Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin

NYS Veterans Affairs Director: Pension Sweetener ‘Not Dead’

The governor has been under fire for vetoing a bill – just in time for Veteran’s Day – that would have boosted the pensions of public employees who served in the military.

The measure, which passed both houses of the Legislature with near-unanimous support earlier this year, would have allowed veterans from any era and during peacetime to buy back up to three years of service credit in the state retirement system.

The buy-back program is currently only available to veterans who served in specific conflicts, but not – most notably – Iraq and Afghanistan.

Cuomo said the legislation, approved in the final days of the 2014 session, would run “roughshod” over the pension reforms put in place on his watch, and also saddle local governments with “additional, unmanageable burdens.”

Appearing on CapTon last night, NYS Director of Veterans Affairs Eric Hesse offered some hope to those who would have been impacted by the bill Cuomo nixed, saying it could still get done as part of next year’s budget.

Hesse said he hasn’t heard a significant backlash from the veterans served by his agency, and admitted he initially had “some questions” about the governor’s veto.

“I’m glad I’m not in a position where I have to veto legislation,” Hesse said.

“But I have had to make tough decisions, and when the New York State Mayors Association and counties and municipalities are saying this tax burden becomes ours – in the near term $57 million (a year), and to the City of New York potentially $18 million a year – you know, it’s in my opinion the right decision.”

“The way the governor said that we should do this is to look at it as part of the budget process,” Hesse continued.

“So, the idea is not dead. The idea still has potential. Let’s just do it as part of the budget rather than passing these unforseen costs off to the counties and municipalities that really can’t afford them.”

Fighting Words

Two nights ago on Capital Tonight – and subsequently highlighted on SoP – two progressive leaders warned of a significant backlash if state lawmakers dare to raise their own pay without also giving another boost to New York’s hourly minimum wage.

Strong Economy for All’s Mike Kink said there would be “widespread civil disobedience” if the Legislature doesn’t link these two issues together. He appeared on the show with Karen Scharff, executive director of Citizen Action of New York and co-chair of the labor-backed Working Families Party.

Kink’s words did not sit well with one New York City assemblyman, who, unlike many of his colleagues, was willing to speak publicly – and strongly – in favor of raising the $79,500 base pay for state lawmakers, who haven’t seen an increase since early 1999.

“I would have NO problem voting for an increase in the base pay for NYS legislators,” Assemblyman Michael DenDekker, a Queens Democrat wrote in an email.

“In fact, if legislators’ base pay was indexed to the increases to the minimum wage, (from 4.25 an hour to 8.00 an hour), the current salary would be $149,647.05.”

“As someone who is a staunch advocate for labor, there is absolutely no job title that has never received a cost of living increase for 16 years,” the assemblyman continued.

“I am completely supportive of increasing the minimum wage, as well as fair cost of living increases for NYS legislators.”

DenDekker is a relatively new member of the Assembly, first elected in 2008. He hails from a city with a high cost of living, where the base pay for a NYC Council member is $112,500 – thanks to the 25 percent increase the body approved in 2006.

The Assembly is a seniority-driven chamber, and there are far more members in the Democrats’ majority conference than there are committee chairmanships and leadership posts to go around.

That means most Assembly members have to wait years before they get a title that affords them a stipend – known in Albany as a lulu – on top of their base pay.

Of course, there’s always per diems that help offset the costs of travel, lodging and meals when lawmakers are in Albany. But the per diem system is under fire, with widespread calls for reform, thanks to abuse by several members that lead to criminal charges.

DenDekker said he was offended that any advocate could “even suggest” a worker should go 16 years without a pay raise – especially one who has, as he put it, “rallied for workers pay, walked picket lines and voted to increase the min wage in my current position.”

“I would also ask all the advocates: What was your pay 16 years ago?” the assemblyman concluded.

Kink and Scharff added their voices to a call for legislators to return to Albany before the start of the January 2015 session – when the Senate will officially be under GOP control – to take action on a measure that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, index future increases to the rate of inflation and also give municipalities the power to hike their own hourly wages as much as 30 percent higher than the state set “floor.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who did not endear himself to the Senate Republicans by helping the Democrats in their failed attempt to re-take the majority, yesterday called for the Legislature to approve an increase in the state minimum wage “whenever it first can be done.”

“I certainly look forward to talking to the governor about whether there will or will not be” a special session,” the mayor said.

But in a radio interview last week, the governor said he didn’t believe a special session was needed – not even to confirm his latest Court of Appeals nominee, Judge Leslie Stein.

A Cuomo aide told the Wall Street Journal: “We have not heard from any legislative leader that they have the votes or desire to pass anything.”

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

At 8 a.m., NYC Public Advocate Tish James addresses ABNY members during a breakfast event; Alvin and Carnegie rooms, conference level, Grand Hyatt New York hotel, 109 E. 42nd St., Manhattan.

Also at 8 a.m., the blue spruce that will light up Empire State Plaza this holiday season begins its journey to Albany from its current home at 834 Woodland Ave., Schenectady. (The tree is being donated by the VanAken family).

Also at 8 a.m., to introduce a nonprofit journalism project at New York Law School’s Impact Center for Public Interest Law that will report on the criminal justice system, officials from “The Marshall Project” – including the project’s founder and chairman, documentary filmmaker Neil Barsky, and the project’s editor, former The New York Times executive editor Bill Keller – speak during a news conference; 185 W. Broadway, Manhattan.

At 9:05 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at the Flight 587 13th annual memorial service, Flight 587 Memorial Park, Beach 116th Street, Queens.

At 11 a.m., online publisher AOL Inc. CEO Tim Armstrong, NYC Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, the dean and vice provost of Cornell University’s Cornell Tech graduate school in Manhattan, Daniel Huttenlocher, and EDC President Kyle Kimball discuss the formation of a “Connected Experiences Laboratory” at the graduate school; third floor, 111 Eighth Ave., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., SUNY Commissioner Bruce McBride and Deputy Commissioner Paul Berger will honor officers from campuses across SUNY for heroism and professional service, SUNY Plaza, Federal Building, Small Courtroom, 353 Broadway, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle and Monroe County Legislator Justin Wilcox announce the launch a three-part Cybersecurity Panel Series, Ebenezer Watts Conference Center, Large Conference Room, 49 South Fitzhugh St., Rochester.

Also at 11 a.m., MTA officials will join disabled subway customers to challenge app developers to build apps that can help transit riders – particularly the disabled – better navigate the MTA transit system, Grand Central, 42nd Street Subway Station, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., state Education Commissioner John King delivers keynote at forum on pre-kindergarten, Rockefeller Institute of Government, 411 State St., Albany.

At 12:30 p.m., LG Bob Duffy attends a groundbreaking ceremony for the Robert Moses Parkway Reconfiguration, between John Daly Boulevard and 4th Street, Niagara Falls.

At 1:20 p.m., de Blasio appears on “Keepin’ It Real” with the Rev. Al Sharpton. Listen live: http://www.wlib.com/.

At 1:30 p.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray will attend the Hope for Depression Research Foundation’s Annual Hope Luncheon Seminar, where her daughter, Chiara de Blasio, will be honored, 583 Park Ave., Manhattan.

At 2:00 p.m., de Blasio and NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina tour a classroom and then make an announcement, Spruce Street School, 12 Spruce St., Manhattan.

At 4 p.m., anti-frackers will protest the Independent Oil & Gas Association of NY’s annual event to tell keynote speaker Jack Hubbard – an oil and gas industry lobbyist – to “go back to Washington,” Hyatt Regency, Pearl and W. Huron Streets, Buffalo

At 6:15 p.m., former NYC Mayor Bloomberg, architecture critic Paul Goldberger and New Museum Director Lisa Phillips speak during The Dorothy & Lillian Gish Prize award ceremony and reception honoring artist, designer and environmentalist Maya Lin; The Museum of Modern Art, 11 W. 53rd St., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., Manhattan BP Gale Brewer and Farina hold a town hall meeting on getting involved with Community Education Councils, discussion of new initiatives, technology in schools (post passage of Prop. 3), John Jay College, 524 West 59th St., Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., members of the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board hold a monthly public meeting; Adult Lounge, main floor, Mosholu Montefiore Community Center, 3450 Dekalb Ave., the Bronx.

At approximately 8 p.m., de Blasio appears live on “All In With Chris Hayes” on MSNBC.

Headlines…

New York City’s defense against the Ebola epidemic — and at least the hypothetical threat that it will percolate through the city’s mass transit system, schools and dense neighborhoods — is a 24-hour-a-day operation now keeping track of almost 300 people, believed to be the largest monitoring effort in the country.

In the days before his release from New York’s Bellevue Hospital Center, Dr. Craig Spencer was able to enjoy some small luxuries as he completed his course of treatment for the Ebola virus. He played the banjo, communicated with friends and family electronically, and watched sports on TV.

Spencer’s fiancee has been released from quarantine.

Like other recovered Ebola patients before him, Spencer faces an uncertain welcome from his Harlem community and neighbors upon his return.

Health workers on the front line of the Ebola crisis say the need for urgent help isn’t letting up, as Congress begins considering President Barack Obama’s $6.2 billion emergency aid request to fight the disease.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed the state Legislature to approve an increase in the state minimum wage “whenever it first can be done” – a request that comes as labor advocates and some elected officials encourage Gov. Andrew Cuomo to call a special legislative session before the year’s end.

Pro-charter groups who spent millions on advertising, lobbying and campaigns in the fall want favorable treatment from the Legislature and Cuomo. They seek to limit de Blasio’s control of charter schools, expand funding and lift the cap on charters in New York, allowing for the creation of more such schools both in the city and across the state.

Cuomo’s plan to redefine “consent” for adjudicating sexual assault allegations on college campuses has presented a political dilemma for New York’s Republican leaders, some of whom have substantive problems with his proposal but risk fueling claims that they are anti-woman if they oppose it.

More >

Extras

“Today I am healthy and no longer infectious,” said New York’s first Ebola patient, Dr. Craig Spencer. “Please join me in returning our attention back to West Africa.”

Spencer got a “mayoral hug” from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who declared the Big Apple Ebola-free.

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, run by NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray, launched an Ebola relief fund.

New Yorkers are drinking more with Gov. Andrew Cuomo in office. Alcohol consumption actually dipped during former Gov. George Pataki’s tenure.

Soon-to-be-former Sen. Mark Grisanti is cleaning out his garage and reflecting on his loss. He says he has had no discussions about joining the Cuomo administration.

De Blasio urged IDC leader Jeffrey Klein to caucus as a Democrat during the upcoming legislative session in Albany.

US Senate Democrats appear increasingly likely to punt confirmation proceedings for US AG nominee Loretta Lynch into 2015 – a move that would appease Republicans who want the fight to wait until they hold the majority.

Congressman-elect John Katko released the names of his 12-member transition team, which includes former Rep. Jim Walsh.

A group of landlords trying to roll back new state housing rules scored a favorable legal ruling late last month – by using an argument that might ring a bell with many New Yorkers.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg plans to weight future campaign contributions more toward ballot measures, governor and school-board candidates, and away from House and Senate races.

Chelsea Clinton says motherhood is sleepless, yet “magical.”

This year, Bill and Hillary Clinton’s combined travel expenses for campaign rallies and fundraisers is likely to exceed $1 million.

Bill Clinton said his wife is “a dotting, giddy, deliriously happy grandmother.”

Bloomberg has some advice for high school seniors: forget college, become a plumber instead.

Queens Councilman Rory Lancman plans to introduce several bills this week affecting the NYPD, including one that would make the use of chokeholds illegal.

A new study finds that for men, union membership can boost their chances of getting hitched.

The owners of Liberty Ridge Farm, who were fined $13,000 by the state for refusing to host a lesbian wedding, have paid what they owe and stopped booking ceremonies (though they still do receptions).

New York Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jerome Hauer said he hasn’t lined up work that he can discuss yet, but confirmed he’s departing state government on Dec. 3.

Bob Hardt: “If we gave lawmakers a real bump in pay to a figure close to $100,000 and then demanded that they have no outside jobs, it could be a good start to improving the Legislature.”

The state will wait until at least Nov. 21 to make a decision on where to location up to four casinos in three regions of the state.

The overall experience in the US Senate, which has been declining for several years, will be at its lowest point in 25 years when lawmakers reconvene in 2015.

Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton will likely bring Prince George, who is about 14 months old, with them when they visit New York City next month. It will Middleton’s first Big Apple trip.

The Women’s Equality Act’s Next Act

Gov. Andrew Cuomo succeeded last week in leveraging the Legislature’s failure to pass his full 10-point Women’s Equality Act into the creation of the new Women’s Equality Party.

That ostensibly gives Cuomo another political tool for the next four years, but it doesn’t do anything to move the ball forward on getting the full WEA passed in the Senate.

In fact, the Republicans’ success at re-taking the majority in the upper house all but guarantees the WEA won’t ever reach the floor for a vote as long as it includes the controversial abortion-rights plank that has so far prevented it from passing.

So, now the question is: Will Cuomo and women’s rights advocates heed the call of those who say they should stop letting the abortion piece hold the other nine “hostage”, setting it aside to fight over another day.

The Senate, in its current power-sharing format, has passed all but the abortion plank as stand-alone bills (contrary to the claims made in numerous campaign mailers this fall).

The Assembly has refused to follow suit, sticking to the all-of-nothing approach, despite a growing call – from NOW NYC President Sonia Ossorio, Assemblywomen Amy Paulin and Aileen Gunther and others – to follow the Senate’s lead and break the WEA apart.

During a CapTon interview last night, Tracey Brooks, president and CEO of Family Planning Advocates of New York, continued to insist that public and private polls have shown widespread support for what WEA backers call “codifying” Roe v. Wade in state law.

But she also – albeit reluctantly – declined to rule out the possibility of separating out the abortion rights piece of the WEA from the rest of its provisions.

“I’m not ruling out that there needs to be conservations, but I think New Yorkers want the 10,” Brooks said.

Brooks continues to maintain that there are “yes” votes for the abortion plank in the Senate GOP conference, though no members of that conference have publicly declared their support.

There isn’t enough support among Democrats in the chamber to pass the measure, thanks to the presence of conservatives like Bronx Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. and Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder, who has been caucusing with the Republicans for the past two years and is expected to continue to do so in 2015.

Getting a deal on nine of the 10 WEA planks would provide an early 2015 victory for the Senate Republicans and for Cuomo, demonstrating the ongoing bipartisan spirit they’ve all been touting.

Of course, it might take some convincing of women leaders in the lower house, who continue to maintain the ten-or-bust strategy.

Meanwhile, Cuomo could use his new Women’s Equality Party to continue to push for the abortion plank, which really was its main focus throughout the campaign anyway.

It remains unclear what, exactly, the WEP will be doing over the next four years, who will run it and whether it will even attract any members.

Cuomo spokesman Matt Wing told Capital NY’s Laura Nahmias the organization of he new party and questions about its day-to-day operations are “being discussed.”

“The newly established WEP will now be focused on acting as a women’s advocacy party: it will launch new initiatives to register and enroll new women voters and engage them more actively in the political process,” Wing said.

“The party will also act as an advocate for initiatives, programs and legislation that advances their cause.”

One catch: In order to become a member of the WEP, voters have to give up their current registration, which is something it appears a number of Democrats – including former NYC Council Speaker Chris Quinn, who served as the face of the nascent party during the campaign – might be unwilling to do.

Pay Raise Politics

With the biennial float of a legislative pay raise now officially underway, advocates on the left are warning lawmakers not to think of hiking their own bottom line without also giving some assistance to low-wage workers in New York.

During a CapTon interview last night, Strong Economy for All’s Mike Kink warned of “widespread civil disobedience” if legislators return to Albany before the end of the year to boost their $79,500 base pay and fail to take action on increasing the hourly minimum wage to at least $10.10 – if not higher.

“The idea that the Legislature could raise their own pay from 79 grand, plus they’re working at law firms and other side jobs, versus people that are working full time and stuck in poverty is outrageous,” Kink said.

“And I know that there’s a lot of legislators that will not do that. I think that is a line in the sand that advocates could come together on, and hopefully legislators could do the right thing and do it together if they’re going to do it.”

So far, the float, first reported by the DN’s Ken Lovett, isn’t taking off.

The TU’s Casey Seiler and Matthew Hamilton report this morning that they weren’t able to find a single Capital Region lawmaker willing to go on the record as a “yes” vote for hiking his or her own pay.

However, several said they might be willing to consider such a thing if it also included reforms to the much-criticized (and sometimes criminally abused) legislative per diem system.

None of the lawmakers interviewed by the TU mentioned anything about linking a legislative pay raise to a minimum wage increase.

Advocates are hopeful the governor, who mentioned minimum wage as a top priority in his election night victory speech, will include it in his 2015-16 budget proposal – like he did with the last minimum wage bump that legislative leaders agreed to in 2013.

That deal calls for raising the state’s hourly wage to $9 by 2016, but did not, as advocates had hoped, index future increases to the rate of inflation. It also did not address NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s desire for cities to be given the ability to boost their respective minimum wages over the state’s floor if they so desire.

Last February, Cuomo panned that idea, saying it would be “chaotic” and cause cities to “compete against themselves.”

But he changed his tune when he signed on the WFP’s agenda in exchange for the labor-backed party’s endorsement this past spring – a deal brokered by de Blasio.

“We have to recognize the difference in the cost of living in different markets,” Cuomo said in early June.

“And I would allow localities within a state-prescribed formula to adjust a local wage – but not that the locality gets to set the rate wherever they want. I’m against that.”

Then again, Cuomo didn’t exactly stick to his entire deal with the WFP. Democrats say he didn’t do nearly enough to fulfill his promise to help them re-take the Senate.

It remains to be seen how far the governor will go when it comes to the rest of the so-called progressive agenda, including the DREAM Act, minimum wage, public campaign finance and the WEA.

So far, however, there has been no noise coming from the second floor about trading any of those items – or anything else, for that matter – for legislative pay raises.

Schumer’s Dinner Diplomacy

New York’s senior senator isn’t psyched about the idea of being back in the minority after serving as one of the most powerful men in the Democrat-controlled upper house.

But Sen. Chuck Schumer is going to make the best of it.

He says he plans to reach across the aisle to forge relationships with some of the new members of the state’s GOP congressional delegation.

He’ll start with Congresswoman-elect Elise Stefanik, who won the NY-21 seat currently held by retiring Democratic Rep. Bill Owens in a landslide last Tuesday, making her – at just 30 years old – the youngest woman ever to sit in the House.

“She was in college with my daughter and they were friends,” Schumer said of Stefanik during a stop in Albany yesterday. “So, we start on a good note there.”

“My daughter spoke very highly of her. In fact, not only is she going to come to the office, but her and my daughter are going to have dinner in the next few weeks in Washington.”

“I haven’t asked Ms. Stefanik yet,” the senator said. “We’ve agreed to get together, but we’re going to make it a dinner and invite my daughter. I’m sure they’ll have no objection because they’re friends.”

No word on where this bipartisan dining experience might take place, though the senator’s past fondness for D.C.’s Hunan Dynasty has been widely documented.

Also, for the record: Jessica Schumer and Stefanik attended Harvard, which is also the senator’s alma mater.

Schumer said he has also spoken to Congressman-elect John Katko, who ousted Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei in NY-24, and found the former federal prosecutor to be a “very fine individual.”

The senator said he had a “great relationship” with former Rep. Jim Walsh, the moderate Republican who held the Central NY seat before Maffei.

“Jim Walsh and I were able to do a whole lot for Syracuse,” Schumer recalled. “He’s a Republican, I’m a Democrat. I think the same will be with Mr. Katko. He seems like a fine man.”

“We’re going to meet in my office in the next week in Washington and start going over how we can go over to help Central New York and his congressional district. I look forward to working with him, I think he’s a good guy.”

Here and Now

It’s Veterans Day. Please take a moment to thank those who are serving, or have served, in the armed forces, and also to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in the New York City area with no public schedule.

At 8:45 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will make remarks at the at mayor’s Veterans Day Breakfast, Prince George Ballroom, 15 East 27th St., Manhattan.

At 9:10 a.m., following a cake-cutting ceremony marking this week’s 239th anniversary of the US Marine Corps, the commander of the branch’s US Southern Command, Gen. John F. Kelly, and representatives of other military branches ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange, Exchange Place and Broad Street, Manhattan.

At 10:15 a.m., de Blasio will host a press conference at Bellevue Hospital regarding the discharge of Ebola patient Dr. Craig Spencer, 462 1st Ave., Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., Rep. Chris Gibson will participate in a ceremony led by members of the Kingston Veterans Association, City Hall, Broadway, Kingston.

Also at 11 a.m., a rededication ceremony for the Copake Vietnam and Korean War Monument will be held, Sen. Kathy Marchione will attend, 171 County Rt. 7A, Copake.

At 11:15 a.m., de Blasio marches in the 2014 New York City Veterans Day Parade, 26th Street and 5th Avenue to 52nd Street and 5th Avenue, Manhattan. (Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly is the grand marshal).

At 2 p.m., Marchione will speak at the Veteran’s Day Event at Whittier Nursing Home and also
present 26 Senate Certificates to residents, employees and residents’ families, 1 Whittier Way, Ghent.

Also at 2 p.m., local and federal government officials, chiefs, clan mothers, and citizens of the Onondaga Nation and Six Nation Haudenosaunee Confederacy will commemorate the 220th anniversary of the signing of the Canandaigua Treaty of 1794, front lawn of the Ontario County Courthouse, 27 N Main St #129, Canandaigua.

At 3 p.m., Gibson and the staff of Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care and Focus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center will honor veterans who reside at the center, Route 28, Cooperstown.

At 4:30 p.m., Marchione attends the Earl J. Manning American Legion Post Stillwater Veterans
Ceremony, 1 American Legion Road, Stillwater.

At 5:30 p.m., Marchione attends the Chairman’s Club Dinner honoring veterans, Holiday Inn, 232 Broadway, Saratoga Springs.

Headlines…

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced most people caught with small amounts of marijuana in the city will get slapped with summonses instead of arrested – an about-face for Bratton.

The city’s five district attorneys are divided over this new pot policy.

Supporters of the change say it came too slow and required nearly a year of private lobbying and public rallying to persuade de Blasio to alter a system he called “unjust and wrong” in the 2013 campaign.

New York City subway and bus fares could increase a quarter to $2.75 under a proposal being considered by the MTA.

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jerome Hauer, who has been seen internally by colleagues as a divisive force, informed his staff that he is quitting his post as of Dec. 3.

New York’s top banking regulator Benjamin Lawsky, who used his leverage to stiffen penalties against some of the world’s largest financial institutions, will probably step down next year to take a job in the private sector.

US Sen. Chuck Schumer, who in the spring called for a Canyon of Heroes parade in lower Manhattan to honor Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, now says the celebrations would be inappropriate because of the stepped-up U.S. role in Iraq and Syria to battle ISIS.

On the eve of Veterans Day, Schumer and local Capital District leaders gathered to push a bill that aims to reduce deaths that occur far from the conventional line of fire.

The NYC shelter population is at a record high, with more than a quarter of all families in shelters citing abuse as the cause for their stay, city officials said. And, nationwide, many cities report a similar experience.

A Manhattan clinic treating Joan Rivers in August did not notice that her vital signs were deteriorating for at least 15 minutes before she went into cardiac arrest, leading to her death several days later, a federal investigation has found.

More >

Extras

Craig Spencer, the New York City doctor who became the first person in the city to test positive for Ebola, is free of the virus and is set to be released from Bellevue Hospital Center tomorrow.

New York’s unexpected surplus from settlements with banks and financial institutions has grown to $5.1 billion, thanks to another $625 million from three banks.

AG Eric Schneiderman has taken a formal stand against a proposed rule that would largely limit the way app-based car services like Uber and Lyft operate in New York.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg made jokes about golf and steroid use while accepting his induction into the Crain’s New York Business Hall of Fame.

Bloomberg said he was “optimistic” for the city’s future, while avoiding mentioning his successor, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, by name.

Someone with Senate plates does not heed parking rules.

Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly will reportedly be losing his elite, taxpayer-funded security detail.

President Obama made a push for net neutrality.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and a chorus of GOP lawmakers say New York US Attorney Loretta Lynch, Obama’s nominee to serve as attorney general, should wait until next year for confirmation.

The pro-Hillary Clinton group Correct the Record compiled polling data that shows she delivered discernible bumps in female support to most of the candidates for whom she appeared or stumped in the midterms.

Rep. Charlie Rangel is now “ready for Hillary.”

The city of Syracuse is ready to jump into a competition for more state funds meant to spark the upstate economy, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to base on the model of the Buffalo Billion.

The late real estate​-​titan father of former ​Gov. Eliot Spitzer favored his son in his will, appointing him executor of his multimillion-dollar estate and giving him millions more in gifts than his other two children.

An anonymous source tells the NY Observer DSCC Chair Mike Gianaris could lose his post after the conference’s poor performance last week. But a number of on-the-record sources refute that report.

The governor launched a new online portal will help veterans apply for temporary jobs offered through the state.

Cuomo’s re-election campaign received $160,000 in donations the day before the Nov. 4 election.

Rob Astorino’s pollster John McLaughlin compared the Republican’s loss to Cuomo last week to his unsuccessful campaign for Westchester County executive in 2005.

Manhattan Assemblywoman Deborah Glick is reportedly a favorite to take over as chairwoman of the Environmental Conservation Committee, replacing retiring Long Island Assemblyman Robert Sweeney. (Subscription).

Lara Logan of CBS News is being quarantined in a South Africa hotel for three weeks as a precaution after visiting an American-run hospital treating Ebola patients in Liberia.

POLITICO’s website underwent a makeover.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

At 7:30 a.m., founder of information service Bloomberg LP, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg; a co-chief executive and co-founder of investment firm The Carlyle Group, David M. Rubenstein; US Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White and other business and government officials speak during the association’s annual meeting, New York Marriott Marquis hotel, 1535 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., African-American leaders will demand the NYC Bar Association dismiss from a leadership position a committee member who posted (and deleted) a racially insensitive Tweet about former GOP LG candidate and Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss the day before Election Day, 42 W. 44th St., (outside Bar Association HQ), Manhattan.

At noon, Bloomberg speaks during an event presented by Crain’s New York Business to honor executives for their philanthropic and professional work at the “Crain’s Hall of Fame Luncheon”; Cipriani 42nd Street event space, 110 E. 42nd St., Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., the NYC Council Committees on Veterans and General Welfare will hold a joint oversight hearing on Ending Veteran Homelessness and Hunger in New York City, committee room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina and state education leaders announce new agreement to ensure better outcomes for English Language Learners, Instituto Cervantes, 211 East 49th St., Manhattan.

At 3 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton make an announcement, 1 Police Plaza, Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., New York County Democratic Committee members attend the committee’s fall reception; David Rubenstein Atrium, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, 61 W. 62nd St., Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., de Blasio speaks at the 2014 Made in New York Awards, Weylin B. Seymour’s, 175 Broadway, Brooklyn.

Headlines…

The NYPD, which has been arresting tens of thousands of people a year for low-level marijuana possession, is poised to stop making such arrests and to issue tickets instead. People found with small amounts of pot would be issued court summonses and be allowed to continue on their way without being handcuffed and taken to station houses for fingerprinting.

Former state GOP Executive Director Michael Lawler, manager of Rob Astorino’s ill-fated gubernatorial run against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, claims the governor cut a non-aggression deal with Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos, who was “clearly was working against Rob’s campaign”, in exchange for staying out of LI Senate races.

With the elections behind them, state lawmakers are hoping for a raise in their $79,500 base pay for the first time since 1999, but no high-level talks between the governor and legislative leaders have yet taken place.

The post-election exodus of high-level staffers in the Cuomo administration is starting. Reportedly on tap to depart: To aide Larry Schwartz, Budget Director Bob Megna, Department of Financial Services Superintendent Ben Lawsky, Press Secretary Matt Wing, and acting Chief Council Seth Agata.

The NYT sets out its second-term goals for Cuomo, saying he “cannot get away with blaming a Republican State Senate for lapses in this progressive agenda, since he helped make that Republican majority possible. He has shown himself to be a canny political tactician, and he’ll need to be to deliver on his promises.”

A recent NYPIRG report on ghost committees among former state legislators showed 87 still-active committees were sitting on $5.5 million, including the late Sen. Tom Morahan and seven other deceased politicians and several others convicted of corruption.

A new roof for the Buffalo Zoo Reptile House, infrastructure improvements to Niagara Street and the former Central Park plaza area, rehabilitation of three city bridges and hundreds of building demolitions are among the priorities in Mayor Byron Brown’s $26 million capital budget being announced today.

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