Fri. Jan 27th, 2023
Zeldin

ETHIOPIANS TODAY, ADDIS ABABA (FINFINNEE), ETHIOPIA:

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Hochul and Zeldin in attack mode

The singular debate in the gubernatorial race between Gov. Kathy Hochul and Rep. Lee Zeldin last night got pretty brutal — as expected.

FROM TEAM HOCHUL: “The stakes in this election could not be more clear. Governor Hochul is laser focused on putting progress over politics, protecting New Yorkers, and moving our state forward. On November 8th, voters will show up and reject Lee Zeldin and his MAGA agenda once and for all.”

FROM TEAM ZELDIN: “On November 8th, New Yorkers will FIRE Kathy Hochul, end one-party rule, and save our state. Tonight was just a glimpse at how hard I will fight each day for our state. Losing is not an option.”

The debate hosted by Spectrum News in New York City largely followed the themes that have defined both campaigns: Zeldin, who arrived by the subway that he lamented smelled like marijuana, criticized Hochul for letting crime fester in New York City and said she hasn’t done enough to address the state’s high cost of living. Hochul hit back at him for being an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump who doesn’t support abortion rights.

Both were in attack mode. Hochul chose a cross examination question that played directly to her purposes: “Is Donald Trump a great president?” prompted Zeldin to list a number of initiatives he was proud to share with Trump, including border control, U.S.-Israel relations and anti-gang efforts. “I’ll take that as a resounding yes, and the voters of New York do not agree with you,” Hochul responded, referencing Trump’s unfavorability in his home state.

Zeldin started off the evening with “You’re poorer and less safe because of Kathy Hochul and extreme policies,” during his opening statement, a precursor to energetic lashings throughout the hour on nearly every position Hochul has taken since becoming governor 14 months ago.

With early voting scheduled to start Saturday, the debate lacked any viral moments that either campaign could clearly claim for an edge, even as outside dollars flow to both candidates in the final, vital days. Hochul has heavily outraised and outspent Zeldin, but he has been able to blanket the airwaves with about $12 million from PACs supporting him.

Now the only statewide race without a debate or one scheduled is between Attorney General Tish James and her opponent, Michael Henry.

IT’S WEDNESDAY. Got tips, suggestions or thoughts? Let us know … By email: EDurkin@politico.com and agronewold@politico.com, or on Twitter: @erinmdurkin and @annagronewold

WHERE’S KATHY? Getting a flu shot, delivering an update on winter health preparedness, visiting a senior center in Brooklyn and giving remarks at the Civil Service Employees Association convention.

WHERE’S ERIC? Making a coastal resiliency announcement, speaking at a Civil Service Employees Association meeting, speaking at the opening of the Staten Island Animal Care Center, and doing a walkthrough of the Pride Center of Staten Island.

WHAT CITY HALL’S READING

Staten Island judge nixes NYC’s vaccine mandate for a group of sanitation workers — city appeals,” by Gothamist’s Jake Offenhartz: “A State Supreme Court judge has ruled that New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for municipal workers is unconstitutional. But the judge’s order only calls for the Adams administration to reinstate a small group of fired sanitation workers who brought the lawsuit earlier this year, according to the city’s law department. In a ruling released on Tuesday, Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Ralph Porzio described the municipal vaccination mandate as ‘arbitrary and capricious.’ But a spokesperson for the city’s law department said the city mandate is still in place for all workers outside of the suit. ‘We shouldn’t be penalizing the people who showed up to work, at great risk to themselves and their families, while we were locked down,’ Judge Porzio wrote.”

— The city Board of Healthvoted to rescind the private sector employee vaccine mandate, ratifying a previous announcement by Mayor Eric Adams.

— Fordham University may face a lawsuit over its mandate that students get the bivalent booster.

Some NYC business corridors participating in Open Streets did better than before pandemic,” by WNYC’s Michelle Bocanegra and Gwynne Hogan: “Restaurants and bars in several neighborhoods participating in New York City’s Open Streets program rebounded at more dramatic rates than others during the first year-and-a-half of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report out Tuesday. The report from the city’s Department of Transportation found that four Open Street corridors — where car traffic was restricted during designated times in Astoria, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Manhattan’s Koreatown — outperformed their pre-pandemic business in the first 18 months after the arrival of COVID-19. … Throughout the city, restaurants and bars along Open Streets corridors saw an average 19% increase in sales compared to their own pre-pandemic levels. Nearby control streets saw a decline of 29%.”

Redistricting maps set to sail through Council,” by POLITICO’s Joe Anuta: After a tumultuous redistricting process, City Council members are preparing to set aside their quibbles and approve proposed new district lines later this week — a move that staves off further meddling from the mayor and allows members to get their reelection campaigns underway. The New York City Districting Commission has drawn and redrawn proposed maps in ways that have had profound effects on the legislative branch — one iteration set up an awkward potential Democratic primary battle, while another left a Brooklyn member with a fractured district and an uncertain path to reelection. Throughout the process, the mayor’s office has twice tried to intervene behind the scenes in an attempt to cause delays.

NYC correction board: People are being locked in their cells for longer than allowed,” by WNYC’s Matt Katz: “Incarcerated people are being locked in their cells at Rikers Island for long stretches of time that violate city regulations — kept from accessing recreational activities and medical services, and denied meals, officials said on Monday. … While lockdowns are only supposed to be used in emergencies, the report said lockdowns are a regular part of life at two large Rikers jails, effectively preventing incarcerated people from going to the infirmary, visiting family, accessing the law library, attending religious services, using the phone, taking educational classes, and even showering.”

— The city canceled a contract with Exodus Transitional Community after its employees were caught smuggling drugs and phones into Rikers.

The MTA Says Immigrant Subway Cleaners are Not Entitled to Prevailing Wages,” by Documented’s Amir Khafagy: “When Jose Luis Dominguez describes his time working as a subway cleaner for NV Maintenance Services, it’s difficult for him not to get angry. One incident sticks out in his mind in particular; his supervisors found out he was driving his co-workers to work every morning. After warning him not to do that, the company arbitrarily ruled that co-workers were not allowed to arrive to work together. … To make matters worse, workers were required to arrive a half hour early before their shift and would be sent home if they weren’t early, Dominguez and his co-worker Hemer Perez said. They were not paid for that time. They also claim that paychecks often had hours missing and overtime pay was not calculated. Workers were also not paid the prevailing wage of at least $28 an hour plus benefits, instead only being paid $20.”

WHAT ALBANY’S READING

What Kathy Hochul plans for New York, if she’s elected, by POLITICO’s Anna Gronewold: There are fast-tracks to fame in New York politics — an outrageous personality or penchant for stunning scandal. Hochul shows neither. “I feel like I’m just a regular person in a diner who has a very significant job that I treasure,” she said. “I love this job, but I’m no better than any person in a diner or the waitress waiting on me. And I think they [voters] know that about me, that there’s that sense of grounding that makes me different than other elected officials, I believe, because I haven’t changed at this age — and I don’t plan to change.” But with just two weeks before Election Day, she says, voters need to see her as someone who propels New York forward, not just cleans up its messes.

Pro-Hochul independent expenditure efforts ramp up, by POLITICO’s Bill Mahoney: The abortion rights-supporting group Eleanor’s Legacy and the regional Council of Carpenters are spending on independent expenditure efforts to boost Gov. Kathy Hochul’s election campaign amid what polls suggest is a tightening race. Hochul has significantly outraised GOP opponent Lee Zeldin. But the Republican has benefited from about $12 million of outside money in recent months that has let him maintain a strong presence on the television airwaves that has boosted his bid. But for Hochul, in addition to some prior spending by the carpenters union, the outside money going to her candidacy had been minimal. Now she’s getting additional help in the final weeks of the campaign.

In private call, Zeldin urges donations to outside groups backing him,” by Times Union’s Chris Bragg: “In the realm of independent campaign fundraising support, the question of what crosses the line can be murky — and the rules that might provide an answer remain untested. Zeldin’s campaign is prohibited from coordinating with the outside groups and at one point he noted that, ‘there are rules that are in place.’ During the call, Zeldin mentioned the names of the two outside groups, which he said have been ‘targeting Kathy Hochul on the issues that are most important to New Yorkers, especially crime and the economy.’ … Zeldin noted that an individual donor can legally give up to $47,100 directly to his general election campaign, and added: ‘There’s some people on this call who have already done that.’ Zeldin later stated that he couldn’t by law collect donations for the outside groups, but urged that donors support them.”

— “Mr. [Doug] Ducey, the governor of Arizona, said the RGA needed to raise $12 million in eight days, and said victory in New York was possible, according to a recording of the call reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. ‘There will be no pelt in the nation, that we would be more proud of achieving than bringing New York state back into the Republican and conservative fold, and Lee Zeldin is the man to do that,’ Mr. Ducey said.” via Wall Street Journal’s Jimmy Vielkind

Catholic Diocese of Buffalo Will Submit to Government Oversight,” by The New York Times’ Liam Stack: “The Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo has agreed to submit to sweeping government oversight of its operations in a legal settlement reached on Tuesday with the New York attorney general, Letitia James, resolving a lawsuit that accused the church and its officials of a yearslong cover-up of sexual abuse. The agreement, which is the first of its kind in New York, includes no financial penalties but instead mandates a series of structural reforms within the diocese, particularly regarding its handling of abuse allegations. Under the deal, priests who have been credibly accused of abuse will be assigned an independent monitor with law enforcement experience to ensure they comply with a list of restrictions, which include a ban on watching pornography, performing priestly duties and having a post office box.”

#UpstateAmerica: A Western New York nun was one of the first women to be a Special Agent in the FBI.

TRUMP’S NEW YORK

Prospective jurors in Trump Org. trial express open hatred of ex-prez,” by New York Post’s  Elizabeth Rosner and Emily Crane: “Trump Organization lawyers seemed to have a tough time finding neutral New Yorkers Tuesday — with potential jurors at the company’s tax fraud trial openly expressing their disdain for the former president. As the second day of jury selection got underway in Manhattan Supreme Court, the judge and attorneys pushed to keep the jury box free of anyone with unshakably strong feelings about the 45th president. Out of an initial pool of 18 prospects to be grilled Tuesday, 11 said they disliked Trump and were dismissed. The seven others — one man and six women — were chosen to sit on the panel.”

FROM THE DELEGATION

While Rep. Malliotakis Attacks Asylum Seekers, Her Own Constituents Are Giving Them Aid. Notably MIA: Her Opponent, Max Rose,” by THE CITY’s Tanaz Meghjani: “Staten Islanders are mobilizing to help the hundreds of South American asylum-seekers living in shelters in the borough — but you would hardly know it listening to their current member of Congress or the former member who is looking to reclaim the seat on Nov. 8.”

AROUND NEW YORK

— Riders with disabilities filed a class action lawsuit against the MTA demanding they fix the gaps between subway trains and station platforms.

— Small businesses that incurred costs to increase Covid-19 safety can now apply for a $250 million tax credit program.

— Workers at a Manhattan Starbucks went on strike over alleged unsanitary conditions.

— One of the men named on a list of men in media accused of misconduct is suing its creator.

— “VC Who Blamed the Government for $140 in Tolls During Uber Ride Should Blame Uber Instead

— The state awarded nearly $32 million to more than 1,000 arts organizations.

— The MTA plans to spend $1.78 billion on 640 new subway cars but the arrival of the cars has been delayed until 2025.

— The state is creating two new units at psychiatric hospitals for New Yorkers who have a severe mental illness and are living on the city streets or in the subway system.

— A new reportdetails how the transatlantic slave trade fundamentally shaped life and wealth in New York.

— “More Finance JobsLeave Wall Street, Lured Elsewhere by Tax Breaks and Lower Costs”

— Rent-stabilized tenants in Brooklyn are suing their landlords, accusing them of using fires as an excuse to remodel their apartments in an attempt to kick them out.

— In the last school year, more than 104,000 public school students in the city were homeless.

SOCIAL DATA BY DANIEL LIPPMAN

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Hillary Clinton … NYT’s Mark Landler … NYT Mag’s Taffy Brodesser-Akner … NBC’s Bianca Brosh … Aleta Greer … BCW Global’s Catherine Sullivan … USA Today’s Caren Bohan

MEDIAWATCH — Clayton Guse and Rajath Vikramare joining WNYC as assistant editor on the NYC Accountability team and editor of magazine shows and newscast, respectively. Guse has been a transit reporter at the New York Daily News. Vikram was previously a senior account executive at Anat Gerstein. … Per Talking Biz News: “Sara Fischeris joining CNN as an on-air contributor on the media beat, the network announced Tuesday.” … Dan Hoffman is now VP of brand strategy and creative director of TV for Newsmax Media. He previously was executive creative director and producer at CNBC and is an A&E and ESPN alum.

REAL ESTATE

Facing acute housing shortage, Adams looks to a policy change, by POLITICO’s Sally Goldenberg and Janaki Chadha: Mayor Eric Adams readily supports real estate development to combat the city’s housing shortage, but he hasn’t advanced policies to accomplish that goal. Now, in his 10th month in office, he is preparing to pursue reforms to speed up residential construction. The mayor is looking to exempt proposed developments of roughly 200 units or fewer from a required environmental review, two city officials working on the plan told POLITICO. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely discuss a policy that is still under review.

Some Suburbs Are Actually Trying to Solve the Housing Shortage,” by New York Focus’ Sam Mellins: “In the 2010s, New York’s suburbs in the Hudson Valley and on Long Island built three times less housing per capita than the city’s New Jersey suburbs, thanks largely to restrictive zoning regulations. But in some suburbs, there’s increasing appetite for that to change. In Long Island’s Suffolk County, and in the upper reaches of the Hudson Valley’s exurbs, a few municipalities are considering steps — some big, some small — to build more housing. The most dramatic of these efforts is in Kingston, the city of nearly 25,000 people about 100 miles north of New York City, which is entirely rewriting its zoning code to address the city’s housing crisis.”

Ex-deputy mayor launches fund aiming to help address city’s affordable housing crisis,” by Crain’s Eddie Small: “Former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen is stepping up her efforts to help tackle the city’s affordability crisis. Glen’s real estate investment firm MSquared announced its launch of the Affordable NYC Fund Tuesday with $20 million from Trinity Church Wall Street in seed capital. MSquared plans to use the money to help mission-driven and nonprofit developers construct affordable projects across the city. The fund will aim to use its capital to help firms led by women and minorities as well.”

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By Chala Dandessa

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