“We are nowhere,” said one insider familiar with the negotiations currently taking place among the Senate, Assembly and Governor Cuomo. I suppose no one really expected a huge breakthrough over the weekend. Especially with the Hallmark Holiday of Father’s Day sunday. Democrats also have a fundraiser tonight at Yankee Stadium that ( as first reported by the great Ken Lovett) Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie will skip.

It’s kind of a bummer for the speaker, as he was scheduled to throw out the first pitch at the stadium. Oh, well.

But let’s take a step back and look at how we got here. Right from the get-go, the newly-elected speaker made it clear that his conference was all about rent. He refused to engage in any discussions about linkages. And he made his top priority the singular focus of his negotiations. Some now view this as a rookie mistake. If you only want one thing, and you make that known, the other side is going to hold that one thing over you – simply because they know how badly you want it, and you’re not giving them anywhere else to go.

Heastie was talking about ending vacancy decontrol, which began in 1993 and was greatly expanded in 1997. The notion that in this climate the state Legislature would be willing to roll back more than 20 years of precedent strikes some observers as not only absurd, but nakedly naive.

Moreover, insiders say after insisting on no linkages, Heastie then went and did exactly that on Friday night when the Assembly introduced a bill with straight extenders for rent regs and mayoral control of the New York City schools. Heastie also rejected a proposal to raise the minimum wage in New York City beginning next year up to $11.50 per hour – something that has been a big priority for Mayor Bill de Blasio. But the speaker was unwilling to compromise on rent in order to accept it. Again, a singular focus.

Defenders of the speaker say it’s a little more complicated than that. They believe it’s “two against one” inside the notorious three-men-in-a-room lair – meaning Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (himself a rookie, and technically even greener than Heastie), are siding against Heastie on rent.

Sources say the Senate was willing to include some sweeteners on rent including “inflaters” that would supposedly keep more apartments under rent protections longer. But people close to the Assembly counter that they start at too low a threshold to be effective. If the governor has a plan for rent, they maintain, why doesn’t he release it? As we all know of course, Cuomo once famously admitted to keeping his bill language secret. I think Jon Campbell of Gannett even sang a song about that in the 2013 LCA show, if I am not mistaken.

Cuomo and Flanagan also want to make it even easier for charter schools to reject, and even kick out, students who don’t do well academically and might tarnish the pretty statistics charter schools often paint to suggest they present a much better alternative to traditional public schools.

Another facet of this is de Blasio. Republicans introduced what’s known as a “big ugly,” according to this solid weekend reporting from Josefa Velasquez and Jessica Bakeman. This bill extends mayoral control of city schools for just one year.

Both Cuomo (at least he did back in February) and the Assembly Democrats want three years. If it is only one year, then de Blasio has to come back up to Albany next year and beg for more during an election year. Observers say that could give Republicans an opportunity to put de Blasio on the shelf for the 2016 elections. In other words, “We will give you more time, if you don’t actively campaign – again – against our members.”

Apparently Senate Repubs still have some very raw feelings over the mayor’s involvement in the 2014 elections, even though one could fairly argue that his involvement actually contributed to Repubs PICKING UP seats in swing districts. Whatever. Next year may be a tough one for Repubs since it is a presidential. Let’s also remember that de Blasio’s predecessor (who, admittedly, was the single largest individual contributor to the Senate GOP conference at the time) got seven years for mayoral control. One year is kind of a diss.

Anyway, It’s all very complicated and still a bit of a log jam right now. I wonder what our old friend the wood frog thinks about all this…

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