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Thompson Faces Pressure to Bow Out

New York City's Democratic power brokers moved quickly after Tuesday's primary to pressure second-place finisher Bill Thompson to avoid a runoff with first-place finisher Bill de Blasio. “I don’t think there’s much appetite within the Democratic Party to have a fight here,” Merryl Tisch, Thompson's campaign chair, told The New York Times. Rev. Al Sharpton also encouraged Thompson to abandon his bid. De Blasio finished election night with 40.3 percent of the vote--just over the threshold to avoid a runoff but paper ballots have yet to be tallied. Thompson has said he wants to make sure every vote is counted but the city's board of election won't begin counting paper ballots until next week. Labor groups quickly moved to consolidate their support around de Blasio on Wednesday. Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota would likely benefit from a bruising runoff battle between Thompson and de Blasio. 

 


Other Stories We're Following

Brooklyn DA Loses Despite Legacy (NY Times)

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About to lose a major ally in Mayor Michael Bloomberg a group of business leaders and real estate groups have poured nearly $7 million into city council races. The Jobs For New York political action committee has spent $275,000 per council race on average in an effort to extend Bloomberg's pro-business policies past his term. The group has changed the dynamic of races that are normally based on community issues and connections. The PAC is organized by the Real Estate Board of New York that counts developers such as Larry Silverstein and Daniel Tishman as its members. Union's that would benefit from development projects are also part of the group. Tenants PAC, a group that represents tenant interests, has refused to endorse any candidate who refuses to condemn Jobs For New York. 

CIty Dismisses Criticism of New 911 System (NY Times)

DOE Survey Finds High Approval For City Schools (Daily News)

De Blasio Warns Lhota Not to Run a Racially Divisive Campaign (NY Observer)

Bill De Blasio and Joe Lhota do Ferry Face Off (NY Observer)

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Yesterday Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn filed a request to close in bankruptcy court. Most of the patients the hospital serves are without insurance and the hospital has suffered greatly since the state slashed Medicaid reimbursements. Unless there is some sort of bailout the hospital will close its emergency room in September and close totally in November. The news comes as Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill is on the verge of closure. Public Advocate and Democratic Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio has made the hospital issue a focus of his campaign and has gone to court to keep LICH open. He has also released a plan that would create a super-authority to oversee Brooklyn Hospitals that would be run by the mayor and governor. De Blasio has continued to press his long-time friend Gov. Andrew Cuomo to act to save the hospitals. Meanwhile, the Cuomo administration holds out hope that the federal government will approve a request to use $10 billion the state saved from restructuring Medicaid payments to buoy the Brooklyn hospitals. 

 


Other Stories We're Following

Campaign Finance Board Seeks to Deny Liu Public Funds (Wall Street Journal)

Did De Blasio Have Council Staff Watch His Kids? (NY Post)

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Cuomo's Women's Agenda Stalls

In an attempt to gain support from Senate Republicans Gov. Andrew Cuomo and women's advocates offered an amendment to the abortion plank of his 10-point women's agenda yesterday. The amendment made it clear that the bill that creates an affirmative right to abortion "as established by the United States Supreme Court in the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade" would not allow for partial-birth abortions or interfere with the federal ban on them. Cuomo and advocates have insisted that all 10 points must be voted on as a whole. Republicans and members of the Senate's Independent Democratic Conference have said they would vote on 9 of the points that include measures to assure pay equity, tough penalties for sexual harassment and domestic violence. The amendment was dismissed by Republicans on Thursday who have insisted the bill will not come to a vote


Other Stories We're Following

Candidates Support Staten Island R Train (Capital)

Weiner Claims he Coined 'Obamacare' (NY Times)

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Two female Assembly staffers have filed federal and state lawsuits against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Assemblyman Vito Lopez. The women allege that Lopez repeatedly made unwanted sexual advances. In one case Lopez reportedly told a staffer she should have sex with a Cuomo administration official to get a housing bill passed. The lawsuits allege that Silver provided "assistance" to Lopez that allowed him to continue harassing the women. Silver came to a secret settlement with two other women who Lopez harassed and allowed Lopez to hire the two staffers who have since brought other sexual harassment claims and these two lawsuits. The incidents have shined a spotlight on the culture of sexual harassment in Albany. Lopez resigned his seat after intense pressure and facing a vote that would have expelled him. He is still likely to face over $300,000 in fines from the legislative ethics board. Silver has apologized for his handling of the incident but has brushed off calls for his resignation. 


Other Stories We're Following

Council Bill Would Cut Down on Adult Day Care Centers (NY Times)

Report: Pot Arrests in New York Vary By Race (Democrat and Chronicle)

Finger-Pointing On Stalled BIlls (Albany Times Union)

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Yesterday the names of 9 individuals caught on wiretap by Sen. Shirley Huntley were made public. Six of those individuals were sitting Democratic State Legislators. The list includes already-indicted Sens John Sampson and Malcolm Smith and their colleagues Sens. Jose Peralta, Velmanette Montgomery, Ruth Hassel-Thompson and Eric Adams. Two political operatives were also taped as well as Councilman Ruben Wills. Huntley, who was facing her own legal troubles, invited pols to her home under the ruse that she had a broken ankle and then recorded them. Taped parties reacted in different ways to finding out their names were on the list. Officials said eight one of the recorded parties are under investigation for wrongdoing. Sen. John Sampson was indicted earlier in the week on embezzelment charges and he is just the latest in a long line of state legislators facing federal indicments. Gov. Andrew Cuomo threatened to convene a Moreland Commission if legislators don't pass major elections and ethics reform.


Other Stories We're Following

Lawmakers Demand Edits to Lopez Sex-Scandal Report (NY Times)

Council OKs Paid Sick Leave (Gotham Gazette)

Albany Reporters Officially Protest Being Blocked From Hearing (Capital)

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Scandal Raises Questions About Member Items 

A recording of a wiretap featuring Councilman Dan Halloran bragging that he could extract tens of thousands of dollars from the City Council to use as a bribe has brought attention back to oversight of the council's member items. Although there isn't evidence Halloran did what he bragged a number of mayoral candidates are using the issue to attack fellow candidate Council Speaker Quinn. Bill de Blasio blasted Quinn at a press conference saying, "these things happened under her watch." Bill Thompson and Sal Albanese also attacked Quinn's record on member items. Republican Mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota called for an inspector general to oversee the council in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Lhota has attacked Quinn's proposal for an NYPD inspector general. “There have been so many accusations over the last four to six years about the abuse of member items,” Lhota told the Journal. “I think it’s about time that the council seriously consider having an inspector general for itself, to oversee what is obviously an area that is ripe for people with bad character.”


Other Stories We're Following

Smith Blew $2 Million in Election Cash (NY Post)

City Leave Police Official Without Lawyer to Defend Protesters Lawsuit (City Room)

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Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota says City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's support for an independent police monitor is "reckless," "dangerous" and "redundant." 

Lhota made the comments about Quinn, a Democrat who is also seeking to be mayor, from a prepared text while standing next to a super-sized printout of New York Police Department CompStat numbers.

"The police department needs to maintain a laser-like focus in the reduction of crime," Lhota said. "We can't allow reckless behavior like putting a handcuff on the police department, which is what the inspector general bill will do."

A supporter of NYPD's stop-and-frisk program, Lhota said that he would expect the NYPD to regularly train officers on how to use what he described as a constitutional practice.

The candidate praised Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commisioner Ray Kelly for their leadership on crime reduction, but also pointed to a spike in felony crimes between 2011 and 2012, which he highlighted on the board next to him. Lhota argued that public safety in the city is in too fragile a state to consider putting in place another level of bureaucracy on the police department.

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Protests Continue Over Flatbush Shooting

Wednesday saw the third day of protests in Flatbush following the shooting death of 16-year-old Kimani Gray on Saturday. Gray was shot seven times in the front and back of the body by New York Police Department officers. Police officials say Gray brandished a handgun and pointed it at them. A number of community members have voiced skepticism of the official police account. Protesters clashed with police yesterday at 54th Street and Church Avenue. It isn't clear how many were arrested. The shooting has only heightened tensions in a community where police are aggressivley pursuing gangs. 


Other Stories We're Following

Boyland's Ex-Aide Said to Plan Guilty Plea (NY Times)

Battle at Beach Club to Rebuild After Storm (City Room)

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Millions of riders who rely on the subways and buses to get around the city will have to pay more for the base fare beginning in March. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted unanimously yesterday to approve the rate increases, even though some members voiced regrets that the city's commuters pay too much in fares. "We are not the fat, profligate, out-of-control agency that people make the MTA out to be. We've done everything we can to control costs," said board Chairman Joe Lhota, who also announced yesterday he would leave his job to explore a run for mayor

 In the Press...

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Obama Expected to Ask For $50 Billion in Storm Aid


Preisdent Barack Obama is expected to ask Congress for about $45 to $50 billion in storm aid reports The New York Times. That figure is far below the $82 billion requested by New York, New Jersey at Connecticut â€śWhile $50 billion is a significant amount of money, it unfortunately does not meet all of New York and New Jersey’s substantial needs,” Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York and Frank R. Lautenberg and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, all Democrats, said in a joint statement. The storm aid may get tangled up in the battle between President Barack Obama and Republican legislators over debt and tax rates. 

 

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that a new free shuttle service dubbed the H train will begin providing service to residents of the hard-hit Rockaway Penninsula at 4 a.m. tomorrow.

“The A train tracks from Howard Beach to the Rockaways were almost completely destroyed by the storm, and replacing them is a tremendous undertaking,” Cuomo said in a statement. “While that work continues, this new shuttle service will help improve travel for people in the Rockaways who are still recovering from Sandy’s effects.”

According to Cuomo's office, the cars that make up the new service were trucked to the Rockaways after the A train tracks were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. 

“MTA New York City Transit has responded with unprecedented creativity to restore subway service to Rockaway customers,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. “This partial restoration of service is an important step for the Rockaways, but our work won’t be done until the A train is fully restored.”

The Rockaways are still in need of basic relief aid like shelter, food and heat.

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