate appended to the controversy. And while Plowgate might be dwarfed by Bridgegate, the perception that postelection retribution might have inspired targeting the Upper East Side would and could have been avoided by a perception czar who would have carefully noted snowplowing targeting and anticipated that complaint head-on. It’s a beautiful day. Feb. 13, 2014. Snow like we haven’t seen in a long time. Ice Station Zebra snow. Bad. Real bad. For whatever reason, Mayor BDB decides to keep schools open. Incurring the wrath of
teachers, parents, students—and, of all people, Al Roker. Al Roker! When you’ve lost Al Roker, you’ve lost America. Roker’s made a career out of being universally agreeable and jolly—but you, Mayor de Blasio, pushed this lovable weatherman over the edge. And then, it happened. And as they say, you can’t write this stuff. Chancellor Carmen Fariña weighs in with this gem: “It is absolutely a beautiful day out there right now.” It falls in the category of “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” Amazing. I remember seeing kids on TV trudging and schlepping and slogging through the ice, slush and frozen road custard, disappearing into ice and snow mounds. And if you thought it couldn’t get any better, Chancellor Fariña, after declaring the beauty of the day, canceled a town hall meeting in Brooklyn . . . due to inclement weather. You can’t make this up. Had the perception commissioner been on board, the good chancellor would have been ordered to make that meeting even if she had to enlist a team of Iditarod sled dogs. To be fair, His Honor never said it was a beautiful day, just as he was never the driver during his other “gate”—Speedgate—but he absorbed and inherited the remark’s fallout. You take credit and fault for your subordinates. Natch. In agency law it’s called respondeat superior. In politics it’s called politics. Plato said that science was nothing but perception. Let me add: political science. Lionel (@LionelMedia on Twitter) is a PIX 11 legal analyst and news decoder. His views are his own and in no wise should be construed as representing the thoughts and/or opinions of any organization or anyone save Lionel.
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DO AS I SAY
A political advice column
Q. I’m a small-business owner planning to run in a Democratic primary for state representative next cycle. I would love to get a head start on any possible opponents. Is there any reason not to formally kick off my campaign immediately after this year’s election?
city & state — March 10, 2014
—Eager Beaver, Location undisclosed A. Yes, I think there is. Let me explain by painting two scenarios. In scenario No. 1, you are at a holiday party in your district in December 2014. You meet a gaggle of partygoers and you tell them that you have just announced your candidacy for the Legislature. They listen politely. You give them your new business card (“Candidate for State Representative”) and let them know you’ll be asking for their support. “When’s the race?” one asks. “The primary is September 2016,” you reply. He awkwardly says, “Okay, good luck.” You get his card, enter him in your database, and begin bombarding him with two years of campaign emails about your new endorsements and a recurring quarterly series of frenetic (“The critical second quarter deadline ends in less than 24 hours!”) fundraising emails. He reads the first missive, ignores the next few, then begins deleting them without opening them, since he certainly isn’t thinking about politics in 2015. By mid-2016, when he should be tuning in to the race, he’s unsubscribed from your list. In scenario #2, you are at the same
party in December 2014. You meet a nice couple and tell them you’re a small-business owner focused on social enterprise, such as a new community farmers’ market, and you give them your business card (“Eager Beaver’s Fresh Foods”). You have a good conversation about the local start-up scene, get their cards, and enter them into your business database (and also into a separate database of people to contact once you formally announce your candidacy in early 2016). During 2015, you contact them with invitations to the grand opening of your farmers’ market, and a few months later, to help distribute excess fruit and vegetables to a local food pantry/homeless shelter. By 2016, when you formally announce your campaign (after having quietly begun raising money and seeking endorsements and elite support during the second half of 2015), the wife receives the emails and forwards it to her husband. “Remember the nice guy we met at a Christmas party we met a couple years ago? The farmers’ market guy? He’s running for office—let’s make sure we vote.” The point is that there are political junkies in the world, and then there is everyone else. A formal announcement two years out gets you almost nothing: at best, a press mention during a time when people are focused on the race that just happened, not the race two years away (presidential races excepted). Nearly everyone who doesn’t live and breathe politics would like you better if they got to know you
as something other than a candidate (unless you are a used car salesman or telemarketer). Perpetual candidates are annoying, needy and often oily. Sure, there are advantages to announcing early. You might prevent opponents from getting in—or if not, you might be able to lock up elite endorsements or donors early. But often, you can accomplish these things without a formal campaign kickoff, especially if you’re running for lower-level office and the press isn’t covering you. In fact, meeting early with prospective donors, getting commitments, and staying in touch to seek their counsel before formally announcing is probably a more effective way to build long-term trust with donors than pressing for checks during the first quarter of a two-year cycle. So my advice would be for you to hold your formal announcement for as long as possible. Enjoy the benefits of normal citizenship—and the opportunities that come with being a contributing community member— before you are inevitably tarred with the “politician” label.
Q. Honestly, how do you feel about the fact that your ex is dating Eliot Spitzer? Does it weird you out? —I.S., New York City A. Honestly, not at all. I couldn’t be happier for her, and for them.
Q. I’m interested in running for state legislator, and recently reached out to the three-term incumbent to discuss my possible candidacy, but didn’t hear back. Originally I was planning to run in 2016 when the incumbent is termed out, but I’m hearing that he already has someone in mind to succeed him. So I’m thinking I may run against him in the primary this time. Here’s why: I might be able to beat him this time, but even if I don’t, I’ll get my name out for next time and get a leg up over the competition for next time. So the way I see it running this cycle is a win-win, right? —No identifying info, please A. Wrong. You are even more eager than Mr. Beaver (see the first question), which is no mean feat. To a political neophyte, your intuition is a logical one. But here’s why I think it’s off, one scenario at a time. You say that if you primary the incumbent, you might win. You know
that incumbent legislators who seek renomination win over 95 percent of the time? So who’s in that select group that loses? Politicians who have been indicted. Politicians caught with their pants down. Politicians who have been redistricted into unfamiliar terrain. And occasionally politicians on the wrong side of a very inflammatory issue or set of issues. You don’t mention any reason the incumbent might be vulnerable, and your concern that he already has a chosen successor suggests that he has some measure of popularity to bequeath. Voters need a reason to fire incumbents, and unless they have a compelling one, they don’t do it. So though I’m not saying it’s impossible, a primary win this cycle sounds highly unlikely. Second, you say that running this time around could help you get a “leg up.” That does not apply here. You may be confusing this situation with a different type of scenario. Suppose you were a Democrat living in a swing district currently represented by a relatively popular three-term Republican incumbent in a state that limited incumbents to four terms. Running in 2014 is unlikely to result in victory, but it could endear you to party activists and give you the chance to court district politicos and donors. Assuming you lost, you might have the inside track the next cycle, or at the least the ability to stand out in a crowded primary field in an open seat race based on relationships developed during 2014. Unfortunately, primarying an incumbent has the opposite effect. It pisses off the incumbent and most party regulars, and puts you at a disadvantage relative to other prospective primary candidates in the next cycle when the seat will be open. Indeed, many retiring incumbents make an extra effort to mobilize their supporters against a candidate who has opposed them in a previous primary. The only mammals with longer memories than elephants are politicians.
Jeff Smith (@JeffSmithMO on Twitter) is a former Missouri state senator who resigned from office after a felony conviction and served a year in federal prison. Now an assistant professor of politics and advocacy at the New School, Jeff recently co-authored The Recovering Politician’s Twelve-Step Program to Survive Crisis. cityandstateny.com
hristine Todd Whitman made New Jersey history when she was elected the state’s first—and still only—female governor in 1993. Four years later she made American history, when she became the first Republican woman in the nation to be re-elected governor. Termlimited out of office, Whitman joined President George W. Bush’s cabinet as his first Environmental Protection Agency director, a position from which she resigned two and a half years later following some public conflicts with the administration. Since leaving government, Whitman has become a leading voice for the moderate wing of her party and an advocate for reforming the American political process to make it more inclusive. City & State Editor Morgan Pehme spoke with Whitman about campaign finance reform, the Port Authority and her handling of 9/11.
A Q&A WITH
CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN
The following is an edited transcript.
City & State: Given that you were the governor of New Jersey, how come you have taken such an interest in publicly financed elections in New York State? Christine Todd Whitman: Because it’s an opportunity for New York to be a leader and to show other states it can be done and the importance of opening up the process. Frankly, I was not a fan early on of public financing, but the more I looked at it the more I felt that it was the only way to give those who don’t have access to great wads of money the opportunity to compete on a level playing field. It’s also a way to help control some of the costs. We have public financing for the gubernatorial race in New Jersey, and when you sign on for that, you agree to limit your expenses. Of course, now we have the outside groups that are able to spend, but at least there’s some discipline [with public financing] to the extent that people start to look at this as being important and an important commitment by the candidate. C&S: The main opposition to publicly financed elections in New York State comes from Republicans. Why do you think that members of your party bristle at this reform, and what do you think can be done to make them come around to it? CTW: I think that their objection to it was what mine was initially, which was we don’t want government [to get involved in] campaigns in this way and “I cityandstateny.com
Republicans you point to unions. The Koch brothers aren’t the only people who give a lot of money. There’s a MoveOn.org and there are the unions, so it should play to [the Republicans’] advantage too to see some of this and get some of their nontraditional candidates more attention. C&S: With the Bridgegate scandal, there has been a much greater focus on the composition
of the Port Authority. In your experience as governor, is the Port Authority overly politicized in the way that it is structured? CTW: The Port Authority has always been a delicate balance. I always fought with them because I thought New York was getting too much money. [Laughs.] It depends on which side of the river you sit, who you think is getting the majority of the projects. The important thing that I kept reminding people about the Port Authority is what is good for one side inevitably helps the other. We really are connected as economic entities, and it does help New York to have better ways for people to commute into the city to work. It helps New Jersey for people to be able to get to those jobs because of what that does for the economy of New Jersey and the taxes they pay. But it’s always a tug-of-war between the two states as to what infrastructure projects are shovel-ready, who’s getting the biggest bulk of the money, and that’s why you’ve always had a split between the executive director and the chairman. It shouldn’t be used, obviously, for political ends, but to the extent that infrastructure and policies are political, it’s going to get caught up in that. C&S: Lastly, as director of the EPA, you received criticism for declaring in the immediate aftermath of the World Trade Center attack that the air in lower Manhattan was safe to breathe. Do you have any regrets about how you handled 9/11? CTW: No. If I could do it over again I would not answer the question I was asked first. I would talk only about the pile, and then answer the question, because the answer to the question as to whether the air quality in lower Manhattan was safe to breathe is absolutely right based on what the scientists were telling us. Every single morning we would have a conference call, we would find out what the readings were, I would reassert that whatever I said was based on fact and the facts were that the ambient air quality in lower Manhattan after the day of the collapse was safe to breathe. On the pile was a different subject, and every day when I answered that question, that I put second because that wasn’t the question I was asked, but I did say those on the pile should wear respirators. Beyond that, we were in meetings every day—we being the EPA—with those who were the emergency responders in the city who were mapping out what was going to be attacked that day on the site, and every day our people were saying, “They’ve got to wear respirators.” We, unfortunately, were not in a position to be able to enforce that. But as far as the information that was given to the public about the ambient air quality in lower Manhattan in general, it was totally based on scientific review. If I could have done something differently, it would have just been to switch around how I answered the question, so I framed it against on the pile, as opposed to the question everybody wanted to know which was [when] they could move back into lower Manhattan. And by the time they were allowed to do it, it was safe to do.
To read the full text of this interview, including Whitman’s thoughts on the future prospects of the Americans Elect initiative to mount a bipartisan ticket for the presidency, go to www.cityandstateny.com.
city & state — March 10, 2014
don’t want to support somebody with whom I don’t agree.” The bigger picture, though, is the one they have to look at, particularly if they want to reach out to women and minorities. Those are the people who haven’t been playing in the system the way that white men have, and you have to give them some help; this is a way of leveling the playing field so that we send a message that we support this kind of thing because it’s good governance, because it would help deflect some of the influence of the big money donors, and for
Cover Story: Is more money the answer? Issue Spotlight: Education Back & Forth: Christine Todd Whitman
Published on Mar 10, 2014
Cover Story: Is more money the answer? Issue Spotlight: Education Back & Forth: Christine Todd Whitman