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The Bobster 03-08-2017 07:23 AM

Re: New York City - Miscegenous Mayor 'Comrade' Bill De Blasio in the news

City pols blast de Blasio’s plan to fix failing schools
By Bruce Golding, Carl Campanile and Michael Gartland
March 7, 2017 | 11:19pm | Updated

City pols on Tuesday blasted Mayor de Blasio’s failing plan to improve some of the city’s lowest-performing public schools following a series of Post exposes.

Public Advocate Letitia James said Hizzoner’s costly “Renewal School Program” was producing “nothing but abject failure” and called The Post’s revelations “very troubling.”

James zeroed in on Monday’s report about the shortage of supplies and qualified teachers at the Coalition School for Social Change, where sources said unlicensed interns have been teaching a Spanish class.

“A significant number of the students are low-income students who are struggling to make ends meet and who are struggling to pass these tests,” she said.

“How can they possibly compete and pass these tests with teachers that are not certified and with a lack of resources?”

“What we’re getting is nothing but abject failure,” she added.

State Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. (PR-Bronx) — who has 16 Renewal schools in his district, including three slated to close for failing to improve — demanded that de Blasio pull the plug on the program, which will cost $186.5 million this year.

“These Renewal schools have proven to be very detrimental to our children,” Diaz fumed. “It’s throwing money at sinking ships. Stop wasting money. Stop this nonsense now!”

Among other findings, The Post revealed how enrollment at Renewal schools has plummeted 25 percent while per-student spending has surged nearly 35 percent, and only 12.3 percent of last year’s grads were deemed college-ready.

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Brooklyn) said the state Legislature should examine the Renewal program this spring, when it considers continued mayoral control of the city’s schools.

“We’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars and we can’t get textbooks to students and supplies to teachers?” she said. “It’s time to do something different. Maybe these schools really need to be restructured.”

City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens), a former teacher who chairs of the Education Committee, said he plans to grill schools officials at a March 21 expense budget hearing.

“We want to know where has that money gone,” he said. “We need a full accounting of how that money was spent . . . And we’ll expect details.”

US Rep. Dan Donovan (R-SI, Brooklyn) said The Post’s series was “deeply troubling.”

“Spending precious education dollars on dubious consultants with no accountability is not going to fix our public school system, and throwing money at the problem doesn’t equal reform,” he said,

City Hall spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein responded, “Since day one we have been clear that we will not give up on our students and these investments have lead to real results: graduation and attendance rates are up while chronic absenteeism and serious incidents are down.”

The Bobster 03-08-2017 02:56 PM

Re: New York City - Miscegenous Mayor 'Comrade' Bill De Blasio in the news

De Blasio promises to probe failing School Renewal Program
By Bruce Golding and Yoav Gonen
March 8, 2017 | 4:24pm | Updated

Mayor de Blasio promised Wednesday to investigate his failing “School Renewal Program” in the wake of a series of Post exposes — and even asked for some help from his least-favorite ​news​paper.

The Post revealed this week that a city high school student was among several kids forced to transfer out of a Renewal school when the principal “told us to our faces, ‘You need to leave, you’re not good for this school, you’re bringing kids down.”

“I’ll have folks look into those [allegations], absolutely, and you can help connect us to the individual student,” de Blasio told a Post reporter during an unrelated news conference in Brooklyn.

​The student didn’t immediately respond to a message asking if he was willing to cooperate with City Hall.​

​​Hizzoner’s entreaty marked a radical departure from his previous — and repeated — denunciations of The Post, and his widely condemned refusal to take a question from the paper during an October news conference.

De Blasio also admitted Wednesday that he was left chagrined by another Post report about a recent Renewal school grad, 18-year-old Hidekel Reyes Lopez, who said she had to learn “the four years of math that I didn’t get in high school” when she enrolled at CUNY last year.

“I don’t want us to leave any child without a proper education,” the mayor said.

“I don’t know her circumstance, but any child that didn’t get a good enough education, that’s not acceptable to me.”

De Blasio defended his massive spending on the Renewal program — estimated at $186.5 million this year — by blaming former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who he said closed poorly performing schools “in very arbitrary fashion without attempting to turn schools around, and then left a lot of students in the lurch in the years in which the schools were being closed.”

“Look, we’re talking about schools that had the toughest time for years, that were not working, that needed a different approach,” de Blasio insisted.

The mayor — whose administration has already closed or merged nine of the original 94 Renewal schools, and plans to close or merge eight more — also said that an unspecified number of schools “are going to graduate out of Renewal status.”

The Bobster 03-11-2017 03:18 PM

Re: New York City - Miscegenous Mayor 'Comrade' Bill De Blasio in the news

De Blasio: Don’t trust the media when it comes to city’s budget
By Rich Calder
March 10, 2017 | 10:56pm

Anyone who wants to learn what’s in the city’s newly proposed $84.7 billion budget shouldn’t trust the media — but should search the voluminous documents themselves, Mayor de Blasio said on Friday.

“I would really strongly advise anyone listening who wants to actually understand the budget to look at the budget and not go through a journalistic outlet to understand the budget,” the mayor said on WNYC radio.

“The budget’s online. Anyone can look at it.”

Indeed it is — with 18 separate documents posted on the Web site of the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget.

De Blasio made the recommendation after being asked why his budget includes a $4.9 million cut to emergency food-assistance programs. “It’s not accurate,” the mayor said, responding to a question called in by a college student.

“Every time I hear of someone claiming we have a budget cut… I’d like them to show us where it is because it doesn’t exist.”

De Blasio said the cuts he has proposed aren’t real because they have to be negotiated with the City Council. :rolleyes:

The Bobster 03-12-2017 07:21 PM

Re: New York City - Miscegenous Mayor 'Comrade' Bill De Blasio in the news

Letitia James calls for probe into de Blasio’s failing Renewal schools
By Bruce Golding
March 12, 2017 | 3:13pm | Updated

Letitia James
William Farrington

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James on Sunday called for a probe of Mayor de Blasio’s failing “School Renewal Program,” saying recent exposes by The Post demanded an accounting of its exorbitant spending.

James specifically cited Post reports about declining enrollment, the dismal college-readiness rates of grad​s​ and “the shortage of supplies and qualified teachers” at the 86 low-performing schools targeted for improvement.

“I don’t understand where all these resources are going…There needs to be an investigation,” James told ​radio host John Catsimatidis on AM​-​970.

“We need to turn [the schools] around or shut them down. Period.”

James also accused de Blasio of failing to deliver on the reforms he promised while launching the program, which is expected to cost $186.5 million this fiscal year.

The Department of Education has already closed or merged nine of the original 94 Renewal schools, and plans to close or merge eight more this year.

“What was promised three years ago by this administration was that the schools were going to be turned around,” she said.

“All the promises that were made were not kept.”​​

Last week, de Blasio admitted dismay at learning about the experience of Renewal school grad Hidekel Reyes Lopez, 18, who told The Post she had to learn “the four years of math that I didn’t get in high school” when she enrolled at CUNY last year.

“I don’t want us to leave any child without a proper education,” the mayor said.

“I don’t know her circumstance, but any child that didn’t get a good enough education, that’s not acceptable to me.”

The Bobster 03-13-2017 07:51 AM

Re: New York City - Miscegenous Mayor 'Comrade' Bill De Blasio in the news

De Blasio and Cuomo have nothing to say about Bharara’s firing
By Michael Gartland and Bruce Golding
March 12, 2017 | 10:41pm

Getty Images ; Gabriella Bass ; AP

The silence was deafening from New York’s two leading politicians over the firing of their mutual nemesis — corruption-busting former Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara.

Gov. Cuomo tweeted seven times about a Wednesday wind storm in Rochester, three times about a bomb threat against an upstate synagogue and twice about the blizzard forecast to sweep the state.

Cuomo also announced his creation of a task force “to look at the detrimental impact of plastic bags on our natural resources.”

Mayor de Blasio, meanwhile, used his official Twitter account to issue a reminder about the start of Daylight Savings Time, blast the Republican plan to replace ObamaCare and wish a “Happy 14th Birthday” to the 311 government-answer system created by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The Bobster 03-13-2017 03:54 PM

Re: New York City - Miscegenous Mayor 'Comrade' Bill De Blasio in the news

De Blasio aides’ legal bills are costing taxpayers millions
By Michael Gartland
March 13, 2017 | 5:59pm

The city’s top lawyer predicted Monday that taxpayers will have to shell out “a few million dollars more” for the legal bills of mayoral aides swept up in several corruption probes.

And that’s on top of the $10.5 million already spent on outside lawyers.

Corporation Counsel Zach Carter described the additional legal costs as not “a large magnitude” and said it appears the federal probes are “winding down and concluding.”

“We believe that there will be a few million dollars more expended, but I can’t give you an exact figure,” Carter testified at a City Council budget hearing. “I don’t believe that it will be a large magnitude of expenditures.”

According to records obtained by The Post in January, the city expected to spend a total of $11.6 million — a figure that now seems low.

The feds are investigating Mayor de Blasio and his inner circle for allegedly providing political favors for campaign and other contributions.

Carter testified that the 11 outside law firms brought in to handle the probes are needed because the city Law Department doesn’t specialize in criminal defense and because of “issues of privilege” and conflicts of interest.

“The ongoing investigations are criminal in nature,” he said. “That is a specialized area of practice that requires experience because of the delicacy of the judgments to be made.”

Another reason for retaining outside firms is that employees “often insisted” on “separate counsel,” he added.

Carter testified that “dozens” of city employees were identified as potential witnesses in the probes, but refused to provide an exact number.

But he did say that he doesn’t expect the firing of US Attorney Preet Bharara to interfere with the investigative timeline.

“[His temporary successor Joon Kim] was fully engaged in the supervision of these investigations so I doubt that we’ll lose any time in terms of final evaluation of the case,” he said.

The Bobster 03-13-2017 03:58 PM

Re: New York City - Miscegenous Mayor 'Comrade' Bill De Blasio in the news

City official was fired for something other than Rivington House deal
By Michael Gartland
March 13, 2017 | 4:07pm

A top city official wasn’t fired because of his role in a controversial land deal that allowed a non-profit nursing home to be converted to luxury housing — but his boss refused to say Monday if he was ousted because of other federal investigations.

The axed official, Ricardo Morales, who served as a deputy commissioner at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, was at the center of two deals now being probed by federal investigators.

One was the lifting of deed restrictions on Rivington House, a Lower East Side nursing home, that eventually led to its sale for luxury condos.

The other involves a de Blasio supporter’s efforts to lock down a sweetheart lease for his now-closed Queens restaurant, the Water’s Edge.

When asked at a City Council budget hearing Monday whether Morales’ firing had anything to do with Water’s Edge or its owner Harendra Singh, DCAS Commissioner Lisette Camilo declined to say, describing it as a “personnel issue.”

Ricardo MoralesOffice of the New York City Comptroller

Prosecutors are examining whether Singh, a major contributor to de Blasio, got any breaks.

“Personnel issues are very sensitive. I’m not at liberty to discuss that right now,” a flustered Camilo added.

She also refused to answer a question about Morales’ possible cooperation with federal authorities.

But she insisted it had “nothing to do with Rivington.”

Camilo said she made the decision to get rid of Morales and informed first Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris.

The Bobster 03-14-2017 09:02 AM

Re: New York City - Miscegenous Mayor 'Comrade' Bill De Blasio in the news

De Blasio not amused by the Post’s ‘PREETY HAPPY’ cover
By Rich Calder
March 13, 2017 | 8:37pm | Updated


Mayor de Blasio refuses to say whether he’s “PREETY HAPPY.”

De Blasio wasn’t amused Monday when asked about the front page of Sunday’s Post, which had “PREETY HAPPY” as the headline next to an image of the Mayor drinking champagne in celebration of President Trumps’s sudden firing of Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara’s.

Bharara’s office is currently probing de Blasio’s campaign fundraising practices.

“Are you ‘PREETY HAPPY?’” NY1’s Errol Louis asked Hizzoner during their weekly segment.

“I don’t pay attention to the front page of the New York Post as a matter of course and I am just not going to comment,” responded a stone-faced mayor. “There is an ongoing investigation going on.”

The mayor also wouldn’t comment when asked whether his lawyers have told him whether Bhahara’s ouster “is good or bad” for him.

The Bobster 03-15-2017 06:42 AM

Re: New York City - Miscegenous Mayor 'Comrade' Bill De Blasio in the news

Pharma family behind Oxycontin has given over $50K to de Blasio
By Rich Calder and Yoav Gonen
March 14, 2017 | 8:01pm | Updated

Mayor de Blasio collected more than $50,000 in donations from two members of the family that owns the pharmaceutical giant behind OxyContin — which he accused this week of “fueling” a national crisis of opioid overdoses, according to a report.

During a Bronx press conference Monday outlining plans by the city to invest $38 million a year to combat the problem, de Blasio singled out Oxycontin.

“A bill of goods was sold to people that these drugs were not dangerous and didn’t lead to long-term addiction, when, in fact, it was well known they did,” he said. He didn’t mention that OxyContin is manufactured by Stamford, Conn.-based Purdue Pharma.

Arts philanthropist Elizabeth Sackler :devil:, whose relatives own the company, contributed $30,000 to de Blasio’s now-defunct nonprofit Campaign for One New York, Crain’s reported. She and her son, Michael, donated $14,400 to de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign and another $5,950 to his 2017 campaign.

In 2014, the mayor attended a dinner celebrating Sackler as the first woman elected to the Brooklyn Museum’s board of trustees.

When asked if the mayor plans to return the Sackler donations, Dan Levitan, a spokesman for the mayor’s campaign, would say only, “Elizabeth Sackler is a celebrated historian, activist and philanthropist and we were proud to have her support.”

Michael Sackler said that he and his mother did not own any stock in the company.

The Bobster 03-15-2017 05:56 PM

Re: New York City - Miscegenous Mayor 'Comrade' Bill De Blasio in the news

Republican mayoral candidate out-raises de Blasio by a lot
By Yoav Gonen
March 15, 2017 | 2:53pm

Paul Massey
William Farrington

Republic mayoral candidate Paul Massey out-raised Mayor de Blasio by more than 2-to-1 over the last two months — hauling in over $850,000 to Hizzoner’s $394,000, the campaigns announced Wednesday. :D

Official filings with the city’s Campaign Finance Board — which spell out each campaign’s spending levels as well — weren’t expected to be posted until later.

At the end of the last filing period, de Blasio had $2.2 million in his campaign coffers — not counting substantial matching public funds he’s expected to receive.

Massey, who hasn’t submitted any claims for matching funds, was sitting on $937,017 as of his latest filing.

His campaign claimed his haul was a record for a March filing period, which covers Jan. 12 through March 11.

“Almost without exception, New Yorkers tell me that they are ready for a new mayor,” Massey said in a statement.

“I will do whatever it takes to win this election, to ensure our children, seniors and most vulnerable are given more importance than the special interests, and most important, bring back integrity to City Hall.”

De Blasio’s campaign emphasized that he’s been focusing on small-dollar donations, although he took a recent trip to Florida and California seeking out-of-state dollars.

He took in more than 3,000 donations — 95 percent of them for $175 or less — in the latest filing period, campaign officials said.

“Our campaign continues to focus on harnessing the grassroots energy behind the mayor’s campaign,” said Elana Leopold, finance director for de Blasio’s re-election committee.

The mayor’s ability to raise top-dollar donations has been hampered by state and federal probes of pay-to-play allegations connected to his prior fundraising efforts.

No charges have been filed, and the recent firing of Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara — as part of a national purge of 46 US attorneys — is likely to delay that office’s probe for the near future.

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