Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin

Extras

INBOX: “Following tradition, Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio will be officially sworn in during an intimate ceremony at 12:01 AM on January 1, 2014. The swearing in, officiated by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, will be at the Mayor-Elect’s home in Park Slope, Brooklyn.”

(Former President Clinton will do the swearing-in honors at a public ceremony at City Hall in Lower Manhattan at noon on Jan. 1).

Gov. Andrew Cuomo cancelled his annual New Year’s Day executive mansion open house so he can attend de Blasio’s swearing in.

Cuomo took a snowmobile tour in the North Country’s Tug Hill region today to launch “I (Snowmobile) NY” – the first part of a print, TV, radio and digital, nationwide $4.5 million winter tourism campaign aimed at promoting snowmobiling, skiing, and other recreational activities in upstate.

The governor’s spokeswoman Melissa DeRosa called a NY Post report that Cuomo is trying to block NYC Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito from becoming speaker “completely false and ridiculous – even for Fred Dicker.”

Mark-Viverito is notably not a Cuomo Democrat.

Mayor Bloomberg took part in his last bill signing ceremony in office, signing 22 bills into law – including a ban on e-cigarettes, which drew a smoking protest.

A 13-year-old girl fainted at the press conference where de Blasio announced his new schools chancellor.

De Blasio’s new corporation counsel, Zach Carter, sits on the board of Cablevision, of which the incoming mayor has been critical, and also served as Sen. John Sampson’s attorney when he was charged with embezzlement.

The FAA selected Central New York as one of six national test sites where researchers will figure out how to integrate drone aircraft into the national air space.

Rose Gill Hearn is leaving the city Department of Investigation to head the Campaign Finance Board, but before she goes, the commissioner and her team released a highly critical report of the NYC Board of Elections.

The state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics, long criticized by good-government groups for its closed-door sessions, is agreeing to open up a little bit.

Former A.I.G. executive Maurice “Hank” Greenberg has filed another ethics complaint with JCOPE against Schneiderman, this time accusing the AG’s top spokesmen of prejudicial public statements.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced he will introduce legislation next year to speed up the state’s planned increases in minimum wage requirements to reach the $9 an hour mark a year early.

Amid allegations of sexual harassment by four of his aides, Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak won’t be able to have an intern this year, and two of his female aides have been granted paid administrative leave.

One of the most outspoken critics of the revamped Long Island Power Authority, Michael Cordaro, has been reappointed to its board of trustees by Speaker Silver.

In symmetry with Silver, Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins has introduced a bill that would move the state primary from early September to late June, currently the court-ordered home of the primary for Congressional races.

Incoming Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has tapped City Councilwoman Diana Reyna to be his deputy.

Bloomberg’s official portrait is now hanging in City Hall.

De Blasio vowed to act quickly to abolish horse-drawn carriages in NYC.

State education commissioner John King argued in a letter to New York educators that concerns raised by teachers and parents at a series of public hearings were based on “misinformation.”

Buffalo School Superintendent Pamela Brown said that she had never considered accepting the buyout detailed in a Buffalo News story Sunday.

New York’s hold on its status as the country’s third most populous state is down to fewer than 100,000 people, according to figures released by the Census Bureau. But it’s still ahead of Florida – for now.

Here and Now

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

At 11 a.m., JCOPE meets in Albany.

At 11:30 a.m., NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio makes an appointment announcement, William Alexander Middle School, 350 5th Ave., Brooklyn.

At noon, the final test of the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball will take place; One Times Square, 42nd Street and Broadway, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., Mayor Bloomberg presides over a bill signing ceremony, including legislation on a Sandy funds tracker, polystyrene restrictions and other bills, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 3 p.m., there will be a swearing-in ceremony for re-elected NYC Councilwoman and speaker frontrunner Melissa Mark-Viverito; 201 St. Ann’s Ave., Bronx.

At 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., Time Warner Cable NY1′s “Road to City Hall” features New York City Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar and Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn.

Headlines…

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio finally has a schools chancellor.

Carmen Farina, a Department of Education veteran and a longtime informal advisor to de Blasio, will be named chancellor today after months of speculation about who would manage the city’s school system.

Fariña, 70, the daughter of immigrants from Spain who fled the Franco regime, is a veteran of the city’s school system, having served as a teacher, principal and superintendent of a Brooklyn school district. She retired as a deputy chancellor in 2006.

Chiara de Blasio, 19, is the only member of the city’s new First Family without an online presence.

Upstate Republican Assemblyman Tony Jordan, who is leaving office at the end of the year to become Washington County DA, has dropped a challenge to the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption’s request for documents relating to his law firm, Jordan & Kelly.

Over the past 12 years, the Bloomberg administration made 6,773 municipal corruption arrests. That’s nearly double the rate of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who averaged 1,299 arrests per term, and far more than David Dinkins, whose one term yielded 431 corruption arrests.

Numerous city programs funded by Mayor Bloomberg’s personal fortune will be left hanging in the balance when he leaves City Hall this week, and it’s unclear to what extent he’ll continue supporting them as a private citizen.

Bloomberg will leave City Hall for the last time at 4:45 pm on Dec.31. Staffers have been invited to attend the “historic” event, bringing friends, family and supporters.

In his final radio address, Bloomberg said he’ll wake up smiling Wednesday morning — the day he leaves office — knowing he did the best job he could have after 12 years in office. He thanked New Yorkers for taking a “chance on me.”

Former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky predicts Bloomberg will buy a big NYC newspaper in 2014 and “return to the scene,” adding: “There’s no predicting what happens when a politician becomes a journalist.”

A New York Times analysis found Bloomberg has doled out at least $650 million on a wide variety of perks and bonuses, political campaigns and advocacy work, charitable giving and social causes, not to mention travel and lodging, connected to his time and role as mayor.

According to the NY Post, Cuomo’s first big fight with de Blasio is over the new mayor’s pick for NYC Council speaker – Melissa Mark-Viverito – whose selection the governor is trying to block.

In the same column, Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin tells Fred Dicker it’s “unlikely” he’ll challenge Cuomo in 2014 due to the “enormously difficult” task of raising enough campaign cash to be a viable candidate.

Rob Astorino, the Republican Westchester County executive considering a run for governor next year, says Cuomo should be leading the charge to push Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver from his leadership post following a spate of sexual harassment scandals in the chamber.

More >

The Weekend That Was

NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s swearing-in event will feature two of the biggest names in Democratic politics: former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Former U.S. Attorney Zachary Carter will be the city’s new corporation counsel.

With the pace of his transition lagging, de Blasio has asked some of Mayor Bloomberg’s commissioners to stay past Inauguration Day because their replacements have not been selected.

De Blasio is on track to make the fewest appointments entering City Hall of any mayor in decades — with just nine positions filled to date.

The DN compares the mayor-elect to a tortoise, writing: “The long-limbed mayor-elect said it on Nov. 6, right after the election: ‘We are hitting the ground running.’ At what speed?”

Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy’s office is under investigation for its conduct in the 2009 prosecution of former county sheriff candidate Andrew DeStefano for filing forged nominating petitions, state police said.

Eliot Spitzer’s girlfriend, Lis Smith, engaged in a Twitter war with GOP consultant Roger Stone.

A former prostitute who penned a tell-all book claims Spitzer liked rough sex and once choked her. A spokeswoman for the former governor called the claim “absurd.”

What’s next for Bloomberg’s long-time girlfriend Diana Taylor? It does not appear that marriage to the soon-to-be-ex mayor is in the cards.

Nearly a year after passage of the SAFE Act, dealer sales of popular AR-15 semi-automatic rifles have ended in New York and arrest data show more than 1,000 gun possession charges in New York City were boosted from misdemeanors to felonies because of the changes.

After Jan. 15, possessing a magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds is a misdemeanor crime in New York, and that’s just one of a variety of new laws set to take effect in 2014.

Buffalo is a battleground in the legal battle over the SAFE Act.

Democrats plan to pick a successor to Rensselaer County District Attorney Richard McNally by early next year – a choice they hope will be supported by Cuomo, who has the power to fill the position.

After a year in Congress, there are signs that Rep. Chris Collins’ charm offensive is paying off among his colleagues in the Republican-led House, although he isn’t getting along so well with the state’s two Democratic US senators.

An emergency federal program that acts as a lifeline for 1.3 million jobless workers ended Saturday, drastically curtailing government support for the long-term unemployed and setting the stage for a major political fight in the new year.

Prominent members of Buffalo’s business community have offered Pamela C. Brown a half-million-dollar package to resign as city school superintendent – an offer she does not appear likely to take.

New York City homeless shelters, swelling with record-high populations not seen since the Great Depression, are increasingly being sought out by people who participated in a now-defunct rent-subsidy program designed to reduce homelessness.

At least a half dozen people steeped in Cheektowaga politics said they were not surprised to read of Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak’s behavior toward women working for him in Albany, as detailed in legal papers. But they wouldn’t say so publicly.

Also, a number of the people supporting the women complaining about Gabryszak are connected to former Erie County Democratic chairman Steve Pigeon. (See above link).

High-powered defense lawyer Joseph Tacopina blasted allegations of wrongdoing made by his former client, ex-NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik.

With a growing field of Republicans interested in challenging Rep. Dan Maffei next year, local GOP leaders say they would like to avoid a primary and designate a nominee by late February.

As another year closes with a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in New York and no timetable for Cuomo to decide whether to lift it, drilling interests have all but given up on the state, and environmental groups are pressing for a permanent ban.

U.S. Supreme Court justice and Bronx native Sonia Sotomayor will push the ceremonial button lowering the Times Square Ball Tuesday night.

Extras

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly got a little misty presiding over his last graduation ceremony of police recruits this morning.

At the graduation, which was one of Mayor Bloomberg’s final appearances in office, the mayor continued to tout his record of reducing crime in New York City.

“If you compare this decade to the previous eras’ murder rates, we can literally say that we have saved more than 9,200 lives in the last 12 years,” Bloomberg said.

IDC Leader Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Dov Hikind plan to introduce a bill denouncing the Washington, D.C.-based American Studies Association for boycotting academic partnerships with Israeli institutions over the occupation of Palestine.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his 2013 year-end report featuring the progress New York has made in economic development. It points to new regulations and programs that contributed to the state’s tax cuts and job growth.

A Polish artist painted an unusual portrait of Bloomberg holding an owl. It can be yours for between $1,200 and $2,000 – or just make her an offer.

“Proud animal rights advocate” Russell Simmons called on Cuomo to sign a bill that gives local governments and citizens more ability to regulate puppy mills in their communities.

Connecticut State Police released a final report this afternoon on the deadly shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.

Jerry Gretzinger is moving from WRGB (CBS Channel 6 in Albany) to take the job as the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering’s vice president for strategic communications and public relations.

Cuomo signed into law Sen. John DeFrancisco’s bill ending double sales taxation on vehicles owned by military servicemembers from New York.

Cuomo vetoed a bill seeking to increase the tax exemption in New York for vended food and beverages from 75¢ to $1.50. The the New York State Automatic Vending Association helped write the legislation.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in NYC with no public schedule.

NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio remains in Connecticut, where he is visiting family for the holidays.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott awards Rose Shimony with an honorary diploma in celebration of her 100th birthday, the Sephardic Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 2266 Cropsey Ave., Brooklyn.

At 11 a.m., Mayor Bloomberg announces 2013 saw the fewest murders and shootings recorded in NYC history at the NYPD Graduation Ceremony with Police Commissioner Kelly, Madison Square Garden, Seventh Avenue between 31st and 32nd Streets, Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., ATU International holds a press call to issue a study refuting Bloomberg’s plan to convert New York’s school bus industry save tens of millions by cutting school bus drivers and matrons salaries.

At 6 p.m., New Yorkers Against Bratton, a group comprised of parents and families against police brutality, grassroots organizations, activists and concerned community members, rally and march to protest de Blasio’s appointment of Bill Bratton as police commissioner; starts at Adam Clayton Powell State Building in Harlem, northeast corner of 125th St. and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.

At 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., Time Warner Cable News NY1′s “Road To City Hall” features Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

Headlines…

New York, whose status as the most populous state has long been ceded, will soon fall behind Florida into fourth place, a long-anticipated drop that is rife with symbolism and that could carry potentially serious economic consequences in coming years.

In a potential preview of the next presidential election, a new national poll suggests Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie would be neck and neck if the 2016 contest were held today. She leads all other potential GOP contenders.

Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s real estate company has spent $88 million for a vacant property in an up-and-coming neighborhood on Manhattan’s far west side.

Spitzer won’t say what he plans to do with the property. His family’s company, Spitzer Enterprises, has not built a building in NYC since his father, Bernard Spitzer, erected the 34-story residential tower at 150 East 57th Street in 1997.

At an event designed to highlight another of his achievements as mayor — a decline in the city’s incarceration rate — Mike Bloomberg appeared moved by the story of Michael Smith, a 24-year-old who is turning his life around after he was arrested last year.

Remembering candidate Bloomberg.

New York finished November nearly $590 million behind its projections, according to a monthly cash report issued by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

About 50 employees in New York City Comptroller John Liu’s office have been told their services will no longer be required at the end of the year when their outgoing boss is replaced by current Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer.

De Blasio is reportedly looking for a new communications director to take to City Hall now that Lis Smith, his current spokeswoman, has been outed as Spitzer’s girlfriend.

It took just two hours for the 1,000 public tickets to de Blasio’s Jan. 1 inauguration to get snatched up and only a few more minutes before they were being scalped on CraigsList.

As the NYPD has attracted an increasingly kaleidoscopic range of nationalities to its ranks in recent years — officers hail from Albania to Yemen — department statistics reveal a decline in new recruits among black New Yorkers.

An aide to incoming Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson has told a staffer to the man he’s replacing, Charles Hynes, that Thompson wants the toilet seat in the district attorney’s private bathroom replaced.

More >

Mid-Morning Headlines

As Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 12 years in office come to a close, he’s been making thank-you calls to the families of city workers who died on duty.

In the Bloomberg administration’s final weeks, New York City’s Law Department has been actively trying to settle some of its longest-running court battles and, where that has failed, to at least put its stamp on significant legal cases before Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio takes office.

2013 was a year of political lowlights.

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer spent Christmas at the family home of his reported girlfriend, Lis Smith, one day after he and his wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, announced their marriage is over.

Mike Lupica says the Chiara de Blasio substance abuse video was like a “final campaign ad,” and “ends up looking like old-time politicking, from a politician who acts as if everything he does is brand-new.”

The video and the Spitzers’ divorce announcement were part of a “celebrated tradition of dumping unfavorable news on holidays, weekends or days when the media is otherwise preoccupied,” the NY Times writes.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind wants AG Eric Schneiderman to take action against an umbrella group of college professors who have endorsed an academic boycott of Israeli universities.

De Blasio’s choice to head up the city’s child-welfare agency, Gladys Carrion, allegedly once allowed an X-rated party for juvenile inmates — part of her “therapeutic” approach to rehabilitating violent young offenders.

Next year, the state Parks Department will finalize the purchase of some 1,200 acres in the Hudson Valley – a deal that has already added land to Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park, which sprawls over much of Putnam County, and will greatly add to the nearby Hudson Highlands State Park.

School elections might be over before Carl Paladino and attorney Daniel Chiacchia get an answer to their appeals to remove School Board members in Buffalo and Hamburg, because state education officials are reluctant to get involved.

US Attorney Preet Bharara says the federal government can’t meet a judge’s demands to quickly deliver documents so a civil-liberties group can analyze why thousands of people have been detained for months, if not years, as their immigration status is reviewed.

Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, has been pushing for months now to take away what he calls the “special treatment” that members of Congress and their staffs enjoy under “Obamacare” – but now he’s enjoying that special treatment himself.

The success of the styrofoam food container ban that was one of Bloomberg’s last victories in office depends on de Blasio and the city’s restaurateurs.

A New Jersey lawmaker who chairs a committee probing why traffic lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge were closed said he may issue additional subpoenas for two New Jersey appointees to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Drug law reformer Anthony Pappa OpEds in the Buffalo News, calling for Cuomo to use his clemency power this year.

Small-town, independently owned theaters in the Adirondacks are struggling to comply with an industry-imposed transition from 35-millimeter film to digital.

Say Yes Buffalo may have to dramatically scale back its after-school program due to questions over funding.

Holiday Reading

Merry Christmas to all you blog readers, contributors, lurkers and sock puppets!

A few headlines you might have missed while wrapping presents, consuming cookies and egg nog and otherwise engaging in holiday revelry…

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

NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is in Connecticut with no public schedule.

At 9:30 a.m., Mayor Bloomberg will visit the 108th Police Precinct to thank NYPD personnel working on Christmas, 5-47 50th Avenue between Vernon Avenue and 5th Street, Queens.

At 10 a.m., Bloomberg visits visits FDNY Engine 258/Ladder 115 to thank FDNY personnel who are working on the holiday, 10-40 47th Avenue between Vernon Avenue and 11th Street, Queens.

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and his wife, Silda Wall, have called it quits, announcing the dissolution of their marriage in a tersely worded statement issued on Christmas Eve.

The statement came just two days after the New York City tabloids revealed Spitzer’s relationship with his former campaign spokeswoman, Lis Smith, who is now working for de Blasio’s transition.

Bloomberg is a grandfather for the first time. His daughter, Georgina, gave birth to a baby boy on Christmas Eve.

The baby’s name is Jasper Michael Brown Quintana. His father is Ramiro Quintana, a professional equestrian from Argentina.

“I’m thrilled and just so proud of Georgina,” Bloomberg said. “They are going to make really wonderful parents and what an an incredible way to start the new year.”

The mayor spent his last Christmas Eve in office at an annual lunch for the homeless at City Hall restaurant.

Former President Bill Clinton plans to personally match donations made to his foundation through the remainder of the year, according to an email pitch from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

As of Tuesday, Cuomo had given no commutations, in which prisoners are released; or pardons, in which convictions are nullified.

Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak’s community relations director was given the option of a paid leave of absence on Tuesday after filing a complaint against the embattled Buffalo-area lawmaker.

The government’s retooled health care website was put to its biggest test yet as record numbers of Americans rushed to beat Tuesday’s extended deadline for signing up for insurance.

The Obama administration said that it would provide more time for people to complete their applications for health insurance if they could show that they missed the deadline because of problems with the federal health care website.

Cuomo issued a statement remembering the two firefighters who were killed in an ambush attack a year ago yesterday in Webster, Monroe County.

State Democratic Party spokesman Peter Kauffmann on Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s potential run for governor: “Jobs are up, taxes are down, and the state’s credit rating is positive — as opposed to Westchester, which has been downgraded.”

With 2014 looming, there are 11 bills that have been passed by both the Assembly and Senate, but not yet delivered to Cuomo.

The subway-workers union and the MTA are cracking down on straphangers who use bogus bills to buy MetroCards.

Former New York Gov. ­Mario Cuomo saluted his former speech­writer Peter Quinn and his newest novel “Dry Bones,” the third offering in his Detective Fintan Dunne history-mystery trilogy.

Democrats Unite To Honor de Blasio

They’re just one big, happy Democratic family.

All of the state’s top elected Democratic officials will unite on Jan. 5 to host a breakfast at Gracie Mansion on Jan. 5. to celebrate the inauguration of New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio.

An invitation to what is officially being billed as an “inauguration committee breakfast,” lists Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, AG Eric Schneiderman, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, IDC Leader Jeff Klein, NYC Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer and NYC Public Advocate-elect Tish James as the hosts of the event.

The breakfast will take place form 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Gracie on Sunday, Jan. 5 – four days after de Blasio is sworn into office at City Hall.

Fourth Gabryszak Accuser Comes Forward

A fourth woman who is currently working for Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak has filed a notice of claim reserving her right to sue the Western New York Democrat for what she alleges was “severe, persistent and pervasive” sexual harassment.

Caitrin Kennedy, who started working as Gabryszak’s director of community relations on Sept. 30, alleges in her notice that the assemblyman was engaging in his inappropriate behavior as recently as Dec. 18.

As The Buffalo News reported, Kennedy says Gabryszak suggested during her first week on the job that she accompany him to a couples massage.

He also asked her to accompany him to strip clubs, harassed her about whether she had a boyfriend, suggested she “become pregnant,” and discussed his fantasy football teams that had names related to oral sex and female genitalia and around her and other staff members.

The Times Union broke the story on Dec. 21 of a trio of former Gabryszak staffers who filed a notice of claim detailing their own sexual harassment claims against him. In that story, Gabryszak refused to comment, saying that he hadn’t seen the claim, but also insisted he had no problems with the women who filed it.

Since then, Gabryszak has neither confirmed nor denied the allegations lodged by his former – and now current – aides. His attorney has counseled him not to speak, assuming this matter will eventually be the subject of litigation.

Both Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have said that if the allegations against Gabryszak are true, then he must resign his seat.

A fourth woman makes allegations against Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak. by embenjamin2001

Chiara de Blasio Discusses Depression, Drug Abuse (Updated)

The transition team of NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio took the unusual step today of releasing a video featuring his 19-year-old daughter, Chiara de Blasio, in which she describes her battle with depression and drug and alcohol abuse.

“Every kid who grows up in New York grows up pretty fast; it’s astonishing,” she says, before describing a struggle with clinical depression that lasted throughout her adolescence.

“It made it easier, like, the more I drank and did drugs, to share some common ground with people that I wouldn’t have,” Chiara continues. “It didn’t start out as a huge thing for me, but then it became a really huge thing for me.”

The teenager says she thought that going away to California for college (at Santa Clara University, where she is an environmental studies major) would help her leave her troubles behind, but instead, her use of alcohol and marijuana only intensified.

Chiara says she received support from her parents, especially incoming First Lady Chirlane McCray, who did “every little thing she could.” She eventually got treatment from a therapist and at what she describes as an “outpatient” facility in New York City.

“Removing substances from my life opened so many doors for me. I was able to participate in my dad’s campaign, and that was the greatest thing ever,” Chiara says.

“…Getting sober is a positive thing. And it’s not easy, by no means is it easy. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But it’s so worth it.”

The video, released on Christmas Eve day, came in an email from Bill and Chirlane de Blasio with the subject line “Chaira’s story.”

“As parents, our instinct has been to protect our daughter and privately help her through a deeply personal struggle,” the couple wrote.

“But not only has Chiara committed to her own health, she is also committed to helping young people everywhere who face similar challenges.”

“Her courage to speak out demonstrates a wisdom and maturity far beyond her 19 years, and we are grateful every day for her commitment to lifting up those who need to know that they are not alone.”

At the end of the video, words appear across the screen urging anyone watching who believes they have a substance abuse problem to seek help, and also offering a website: “ok2talk.org.”

UPDATE: The NYT notes that during the campaign, de Blasio aides repeatedly refused to answer questions about Chiara’s rumored drug abuse or answer questions about whether she was receiving treatment.