Thursday, February 11, 2016

City Council Breaks Broken Windows and A Pay Raise

New Yorkers Stop Acting Like Sheep Use Social Media to Force the Mayor to Veto the Pay Raise

In 2008 the Council Ignored Charter to Extended Term Limits, Yesterday They Ignored It Again to Raise Their Pay  
City council members give themselves a 32 percent raise (NYP) The three Republican members, Steve Matteo and freshman Joe Borelli of Staten Island, and Eric Ulrich of Queens, issued a joint statement explaining why they voted no.  “There is a critically important reason the City Charter requires any changes to salaries for elected officials be evaluated and ultimately recommended by an independent body: because there is an inherent and obvious conflict of interest in having to vote oneself a pay raise,” the trio said.

Daily News Demands the Mayor Veto the Council Pay Raise
Veto the pay raise (NYDN Ed) De Blasio properly recognized that he ran for, and was elected to, an office with the set salary of $225,000. Those were the conditions of the job, and he is sticking with them rather than pocketing $258,750 after a 15% hike. At the same time, de Blasio is abiding by a standard set for Washington by the United States Constitution. There, to avoid conflicts of interests, members of Congress seated in one term may vote hikes only for members after an election in another term. On that score, the mayor’s hands will be germ-free when the Council’s pay-raise bill lands on his desk. At that point, to further clean up the mess the members have made, the mayor must veto the measure.
NYC Council members Williams, Viverito & Dickens get $36,000 increase and don't have to give up outside rental income. 

De Blasio cannot in good conscience give his stamp of approval to the Council’s excessive hike after limiting the general municipal workforce to smaller boosts — and right now holding fast to 1% annual raises for cops. some members seriously advocated for a $192,000 salary for themselves. So, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito settled without justification on $148,500 — taking the unprecedented step of blowing past the recommendation of the salary commission by more than $10,000. Police officers, who risk their lives, make roughly half what a Council member does. The two cops shot Thursday night have incomes of $55,189 and $56,870. The mayor cannot let a hyper-privileged 51-member bunch exceed the generous pattern he set for almost 300,000 employees. Seven members voted no, and they are to be praised. De Blasio must slap sense into the rest.* New York City Council Votes to Raise Members’ Pay (NYT) * Immigrant Killed in Manhattan Crane Collapse Recalled as Decent and Humble (NYT) David Wichs, 38, graduated with a degree in mathematics from Harvard University and had a career in finance. A neighbor said Friday that Mr. Wichs was "so unusually lovely.” * Crane Collapse in Lower Manhattan Kills One Person (NYP)Workers were trying to secure the crane amid high winds when it toppled onto Worth Street in TriBeCa shortly before 8:30 a.m. Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.* New YorkCity Council raises its pay but limits members’ income (WSJ)

Council Members Not Only Offered Pay Raise Also Offered Member Items, Campaign $ to Pass Horse Bill

De Blasio offered plenty of carrots in bid to pass horse carriage bill (NYP) Multiple City Council members were offered resources or capital projects in their districts in exchange for their support of the measure — which would have shrunk the carriage industry and limited it to Central Park, the sources said. “There were plenty of carrots and plenty of sticks being bandied about over the past 72 hours,” a City Hall source said. Sources said council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito also made it clear to members that she expected their support on an initiative she had championed for years. One council source said she gave Brooklyn Councilman Carlos Menchaca a hard time for his public support of the pedicab drivers — who were treated as collateral damage under the carriage deal with the Teamsters union. “She made it known to members that she wanted this bad and said, ‘This is what I need you to do. Plain and simple,’ ” the source said.

“The mayor wasn’t the only one with a lot of skin in the game. She . . . had a lot riding on it.” t appears their efforts would have been successful if the Teamsters hadn’t bowed to pressure from fellow labor unions and backed out at the 11th hour. After announcing they were pulling the vote, Council officials insisted they had enough support to push it through. Sources said former Edison Properties honcho Stephen Nislick and Hugo Neu Recycling director Wendy Neu — leaders of the animal-rights group NYCLASS — also put pressure on council members. The two of them and close associates pumped at least $900,000 into de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign and the progressive nonprofit he now operates as mayor. * Raise? The City Council’s only earned a pay cut (NYP Ed)  The implosion of the horse-carriage-execution bill doesn’t give the City Council license to go ahead and vote itself a windfall pay hike — just the opposite. That arrogance has the public furious. Today’s Post reports on the fury in Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez’s Washington Heights district. Our favorite is Jose Blanco’s question: “What about the rest of the city?” If all the council is going to do is collect (legal) bribes for endorsing the mayor’s deals with special interests, it’s hard to see why members deserve any pay at all. * According to a memo, New York City Councilman Paul Vallone will propose an amendment that would allow members to supplement their incomewith outside work paying up to 15 percent of their annual Council salary: * Mocked, resented, and now dead: De Blasio’s horse debacle makes history (PoliticoNY) * 'This is one of the worst political debacles “maybe in all-time memory,” said @BillCunningham8  *  Outside-income ban affects few Council members (PoliticoNY) 40 members make no outside income *   Less than 24hours after cops shot, City Council votes to give themselves 32% pay boost (NYDN) * Melissa Mark-Viverito doesn't plan to push de Blasio's horse carriage bill after Teamsters dropped support (NYDN)

Rodriguez's District Residents Who Make Average $39,000 Furious That He Said He Needs $175,000 to Feed His Family 
Washington Heights residents furious with councilman’s raise request (NYP) Residents of Washington Heights lashed out Thursday at their local city councilman, Ydanis Rodriguez, for saying he needs to get paid at least $175,000 to support his family. “You’re telling me you can’t live off of [$148,500]?! Get outtahere!” said a Sanitation Department worker who gets by on $62,000 and would only give his first name, Ernesto. “I live on less than that,” he seethed. “These City Council guys, they get all the perks.” “What about the rest of the people in the city?” fumed José Blanco, a 41-year-old bookseller who makes $30,000 a year and was walking near 181st Street. The median household income in Rodriguez’s district is $39,500. “The pay should reflect the constituents,” said Michael Bridenstine, a 47-year-old freelance TV director. “I don’t think [Rodriguez] deserves a raise. At $148,500, he should be able to support a family of four. I made less than that and I did it.” Rodriguez’s office issued a statement Thursday saying he supports the $148,500 “compromise reached by the [council] speaker . . . given [members’] foregoing of outside income and the hours of tireless work they put in each day.” Annie Richardo, a 32-year-old teaching assistant who pulls in $32,000, said she wouldn’t again for Rodriguez again now that she knows how much he wants. “What about the other citizens who also have families and need more money?,” she asked.* Residents of Washington Heights lashed out at their local NYC councilman, Ydanis Rodriguez, for saying he needs to get paid at least $175,000 to support his family. Rodriguez in 2011 was arrested at an Occupy Wall Street protest, and is among the Council’s most progressive members.*  MAP: Council Members Just Got a Raise. See How Much MoreThey Make Than You (DNAINFO) *  Councilwoman Dickens Can't Back Up Claim She Used Own Cash for Constituents (DNAINFO) The councilwoman doesn't keep track of how much of her money she spends on constituents, her staff said.

NUTS: Pols Who Fear Homeless on the Streets Do Not Fear Lowering the Quality of Life
Race Has Now Been Brought Into Quality of Life Enforcement De Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito say vigorous enforcement of so-called quality-of-life crimes is too burdensome on what the speaker terms “communities of color.” So, the city means to effectively decriminalize low-level antisocial behavior — public urination, outdoor dope-smoking and drinking, turnstile jumping and so on — on the way to gutting the so-called broken-windows approach to safe streets. *  Mark-Viverito continues push to decriminalize quality-of-life offenses (NYP) * De Blasio is undoing all the quality of life gains of the last 25 years (NYP) In only two-plus years, Team de Blasio returned much of the school system to a state of rudderless pandemonium — where one kid can do a crime knowing some other kid will do the time.  That is, bad actors of all sorts now earn only a stern tut-tut — suspensions largely are out — as violent crime has skyrocketed and classrooms and corridors in many schools have become so chaotic that serious scholarship is all but impossible. Disciplinary suspensions dropped by 16% between the 2013-14 school year and last June; unsurprisingly, Albany reports that forcible sex offenses in city schools were up 90% and serious assaults jumped 69%. As The Post reported, a student caught with seven bags of marijuana was given a warning note. It was up to him whether to show it to his parents. And the head of the city’s principals union complains bitterly of chaotic conditions in many of the schools. Now comes word that de Blasio, hand-in-glove with the City Council, is preparing to visit the same pox on New York’s streets. De Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito say vigorous enforcement of so-called quality-of-life crimes is too burdensome on what the speaker terms “communities of color.” So, the city means to effectively decriminalize low-level antisocial behavior — public urination, outdoor dope-smoking and drinking, turnstile jumping and so on — on the way to gutting the so-called broken-windows approach to safe streets.* * A series of bills to be introduced by the New York City Council seeking to resolve an impasse over how to deter minor lawbreaking without punishing too many people unjustly shows the city is poised to move toward a fairer and smarter criminal justice system, the Times writes: * @BilldeBlasio's office backs bill that would cut back penalties for public urination  *De Blasio Administration Agrees to Decriminalization ofLow-Level Offenses (NYO)* Council bills cut back penalties for minor offenses (NYDN)

In A City Where 73% Upset About Homeless Council Moves to Decriminalized Quality of Life Crimes
The Post Played the Broken Windows Damage the Move Cause to Crime Fighting
New York is headed back to chaos in the streets (NYP Ed) Nearly three in four New Yorkers say the city is doing too little to help the homeless — and a majority disapprove of the way Mayor de Blasio is handling the problem. But that’s not stopping the City Council from moving full-speed ahead on legislation to back away from police enforcement of crimes so often seen among the street homeless, like urinating and drinking alcohol in public. Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is determined to undo the highly successful “broken windows” policing policy that has played such a key role in driving crime down to record low levels. A package of eight bills to be introduced at the council Monday would steer even more “low-level” non-violent crimes to civil proceedings, where fines would replace jail sentences. But those minor crimes, and others like turnstile-jumping, have often proved to be precursors to more serious offenses. Broken windows gets thugs — and, often, their illegal guns — off the streets before they “graduate” to more serious crimes. It’s the difference between preventing crimes before they occur and stepping in only after crimes have been committed. And it comes as a new Quinnipiac University poll shows continued public discontent over the growing homeless crisis — and what New Yorkers see as the downward spiral of the city’s quality of life. Fully 73 percent said City Hall needs to do more to help the homeless, and 55 percent say the mayor is mishandling poverty and homelessness — despite his recent initiative aimed at responding more quickly. In fact, 58 percent said they see more homeless people on the streets these days.

The Piss Bill is Back to Change the Way the City Handles Low-Level Offenses
The NYC Council is set to introduce a package of bills that would broadly reshape the way the city handles low-level offenses such as public urination and drinking alcohol in public, in some cases removing them from the criminal justice system.*   New York Council to Consider Bills Altering How PoliceHandle Minor Offenses(NYT) * City Council wants to decriminalize quality-of-life offenses (NYP) The plan to decriminalize the offenses — which also include littering, breaking park rules, making excessive noise and failing to appear in court — and lessen penalties for scofflaws are included in eight bills, collectively dubbed “The Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2016,” that are up for a public hearing Monday.* New York City Is Set to Adopt New Approach on Policing Minor Offenses (NYT) The measures would affect low-level offenses such as littering, public urination and public consumption of alcohol, in some cases removing them from the criminal justice system.*New York City is poised to reshape how it treats many quality-of-life offenses, softening its stance on low-level infractions like public urination and drinking alcohol in public by steering those cases away from the criminal court system, The NewYork Times reports: 
How Blacks the Poor and the Middle Class are Being Push Out of Brooklyn Because of Albany's Tax Breaks for Luxury Developers

The Teamter Killed the Horse-Carriage Deal Not the Shameless Corrupt Council and Mayor 
Someone Put Pressure on the Teamsters Union, The Horse-Carriage Drivers A GoodFellow in Albany?
De Blasio’s bid for horse-carriage deal collapses (NYP) Mayor Bill de Blasio’s months-long bid to push through a deal to shrink the horse carriage industry and restrict it to Central Park fell apart suddenly on Thursday, after the Teamsters Union, which represents drivers, backed out. “The Teamsters’ first priority is always our members and their livelihoods. With the legislation now finalized, our members are not confident that it provides a viable future for their industry,” said Teamsters Joint Council 16 president George Miranda. “We cannot support the horse carriage bill currently before the City Council.” Carriage license owners started to make waves earlier this week by arguing that the union, Teamsters Local 553, had made a deal without their consent. Told of the parent union’s pullout from the deal, carriage license owner and driver Ian Mckeever — who has been a vocal opponent of the deal — was elated. Just Wednesday, de Blasio had dismissed questions about the apparent discord between Local 553 and its members. De Blasio’s 2013 campaign for mayor and his progressive nonprofit — formed since becoming mayor — have benefited from nearly $900,000 from just two animal rights activists and their associates: former Edison Properties honcho Stephen Nislick and Hugo Neu Recycling director Wendy Neu. The mayor later issued a statement saying he intends to continue pressing the issue.* Mayor de Blasio vows to keep trying to rein in horsecarriage industry after Teamsters scuttle City Council vote (NYDN) * When asked for a comment about collapse of horse carriagedeal, a spokesman for @NYGovCuomo responded "Neigh" (AP)

de Blasio Another Humiliating Defeat Was Ubered  
Incompetent de Blasio earns yet another humiliating defeat (NYP Ed) Last year, de Blasio sought to cap the growth of e-taxi services such as Uber, Lyft and Gett. Why? Because wealthy donors of his, city cab medallion owners, knew that the increasingly popular services were a significant threat to their bottom line. Instead of innovating and improving the service they offered to riders, these fat cats went to de Blasio, reminded him of their prior contributions and called in their chits with one goal: kill the competition. De Blasio dutifully tried. And he failed, backing down in the face of industry opposition and public outcry. The horse-carriage deal followed a similar trajectory. It was pushed by an organization, NYCLASS, that was established under the guise of animal welfare, but really was a way for its wealthy donors to seize the valuable land belonging to the horse-carriage industry and develop it for their own personal gain. Noble. On Thursday, as news spread that de Blasio had once again lost a big political fight, he sat in his SUV outside City Hall, surrounded by the very people whose jobs he wanted to eliminate: the carriage drivers. The men and women whose livelihood de Blasio had threatened surrounded his car and the mayor sat there . . . for 16 full minutes — he probably wished he was back in Iowa where nobody knew who he was. There were other instances of de Blasio proposing a big policy and losing. His push to build housing on Sunnyside Yards in Queens would have added 11,250 affordable-housing units to 200 acres of undeveloped land and ultimately rivaled Peter Cooper Village and Stuy-Town. Gov. Cuomo snuffed that idea out because the state, not the city, controls that parcel of land. Or de Blasio’s stance against Police Commissioner Bratton’s desire to put more police officers on the street? In that instance, the City Council overrode the mayor and went even further than what Bratton was calling for. When things go wrong, de Blasio and his team pass the buck. Homelessness increasing? That’s just the press fear-mongering. A top aide violating the law and having a live-in boyfriend who was a convicted murderer and had a history of misogyny and anti-police statements? The press was misbehaving and not focusing on what he wanted them to focus on. Carmen Fariña telling parents about cuts to school language programs that they should just buy their kids Rosetta Stone? (What if history were cut? Would Fariña advise parentsto buy their children The Oregon Trail?) The press clearly took what Fariña said out of context. This time, however, he has a new scapegoat: the unions. How dare they fight for their own jobs at the expense of a few donors making millions of dollars? Remember, de Blasio ran for mayor as the champion of unions and the working man. He decried how our political system let donors, or as he called them “those people,” buyinfluence with elected officials.  How ironic.

Coming Soon: 
Who Crushed Political Dissent in NYC
All Power Mayor Council Puppets Deserve A Big Pay Raise as Media Dissed 
City Council members really think they deserve a 32 percent pay hike(NYP) Membe rs of the City Council spent hours Wednesday trying to justify a 32 percent pay hike they plan to award themselves, but they didn’t convince the head of a special panel that recommended they get $10,000 less. “For me this is a big compromise we’re doing today. Our salaries should be $175,000,” said Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan). “We have a right to make a living to support our families.” Rodriguez, whose Washington Heights district has a median household income of about $39,500, argued he and his colleagues deserve more because they have to attend night meetings and deal with constituents’ complaints at all hours. 

The Mayor, Speaker and Council Who Have No Clothes Live In A Clueless Bubble 
“One-third of the 51 council members have zero significant prior work experience, except as aides to elected officials—frequently the council member whose seat they now occupy. Another six council members are former public school teachers. Several, including speaker Mark-Viverito, were union staffers or community organizers. Aside from a handful of lawyers who could possibly maintain private practices and an evangelical minister who continues to preach every Sunday, it’s hard to imagine that many members of the New York city council have much earning potential in the real world.Six-figure Schmoozers (City Journal) Overpaid already, New York City lawmakers propose a big, fat raise.
“When we go to eat in a restaurant, we have to allocate time to speak to our constituency,” he said. Schwarz brushed off Rodriguez’s concerns. “Everybody needs to feed their family,” he said. “We thought we did an appropriate raise for all offices.”  Councilwoman Inez Dickens (D-Manhattan) argued that the commission’s proposed raises amounted to being “penalized” because members often give needy constituents money “out of our pockets in order for them to eat.” The raises are scheduled to be voted on Friday, the same day members will be asked to approve Mayor de Blasio’s bill to downsize the horse-carriage industry and limit the animals to Central Park. The mayor said he supports the raises. He dismissed criticism from good-government groups that the timing makes it appear he’s holding the raises hostage to the horse-carriage bill.* The City Council’s pathetic case for a windfall raise (NYP)  Frederick Schwarz just nicely punctured the City Council’s excuses for its obscene pay-hike plan. Schwarz chaired the outside panel that recommended a 23 percent raise for council members, to $138,315. The council promptly turned around and tacked on another $10,185, for a 32 percent bump — and is rushing the vote through on Friday. Never before has the council raised its pay more than the outsiders suggested. Another first: The hike’s retroactive to Jan. 1, rather than kicking in after the next election. At Wednesday’s required-by-law hearing, Councilmember Margaret Chin (D-Lower Manhattan) claimed the higher number would attract “more good people to government.” Schwarz answered, “There’s no shortage now.” Darn right: Candidates flock into council races. * Council clowns’ modest pay proposal (NYDN Ed) * De Blasio: Move of horses to Central Park will pass (NYDN) *   A City Council Raise That Raises Questions (NYT Ed) There are good reasons for a pay increase, but there are also good reasons for taking the time to explain why such a large raise is needed.  

Two days before they are expected to vote to increase their salaries by nearly a third, New York City council members held the first, and only, public hearing on the package of bills that would raise their pay while enacting significant reforms, the Times reports:  The Times writes that a better-paid New York City Council is welcome, but there are good reasons to be uneasy about how the Council approached the raise and it's reasonable to ask the members to take a bit more time to answer lingering questions: Political consultant Tom Shanahan in the Journal writesthat a full-time state legislature and barring outside income won’t prevent corrupt practices, and no state in the country limits outside income for its legislators for good reasons: * Many New York City Council members believe the pending horse-carriage legislation that could erase hundreds of jobs and cost the city millions is less about animal rights and more about de Blasio keeping a campaign promise to wealthy donors. But they’ll likely approve it anyway tomorrow, saying they are under intense pressure to do so. * NY horse-carriage drivers brace for city to rein in theirbusiness  * 
The Transport Workers Union said it will sue the mayor and the City Council, should they pass a law to move a diminished horse carriage industry into Central Park and ban pedicabs outside the park’s tourist areas.* Members of the City Council spent hours yesterday trying to justify a 32 percent pay hike they plan to award themselves, but they didn’t convince the head of a special panel that recommended they get $10,000 less. * The NYT weighs in on the NYC Council’s plan to vote itself a raise: “A better-paid City Council is welcome, on several levels. But there are also good reasons to be uneasy about how the Council got here — and to ask the members to take a bit more time to answer a few lingering questions and to make a better case than they have for the package they are about to give themselves.” *  NYC Council member wants to keep outside income amid raise (NYDN) * Horses will continue to trot as Teamsters reject De Blasio'scarriage plan: Horse carriages are free to fully… * Animal rights activists who have been trying to ban the carriage industry for years placed the blame for the deal’s demise squarely on Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.* Mayor de Blasio’s Carriage-Horse Plan Falters in City Council (NYT)

Daily News Leaves Out Council Pay to Play Pay Raise and the Real Estate Deal As It Attacks the Deal On the Health of the Reduced Number of Horses
They kill horses,don’t they? The City Council must refuse de Blasio’s horse bill (NYDN) Whipped like mules and rewarded with money sweets — good boy, good girl — the City Council is moving to a vote that will hurt humans and animals.  Members must understand that Mayor de Blasio is driving them to return the favors of animal-rights activists who funded his mayoral campaign in appallingly cruel fashion. The activists wanted to ban horse carriages from the city, declaring that the horses suffered terribly. With the activists spending lavishly on ads that hobbled Christine Quinn’s candidacy, de Blasio declared that the carriage industry was inhumane. Initially, the Council balked at killing the business. And, now, paid-laborer de Blasio is ramming through a “compromise” that would limit horses to Central Park, where they would be housed in a new taxpayer-funded, wasteful $25 million stable. The members are urged to read the Op-Ed article published today. Susan Kayne, of the Unbridled Thoroughbred Foundation, documents that de Blasio’s scheme would severely overwork the horses.* De Blasio denied the suspicion that NYC Council support for his horse carriage proposal is somehow intertwined with a plan to raise lawmakers’ wages.

Even the NYT is Against the Central Park Horse Deal, But Says Nothing About the Mayor's Pay to Play Pay Deal With the Council Central Park Conservancy Pressuring the NYT
A Misguided Plan for Carriage Horses (NYT Ed) Having failed to kill New York City’s carriage-horse industry, Mayor Bill de Blasio has settled for crippling it. He has sent a bill to accomplish this to the City Council, which is expected to vote on it next Friday. The Council needs to stop him. As weary as members might be of this issue, which has been festering since the 2013 mayoral race, they need to dispose of it. This means standing up to the administration, to passionate but misguided animal lovers and to real estate interests presenting themselves as animal lovers. Because the deal would reduce but not eliminate the carriages, and confine them to the shady lanes of Central Park, where new stables would be built, it carries the appealing scent of compromise. But it’s a shoddy effort, shot through with dubious assumptions and unanswered questions. Why spend public dollars — perhaps $25 million, though no one knows — to set up a private, profit-seeking business in Central Park? Why build redundant housing for horses during a human homelessness crisis? Why go after law-abiding small-business owners and employees, and take away jobs?  When the uprooted business shrivels — from about 170 horses to 110 by December and 95 by 2018 — how will it survive, and what will become of the displaced drivers and jobless horses? Why punish pedicab drivers, who have no political clout, by banishing them from the parts of the park where the carriages will go? Why was the Central Park Conservancy, which has deep reservations about the plan, left out of the discussion?  The deal offers a solution where there was no problem. The industry is well-regulated, drivers make a living, and the horses are safe and healthy. The bill before the City Council smells more like a political fix than good policy. It pays a debt to the mayor’s wealthy donors, and it clears the way for developers who covet the West Side property where the stables lie.
Adrian Benepe ‏@Adrian_Benepe
Three major NYC daily newspaper editorials reject mayor's horse carriage plan; will @NYCCouncil listen? Zero community support for plan.

Suzannah B. Troy l@unitedNYblogs is this like Bloomberg Quinn slush money to buy an illegal 3rd term, Bill trying to buy 2nd term?

Saturday NYP's de Blasio's Dirty Real Estate Deal But Nothing About the Election Fix
Bill de Blasio’s dirty deal to kill the carriage-horse industry (NYP Ed) It’s a dirty new low, even for Mayor de Blasio: He’s set to finally impose a death sentence on the carriage-horse industry while lying about it — and (legally) bribing the City Council to OK it. The drivers don’t want it, the stable owners don’t want it, parks advocates don’t want it — and New Yorkers, by an overwhelming majority, don’t want it. But the City Council is poised to pass a bill Friday to destroy an industry that predates the Civil War. Steve Nislick — who dumped some $2 million into making de Blasio mayor.  What’s their interest? Valuable West Side real estate, now home to carriage-horse stables, they’d love to seize and develop. (Nislick denies it. Buy that, and he’ll offer you a bargain on the Brooklyn Bridge.). The mayor calls the bill before the council a “compromise.” That’s pure horse manure. It’s actually a way to pay back de Blasio’s rich backers by killing off the horse-carriage trade in stages while pretending to preserve it. The council is wired to go along in exchange for a deal that will hike members’ pay by 32 percent without a public hearing. Anyway, de Blasio’s bill starts sharply reducing the number of carriages right away, years before the facility could open.That will cut the financial legs out from under the stable owners — forcing them to sell. (Hello, Steve!). No, our “progressive” mayor is destroying honest, working-class jobs — and an entire, small-but-iconic New York industry — so he can repay a fat-cat donor. And he’s using taxpayer cash to bribe the “progressive” council to go along.Looks like another case for Preet Bharara.* Albanybillboards ask public to apply ‘See Something, Say Something’ to politicalcorruption (NYDN) *City Council Members: No Deal-Making in Their Potential Salary Increase (NY1)  *  A Misguided Plan for Carriage Horses (NYT)

Friday's True News
A Result of the Cover-Up by the CFB and Board of Ethics On the NYCLASS Election Corruption, The Council is Openly Bribeable To A Developer Deal 

BOSS TWEED WOULD CHEER: Stink of manure as Council plans to vote for big raises on the very day it votes on de Blasio’s horse bill (NYDN) * There was no smell of fresh hay when Mayor de Blasio reached a horse carriage deal with Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on the very day he blessed pay hikes for her members. Now there’s the stink of manure as the Council plans to vote for even bigger raises for themselves on the very day it votes on de Blasio’s horse bill. This isn’t horse trading; it’s daylight bribery. First, animal rights activists pump a critical $1 million into de Blasio’s election campaign. Next, de Blasio says he’ll spend $25 million on a Central Park stable to keep promises to the activists. Next, a Council that had refused to kill the carriage industry gets a big payday and goes along with a plan that purports to limit the horses to Central Park but, in fact, will starve the industry to death well before a necessary new stable opens. Meanwhile, the Council is writing a pay raise bill in secret with plans to take far more than the hike an independent commission recommended. In doing so, Mark-Viverito and company will violate decades of sensible precedent. In every previous pay raise round — in 1979, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999 and 2006 — the Council voted into law the salary recommendations of special temporary commissions set up to provide the public with an independent judgment of how much pay levels should be increased. Never has a Council passed raises greater than a commission thought warranted. This time, the panel recommended hiking the Council salary 23% from $112,500 to $138,315 while abolishing extra stipends doled out to loyalists. Instead the Council is moving to set salaries closer to $150,000. De Blasio got his money, the animal rights activists got their stables, and Council members are sealing the deal with big money in their pockets.* The New York City Council completed a package of bills on that would adopt provisions on outside income and financial disclosures while raising pay to $148,500 a year, far above a city commission’s recommendation, The NewYork Times reports: * The New York City Council has scheduled two separate hearings on Feb. 9 and 10 for de Blasio's controversial zoning plans related to his overall affordable housing goals, though it’s not clear which officials will testify, Politico New York reports:

Will the Fact That All 3 Paper Editorials Oppose Mayor's Horse-Carriage Plan Means Nothing to Council Members 
Three major NYC daily newspaper editorials reject mayor's horse carriage plan; will @NYCCouncil listen? Zero community support for plan.

As True News Follows Thomas Nass Using It's Editorial Pictures to Explain Corruption the News and Post Go Fleet Street Selling Sex to Get Internet Hits

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Steve Ratner Pension Mess

As Reported in True News
Steve Rattner the Untouchable

Who's Afraid of Steve Rattner? Everyone?

NY PensionGate Explodes in New Mexico

Whose Guarding the People's Pensions?

Everyone is Covering Up the Pension Scandal for Their Own Reasons

bloomberg pensionMess

The Wolf at Thompson's Door

True News: Wolf at Thompson Door, Part II . Avella Opens A Cut

Who Rob the People's Pensions

Nobody Asked Me, But . . . True News was First Before the Daily News Again Mayor Michael Bloomberg tears into rival Bill Thompson on pensions In this article the Daily News took credit for Bloomberg atacking Thompson on the pension funds because the paper said the mayor was responding to DN article that was written the day before that showed Thompson taking $158,000 from pension fund middlemen who won more than $2.2 billion in business with the city. On April 21, 2009 True News wrote The Wolf at Thompson's Door which exposed how Thompson was getting campaign contributions from former managers of his pension who after leaving his office became money man and received tens of millions from his office the same pension funds that they reorganized Thompson Pensions funds to make it more available to money manager type deals. Since that April story True News has written over a dozen stories about how Thompson has abused the pension funds offering many important leads that have not been follow up by the other papers or the campaigns. From True News "It was reported yesterday in the Times that it was under former top Thompson aide Josh Wolf-Powers’ advisement that Steven Rattner’s private investment firm Quadrangle Group hired the now-indicted Hank Morris as its placement agent. Rattner badly wanted to gain access to investment from the State’s pension fund and according to the Times, “Wolf-Powers told Mr. Rattner that he could not think of any investment firm that had persuaded the city’s pension fund to invest without using a placement agent.” Josh Wolf-Powers was his aid who left Thompson office and formed his own company and recieved pensions funds from the comprtoller. On August 18 the NYT reported that one quarter of the money Thompson raised came from people who do business with his office. On June 3 the Village Voice Robbins wrote how campaign consultants closed to Thompson not only acted as money managers with the city's pension funds but gave campaign contributions to the City Comptroller. The journalist culture which thinks they are the center of the world until your paper prints the story is elitist and in this new emerging Internet world factually wrong Pension middlemen gave $158K to Bill Thompson's campaigns and got $2.2B in city business *** Does anyone believe that dysfunctional Albany does not rig every major big with a contractor? Gov's casino flip stirs fears of rigging (Dicker NYP) There's growing fear that Gov. Paterson is manipulating the bidding process for the long-delayed, multibillion-dollar contract for a massive video-lottery casino at the Aqueduct Race Track *** How does Squier Knapp Dunn communications which has received many of Bloombergs millions get the voters to turn out in a dull mayoral campaign? After spending 65 million Squier has failed to get Bloomberg positive numbers to increase. In the debate this week Thompson will be fighting for his life - Term Limit extension, developers taxes and parking tickets pushing the middle class out. Squier will be trying to paint Bloomberg clam and in charge. This might not be the best debate Strategy to make sure voter turn out which has been in the single digits in the 2009 primary and runoff, reaches the 45% to 50% where experts believe Bloomberg will be easily elected. The non religious Jewish vote is a real question inside the Squier war room *** In New York with a 10% plus unemployment rate Stimulus is not about creating jobs its about paying off the UFT and their members in an election years $1B ed. 'waste'Few new stimulus jobs at DOE (NYP)

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House Republicans want investigation of Rattner's handling of Delphi

David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington -- Two Republican members of Congress want an investigation into the conduct of former Obama auto czar Steve Rattner.

In a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, and Christopher Lee, R-N.Y., urged the committee to investigate Rattner's conduct.

Rattner, who headed the Obama auto task force from February until July 2009, "has been implicated in an alleged 2005 kickback scheme involving New York State pension funds through his role as a co-founder of the Quadrangle Group investment firm."



The letter quotes reports as saying Rattner was involved in the "scheme" to steer payments in exchange for a state investment contract.

Earlier this month, Quadrangle agreed to pay $12 million to federal and state authorities to settle the matter. Quadrangle issued a statement criticizing Rattner.

"We wholly disavow the conduct engaged in by Steve Rattner. ... That conduct was inappropriate, wrong and unethical," the company said.

The investigation calls "into question the integrity and objectivity of Mr. Rattner's panel, particularly the decision to allow some Delphi Corp. retirees, including many salaried retirees, to lose their pension benefits through the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation while simultaneously protecting the benefits of other Delphi retirees."

In an interview, Rogers said salaried retirees were treated "horribly."

"It was completely unfair how they were treated," he said. "We need to ask some really hard questions about how this happened."

Jenny Rosenberg, a spokeswoman for the committee chairman, Rep. Ed Towns, D-N.Y., said he had no immediate comment.

Dozens of Congress members have sharply criticized the disparate treatment of Delphi's hourly and salaried retirees.

Earlier this month, 12 members of the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre Jr. questioning whether the company was being unduly influenced by its government owners -- and cited Delphi as an example.

Last July, Delphi abandoned its pension plans in bankruptcy covering 70,000 people, saddling the PBGC with a $6.2 billion liability.

Some of the company's salaried retirees will receive up to a 70 percent cut in the value of their pensions because the PBGC has limits on the amount it can insure.

The average retiree losing pension benefits will see about $850 a month cut, but some will not see any cut.

GM agreed to "top off" the pensions of most of Delphi's hourly retirees at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

Members of Congress have unsuccessfully sought records relating to the task force's decisions to allow the different treatment.

"Many Delphi retirees will lose significant portions of their promised pension benefits while others will be kept whole. This is unfair and unjust," Rogers and Lee wrote.

Delphi emerged from bankruptcy in October after it eliminated retiree health care and life insurance for salaried retirees.

Treasury Department spokeswoman Meg Reilly declined to comment and Rattner didn't return a message seeking comment.

Rattner works for Bloomberg's Non Profits Organizations

Rattner clams up Ex-car czar took fifth 'many times' with SEC: mag (NYP) Former car czar Steve Rattner was mum on several occasions last year when the Securities and Exchange Commission interviewed him under oath about his role in the messy New York State pension "pay to play" scandal, according to an upcoming report. Rattner, the founder of Quadrangle Group, a private-equity firm, has been implicated in a kickback scheme that paid bribes to a middleman in return for his fund receiving wads of investment cash from New York's robust $140 billion public pension fund.(NYP) * Kelly: Mayor's Frequent Flier (WSJ) * NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly took five free trips to Florida on Bloomberg’s private jet last year, the value of which, according to Kelly, are “unknown”.