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Democratic mayoral candidate John Liu is scheduled to appear before the city's Campaign Finance Board this morning to learn whether he will be denied over $3.5 million in public matching funds. The Wall Street Journal reported that the board's staff recently sent a letter to Liu's campaign advising that "they are inclined to make an unfavorable recommendation." Losing the money would likely hobble -- or at least injure -- Liu's bid for mayor.
Questions around his campaign's fundraising tactics have hounded the candidate. His former campaign treasurer and a former fundraiser were convicted of fraud charges this past spring.
Supporters of Liu, currently serving as the city's comptroller, are planning to rally outside the board's headquarters during the public meeting that is set to get underway at 9 a.m. A live video stream of the meeting can be viewed here.
NEW IN THE GOTHAM GAZETTE: A Conversation With Mayoral Candidate Christine Quinn On The NYPD IG Bill, Member Items & More
Weekend Roundup: Bloomberg's Education Reputation Could Be Challenged With Release Of Test Scores (The New York Times) Six political groups not tied to candidates aim to spend millions shaping city races (Daily News) | Why Won't Weiner Drop Out? (The Associated Press)
Five leading Democratic mayoral candidates spent Saturday night as guests of tenants of a Harlem public housing development. The sleepover was coordinated by the Rev. Al Sharpton's advocacy group. The unusual event gave the candidates the opportunity to not only hear from potential voters directly, but also to see for themselves the conditions of some of the apartments. The next day, the sleep-deprived candidates held a press conference to talk about the experience.
Other Stories We're Following
NY Comptroller Pushes For Gay Marriage Recognition (Associated Press)
Bloomberg Sues Over Contracts Held Up By Comptroller (NY Times)
Bloomberg Administration Officials Look For Exits (Crain's)
Gov. Cuomo announced the "I Love NY LGBT" tourism website during pride weekend. Taxpayers will pay $500 an hour for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's legal defense in the Vito Lopez sexual harassment case. Homicide rate in New York City continues declining, with fewer than one homicide a day likely in 2013. Bloomberg stood by comments that the city "disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council agreed to a $70 billion budget deal last night. The Daily News reports that the agreement mostly avoids cuts to the public housing authority under the federal sequester. Other than that, the budget deal largely maintained last year's agreement: there are no tax cuts and planned cuts to funding of libraries and after-school programs won't happen. The budget also includes $250 million in new spending to prepare the city for future extreme weather.
Weekend Roundup: The governor said Sunday he will ask federal prosecutors to look into a report on the Long Island Power Authority that found "breathtaking waste and inefficiency." Albany approves speed cameras, but not the women's equality agenda at the end of session. Here's one take on why the women's equality agenda failed. And here's an editorial in the Daily News about some of the fallout. State voters will now get to decide whether to expand casinos upstate.
Labor Rallies To Have Role In Mayoral Election (Daily News)
Police Scrutinizing Deadly Crashes (NY Times)
Once-powerful Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez has said he will resign from the Assembly this morning before his colleagues have the opportunity to expel him from the state Legislature.
Lopez had said on Friday that he woud finish out his term in June in spite of mounting calls for his immediate resignation following the release last week of a detailed report of sexual harassment allegations against him. A special prosecutor found no basis for bringing criminal charges against the 71-year-old political veteran last week.
Before the weekend, the Albany leadership began making plans for Lopez to depart sooner, with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver backing a resolution that could lead to Lopez's expulsion. But Lopez said Saturday he would leave today instead.
Political science Professor Doug Muzzio of Baruch College told The Associated Press that Lopez's resignation amounted to "partial deodorizing" of Albany. He added, "Albany needs more extensive and permanent disinfectant."
Lopez said in a statement Friday that he was innocent of the allegations against him, and was leaving office largely to focus on winning a seat in the City Council. The New York Post reported that Lopez has more than $1 million left in his state campaign account and could redirect some of those funds to his Council campaign.
The Partnership for New York City, a coalition of top business leaders, weighed in with a plan on Friday to help the next mayor "maintain New York's status as the pre-eminent city of opportunity over the next decade." Recommendations include building a "tech campus" in every borough and launching a "job challenge."
Presumed Democratic mayoral frontrunner Christine Quinn was called a "liar" at a forum on public housing hosted by the Community Service Society on Saturday night. The Times reported that the heckling started after the City Council speaker began to talk about her record as a tenant rights activist. Crain's New York reports that two businesswomen with a passion for animal and workers' rights, and the environment "will do whatever it takes to sink" Quinn and have poured $200,000 into the $1 million "NYC Not 4 Sale" campaign behind this season's first TV attack ad.
The Daily News reports that former political opponents of ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner, another possible mayoral candidate, warn that he can be fiesty on the campaign trail. Politico reports that any attempt by Weiner to return to politics after a sexting scandal ruined his career could make things awkward for the Clintons and former mentor Chuck Schumer.
Mayoral candidates come together again tonight for a forum about sustainability hosted by the New York League of Conservation Voters.
For more on election 2013 beyond the mayor's race, check out Who's Running For What, which was recently featured on NY1's Race for City Hall.
BRONX COURTS: The New York Times reported that the Bronx courts "are failing." In the first installment of a three-part series, William Glaberson writes that "a plague of delays in the Bronx criminal courts is undermining one of the central ideas of the justice system, the promise of a speedy trial." The story — based on an examination of court records, observations of trials, analyses of statistics and dozens of interviews — presents examples of the dysfunction of the Bronx criminal justice system. The second part was published today.
JAIL DEATHS: A state agency found that Correctional Medical Care Inc., a private health care provider for county jails, played a role in the deaths of nine inmates across New York between 2009 and 2011, the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin reported Saturday. The state attorney general's office says it is investigating CMC. The company told the upstate newspaper that it hires qualified medical staff. The company says the jails it operates in consistently meet or exceed national standards in their jails.
Some Gun Law Provisions To Go Into Effect (Lower Hudson Journal)
Quinn Says Council Will Hold Hearing On School Safety Today (Huffington Post)
The arrests of two state lawmakers on federal corruption charges last week were unwelcome reminders that New York is among the nation’s go-to destinations for political scandal, graft and greed. They also helped to remind New Yorkers about how difficult it is to stop unscrupulous lawmakers from violating the public trust.
Bill Mahoney of the New York Public Interest Research Group tells the Gotham Gazette that some progress has been made in recent years in preventing corruption in Albany, but that the entire culture of the capital is to blame. To stem the tide of corruption, reformers have called for changes to the state campaign finance system (modeled after the city's much-lauded system) and expanding the power of the state attorney general to investigate public corruption.
One Republican consultant said the city's campaign finance system shouldn't be a model because it is too easy to game (Newsday). Meanwhile, some commentators are blaming Gov. Andrew Cuomo for failing to push hard enough for reforms. "At best, the governor made no impact on public integrity among New York’s native criminal class," wrote columnist Michael Goodwin in The New York Post over the weekend.
The Wall Street Journal reports in a story based on anonymous sources that the Cuomo administration is considering new policy remedies. Fred Dickers writes in the Post that the Cuomo administration is weighing whether to oust Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver over the scandals.
Read more about what some reformers are calling for on the Gotham Gazette.
GAS DRILLING: Gov. Andrew Cuomo was about to give the go-ahead to allow drilling for natural gas in New York using the contentious process known as hydraulic fracturing — until conversations with environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., convinced him to hold off, The Associated Press reported Saturday.
TEEN PREGNANCY ADS: A new public information campaign announced by the city Sunday aims to show teenagers the potential consequences of becoming parents when they do not have the emotional and financial means to support children. "We must encourage responsibility and send the right message, especially to young people," said Human Resources Administration Commissioner Richard Doar in a statement (Gothamist, Staten Island Advance).
'Vision' For Proposed Domino Factory Site Redevelopment (Capital)
Silver-Backed Constitutional Amendment Would Benefit Friend (NY Post)
At an education forum for the mayoral candidates last night, a few issues separated them along party lines. All the Democrats supported the teachers union’s push for smaller class sizes and more education funding, while the Republicans supported merit-based pay for teachers. None of the candidates said whether teachers should receive retroactive pay raises when their next contract is negotiated. Meanwhile, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion officially announced he's running for mayor. And Working Families Party officials weresubpoenaed about their ties to a company that provided campaign assistance to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, among other city candidates, in 2009.
Fracking Rules To Miss Deadline; Review Lingers (Associated Press)
Trade Center Classified As Flood Danger Zone In New FEMA Maps (Daily News)
Roosevelt Island Safety Officers Accused Of Excessive Force (WNYC)
Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind is under fire for wearing a blackface costume to a party this weekend celebrating the Jewish holiday Purim. He was dressed as a "black basketball player." Purim has a costume tradition similar to Halloween. Hikind initially called the criticism "absurd," but eventually apologized after mounting outrage. Then in a radio interview following the recantation, he asked the host if it would be alright if he "played a gay person next year."
Reclaiming Storm-Torn Homes, Step By Uncertain Step (NY Times)
To Curb Suits, City Now Opts To Fight Them (NY Times)
Pact, For Now, In Mayoral Campaign Donation Limit Case(Associated Press)
The governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and more than 100 influential business leaders called on the U.S. Congress to decide on $60 billion in aid for Superstorm Sandy relief before the holidays begin. The governors said Congress had taken longer to approve aid to their states than it had for relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina. Business executives also wrote a letter to congressional representatives. "We believe that failure to expeditiously fund storm relief and recovery will severely weaken this region and worsen our nation's overall fiscal condition," they wrote.
In the Press...
Utilities To Give Rebates For Lost Service During Sandy (Associated Press)
Republican Senator Who Voted For Gay Marriage Concedes (Gotham Gazette)
Countdown 'Til Senate Democrats Pick a New Leader? (Gotham Gazette)
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday that the city would rethink evacuation zones, electrical infrastructure, telecommunications networks, hospitals and transportations systems after Superstorm Sandy caused billions of dollars in damage, paralyzed communities and killed dozens of people.
But Bloomberg said that his administration would not abandon the waterfront and dismissed the possibility of building sea walls to hold back the ocean. Instead, he said the city would look at "coastline protections" such as berms, dunes, jetties and levies.
"No matter how much we do to make homes and businesses more resilient, the fact of the matter is we live next to the ocean, and the ocean comes with risks that we just cannot eliminate," the mayor said.
Bloomberg outlined the post-Sandy plan, his first major address since the storm, at a Lower Manhattan event, where former Vice President Al Gore also made an appearance and praised the mayor's previous efforts to respond to the effects of climate change.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city would begin rationing gas for the first time since the 1970s, in response to fuel shortages caused by Hurricane Sandy. Drivers with cars with license plates ending in odd numbers or that end in a letter or other character will be able to fill up on odd-numbered days. Cars with plates ending in even numbers get their turn on even-numbered days. The odd-even rationing system begins today, Nov. 9, with odd-numbered plates. "Drivers are still facing long lines. Frustrations are only growing," Bloomberg said at a news conference at City Hall yesterday
Sandy Troubles Won't Stop Con Ed From Seeking Rate Hike (Associated Press)
Gov Says Sandy Could Cost NY $33 Billion (Associated Press)
Coney Island Group Launches With Focus On Sandy Cleanup (NY Post)
Gas Shortages As Recovery Continues
The slow, heart-wrenching reveal of Hurricane Sandy's devastating impact on the city continued yesterday.
So far, there were 40 confirmed deaths in the city related to Sandy, according to The New York Times. The bodies of two young boys, who had been swept from their mother's arms during flooding on Staten Island, were among those found yesterday.
A half-million residents were still without power in their homes, though city officials were saying that electricity likely would be restored in lower Manhattan by Saturday.
And residents relying on gas-powered generators found no relief at the pumps, where fuel was running short at stations and long lines left many frustrated. Gas stations also reported their own power problems.
Civil rights and educational organizations are alleging that New York City's single-test admittance policy for eight top specialized high schools discriminates against black and Hispanic students. The groups filed a lawsuit yesterday to have the policy found in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the entrance exam, saying "life isn't always fair." â€śWeâ€™re not here about equal results. Weâ€™re here about equal opportunity," he continued.
NYC: World's Tallest Ferris Wheel Planned For Staten Island (Gotham Gazette)
McDonald to abandon re-election bid (Gotham Gazette)
Buildings Department inspectors this year gained access to suspected illegal conversions less than half the time - a rate similar to that of previous years. And the departmentâ€™s response time to nonemergency complaints, including illegal apartments, actually got worse. Last year Mayor Bloomberg had committed to cracking down on illegal apartment conversions after two fatal fires. The administration counters that it has increased its focus on the highest risk locations.
Board of Elections opts for â€incompleteâ€™ in Mayorâ€™s Management Report
Botched response, lies found in Port Authority response to JFK terror scare
Speaker Silver's male staffer defended boss online as 'female' supporter