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POLITICO New York Playbook, presented by NYS Society of Anesthesiologists: LABOR's Supreme Court struggle -- Indicted DE BLASIO donor spills the dirt -- GOP Gripes about Ed Cox

02/26/2018 07:22 AM EDT

By Jimmy Vielkind in Albany and Laura Nahmias in Manhattan, with Daniel Lippman

They flooded Foley Square on Saturday and will be at the State Capitol this morning: union members and their leaders concerned about oral arguments today in the case of Janus v. AFSCME before the United States Supreme Court. The case weighs whether or not public-sector unions can force non-members to pay agency fees. If the court rules against the requirement, non-members could see the benefits of representation without paying for it, thus creating what economists call a "free rider" problem. And that could potentially blow a multi-million dollar hole in the coffers of unions that have been major political players in New York and the nation.

In New York, the 1.2 million public employees covered by union contracts paid $862 million in dues in 2016, including $112 million in agency fees that would become optional, according to Ken Girardin of the Empire Center. Some Democratic lawmakers have been pushing for legislation, but the immediate focus seems to be on expressing solidarity.

"Now, I've got no illusions about the Supreme Court - not a single one - but New York City will stand with labor and demand the Supreme Court respect the rights of labor all over this country!" Mayor Bill de Blasio said to cheers on Saturday. Added Gov. Andrew Cuomo: "I would not be governor of the state of New York if it were not because of the support of organized labor. ... You have always been with me and I will always be with you. They want a fight, they don't know a fight. They want a fight, we are ready to rumble."

IT'S MONDAY. Today marks the 25th anniversary of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. Got tips, suggestions or thoughts? Let us know ... By email:,, and, or on Twitter: @JimmyVielkind, @nahmias, and @dlippman.

WHERE'S ANDREW? In Albany with no announced public schedule.

WHERE'S BlLL? Delivering remarks at a street re-naming ceremony for Officer Edward Byrne with NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill, and in the evening, making his regular weekly appearance on NY1's Inside City Hall with Errol Louis.

The Tabloids: - New York Post: "SHERIFF UNDER FIRE"- Daily News: "TRAINING DAZE"- See Them

More Tabloids: - Newsday: "FRESH FOCUS ON MS-13"- El Diario New York: "Crecer y rápido"- TRANSLATION: "Grow and fast"- See Them

The Free Papers: - Metro New York: "OFF THE RAILS"- AM New York: "BEGINNING OF THE WAY WE LIVE TODAY"- See Them

The Broadsheets:- New York Times: - 2 col., above the fold: "China Moves to Allow Xi Jinping to Stay in Power for Years"- 3 col., above the fold: "Traveling to Niger to Keep Most Migrants There" - 1 col., above the fold: "Pressure to Act on Gun Limits Tests Congress"- Wall Street Journal: - 4 col., above the fold: "Margin Bets Fueled Selloff"- 1 col., above the fold: "China Moves To Extend Xi's Rule"- See Them

** A message from NYS Society of Anesthesiologists: Physician-led anesthesia medical care has led to unprecedented patient safety and positive surgical outcomes in New York. The Governor's Budget proposal endangers patient safety by removing physician led-anesthesia care and replacing it with mid-level/allied health providers. This will compromise safety for unconscious patients and cause confusion in the operating room. Learn more at: **


- CUOMO TAKES CAMPAIGN MONEY FROM STATE APPOINTEES - New York Times' Shane Goldmacher, Brian M. Rosenthal and Agustin Armendariz: "In late November, Cuomo flew to Buffalo for a fund-raising trip, a quick two-stop jaunt that brought in more than $200,000 in donations for his re-election campaign. The events, one at an Embassy Suites hotel and the other a more intimate gathering at a private residence, were hosted by two men familiar to Mr. Cuomo - and to state government. One host, Steven J. Weiss, had been appointed by Mr. Cuomo to the New York State Housing Finance Agency in 2011 and the state board of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in 2016. Government records show that Mr. Weiss has donated $53,000 to the governor's campaign since being picked for the housing agency. ...That type of arrangement - appointments go out, campaign cash comes back in - has vexed government reformers in Albany for generations. Things were supposed to change in 2007, when Eliot L. Spitzer, then the newly elected governor, issued an executive order barring most appointees from donating to or soliciting donations for the governor who made the appointment. Mr. Cuomo renewed the order on his first day in office. But a New York Times investigation found that the Cuomo administration has quietly reinterpreted the directive, enabling him to collect about $890,000 from two dozen of his appointees. Some gave within days of being appointed. The governor also has accepted $1.3 million from the spouses, children and businesses of appointees, state records show." Read more here

- FED UP WITH COX - Daily News's Ken Lovett: "With Republicans still split over who their gubernatorial candidate should be and no down ballot candidates having yet come to the fore, there's increasing fingerpointing by party county chairmen at long-time state GOP Chairman Ed Cox. 'There's grumbling and growing dissatisfaction with the performance of Ed Cox,' said one prominent Republican county leader. 'There's a general frustration out there that I haven't heard since 2010. It's a sentiment that's real. It's not regional and it's not unique to big counties or small counties.' Several Republican county chairs criticized Cox for not creating a clear process for finding someone to head the ticket and for seemingly running hot-and-cold over Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco, who is considered the front-runner.

'I would call him wildly inconsistent,' the county leader said of Cox. 'One week he's talking about finding other candidates; this week he seems pro-DeFrancisco.'" Read more here.

- THERE'S NO ESCAPING JOE - Buffalo News' Tom Precious: "The evening after the recent Parkland school shootings, Cuomo took to the airwaves to demand stronger national gun control laws. Three minutes into an otherwise friendly interview on MSNBC, the host turned to the corruption trial underway of Cuomo's longtime confidant Joseph Percoco. 'While I have you,' interviewer Ari Melber began, 'we're speaking in the middle of a trial of one of your former top aides on bribery (charges).' It was a moment that showed there are few escape hatches for Cuomo in the Percoco matter." Read more here.

- On Friday, defense lawyers began making what is shaping up to be an abbreviated case.

- DEMOCRATS PITCH PLASTIC BAG BAN - POLITICO's Marie J. French: Two Manhattan state senators are leading the charge on a measure to ban plastic bags and charge fees on replacements after waiting for Cuomo to unveil his own solution. Democratic Sens. Liz Krueger and Brad Hoylman are co-sponsoring a measure (NY S7760 (17R)) introduced last week that would bar the use of most plastic bags and charge a fee of at least 10 cents for paper and reusable bags. Some of the money would be kept by retailers to cover their costs - and 80 percent would be deposited in the state's fund for environmental projects. Cuomo signed a measure backed by Sen. Simcha Felder, (D-Brooklyn), to kill New York City's 5-cent-fee on carryout bags in February 2017. At the time, he promised a statewide solution to the problem but a task force he established failed to advance a specific policy recommendation and nothing was included in his budget proposal to address the issue. "So we're back at square zero, a year later," Krueger told POLITICO. "Now we're going to try to do a statewide bill ... The governor's even welcome to take it and make it his own." Read more here


- WHAT SINGH SAID - Newsday's Emily Ngo: "Indicted restaurateur Harendra Singh told investigators that he disclosed to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio his use of straw donors in fundraising for de Blasio and that he falsified a campaign receipt at the direction of the mayor's office, according to a court filing by former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano's attorney. Singh's "misconduct" involving de Blasio went beyond the bribery attempt to which Singh has pleaded guilty, according to the filing late Thursday by attorney Matthew Brissenden, who seeks to use de Blasio's dealings with Singh to help defend Mangano against corruption charges.

- Brissenden alleged newly revealed evidence that showed Singh told investigators that he relayed to de Blasio that his efforts to direct funds to his campaign coffers were "not kosher" because he skirted campaign finance laws by using the names of contributors - the straw donors - whom he subsequently reimbursed.The filing also said Singh said the mayor's office, under scrutiny for its fundraising, told him to falsify a receipt showing the campaign paid for an event at Singh's Queens restaurant, Water's Edge." Read more here

- Nearly 87K children among public housing tenants who lost heat this winter, data reveals, by POLTICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: Nearly one-quarter of the public housing tenants who lost heat this winter are senior citizens or people with disabilities, and another 27 percent are children, according to data the de Blasio administration has provided the City Council. Of the 322,925 New York City Housing Authority residents whose heat went out between Oct. 1, 2017 and Jan. 22, 2018, 86,831 are children, 35,452 have disabilities that city officials are aware of and 37,781 are 62 or older. Another 129 people were on life support. Those stats were included in a 10-page letter the housing authority sent the Council Wednesday, following a public hearing on Feb. 6 during which the legislative body grilled officials about widespread heat and hot water interruptions. Read the story here

#MASSTRANSIT -"3 Far-Flung Cities Offer Clues to Unsnarling Manhattan's Streets" - New York Times's Christina Anderson, Winnie Hu, Weiyi Lim and Anna Schaverien: "The idea translates easily into any language: Charge drivers for using congested streets and watch them change their habits. It has become an increasingly attractive tool for major metropolises overwhelmed by the traffic strangling their streets. But actually carrying out congestion pricing has been anything but easy - at least in three cities that are often cited as international models. In London, Singapore and Stockholm the fees were met with skepticism and outrage by commuters and civic and business leaders, though they later proved effective in reducing traffic, congestion and air pollution.

As New York debates whether to join these cities after decades of stalled efforts, their experiences could provide a road map. Each city does congestion pricing in its own way. Singapore sets varying fees based on the road and time of day, and adjusts them in response to traffic conditions, with fees going up when there is congestion, and down when there is not. Stockholm also sets varying fees for a congestion zone covering the central city area, with the highest fees at the busiest times of day. But its system is less flexible than Singapore's since those fees do not regularly fluctuate with traffic and any changes require the approval of Sweden's Parliament." Read more here.

2018: - RHODES TAPS KWATRA - Daily News's Ken Lovett: "Gareth Rhodes, a Democrat looking to take on first-term incumbent Republican John Faso in the Hudson Valley, has hired Metropolitan Public Strategies, which is headed by Neal Kwatra. Kwatra's firm most recently helped with City Councilman Corey Johnson's successful push to become council speaker and has long ties to the labor movement, particularly the New York Hotel Trades Council." Read more here.


- DEMOCRATIC GOVERNORS UNITE - POLITICO's Edward-Isaac Dovere and Gabriel Debenedetti: In the era of President Donald Trump, Democrats are the ones looking to return power to the states. On climate, guns, trade, infrastructure, immigration and more, they've gone from talking about the importance of a strong federal government to looking for any and every way to do the opposite of what the federal government is doing - and in many cases, to take action where the administration won't. "We have a national administration that is not keeping with where the American people are, and when it becomes as evident as it is, then it's incumbent on people with half a brain to figure out a way around that," said Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy. Malloy is a member of the Climate Alliance, formed in the wake of Trump's announcement that he'd withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, and last week joined three other governors in forming States for Gun Safety. Both groups are explicitly aimed at taking action in opposition to policy being written in Congress and making agreements among states that circumvent Washington. Read more here

CLICKER - AdAge -- "A-List 2018": 1. Wieden & Kennedy ... 2. McCann ... 3. VML ... 4. Johannes Leonardo ... 5. Anomaly ... 6. R/GA ... 7. Laundry Service ... 8. 360i ... 9. 72andSunny ... 10 (tied). Droga5 and MullenLowe.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Ronald Lauder is 74. He celebrated in Palm Beach this weekend with his family - daughter Aerin's Instapic ... Adam Baer, an investment bank analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (h/t dad Don) ... Reuters' Nicholas Brown is 33 ... Jonathan Sporn ... Samantha I. Lugo ... Scott Sanders ... James Freedland of Metropolitan Public Strategies.

WEEKEND WEDDINGS -- "Alexandra Wolfe, Andrew Schiff" -- Times: "Mrs. Schiff, 37, is a staff writer at The Wall Street Journal. She graduated from Duke. The bride's father [Tom] is an author and journalist whose books include 'The Kingdom of Speech,' 'The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,' 'The New Journalism,' 'The Right Stuff' and 'The Bonfire of the Vanities.' ... Dr. Schiff, 52, is a managing partner at Aisling Capital, a company in New York that invests in life science companies. He was until 2000 an internal medicine physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. ... When the bride asked her father if he would wear his trademark white suit to her wedding, he replied: 'No, you can wear white. It's your day.'" With pic

-- "David Fishman, Kolby Loft": "Rabbi Josh Buchin ... assisted by Cantor Basya Schechter, led the couple in an exchange of vows at Flora Farms, a restaurant and events space, in San José del Cabo, Mexico. The couple met at N.Y.U., from which they graduated and from which Mr. Loft also received a law degree. Mr. Fishman, 32, is a managing director and partner for Global Gateway Advisors, a communications consultancy in Brooklyn. ... Mr. Loft, 34, is a lawyer for the Manhattan law firm Alston & Bird." With pic ... Wedding pic

--SPOTTED: Brian Tschoepe, Javier Morgado, Kris Van Cleave, Arlette Saenz, Jack Marks, Erick Flores

-- "Naomi Kachel, Sherman Fabes": "The bride, who is 29 and will be taking her husband's name, is the camp director and family engagement coordinator at Central Synagogue in Manhattan. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and received a master's degree in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary. ... The groom, 26, is a media relations specialist in Manhattan for Ketchum, a marketing communications firm. He was until last month a producer at CBS Sports in Manhattan. He graduated from the University of Missouri. ... The couple met on OkCupid in November 2015." With pic

-- "Moria Cappio, Joseph Frederick": "Ms. Cappio, 37, is the vice president for early childhood programs at Children's Aid, an education nonprofit organization in New York. She graduated from Boston College and received a master's degree in education from Harvard. ... Mr. Frederick, 49, works as a video journalist and producer for The Associated Press in New York. He graduated from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. ... The couple met in 2011 on a New Jersey Transit train bound for Philadelphia." With pic

MORNING MEDIA, with POLITICO's Michael Calderone:

MICHELLE OBAMA MEMOIR: The former first lady's memoir, "Becoming," will be published by Penguin Random House imprint Crown and hit stores in November. Writing the book "has been a deeply personal experience," Obama tweeted Sunday. "I talk about my roots and how a girl from the South Side found her voice."

MONICA'S #METOO MOMENT: Monica Lewinsky wrote a few years ago for Vanity Fair on how she was "possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet" following revelations of an affair with then-president Bill Clinton. She also made clear in the piece that her relationship with Clinton was consensual, an issue she revisits now for Vanity Fair in light of the #MeToo movement and as the scandal turns 20.

- "Now, at 44, I'm beginning (just beginning) to consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern," she writes. "I'm beginning to entertain the notion that in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot. (Although power imbalances-and the ability to abuse them- do exist even when the sex has been consensual.) But it's also complicated. Very, very complicated."

COVERING THE NRA: With the NRA making headlines following the mass shooting at a Florida high school, the Washington Post's Margaret Sullivan writes that the "NRA is a lobbying group whose fundamental role is to protect the business interests of gun manufacturers." Though it's "hard to deny that the NRA is a major part of this story, because so many lawmakers toe their line," she added, "journalists would do well to remind their readers and audiences what the organization actually is, and what motivates them: Money."

MEANWHILE, activists are calling on Amazon and other companies to stop carrying the organization's NRATV. According to Business Insider, Roku has no plans to stop streaming NRATV, while Amazon and Apple did not respond for comment.

You can read the full Morning Media column and sign up to receive it in your inbox by clicking here.

REAL ESTATE, with POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg:

- Self-Driving Cars Coming to Lower Manhattan - Tribeca Citizen: "There are big 'leased' signs in the windows of the former Classic Car Club space at the corner of Broome, but Jack Resnick & Sons, which owns 250 Hudson, understandably said that it couldn't share any information. When I poked around elsewhere, I was told General Motors was involved, so I figured it was something akin to Cadillac's marketing boondoggle up the street. But then I looked into the Department of Buildings paperwork for the space, which lists the tenant as GM Cruise LLC. 'GM Cruise LLC, commonly referred to as Cruise or Cruise Automation, is an American driverless car company headquartered in San Francisco,' according to Wikipedia. "In March 2016, General Motors acquired Cruise for an undisclosed amount, although reports have placed the number from 'north of $500 million,' to $580 million, to over $1 billion." What might the company be doing in Hudson Square? Last October, governor Andrew Cuomo "announced General Motors and Cruise Automation are applying to begin the first sustained testing of vehicles in fully autonomous mode in New York State in early 2018." Read more here.

- "Want to Buy a Luxury Hotel in the U.S.? Try China's Insurance Regulator," by Wall Street Journal's Craig Karmin: "When Chinese regulators seized control of Anbang Insurance Group Co., they took ownership of more than a dozen luxury U.S. hotels, including New York's famed Waldorf Astoria. Now, as the Chinese government weighs selling many of these properties, the buildings likely are worth less than what Anbang paid only a couple of years ago, the latest instance of foreign investors rushing into U.S. property only to find the market softening beneath them. China's insurance regulatory agency said Friday it was assuming control of Anbang to avoid a collapse of the firm after suspected illegal activity by its chairman." Read the story here

You can find the free version of Sally's real estate newsletter here:


- Sam Hoyt, the former Cuomo Administration official who quit while he was being investigated for sexual harassment, is starting his own lobbying firm in Buffalo.

- Scott Stringer wants the Battery Park City Authority to pay for repairs at NYCHA

- The Independence Party has endorsed U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's bid for a second full term.

- New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich, a Republican, is "seriously considering" a bid for lieutenant governor.

- The Queens Library is halting use of its famous yellow bags

THE HOME TEAMS - Howard Megdal:

Enjoy this massive home run from Yoenis Cespedes. Opening Day is just over a month away.

The day ahead: your one chance to see Steph Curry at The Garden this season. (Unless the Knicks and Warriors meet in the NBA Finals. So... your one chance.) The Nets host the Bulls.

#UpstateAmerica: Rapper Tyler the Creator praised Wegman's and called Whole Foods "trash" during a recent show.

#ZooYork: "My grandmother was flashed by Marilyn Monroe"

FOR MORE political and policy news from New York, check out Politico New York's home page:

SUBSCRIBE to the Playbook family: POLITICO Playbook ... New York Playbook ... Florida Playbook ... New Jersey Playbook ... Massachusetts Playbook ... Illinois Playbook ... California Playbook ... Brussels Playbook ... London Playbook ... All our political and policy tipsheets

** A message from NYS Society of Anesthesiologists: Physician-led anesthesia medical care has led to unprecedented patient safety and positive surgical outcomes in New York. The Governor's Budget proposal endangers patient safety by removing physician led-anesthesia care and replacing it with mid-level/allied health providers. This will compromise safety for unconscious patients and cause confusion in the operating room. Learn more at: **

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