Tag Archives: Bill de Blasio

De Blasio “doesn’t recall” $100,000 donation in alleged pay-to-play scheme

deblasio

How convenient…

From NY Post: Mayor de Blasio claimed Sunday that he can’t remember calling donor-turned-felon Jona Rechnitz to beg him for a $100,000 donation — contradicting sworn testimony the deep-pocketed pal gave in court last week.

“I don’t recall if I talked to him directly about that,” de Blasio said during an unrelated press event Sunday.

Asked how he could forget making a personal appeal for such a large sum of money, de Blasio said he has his hands out so often that he can’t remember each time he asks for cash.

“I for years was raising money for different causes — the mayor’s fund, when we were trying to get the DNC to come to New York City — the convention, the effort to win back the state senate, all sorts of different things,” he said. “I don’t remember when i asked someone specifically, what I asked them — just way too much has happened.”

Rechnitz is a witness in the bribery trial of former New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association President Norman Seabrook, who Rechnitz allegedly convinced to invest $20 million in union pension money in an associate’s failing hedge fund.

Hizzoner’s denial comes after Rechnitz testified that de Blasio pursued him relentlessly for cash to help flip upstate Senate seats for Democrats in 2013.

De Blasio underlings first hit him up for cash, but Rechnitz balked at dishing out the dough because he felt the city wasn’t responding fast enough to his requests for personal favors — that is, until de Blasio called him personally, he said.

“Once the mayor called me, I felt it was a personal favor to him,” Rechnitz said Friday of the donation.

The mayor’s “I know nothing” comments also come the day after he copped to not remembering an e-mail from Rechnitz about de Blasio’s troubles with Seabrook.

Seabrook was feuding with de Blasio’s jail commish, Jospeh Ponte, at the time, and Rechnitz has said he offered to broker peace between the men to help his buddy the mayor. Rechnitz said he intervened and then wrote an e-mail to Hizzoner that said, “Norman under control.’’

De Blasio said Saturday that he had no recollection of the e-mail.

The e-mail was also left out of the trove that City Hall released earlier this year between the mayor and Rechnitz.

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NYC mayor candidate Malliotakis wants to bring back suspensions for kindergartners

nicole malliotakis

Sounds good to me. Teach kids early on that bad actions have consequences.

From NY Post: GOP mayoral nominee Nicole Malliotakis on Thursday said she would enforce stricter disciplinary measures in schools — including making it easier to suspend kids as young as 5.

Mayor de Blasio last year called for eliminating suspensions for students in kindergarten to grade 2 and instead focus on more appropriate ways to discipline kids that young.

But, in the face of strong opposition by the teachers’ union and others, the city has instead tried to reduce those types of suspensions to all but the most extreme cases.

Malliotakis wants to set the bar lower. “If a kid is being nasty or disrespectful to another student, maybe that’s not what we’re going to [go after],” Malliotakis said at a press conference outside the Department of Education headquarters near City Hall.

“But if they are disruptive to the classroom and the learning environment, then I do believe there is a place for suspension.”

In the 2015-16 school year, there were 801 suspensions of students in grades K to 2 — down 45 percent from the previous year, when there were 1,454.

The administration’s latest policy barring most suspensions for kids in those grades was instituted only this school year.

Malliotakis presented the reforms as part of a wider policy to bolster school discipline and safety in the wake of a stabbing by a Bronx high school student last week that left one teen dead and another injured.

There were no metal detectors at the school, which the NYPD said would have found the knife used in the stabbings before it was brought into the school.

With just 6 percent of schools protected by permanent metal detectors, Malliotakis said she’d work with the NYPD to identify more schools that need the devices to protect students and teachers. “I think we need to have metal detectors at our schools that are troubled,” she said.

Last month, de Blasio announced that schools are safer than ever — citing a reduction in major crimes reported to the NYPD.

But state data, which records a much wider range of school incidents, show that schools have seen the number of incidents categorized as “violent” increase each year under the de Blasio administration.

The NYPD also said this week that weapon seizures in schools are up by 48 percent in the first quarter of the school year — from July 1 to Sept. 30 — compared to the same time period last year.

Read the rest of the story here.

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Bitter de Blasio thinks there should be a parade in his honor

bill de blasio

The good mayor would be way more popular if it wasn’t for you-know-who.

From NY Post: Mayor Bill de Blasio claims he’s running the city so well, “you’d assume they’d be having parades out in the streets” — and insisted he’d be more popular if it weren’t for “the time in history.”

“When I think about how crime’s gone down for four years, graduation rates up, test scores are up, more jobs than ever in our history — I think, ‘Wow, just that quick profile, any candidate anywhere would want it,’ ” he boasted to New York magazine.

“You’d assume they’d be having parades out in the streets. But that’s not the time in history we’re living in,” he added.

De Blasio’s job approval rating plummeted over the summer to a 50 to 42 percent margin, according to a Quinnipiac University survey released in late July.

New Yorkers are split — 46 percent to 46 percent — on whether he deserves a second term, the poll found.

The mayor admitted he had made “missteps” and had “insufficiencies as a communicator” — but said New Yorkers were simply taking out their frustrations with the current economic climate on their leaders.

“The Great Recession, specifically, but really the decades of people being economically stagnant, deeply affected people’s views, understandably,” de Blasio said. “And the increased cost of living around here.”

Seemingly responding to a Post report about him being a bully of a boss, the mayor took issue with criticisms of his “management approach.”

“You don’t achieve all those things without managing the hell out of the situation,” de Blasio said.

As for the investigations into his campaign fundraising, Hizzoner said “everyday New Yorkers” are far more concerned with the issues that affect their lives.

“Some political insiders, maybe they’ve come to certain conclusions,” he said. “But for everyday New Yorkers? They didn’t see anything wrong, and they’re right, because there wasn’t anything wrong.

But the vast majority of New Yorker voters — 78 percent — believe he should raise his own money to pay for the lawyers who represented him during the probes — and not take the funds from taxpayers, the Quinnipiac survey found.

De Blasio initially said he would raise the $2 million to cover his legal bills, then announced in June he would have the city taxpayers pay for it.

Asked whether the New York Times was determined to prove he was corrupt, de Blasio declared, “I think there are some in the media who are having trouble letting go.”

He pushed back against media reports about his regular jaunts to his old gym in Brooklyn — again saying regular New Yorkers just don’t care. The trips from Gracie Mansion to the Park Slope YMCA require two gas-guzzling SUVs.

“Everyday people do not raise that concern to me, ever,” de Blasio said. “If the worst you can say about someone is he goes to the gym, that’s a pretty good situation in today’s world.”

The mayor directed some of his media ire squarely at The Post, saying it is primarily to blame for the “tabloid culture” that got Donald Trump elected president.

He said The Post and its parent company, News Corp., “provided Trump not only the platform but the language and the approach.”

“He riffs off them, they riff off him,” de Blasio said.

The mayor predicted that the backlash against Trump, whom he called “spoiled” and “profoundly racist,” would be the “death knell for tabloid journalism.”

“They’re not going to be around too much longer, in my opinion, but for a brief and sad moment, that negative, hateful, divisive tabloid culture, the same culture that vilified the word liberal, effectively, became too ascendant. It’s now crashing on the rocks,” he said.

De Blasio also addressed his ongoing feud with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, conceding that some of their beef was personal. “I’m saying some of this is structural, some of this is ideological, some of this is just naturally what happens when people disagree on an issue,” the mayor explained.

“Yeah, we do have a long personal relationship, and that’s a component.”

The mayor declined to discuss whether he would endorse Cuomo for re-election.

“I’m talking about this year. I’m in a mayoral election this year,” he said. “That’s what we’re talking about.”

DCG

Monument “fight” takes aims at Christopher Columbus, Confederate streets in New York

yvette clark

Rep. Yvettte Clark: Going to end racism by removal of statues

Rep. Clark is all about identity politics and hating Trump. Her banner on her twitter is #BrooklynResists. Girl, we get your signal loud and clear.

From ABC NY: The statue of Christopher Columbus in the middle of Columbus Circle is now at the center of controversy. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito wants the city to consider it among controversial monuments officials are hoping to remove.

Columbus is revered by many, but others argue he should not be honored because he brutalized and killed many native Americans. Because of that, they argue his legacy is tarnished.

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently commissioned a task force to look at statues and monuments around the city, and after a 90-day review, make a recommendation as to what they believe should happen.

Mark-Viverito argued Columbus should be called into question because of his brutal and bloody past. “There are still to this day conversations happening because of the monuments, other Columbus statues, being talked about,” she said. “I would want the commission to look at that statue as well.”

Meanwhile in Brooklyn, a rally was held Tuesday as protesters fight for the renaming of General Lee Avenue and Stonewall Jackson Drive in Fort Hamilton.

Both Governor Andrew Cuomo and Congresswoman Yvette Clark have called the Secretary of the Army to request the change, but he has said he believes the issue is too divisive.

“When you think about the insult, when you think about the hypocrisy, where you have our Joint Chiefs of Staff coming out with statements in the wake of Charlottesville to say that they don’t tolerate racial bigotry,” Clark said. “For them to have their bases named after Confederates, streets and their roadways named after Confederates, it sends an awfully mixed signal.”

Clark says the streets, which she calls magnets for the alt-right movement, have no place as US military installations. She is introducing legislation at the House of Representatives to have all such names and imagery removed.

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De Blasio negotiates for tax payer monies then goes on vacation

de blasio

Take the money and run.

From NY Post: Just days after convincing the Campaign Finance Board to award him an extra $1.6 million in public matching funds for what he called a tough re-election race, Mayor de Blasio headed to Rhode Island Monday for a family vacation.

“It’s unfortunate that the mayor made a strong case for additional matching funds by saying he had a competitive race and then took off on vacation,” said Dick Dadey, director of the government watchdog Citizens Union.

“The argument that he needed it for a competitive election doesn’t hold together very well.”

The Democratic primary will be held on Sept. 12, a little more than three weeks after de Blasio’s return on Friday. It’s rare for candidates to take vacations so close to an election — unless, of course, they think they can’t lose.

Although de Blasio qualified on Aug. 3 for matching funds under the generous regulations of the Campaign Finance Board, he was under no obligation to take the money.

Other heavy favorites in the past have declined, including former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in 2009.

CFB rules stipulate that matching funds will be capped at 25 percent if a candidate faces minimal opposition, but de Blasio argued that his chief Democratic rival, former Councilman Sal Albanese, posed a serious threat. The board agreed.

As a result, the mayor received about $1.6 million more in taxpayers matching funds than the $958,000 he would have gotten. In financial terms, the Democratic primary is about as level as a seesaw.

Records show that the mayor had $4.9 million in his campaign account as of last week after receiving the matching funds. Albanese, who has yet to qualify for matching monies, had just $5,397.

“He has more than enough money to get his message out,” Albanese said, charging that de Blasio is taking taxpayers for a ride. “His [public funds] could have gone towards improving city services.”

When asked to respond to the critics, de Blasio campaign spokesman Dan Levitan said, “They can’t challenge his record on the issues, so the silly season has begun.”

CFB spokesman Matthew Sollars said, “Public-funds payment determinations by the board are based on . . . objective criteria and nothing else.”

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Bill de Blasio may be running for president

de blasio

Go for it Comrade Wilhelm. You ain’t got a chance of winning.

From NY Post (by Richard Johnson): Mayor de Blasio is putting out feelers to run for president, spreading whispers that Bernie Sanders, 75, and Elizabeth Warren, 68, are too old, sources say.

De Blasio, 56, will claim he’s the rightful standard bearer for the progressive wing of the Democratic party.

“He thinks he’s going to coast to re-election victory,” one Dem told me. “His people are sending out overtures asking where he should go next and whom he should meet on a national level.”

His jockeying could turn New York into a circular firing squad with Gov. Cuomo obviously poised to run; plus Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been relentlessly raising money this summer; plus State AG Eric Schneiderman, who has friends in Hollywood, where Norman Lear has hosted fund-raisers for him.

De Blasio — who goes the extra mile to please his campaign donors and is richly rewarded for his service — was recently granted $2.57 million in city matching funds for his re-election. Whatever he doesn’t spend on the mayoral race can be rolled over to the coffers for his presidential campaign.

“The rumor is, he is setting up fund-raisers across the country after the election,” a veteran political consultant told me.

“De Blasio is putting all his chips on the 2020 race,” observed one longtime pol-watcher. “That’s why, instead of staying in the city to comfort the children of assassinated police officer Miosotis Familia, he jetted to Germany to join the anti-Trump rioters who were smashing store windows.”

“He thinks he’s the inheritor of the Warren and Sanders legacy,” said a Democratic power broker, “but no one told Warren and Sanders they were dead.”

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De Blasio wants to tax the rich to pay for subway repairs

de blasio

Class warfare: Demorats go-to solution to every problem.

NYC’s subway system is in bad shape. According to the LA Times, delays have doubled over the last five years and accidents are on the rise. The governor authorized a billion dollars for improvements, of which few believe will have any favorable impact on the system. Guess that means they’ll need more taxpayer money, from only the wealthy of course.

From NY Post: Mayor de Blasio wants a tax hike​ on New Yorkers​ to pay for repairs to the city’s subway system, according to a proposal released Sunday.

The tax plan, which would target the ​wealthy ​to raise nearly $800 million annually, would bankroll improvements to the subway signal system, track repairs and reduced fares for poor New Yorkers.

De Blasio press spokesman Eric Phillips released details of the proposal to fund ​the “long-term fix​.​”

​The tax would require approval in Albany, which might be tough to lockdown given Republican control of the state Senate and the ongoing feud between Hizzoner and Gov. Cuomo over how to fund repairs.

​Under the plan, the city’s tax rate on individuals making more than $500,000 a year and married couples earning above $1 million would jump .5 percent from 3.876 percent to 4.41 percent. ​​ More than $500 million of the revenue generated would go to subway and bus system upgrades, while about $250 million would subsidize half-priced MetroCards for about 800,000 living at or below the federal poverty level.

Officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the city’s subway and bus systems and is overseen by the state, did not learn about de Blasio’s proposal directly from City Hall, but through the ​New York Times’s website, ​which first published the tax-the-rich plan, ​according to an MTA spokesperson.

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota framed the proposal as a reversal from de Blasio, who has argued the MTA should use money the city has already allocated to ​the agency. “After saying the MTA doesn’t need money, we’re glad the mayor reversed himself,” Lhota said in​​ a statement.

Lhota then highlighted the MTA’s need for “short-term emergency financing” and pressed de Blasio to immediately match the state’s cash outlay for the system.

“The mayor should partner with us and match the state funding now so we can turn the trains around,” he said. “There’s no question we need a long-term funding stream, but emergency train repairs can’t wait on what the state legislature may or may not do next year.”

De Blasio’s proposal, which comes as he’s fighting for re-election, repeatedly emphasizes the added burden it will mean for the city’s highest earners.

The top 1 percent can afford to do a bit more—and should, because a transit system that works makes New York City’s economy strong and benefits us all,” according to a fact sheet Phillips sent.

“Rather than sending the bill to working families and subway and bus riders already feeling the pressure of rising fares and bad service, we are asking the wealthiest in our city to chip in a little extra to help move our transit system into the 21st century,” de Blasio said in a statement to The Times.

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