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February 10, 2014



City & State



oor freshmen. Always get the short end of the stick. Take the 21 freshman members of the New York City Council. While these women and men are limited by law to serve two terms, 18 of their veteran colleagues can run for a third term in 2017. A third term? How is that possible, you ask? Didn’t New York City voters approve a referendum in November 2010 that for the third time since 1993 unmistakably affirmed that the will of the people is to limit the city’s elected officials to two terms? By Morgan Pehme Funny thing about that referendum. In typical cynical fashion, the Charter Revision Commission that brought the term limits referendum to the ballot allowed one last outrage to be slipped into the fine print. What very few of the 74 percent of voters who cast their ballots to restore term limits realized is that they were simultaneously signing off on a grandfather clause allowing any officeholder elected on or before Nov. 2, 2010—Election Day that year—to run for a third term. This poison pill was, of course, a brazen giveaway to a host of sitting Council members and other city electeds, including the nine members of the City Council who are just beginning their third term (Mendez, Garodnick, Dickens, Vacca, Arroyo, Palma, Mealy, Gentile and Mark-Viverito) and those who are eligible but have not yet had to seek it (Crowley, Ferreras, Ulrich, Eugene, Ignizio, Greenfield). But it was also an appalling welcome mat for the members of the club newly elected the day the people thought they were finally putting an end to the Council’s shenanigans: Chin, Rodríguez, Cabrera, Koo, Weprin, Dromm, Van Bramer, Koslowitz, Levin, Rose, Williams and Lander. Shortly after the 2010 vote, I, as the executive director of the good government group New York Civic, and the organization’s founder, Henry Stern, set about forming a nonpartisan coalition to push for a public referendum to repeal the grandfather clause. While that effort failed because we were not able to raise the money necessary to collect enough signatures to force a referendum onto the ballot, we were joined by a number of the city’s leaders—most notably, Eric Ulrich, the lone councilman to break rank and champion the cause. Back then Ulrich explained to the Examiner, “The Charter Revision Commission created this loophole for me and my colleagues … That’s why I am acting, contrary to my self-interest, to restore the trust of the voters.” Sadly, that trust has never been restored—but the fight to do so need not come to an end. Ulrich, plus the 21 new Council members, together with Andy King, Ruben Wills and Donovan Richards—who were all elected in specials following the 2010 vote and thus are ineligible for the third term—make 25, one shy of the 26 votes necessary to repeal the grandfather clause legislatively. Perhaps Dan Garodnick, who broke his pledge not to seek a third term, could be shamed into becoming No. 26, or maybe one or more of the disaffected third termers (you know who you are!) will take out their ire by doing so. Dear freshman, since the third term was all about shameless self-interest, I would be remiss in pointing out that if you were to deny your 18 colleagues a third term—as your constituents clearly would want you to do—you would also enjoy the happy consequence of significantly moving up the pecking order in 2017. Who knows? Maybe one of you could be Speaker. Food for thought, eh?

Contents Page 4 .......... LETTERS

Readers react to our Jan. 8 issue

Page 5 .......... UPFRONT

City & State’s NYC Power 100 reception…and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, matchmaker extraordinaire

Page 6 .......... CITY

Negotiating Albany: De Blasio’s pre-K push mirrors Dinkins’ “Safe Streets” By Nick Powell

Page 8 .......... STATE

Balancing Act: A one-page primer on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget By Jon Lentz


Page 9 .......... INDUSTRY

A bumpy road for the North Country’s Route 98...Con Edison’s unusual post-Sandy plan...and the debate over student privacy.

Page 14 ........ THE LOVE ISSUE

Bachelors and bachelorettes from the world of New York politics…and finding love as a public official.


Cuomo’s ambitious timeline for expansion…mapping the competitive landscape… and Q&As with Joseph Addabbo Jr., Steven Cymbrowitz and Christopher Kay.

Page 30 ........ PERSPECTIVES

PUBLISHING Publisher Andrew A. Holt Vice President of Advertising Jim Katocin Events Manager Dawn Rubino Government Relations Sales Director Allison Sadoian Business Manager Jasmin Freeman EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Morgan Pehme Albany Bureau Chief Jon Lentz City Hall Bureau Chief Nick Powell Reporter Matthew Hamilton Associate Editor Helen Eisenbach Multimedia Director Michael Johnson Art Director Guillaume Federighi Graphic Designer Michelle Yang Illustrator Danilo Agutoli

Page 34 ........ BACK & FORTH

A Q&A with TV and radio journalist Geraldo Rivera.

Cover: Guillaume Federighi

61 Broadway, Suite 2825 New York, NY 10006 Editorial (212) 894-5417 General (646) 517-2740 Advertising (212) 284-9712 City & State is published twice monthly. Copyright ©2014, City and State NY, LLC

city & state — February 10, 2014

CITY AND STATE, LLC Chairman Steve Farbman President/CEO Tom Allon

State Sen. Adriano Espaillat on the Port Authority… Bruce Gyory on de Blasio’s obstacles…and Nicole Gelinas on Cuomo’s abuse of power…Plus, a special “Love Issue” advice column from Jeff Smith.

are very encouraged by the number of business leaders demonstrating support for this common sense legislation, as they know it increases employee loyalty, productivity and reduces high turnover costs. This bill is a win-win for both businesses and workers. This past December New York’s U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the “Family Act” into Congress, which calls for 12 weeks of paid family leave insurance financed through small payroll deductions of approximately $1.50/week by both employers and employees. The best way to push the “Family Act” forward is for the New York State Legislature to pass PFL in 2014.

Letters to

the Editor Wine and Roses: Choice Lines From Past Addresses

Cuomo and de Blasio: Allies or Adversaries?

Legislative Dossiers: The Members’ 2014 Priorities Revealed

January 8, 2014


city & state — February 10, 2014


In his column, C&S Editor Morgan Pehme wrote a personal appeal for the introduction of paid family leave in New York State, citing his own experience as a father who did not get any time off after the birth of his daughter. As one of many advocate groups working to pass Paid Family Leave (PFL) in New York, we applaud Morgan Pehme’s call to Gov. Cuomo and the state Legislature to designate 2014 the “Year of the Family” in New

York by enacting PFL. The United States stands virtually alone among global leaders in failing to provide any paid time off for workers with a new baby or a sick family member who needs their care. While the federal Family and Medical Act (FMLA) signed into law by President Bill Clinton 21 years ago has been tremendously successful, it guarantees only unpaid leave and applies only to businesses with over 50 employees. Even workers who qualify for FMLA can’t afford to use it, since

it is unpaid. A PFL Insurance bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan will be introduced in Albany this session. It calls for up to 12 weeks of PFL at the time of the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a seriously ill family member. The PFL benefit funded through small employee payroll deductions can be added to and easily administered through the existing Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) program. TDI, which is used for off-the-job disability or pregnancy, has been frozen for the past 25 years at the current cap of $170/week. The bill proposes that TDI and PFL together be gradually increased over four years to a cap of approximately $600/week. The cost of TDI is shared between employers and employees. PFL/TDI will have no impact on the state budget. Over the past 10 years the action on PFL has been at the state level, with California implementing it in 2004, New Jersey in 2009 and Rhode Island at the start of 2014. Adoption of PFL by these states was not an administrative burden, since it was merely added to their existing Temporary Disability Insurance programs that businesses already know and with which they already comply (as New York would). The maximum average PFL benefit for these 3 states is $737/week. We are building a broad and diverse coalition of businesses, labor, women’s, children’s advocacy, senior’s, public health, community, civil rights and faith groups in support of PFL. We

Donna Dolan, Executive Director, New York Paid Leave Coalition City & State published “dossiers” on every member of the New York State Senate and Assembly, including what legislation they were most proud of in 2013 and their top priorities for 2014. The magazine City & State just published a handy directory of the members of the New York Legislature. … The Latino population of New York State is 18.2 percent of the total. Latinos make up only 9.4 percent of those elected to the New York State Legislature. There are six Latinos elected to the New York State Senate (9.5 percent), all from New York City and all are men. According to the City & State survey, the top legislative priority for the Latino State Senators for 2014 are immigration issues (25 percent identified the DREAM Act, and one pointed to the Farmworkers Bill of Rights and Drivers’ Licenses for the Undocumented). This was followed by 12.5 percent each identifying Campaign Finance Reform and the Women’s Equity Act as their top priorities for the current session. Given the controversy over Governor Cuomo’s lack of support of DREAM Act legislation, it is surprising to see that this issue is not seen as having a higher priority. There also was not much priority given to ethics and campaign finance reforms. An excerpt from a letter the National Institute for Latino Policy sent to its email subscribers

To have your letter to the editor considered for publication, leave a comment at, tweet us @CityAndStateNY, email or write to 61 Broadway, Suite 2825, New York, NY 10006. Letters may be edited for clarity or length.

The Good Old Days of Tammany Hall

Spotlight: Healthcare

Is the de Blasio Mandate Exaggerated?

January 29, 2014




POWER 100 The Most Powerful People in New York City Politics SPECIAL ISSUE





City & State unveiled its second annual NYC Power 100 in late January and recognized those who landed on the list at a cocktail reception in Manhattan. The event, hosted by City & State Editor Morgan Pehme and City Hall Bureau Chief Nick Powell, featured live interviews with a number of movers and shakers in city politics.

Fiddler on the Roof is set in early 20th century Russia, but its song “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” could have been written about U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer. The New York Democrat has been quite the love guru on Capitol Hill, bringing together staffers at an impressive rate.

“I think having two Italian-Americans, as a fellow Italian-American, as No. 1 and No. 2, is very exciting. It’s a win-win for us. I’m a huge fan of both the mayor and the governor. I look at it as a tie—they’re both No. 1 in my book.” —Carlo Scissura, President and CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce (#92) Emily Giske

Richard Windram

Josh Vlasto and Megan Murphy Vlasto Danna DeBlasio, Ruth Fasoldt, Eftihia Thomopoulos

Vlasto, who is shifting from being Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s chief of staff to being an advisor to his campaign, and Murphy met while they were both on the senator’s staff in 2007. They wed in October of 2012.


Carlo Scissura Daniel Squadron and Elizabeth Weinstein Squadron Squadron, a state senator, was set up with Elizabeth by Schumer with a little help from his wife, Iris Weinshall, for whom Elizabeth was working at the time. They wed in 2009.

—Suri Kasirer, Founder and President, Kasirer Consulting (#35)

Josh Isay and Cathie Levine

Rev. Jacques DeGraff

Suri Kasirer

Michael Klein

Isay, a managing director for SKDKnickerbocker, and Levine, a communications strategist for Morningside Strategies, met each other while working for then Rep. Chuck Schumer. They wed in 2002.

city & state — February 10, 2014

Stuart Appelbaum

There really is a sea change in the city. I think we see it all across the city. We have 21 new Council members, four out of five new borough presidents, a new public advocate, a new comptroller, a new mayor and a great new team of people he’s brought on board.




city & state — February 10, 2014


ew York City Mayor Bill de Blasio traveled to Albany last month to make the case for his universal preschool program. De Blasio campaigned on providing full-day preschool for all 4-year-olds and after-school programs for every middle school student, which would be paid for through a temporary tax hike on the city’s high-income earners. The common perception is that the tax hike would be a deal breaker for the state Legislature, specifically for Senate Republicans. And Gov. Andrew Cuomo has indicated his reluctance to raise taxes during an election year. Still, de Blasio delivered testimony in his deliberate, measured style, arguing for a dedicated funding source for the program—and in doing so, reached back in history to point to an initiative by his former boss, David Dinkins, that required significant cooperation from Albany. “Let me remind you that the Legislature has taken this kind of action before, and not so very long ago,” de Blasio told state lawmakers at a budget hearing. “In the early 1990s, you gave New York City authority to levy a temporary dedicated income tax surcharge that funded the Dinkins administration’s ‘Safe Streets, Safe City’ program. Doing that allowed us to hire thousands of new police officers. It began the historic ongoing reduction of crime in our city. … Now you can help us make history again.” Dinkins’ Safe Streets program, like de Blasio’s universal preschool initiative, was driven by a new mayor’s sense of urgency. Dinkins took office at the height of New York City’s crack epidemic, which, coupled with the rising homicide rate, created a desperate need for more police. De Blasio campaigned heavily on ending the “Tale of Two Cities”—a metaphor for the city’s growing economic and social gap— and doubled down on universal preschool as the foundation for putting young children on the path to success. “In some ways he’s taking a page from history then, and saying that now that crime is down, there’s really a need for focusing on education,” said Harvey Robins,

Dinkins’ former director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations. “He’s pairing the two.” De Blasio is also taking a page out of the Dinkins playbook in organizing a broad coalition to pressure the Legislature to grant his proposed tax hike, bolstering his lobbying with support from the New York City Council. The mayor was joined in Albany by a delegation of Council members, including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who also advocated for the universal preschool proposal. Numerous Dinkins administration staffers said that the former mayor could not have gotten his dedicated tax hike through without the help of former Council Speaker Peter Vallone, whose Rolodex was thick with Albany connections the mayor did not yet have. It was Vallone who first suggested to Dinkins that the city push to hire more police officers after several highprofile murders on the city’s subways. “[The city] had not only no money, but we had no cops,” Vallone recalled. “We were down to about 25,000 cops, and getting lower and lower as it goes.” At the time, Vallone took stock of the city’s desperate fiscal situation and decided to make deep cuts to the mayor’s budget in order to find the funds to help fortify the city’s police force. “I convinced [Dinkins] that he had to come to Albany with me or I would slash every part of the mayor’s budget, including corporation counsel— anything that the mayor wanted, I would slash to take the monies that we needed to get the cops,” Vallone said. “Instead of doing that, he came to Albany with me.” Together Vallone and Dinkins worked with the Legislature, proposing a variety of tax hikes to pay for additional police. They first tried to raise the property tax. When that proved impossible, they floated raising the payroll tax. Eventually the DinkinsVallone team settled on a surcharge to the personal income tax, hoping to get a dedicated funding source that would sunset after seven years, similar to de Blasio’s commitment that the dedicated tax for universal preschool would expire after five years. “Dinkins felt that if you didn’t have specific funds for this you could point at, it would be subject to the annual budget process that takes place

Rob Bennet/Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio


New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (left) will require the cooperation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo in getting his universal preschool proposal passed. not only between the mayor and the Council but between the city and the state,” said Norman Steisel, Dinkins’ first deputy mayor. “Every year it would be subject to a new round of negotiation.” The proposal still required an extra component to help sway the Legislature. Dinkins administration officials say the former mayor recognized that Vallone’s plan relied too heavily on increased law enforcement resources when there were many factors behind rising crime rates. There was a growing concern that children in the city did not have a useful outlet to keep them off the streets and out of trouble. As a result, Dinkins came up with a number of suggestions to buttress the request for police officers, which included Beacon community centers. The Beacon centers to this day provide a wide range of social services from recreation to job training. Still, the Legislature—as well as then Gov. Mario Cuomo—was reluctant to approve the surcharge. Cuomo did not play a major role in negotiating the finer points of the program, and his public support for Dinkins’ proposal was more political than genuine, Steisel said—an accusation many now level against Gov. Andrew Cuomo with regard to universal preschool. “The governor was kind of supportive,” Steisel said. “I think you’d have to say he was politically supportive.” Taking the lead on needling the

Legislature, Vallone relied on the same public display of political rhetoric de Blasio has utilized in pushing his tax hike: arguing for the right to home rule. Ultimately, Dinkins and Vallone got their tax hike, and “Safe Streets, Safe City” helped contribute to a declining crime rate that would continue through the Giuliani and Bloomberg years. Of course, public safety issues tend to be more politically potent than early childhood education, the benefits of which will not be seen for years to come. De Blasio also does not have the luxury of having a partner on equal or better footing in navigating the rocky Albany terrain, as Dinkins did in Vallone. Mark-Viverito is a formidable legislator on the city stage, but insiders say she does not have the same institutional clout as Vallone, or even her predecessor, Christine Quinn. But the struggle in moving the legislation forward may offer lessons. Vallone believes collaboration was the only way Safe Streets came to fruition, and the fact that de Blasio and the City Council, as well as a growing number of education, business, real estate and labor leaders, have signed on to the universal preschool proposal, will help build the groundswell of support needed to persuade the governor and Legislature. “The moral of the story is nothing really works unless you get cooperation from everyone,” Vallone said. “There’s no heroes.”



Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $137.2 billion executive budget covers state spending for the 2014–2015 fiscal year. The state Legislature is currently holding hearings on the proposal. THE TIMELINE



“By working with Governor Cuomo, the Senate and Assembly are on track to complete a comprehensive budget that protects taxpayers and makes New York more affordable for everyone.”

If the governor and the state Legislature meet their deadlines, they will extend a streak of three on-time state budgets. The last time lawmakers passed four consecutive budgets on time was in 1973, the governor noted in his budget address.


budget passage

days late

JAN. 21

Cuomo submitted his executive budget

JAN. 27

Joint legislative budget hearings began




FEB. 25

The Senate and Assembly release economic and revenue forecast reports














The Senate and Assembly release a revenue consensus report


Joint legislative budget conference committees commence


Joint conference committee releases a final report


AUG. 3


Joint legislative budget bills taken up by both houses













MARCH 24–27 MARCH 31

State budget deadline


New fiscal year begins


Of course, the budget process is never easy. Budget experts have already flagged questionable assumptions in Cuomo’s budget, and advocates are pushing for more funding. PREKINDERGARTEN


“We have gone from a $10 billion deficit to a $2 billion surplus in just three short years.” State Budget Deficit/Surplus $0.5



The executive budget calls for an investment of $1.5 billion over five years for statewide universal full-day prekindergarten. However, Mayor Bill de Blasio wants a tax hike to fund expanded pre-K in New York City, and experts say that far more money will be needed to provide such programs statewide. The governor’s office says that it will fund programs as quickly as they are launched. EDUCATION COMMISSIONER JOHN KING

“If you want to get to true universality you’re probably talking on the order of about $1.6 billion a year.”



Dollars (in billions)

city & state — February 10, 2014



$(2.00) $(2.00)

The Cuomo administration is banking on a Medicaid waiver from the federal government, which would allow the state to keep some savings resulting from the work of its Medicaid Redesign Team. The money would fund capital projects, regional health collaboratives and IT systems.

$(4.00) $(6.00) $(8.00) $(10.00) $(12.00)







* The surplus is based on the assumption that operating funds will increase by no more than 2 percent in coming years.




** The surplus is not actually expected until 2016–17, or five years after the state faced a $10 billion surplus.

“To transform failing hospitals, expand primary care, and get the right mix of community-based services, the federal government needs to approve the $10 billion Medicaid waiver we submitted 18 months ago.”





hree hundred miles north of the Tappan Zee and its super crane, another highway debate is brewing—again. Deep in the North Country, talk of a four-lane highway to speed up truck trips and alleviate downtown traffic in the small towns that spring up along the vast farmland and woodland has been rekindled. This time around it has extra firepower, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal calling for a feasibility study of the long-discussed Route 98. It’s not the first time a possible highway has been proposed for study— or actually been studied. Discussions came to a head in 2002 with a DOT review that included a possible route, then again in 2008 with another DOT analysis. Independent studies have also been commissioned, though the overwhelming conclusion in the state reports has been that an interstate highway isn’t needed. The governor’s proposal for the DOT study is $2.5 million, a drop in the bucket of a $142 billion budget. But the drop is making some waves. YESeleven, a group that has long advocated for use of Route 11—the existing major east–west bypass across the North Country—is once again pushing against the Northern Corridor Transportation Group, a coalition that has been on the opposite side just as long. For YESeleven co-coordinator John Danis, the 2002 and 2008 studies

are all that are needed to prove that a new major highway isn’t necessary. Danis’ group advocates for additions to Route 11—like new passing lanes, road widening and bypasses to alleviate traffic, just as the 2002 review suggested—as an alternative. “You’ve already got the information. Our population hasn’t increased; if anything, we’ve lost population and lost economic activity,” he said. “And to put a point on it, it’s not because we didn’t have an interstate highway. It’s because we had an old world economy of resource recovery and manufacturing that’s no longer competitive on a world scale.” In terms of population, not only is the major interstate work at the Tappan Zee Bridge 300 miles away, it’s also miles away in terms of traffic amounts. According to DOT, the Tappan Zee sees an annual daily average of roughly 132,000 cars. The stretch of Route 11 between Potsdam and Canton in St. Lawrence County—where sources say a study is most likely to focus—sees more than 110,000 fewer vehicles. In the towns themselves, traffic tops out at fewer than 20,000 cars per day. Still, highway advocates say the economic impacts of a new highway could be serious. Northern Corridor Transportation Group Chair Wade Davis said the region is in sore need of a new route because the current transportation options impede economic growth. Ontario’s two major east–west

the governor’s proposal was still fresh. He did say he didn’t expect it would be an intricate environmental review. Duffy said there probably will be discussions in anticipation of funding for a study being approved by the Legislature, though a full press to conduct a study wouldn’t start until the budget is finalized in April. The North Country Regional Economic Development Council already has an idea, though: Look at bringing the two sides of the issue together to study a joint proposal. Council Co-Chair Anthony Collins said the Council has proposed studying bypasses around the heavily trafficked areas like Canton and Potsdam not only to alleviate vehicle strain but also to add an option for shipping. By building bypasses, a Route 98 could be created in sections, rather than a full highway all at once, he said. While those in the North Country see economic benefit, there is speculation that those in Albany see political benefit as well. In Danis’ view, an election year proposal to spend money on another Route 98 study could be an attempt by Cuomo to win back voters in a region where some locals have grown disgruntled with him. There have been whispers that the vague proposal to spend a small portion of the state’s huge budget on the project is an attempt to win Democratic support in St. Lawrence County, Danis said. Extra Democratic support could mean a larger margin of victory in a county that gave Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy double the votes Carl Paladino and Gregory Edwards received in the 2010 election. While administration officials did not respond to a request for comment, Davis denies the political argument— again citing the economic boost that a new route could bring not just the North Country but the state as a whole. Danis still isn’t sold. “I guess you could say this is the holding marker in the poker game,” he said. “[Cuomo] throws the money at the North Country, and these guys are salivating up here about this. But at the end of the year, who knows what it comes to?”


city & state — February 10, 2014

In his State of the State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for a study of Route 98, shown here in a PowerPoint slide from his address. (Executive Chamber)

routes—the Trans-Canada Highway, which runs through the Ottawa region, and the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway running along the border and Lake Ontario—are the region’s only current east–west routes. But Davis said taking Interstate 87 north to Montreal, then across and back down to Interstate 81, adds hours of wait time at each border crossing, increasing shipping costs. A new major highway could not only alleviate that problem but could also service the port in Ogdensburg, the first (or last) major U.S. port along the St. Lawrence River on the way into or out of the Great Lakes. Even if truck traffic counts would be innumerably less on a new route than along, say, Interstate 287 to the south, Davis still sees a benefit. “What we are asking for is an opportunity to help contribute our fair share to the taxes here in New York State and generate economic activity,” Davis said, adding that a new route would attract business, thus growing the tax base. “We’re sitting along the Canadian border—by comparison, would you not have an interstate connection east–west going to Pennsylvania? That would be absurd, because of the economic activity that is generated between New York and Pennsylvania. Yet [we have] the same argument here with Canada, which is one of the U.S.’s largest trading partners.” While both sides of the issue seem to have made up their minds, the state has yet to decide exactly what a study should entail. There is speculation that the entire 180-mile corridor from Watertown to Plattsburgh could be looked at, or just the area between Canton and Potsdam. During a budget hearing in late January, DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald iced the 180-mile so-called “Rooftop Highway” idea, but she didn’t completely shut the door. “My guess is that we probably wouldn’t do the highway,” she said in an interview with public television’s New York Now. “But I want to take a look one more time.” Department of Transportation spokesman Beau Duffy said in late January that the scope of a possible study was yet to be determined because


By: David R. Jones, Esq., President and CEO, Community Service Society.

New York Too Timid on Minimum Wage When the calendar turned to 2014, hundreds of thousands of workers in New York rang in the New Year with a raise. Thanks to a deal reached by legislators in March 2013, the minimum wage increased from $7.25 an hour to $8.00 an hour on January 1st and will increase in phases until it reaches $9.00 at the start of 2016. It was a positive step for the millions of workers and their families who will benefit from the deal. A positive step, but not nearly enough. New York is well behind the curve when it comes to providing meaningful increases to the minimum wage. California’s minimum wage will increase to $9.00 an hour in July of this year before going to $10.00 an hour on January 1, 2016. Several other states have proposed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10.00 or higher. In many states, the minimum wage rises automatically every year to adjust for inflation. Indexing the minimum wage to inflation was a key component of the original deal being worked on in Albany. However, in the negotiation process, indexing was left out, meaning the $9.00 an hour we reach in 2016 will be around for as long as it takes lawmakers to make another change.


Last year’s compromise also failed to provide an increase in the minimum wage for most tipped workers. Employees in food services remain at $5.00 an hour while service employees remain at $5.65 an hour. These workers are forced to rely on tips – an unreliable source of income – just to help them reach the minimum wage. The deal required the Governor to convene a wage board to settle on an increase for tipped workers. So far, that board has not been convened. In California and six other states, tipped workers receive the same minimum wage as all other workers. California is also among a handful of states that allow cities to enact their own minimum wage laws. In San Francisco, the minimum wage is $10.74 an hour, and rises every year in relation to changes in the consumer price index. The new mayor of Seattle is moving forward with plans to enact a $15.00 an hour minimum wage for city workers, with a panel investigating the effects of a citywide $15.00 an hour minimum wage. So the question is: what is New York waiting for?

city & state — February 10, 2014

In 2013, there was an explosion of workers across the country striking in protest of low wages at major fast-food restaurants and retailers. The issue of income inequality has become one of the defining political and policy issues of our time. The country continues to figure its way out of a massive recession – one from which the wealthiest have fully recovered, but the middle and working class continue to feel the effects. Increasingly, working full-time is no guarantee out of poverty or even homelessness. Despite this, New York continues on a timid path. State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has announced that he will propose legislation increasing New York’s minimum wage to $9.00 an hour by 2015 – a year ahead of schedule – and having it indexed for inflation. Democrats in Washington are uniting behind a proposal – supported by President Obama – that would increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 over the next two years with indexing for inflation. Workers in New York are hopeful that momentum will continue to build. Between the courageous protests of fast-food and retail workers, the support of President Obama and Democrats in Washington, or the embarrassment of being left so far behind cities such as San Francisco and Seattle, perhaps legislators in Albany will feel compelled to act. Or maybe Mayor de Blasio will ratchet up the pressure from within, in recognition of the fact that New York City needs its own minimum wage if Albany stands pat. The fate of millions of workers hangs in the balance.



City officials and environmental groups guide utility giant’s billion-dollar rebuild By WILDER FLEMING from THE NEW YORK WORLD


ore than a year after the city’s electric grid failed in Superstorm Sandy, the utility giant Con Edison is on the verge of cementing a billion-dollar plan to upgrade its facilities to endure the projected future impacts of extreme weather, under an unusual agreement signed by the utility, city, environmentalists and consumer groups. Participants in the Con Ed pact— currently under review by the state Public Service Commission—hail it as a breakthrough in preparing the electric grid for climate change. “This worked so well that I hope it becomes a model for the future, not only for New York but also for other states,” said Michael Gerrard, the director of Columbia University’s Center for Climate Change Law, one of the signatories to the agreement. “Assuming the full commission approves the settlement, our plan is to take this around the country as a model for how utilities should plan for future climate change.” In announcing the deal on New Year’s Eve, Gov. Andrew Cuomo highlighted its accompanying freeze on the rates utility customers will pay. But in the near future, customer advocates warn, rate increases are inevitable. Early in 2013 Con Edison had asked the Public Service Commission to approve a rate increase, promising to use the funds to prepare against future storms. But Con Ed’s plans faced criticism from many corners, including environmental groups and engineers working on the city’s storm resiliency efforts, for preparing only for flood levels seen in Sandy—not anticipated future ones. Klaus Jacob, a Columbia University climate researcher, testified to the state commission that the company was “designing to Sandy” and had “failed to engage in a robust evaluation of the full range of climate-related risks.” The Public Service Commission

itself had faced condemnation after Sandy for its oversight of electric utilities, with Cuomo’s Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response slamming the regulator for taking “a reactive rather than a proactive approach to regulating utility storm preparedness and response.” Seeking transformative action, PSC staff members who advised the Commission took the unprecedented step of calling for a broad group of climate-change and renewable energy experts to convene during proceedings over Con Ed’s bid for a rate increase. The utility company has since been meeting with city officials and environmental and consumer groups in a collaborative effort to map out actions it must take in order to brace for climate change. If the PSC approves the proposal at its Feb. 20 meeting, Con Edison will have to comply with all plans coming out of the effort, formally known as the Storm Hardening and Resiliency Collaborative. “It’s just massive in its scope, and it’s massive in its time frame, and it’s an innovative way to do planning,” said Andrea Cerbin, a staff attorney at Pace University’s Energy and Climate Center who has been participating in the process with Con Ed. “This is not the way a company usually does planning. A company doesn’t open itself up to stakeholders and say, ‘Help us out here.’ And that’s why this is a little different.” The collaborative is starting to generate results. Where Con Edison previously relied on outdated flood maps, the utility has agreed to build its fortifications to the latest flood levels and standards from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Con Ed has already been hard at work this year, raising equipment and seawalls in and around its vulnerable substations in Brooklyn, lower Manhattan and on Staten Island,

crisis situations, but they have been resisted by the utility as incomedraining competition. Under the draft agreement, Con Ed will be required to install equipment protecting distributed generators from damaging power surges. And the group continues to discuss other ways Con Ed can help encourage electricity generation from outside sources. “We’re like a weird laboratory right now,” Cerbin observed. “How do you make the grid more resilient, how do you make it more efficient, and how do you recognize and capture the new ways that utilities are operating?” The utility has already spent about $105 million on resiliency measures in 2013, and proposes to spend more than $1 billion in all through 2016. None of it will come for free. Under the settlement Con Ed customers will have no rate increases over the next two years for electricity, and three years for gas and steam service. But the deal also builds in rate increases totaling about $97 million, kicking in right after the freeze. “New Yorkers are worried about paying their current Con Ed bills; it’s a disservice to tell consumers there’s no rate increase when there’s one built right into the proposed deal,” AARP state director Beth Finkel said in a

“One thing that became very clear after Sandy was they were thinking about sea-level rise, but they were not thinking at all about temperature. But extreme heat is actually the climate event that is likely to lead to the greatest mortality in cities.” expanding the use of “modlets”— devices that alert customers to power surges and suggest turning off air conditioning temporarily—and offering discounts on electric rates for customers who temporarily turn off their appliances during periods when Con Edison predicts the system will become overloaded. Cerbin’s team is also working on ways to help Con Edison embrace “distributed generation”—power created by solar and other sources operated by private citizens—and selfsufficient energy systems like the one at New York University, which runs on its own small power station and which remained up and running when the rest of lower Manhattan went dark during Sandy. Both can help fill holes in Con Ed’s system, especially during

statement when the rate freeze was announced. What is more, utilities cannot control fluctuations in the prices of fuel that drive power generation, meaning customers could see increases in their bills even during the freeze period. And sooner or later Con Ed will have to increase rates further to pay for all the investments it is making now. But this time around Con Ed customers can expect to get better value for the money they spend— above all, confidence that in future extreme weather events, New York City’s power grid will remain active. “Con Edison has had a huge education curve,” Cerbin said. “The collaborative was a very nonconfrontational area where people could share ideas, and the best have risen to the top.”

A DREAM Long Awaited Needs to Be a Reality Now George Miranda, President, Teamsters Joint Council 16, New York City, N.Y.

New York State Needs to Act Now on the Dream Act As the State of New York State continues to recover from the great recession with the rest of the country, it will need well-trained and skilled workers to tackle the challenges of the evolving job market. Many of these jobs require workers to have at least a college degree or vocational training. In order to keep pace with the global demand, New York cannot afford to discriminate between who gets an opportunity at a higher education based upon their documentation status. If a student has attended at least secondary school, has the grades, and wants to make their dreams a reality, then that student should be afforded every opportunity.


The New York State DREAM Act puts DREAMers on a level playing field, which is what every student deserves. Sadly, college costs are high even at in-state rates, forcing many undocumented students to either put off or attend school part time. This burden sets DREAMers back dramatically. New York cannot stand by as a portion of the labor force is set back due to economic hardship. DREAMers not only need, but deserve the access to the same financial aid and scholarships as their peers. It is unfathomable, that New York still is not up to par with California, New Mexico, and Texas on this issue. New York more than any other state in the country has a rich and storied history of its relationship with immigrants. Much of the New York Skyline, which many of us take pride in was built by immigrant labor. It is only natural that the next chapter in our illustrious history is partially penned by immigrant authors. In this new economy, New York will face many real challenges and threats. It must be ready to embrace them head on with a workforce competent for the hard road ahead. To not have all of New York’s most gifted and talented minds in hand is sure plan for failure. Now more than ever we need to embrace our great diversity in order to succeed as a state.

city & state — February 10, 2014

replacing copper cable with more flood-resistant fiber-optic equipment, installing “smart switches” to isolate the effects of flooding from the rest of the system, and isolation devices on overhead wires designed to stop the surge from a downed line from spreading to other parts of the grid. But with the encouragement of its outside advisors, the utility is preparing its systems not just for onslaughts of wind and water but also for other projected risks of climate change, like heat waves. “One thing that became very clear after Sandy was they were thinking about sea-level rise, but they were not thinking at all about temperature,” Gerrard said. “But extreme heat is actually the climate event that is likely to lead to the greatest mortality in cities.” Cerbin is part of a team working with Con Ed to explore new ways to grapple with “peak demand,” when customers use the most electricity. In the worst-case scenarios, transformers overheat and power cuts out altogether. Air conditioning during extreme heat is by far the biggest driver of demand. “Rather than going in and plopping in a new transformer, how can we meet that need otherwise?” asked Cerbin. Solutions could include retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency,



city & state — February 10, 2014


just the reality that we’ve got to live with.” Lanza said he believes that storing less student information is better, and other lawmakers wonder why a new data storage system needs to be created in the first place. The answer, according to state officials, is to address the disparity in technology among districts across the state. King said at the January hearing that affluent districts are already using third-party providers to store data and make it accessible to teachers, students and parents through online portals. In some cases, the data is stored on district servers. In other cases, it is stored at regional information centers or locations outside the state. The commissioner said that some districts have had data portals in full swing for years, but the purpose of creating the statewide data store is to bring poorer districts up to speed. While animosity has been directed at inBloom just as much as at the state, a company spokesman said it is up to the state and districts to choose what data is stored, and inBloom is simply the vehicle for storage. “To be clear, we have zero involvement in choosing what is collected,” spokesman Adam Gaber said in an email. “inBloom simply gives each district its own protected storage area, with the ability to organize information based on a set of education data elements called the Common Education Data Standards, which was developed by the U.S. Department of Education, with input from local education agencies, vendors and teachers.” inBloom has repeatedly said that it does not sell student data or share it with other parties, although critics have cited its ties to the online retailer Amazon, which manages its cloud service. The company says that student data on its system has never been breached. Gaber said that inBloom uses Amazon Web Services, an arm separate from the retail store, as its cloud service provider. Amazon Web Services was selected because it is one

of a handful of companies that are fully certified through the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, a federal government procurement program that sets safety standards for cloud service providers. Some experts argue that cloudbased systems may simply be the best option. Matthew Rhoades, director of the cyberspace and security program at the Truman National Security Project, a Washington, D.C.-based national safety think tank, said cloud-based systems generally require a higher level of sophistication to break into. And the systems are catching on with major companies such as Google, he added. Regardless of what encryption and security measures a company like inBloom offers, Rhoades said there are still other standards and protocols that can be put in place to secure data. Of course, as Lanza noted, the tech world is never 100 percent secure, regardless of the system and the sophistication of its security. “We can’t completely secure

ourselves without completely unplugging,” Rhoades said, adding that the Edward Snowden NSA leak illustrates how even top-level encryption can be breached. While unplugging may not be a viable option, lawmakers seem intent on pressing for more information about inBloom and asking for alternative solutions. At the January hearing, while addressing inBloom and the Common Core—issues King says have become conflated, though they are separate— state Sen. Jack Martins issued a stern warning to King that the Education Department must take seriously concerns that have arisen across the state about both. “Make the changes that need to be made, so that this can be implemented successfully,” he said. “Do not, and I’m asking you, please, do not force this body and our colleagues on the other side of the building to come up with a legislative solution in a way that we perhaps don’t want to.”

State Education Commissioner John King testified at a legislative hearing last month. One of the concerns raised by lawmakers is student privacy.

AP/Mike Groll


uring the December holiday shopping rush, retail giant Target made headlines for all the wrong reasons. In a massive data breach, hackers stole credit card numbers and personal information from millions of the store’s shoppers. Its customers were struck with panic about their recent purchases, while others wondered if they would be safe in the future. The episode served as a cautionary tale about what can happen when highly personal data is collected—and not just in the private sector. With education a top issue for many New Yorkers, Target’s predicament only heightened concerns about the state Education Department’s intention to transfer student data to a third-party cloud system. The move of the data to inBloom—a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundationfunded nonprofit that aims to help school districts store crucial data and make it accessible to teachers, administrators, parents and students—has drawn the ire of some state lawmakers and parents. While the state and the company both say the data would be safe while it is moved and once it is stored, some fear a Target-style breach. The state has started transferring data to the new system, but as a result of technical difficulties it has delayed finishing its upload until April. That interruption has given lawmakers more time to push for further postponements of the upload of data—which would include student names, addresses, grades and test scores—at a time when confidence in the leadership of Education Commissioner John King appears to be at an all-time low. “We don’t question the intentions of the state concerning the use of this information. But the concern that we all have is based upon what we see given today’s technological world that we live in: That if you collect information, eventually someone is going to steal it,” state Sen. Andrew Lanza said last month at a Senate Education Committee hearing. “That’s




Rich trial attorneys won't reform a 130 year old law to preserve injured workers’ rights to sue, make construction sites safer, and create thousands of new jobs. In this tale of two cities only trial lawyers are getting rich while the rest of us are paying the price.

Rev. Jacques Andre DeGraff The New Agenda

Louis J. Coletti

President and CEO of the Building Trades Employers Association

Monica Foster NYS Association of Minority Contractors

Samuel P. Padilla, P.E. National Hispanic Business Group

Edwin Lopez New York City Chapter, Inc. NECA

Quenia Abreu New York Women's Chamber of Commerce

James Heyliger Association of Minority Enterprises

Nayan Parikh Indo-American Architects & Engineers

Lloyd Douglas Minority Business Leadership Council

Edwin Lopez NYC Electrical Contractors

Patricia Ricketts Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce

Kieran Ahern Structural Steel Painting Contractor Association

Walter Edwards Harlem Business Alliance

Timothy H. Marshall Jamaica Business Resource Center

Tony Saporito Mechanical Contractors Association

Michael Elmendorf Associated General Contractors of NYS

Cheryl McKissack Women Business Council

William Shuzman Allied Building Metal Industries

David Etkind Interior Demolition Contractors Association

Paul O'Brien Building Contractors Association

Elizabeth Velez Latino Builders Council

Ray McGuire Contractors Association of Greater New York William Rothberg Boilermakers Association of Greater New York, Building Restoration Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors of NY

John DeLollis Association of Wall-Ceiling & Carpentry Industries Jerry Haber Window & Plate Glass Dealers Association Kevin O’Callaghan The Hoisting and Scaffolding Trade Association, Sunstream Corporation Vincent Coletti Plastering & Spray Fireproofing Contractors Association


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“W city & state — February 10, 2014

e are all born for love. It is the principal of existence, and its only end,” observed the late Prime Minister of England Benjamin Disraeli.

With that sentiment in mind, City & State is taking a break this issue from our usual focus on power and policy to concentrate on something more important: love. And what better way to focus on this subject than to try to help forge romantic bonds between those for whom we have the utmost affection: our readers? Thus, in the following pages we introduce you to bachelors and bachelorettes from the world of New York politics looking to find that special someone who will bring them happiness and companionship. It should be noted that this is not one of those tired lists of “most” eligible singles, which are little more than gossipy beauty pageants of dubious substance. The brave souls who appear in this feature in print and in the expanded online version at good-naturedly agreed to participate with the understanding that our intentions in asking them to do so were pure. All of these bachelors and bachelorettes were nominated by someone who knows them and thought they would benefit from our assistance as matchmakers. While we have aimed to be as inclusive as possible in terms of our participants’ diversity and their political and sexual orientations, our list is a reflection of those with the courage to say “yes” when they received our call. In order to submit yourself as a possible match for any of our bachelors or bachelorettes who appear either in print or online, email what you would like to share with the man or woman who intrigues you to and include his or her name in the subject line. Please do not be presumptuous and attempt to contact these singles on your own accord. We promise that we will forward all appropriate correspondence to the intended recipient. As always, we wish you all the best—and with a little bit of luck, City & State hopes we help you find love.



About me: My family and constituents come first. I represent a great district in the most amazing city in the world, so I have a full and busy life, but I miss the time I shared with my husband, who died suddenly while mountain climbing. I’m passionate about the work I do and my commitment to public service.


Who I am looking for: I love meeting new, interesting people and learning about their interests and passions. I am drawn to people who believe it’s important to make a contribution to the world, who love to travel and are secure in themselves, and who enjoy being around accomplished women. I hope to find someone to laugh with, have fun with and travel with, as I did with Clif. Travel, no matter how wonderful, just isn’t the same when you do it alone. Someone who loves to talk about everything that’s happening in D.C., New York City and the world.



Who I am looking for: Someone grounded, ambitious with the ability to deal with the demanding schedule of an elected official. An interest in personal fitness and a healthy lifestyle a plus!


city & state — February 10, 2014

About me: 33 years old. Of Greek and Cuban heritage. Passionate about my profession. Mindful of the present moment. Enjoy traveling. Love animals.


About me: Politics, teaching and working to improve people’s lives are my first loves, of course, but in between consulting on outreach and communications strategies for candidates and issue campaigns, co-founding a sustainable intentional community and being a young upstate American elected official, I just haven’t had the time to meet the right wonky woman.


Who I am looking for: I’d love to find someone to share my morning routine of City & State First Read and a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios with, but I’m not fussy: Last Read and a Saranac Caramel Porter at happy hour are just as fine with me. Must recycle!



city & state — February 10, 2014


About me: I’m 25 years old and about to complete my master’s degree in public administration. I work for the Legislature, and have a dog named Bean back home. When I’m not doing something related to school or work, I enjoy going to shows, listening to music (I used to host a punk and hardcore radio show) or enjoying a good beer. Each week I make a grocery list and forget to bring it to the store with me.


Who I am looking for: I’m looking for someone who has an inquisitive mind and can appreciate sarcasm. Someone who’s just as comfortable talking about records as she is politics or the latest episode of Parks and Recreation. Also, must love dogs.


About me: I love color, music, dancing, folk wisdom, good food, driving barefoot in the summer and I’m obsessed with foreign languages. I also love wild adventures, really good and long conversations, humor and wit, among a thousand other fun things. Who I am looking for: A travel partner (without a lot of baggage), someone who can pack on the spur of the moment without relying on me to make sure he brought clean socks and dental floss. Someone with strong values, who is smart, funny, has high energy and, most importantly, is honest.




About me: I am originally from Alabama by way of D.C., and moved to New York City just over a year ago. While most of my career background includes working on Capitol Hill and doing communications work for labor unions, I am most excited about doing PR work in the sports and entertainment field. In my spare time, I am the creative director of a boutique PR consulting firm that works with professional athletes, artists and organizations in the NYC, D.C. and Alabama regions. When I’m not attending various political and labor events on behalf of Stuart Appelbaum and the RWDSU (or catching up on the latest Scandal episode), you can find me at various networking events where there is typically music and/or dancing involved. Who I am looking for: I am looking for Barack Obama! No, seriously…I am interested in a man who is career-driven, fun and intelligent. Since I am originally from the South, I have a soft spot for gentlemen who are polite, charming and don’t mind putting in time and effort to get to know someone. I certainly don’t have a specific “type,” but I do know that my personality can be a bit strong so I typically gravitate more to those who are likewise. Oh, by the way, ROLL TIDE!

city & state — February 10, 2014





About me: Devoted to the cause of the U.S. POWs abandoned—alive and held against their will—at the end of the Vietnam War in the time period 1973–75. Hundreds are still alive—and held against their will. This is the single biggest political scandal in American history. It is a disgrace—and both political parties are to blame. Who I am looking for: A nice woman, who is interested in politics, government, news and current events, reads a lot, is well educated and NOT egotistical.




city & state — February 10, 2014



About me: Lifelong New Yorker. Part time-politico, full-time wedding attendee. Single, going steady. Who I am looking for: Literate and stylish. It helps to have an unabashed love for pop music and to know your way around a dance floor.





About me: I am a formerly married, father of three, and I consider myself to be a humorous, outgoing individual who loves to have fun and travel. I have an MPA and have worked in government/politics for many years. I currently serve as the chairperson of the Queens Hospital Center Community Advisory Board and as a union delegate for the Professional Staff Congress, in addition to being the host of a classic soul and R&B radio show. I enjoy cooking, quiet Sundays (alone or with my companion), helping others and bringing people together. I have a strong “spiritual base” and need someone with a compassionate, altruistic soul. Those who know me realize that my greatest traits are loyalty, sincerity, candor and generosity. These aforementioned traits and my passion for life and love make me an idealistic lover for those willing to allow me the time to pursue all of my ambitious goals. Who I am looking for: An attractive (inner beauty is equally important), curvaceous woman who is ambitious, caring, generous, intelligent and thoughtful. She should be a college-educated professional who is focused on her goals and who seeks a passionate man who can be a friend, confidant and partner who would be willing to assist her in bringing all of her dreams to fruition.



About me: I would say I am a generally happy, optimistic person with a rather sarcastic side. My career in politics was accidental, but clearly where I belong. I’m originally from Long Island. I miss the beaches but not the traffic, and sometimes the accent comes back.


Who I am looking for: Someone who is confident and has a good sense of humor. Cannot hate politics, but doesn’t have to work in my world. My friends will tell you “someone in a uniform.” Nice eyes and good shoulders wouldn’t hurt.

city & state — February 10, 2014


his finger in the air, signaling that it would be just a moment, but moments passed and he was still on the phone. De Blasio: I’m in the middle of my workday and I look up and there’s this totally captivating woman walking towards me. What added to my sense of captivation was that in the midst of this traditional, kind of bureaucratic…

POLITICAL POWER COUPLE In 2011, City & State—then City Hall—published its list of “Political Power Couples,” which featured a New York City public advocate on the rise and the wife he met while working in the Dinkins administration. The following is an excerpt.


How did you meet? Chirlane McCray: During the Dinkins administration, I was employed by the city Human Rights Commission,


city & state — February 10, 2014


ove and politics go together like clean water and hydrofracking. But not if you really work at it. We’ve been legally married for almost two years now, and a couple for nearly fifteen. Yet it feels like we’ve been inseparable for much longer than that. The story of our first meeting is a pretty fun one. A mutual friend invited us to a fundraiser for an LGBT community center in Queens. He wasn’t matchmaking intentionally. But when one of us (Jimmy) approached the mutual friend to ask who the guy was over there in the tie (Dan), he replied that the guy in the

but I was sent to City Hall to work in the press office on rotation. It was a common practice where they would send people from the agencies to work in City Hall for a while. I was there for a few weeks, and one of my assignments was to write a press release outlining who the mayor was endorsing for the City Council races, and I was told that Bill de Blasio was the guy who knew all the political stuff. … One of the press people literally took me by the hand and over to his desk, which was not far from our office, and said, “There he is,” and he was on the phone, he was sitting at a little cubicle with lots of Post-Its all around his desk and totally involved in a very deep conversation. He turned around and saw me and put

tie (Dan) had asked who the other one was (Jimmy). Pretty much it was love at first sight. We started out like many young couples do, sharing a futon in a tiny Woodside studio apartment. We had a television that broadcast exclusively in shades of green. Jimmy, who grew up in Astoria, was hired as a community organizer for the Queens Library. Dan, a native of Michigan, later became a cub reporter for the Queens Chronicle. Alongside our own love, our love for Queens deepened too, over Mets games, pollo a la brasa and visits to Jamaica Bay. No one could have predicted that we would bond over Queens, but we did. And that mutual fascination with this place—we’ve built our careers and life together here—has been a secret ingredient to our longevity. Jimmy’s career, which has taken him from a community organizer to Council member and now majority leader, poses challenges. As does Dan’s evolution from reporter to editor, to environmental leader to documentary filmmaker. Finding time and space away from the noise of politics is crucial.

McCray: Button-down. Bill de Blasio: Huh? Oh yes. Right, button-down. Very button-down environment, drifting towards me elegantly is this striking person, because she was wearing a very colorful dress and she had a head wrap and she had a nose ring—a very prominent nose ring. So the rebel in me immediately loved it. [Laughs.] Even though I was on the phone and I was doing something, the way I was signaling was, “Don’t go away.” I didn’t even know who she was, but I knew I didn’t want her to go away, and then I talk to her for a few minutes. But it was really the kind of, the lightning bolt struck me, there was no question and I was captivated. It was definitely some of that love-atfirst-sight dynamic to it, like I was absolutely taken by her from the first conversation. McCray: All of a sudden, he was in the press room all the time. I had never

To that end, we have date night. Yes, just like the Obamas. We started date night soon after Jimmy was first elected in 2009, to make sure that we carve out some space for just the two of us. And acclimating to the demands of our careers has been critical too. There are multiple events every night. Rather than not see each other on busy nights, we will join each other—whether that means a Young Environmentalists mixer for Dan’s job or a museum fundraiser for Jimmy’s. There definitely are challenges. A lot of people see us as a unit—to the

seen this guy, and then literally every day from then on he was in the press room. Have you ever disagreed on a political issue? de Blasio: It was when I was first elected to the Council in ’01… there were lots and lots of meeting going on with the Brooklyn delegation. At that point, Clarence Norman was the county leader and he was chairing the meetings and he was pushing very hard for the Brooklyn Council members, including the incoming Council members, to support Angel Rodriguez, who was a Brooklyn Council member who was running for the Speaker of the City Council, and I was very, very dubious. And it was a classic situation where the message from the county leader was, “The train is about to leave the station and things are moving, and if you’re not with the majority you’ll be left behind,” and I started to feel a conflict between what I felt—which was that I didn’t think Angel was the right candidate—and then sort of practical politics. I went home and I talked to Chirlane about it, and she literally said—sorry, this is a sound byte that’s so excellent because it was true—she literally said, “If you vote for Angel Rodriguez for Speaker I’ll divorce you.” [Laughs.]

point where people stop Dan in the street with constituent issues (which he promptly forwards to Jimmy’s office). But the truth is, having a partner by your side on a journey makes that trip a better and safer one for all. We know that to be true. New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer represents District 26 in Queens, including Woodside, Sunnyside, Long Island City, Astoria and Maspeth. Dan Hendrick is vice president for external affairs at the New York League of Conservation Voters.


The Must-Read Morning Roundup of New York Politics and Government Our morning email delivers daily exclusives from City & State, as well as a curated summary of the day’s most pertinent headlines, editorials, news tidbits, schedules and milestones from across the political landscape in New York—all before 7 a.m.

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New York is on the verge of licensing a new wave of casinos, this time with Las Vegas-style gambling and table games—a step up from the slots at the state’s existing racetrack casinos—and allowing them in three upstate regions that are not on Native American land. Although New York City is off the table, the competition for one of the four upstate casino licenses has attracted a number of potential bidders, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has laid out a timeline that would complete the selection process by early fall.

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city & state — February 10 2014


THE STATE The expansion is largely due to the efforts of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (1) and his administration, which made expansion a top priority, as well as the state’s residents, who approved a constitutional amendment legalizing casinos in a referendum last fall. Bennett Liebman, a former commissioner on the state’s Racing and Wagering Board, is a top behind-the-scenes adviser to the governor on gambling-related issues. David Skorton, the president of Cornell University, is overseeing the reorganization of the troubled New York Racing Association as chairman of its board, and Christopher Kay is NYRA’s president and CEO.

THE COMMISSION The next step in the process is putting out a request for bids and the selection of the winning proposals. The New York State Gaming Commission, the regulatory agency overseeing all aspects of gambling in the state, currently has four members—Barry Sample, John Crotty, John Poklemba and Todd Snyder—and the governor announced his fifth appointee, Mark Gearan (2), at his State of the State address this year. Gearan, the president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, is set to chair the Commission, which has begun to assemble a selection committee of experts to put out a request for bids. The state Senate and Assembly can each name one appointee, although only five are needed before the selection committee can begin its work. Robert Williams, a longtime lawyer with deep experience on casino issues, is the acting director of the Commission.

THE LEGISLATURE Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattanite often considered to be a casino opponent, allowed the amendment legalizing gambling to move forward last year, but it is noteworthy that no full-fledged casinos will be allowed in New York City for at least seven years. State Sen. John Bonacic (3), who chairs the Senate gaming and judiciary committees, has long pushed for casinos to boost the economy in the Catskills, including the district he represents, and he is hoping to land two in the region. Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, who represents a part of Yonkers near the Empire City Casino, chairs his house’s racing and gaming committee. State Sen. Joseph Addabbo’s Queens district includes Genting’s Resorts World New York Casino at Aqueduct, the state’s most lucrative racetrack casino and a likely contender for expansion after seven years.

THE NATIVE AMERICANS Before voters approved the casino ballot referendum in New York, Cuomo signed three landmark agreements with Native American groups that have existing casino operations in the state, a key move that neutralized three potential foes of expansion. The Seneca Nation of Indians, whose president is Barry Snyder, operates three casinos in Western New York, where it has exclusive gambling rights, and is looking at opening a fourth in the Rochester area. The Oneida Indian Nation and its representative, Ray Halbritter (4), operate the Turning Stone Casino, and have an exclusivity agreement with the state covering Central New York. The Saint Regis Mohawks, whose tribal chiefs include Ron LaFrance Jr., operate the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino in the North Country, where they also have a zone of exclusivity.





ov. Andrew Cuomo wants to have casino bids in by June, the winners selected by this fall, and gamblers showing up at new or upgraded Las Vegas-style facilities in New York as soon as early next year. “Our challenge now is to make casinos a reality, make it happen, make it happen fast and make it happen correctly,” the governor said during his State of the State address. “Our current plan is March 2014 for the RFP to go out, bids come back in June and we hope to make the selections in early fall.” But some experts say the ambitious timeline could ultimately give a leg up to existing racetrack casinos able to quickly upgrade to a full-fledged

operation—thus creating a potentially uneven playing field. “If the governor wants the quicker revenue, the tracks certainly have plant and equipment up,” said John Sabini, the former chair of the state’s Racing and Wagering Board. “If they set a short timetable, it’s fair to say that the tracks would have the upper hand.” If the existing racetrack casinos, or racinos, do prove to be more attractive to the committee that will be formed to weigh bids, two likely contenders that would stand to benefit are Saratoga Casino and Raceway in Saratoga Springs and Tioga Downs in Nichols, a town in Tioga County. State legislation allows for four

casinos to be licensed in three upstate zones: the Capital Region, the Southern Tier and the Catskills. Three Native American tribes have exclusivity zones in parts of upstate New York, and the downstate region is off the table for at least seven years. While some experts view the Saratoga racino as the favorite in the Capital Region, a group of local residents has launched an effort to keep any expansion out of the community. Moreover, while the constitutional amendment legalizing full-fledged casinos with table games passed handily in the state, a majority of voters in Saratoga County voted against it. Saratoga Springs’ new mayor, Joanne Yepsen, has also said

that a Las Vegas style casino “has no place” in the city. “If there continues to be opposition in Saratoga County to the facility there, and if that becomes a political liability to the governor’s office, that could change things,” Sabini said. Still, the Capital Region is one of the less competitive upstate regions for obtaining a full-fledged casino license. U.W. Marx Construction’s riverfront development at de Laet’s Landing in Rensselaer and the Tobin First Prize packing plant are both potential sites for casino expansion, although it is less certain that developers will make bids tied to those locations. In the Southern Tier, which also appears to have relatively few potential

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city & state — February 10, 2014



bidders at this point, the Tioga Downs racino is widely seen as the frontrunner. However, the owners of Traditions at the Glen, a resort and conference center in Broome County, are touting their plans for a large casino, including backing from local officials. The owner of a Holiday Inn in Binghamton is also exploring a bid. The third region, the Catskills, has drawn far more interest. Two competing groups of investors are eyeing the old Concord hotel as a site, one headed by the owners of another existing racino, Monticello Raceway, and another that includes the owners of Mohegan Sun, a massive Native American casino in Connecticut. Mohegan Sun’s Connecticut rival, Foxwoods Resort and Casino, is a partner with another group that wants to build a casino at the old Grossinger’s resort. Another partnership is looking at Ulster County’s the Nevele, also an old hotel from the Catskills’ Borscht Belt heyday. Other potential bidders include the Catskills Entertainment City and Casino Resort in Sullivan County and Greenetrack, an Alabamabased company that could apply for a license in the region. State Sen. Joseph Addabbo, whose district includes the lucrative Resorts

World New York Casino in Queens— which is out of the running for now— predicted the state would weigh all bids equally in deciding which ones should win licenses. “We’ve seen where these racinos that are attached to racetracks are quite successful. I could point to

Resorts World, which has been very successful—so we do have a product that has a success record. I’m sure that will be considered,” the lawmaker said. “But this is a case-by-case basis. I don’t think there’s a cookie-cutter approach that could be taken here. So I think all sites should be considered,

whether they have a racetrack attached to it or not.” If that is the case, the process will likely take longer than the governor has publicly called for, said Alan Woinski, president of Gaming USA Corp. After the siting committee, which currently has only partially been named, issues a request for proposal and selects winning bids, the state still has to set up a new system to monitor and collect revenue, table games have to be installed and workers have to be hired and licensed. If the process is rushed, the casinos could be vulnerable to savvy gamblers looking to exploit errors or confusion, Woinski added. “If [the governor] has any hope of getting any casino revenue in the next year, he’s going to have to give it to one of the existing properties,” he said. “Doing this RFP and all this stuff, there’s going to be nothing but delays. It happens in every jurisdiction; they can say whatever they want, but there will be delays. Most likely next year at this time, we’ll be sitting there wondering when there’s going to be revenue coming in, because they may not even be able to announce it by this time next year.”


$4.6 BillioN city & state — February 10, 2014

for educatioN

$198 millioN to local GoverNmeNts

$1.1 BillioN for raciNG aNd BreediNG support

New York GamiNG associatioN memBers:

a record of results



SCORECARD: CASINOS CASINO SITING Gov. Andrew Cuomo has laid out a timeline that could have at least some new casinos opening within a year. A siting committee would issue a request for casino applications in March, and bids would come in by June and be reviewed over the summer, with the assistance of an outside consultant. By early fall the winners would be announced. The five-member siting committee, which is made up of financial and real estate experts, already includes former state budget director Paul Francis, former New York City comptroller Bill Thompson and Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz.

HOME RULE Although the Oneidas helped fund a push to let local governments decide whether to allow new casinos in their communities, that effort fell by the wayside when the Cuomo administration secured a landmark agreement with the tribe. While community input is to be taken into account by the state’s casino siting committee, localities will not have the power to reject casinos. A bill introduced by state Senators Liz Krueger and Cecilia Tkaczyk proposed requiring local governments to pass a law in support of any new casino, but the governor’s office quickly shot it down.


Racetrack casinos in New York


Native American casinos in New York


Slot machines in New York


New slot machines allowed on Long Island


New casinos allowed in New York


New casinos allowed in “Phase One”


Upstate regions where new casinos can be licensed


Years before downstate casinos are allowed

1 million

Dollar amount of license application fee

200 million

Dollars in projected revenue from casino licensing by 2015–16

1 billion

Dollar amount of projected “economic activity” from expansion

420 million

Dollar amount of projected “fiscal impact” each year

192 million

Dollar amount of projected aid to local governments each year


Percent of state revenues for education or property tax relief


Percent of state revenues to local governments

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city & state — February 10, 2014

EXCLUSIVITY ZONES The Cuomo administration paved the way for casino expansion by securing revenue-sharing agreements with three Native American tribes with upstate casinos. The agreements guarantee the Seneca Nation of Indians, the Oneida Indian Nation and the St. Regis Mohawks geographical exclusivity, and helped determine where new casinos can be built. The Senecas, who operate three casinos in Western New York, have identified a Rochester-area location outside of its exclusivity zone for another casino.

city & state — February 10, 2014



city & state — February 10, 2014



CASINOS city & state — February 10, 2014






President and CEO, New York Racing Association

Ranking Member, New York State Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee

Chair, New York State Assembly Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee

Q: The state took over the New York Racing Association to reform it during a three-year period. Where are you in that process? CK: The three-year strategic plan calls for the New York Racing Association to be reorganized by October 2015, and for us to have a plan for that by April 2015. Since I started in July 2013, I have focused the organization’s energies and assets on three strategic initiatives: (1) enhance the guest experience, (2) improve the quality of racing and (3) develop a plan for reorganization. We are making great progress in our efforts toward achieving all three goals. We need to work closely with state government and, at the same time, to provide an excellent experience for our fans—both old and new. One way to do that is by improved customer service. Another is to improve the quality of racing at every racetrack we operate.

Q: There were serious issues with the siting of a racetrack casino at Aqueduct. Will this process be better? JA: We certainly have a tradition in this state of learning from our mistakes, and there were some major mistakes in the previous process. With the second process that culminated in Resorts World, the casino in Queens, it was a much better process.

Q: How well is New York State doing in terms of providing funding to combat problem gambling? SC: There is no additional money in the governor’s budget for any gambling programs. As a matter of fact, 41 gambling treatment programs across the state were defunded last year. What the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services did, because of those cuts—they said, “You’ll have to provide those services with the money you’ve received.” No money was restored. And the money that had been allocated under the casino expansion is $500 per machine toward treatment, but between last year and the time that they’re going to be built and operational, there’s no money for compulsive gambling programs. And the problem exists right now.

Q: There have been reports that NYRA might close Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. Is that on the table? CK: We have not authored any reports that NYRA is considering closing Aqueduct. What our board chairman, Dr. David Skorton, and I said last September is that everything is on the table.

Q: State Senators Liz Krueger and Cecilia Tkaczyk introduced home rule legislation to give communities more of a say in allowing a full-fledged casino. Is that a good idea? JA: It has some merit. In my hometown of Ozone Park, there were constituents and residents there who were very concerned, and some were fearful of a casino being in their backyard. I remember the first thing we did when Resorts World was named was have a town hall meeting with the residents. We showed Resorts World that we have concerned residents, and showed the residents that we would have a good neighbor in Resorts World. It is very important to have the community be involved in the process along the way. The legislative approach with home rule may slow down the process. I don’t know if that’s the best approach, because it could delay a process that the people of this state voted on. That’s not to say that we can’t do it. I don’t think we need legislation. We need to have a process with town halls or other venues where people could weigh in. For a property that is chosen, it is within a jurisdiction and within the zoning of putting a casino there. This is not someone’s private property where we’re forcing it on them.

Q: What is the competitive landscape for horse racing across the country? CK: Day in, day out, we have the finest racing in the country. And the bettors agree. Twenty percent of all monies wagered on thoroughbred races in the U.S. is wagered on our races at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. One-third of all money wagered in August is wagered on our banner Saratoga meet. Our purses are absolutely an asset in ensuring that the best horses, trainers and jockeys continue to compete here in New York. A key component to improving the quality of racing is the addition last November of our senior vice president of racing operations, Martin Panza. Martin is one of the most knowledgeable and innovative racing executives in the world. He has several exciting ideas designed to further improve the quality of our racing and to create more of the “big days” that fans love.

Q: Are you confident in the process that has been laid out? JA: I hope that there is a transparency— something that plagued the previous process with the Aqueduct site. We have yet to see the selection process roll out. I am optimistic that it will be a transparent and credible process that we can be proud of.

Q: Why were those programs cut? SC: That’s something you would either have to ask the governor or the commissioner of OASES. I certainly will be asking that at my budget hearing. Q: How does New York compare to other states for such funding? SC: The numbers have shown that we’re lagging behind, just as we’re lagging behind in treatment for substance abuse. We have one of the largest opiate problems, and we’re in a sorry situation where there’s few dollars to provide either prevention programs or treatment programs. Q: Does this impact your overall position on casino expansion? SC: I’ve always said that for economic stimulus for upstate I’ve supported casino gambling. But at the same time I fought from the very beginning that there be dollars included for treatment services, and I was pleased that $500 per machine was put in. But I think that’s just the beginning of what the need is. Right now there’s approximately $2 million, the same as last year, for programs, and with this additional $500 per machine, it’s an additional $4 million. But we’re going to have to wait a while to see that money.





t is far too early to speculate on Bill de Blasio’s ultimate success as mayor. However, it is not too soon to parse the factors that will determine how New Yorkers will judge his mayoralty. I was honored to serve on City & State’s panel for the Top 10 Greatest Mayors in New York City history. That review implicitly spotlighted three factors determining mayoral success. The first factor is controlled by the mayor himself. Successful mayors ground their missions in achievable objectives. Koch: fiscal balance and independence; Giuliani: breaking the back of crime and restoring the sense that the city was governable;


city & state — Feburary 10, 2014



he governor on the wrong side of the Hudson is rightly in trouble for allowing his appointees at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to abuse their power in pursuit of political punishment. The governor on the other side of the river, though, deserves scrutiny for his recent actions at the Port Authority, acting arbitrarily and capriciously—for a good end, but the end doesn’t justify the means. Andrew Cuomo acted in response to a Daily News series on low-wage poverty. An army of workers toils on Port Authority property for minimum wage or barely above it. These workers

and Bloomberg: rebuilding the city’s economy and spirit in the wake of 9/11—all benefited from choosing and succeeding at salient missions. Alternatively, despite significant achievements—most notably that New York never burned from riots—Mayor Lindsay suffered from biting off more than he could chew. Lindsay pretended he could transform New York City into a model for urban rebirth from what the old Herald Tribune called a “city in crisis.” New York’s descent into fiscal crisis inevitably flowed from Lindsay’s overreach. Which brings us to de Blasio’s great vulnerability: his diagnosis of the long-term dangers attending rising inequality. His argument is irrefutable, and yet the real question is: Can any mayor successfully combat the underlying forces undergirding that inequality rooted in our newly flat world? Might de Blasio be wiser if he confined his diagnosis of inequality to the bully pulpit, but directed his prescriptions to address it toward achievable objectives: excellence in education and the development of a robust affordable housing program? That shift might create a standard de Blasio could meet, rather than setting the bar at a height no mayor can surmount alone: reducing inequality. The second factor hearkens back to

Mayor Fiorello La Guardia’s famous (and correct) observation that “There is no Democratic or Republican way to clean the streets.” Mayors should realize that to build up their political bank accounts for programmatic initiatives, they must prove their administrative skills. Stan Greenberg, the head of the de Blasio campaign’s polling firm, has long admonished Democrats not to take false comfort from polling data showing public support for many liberal proposals. The reason, according to Greenberg, is that the public distrusts whether progressives can manage the government wisely. Consequently, progressives must succeed in clearing this hurdle of trust. Thus how snowstorms are cleared and garbage is cleaned up will raise or lower de Blasio’s political capital on the big issues. The third factor is that mayors must be effective lobbyists for their own agendas, because so much of the city’s budget is dependent upon federal and state funding. Mayor La Guardia owed a large quotient of his success to the fact that he was a magician at securing federal dollars for infrastructure projects. Mayor Robert Wagner was similarly astute in securing state support for his budgets. De Blasio must realize that no

mayor can take Albany by storm. Institutionally, the governor and the Legislature hold enormous sway over the city. Moreover, New York City has not cast over 30 percent of the state’s gubernatorial vote in over three decades, despite growing to 42 percent of the state’s population and 40 percent of all registered voters. Even if de Blasio succeeds in building New York City’s electoral clout, he still must become a legislative coalition builder in Albany across regional and partisan lines. A critical question becomes: Will de Blasio succeed in building long-term alliances with upstate school districts on education funding formulas, and with Long Island and the northern suburbs on the MTA’s Capital Plan? The entire state would benefit from a vibrant New York City with a growing middle class as a ladder out of poverty. But rest assured, the long-term political support for any mayor will only accompany governing achievements. That hard and enduring lesson of New York City mayoral history carries the force of gravity.

don’t work for the Port Authority but for airlines (or airline contractors) who do business on Authority property. Twenty-seven-year-old single mom Shareeka Elliott “scrub[s] floors and toilets at checkpoints and lug[s] monstrous bags of garbage” for little more than the new $8 state minimum, the paper reported. “Elliott hasn’t been able to provide for her two daughters” despite her hard physical labor. Some people work for below minimum wage, supposedly because they get tips from handicapped passengers they help. In response, Cuomo helped Elliott and her colleagues overnight. Port Authority director Pat Foye “ordered an immediate pay hike for airport workers toiling in jobs at or near the minimum wage,” the News reported, to $9 an hour and, gradually, to $10.10. Since the low-wage workers don’t work for the Port Authority, though, Foye couldn’t order this hike. Rather, he is persuading the airlines at JFK and LaGuardia to do it “voluntarily.” Isn’t that good government at work? Cuomo showed he could improve lives in just minutes, helping people who deserve a raise. His actions, though, should give pause to people who are worried about poverty and inequality. The governor (through Foye) confined his actions to the New York

airports the Authority manages, leaving Newark, its third airport, alone. But Port Authority executives act on behalf of both states. If it’s good policy to set a higher wage at two airports, it should be good policy for three— which Foye should feel comfortable mandating. Yes, Cuomo has been far more active on minimum-wage and anti-poverty issues than has Gov. Chris Christie, but the Port is supposed to be an Authority independent of both governors’ individual goals. Otherwise, over time similar moves could encourage the airlines to play one state off another—with an airline pledging to favor, say, Newark if New Jersey’s Port Authority appointees keep wages lower there. Setting an artificially high minimum wage, without any warning or discussion, could also act as a deterrent for other private businesses that operate on government property, or are contemplating doing so. This is not a question of whether heavily subsidized businesses should have to pay a higher wage. The airlines aren’t heavily subsidized. Yes, they benefit from tax-exempt bonds to build their terminals. But the profits the Port Authority makes from landing fees and other airport charges—half a billion dollars in profit, not just gross revenues,

in 2012—helps subsidize its moneylosing operations, including its bus terminal and mass transit. Cuomo is forcing these private businesses, then, to pay artificially high wages not because they benefit from being on government property; they pay heavily for it. If I run a coffee shop in a private office tower built on government land—say, at the Port Authority’s new World Trade Center—or a gift shop in the MTA’s Grand Central Terminal, also indirectly controlled by Cuomo, his move should make me nervous. To be sure, if private contractors are acting illegally—misclassifying workers as ineligible for the minimum wage for receiving tips—the government should enforce the law. But the bigger questions are: Should the minimum wage be higher, or does the risk of losing jobs to automation outweigh the benefit of higher pay to people who keep their low-wage jobs? Should anyone work full-time and still not be able to support a family without government benefits such as food stamps? Cuomo’s unilateral move didn’t answer those questions—and it raised questions of its own.

Bruce N. Gyory is a political consultant with Corning Place Communications and an adjunct professor of political science at SUNY Albany.

Nicole Gelinas (@nicolegelinas on Twitter) is a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal.


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the Bridgegate scandal occurred farther along in the construction process, my constituents would have suffered more than the Fort Lee residents Christie administration officials were seeking to punish. Before this work begins in full, we have the opportunity to put safeguards in place to make construction less disruptive, and the end result more reflective of Washington Heights’ needs. We can boost participation from MWBE- and locally-owned businesses that may otherwise experience hardship during this period. We can secure a much needed cultural space in the new terminal to support uptown’s thriving arts community. We can ensure that the GWB’s bicycle paths remain open during the bridge’s recabling so cyclists commuting to work or riding for exercise won’t lose this amenity. And we can conduct a traffic study—a real one—so that an informed strategy for keeping pedestrians safe via traffic enforcement and minimizing the hardship for local residents can take shape. In the aftermath of this scandal, I will push for a more transparent and community-responsive agency: reorganizing the authority’s New York and New Jersey appointees currently operating in state-based silos under one chain of command, and insulating staff and board members from partisan politics. But for the community at the other end of the bridge that was also placed at risk during this incident, the next step must include solving these neighborhood problems before this megaproject begins.

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The Public Officials Q&A Features: Bob Linn NYC Director of Labor Relations

Assemblyman Keith Wright Chair, Assembly Labor Committee

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer Councilmember Daneek Miller Chair, Civil Service and Labor Committee (Public Officials pending confirmation)

Featured Editorial Coverage: NO DEAL? ARBITRATION THEN: City & State examines the possibility of major municipal unions in New York City heading to arbitration if they don’t feel they are getting a reasonable deal. What are the historical precedents and the potential timeline?

RETROACTIVE RAISES...FOR SOME: After several small transit unions received retroactive raises, it remains to be seen whether funding for sweeping raise concessions to labor leaders will be available to Mayor Bill de Blasio / City government. How did the MTA negotiate pay for these 5000+ employees, and will this provide ideas to City government?

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city & state — Feburary 10, 2014


hile the now-infamous closure of Fort Lee’s access roads to the George Washington Bridge and subsequent cover-up have drawn universal shock and made New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie a target for late-night TV ridicule, Washington Heights had another reason for reacting with anger to the scandal that will be remembered as “Bridgegate.” That’s because while New Jersey political appointees at the Port Authority were quick to explain the abuse of public infrastructure to settle on a hastily invented “traffic study,” our community has been calling on the agency with increasing urgency to conduct a real one for years. In northern Manhattan, conditions at the George Washington Bridge have an immediate, tangible impact on the surrounding neighborhood—when New York-bound traffic from the bridge to the Cross-Bronx Expressway piles up, local streets become more dangerous. Drivers exiting the bridge search for city streets they can cut through while maintaining highway speeds. And idling Jersey-bound traffic on the Manhattan side exacerbates air and noise pollution levels. All this without a single traffic cop in sight to manage things. In an area that already has higher rates of pedestrian fatalities and more than the citywide average of childhood asthma, the consequences of manipulating traffic on the bridge are real and harmful. Bridgegate didn’t only remind Washington Heights residents of our current problems—it heightened fears about the future of the facility. Over the next decade, the Port Authority will spend more than $1 billion on the 181st Street bus terminal at the base of the bridge, which includes the GWB’s restringing with new suspension cables. Although ultimately beneficial, these projects are going to be disruptive. Had


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Q. I watched your documentary and two things stood out for me: (1) You seemed to be working, like, 18 hours a day, and (2) I never saw you with a woman. I know you weren’t married yet, but were you totally single, or dating seriously? If the latter, was your girlfriend a big part of your campaigns, and did you consider getting married? I ask because I’m thinking about running for office in 2016, and I’m in a fairly serious relationship, and so I’m wondering if you think it would be helpful if I were to get married in advance. I’m

28 now so it wouldn’t be that weird or anything if I were single, but since politicians are constantly featuring their family in all their mailings, etc., I wonder if you thought that being single was a handicap for you. Thanks for your candid reply! —Jersey Boy, Location undisclosed A. Being single was not a handicap for me, other than having opponents proclaim that I was gay, which hurt

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with some voters and helped with others. More to your point, being single was the only way I could have worked at that pace. I’m sure this will sound like an exaggeration, but I didn’t take a waking hour off for 10 months, other than time spent teaching (my livelihood). And even that time served the campaign, since many of my students ultimately became volunteers or interns. The point is, it’s a double-edged sword. Sure, there may be some voters who would like you better if you were married. But unless you want to be a crappy husband, being married is likely to take away time that could otherwise be spent campaigning. That said, your significant other could soften you and make you more likable, in the way that many commentators thought Ann Romney did for Mitt. (Having recently seen Mitt, the new documentary covering his two campaigns, I agree.) But I just reread your question and realized I’ve totally missed the mark so far. So let me go back to square one and start my answer over. WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU THAT YOU’D LET A POLITICAL CAMPAIGN DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT YOU GET MARRIED? There’s your candid reply. If you take nothing else away from this answer, it should be this: Far more voters would be repelled to know that you gamed out an engagement decision for political benefit than would be swayed by the fact that you were married, single, gay, straight, bisexual or asexual. Q. Here’s my situation: I’ve been sleeping with the chief of staff in the office of the politician I work for. She is actually two rungs above me, so she was not my supervisor…until a couple weeks ago, when I got promoted. The thing is, I’m not really that into her. You know what they say: Wouldn’t brag about it, but wouldn’t deny it. (Of course, it’s all on the down low.) What do you think I should do?

city & state — Feburary 10, 2014

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A. I think you should start looking for a new job. As long as you’re both employed there, you’re in a no-win situation. Either you stay with her and remain faithful, in which case you’re wasting your prime dating years on someone you’re not into, or you break up with her and risk suffering professional consequences at the least, a lot of tension or awkwardness at best. Now that you’re reporting to her, I just don’t see how this ends well,

so if I were you I’d quietly be sending résumés out. Q. How important do you think sex appeal is on the campaign trail? Did you ever do anything while campaigning to intentionally try to use your looks to your advantage? —P.K., Manhattan A. Ha ha. What looks? I’m an averagelooking guy—no false modesty there. But—to answer your question—that did not stop me from trying to use anything I had to get votes. You name it, I was guilty of it. Flirting with coeds to try to get them to volunteer for me? Check. (I was in my 20s then, so maybe that’s not as bad as it sounds. Maybe.) Flirting with middle-aged housewives? Check. Flirting with women at senior centers? Definitely. Flirting with dudes dressed in gladiator outfits at the Pridefest Parade? Maybe my most effective tactic. As we all know from being sentient consumers of American advertising, sex sells. There is no reason we should expect politics to be any different in that regard. So if you happened to see this pic over the weekend, you’d understand what it means: He’s probably running. Q. Is it dumb to date a politician? Every day I turn around and there’s another headline about a politician cheating on his wife. I’m afraid that if I marry the guy I’m seeing, who plans to run for office, I’ll end up in the same boat as all the rest of the wives who get left by the wayside. —Anonymous, Somewhere in Missouriv A. Various studies show that nearly half of all men cheat on their wives. So how much worse can the odds be if you marry a politician? Seriously, though, there are cheating dentists, carpenters and accountants. They just don’t end up on the front page when they get caught. So, no, I don’t think politicians are inherently more likely to cheat than other professionals. I do think they have more opportunities, and so statistically may end up cheating slightly more often, but I have no evidence to back that up. In sum, I’d advise you to size up the guy you’re with. Does he have one eye on you and one over your shoulder, checking out the other girls at the party? That should tell you much more than his career choice.

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city & state — February 10, 2014


or generations, Geraldo Rivera has been one of the most recognizable television journalists and talk show hosts in America. The host of the show Geraldo at Large and a regular contributor to the Fox News Channel, recently Rivera’s radio program on WABC shifted to a locally focused format centering on the New York area. City & State Editor Morgan Pehme spoke with the Peabody-award winning journalist about Bill de Blasio, the rise of Latino political power, the DREAM Act, and the run for mayor of New York City that Rivera himself once contemplated. The following is an edited transcript. City & State: You are back doing a locally focused radio show at WABC. How are you enjoying covering New York City and New York State politics again? Geraldo Rivera: This is where I cut my bones: WABC. I started here on Labor Day, the first week of September, 1970. I enjoy it! It’s dynamic. New York is the star of the show, and I think there is a huge appetite for New York news, not just in the tri-state area, but all around the world. C&S: What are the stories and the dynamics that are of interest to you right now in New York politics? GR: I started [in] Brooklyn Law School, New York County District Attorney’s office, legal services attorney at 116th Street and 8th Avenue. I’ve seen the entire arc of civility in New York City, starting in a period where the

graffiti artists and the squeegee men and the dope addicts took a town that was wonderful and were a cancer that really dragged it down. So what happened? Dinkins started it when he had Bratton, and then you bring in Giuliani and Giuliani Time and all that, and stop-and-frisk begins, then Bloomberg takes it. You have 20 years of a kind of very aggressive policing in this city. Civility returns, the city gets a real gleam again, it attracts people from all around the world again. I am extremely concerned as we shift now from a Republican generation to Bill de Blasio—God bless him—a progressive liberal, easing stop-and-frisk. I’m watching like a hawk to make sure that we don’t start going back to those bad old days. C&S: You have written a great deal about Hispanics in the United States. It has been said about the most recent city election that it marked a rise in the Latino community’s power in New York, particularly with the election of Melissa Mark-Viverito as Council Speaker. Do you that that observation is accurate? GR: The Latino community is huge, vast and growing exponentially, but if you go to my old haunt—I was discovered at 111th Street and Lexington Avenue—when I was working as a lawyer for the Young Lords, up there Puerto Ricans were the only Latinos, but now Puerto Ricans are in the minority. There’s Mexicans owning the shops. Dominicans are a huge force now,

A Q&A With Geraldo Rivera

particularly in Washington Heights, which has experienced a gigantic, incredible Renaissance because of the energy and the entrepreneurial spirit of the Dominicans on the far Upper West Side. So you’ve got various interests. I’m curious to see how it works out. The Central Americans, the Mexicans, the Dominicans, and the old standbys, the Puerto Ricans, because I’m watching a lot of Puerto Ricans leaves the city for the suburbs, and that will be a fascinating dynamic to see how the Latino community sorts itself out. But I guarantee you, you will have a more bilingual city—there’s no doubt about that—you’re going to have a power shift. I think that African American politicians are going to see a slight diminution in their power. Latinos will be ascendant. That’s all a function of demographics; it’s just the natural evolution. C&S: One of the top priorities for Latino legislators in New York State is the passage of the DREAM Act. Are you in support of that effort? GR: I go way beyond the DREAM Act. I believe in immigrant vigor. I believe [we have] an immigration system that was fundamentally flawed in terms of its construct in the 19th Century, in terms of the relationship between the United States and Latin America. The people who were here are part of an ebb and flow of humanity that has been happening for generations. This crackdown on immigrants that happens periodically—it happened following World War I, it happened following World War II—it has a malignancy to it that I do not like. Most of the immigrants who are here without documentation are hardworking, otherwise law-abiding people. Their children who they brought here very young should certainly be the first priority. Let’s give them a path to citizenship immediately, but I want their families also to be included. C&S: Do you think we will see substantive immigration reform under the Obama administration?

GR: Yeah. If we don’t see it nationally, we’ll see it locally, state by state. The President now is hobbled. I don’t know what the President is going to be able to do that the Republicans don’t want to do. But as a Republican, let me say, without a doubt, without debate, if the GOP leaders insist on this harsh, draconian, anti-immigrant policy then you will never have another Republican in the White House. Period. You must understand that the country has changed demographically in a very fundamental way. You have to embrace the future. If you’re a member of the Republican Party, you have to help this hobbled, weakened president out, [and] make [immigration reform] the one thing you guys can do together. C&S: You contemplated running for the vacant U.S. Senate seat last year in New Jersey. Do you regret not having jumped into the fray, and do you think you’ll ever be a candidate? GR: In 2000, when I was a New York resident the last time, I wanted to run for mayor, and I went so far as to poll. And I polled about the same as a guy from Boston named Michael Bloomberg, but I heard he was going to spend $50 million. I could raise around $5 million. That’s why I didn’t run for mayor in 2000. It’s the same thing [with the race] against Cory Booker, who was the darling of the liberal media, who was everywhere. There was a steep climb, and I knew I had to raise a lot of money and spend most of my personal wealth on it, and then I heard that [Steve] Lonegan, the mayor of Bogota, was going to have $5 million from the Koch brothers [and] Tea Party support. And I said even getting the nomination is going to be too bloody and then even if I did get it how would I ever afford to run against Cory Booker? So the answer to your question is no, I do not regret not running. I’m glad I didn’t. I think I can do more, especially here [at WABC]. We have hundreds of thousands of people listening at any given minute. Let’s see if we can affect city and state and regional politics from this perch.

To watch this entire interview online, which includes Rivera’s thoughts on the introduction of a NYPD inspector general, campaign finance reform and the possibility of Donald Trump running for governor, go to

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