New York State In-depth

GOP sways city redistricting process- POLITICO

Democrats outnumber Republicans 46 to 5 on the New York City Council, but the GOP is playing an outsize role in drawing the district lines that will shape the body for the decade to come.

Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli wanted Staten Island’s three districts to remain intact amid the citywide carveup — and that’s exactly what he’s getting in a proposed set of maps, our Sally Goldenberg and Joe Anuta report.

Staten Island’s population has been growing more slowly than the rest of the city, raising the possibility that it would no longer be home to three self-contained City Council districts. Instead, parts of Brooklyn would have been added to a Staten Island district under one proposal that the redistricting commission considered. But they opted against that, instead leaving the borough’s districts virtually unchanged in the plan that’s actively under discussion.

“I will use whatever influence I have to make sure Staten Island doesn’t lose an ounce of power at City Hall,” Borelli said. “The border between Staten Island and Brooklyn is nearly a mile and $20,” he said. “We have nothing in common with any other part of the city, and given our small population, we already have a hard enough time getting attention from City Hall.”

Borelli pulled this off despite having just three appointees on the 15-member commission, with the rest chosen by Mayor Eric Adams and Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. And by leaving Staten Island alone, the group has to do more fiddling with lines elsewhere, to the detriment of some Democrats — two of whom are being thrust into the same Brooklyn district in the area across the water from Staten Island.

While Borelli is winning for now, the redistricting battle isn’t over. Some Council members plan to fight back against the maps, with the lines set to be finalized in February.

IT’S THURSDAY. Got tips, suggestions or thoughts? Let us know … By email: [email protected] and [email protected], or on Twitter: @erinmdurkin and @annagronewold

WHERE’S KATHY? Making economic development announcements in Syracuse and Clayton.

WHERE’S ERIC? Hosting a breakfast with advertising industry leaders, meeting with interfaith leaders on Staten Island, meeting with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director Steve Dettelbach, delivering remarks with Vice President Kamala Harris and joining the Bowling Green Association and the Peruvian American Coalition of New York to raise a flag in celebration of Peruvian Independence Day.

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Hochul’s controversial Penn Station funding plan secures final state approval, by POLITICO’s Danielle Muoio Dunn: Gov. Kathy Hochul can move full steam ahead with her plan to redevelop Penn Station and the surrounding area after securing key approval from the state entity responsible for approving public financing projects. The Public Authorities Control Board on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve the state’s plan to raise revenue for the project, despite mounting opposition from budget watchdogs and local officials over the controversial financing structure. Just hours before the board meeting, state comptroller Tom DiNapoli urged the panel to delay a vote to ensure “sufficient information and funding commitments are in place.” But the warning didn’t sway the outcome, with all three voting members quickly approving the project with minimal public comment.

Adams shrugs off split with Hochul over bail reform, by POLITICO’s Erin Durkin: Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday downplayed his division with Gov. Kathy Hochul over whether the state should call a special legislative session to tighten New York’s bail laws. The issue has put Adams, a moderate Democrat who made crime-reduction a focus of his 2021 campaign, on the same side as Republicans seeking to unseat the Democratic governor in this year’s election. “If anyone believes they’re going to agree 100 percent of the time on anything, then that’s not realistic. I don’t agree with myself 100 percent of the time,” Adams told reporters Wednesday.

MTA names panel to set congestion pricing tolls, by POLITICO’s Danielle Muoio Dunn: A group of six New Yorkers will soon face the monumental task of figuring out how much to charge motorists driving into lower Manhattan under the state’s upcoming congestion pricing system. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Wednesday officially named its appointees to serve on the six-member Traffic Mobility Review Board, which will determine toll prices for congestion pricing and whether to grant any exemptions to certain motorists or discounts. Congestion pricing will charge drivers more to enter Manhattan’s Central Business District during rush hour, in an effort to relieve congestion and create a new revenue stream for public transportation.

“NY judge denies Adams administration’s request to implement school budget cuts as lawsuit plays out,” by WNYC’s Jessica Gould and Christopher Werth: “A New York state Supreme Court Judge has denied the Adams administration’s effort to vacate a temporary restraining order issued last week that prevents the Department of Education from implementing cuts to school budgets for the coming school year. Judge Lyle Frank issued the order Wednesday after the city filed a motion earlier in the week, arguing that delaying the cuts would be disruptive to school principals who are currently developing budget plans based on the reductions in funding. The decision is in response to a lawsuit brought by a group of parents and teachers who argue that the cuts will have a detrimental effect on students. The case will now move to a hearing scheduled for August 4th.”

‘Total voter confusion’ as overlapping August elections loom, by POLITICO’s Bill Mahoney: Democrat Pat Ryan and Republican Marc Molinaro recently held overlapping campaign stops in the same county in advance of their Aug. 23 special election to finish off the final few months of a congressional term. They weren’t the only candidates visiting that day. Matt Castelli, who is seeking the Democratic nomination in a primary the same day to challenge GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik in November, also dropped by the county. So on that one day in August, voters there will be able to cast ballots in both the highly competitive special election between Ryan and Molinaro in a seat that includes some commuters to Manhattan, as well as in Castelli’s primary in a district that borders Quebec. New York voters are facing a unique set of elections on Aug. 23, setting up a special election on the same day as a set of primaries for newly-redrawn congressional and state Senate districts.

How confusing is it? Parts of seven different congressional seats overlap in the sprawling chunk of eastern upstate that Molinaro and Ryan are running in, and residents will need to consult multiple sets of maps to figure out just how many races they can vote in and when.

“There’s total voter confusion,” Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, said during a recent campaign stop to the region.

—  Hochul and Delgado were endorsed by 1199SEIU.

“Cuomo returns to Westchester to live with sister at Kenneth Cole’s Purchase mansion,” by Journal News’ David McKay Wilson: “Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a thing for Westchester County. He has returned for a third time, moving into the baronial Purchase residence of his sister, Maria, and her husband, Kenneth Cole, the fashion designer and entrepreneur.He may have a couple of rooms and bathrooms in the Coles’ 18-room, 10-bathroom home on 11 acres that backs up on the Hutchinson River Parkway. The town of Harrison values the home at $7.1 million. Cuomo made official his move to the Coles’ manse on May 27, when he registered to vote in Westchester County. He did so on the deadline to qualify to cast a ballot in this year’s June 28 Democratic gubernatorial primary, which was won by his successor, Gov. Kathy Hochul. He applied for an absentee ballot on June 22, records show.”

“Steve Pigeon sentenced to four months in prison over illegal political donation,” by Buffalo News’ Maki Becker: “Once a kingmaker of Western New York politicians, with ties to the Clintons, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and billionaire Tom Golisano, G. Steven Pigeon appeared before a federal judge Wednesday who sentenced him to four months in prison followed by one year of supervised release for making an illegal political donation. Pigeon, 61, gave a short statement in court apologizing for his actions.”

“Former Cuomo staffer killed on Delaware highway when Lyft driver kicks him out,” by New York Daily News’ Kate Feldman and Tim Balk: “A 43-year-old former staffer in the New York governor’s office who worked under Gov. Hochul and former Gov. Andrew Cuomo was fatally struck early Sunday morning while walking along a Delaware highway after getting kicked out of his Lyft, according to authorities. Sidney Wolf, of Gaithersburg, Md., was riding with friends around 2 a.m. when a disagreement occurred between them and the driver, who stopped the ride and left them standing in the middle of the road in Dewey Beach, Del., said the Delaware State Police.”

TIMES UNION EDITORIAL BOARD: “Bail isn’t the problem”: “Critics of New York’s bail reforms keep ignoring two fundamental facts about our criminal justice system: One, people are considered innocent until proven guilty. And two, the purpose of bail is to ensure that a person shows up for court — not to summarily deprive them of freedom before trial. Those aren’t quaint aspirations. They are essential features of any system of justice worthy of the name. Without them, we would exist in a society in which government officials could jail people on a whim, without going to the trouble of proving their case. These protections are very much part of the concepts of law and order and the rule of law. Yet here we are again, with New York Republicans and conservatives — who profess to stand for law and order and for reining in the power of big government — railing against the reforms that were designed to ensure, as the Pledge of Allegiance goes, justice for all.”

#UpstateAmerica: Two Niagara County cows wandered away from a farm into an animal sanctuary and the sanctuary refuses to release them if they “are going to go into slaughter.”

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“Upper East Side forum shows Maloney, Nadler taking different stances toward Biden,” by amNewYork’s Max Parrott: “U.S. Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney got a new opportunity to distinguish themselves at a recent candidate forum leading up to the Aug. 23 primary. One big difference: their willingness to criticize President Biden. ‘I think the way we win is talking about the good things that President Biden has done and the good things that Democrats have done. I don’t wanna be critical of Democrats,’ said Maloney. Nadler on the other hand came out of the gate saying how he was disappointed with the Biden administration’s response to the January 6th hearings.”

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — Emily’s List is endorsing Jamie Cheney in the race for the 19th Congressional District, which covers the area stretching from Hudson to Ithaca. Cheney, a small business owner and farmer, is up against attorney Josh Riley in the Aug. 23 Democratic primary. The winner will take on Republican Marc Molinaro in the fall. The group, which backs female candidates, cited Cheney’s decision to speak out about having an abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. “Jamie Cheney is the leader we can count on to fight for our rights in New York’s 19th Congressional District. She recently shared her own abortion story, illustrating just how crucial it is to protect the freedom to make personal medical decisions with one’s family and one’s doctor without government interference. EMILY’s List is proud to stand with Cheney,” Emily’s List president Laphonza Butler said. — Erin Durkin

“NY area’s ICE detention facilities are emptying, with local immigrants moved across the country,” by WNYC’s Matt Katz: “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) sudden and surprise transfer of dozens of New York and New Jersey immigrants out of a detention center in the Hudson Valley this week constitutes a shift from prior years, when more than 2,000 immigrants awaiting the disposition of their deportation cases were held in five local jails. Today, there are just more than 100 detainees at just two facilities, and the number is dropping fast. This stems both from a national decline in the number of people arrested and held by ICE compared to during the Trump administration, and from the fact that local political pressure against deplorable conditions in ICE-contracted jails has led to the closure of three ICE facilities in North Jersey last year and litigation to shutter a fourth.”

— Attorney General Tish James is seeking to join a lawsuit against Glock by a woman wounded in the subway mass shooting in Sunset Park.

— A Citi Bike rider was fatally struck by a tractor trailer on an Upper East Side street where residents and politicians successfully fought against the installation of a bike lane.

— A Manhattan man was charged with ordering absentee ballots in the names of famous people.

— New York workers are the most productive in the nation.

— Three companieswere charged with illegally hauling trash at a JFK Airport construction project.

— Chuck Schumerthinks Buffalo has a “darn good chance” of getting a regional tech hub.

— The state issued a request for bids for new offshore wind projects near Long Island.

— SUNY Upstate Hospital is looking to merge with the private Crouse Hospital using a rare method to circumvent an antitrust review.

— Either a bobcat or a lynx is on the loose in Suffolk County.

— June sales tax revenuegrew by 6.5 percent over the same time period a year ago, but the increase was still a sharp slow down, according to the state comptroller.

— Climate change has heightened the threat storms pose to both affordable housing developments and upscale waterfronts.

— New York City taxi drivers are calling for a raise.

— No IDC NY is set to endorse state Sen. Gustavo Rivera in the District 33 race against Miguelina Camilo.

— Community gardens are helping in the city’s fight to control flooding.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: CNN’s Kate Bolduan … Council on Foreign Relations’ Richard Haass … CBS’ Scott Pelley … WaPo’s Ruby Cramer … NBC’s Courtney Kube … Huma Abedin … former A.G. Michael Mukasey … Laura Nahmias … George Cook … Kristen McGaughey

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“Chelsea women’s prison considered for supportive housing conversion,” by Crain’s Natalie Sachmechi: “As if city apartments weren’t prisonlike enough, an abandoned West Chelsea women’s penitentiary is the state’s latest attempt at building more supportive housing locally. The Empire State Development Corp. will issue a request for proposals to turn the complex at 550 W. 20th St., which shuttered in 2012 following Superstorm Sandy, into at least 60 affordable apartments offering social services, said the agency’s vice president, Gabriella Green, during a public meeting last week. The complex comprises two buildings, one with 8 stories and another with 6.”

“Priced-out buyers trigger drop in pending home sales,” by The Real Deal’s Cailley LaPara: “Homebuyers are still slowing their pandemic-fueled, contract-signing binge in response to the triple whammy of rising mortgage rates, high housing prices and low inventory. The number of pending home sales dipped by 8.6 percent in June after a slight uptick in May, resuming the previous six months’ trend of declines, a report from the National Association of Realtors showed Wednesday. June’s contract signings dropped a hefty 20 percent from last year. Meanwhile, housing was 80 percent more expensive than June 2019, taking mortgage rates into account.”

“NY evictions on the rise as renters are being priced out,” by PIX 11’s Henry Rossoff: “Rents are rising and eviction court is back in business. That is the picture being painted by new city data just compiled and released by the Legal Aid Society. It comes as elected leaders scramble to help people with a growing affordability crisis. It was all smiles Wednesday as Gov. Kathy Hochul, Mayor Eric Adams and other local leaders broke ground on 326 affordable apartments in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx. When completed in about two years, the $189 million development will include 200 homes with supportive services for homeless individuals.”

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